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  1. #1
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    Drops and Flat Pedals

    Hey guys-

    So I'm getting a little frustrated lately (waahhhh). I'm loving flat pedals so far for everything but drops. I don't go big but and under 3-4ft... however I'm running into an issue where my feet are coming off the pedals them. Yesterday, I landed with one foot coming off but luckily my shins were ok. I keep my heels down mostly and have learned about proper flat pedal technique (and drop technique). Jumps are fine since I preload into the lip (granted I only have done small jumps).

    Since you have to push down and out and extend arms and legs on a drop, I don't see how I can "cup" the pedal or put one foot angled toes down while doing this as I've seen suggested before.

    How do you guys do them on bigger drops without your feet coming off?

  2. #2
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    Can you bunnyhop?

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    Yes, but not super high or anything. Aren't you not supposed to go off a drop on a bunnyhop?

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    No.. Well it depends but I'm saying if you can bunnyhop well.. Then you shouldn't have issues with your feet coming off because you use the same mechanics and technique during drops.

  5. #5
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    Yeah I went back and did it again, and I nailed it... but my left foot still got light. Are you supposed to keep your heels down while pushing into the drop on a manual?

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    I tried to explain it on rotorburn a while ago. Have a read and see what you think.

    https://www.rotorburn.com/forums/sho...=1#post3127909

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    thanks dude, i'll take a look

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by ejewels View Post
    Are you supposed to keep your heels down while pushing into the drop on a manual?
    Yes.

    I wish I could explain it better, but I often preload a bit as well and that helps keep the feet glued, but on drops where I don't do that, start a manual and heels down. I suppose if the timing isn't right you could lose your footing. I've mostly had issues on landing and bouncing wrong and losing my footing.
    Life is too short to ride a bike you don't love.

  9. #9
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    This is something I learned when I began to do big drops years ago (like 10' or more): Approach the drop kind of the same way you would a jump; kind of a preloaded, athletic stance. You should go off the drop with both your legs and arms bent a fair amount. Then, as your back tire clears the takeoff, extend your arms and legs, "pushing" your bike into the landing.

    This does two things. 1. It maintains solid contact between your feet and your pedals. And 2. It sort of reduces the height of your drop and sets you up very well to absorb the landing.

    You can practice it on smaller drops, and when you get it right, you'll feel a big difference in how softly you land.

    I learned this technique at the Red Bull Rampage back around 04. Some friends and I were hitting this pretty big step down which had a 10' ish drop off a ledge leading up to it. I was hitting really hard every time off that drop and sometimes going slightly out of control just before the big step down (not a good thing). Finally, somebody (I think one of the pros there) told me not to bunny hop off the ledge but to try the technique I mentioned. It took a couple tries to nail it but once I got it it made that drop seem much, much smaller. I hope that makes sense.

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    I'm a bike instructor, and this is a pretty common issue for folks on both drops and jumps, especially with flats.

    The key to proper execution in jumps and drops is balanced weight between the pedals. By this, I mean not weighting either pedal more than the other. This often manifests most clearly on jumps when you may notice a weight imbalance causing the bike to rock forward, backward, or to either side while in the air.

    On drops its a bit more difficult to diagnose without seeing what's happening, but often it has to do with the approach that you're taking to the drop. The outfit I teach for does not teach preload drops, where you press into the bike to get the wheels to unweight off of the drop. This is not only unnecessary, but also creates potential for the back wheel to tag the edge of the drop if speed or timing are off.

    Try this - rather than focusing on what your feet are doing on the drop, focus on the weight shift. Your weight should be driving through your hips, and the moment that the front wheel is about to leave the drop should coincide with an assertive backward shift of the hips, driving your weight back over the rear wheel. It will feel like you are trying to manual, albeit not as aggressive. This weight shift will create lift in your front wheel, the goal being to match the timing, weight shift, and force of that shift to allow both wheels to land simultaneously with your weight nice and centered on the bike.

    Hope that helps - if you've ever in Seattle, check out the Intro to Freeride class that we teach at Evergreen Mountain Bike Alliance and we can dive deeply into this topic!

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    Quote Originally Posted by zhendo View Post
    I'm a bike instructor, and this is a pretty common issue for folks on both drops and jumps, especially with flats.

    The key to proper execution in jumps and drops is balanced weight between the pedals. By this, I mean not weighting either pedal more than the other. This often manifests most clearly on jumps when you may notice a weight imbalance causing the bike to rock forward, backward, or to either side while in the air.

    On drops its a bit more difficult to diagnose without seeing what's happening, but often it has to do with the approach that you're taking to the drop. The outfit I teach for does not teach preload drops, where you press into the bike to get the wheels to unweight off of the drop. This is not only unnecessary, but also creates potential for the back wheel to tag the edge of the drop if speed or timing are off.

    Try this - rather than focusing on what your feet are doing on the drop, focus on the weight shift. Your weight should be driving through your hips, and the moment that the front wheel is about to leave the drop should coincide with an assertive backward shift of the hips, driving your weight back over the rear wheel. It will feel like you are trying to manual, albeit not as aggressive. This weight shift will create lift in your front wheel, the goal being to match the timing, weight shift, and force of that shift to allow both wheels to land simultaneously with your weight nice and centered on the bike.

