Ask Pinkbike: Bike Upgrades, Air Spring Choices, and Clipless Pedal Advice

Jan 24, 2017
by Pinkbike Staff  
Ask Pinkbike Header

Here at Pinkbike we get inundated with all kinds of questions, ranging from the basic "Can I have stickers" to more in-depth, soul searching types of queries like if you should pop the question or what to name your first child. Ask Pinkbike is an occasional column where we'll be hand picking and answering questions that have been keeping readers up at night, although we'll likely steer clear of those last two and keep it more tech oriented.

What to Upgrade?

Question: Pinkbike user ceddie6 asked this question in the all-mountain, enduro, and cross-country forum: I could use a little help here. I received a lovely gift card to Chain Reaction Cycles of $300 CAD for Christmas. What do you think is the best way to spend it on my '16 stock Kona Process 153?

bigquotesWhile the 2016 Process 153 doesn't exactly have the most exciting spec around, Kona did well to sort the heavy-hitting bike out with parts that suit its intentions. This includes a set of wide rims with proper tires on them, a suitable SRAM GX drivetrain, and mid-level suspension that works decently well. But without knowing where and how you ride, it's kinda hard to recommend what to change on your bike... let's do it anyway, though.

If your bike is completely stock, the first thing you should spend that money on is some tire sealant and tubeless rim tape. And speaking of tires, the 153's Maxxis Minion DHF tires shouldn't ever leave you wanting for traction, but that also doesn't mean that they're the best tires for you. If your terrain and trails are less demanding, or if you prefer to put in big days using your own steam, it might make sense to go for something lighter and faster rolling. Or not - it completely depends on what you value, but there's no point in lugging around that big meat if you don't actually need it. $300 is a lot of money, but it is, unfortunately, not quite enough to pay for the one big change that I'd like to make to your 153 (if it were my bike): swapping out the decent but limited RockShox Monarch RT shock for something that's more tuneable. Chain Reaction Cycles doesn't have a massive selection of shocks but, depending on when you look, you can find everything from Cane Creek's DBinline to Fox's X2 for sale. You'll need at least another $250 CAD, but it's an upgrade that you'll appreciate, just so long as you're able to find the correct size for your bike.
- Mike Levy

Kona Process 153

Should I Get a Fox 36 TALAS or FLOAT?

Question: Pinkbike user @PhilMe asked this question in the All Mountain, Enduro & Cross-Country forum: Currently looking for a new fork on my enduro bike. Was looking for a Fox 36 2017. Should I choose the TALAS or the FLOAT model? I'm mostly riding singletracks with jumps and drops. My goal is not to be the first a the top of the hill. Any comments?

bigquotesFox offers the 36 in a wide array of configurations, which can make it a little tricky to decide what features you really want. When it comes to choosing between the TALAS or FLOAT model, though, my vote is for the FLOAT option. With the FLOAT air spring you have the ability to adjust the fork's compression ratio by adding or subtracting volume spacers. More spacers increases the amount of end stroke ramp up, and fewer spacers creates a more linear feel. It's a handy feature that makes it easy to tune the fork to match your riding style, and one that I find much more useful than being able to reduce the fork's travel with the flick of a lever.

I know there are some riders who swear by their travel-adjust forks, citing the improved climbing ability that results from dropping the front end 30mm lower, but I'm not one of them. I've tried it on multiple occasions over the years, but in every instance I go back to climbing and descending in the full travel mode. Plus, having only one travel setting means there's no chance you'll space out and find yourself dropping into a gnarly trail with your fork in short-travel mode. - Mike Kazimer

Trek Slash review
A turn of the blue dial lowers the Fox 36 TALAS' travel from 160mm to 130mm.

Flats to Clipless Pedals

Question: bikehard11 asks in the All Mountain, Enduro & Cross-Country forum: Any advice on getting used to clipless? I have, for the most part, ridden flats, but I decided to try riding on my Mallets again this past weekend. I know the reflex to unclip has to be developed over time, but on technical climbs under pressure, I fell over a couple times. Are there ways of making unclipping more natural? My cleats are farther under my foot to imitate my flats, and I wonder if putting the cleat closer to my toes would allow better leverage for unclipping. Most of my riding buddies are on clips and have no problem unclipping super fast in tight situations, and I would like to be able to do the same.

bigquotesYour rear-mounted cleat position is correct for Crankbrothers Mallet pedals, so don't mess with that. Two pieces of advice I offer to riders who struggle to clip-in and unclip from their pedals that seem most helpful are: First, is not to worry about getting the cleat engaged in the pedal mechanism. Instead, just put your foot on the pedal, start turning the cranks, and allow your cleat to find its own way to lock in. Mallet pedals lend themselves well to this approach. Once you learn that your foot will find its way into the pedal, you won't be concerned about taking a foot out to stabilize the bike or apex a loose corner.

