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Old Skool
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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
I just bought my 13 year-old daughter a road bike, Trek 3.1 WSD. Right now she is riding the bike with basic rat trap "demo" pedals. I would like to get used to being clipped in, but am unsure of the best direction to go. Look, SPD, SPD-SL, old school clips and straps, what? Anyone have any thoughts/experience on this topic?

When she was younger she had a Felt 24, so she has been on a road bike before. However, she has never used any kind of clip-in pedals or toe clips and straps.

Personally, I use Shimano PD-7401s on all of my bikes. These are the Look Delta comparable pedals that proceeded SPD-SL. The easiest path is to just have her use an extra set of "my" pedals and get her some 3-bolt style shoes.

Thank you in advance for your help.
 

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Off the back
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Awesome that your daughter likes road cycling. For goodness sakes, steer her away from toe clips/straps, unless you want her to experience the same punishment that many of us participated in. :idea:

Sounds like you're on the right track. You can find used shoes on eBay. Sometimes only in male sizes, so be ready to convert the size. That way, if she outgrows the shoes quickly, your experiment is that much cheaper. Then take her to a big grassy field to practice.

I put my 13 year-old in M086 Shimano mtn bike shoes with SPD fixed mode cleats with 7410 pedals. Soon he'll give me good reason to make his brakes rub. He's a beast.
 

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Man, I'm Awesome
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If it was me and my daughter, who is only 4 right now but hopefully when she is 13 will be riding, I would not bother. Get her some nice platform pedals and let her use whatever.

Unless she is really into it and is starting to race. If she is JRA it would be pointless unless she just really, REALLY, wants clipless pedals.
 

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If you go clipless, choose something with light action. Your daughter likely is pretty light and her feet are likely kind of short. She won't have the mass or a long enough lever (think foot length) to easily unclip from the pedals. My wife is only 5' tall with small feet and has similar issues.
 

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I started both of my boys on eggbeaters. There a mountain pedal that are very easy to get out of.

My oldest just went to light action Speedplay's on the road and is doing well. They would have been tough to start with though. No mater what she uses start out with several practice sessions in grass. A 13 year old girl with big scabs on her knees may not feel too proud of sporting scars.
 

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I imagine that a 13-year-old girl is still somewhat small and would have proportionally small feet. SPD cleats in my opinion would probably offer her the best system since those cleats wouldn't be ungainly large like LOOK cleats would be, so she'll have an easier time walking in them. Plus, the SPD cleat will let her go with a double-sided mountain pedal to start off and give her an easier time clipping in and out.
 

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Another vote for the light action SPDs. My kids started using clipless at 8 years old, and only one of them had infamous incident of tipping over at a stop light (and only once). Aside from SPDs, the others that work REALLY well are the Look Quartz. They're too light action for strong riders, and aren't marketed as kid pedals--so you can pick up used pairs CHEAP. They also handle mud dramatically better than SPDs, if you're doing cyclocross (GREAT racing intro for kids, given the short laps and no traffic).
 

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To the OP, I know you have good intentions but you could be doing your daughter more harm than good if you go with the pedals that snap in which I use and have been for 20 years. I had three falls using these pedals and luckily for me I never got injured. Two happened at stop lights where the vehicles in front of me did not move when the lights turned green on an upgrade and I could not unsnap in time and down I went. One other time a barking dog jumped out of the bushes in front of me and I hit the brakes so hard I could not unclick in time and down I went.

I don't know about the rest of you but if you used the snap in pedals which all hardened cyclist go for, I bet virtually everyone has taken a fall at some point in time by not reacting fast enough to free their feet from the pedals. At some point in time your daughter will be taking a fall with these snap pedals, just something to give some thought.
 

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Sisophous: The risk of using clipless pedals is DRAMATICALLY lower than the basic act of riding a bike. Frankly kids learn incredibly fast. I've had 3 kids grow up with clipless starting at 8-9 years old... and they all do FANTASTIC. My kids had their fair share of spills learning to ride their bikes, on sloppy cyclocross courses, or trying an advanced mountain bike trail for the first time. Seriously, I wouldn't even put clipless pedals anywhere near the top of reasons kids are put in danger with bikes. This girl is a TEENAGER!! She could have been racing as a Junior for 3 years already (and would have certainly been using clipless in those scenarios).

If your child is comfortable on her bike and on the road, clipless will be an easy conversion. If she's not, wait until she is...
 

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Cooper1960
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I would just leave her with platform pedals and toe clips, just pull the straps off. She will ride more often if she can just jump on the bike and go, and at 13 isn't that what a bike is for?
 
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