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  1. #1
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    All-Mountain: Clipless, Platform, or Both?

    Hi AM riders -

    I'm kind of on the fence about using clipless pedals, and would like to hear your opinions.

    I'm recently new to the sport - I'm currently beginning my 3rd full season. I started by riding a low end full-suspension Kona with regular platform pedals. I quickly became addicted to riding so traded in the Kona for an Epic by the end of the season. I continued riding my second season with clipless pedals and swore I'd never go back. My riding style progressed quickly from strictly XC trail riding, to much more aggressive AM riding, with drops and jumps, etc. Naturally at the end of the season (December 2008), I traded in the Epic for an Enduro, and I love it!

    So here's my question: I've now ridden the Enduro with both clipless pedals and regular platforms. I haven't had the bike long, and with the weather making it difficult to get a real feel for the bike, I'm still trying to dial it in. I realized quickly that the Egg Beaters I had been using on the Epic felt too flimsy for AM riding, and tried Candy's instead. The Candy's feel much more stable, but I still switch back to the platforms (50/50's) fairly frequently just to "see the difference."

    I'm not sure which I like better. Clipless feels great for power on the trails, but they almost seem unnecessary, and somewhat of a hazard when doing more aggressive riding. My seat is significantly lower on the Enduro than it was on the Epic (consequently I spend MUCH more time out of the saddle), so I'm wondering if I even reap the full potential/benefits from being clipped in.

    What do you guys use? Clipless? Platforms? Or do you switch depending on the day and where your're riding? Remember, I only have one do-it-all MTB bike...

    (Oh, and, I'm not a big fan of the idea of using "Crank Borther's Mallets" as a way to have both.)

  2. #2
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    I have both and use both. Can't see the problem to switch pedals depends on your riding plans for today, especially if it takes 5 minutes to replace. But when i'm learning i stay only on platforms.

  3. #3
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    Oh, and, I'm not a big fan of the idea of using "Crank Borther's Mallets" as a way to have both
    Why not?I use them on my Enduro after 3 years with Candys on both my old Enduro and the new one.Mallets make more sense to me on the technical stuff,especially climbs if i have to "dab"i then have a platform to grip my shoe to restart and then just naturally clip in after a few strokes.If it gets REALLY techy on the downs i can unclip if i feel uncomfortable(but generally don't)

  4. #4
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    I have Candy's on my Enduro, and for trail riding I love them. I am going to try flats when I do some lift served stuff this summer to see. I used to ride dirt bikes, and putting a foot down in the corner just comes naturally to me. I'll try them out and see what happens.

  5. #5
    oh Lucky me
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    i have candy's and love them, my seat is probably lower than it should be but most of my riding is out of the saddle anyways, i would actually like to have mallet's instead because of the reasons both 'ibbo' and 'hitek79' quoted (a platform to grip the shoe to, to restart and because the foot down in the corner is natural) [i too come from a moto background].

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  6. #6
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    check out my post Pedals for AM. Only a couple days old and lots of posts
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  7. #7
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    I stay clipped in all the time, the only time I come un-clipped is when I fall.

  8. #8
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    When buying my SL Enduro I went all out and bought some XTR's ( having ridden Wellgos, a long long time ago then Candys more recently on my H/T ) I was instantly impressed with the ease at which you could click in and out of the XTR's but found that as my riding progressed to more air time and faster descents I went looking for more of a platform with more float and settled for a pair of Mallets....6 months pass, the Mallets held up well and performed pretty much how I expected but.. I still was'nt satisfied or curiosity got the better of me and I bought some DMR V12 magnesium platform pedals on sale and man do I love riding on flats. I've found my riding has progressed even more and I now have no fear doing manuals and wheelies or riding skinnys and catching air. Now all I have to do is spend $200+ on a pair of 510s (ouch, have never paid that much for any pair of shoes) and I can have the best of both worlds.
    Though before I break out the wallet I'm going to get my mates father who repairs shoes to grind the sole off a spare pair of MTB shoes I have and stick some skate type soles on and give that a go.
    Like others have said it depends on where you're riding and what terrain you're riding on the day. Granted I find the hill climbs a little harder without clips but the confidence I gain on the descents is well worth it

  9. #9
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    I only use platforms when i do north shore style stuff now.