The second bit covers learning to exit - the "excuse me, I am falling over now" part. My suggestion is to unclip from both pedals every time you stop your bike. The more often you commit to the action, the faster your body will memorize the move. That may sound overly simplistic, but it is the quickest method. Concentrating on proper technique while riding won't help - Here's why:

The reason that most first-time and low-time clippers so often flounder and fall when they tackle technical sections is that their minds are concerned about the pedals and the ramifications of being trapped in them, rather than being focused on the trail ahead. You may be staring ahead, but as that technical climb or descent arrives, your attention shifts from what's going on in front of you, to what's happening below the bike. Even if you were riding flat pedals, that shift in attention is a classic rookie move and would probably result in a messy foot dab or an awkward roll-over anyway. So, my final tip is to focus ahead and pretend that nothing will go wrong (more easily said than done) and to trust that your feet actually will unclip when that inevitable crash arrives (they always do). - RC

Crankbrothers Mallet E review
Crankbrothers Mallet E pedal. The Mallet semi-platform design is preferred by gravity riders because the mechanism will release to the right and left, and also because the dual-spring design can be engaged from either the front or the back side of the cleat.

Have some unresolved tech questions? Jump in the Pinkbike Forum and we'll look to answer it for next time.


  • 95 9
 Well... i guess the best way to improve a stock bike ist just to ride the damn thing for a while before immediately upgrading, but thats just my two cents.
  • 15 3
 Depends on the bike. For some reason mine came with 60a tyres so I swapped them for 3Cs immediately. On a pedally bike I can imagine changing the seat as well.
  • 85 0
 Or just save the cash until you break something and then upgrade it to something better when replacing it.
  • 24 6
 Spend it on bike park tickets. Or lessons.
  • 38 70
flag Pnwdak (Jan 24, 2017 at 14:34) (Below Threshold)
 Best advice on clipless pedals??? Don't buy them.
  • 9 2
 @bishopsmike: Amen. $ for $ lessons will make you a better rider far faster than new shiny bike parts will.
  • 23 0
 If there's nothing I was dying to swap out, I'd keep that $300 CRC gift certificate as a piggybank for WHEN (not if) stuff breaks.
  • 21 12
 clips, thanks. Flats all the way!
  • 15 0
 @bishopsmike: He said that he had a gift card to Chain Reaction Cycles, so that wouldn't work!
  • 1 0
 @bmoore34: great advice!
  • 9 0
 @AdeMiller: I get schooled every time I ride with faster riders, for free.
  • 5 1
 He got a gift card, what else is he supposed to do besides buying something? I would change the grips, maybe rotors or brakes.
  • 9 1
 Bars, stem, tires are my go-2 upgrades on a new bike.
  • 11 0
 I live the answer to this. "We can't really say how you can improve your bike without knowing how you ride... but let's do it anyway!"

