1. The most important thing about buying a new bike is to make sure it fits. The only way you'll know if the bike is right for you is to size up the bike and make sure that the bike's geometry matches your body's geometry. Ask questions and do some research.
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2. If possible, try to find a shop that will let you demo the bike on real dirt. Five minutes in a parking lot won't cut it. You wouldn't buy a car without a real world test drive, and a bike should be no different.
3. Don't belive the hype. Just because your favorite rider or best friend rides a certain bike, that doesn't mean that's the best one for you. Have an open mind and be realistic about your needs and ability.
Results 1 to 19 of 19
  1. #1
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    Bring me up to speed on pedal choices for mountain bikes

    Iíve been out of mountain bikes for a while but am now back into them. Itís been many many years since Iíve done any reading or research. For some reason I thought that the only people who ride with platform type pedals were kids and absolute beginners on Huffy bikes. I thought that anyone even remotely serious about riding got clipless pedals or, at a minimum, pedal clips.
    Now that Iíve been watching youtube videos and hanging out at some mountain bike trails, it seems like almost everyone riding mountain bikes uses platform pedals. Is this the case these days? Can anyone give me an idea Ė for recreational and intermediate riders, what percent use platform vs clipless vs clips?
    I actually added strapless clips to my new mountainbike. I get a little extra pulling power but can still take my foot on and off the pedal very easily.

  2. #2
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    Nobody uses toe clips and straps for mountain biking any more.

    The choice is between flat pedals and clip-in type pedals.

    There is no "right" choice, I would suggest you try a set of flat pedals and see how you get on.
    I got back into mountain biking this year after a 12 year break, and personally I prefer flats.

  3. #3
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    Bring me up to speed on pedal choices for mountain bikes

    Ditto on just getting back into it. I personally went with dual pedals. (Platform on one side, spd clipless on the other) for me not overly worried about weight this is perfect. For tech stuff in on the platform, normal I am clipless now.


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  4. #4
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    I'd say it's pretty regional. If you're riding someplace where a lot of the climbing is on fire roads and a lot of the descents have a lot of man-made features, look for flat pedals. If you're riding someplace with less engineered singletrack and people do climbing and descending on trails, look for clipless. I think it's also harder, even with good technique, to stay well-placed using flats on a hardtail on rough trails. Dirt jumpers do it all the time, of course, but their trail surfaces are often pretty groomed too.

    I had a pair of flats I used to work on some technique stuff a while ago. I lent them to a friend when he bought his new bike, because they were just sitting on my shelf; I haven't felt a great need to get them back. Maybe when it snows. My pedal of choice for mountain biking is the Time ATAC Alium. Reliable, durable, cheap. Nice.
    "Don't buy upgrades; ride up grades." -Eddy Merckx

  5. #5
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    I use both.... I too am just getting back into riding again after almost 20 years off... Yep I am an old duffer... But I kept my old bike I just had to stop due loads of different reasons.
    But I kept my old Speedplay frogs which are great for trails I know or I know are not too technical. I use platforms for trails I am not used to or are going to be tough. I plan to get back riding enough to just use the Speedplay peddles almost all the time. Clipless peddles do help with climbs as you can pull on the peddles as well as push down through them and I can really feel the difference as I rode the same trail center today as well as on Sunday. I used the platfoms today as we went into the tough climb area too and even before we got there I felt slower and it was harder work. It is just getting used to being clipped in and getting the pedals to release when you get caught out. I guess a couple more rides using the speedplays and I will be back using them almost everywhere...

  6. #6
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    I use flats with trailrunners. My normal shoes--light and cool in the hottest weather.
    Stubby pins don't tear up the bottoms and with the right technique I stick like glue.
    Low heels bouncing like mad over rocks and roots just pushes my feet into the pedal.
    I never worry about my feet. Fabien Barel outlines the technique--

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by lotusdriver View Post
    Nobody uses toe clips and straps for mountain biking any more.

    The choice is between flat pedals and clip-in type pedals.

    There is no "right" choice, I would suggest you try a set of flat pedals and see how you get on.
    I got back into mountain biking this year after a 12 year break, and personally I prefer flats.
    Well, never say never. I know a few people that still use toe clips but yeah, I have to agree that it's a bit old fashioned now

    I personally prefer clip-in type pedals but choose whatever work

  8. #8
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    Do many people use strapless toe clips? Something like this?

    Amazon.com: Delta Bicycle Strapless Toe Clips: Sports & Outdoors

    These seem to be a really good compromise. They are cheap, easy to install, easy to get in and out of, and give the rider some extra pulling power. I would think this would be a good compromise but I'm the only one I've known who uses them!

  9. #9
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    That was basically how I ran my pedals around 1990.

    I like to run clipless for everything except extremely muddy DH days and park/jump riding.
    Shimano SPDs have always worked out best for me; I like the way the Times felt, but the I shattered a few sets of Aliums and I'm not willing to shell out for the carbon versions. Might not be a concern depending how/where you ride.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by draco_m View Post
    Do many people use strapless toe clips? Something like this?
    Just toe-clips where someone removed the strap. If pulled up on, they'd probably flex and let go of your shoe.