  10. #10
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    I prefer clipped in on everything except elevated skinnies.

  11. #11
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    I'm kind of on the fence about using clipless pedals, and would like to hear your opinions.
    Forgive me but I didn't bother reading any further than this. Mostly b/c it comes up all the time.

    To answer the question about clipless or not for hard riding I'll just tell you that I,and everyone I know....and almost everyone I come across ride clipless pedals all the time. For me the gnarlier and chunkier and more technical the terrain, the more I want to be clipped in. Seems counter-intuitive I know. To each his own. If you've been riding for years and aren't committed to clipless yet, then maybe it's not for you. That's fine. Plenty of folk like platforms. I feel naked on them.

  12. #12
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    ^^^^^^^^ What he said, but I find myself going the other way... The rougher and gnarlier the better I feel on flats. Nice gentle XC rides and I dont have to much of an issue being clipped in. Confidence thing with me- will attempt more stuff on flats than clipped in.

  13. #13
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    Believe it or not, after reading these, I'm actually leaning towards the Mallets... Even though I started by saying I'd rather have "one or the other," not a combo pedal...

    I need more time on this style bike. Once I went clipless, I swore I'd never go back to platforms, but I suppose both have their advantages...

    Melt, snow, melt...

  14. #14
    Sheffield,South Yorkshire
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    Its one of those tyres type arguments......everyone has their preference and will defend it to the death Just go with what you feel most at home with

  15. #15
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    I say if you are riding flat stuff the 50/50's are fine. If there is a good amount of climbing stay the the Candys.
    Specialized Pitch for the win!!

  16. #16
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    I'm curious how many clip-less users have unclipped and walked a section of trail that was so steep, so impossible to ride without either ditching the bike or taking your feet off for emergency stopping situations etc.

    My riding group is half-half, but the 2 or 3 most technical parts of the trail, where someone usually bails because it is so tricky, never gets ridden by my buddies with the clip-ins and the 3 of us on flats always go for it, and to be honest, those are my favorite sections. The ultra-tech, slow downhill navigation. Trying to ride something without putting your feet down or stopping, but knowing you have the freedom to do so is confident inspiring. Sure you could ride 70 percent of the trail clipped in, but what about the best parts? I would never want to have to walk a section because it was too dangerous clipped in.

    so can any of you clippers admit to walking sections that you might try with flats?
    OVER THE LINE SMOKEY!

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by moshelove
    so can any of you clippers admit to walking sections that you might try with flats?
    Yup. I'm one. That's why I started this thread...
    Last edited by SurfSailRide; 03-06-2009 at 08:06 AM.

  18. #18
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    I will try everything clipped in if i fall,i fall.The last time i tried a rutted/techy descent on flats i was actually saying outloud "I SHOULD BE CLIPPED IN!!!"

  19. #19
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    If someone can invent a system where you can go back and forth from clipless to platforms and 5-10's at will while riding they are going to make a ton of da $$.

    Hmm....

    Hmm......

    I've got nothing.

  20. #20
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    Anyone ever tried those power grip strap thingies?

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by Buster Bluth
    Anyone ever tried those power grip strap thingies?
    If you're referring to those old school toe strap/cages (they're called "toe clips" - hence pedals that you "clip" into are called "clipless," since they don't use "toe clips"), then they're even more of a hazard than regular clipless/clip-in pedals. Think about it; with clipless pedals if your need to get out in a hurry (or if you take a spill), enough force in any direction will pop them out (much like ski bindings). With toe clips/cages, you have to move your foot rather precisely in the "out" direction to clear the cage.

    I've NEVER seen nor heard of anyone using this on a mountain bike - only on vintage road bikes, and even then, most people still upgrade to clipless...

