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  1. #1
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    SPD's or flat pedals?

    What do you use on your "All Mountain" bike?

    I used to use SPD's or clipless pedals but since coming back to mountain biking I have used flat pedals.

    My latest bike came with a pair of Shimano SPD pedals, which I replaced with some DMR's

    But I was wondering, what is the current thinking on this? Should I be trying out the SPD's?

  2. #2
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    I run flats, but I also tend to dab and drop a foot if needed, as well as finding that I adjust my feet multiple times. I also fall a lot lol and I don't want to be strapped in to a tumbling bike. I'd rather ditch it if possible.

    I've also never tried clipless, so no comment there. I think it really comes down to what youre comfortable pedaling.

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  4. #4
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    It is not that l cannot decide, or am torn between the two.
    I was just wondering what other people are using. I have been out of the sport for over a decade.

  5. #5
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    i dont have an AM bike but i have these and love em. ive smacked them a few times, but theyre still running perfect. got them from Amazon for around $70

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  6. #6
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    Flats, been back and forth many times but always much happier and faster on flats.


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  7. #7
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    When I clip in, I'm on Time XC6 pedals (I like the range of motion for my knees and, unlike Eggbeaters, when I whap a rock, I don't pop out). When not, I'm on Spank Spikes.

  8. #8
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    SPDs. I don't like to think about keeping my feet on the pedals. I've gotten so used to them it feels weird if I'm ever on flats. Plus, when I'm clipped in and attempting something difficult, I tend to commit a little bit more and try hard to pull it off.

  9. #9
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    Clips - Crank Bros Mallets for me. I tried flats for a month and couldnt find any real benefit so I just stick with what I know.
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  10. #10
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    "Plus, when I'm clipped in and attempting something difficult, I tend to commit a little bit more and try hard to pull it off"

    i do that with platforms, because if it screw up, ill probably look like my legs got attacked by a shark, lol

  11. #11
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    I like the spds, but hate the shoes. Have never found a pair that fit my wide feet very well. Sticking to flats for now. I do miss tipping over to read the trail sign after forgetting to unclick my spds.

  12. #12
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    I was debating once then i went to a MTB clinic and the instructor couldn't tell the students in his class with flats how to clear the rear tire over a fallen log. I had to show them.

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  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Stripes View Post
    This.

    Flats FTW. Helps with confidence, as well as learning proper technique. I can pull up with flats.
    Pretty sure you can't and you use your upper body/arms to do it. The thing is, you can do the same with clipless, you just don't have to either.
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  14. #14
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    Thanks for the replies.
    I will stick with flats for now, as l seem to be doing fine with them.

    I need to get some decent shoes though, my local bike superstore sold me a pair of Shimano spd compatible shoes yesterday, claiming they would be "fine with flat pedals"

    They are useless lol. The soles are too shaped/hard and they slip around on the pedals, there is no feel, in fact my feet nearly came off the pedals a few times.

    So you can see how much l know. I am taking them back today and will get a pair of flat soled trainers instead.

  15. #15
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    5.10s are the best platform shoe available. You will not be disappointed, don't buy running shoes to bike in.

  16. #16
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    I have 2 bikes, one with flats and one with spds. I like them both. Flats are more versatile for me as I can ride with kids to the playground, and still go mountain biking. Spds allow me to make tougher climbs. As far as technical sections, I would call it a draw. SPD- you are committed once you go (and ussually end up making it) and with flats its easier to bail/quite but it may end up giving more confidence because of the foot adjustment/bail out factor. Also, if you have had knee issues (I did) , it is much easier to find a comfortable foot position on the pedal. Like I said, i like and use both.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jayem View Post
    Pretty sure you can't and you use your upper body/arms to do it. The thing is, you can do the same with clipless, you just don't have to either.
    Proper technique is proper technique, regardless of your pedal choice. The difference is you're not going to get far with flats unless you learn proper technique while you can cheat to a certain extent with clipless. If you learn to hop obstacles by lifting the bike up with your feet while they're clipped in, you're ultimately limiting how far your skills will progress due to bad technique. If you take the time to learn how to do it right, your pedal preference doesn't matter.
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  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by micky View Post
    Like I said, i like and use both.
    Me too. It is not necessary to get into one camp or the other, as so many people want to do. And you don't need 2 bikes either. I swap my pedals according to my knowledge of the upcoming ride.

    - Lots of walking sections, or techy or switchbacks where I might need to put a foot down frequently, or riding in town= Flats.

    - Cruising, dirt roads, smooth flowy singletrack, long, in the saddle climbs where I need every bit of efficiency = clipless.

    It takes less than a minute to swap pedals.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by smilinsteve View Post
    Me too. It is not necessary to get into one camp or the other, as so many people want to do. And you don't need 2 bikes either. I swap my pedals according to my knowledge of the upcoming ride.

    - Lots of walking sections, or techy or switchbacks where I might need to put a foot down frequently, or riding in town= Flats.

    - Cruising, dirt roads, smooth flowy singletrack, long, in the saddle climbs where I need every bit of efficiency = clipless.

