Making the switch to clip in MTB Pedals

Posted by Chris Dalziel on

So you're ready to take the leap of faith and try clip in MTB pedals? Going about it the right way can make or break the experience and your future on clip pedals. Here we give you some tips on how to make the transition as smooth as possible so you can maximise the benefits of clips pedals earlier.

Your Setup

There are a tonne of options when choosing a new clip mountain bike pedal setup. The main options we'd recommend are from Shimano, Crank Brothers and HT. All brands have different 'cleat' (clip) systems which will release in different ways. Shimano and HT have a spring in which the tension can be adjusted via an allen key on the pedal. More tension the more you'll be locked into that pedal and vice versa. Crank Brothers do things a little differently with the cleats themselves giving riders different 'release' angles. The greater the degree the further you need to twist your ankle to clip out.

Shimano XTR trail clip in mountain bike pedal For The Riders

For an all round trail / all mountain / Enduro pedal the Shimano XT trail has been our number one seller, easily adjustable, strong and lasts the test of time it's hard to beat this one. We do see many DH riders going for the Crank Brothers Mallet DH options due to their wide platform pedals that give riders security and confidence when they miss the the cleat. Great for both DH and Enduro terrain!

Crank Brothers Mallet clip in pedal For The Riders MTB Store Brisbane

Initial Rides

Firstly, don't make life hard on yourself! If you're running a Shimano or HT pedal back that tension right off or set your Crank Brothers cleats to the least degree of release. Go for a pedal around your neighbour hood and just practice clipping in and out of your pedals to get the feel of the system. From here go to some mellow local trails you know and love, ride these and start to build up your confidence as you become more fluent getting your foot on and off the pedal.


Practice makes perfect so here is a fun little exercise you can embrace to become fluent with your clip pedals. Find a set of good switch backs, an example being the corners found on the middle section of the 'Dingo' MTB trail at Gap Creek. As you work your way through the turns practice clipping in and out with your inside foot. With practice this will become a quicker and more seamless action.

How to clip mountain bike pedals For The Riders Brisbane MTB store


As you ride more your confidence in the system should increase which means you can think about increasing the tension on your cleats. Why would you want to do this? Lesser tension makes getting in and out of those pedals nice and easy but un-clipping unexpectedly can be very dangerous! by increasing the tension your foot will be more secure in the pedal allowing you to push harder through the pedals, in corners etc. It's all about finding that happy medium that works for you, a little trial and error may be necessary.

Mountain bike clip in pedals how to tips For The riders MTB store

If you've got further questions about clip in MTB pedals don't hesitate to talk to our friendly sales staff for advice!

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