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by SurfSailRide
    If you're referring to those old school toe strap/cages (they're called "toe clips" - hence pedals that you "clip" into are called "clipless," since they don't use "toe clips"), then they're even more of a hazard than regular clipless/clip-in pedals. Think about it; with clipless pedals if your need to get out in a hurry (or if you take a spill), enough force in any direction will pop them out (much like ski bindings). With toe clips/cages, you have to move your foot rather precisely in the "out" direction to clear the cage.

    I've NEVER seen nor heard of anyone using this on a mountain bike - only on vintage road bikes, and even then, most people still upgrade to clipless...
    EDIT: I think I misunderstood. Did you mean these?

    http://aebike.com/page.cfm?action=de...=30&SKU=PD5011

    I've never seen these before, but it seems to me that my complaint about toe clips would also apply to these straps, possibly to a lesser extent.

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by SurfSailRide
    EDIT: I think I misunderstood. Did you mean these?

    http://aebike.com/page.cfm?action=de...=30&SKU=PD5011

    I've never seen these before, but it seems to me that my complaint about toe clips would also apply to these straps, possibly to a lesser extent.
    Yeah, those are what I meant. I suppose someone could mount them to platforms and use them when climbing and for the rest of the ride flip them over but there would be issues with them scraping the ground/rocks/roots when upside down. Also, since I wear 5-10's with platforms and they are sooo sticky it would probably be extremely difficult to slide out from them anyway.

    I really like the 5-10's and depending on where you ride in my area (Vancouver) they are quite common (especially on the North Shore) but my riding is more aggressive XC than Freestyle and my friends with clipless kill me on the climbs.

  24. #24
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    WTF does all mountain mean to you? Me and my bros have been riding everything on one bike since we started mountainbiking in 1990. Some on clipless some on flats. Like eatdrinkride says if you normally ride flats stick with em same with clipless. Just cause you bought a bike that is considered "All Mountain" doesn't mean you should change pedals All these categories are f*cking retarded. I consider myself a mountain biker. What about you
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  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by jeff spicoli
    WTF does all mountain mean to you? Me and my bros have been riding everything on one bike since we started mountainbiking in 1990. Some on clipless some on flats. Like eatdrinkride says if you normally ride flats stick with em same with clipless. Just cause you bought a bike that is considered "All Mountain" doesn't mean you should change pedals All these categories are f*cking retarded. I consider myself a mountain biker. What about you
    Relax.

    I'm not concerned with the type of bike. I'm concerned with getting the most out of it's potential performance and progressing my own abilities as a biker.

    You and your "bros" have about 18 years more experience than I do. That's why I asked. Your input is appreciated.
    Last edited by SurfSailRide; 03-06-2009 at 12:36 PM.

  26. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by jeff spicoli
    WTF does all mountain mean to you? ... All these categories are f*cking retarded. I consider myself a mountain biker. What about you
    And since you asked, I consider myself a surfer.

  27. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by SurfSailRide
    And since you asked, I consider myself a surfer.
    You missed the point. Just go with what you know!!!!!!
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  28. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by jeff spicoli
    You missed the point. Just go with what you know!!!!!!
    That time you ordered the pizza and the teacher made you share with the class...classic.

  29. #29
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    I used to be die-hard advocate of clip in pedals.......all my buddies use them even on the very nasty sections of trail and so I have been using them since 2002.

    Then one day I showed up to ride Noble Canyon in San Diego, CA for the first time, and most of the folks in the group were locals.....and 50% had platforms. So my first thought was that they were probably noobies that were afraid to ride the techy stuff clipped in.

    First thing that happened to me going down that trail was that I kept popping out of my SPDs accidentally because the trail was so rough and technical......I had to stop to adjust the tension...but then I did not feel comfortable being having the tension so tight.

    Next thing that happened was we climbed Indian Creek Trail, this is a relenting, rocky and technical climb that often required dabs here and there......remember I had already tightened the tension on the pedals.......but now they were too tight and I ended up falling over in one occassion because I could not unclip.....