    It takes less than a minute to swap pedals.
    ^^ This (for me anyway). That said, I almost never ride SPDs as the second choice isn't very common where I ride.

    And my legs DO look like the victim of shark attacks because my trails have stuff I attempt with full fervor but often fail at. I guess I should probably wear my shin guards.

  20. #20
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    Clipless all the time for everything. I take a bad spill every few rides and never stay clipped in. I also prefer to go as fast as possible when I ride. If you ask me, there is a reason literally every professional XC racer and a large percentage of enduro riders are clipped in.

  21. #21
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    Buy some flats and a pair of five ten shoes and you will never want to go spd again!

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by petpol9 View Post
    Buy some flats and a pair of five ten shoes and you will never want to go spd again!
    Funny you would say that because I literally bought flats and a pair of five ten shoes to see if they could compare at all to clipless and sold both the flats and shoes within a week... if flats and five ten shoes were as efficient as SPD they would use them in XC racings.

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by Stripes View Post
    This.

    Flats FTW. Helps with confidence, as well as learning proper technique. I can pull up with flats. The only thing I can't do on flats is single leg pedaling drills. Rode a mix of clipless and flats for a few years--much happier and having much more fun (which is the important part) on flats.

    Switched to flats permanently after ACL reconstruction a couple of years ago. Doc said stay off the clipless.
    Did doctor really say that?
    Because this year I got back into riding after knee surgery and always road with SPD pedals, but after awhile I noticed my knee aching. Switched to some flats and no longer have the pain. I figured it was the pulling up motion that was doing it
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  24. #24
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    That might have contributed to my knee problems when l used to ride with SPD's.

    Since starting again l have used flats and have had no problems with my knees, but l also used to ride with the saddle a bit lower than optimum.

  25. #25
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    My wellgo's r SPD/flat combo + 5tens that do SPD. Happy, but heavy.
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  26. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by shredjekyll View Post
    Funny you would say that because I literally bought flats and a pair of five ten shoes to see if they could compare at all to clipless and sold both the flats and shoes within a week... if flats and five ten shoes were as efficient as SPD they would use them in XC racings.
    Ohh theres a misunderstandin. Spd is great for xc. At all mountain riding when you dont care so much about pedaling, flats with 5-10 has great grip for descenting

  27. #27
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    As a noob, I've used flats my first few times out. My feet were all over the place. I've since switched to SPDs. I find more confidence with them. They give me that extra incentive to clear obstacles and climbs, but are adjusted fairly loose just in case. They are also great for my commute to work. I have a pair of M324 pedals which are half platform/half SPD. I constantly have to find the correct side when clipping in. I'll be switching to full clipless soon.
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  28. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by petpol9 View Post
    Ohh theres a misunderstandin. Spd is great for xc. At all mountain riding when you dont care so much about pedaling, flats with 5-10 has great grip for descenting
    There's still a pretty steep learning curve if you've been riding clipless for a long time. It's not like you can swap them out and immediately ride at the same level you were with clipless. After 12 years using nothing but clipless, it took me 3-4 months to get there. In the end, it's worth the effort but it does take effort.
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  29. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jayem View Post
    Pretty sure you can't and you use your upper body/arms to do it. The thing is, you can do the same with clipless, you just don't have to either.
    You most certainly do pull up the back of your bike by your pedals with flats... you hold tension between the handlebars and the pedals. There really isn't any upper body involved other than to hold tension against your feet. You don't just sit on your pedals by gravity....

  30. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by nauc View Post
    i dont have an AM bike but i have these and love em. ive smacked them a few times, but theyre still running perfect. got them from Amazon for around $70

    +1 - I've been rocking these pedals and they are awesome! Tons of grip and a good platform. Perfect with Fiveten Impacts!

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  31. #31
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    if u are certain that no knee problem exists, then its ok for SPD. But go to an expert to fix them right.
    if u are afraid about knee pain (like me), then flat all the way. and preferably not too big.

  32. #32
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    The Saints are good. However after a month they start to creak. Pulled out to grease the spindles, still creaks. Anyone has a solution? Mucho gracias.

  33. #33
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    I've used both and like both. What I've learned from flats helps with spd's and vice versa. For tech riding, I've found that when I ride a lot and my skills are sharp(ish) clipless help as I become one with the bike. Right now I haven't ridden for a while and feel too clumpsy, so switching to flats.

  34. #34
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    Just bought a new pair of Look S-Trac replacing 15 yr old Time ATAC. Dropped a full .25lb per pedal. Which not only helped me pull some bigger gears going up, overall handling feels better too with a lower swing weight into turns. I rode some flats before I made this decision. I think being clipped in is better for technical lines overall as you keep your weight and limbs in the fall line and energy transfer is better. Flats simply make me feel like I'm less connected to my bike. Flats make feel like I'm riding in a BIKE photo shoot.

  35. #35
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    Re: SPD's or flat pedals?

