How quickly can you unclip?

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  • How quickly can you unclip?
  • Trimix

    I unclip fast enough not to notice, like blinking.

    It happens as an unthinking response now.

    I fall off a lot, try to do jumps, gaps etc, ride Chicksands / Alps etc. I dont remember landing still clipped in.

    How fast is this:



    1) Unless they are bastid tight, clipless pedals unclip rather easily against anything other than normal pedalling up-and-down forces. Given that clipless pedals are like small ski bindings, which (hopefully) undo if you fall over ‘wrong’, you have to be doing a fairly dead-on straight OTB or falling off the back to not be tugging your cleats out of the pedals at a sufficient angle for them to disengage with a realitively low force.

    2) I fell over clipped in twice in 2001 when I first got clipless pedals. I have come of plenty of times since then and never been attached to the pedals at the end of it. I don’t know if the fraction of a second longer it must take to twist out of the pedal was a factor in these crashes ie whether I could have ridden out of them on flats, but I can’t remember even thinking about unclipping for many years, whether that is stopping at the lights, or suddenly having to jab a foot out on some really tricky trail, it just happens, even when the bike stalls and is at a virtual standstill.

    3) Steve Peat and Greg Minnaar. I bet they can undclip quickly at high speed.

    Premier Icon Matt24k

    The more you use spd’s the faster you will unclip. It becomes a subconscious reaction over a period of time. For me it was about 6 months of slow speed topples. 2 years in, I am usually unclipped before any thing hits the ground.
    On the speed issue, it is rare do more than 30 mph downhill. We do have a bridalway on our regular route which goes down a steep hill with small steps made from railway sleepers every 20 feet or so. Top speed recorded down there was 34.9 mph but is always over 30mph. I am no riding god and it used to scare the crap out of me when I started riding spd’s. I quickly realised that having my feet clipped in made it easier so I relaxed, was less tense and found it better than with flats.
    My advice is to practice with spd’s until unclipping becomes subconscious and stay away from mathematical calculations with more variables than you can make sense from.

    Premier Icon epicyclo

    Thanks for the sensible replies from some folks, especially the last few today. I’m amazed at the reaction, personal attacks, accusations of being dim, bed-wetting, nervousness, etc. I suspect I would be treated more politely if I walked into a mosque with a burning koran in my hands.

    So an apology – I should have realised asking a technical question would bring out the dribbling brain deficient trolls from their mbuk caves, and sorry if this question has hurt your head.


    Came off my road bike a couple of weeks ago. All I know is when the crash started, I was clipped in and when I was lying on my back in the middle of the road after escaping over the handlebars, I was no longer attached to the bike. At what point my feet became unclipped from the pedals, I truly have no idea.
    All I know is the bike was about 20ft away from me when I collected everything.


    Well this would be the result if you don’t get it right!!

    From yesterdays mini downhill at FOD.


    For the purposes of balance, there was a great (presumably ‘set up’) photo in Bryceland’s column in Dirt a while back, where he talks about trying spd’s: picture of him upside down with feet still clipped in and bike wheels up in the air. 😀

    Anyway, your very likely to wrench your feet out the clips (multi-release cleats anyone) if your doing 30mph and your bike is doing 0mph. Much more safe than toe straps of old.

    The only thing faster than me ‘panic-unclipping’ is me ‘accidentally unclipping’ with multi release cleats. Unpredictable-Death Cleats more like…


    Steve Peat and Greg Minnaar. I bet they can undclip quickly at high speed.

    I am pretty sure both of them have mentioned not being able to unclip contributing to crashes and incidents over the last few years, as have many elite dh racers.

    Most clipped riders claim to be able to unclip instantly, and yet most of their crashes / excuses involve not being able to unclip quickly enough.

    I had the misfortune of seeing a friend of mine do something along the lines of what the op is describing – he went otb on a very fast section of trail. A rock deflected his wheel which dug in like an anchor and catapulted him forward, as he flew forward he brought the bike with him and it acted like a pendulum flipping him off the trail and 30ft down a bank. He broke a few ribs and fractured his wrist if I recall. He was overtaking me at the time and the effect was as if a bomb had gone off underneath and blew him off the trail, it was savage.

    Impossible to say whether his injuries would have been substantially less had he been riding flats but the crash would have been a lot less spectacular.

Viewing 10 posts - 41 through 50 (of 50 total)

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