This must be why 90% of people visit Pinkbike!
  • 5 3
 It's a gift card for CRC that probably has an expiry date. So waiting for something to break, spending it on lessons or bike park entry are not really the best suggestions in this case.
  • 6 0
 @bmoore34: thoughts exactly ....or buy some brake pads and tires know you will need those...
  • 1 1
 @GeeHad: gift cards aren't supposed to have expiry dates.
  • 4 1
 @bishopsmike: the problem with this idea is it is a CRC gift they sell tickets or lessons???
  • 2 1
 @billreilly: the problem with this idea is it is a CRC gift they sell tickets or lessons???
  • 6 1
 @RollinFoSho: its super hard to ride a bike with may ruin your rims!
  • 1 0
 @codypup: Yes. But being a good rider is not the same as being a good teacher. If the people who you ride with have the skill and the time to help you be a better rider then that's great. You're lucky.
  • 1 1
 Best way is to build your bike from scratch. In October. It seems like the manufactures build on nearly all bikes will require you spend more money. Can you believe some manufactures are building frames with no front derailleur option.
  • 1 0
 Pedals make a huge difference. I swapped my stock pedals for some really grippy flats. Completely changed the bike.
  • 1 0
Buy some maintenance and cleaning tools and liquids. Thats well within your budget. Beeing able to swap wear and tear parts of bike, do basic fluid change on suspension and bleed your brakes might save you money in a long run and might even bring new level of enjoyment to your biking.
  • 28 3
 For $300 and a big impact on your comfort, change the contact points like saddle, pedals, grips and/or bar/stem if anything related to those areas is bugging you. If those areas are happy then I'd say look to your tires and brakes. Even if you don't immediately need them, you can never really have too many tires.
  • 31 1
 The gift card was for $300 CAD. That should afford a pair of grips Wink
  • 3 0
 Yep, I generally replace all of those for stuff I know suits me and I can rely on, especially if they come with in-house brand stuff. I'll run the tyres the bikes come with for a bit, is a cheap way to test other brands before shifting back to Maxxis (last bike came with Schwalbe, never again).

Brakes, suspension and drive train is a selling point for me so unlikely to be wanting to replace it.
  • 8 1
 Maybe too cerebral for pinkbike, but @metacomet is on to something. There is a great deal of psych literature on personalization, ownership/pride, and confidence. You will ride better if you do something as simple as set up a colourways choice you like, a stem you have always jonesed for, or a set of rubber you think will make a difference when you are on the edge. Especially if it differentiates you from your normal riding crowd, but not too much. $300 may not be enough to fundamentally change your bike (already a great choice), but it is more than enough to truly make it your own beast.
  • 8 0
 @GOrtho: Yeah those couple minor changes can definitely make your bike feel like your own rather than one right off the rack.
Also right in your $300 wheelhouse, and arguably a better investment than just putting money into the bike itself, is a real light for night riding, or a good pair of winter riding shoes. If you don't have either of these items, good lights and warm dry feet will go a looooong ways in getting more hours on the bike with a big fat smile on your face.
  • 22 3
 About switching from flats to clipless: What worked for me (and improved my riding in general) was to commit. Forget about unclipping, concentrate on keeping the cranks rotating and the bike moving forward and you'll clear more stuff than you can imagine. By mentally removing the option of clipping out you put 110% of effort to clear the obstacles in front of you and, most of the time, you make it.

That said, i am currenly re-learning to ride flats to keep things interesting and kill bad habits.
  • 11 1
 @justwan-naride I switched back to flats for a couple of rides recently. It's amazing how many bad habits I've developed on clipless. Totally tenderized my shins during those rides.
  • 3 0
 I switch to flats when the snow flies. I grew up with BMX "bear trap" style pedals, and even used them for the first few years of mtb. Those pedals command respect! It is good to be able to go back and forth and mix things up. Not sure why somebody does not make a modern, low-profile "bear trap" pedal. If you wang your pedal on a rock, or brake pins, simply replace the cage and be done with it Smile That being said, I also started clipless with the 747. And even raced BMX with them! I will never give up my Shimano XT's, unless to replace them with a newer model. My 780's are still fresh Smile
  • 4 0
 @HerrDoctorSloth: It seems a lot easier to replace a single pin on a regular pedal than the entire trap on those "bear traps"...
  • 12 0
 Learning how to track stand is a huge help to getting over the mental aspects of worrying if you can unclip in time on technical stuff (uphill of course). The first time I got stuck on a rock and realized I can just chill out and pick my spot to step off gave me a huge boost of confidence. If you can track stand you have time to pick your spot, shift weight, and gracefully step out like you meant to do it.
  • 8 0
 @Sardine: damn, beat me to it. track standing is such an under-rated skill...being able to pause and either wait for a rider in front of you or pick lines.
  • 7 2
 Maybe a bit strange, but when I'm at near max on a climb and my legs want to give up I think of concentration camp survivors and what they had to go through. Suddenly that little dirt hill feels like nothing in comparison.
  • 3 0
 I would try to clip out with whichever leg is straightest because of the extra rotation you get from your hip, when i bend my knee at all it seems really hard to get enough twist through the ankle itself hope that makes sense and helps, been clipped in for 25 years haven't fallen from not getting out in time in likely 24 years.
  • 1 0
 @Sardine: was thinking the exact same thing reading the article
  • 2 1
 @Sardine: Totally forgot to mention that in my post, but yes, trackstands offer serious confidence in tricky situations and give you piece of mind on having time to unclip. If you ride your mtb in the city traffic lights are a great opportunity to practice.