    In addition, the grade of this trail is so steep, it was not that easy to just jump on the bike, spin a few times, and clip back in....it was a really big chore.....

    I was jealous of the guys with the platforms (and were all ahead of me even though I am a strong climber) They also had to dab, but the platforms allowed them to get back on the bike immediately and continue....

    So I still ride with the clips.......but it made me realize that on certain trails......riding clip-less makes sense......so next time I show up at Noble I think I'll take some 50/50 pedals.....

  30. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by SurfSailRide
    Hi AM riders -

    I'm kind of on the fence about using clipless pedals, and would like to hear your opinions.

    I'm recently new to the sport - I'm currently beginning my 3rd full season. I started by riding a low end full-suspension Kona with regular platform pedals. I quickly became addicted to riding so traded in the Kona for an Epic by the end of the season. I continued riding my second season with clipless pedals and swore I'd never go back. My riding style progressed quickly from strictly XC trail riding, to much more aggressive AM riding, with drops and jumps, etc. Naturally at the end of the season (December 2008), I traded in the Epic for an Enduro, and I love it!

    So here's my question: I've now ridden the Enduro with both clipless pedals and regular platforms. I haven't had the bike long, and with the weather making it difficult to get a real feel for the bike, I'm still trying to dial it in. I realized quickly that the Egg Beaters I had been using on the Epic felt too flimsy for AM riding, and tried Candy's instead. The Candy's feel much more stable, but I still switch back to the platforms (50/50's) fairly frequently just to "see the difference."

    I'm not sure which I like better. Clipless feels great for power on the trails, but they almost seem unnecessary, and somewhat of a hazard when doing more aggressive riding. My seat is significantly lower on the Enduro than it was on the Epic (consequently I spend MUCH more time out of the saddle), so I'm wondering if I even reap the full potential/benefits from being clipped in.

    What do you guys use? Clipless? Platforms? Or do you switch depending on the day and where your're riding? Remember, I only have one do-it-all MTB bike...

    (Oh, and, I'm not a big fan of the idea of using "Crank Borther's Mallets" as a way to have both.)
    I have Shimano DX (647) and I really dig them! I had tested CB Candies, but I really didn't like them. I don't see how in practice the small platform makes any difference over the Eggbeaters. Acid looks a little nicer.

    While I don't see myself using standard sneakers to ride on the DX, the platform they provide on steeps or when I don't have complete time to clip is pretty good and has allowed me to ride some sections that would have been harder on, say, 520 or no cage pedals.

  31. #31
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    I'll second the idea that the rougher the trail, the more I want to be clipped in. I've ridden both... but I mostly only just flats when the snow starts falling and everything gets so gunky that I can't clip in anymore. I've never walked something just because I was afraid to do it clipped in... I think that I could bail off the bike just as fast with them as without them... the only thing I do really like about the platforms is I feel more comfortable throwing the bike into a drift around really tight corners with flats, but even then it's more of a mental thing then an actual issue.

  32. #32
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    While I've not ridden clipless yet I find with pedal pressure I can put power to the wheels in through the full stroke when I'm spinning so I don't really find the need for clips.
    I lubed my disc brakes because they squeaked.
    Man was that fun to work out

  33. #33
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    Which Pedals to use?

    Ok, after reading some of the postings on here between which way to go with platform or clipless pedals. Try looking into adjustable platform clipless pedals. Time Z and Synchros AM Traverse pedals are a whole lot better than the Crankbrother Mallets. The Z and Traverse pedals are perfect for your Enduro. Thay shed mud and are lighter than the mallets or 50/50's.

  34. #34
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    I find it's not just about the power in climbs, but just as much about the way to use the bike in a tech section downhill. I prefer being clipped in so that I cannot move off the pedals, but the biggest difference is the ability to "pull" the bike up with my feet gonig fast in a tech section. When using platforms I feel like I have to pump the bike more and can't flick it around like I do with clipless.. The point isn't that one is a lot better than the other, but I don't see the reason to change since adjusting technique would take a decent ammount of time.