    Quote Originally Posted by ins@ne View Post
    if u are certain that no knee problem exists, then its ok for SPD. But go to an expert to fix them right.
    if u are afraid about knee pain (like me), then flat all the way. and preferably not too big.
    I have just switched to flats from Time Atac clipless pedals. I am experiencing some knee pain on the flats... Only 2 rides so far, so I hope it's just an adjustment period issue.
    I am hoping to improve my riding technique a bit

  36. #36
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    Quote Originally Posted by rku615 View Post
    The Saints are good. However after a month they start to creak. Pulled out to grease the spindles, still creaks. Anyone has a solution? Mucho gracias.
    It's probably not the pedals that are creaking.

  37. #37
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    of course u cant go from one day to another in sth new, without experiencing a problem. I guess u were using spd for a long time. My opinion is that no matter how big a feet is, one should not get a huge flat pedal. It may indeed help in going down, but in pedaling it will be more difficult. For example the saints that a guy above showed, is a good size for flat pedal (the specific one is for me downhill sections, but u know what i mean)

  38. #38
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    Quote Originally Posted by jazzanova View Post
    I have just switched to flats from Time Atac clipless pedals. I am experiencing some knee pain on the flats... Only 2 rides so far, so I hope it's just an adjustment period issue.
    I am hoping to improve my riding technique a bit

    Check the seat height carefully. Depending on the pedal/shoe combo it could change the measurement significantly from where it was with the spd's, you might need to raise it a bit.

  39. #39
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    Re: SPD's or flat pedals?

    Quote Originally Posted by J.B. Weld View Post
    Check the seat height carefully. Depending on the pedal/shoe combo it could change the measurement significantly from where it was with the spd's, you might need to raise it a bit.
    Yes, I have noticed I needed to run my dropper post a bit lower with the flats...
    I have the knee problem mostly while I ride standing.
    I think the clipless pedals kept my feet aligned property, while on flats I constantly find myself adjusting to the correct position. Left, right, forward, backward...
    I guess it just takes some time to get comfortable with them
    My flats are also wide, maybe too wide...

  40. #40
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    Quote from stevie smith.. "I have used clip shoes for a long time growing up. Tried some flats for a season or so, but I 100% think clips are faster. It makes me feel way more connected to the bike."

  41. #41
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    A foot coming off the pedal at the wrong time during crazy fast DH runs can be disastrous, even with 510's feet can blow off the pedals on World Cup level courses, very few of the Top World Cup racers use flats

  42. #42
    Yes, that's fonetic
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    I just wish clip shoes had more cleat adjustment towards the arch. Two attachment points, one for climbing and one for descending, would be ideal for those like me that constantly tweak ankles landing jumps clipped in at the balls of the feet.

  43. #43
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    I've been riding clips since the 8th grade, but for the first time ever I just swapped in a pair of CB mallets after going from Shimano SPD, to CB candies. The feel of the larger platform combined with the clips really gave me the support I was looking for now that I am doing more free ride and downhill riding than ever before. You may want to try something similar...its a completely different feel man. The extra weight is well worth it for me personally. I feel like I have a HUGE locked in contact patch under my foot instead of 1 point of connection.
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  44. #44
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    Sorry...I'm 35 now. LOL
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  45. #45
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    Flats for fun, clips for racing. This allows you not to become lazy and rely on the cleat connection but rather your actual technique and skill. Riders who don't learn to control their bikes on flats miss out on a lot of proper skill and technique. I love riding with SPDs, but it is cheating when it comes to maneuvering your bike around, there is no argument there. I had a buddy whos bike was in the shop and wouldn't ride someones bike because they didn't have clipless pedals. Sad, sad, day...

  46. #46
    Yes, that's fonetic
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    I quit running the tiny XTR xpds years ago when I started jumping a lot more and ran 545s. The larger contact patch is still too far forward for my old (53) ankles.

  47. #47
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    Quote Originally Posted by whodaphuck View Post
    I quit running the tiny XTR xpds years ago when I started jumping a lot more and ran 545s. The larger contact patch is still too far forward for my old (53) ankles.
    Drill and file, that's what I do. (cleat slots- not pedals)

  48. #48
    Yes, that's fonetic
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    That's one solution, but not one clip ready shoe I've ever owned had a sole that would work for that. The lugs would make for an unlevel platform if I moved the cleat back to where I place my foot when on flats.

  49. #49
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    Quote Originally Posted by whodaphuck View Post
    I just wish clip shoes had more cleat adjustment towards the arch. Two attachment points, one for climbing and one for descending, would be ideal for those like me that constantly tweak ankles landing jumps clipped in at the balls of the feet.
    Something is wrong with the technique, I did land a small jump to a big g-out during a race (dh) last weekend and it did what you just described, but it's ultra rare for me and that's the only time in years I can remember this happening, and I do jumps of all sizes all the time. Disclaimer, I was on my XC pedals, as I usually do this kind of stuff on 545s.
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  50. #50
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    I went from clipless to flats. and I can say that it made a difference in climbing uphill in the wrong way. I did also have to relearn tension in the feet and not cheat by clipping in.

    And it really depends on the type of riding you do and what you are comfortable with. When ppl mentions "technical" that can mean a whole gamut of things. If technical you mean, rocky sections, then clipless is fine. But if you mean skinnies and things like that, then I opt for flats because you might need to stick your leg out to balance and such.

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