@scvkurt03: I go back and forth (mainly ride clipless, switch to flats for a couple of months each year) but lately I was letting my flat pedal skills slip away. I'm gonna stick with them for a while, even got a new pair of superstar nano-x's and I like them. Tech climbs felt awful at first, but I'm getting used to them now.

Hardtail + flats + semi-slick rear = fun times, but you're not allowed to f*ck up.
  • 3 2
 I've been die hard clipless since I started with road bikes but recently just for shits and giggles I picked up some Welgo MG-1s and cheap Fivetens on clearance. Between the soles of the shoes and the screw threads on the traction pins my feet had no trouble staying on, and more than once on slippery corners when considering options I forgot I wasn't actually clipped in. Yeah, feet come off if you lift straight up but that's about it. I was scared it was going to be like riding flats as a kid which blew ass, but instead I was pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed it. They've also forced me to bunny hop/etc the right way. Would I ride them all the time? No. Would I spend a few bucks on discount shoes and bargain-but-good pedals to keep in the car for rock garden rides? Absolutely. No matter which you've been using it's worth trying the other one.
  • 1 0
 @chuckd71: for rock garden days, lol
  • 13 0
 RC's final comment 'trust that your feet actually will unclip when that inevitable crash arrives (they always do)' Mmm. In my experience at high speed you come out OK, it's the low speed, caught up in the bike crashes that can often stop your pedals releasing.
  • 13 0
 Yes I rode clips for years and the only issues unclupping were those stupid low speed offs... much to the amusement of my riding buddies..
  • 1 0
 Last winter I switched to flats when we were running some pretty sketchy, muddy trails. I haven't switched them back. I love how they've made me correct my form. It took about a month to adjust, but I'm not sure if I'm going back to clips for more than a few runs this coming year.
  • 13 2
 Can we give a shout-out to the PinkBike editor(s)? Honestly, the spelling and grammar in almost every article they put out now is better than anything CNN does. Not being sarcastic here either - it's awesome.
  • 3 2
 Really? Most articles I read have at least one error in them. Maybe read the articles? Hooked on phonics?
  • 5 0
 @ewoodard024: Think maybe you should read some CNN articles. They don't have time for editing there as they have to post the story before it's written so that the world can get breaking news flashes on the latest thing our dictators... err leaders tweet. By comparison, the editing is quite good here.
  • 2 2
 @hangdogr: "They have to post the story before it's written." Are you high?
  • 5 0
 @ewoodard024: Do you understand the meaning of the words "sarcasm" and "hyperbole"?
  • 1 1
 @hangdogr: don't get mad that you edited your response about as well as you claim they do at CNN. It's okay, you had to get it out there before it was written
  • 8 1
 Wouldn't ride anything else but clipless , always have, always will, from cross country to enduro races and downhill races, love em, i get loads of control of the bike and can swing it round and nail it down hill without worrying about my feet bouncing off the pedals. And if you come off it's easy to find your bike again because it's still attached to your mangled foot that's now pointing the opposite way it did when you set off ......Happy days!!
  • 5 0
 How to get used to clipless pedals? Back off the tension while you are getting started, so it's easy to clip in and clip out.

You can make it so that it hardly takes any effort at all to clip out... then once you get the hang of it start increasing the tension again to your desired ultimate tension, which will give you some confidence that you can pull and push on the pedals without clipping out, but you can still twist easily to clip out if needed.

