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HairyTrails

Struggling with gears changes wearing boots

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I’m new to riding with proper boots on a big bike, I’ve been having trouble changing and downshifting gears with boots on. There is just zero feel. Is this normal or is it my boots? There Mavericks 

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That’s a typical issue for new riders or riders using MX style boots for the first time. It just take repetition and practice. Take your time and make sure your shifter is in the best position for you as possible. One thing that helped me was moving to to hinge style boot. I was using some old school non-hinging boots and that made things more difficult. Best of luck.

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I had the same issue when I first started riding.  I hated riding with my new boots. I couldn't shift properly and I always locked up the rear wheel when braking.  I just kept riding with the boots and they loosened up and broke in nicely.  I can't ride without them, now.

Give it time and they will break in.

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I had singular problems when first wearing MX boots. The first ones I had were Gaerne SG10 and hated them and went back to work boots. Then I bought an used pair of Sidi Crossfire and no more problems. Now I wont ride without them. 

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I seem to stomp for downshifting and kick it for up shifting. I have sidi TA boots and half the time the lip of the sole is all that catches the gear shift. Led to a false neutral or two though.

Maybe my shifter is too high. :)

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Yeah you'll get it after about 2 hours no worries. Keep at it. I used sneakers till I got my first full time job. Boy did I struggle with boots. Never had issues with gears though, only rear brake. Had to learn to feel at the wheel, not the lever :-)

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Shifting down is easy. A good firm down stomp. Up Shifting it harder. Use the more leg.... Less ankle movement than you do with shoes/work boots.

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The proper way to shift is to be on the balls of your feet, move your shift foot forward (left) and then shift.
You need to get used to it.

Cheap hingeless boots will give you a challenge until broken in.

Ride balls of feet, left foot moves forward to shift, back to balls.
Memorize and pound it in there!

Same applies to right foot with brake.

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On 11/11/2018 at 8:29 PM, eXc said:

Yeah you'll get it after about 2 hours no worries. Keep at it. I used sneakers till I got my first full time job. Boy did I struggle with boots. Never had issues with gears though, only rear brake. Had to learn to feel at the wheel, not the lever 🙂

I’m fine with the gears now I posted this a couple weeks ago and I’m pretty good with it, sometimes accidentally hitting neutral. But the back brake! I just can’t feel it at all and it’s either fully on or not at all. Any tips?

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Only tip is practice. Forget high speed for now, just go slow, and use rear brake to control that slow. go as slow as you can...you'll eventually learn.

or, just go fast paced, but be ready for the rear to lock, which ever you are comfortable with. It will come with time. Forget about feeling it with your foot, you need to learn to feel what the rear wheel is doing. Generally speaking, with the rear brake, you want it off, locked, or on just before locked (there are exceptions). With that in mind, you need to learn those three postions from feel of the rear wheel. front is the same to be honest. 

Get on a loose surface and practice :)

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I can 'feel' when a car is about to lock up as well. If you are able to do that...then you'll get this pretty quick. A rear wheel lockup (At least while practicing this) is not a big deal, so you just need to learn that feel. Maybe get up to running pace and slowly push on the lever until it locks. pay attention to how it feels....repeat...once you have the hang, try to go from no brake to all the way on just short of lock up (or maybe it will lock for a milisecond, you'll back off then put brake back on...)

 

I'm by no means a fast rider, but that's my experience.

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On 11/14/2018 at 10:54 PM, highmarker said:

new boots always come with extra neutrals

+1 except boots with a hinged ankle.

On 11/18/2018 at 12:36 PM, HairyTrails said:

I’m fine with the gears now I posted this a couple weeks ago and I’m pretty good with it, sometimes accidentally hitting neutral. But the back brake! I just can’t feel it at all and it’s either fully on or not at all. Any tips?

Modern plastic MX boot are stiff like ski boots and have very little ankle flex and little tactile feel. So difficult to operate the shifter/brake, and with the stiffness and smooth sole they are dangerous to use for walking. I switch to SIDI Crossfires with an Eduro lug sole and they are the best boot I've owned for shifting, braking, walking, and foot protection. I wear street socks that provide more tactile "feel" than thick socks. My feet stay dry, etc. 

I also have a pair of Gaerne oiled leather Trials boots that I very  much like but the leather construction just does not provide the same level of foot protection so I quit wearing them for trail riding.

Edited by Chuck.
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It is not just as a beginner that this struggle exists!

For me every time I retire a pair and get new ones I go through it all again.

For the first couple hours I am like a duck out of water until the shifts and rear braking become instinct again..

I am on SG-12s now and I haven't retired any of them yet. They might transition well old to new.

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