Thursday, August 4, 2011

Product Review: Tri-Clips

When @triclips began following me on twitter I was immediately drawn to their twitter tag line about transition being an art form. If you have read any of my race reports you would know that I am not a very good artist when it comes to transitions.

When I popped over to their website I saw what tri-clips actually were: little clips that hold your shoes in place while you do a flying mount onto your bike!

From the site: Tri-Clips is a new device that will significantly improve the speed of your T1 transition. Tri-Clips provide a fast, efficient and easy mechanism to hold your bike shoes in place while you mount the bike. Weighing only 1/2 oz each, Tri-Clips will save 1 - 2 minutes on your total T1 time. Tri-Clips are self cleaning; resistant to chlorine, salt water and sweat. With super high friction backing to ensure Tri-Clips stays in exact position on bike frame.

I was intrigued. I can do a flying mount onto my bike, but with my shoes on my feet. I was curious to see if I could really "save 1-2 minutes" on my T1 time by using these clips. Not to mention look super cool by doing a flying mount onto my bike with the shoes on the pedals!

These clips offer a much more fool-proof way to keep your shoes upright on your pedals than using rubber bands. The thought of a rubber band getting caught in my derailleur during a race does not sound appealing. These clips velcro to your bike securely and you attach the clip to your bike shoe. Like this:

As soon as you start to pedal, the clip releases your shoe and retracts back into the square body that is attached to your bike frame. You won't have to worry about anything getting caught in your derailleur! These clips weigh hardly anything so you won't even realize they are there.

I played with the positions of the clips for a few minutes before taking my bike outside to attempt my first flying mount. I think the position of the clips is a preference- I wanted them positioned so that my left and right shoes were even and my left shoe was in front of the right because I mount my bike from the right hand side.  Like this:

When I got outside the first thing I wanted to make sure of was that those clips were not going to move from the position I had them set in. I ran around with my bike, bouncing it up and down (trying to simulate running through mud or grass) looking like quite the idiot running around Arlington barefoot. The clips did not move. The shoes moved a small amount because my crank arms moved while I was running but it was nothing that would throw off my mount.

notice the pug butt behind the back wheel
Now that I knew the clips would not move when mounting the bike, it was time to try it. I went to the deserted street where I do all of my transition practices and set up shop. I ran to my bike barefoot, grabbed my bike, ran to my imaginary mount line, and threw my left leg over my saddle. I put my feet on top of the shoes and began to pedal- the clips unhooked my shoes gently. Flying mount success!!

So now I had to get my feet IN my bike shoes. I had to slow down so much to get my feet in the shoes that it did not matter that I just saved myself 30 seconds in my make believe T1. After several more attempts I was able to get my feet in my shoes by the end of the street, but still at a pretty slow speed. I think I need more practice! (Sorry I have no action shots- I would have wrecked had I been trying to take pictures AND get my feet in the shoes)

without Tri-Clips your shoes does stay upright!
I think with a ton of practice and these Tri-Clips, I could master the flying mount and not have to slow down to 5mph to get my feet in my pink shoes. As of right now the time I would save in T1 would be negated for the time I lose going slow at the start of the bike. I think more transition practices are in order!

All in all I think Tri-Clips are a great product for someone wanting to learn a flying mount onto their bike. The clips stay in place, are light weight, unnoticeable while riding and extremely useful. Make sure you try them out several times before trying to use them in a race! or else you may be *that guy* who crashes at the mount line.

You can get your own Tri-Clips from their website and follow them on Twitter for awesome transition tips!

What do you think? Do you do flying mounts? Would you use this product?


  1. Awesome review and pictures!I have tried to get into my shoes on the bike but it is SO hard. Getting out of them on the bike and doing a flying dismount is way easier.

    I may have to make a future purchase of these....

  2. I love the review, but I'm not so sure about the product. Unless the transition area is REALLY big I think you're at most saving 15-30 seconds here. If you add in the time it would take me to get the shoes on and recover from the inevitable crash, it doesn't seem worth it. Also (and this seems nitpicky) does it affect the aerodynamics of the bike?

  3. I think I could still crash my bike! How do you tighten your shoes once your on? I would think you would have to slow down to do that?

    But it sounds like in no time you will be looking like a pro :)

  4. I love this review - thanks for sharing. Tri-Clips sound great, but like you, I think I would have a hard time getting my feet in without slowing down significantly.... I think you will get there with some practice :)

  5. Great review Lauren! I've never heard of these but am super intrigued... my transitions could use some help! :)

  6. this is the first review of these things where i have actually been able to figure out WTF they are. thanks.

  7. These sound cool but I am pretty sure I would kill myself.

  8. flying mounts scare me a little...BUT I LOVE YOUR BIKE!

  9. I've always wanted to do the flying mount, but I have an xlab cage setup where the bottles get in the way. At Rock hall I almost knocked one of my bottles out at the mount line.
    That being said, I've found that having the shoes clipped in already has helped me kill T1. I don't wear socks, so it's basically wetsuit off, sunglasses/helmet on, and off I go. I don't wear socks which helps tons, but I'm pretty sure my shoes are certifiable biohazards. My last T1 was 1:43.
    Thanks for the review, but I don't think I'd actually use these. I'm more of a "less is more" type of guy in transition.

  10. I have some... and like most gear, takes some practice and patience. If you get your start with the flying mount for your next 5 rides I'm sure it'll become second nature...remember how clips were awkward the first time? Another tactic is to put your foot directly in the shoe from the get go... then all you have to do is reach down and strap the velcro while you are riding.

  11. I think it takes me about 4 seconds to put on each shoe in transition, and far longer than that when I'm on the bike and can't be pedaling while I'm jacking around with the shoes and straps. I've tried it both ways and, after a couple of disasters during races, I'm happy just putting shoes on in T1.