I never fell over at all when I started riding clipless, largely because I had already set my pedals tension so that it would hardly hold my shoe in, as soon as you start to pull out, your foot comes out easily.
  • 24 2
 I've heard there's also a procedure where you can have tendons rerouted so when your sphincter puckers it automatically causes your heels to turn out
  • 14 8
 @metaam: if I would set spring tension in pedal to really soft (considering I use Shimanos as for some reason every beginner is told to do so) get into a rough corner and put inside foot out, then the outer foot would surely clip out and I would get the rear tyre straight into my rectum. That could potentially wake up my old injury from the times at the university when we thought that you have to try anal sex with your male friends in order to be able to make informed opinions on Facebook when fighting for social justice.
  • 3 1
 I learned by wearing thin skate shoes with clipless pedals, so I could feel where I would need to place my foot. After a week, it was second nature, and once I had SPD shoes, I was ready and had no problems. Multi-release cleats, and light spring tension is also important while learning. Then crank up the tension as you gain experience and confidence. I learned with single-release cleats though, because I didn't want to un-clip during gate starts.
  • 3 0
 @WAKIdesigns: Well, from what you're telling me the procedure probably wouldn't work for you, a past like that can play havoc with the body's reflexes.
  • 5 0
 @WAKIdesigns: I don't understand how you have so many issues with SPD's. I've ridden mine on everything from my CX bike to days in the bike park and I've never, ever unclipped without meaning to. Hammering up a climb? Feet stay locked. Dropping into a rough section of rocks? Feet stay locked. Quick corner into steep him and need to jump off to run up with the bike on the shoulder in the mud? A quick *clip* and you're good to go. I run the tension halfway in with SH51 and have no issues other than the mud catching that SPD's are known for.

Maybe try riding smoother?
  • 3 1
 When I got into mountainbiking I was told if I was going to be serious, I needed to get used to being clipped in right away. It was SPD. First Ritchey, then Shimano. So that's what I did for at least two or three years. Rode nearly every day, never really got used to them. Soon enough I had the adjustment screw removed altogether and still I often couldn't clip out or clip in in time. I then got platforms and life was beautiful, instantly. If you crash, you're always off the bike quicker than I was when clipped in. Jumping on the bike on a steep section, same. Then at some point I got a full suspension bike to go with my hardtail. So I thought I needed to be clipped in to be able to make it up the climbs. Got Time Z which has a cleat mechanism and a kind of platform. And there I went again. It isn't about stressing about falling over. It is just that usually you already allow the bike to drop to one side and then remove the foot from the pedal. If it doesn't come off, you're still dropping to that one side... So these shoes and pedals quickly were left to gather dust again. I'm on platforms and really don't see myself going back. Sure most of the time these systems engage and release just fine, but for complete confidence you need it to always perform. And that's what platforms do.
  • 1 0
 @allix2456: samething here, I even use spd on my winter road bike, no problem.
  • 1 0
 @allix2456: "Maybe try riding smoother?"

Tell his male university friends.
  • 1 0
 @vinay: baby when it's love if it's not rough it isn't fun, no ooh oooooh ooooh ooooh oh, I take him high show him what I got - can't read mae can't read mae, no he can never read my poker face - it is a song about the situation where a woman has sex with a man and she wishes she was with a woman. If that doesn't make a man insecure I don't know what does? carbon bar not matching the stem?
  • 4 0
 I think it depends on how tall you are for the adjustable fork. I'm 6'5 and found that climbing is improved by the height reduction especially in tight loose switchback climbs. I ride and XL Reign 1 Advanced W/ Pike Dual Position and the bike is pretty loooong, so steepening the head angle a bit really helps. Do I always need it. No. Have I forgotten to raise the fork on descents...yes. I also had a 36 TALAS on my last bike and was pretty happy with that as well. Just my 2 cents.
  • 4 0
 I think it depends partly on your bike and your body type. With longer top tubes and reach on most modern bikes, they're less prone to having the front wheel pop up or wash out on steep climbs. Steep seat tube angles do the same thing. There's less benefit from an adjustable travel fork in those cases.If you have a long torso, that helps keep your weight forward too.

The combo of short top tube, slack seat angle and shorter stem [bikes from a few years ago] makes it harder to keep the front end down, as your weight is farther back on the bike. Dropping the front end makes a big difference in those cases. You can only scoot so far forward on the saddle, and the Violator position just doesn't work for everyone.

