Poll: Flats or Clipless

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  1. #1
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    Flats or Clipless?

    Which do you use and why?

  2. #2
    jco
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    Most of what I ride is foresty singletrack with no jumps and little downhill work, so clipless make more sense for me.

  3. #3
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    Clipless for efficiency and pounding out long miles. Flats for practicing my handling skills.

    When it gets rough and nasty, I always feel more secure clipped in.
    Loud hubs save lives. http://about.me/splat/

  4. #4
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    I've always prefered clipless for general MTB trail riding and XC racing (SPD). Better power transfer, almost always better shoes, more control in chattery/technical stuff.

    I ride flats with half-toe clips (no straps) on my city fixed gear, and Time clipless on my road bike. Back when I rode BMX street and dirt, and if I ever got into DH or more freeriding, flats all the way for that stuff.

  5. #5
    J-Flo
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    Flats for technical stuff that is beyond my fairly limited confidence level, and clipless for all easier trails. Basic rule -- if I need to dab my feet often or bail off the bike a lot, I feel more confident on the flats and am willing to trade the efficiency loss for increased confidence, which leads to a better, more fun, and safer ride. Flats are also terrific for practicing basic handling skills especially relative to pumping and hopping. They force you to do it right via weight transfer rather than "cheating" by pulling up on the pedals, and make you a better rider as a result. If I feel confident enough in my ability to handle the trail that I am going pretty fast, clipless pedals are better because they prevent me from flying off the pedals.

  6. #6
    Uphill? What's that
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    XC = clipless ..DH = flats + 5.10's

  7. #7
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    I can bunny hop 18"+ with flats on my MTB, I have no problems keeping my feet on the pedals or the pedals under my feet. That said, I ride clipless everywhere.

  8. #8
    What? There's more?
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    Clip less, but with the 'm' cleat from Shimano. Easier to get feet off the pedals when needed. Still secure when you want it to be.

  9. #9
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    Clipless offroad because I can ride longer and faster that way. Flats for commuting/around town simply for convenience.
    Everything in moderation. Including moderation.

  10. #10
    F2a
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    Clipless because it's so much more efficient for climbing. I also feel more secure about my feet not coming off on technical stuff. It sucked when I was getting used to them though I fell on my elbows a lot. Consequently, I love elbow pads.

  11. #11
    ONE speed under God.
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    I am not about efficiency. I am about ease and convenience. The ease of getting on my SS and starting to pedal compared to getting locked in. The convenience of not having to jack with another pair of shoes when I go ride... And the convenience of not having to walk around in stupid uncomfortable bike shoes after the ride.
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  12. #12
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    Have to say I was sceptical about going clipless but made the swtich a year ago and find them amazing for general trail riding etc. I do very little DH stuff but when I get the chance I do throw on the flats

  13. #13
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    Mostly clipless, but I will put on the flats when riding a new trail that I'm unfamiliar with.

  14. #14
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    rode clipless most of my life, just started using flats for the last couple months, going back to clipless. Nothing I ride gets rough enough for clipless but it only takes one junk to the top tube then it is clipless all way.

  15. #15
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    phlatforms. 24/7 . like the freedom of it all. perhaps not as "efficient" on long non-tech climbs but those are boring as f anyway (the effort not the scenery). unclipped good enough for dj, trials, and moto so good enough for me.

  16. #16
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    Clipless because it gives consistent power transfer, allows better control, and keeps you from slamming your shins into the pedals which hurts like a $%*!@
    Will someday be living in Alaska with 2 pooches

  17. #17
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    I am using dual pedals. I love them! I'm not a hardcore trail rider though.

  18. #18
    local trails rider
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    Clipless.
    I ride singlespeed and on some uphills I need all the help I can get.

    "it IS possible that you are faster or slower than anybody else who is having at least as much if not more or less fun"

  19. #19
    Drew
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    Rode about 13 years on clipless and read some of bike James articles on flats. Made the switch this year to flats and will never go back. I don't believe for a second that clipless equates to more power. In fact I actually climb better with my flats. Once you learn how to ride flats you can go over rocky terrain without any worries of coming off your pedals. I actually ride more technical stuff now because if I need to bail, it's pretty easy. Going up steep climbs where everyone gets stuck I find it a lot quicker to get back on the bike and start moving again without trying to get clipped in.

    I ride a ss on the front range of co. My 2 cents.

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by tallguylikacurry View Post
    ...ride flats... ...rocky terrain without any worries of coming off your pedals.
    Is this even a worry for anyone but complete rookies?

  21. #21
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    Flats for my every day ride, clipless for that critical power to get me over the big hills when I'm riding SS. If you can ride a bike, you can ride a bike no matter what pedals are attached to it. I find more enjoyment out of riding flats so they go on my every day bike which I ride 95% of the time.
    Don't you hate it when a sentence doesn't end the way you think it octopus?

  22. #22
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    Both... for all the reasons stated above!
    I live in my head...