    Hope that helps - if you've ever in Seattle, check out the Intro to Freeride class that we teach at Evergreen Mountain Bike Alliance and we can dive deeply into this topic!
    Thanks! But essentially "pushing" out into a manual (only less aggressively) still is preloading the rear suspension a bit isn't it? Thats kind of what I've been doing, but for some reason my feet get light. Are heels down during all of this? I'm even at the point of saying "f it" and running clipless so i don't have to worry about it. But thats the easy way out.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by ejewels View Post
    But thats the easy way out.
    Easy way out? So is full suspension. So is aggressive geometry. So are good brakes. So is a dropper post. So are aggressive tires. I don't mean to sound argumentative but to me the "step-in pedals is cheating" attitude seems like saying we all ought to be riding singlespeeds because gearing makes climbing easier. (FWIW I ride singlespeed.)

    Don't get me wrong; I'm not chastising you, just sayin'. Like having great brakes allows a rider to ride faster with more control, I have zero problem being a step-in pedal adherent. Want to ride flat pedals? Terrific -- ride them because you want to ride them. But personally I don't feel that anyone should be guilted into riding flats for the wrong reason and IMO saying step-in pedals is taking the easy way out sounds like the wrong motivation.

    If they're an improvement in performance, I'll take it. Same as brakes, geo, tires, dropper, blah, blah.

    I rode flat pedals my first 5 years of mountain biking. Switched to step-in pedals and not going back. No stigma. I simply appreciate the greater control & safety (for me). I say run whatever YOU want to run. In any case running step-in pedals is not cheating anymore than all the other performance-enhancing gear we love so much.
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  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sparticus View Post
    Easy way out? So is full suspension. So is aggressive geometry. So are good brakes. So is a dropper post. So are aggressive tires. I don't mean to sound argumentative but to me the "step-in pedals is cheating" attitude seems like saying we all ought to be riding singlespeeds because gearing makes climbing easier. (FWIW I ride singlespeed.)

    Don't get me wrong; I'm not chastising you, just sayin'. Like having great brakes allows a rider to ride faster with more control, I have zero problem being a step-in pedal adherent. Want to ride flat pedals? Terrific -- ride them because you want to ride them. But personally I don't feel that anyone should be guilted into riding flats for the wrong reason and IMO saying step-in pedals is taking the easy way out sounds like the wrong motivation.

    If they're an improvement in performance, I'll take it. Same as brakes, geo, tires, dropper, blah, blah.

    I rode flat pedals my first 5 years of mountain biking. Switched to step-in pedals and not going back. No stigma. I simply appreciate the greater control & safety (for me). I say run whatever YOU want to run. In any case running step-in pedals is not cheating anymore than all the other performance-enhancing gear we love so much.
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    I totally agree with you. I think its more me wanting to be able to know and do the technique properly. So its "cheating" to my own personal growth. Did you experience slippage like me when on flats, or did you learn proper technique before going to clips?

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by ejewels View Post
    I totally agree with you. I think its more me wanting to be able to know and do the technique properly. So its "cheating" to my own personal growth. Did you experience slippage like me when on flats, or did you learn proper technique before going to clips?
    No I didn't and I have to admit I wish I could ride flats with confidence. But I don't wish it enough to learn.

    I should clarify my experience. When I said I spent my first 5 years on flats, I'm talking 1985-1990. SPD pedals appeared on the scene in 1990 and I immediately got them. They were an amazing improvement! I jumped at the chance to ride without toe clips.

    But people weren't going big on their rigid bikes back in '90. Rock Shox appeared on the scene in 1990 as well -- just the beginning of suspension, and an inch of travel was considered state of the art in those days.

    I never grew up with BMX so I didn't possess those skills. I'm learning to get airborne now, albeit clipped in. That's why I call them "step-in" pedals rather than "clipless" pedals -- I'm clipped in. How can you be clipped into a clipless pedal?

    Anyway, have fun. I respect that you want flat pedal skills. If I were a younger man, I'd probably be fanatical about doing that too, ha ha. Not even kidding. Mad skills!
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  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by ejewels View Post
    Thanks! But essentially "pushing" out into a manual (only less aggressively) still is preloading the rear suspension a bit isn't it? Thats kind of what I've been doing, but for some reason my feet get light. Are heels down during all of this? I'm even at the point of saying "f it" and running clipless so i don't have to worry about it. But thats the easy way out.
    I think the important part about the pushing out mentioned is that it naturally brings the bike up into you. If you just preload the suspension and then go off the ledge without pushing the bike out the suspension and gravity will push the bike back towards the ground and away from your feet. It also helps to keep the bike balanced when using your hips instead of your arms which will want to pull the bike to one side or the other.

  16. #16
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    You can also look into your foot position. With flats positioning the pedal more towards the middle will also help avoid slipping off. Once the ball of your foot slips behind the spindle its its pretty much game over. Getting the spindle more towards the middle is going to give you more range before you reach that point of no return.

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