    I tried toe-clips when I got back into riding, and now I'm clipless. Two of my biggest problems with the toe clips (would probably have the same problem with the above clips) was when trying to get into them on the trail, they would always catch on something on the trail and every shoe fit different in them. Basically, the largest size toe clip was still too small for where I liked to put my feet, and I'm wearing size 11 shoes.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by draco_m View Post
    Do many people use strapless toe clips? Something like this?

    Amazon.com: Delta Bicycle Strapless Toe Clips: Sports & Outdoors

    These seem to be a really good compromise. They are cheap, easy to install, easy to get in and out of, and give the rider some extra pulling power. I would think this would be a good compromise but I'm the only one I've known who uses them!
    There is absolutely zero point to those. Run clipless or run flats. Between 5.10 shoes and good flats, it's a good combo and gives easier options to bail or put a foot out. I run SPDs on my hard tail trail bike and flats with 5.10s on my DH bike.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by kazlx View Post
    There is absolutely zero point to those. Run clipless or run flats. Between 5.10 shoes and good flats, it's a good combo and gives easier options to bail or put a foot out. I run SPDs on my hard tail trail bike and flats with 5.10s on my DH bike.
    I respect your opinion but I'm finding the strapless toe clips to be nice. It gives me a little extra power (not much but a little) and it keeps my feet properly located on the pedal. I prefer them to flat pedals. But other folks might disagree.

  13. #13
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    It's really just a personal preference thing but after riding with clipless pedals I don't have a desire to go back to flats.

  14. #14
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    I never had strapless toe clips, but a friend of mine was a fan. I never liked clips and straps off-road because I felt like I got tangled up in them sometimes. It's a lot easier to get out of clipless pedals. If half-clips work for you, you don't need our permission to use them.

    I think you'd find purpose-built MTB flats to work a lot better than flat pedals meant to be used with toe clips, if you gave 'em a shot.

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  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by paddelmik View Post
    I thought that anyone even remotely serious about riding got clipless pedals or, at a minimum, pedal clips.
    Now that Iíve been watching youtube videos and hanging out at some mountain bike trails, it seems like almost everyone riding mountain bikes uses platform pedals.
    *********************l/qu5Zsl[/img]
    I think there is a split between clipless and platforms between those who ride occasionally with family or as a couple for a leisurely afternoon ride or those who do down hill and shorter more technical rides being the ones who ride with Platforms. Those who do longer trails and like to have all day riding XC or go out often on the trails seem to use clipless.

    I have found for me the clipless peddles are more efficient and I can do longer climbs a little easier and even though I really am only just getting back into riding after TOO long away from riding almost all of my rides (4 offroad rides so far) are between 3600 and 5600 feet of climbs per ride on rides that average 10 to 12 miles. I am not sure if this is a lot or about average for most people. But for an unfit 46 year old like me the difference between platforms and clipless is enough to make me want to use clipless for almost all of my rides. I use platforms when I dont know the trail or I know it has some rough and technical climbs and down hill sections which I am not used to. It takes a few rides to get used to clipping in and out so having both peddles is a good idea but for me I am looking at being comfortable with just clip less peddles and use them for as many rides as possible.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rcksqrl View Post
    Ditto on just getting back into it. I personally went with dual pedals. (Platform on one side, spd clipless on the other) for me not overly worried about weight this is perfect. For tech stuff in on the platform, normal I am clipless now.
    Which pedals are you using? I want to go with duals.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by draco_m View Post
    I respect your opinion but I'm finding the strapless toe clips to be nice. It gives me a little extra power (not much but a little) and it keeps my feet properly located on the pedal. I prefer them to flat pedals. But other folks might disagree.
    Honestly, they probably work ok for you because you haven't tried anything else. If you like those you would be well-served running clipless. You can run more of an all mountain shoe with more support that are easy to walk in. Use these cleats and run very little tension on the pedals, as in two or three clicks in from all the way loose.

    Amazon.com: Shimano SM-SH56 SPD Cleat Set: Sports & Outdoors

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bruce in SoCal View Post
    Which pedals are you using? I want to go with duals.
    I'd be weary of running duals. The flat sides are doing you any favors and are a huge crutch. I think why so many new riders are turned off by flats is because they think that the crappy pedals that came on the bike are real flats. Also, a platform on a clipless pedal is not a flat and you shouldn't ride them unclipped. You are just asking for getting broke off riding this way. Obviously, if you come unclipped or have an issue you can stand on them, but you shouldn't plan on riding like that. I see people do that, and it does not go well.

    I would strongly suggest whichever combo you want to ride, you try a real setup. Pretty much any Shimano shoe/pedal combo will be solid and can be found inexpensive.

    I think the hardest part for most people to swallow is buying a proper shoe/pedal setup that may cost $100-150 when they only spent $500 on a bike. Not knocking the budget or bike, just making a point. I think most people would find riding quite a bit more enjoyable with the correct shoe/pedal combo.

  19. #19
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    I have those dual purpose pedals, and they are ok for commuting or just casual riding. Sometimes you have bike shoes on, sometimes you don't. But when I'm on the trail, I like the full blown clipless pedals. No question on what size is up. I've used the dual purpose pedals on trails, and they work, just prefer knowing when I set my foot down, I'm going to clip in before I need toget over that rock.

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