    Just having fun... Sorry to piss you off...

  23. #23
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    Currently flats, but that's mostly since In don't have the cash for a set of pedals and shoes.

  24. #24
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    My 1st mtb I bought used it came with clipless pedals didn't want to look like a dork riding clipless pedals in tennis shoes so i bought some cheap clipless shoes and cleats and learned simultaneously how to ride off road and on clipless pedals.

    looking back 16 years i probably would of saved a lot of embarrassment and pain if i had tried flats for the first dozen rides but necessity and stubbornness had me on clipless from day one and i can't ever imagine riding any bike with flat pedals.

  25. #25

  26. #26
    CS2
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    Are toe clips considered clipless or flats? Whatever they are that's what I ride.
    A garage full of steel frames means happiness.

  27. #27
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    Clipless for XC and non-tech Singletrack. Flats for the rock gardens and technical trails. Until I improve my skills on the latter, I have found that flats help me better avoid a face plant endo.

  28. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by CS2 View Post
    Are toe clips considered clipless or flats? Whatever they are that's what I ride.
    I think, technically speaking, they're death traps.
    Don't you hate it when a sentence doesn't end the way you think it octopus?

  29. #29
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    Dual pedals wif Hellcat 5-10's. For my fitness level the clipless are making just enough difference to like.
    '10 Marin MountVision 650b conversion

  30. #30
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    Clipless pedals. I feel in much, much better control and taking my foot out of them is muscle memory for me now. I crashed a couple times at first, but now I crash less due to having (or at least feeling like) more control

  31. #31
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    Flats just because that's what I've always used and never tried clipless. So for those of you that say you run both, what do you do, change your pedals constantly?

  32. #32
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    I run clipless for races, flats for fun (so at all other times). I just change pedals on raceday. :-)

  33. #33
    Just Ride
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    I started on flats as I'd imagine most do, but once I tried clipless I never went back. Riding XC exclusively it makes the most sense for me to use clipless.
    SS ==> Nut up or Shut up!

  34. #34
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    Cool-blue Rhythm

    Quote Originally Posted by maninthebox View Post
    Flats just because that's what I've always used and never tried clipless. So for those of you that say you run both, what do you do, change your pedals constantly?
    Clipped on the left, flat on the right

  35. #35
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    Ya. Takes about a minute to swap pedals, no big deal.
    Loud hubs save lives. http://about.me/splat/

  36. #36
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    are toe clips those straps that go on top of your pedal or is there more to it?

    I ride flats because I know clipless doesnt make you faster, and its convenient, and I ride a lot around town.

  37. #37
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    Always rode flats, starting again riding flats, maybe I will work up to clipless

  38. #38
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    Just got back into mtb after about a 16 year break. Went back to clipless after the first couple of rides and it's been good. I really like being clipped in.

  39. #39
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    I ride both ..... I have been riding flats for a long long time and just recently tried clipless (time), and I'm happy with the change. But for more technical trails i switch back to flats. However, I do feel that the need to switch back to flats is more of a mind thing verses actually needing them for the advance trail.

  40. #40
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    I switched to flats this season and I'm sure it saved me last night from a crash at 25 mph into super sharp shale. Thanks flat pedals!!

  41. #41
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    I think clipless pedals are stupid!! I also dont have a strap on my helmet, laces or velcro on my shoes, or shoulder straps on my Camelbak. I keep it all on because I TOLD IT TO AND IM JUST THAT FRIGGGIN' TOUGH. LMAO!!!

    But seriously, I think it's personal preference, I really believe anyone concerned with their fitness and bike handling skills will Always try to get more out of themselves and whatEVER gear they use, and folks who just ride for the fun of it and arent out for anything else more than that probably dont care as much about fitness levels or whether their Hip Flexors are maintaining strength over the course of the ride...
    But either way I really dont believe one type of pedal or another will reaaaally make or break your ability to get better at riding your bike. I agree it's probably good for the beginner to run flats until they develop basic skills, but for an experienced rider to Slam one type of pedal or another??
    Baaaahhhhhh...... It's whatever makes You happy!

  42. #42
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    Clipless for everything, i even feel safer on DH runs because i have more control, and can clipout quickly anyway if needed.

  43. #43
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    I have both,I use both.

  44. #44
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    Flats, because I'm way too comfy in my skate shoes

  45. #45
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    Clipless for me. Started with flats on bmx, then on mtb, but pretty soon started using power grips, ans as soon as i could got spd's, been riding everything with them for nearly 20 years, no going back now.

  46. #46
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    Flats. My aim while mountainbiking is not speed. Rather obstacles and technical stuff on the trails. I just cannot see any significant benefits going clipless with my kind of riding. With flats I dare at least try many quite impossible tight places and still have grippy fivetens that I can count on when I finally but my foot down at the last possible moment. I feel that if I change to clipless I will become worse rider who just tries to overcome technical stuff with spinning and speed.