The most recent TALAS [v5?] version in the 36 is hydraulic, and has far fewer seals than the previous versions. It's surprisingly smooth.
  • 1 0
 +1 for the guys above me, it depends on the geometry of the bike, the geometry of the rider and what trails he is riding (for example how steep is the steepest climb and is it perfectly smooth or covered in bumps such as roots and rocks)
  • 1 0
 @pinkrobe: Spot on - you said what i was going to. I had a previous gen Reign. Slack seat and short TT meant the DPA Pike worked well on it. I am now on a longer steeper seat tubed frame and i hardly need it at all
  • 1 0
 @headshot: Love the DP Pike. I swapped out my Fox FLoat for the Pike on my 2014 Sight and it has made a significant difference on climbing the steeps.
  • 3 0
Sit on a table and let your feet relax. Take note of how your feet point in relation to being parallel to the bike. They may point out or in set the cleat up so the feet can sit where they want but the cleat is parallel to the bike. This reduces the range of motion for the cleat to engage the pedal and allow you to exit easier. It may even reduce knee pain. Angling the toe in or out too far can lead to knee pain and will cause poorer ability to exit the pedal
  • 5 1
 I'm sure I've read the Talas system has more seals so isn't as plush as the Float system. Having had both, I prefer the Float.
  • 2 1
 definitely more stiction in the talas
  • 2 0
 Not true any more. Still has a coil negative and no option for volume adjustment so not as good as the Float in many ways but seal drag isn't one of them.
  • 2 0
 @PhillipJ: fair enough, my last experience with talas was 2014, switched over to float and never looking back
  • 4 0
 No need for rim tape on the 153 ! Just sealant, big chuff of air and go ! All I changed on mine was the grips and, and erm, nothing else.. AWESOME BIKE
  • 2 0
 It may have been in my head, but I had a Talas on my old 2011 Trance and felt slower climbing logging roads in the low setting. It almost felt like the front end was riding into the hill rather than up it. Again it could have been mental but I definitely preferred the taller front end for climbing.
  • 4 2
 Let's debate why they are still called 'clipless' and not 'clips' , which is what they actually are ffs? I recently threw on some flats for snow conditions and had a hella struggle staying on, it was hilarious how I still turned the heel for dabs.
  • 1 0
 what flats and what shoes? This makes a big difference. I wore some softer soled gore-tex hikers on my flats initially, which I thought would be good as the soles were quite soft. I noticed a huge difference when I switched to FiveTens.
  • 1 0
 @rrolly: NRG Tasters Choice with good pins/FiveTen Freerider. This stuff is off the old DH sled prolly 8 years ago. Strange b/c I don't remember having too much trouble staying on, except when things got really rough, or hard landings if the foot wasn't perfectly positioned, yup I've got the pin scars. I'm also used to riding with heels dropped for lower CofG, which now seems impossible on flats.
  • 1 0
 @dirtdoctor: hmmm, interesting. Initially, when I went back to flats my feet would come off occasionally when I hit a quick poppy jump after hitting one just before. Other than that not any problems to speak of. I get what you're saying buy I haven't experienced it with my Saints using longer pins even through chunky rock gardens. Having said that, I wore shin pads for the first two months. Smile
  • 2 0
 Something I was taught, and makes it easier for beginners. To unclip, just push your feet down to the side instead of twisting first - it becomes one motion instead of two. To elaborate - Standard beginners will twist to unclip, then put the foot down. Putting your foot down is natural, unclip is not - and this is where they fumble the most. Doing everything in one action instead of two changes things. The motion of pushing your feet down to the side while the cleat is still engaged will result in your heel coming down first pivoting the whole foot on the pedal. This action will unclip the pedal, and your foot is already on its way down. This action gives a lot more force to the unclippling process, something that beginners find difficult to do. For advanced clipless riders, you will notice that this is actually the action that you do instead of twist to unclip and then putting the foot down, at least on Time and Shimano pedals,
  • 3 1
 got a 2009 giant trance, currently running shimano XT 3x9 ... no isg 05 in the frame... would i have problems to swith to 1x9 without changuide ? just putting a short cage derailleur is ok ? (and shorter chain of course)
  • 5 2
 @RedBurn, you need a narrow wide type chain ring, and a clutch short cage rear derailleur will help. I drop a chain about 1 every 6 months (without a guide) so assuming it's not a race situation you should be fine. If you need a guide you can get a top mount guide that attaches to the bike like a Front Derailleur or one that goes behind the BB cup.
  • 2 3
 As long as you have clutch mech and narrow wide chainrings you shouldn't need a chainguide. It does depend on suspension design to some degree but I have spent 2 years racing on my yeti asr7 without losing chain once. Even alpine bikeparks and megavalanche.
  • 1 1
 You can mount a narrow/wide chanring, and try to find a top chainguide that mount like a derailleur. You'll have to keep at least a top guide if you want to use your 9sp derailleur.
  • 4 0
 @SCLuke: To my knowledge no one makes a 9 speed clutch mech, I've heard it's possible to get a 10 speed to work but it can be a ballache to set up. Probably better to convert to 10 speed.
  • 3 2
 @metaam: Zee 9sp works with 9sp sram shifter if you put a 6mm brick between the b... how about buying a 10sp used drivetrain costs almost the same as 9sp - fantastic side effect of 11 and 12sp...
  • 1 0
 @WAKIdesigns: Yup, that's what I'd do.
  • 1 0
 @metaam: I have set up a 10spd rear derailleur with 9spd several time. It can be done. But you might be correct going all the way to 10spd might be easier and you get a bigger range as 10speed cassette are 11-36 instead of 9spd 11-34.
  • 2 0
 Also check out sunrace csm990 11t-40t 9 speed cassettes. It should give you that wide range that makes 10 and 11 speed 1xs bearable. My hardtail is so light I get by with a 11-34 though. Also I'm pretty sure I've seen 9 speed clutch type deraillers out there, but don't own one myself. XO keeps things in check
  • 2 0
 @Warburrito: No 9spd clutch derailleurs exist.

