Debbs took the plunge this week with her first ride on her new Look Quartz pedals. I had been trying to persuade her that clipless was the way to go but I think she just couldn't get her head round being attached to the bike and not being able to bail in an emergency which, of course she could. Debbys flat pedals were nice but they terrified me with all those sharp pins just waiting to shred her shins to pieces. The pins they came with were basically just rounded off screws, so we replaced them with some nice colour matched pins with bolt heads that screwed in with a little spanner, very tedious. They were a lot safer but they would still make a mess of her legs if she stacked or her foot slipped. Debbs was struggling with getting her feet positioned right on them which was starting to bug her so she finally agreed to give clipless pedals a go.
My first experience with clipless was in the late 90's with a set of Ritchey copies, which themselves were a licensed version of Shimano's SPD setup. I never really got on with the direct feel you get with the SPD type of pedal as I have a bit of Osteo-Arthritis in my left knee which gives me pain from time to time, but is generally ok as long as I don't play football as it's mostly sideways movement that causes the problems. I did a lot of reading of mags and stuff at the time and they were saying that if you suffered with knee pain you were better off with a pedal that gave you lots of float, which basically means a pedal that gives your foot a bit more movement and a less direct feel when your clipped in. At that time to my knowledge there was really only one company that was making a pedal that provided lots of float and that was Time with the Attac. I bought the Attac and used them for a few years and much prefered the open twin bar design that gave your feet more movement and good mud shedding ability but still gave you that connected to the bike feel that clipless pedals give you. The Attac is a great pedal but they weigh a ton so when Crankbrothers came out with the Eggbeater pedal which was a lot lighter but a similar twin bar system and which I liked the look of straight away, I had to try them. They were great from the off with a 4 way entry and easy to service too as they had a grease port so you could pump fresh grease in and force the old grease out, but you would end up using a lot of grease. I happily used the Eggbeaters for the next few years even though the bearings didn't last that long, until I came across the Look Quartz . Like the Eggbeater I liked the look of them straight away, but what was most striking was the weight ! The standard model weighed less than the bling carbon ti models of their counterparts offerings and they were cheap as well, about £50 if you shopped around. I've used these pedals for a few years now on my mtb's and now on my Pompino and think they're great. I have read a bit on some forums that people can't stand them, that the cleats are a nightmare to setup , well I just don't know what they are doing because I have found just the opposite, you get some different thickness wedges that enables you to set the cleat up easy to clip in and lots of float or setup to make it harder to clip in and less float, simple. I had no problems in advising Debs to go for the Quartz and that goes for anybody new to mtbing who is thinking of trying out clippless pedals, they make sense for a new rider because of the easy way they clip in/out and the generous float they offer.
Debby is using the pedals with Shimano SH-WM62 womens mtb shoes which are a great shoe for the money and makes Debb look quite pro. She loves the pedals and shoes and has found them to be quite easy to get the hang off and she admits to being quite frightened off them at first, but to her credit she just got to grips with them and is now clipping in and out without incident but I'm still expecting her to have the falling over clipped in moment that most of us have had when we first started out riding clipless, I just hope there's no one around unlike when it happened to me many moons ago.
I'm still pinching myself with how much my girl has taken my passion for cycling to her heart...