    I might put my Time Atacs to my easyish going hardtail or something, but not for my technical fullsus bikes I take to some quite gnarly places quite often. I just don't need clipless, not on the trails and not because everyone else...

    My take on my preferring
    Last edited by Tomsson; 10-28-2012 at 03:34 AM.

  47. #47
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    clipless. I do XC so its better for the climbs, also keeps my feet down when I get sudden, unexpected air a la downhill moguls.
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  48. #48
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    I'm all flats, all the time. I would love to ride clipless and not have to worry about ever getting bounced off the pedals, but there are two reasons I don't:

    1) I'm just not good enough. I still get myself into enough trouble at times where I need to be able to put a foot down now. Sure, I could probably do that on clipless too, eventually, but in the meantime I'm going to have some nasty falls and I just don't want to deal with that.

    2) This may sound silly, but I like being able to ride in regular shoes if necessary. I have gone on trips where I arrived at my destination hours from home and realized I didn't have the proper footwear along. This is less of a problem with flats.
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  49. #49
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    I have heard arguments for both and researched it a good bit.
    After doing so, I decided to go with flats.
    Especially after I have seen almost everyone I know fall over because they were clipped in. lol

    Where I live, the moderate trails would be considered technical for many.
    (I live in Western NC)

  50. #50
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    The last time I fell over stuck to my clipless pedals, I was at the top of a long climb in
    Santa Barbara on the road and getting used to my then 'new' Keywin clipless pedals. Must have been 1990 or there abouts. They needed the strength of Samson to get out and I was just plum tired and fell over into the dirt on the right. Must have looked silly to the motorist who stopped next to me at the stop. No more Keywins. Back to LOOK. When Speedplays came out a few years later, I switched to those and am still using them on the road.

    When I took up mountain biking in '96 it was a no-brainer. Clipless from the first ride. Shimano pedals, then TIME, now back to Shimano. Ride XC/trail, no downhill or jumps, and find I have more control without worry of my feet slipping off. Use XTR currently.
    Tzvia.

  51. #51
    WTB 29 allmountain wheels
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    I ride clipless exclusively. I switched last year and have never wanted to go back. I keep them pretty loose and easy to clip out of but that will change with more experience... I think. I've never ridden a DH bike clipped in (dont' own one) but I'll try it at some point and I bet I'll prefer it.

  52. #52
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    Ive go a set of awesome flats and a pair of 5.10s. I've never felt "unsecure" while riding, and i dont need special shoes for when I use my bike for other things, like cruising the lakefront path.

  53. #53
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    Flats. There is nothing I hate more than getting tangled up with the bike during a wreck, thats when crashes really hurt. Im too scared that I won't be able to push away from my bike if I went clipless. If I ever have a second bike Ill go clipless on it and use it on trails where crashing isn't as likely.

  54. #54
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    Flats.....they are better, that is all.

  55. #55
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    Curious I just bought my first am bike plan on going to moan with it. Anyways should I run flats and 5.10s downhill or my clipless any special reason??

    Sent from my DROID RAZR using Tapatalk 2

  56. #56
    they took the bar
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    AM, Flats, 5.10's...

  57. #57
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    I never understood the desire to be attached to your pedals. Almost every time a ride with someone who rides clipless there is a stupid crash that could have been avoided.

  58. #58
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    Just got my first mtn bike a few days ago. Rode fixed gear before. I like to be clipped in because I only have one gear and like to mash. Ill probably get a set of flats when practicing stuff I know Ill fall on.

  59. #59
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    Quote Originally Posted by T SULLI View Post
    I never understood the desire to be attached to your pedals. Almost every time a ride with someone who rides clipless there is a stupid crash that could have been avoided.
    The funniest fall I've seen is when some dude tried to unclip on top of a mound, fell arse over tit and landed on his camel pack. There was a fairly impressive water explosion.

    I use flats as I never found clipless to have that solid feel that flats provide.
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  60. #60
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    I've always ridden clipless cross country and road. I recently got some Shimano M647 Clipless (DX) SPD MTB Pedals with the resin platform around them and put them on my racing BMX. I got them half price and they are AWESOME! I ride them with 5.10 Hellcats. I wanted the Shimano MTB shoe but couldn't get my size. I've got big feet. You know what they say about big feet...... Big shoes.

    I love riding clipless, but I reckon crashing is worse because instead of rolling, you drag the bike behind you and land flat. I've got gravel rash on my face from it 20 years ago and still wear the scars. I've also crashed badly when my foot slipped off the pedal on my BMX with flats and I got really deep gravel rash on my elbow. Hence clipless on the BMX.

    The Hellcats stick to flats like **** to a blanket and I have recently put flats back on my BMX as a tempory measure while I learn to manual and attempt to get better at bunny hopping with flats.

  61. #61
    Kitty! Kitty! Kitty!
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    Flats. I've always ridden them...will probably make the clipless transition next season if I start to feel more comfortable on my bike/the trails.

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