I have a sunrace wide ratio cassette. Its solid.
  • 2 1
 For the amount of extremely rough trails in the shore Clipless changed everything for me. Being able to float a nasty section instead of having to really heal down on flats to keep my feet planted to the pedals really helped me keep speed and shave tons of time off runs.

You either are for em or against em. We all know the list of things to not discuss at a party but maybe it's time to add "pedal preference"
  • 1 0
 A minor improvement in climbing performance isn't worth giving up the ability to add volume tokens. I've settled on three tokens inside my Float 36 and it's made all the difference. Supple enough to soak up trail chatter, but ramps up to handle big hits.
  • 1 0
 @RichardCunningham, Thanks for the advice! Maybe I won't go back to my trusty flats and keep trying with the clipless.. I definitely would like to be able to use the security for rough sections of trail and still have confidence when climbing. I'll keep at it.
  • 2 1
 On the 153...shock upgrade for sure. I have a 134 and put a plus on it and it was a huge upgrade. That Monarch RT sucks especially with sustained descends. As for flats, I disagree with RC...the further back the harder to get out. Less leverage. Move your mount a little forward and you'll notice a huge difference. Yes, commit to them but until you're dialed don't move them way back.
  • 1 0
 First advice to anyone learning to use spd's should be wind the tension off of them as far as it goes. Amazing amount of people who dont know that they can adjust the spring tension on alot of clipless pedals to make release easier whilst they're getting used to them.
  • 7 5
 Buy a bike with the upgrades already on it, its cheaper and you get way more for the money. Oh and Flat pedals are the best. period!
  • 1 0
 I've spent my life on SPDs. Nice pedals but I feel like I can find something better. I'm looking at Time pedals. I hear lots of good things or maybe HTs. Just not that happy with the spuds.
  • 3 2
 dude learning to unclip might want to adjust his pedals to less tension until he gets it dialed and then add tension. cant believe that wasn't given to him in the response
  • 5 0
 ThatDan Wharfrat27, Because release tension isn't an option on that pedal. I also have found that using a very light release tension can be more problematic for first timers. Flats allow much more freedom to rotate your feet, so ex flat-pedal riders will often unclip accidentally unless they can feel the tension build up as they reach the pedal's release point. An unplanned release in a technical section, or at high speed, is far more dangerous than a dufus roll-over at a walking pace.
  • 1 0
 One of the things that helped me (on SPDs) was to just push my heel out instead of trying to twist out. Pushing heel outwards is more of a natural reaction too.
  • 2 0
 Flat pedals might get you an Enduro medal.
  • 1 0
 If that Process is your first bike, I would spend it on decent bike tools and learn how to wrench on your bike!
  • 1 0
 Most riders worry far too much about equipment making them better and not enough about skills and coaching
  • 1 0
 I too hate a "messy food dab"
  • 5 5
 I told my wife I wanted some clipless pedals for Christmas. She said we should both start seeing other men
  • 3 1
 If your going to make a a dumb durogatory joke at least make it original
  • 3 6
 Spend the 300$ in traveling to sick riding locations, buying your riding buddies a beer or taking skill classes I would say makes more sense than to upgrade.. Or go full in and get the better shock
  • 13 0
 It's a gift card to CRC. Not an option.
  • 2 1
  • 1 0
 My bad, sorry for the dumb comment lol
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