  35. #35
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    pedals

    Big fan of the Mallets here, I like the flexibilty. Another one in our group changes his pedals( flat to times) depending on where he is riding and the mood he is in. Somebody said earlier that it takes 5 minutes to change them. Just comes down to preference, I used to be on times and now with the Mallets it is nice to still get good pedal contact with the safety of being able to put down the foot fast when needed. Good luck

  36. #36
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    Go Time Z

    I'm a big fan of the Time Z pedals. Nice big platform, their best clipless system, and super strong. I tried the CB offerings mostly to save weight but I kept breaking them. Went through 3 sets of Acid's in a month. Great customer service but wimpy product. If you don't have rock gardens then you might be ok with them.

  37. #37
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    Both

    There are certain situations where one type has an advantage over the other. If time, money and other circumstances permit, it's best not to rely on one setup (heck, this even applies to relying on a single bike that you've become comfortable with.) Instead, mastering challenging situations with both types of pedals (and better yet multiple bikes) will ultimately make you the best rider you can be. That's what I aspire to, so I am pedal agnostic, and ride both regularly.

    Disclaimer: I'm talking about general purpose skill building during trail riding. XC racing is a whole other animal (where wearing leg armor and doing long climbs would be a detriment) so I wouldn't use flats for this.

    I will say these things about flat pedals though:

    ALWAYS wear leg armor. It is only a matter of time until you take a pedal to the knee/shin, and you may not even be riding at the time

    5.10 sticky rubber shoes grip flat pedals like no other. Use them unless you're doing some kind of tricks that make them TOO sticky to get off/on freely.

    Flats that work for me:
    Azonic A-Frame
    DK Iron Cross
    Atomlab Aircorp

    Flats that make my feet hurt:
    Sun Ringle Zu-Zu or any others with giant voids around a rounded axle (think DMR, etc.)

    For clipless, I like any Shimano model with a cage around it for support, although both types are good. I don't use the ultra stiff soled XC racing shoes, so the cage prevents foot fatigue on shoes with more "give/feel."

  38. #38
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    I have been using clipless for about 12 years now and even use them at the Skatepark! LOL I know I get some wierd looks from the other guys but I like the control of being attached to my ride! go with the shimano dx type clip/platforms they rock ! as long as you dont need clearance for rocks. I've twisted crankarms on rocks before because of them.....
    The most important thing is what God thinks about it. He will have the final say.” – Joshua Stinebrink

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  39. #39
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    look at the overall usage of clipless.

    xc racers 100%
    4x racers 70%
    downhiller racers 50%
    freeriders 20%
    dirt jumpers 10%
    trials 0%

    (no accuracy to these figures) basically any discipline where speed and pedaling is important use clipless, if tricks and getting rid of the bike fast is important use flats

    So all mountain? clipless I should say

  40. #40
    just along for the ride
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    Just get something with pedal float, times go 10 + degrees, SPDs go like 4 degrees wonder if AM riding needs more float, try it and see if it makes a difference

  41. #41
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    Its all about what you feel makes you happy. I rode my first season of weekend riding and a few xc races on platforms then did alot of research on clipless then bought me some. Moral of the story: I will never go back. With all the roots and bumps my feet tended to come off the pedals alot and when going on a downhill it can really be devastating when you come off the pedals.

    The main point here is do what you are comfortable with and if you dont like being connected to the bike then ride flats.

  42. #42
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    Thanks for everyone's advice.

    I just go back from my first long/challenging ride on my new Enduro. Using the advice of some of you, I brought two sets of pedals. I started the ride on platforms. About 45 minutes into the ride, I switched to Candys, and never looked back. I think, like most of you, I prefer the control of being clipped in. You can just throw the bike around better, not to mention it certainly helps with the climbing. I found the Candys to be a happy medium between the Egg Beaters I used to use, and all out platforms. Oh, and shoes make a big difference. I'm now using Shimano MT70s. Thanks again for everyone's input.

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