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.
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  1. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by bigfruits View Post
    you can actually push/pull through a lot of the spin on flats while seated (and even while standing after some practice). wearing good flat pedal specific shoes helps.

    a good way to describe spinning on flats i read some time ago was to act like youre scraping dog crap from your sole when your foot gets close to the ground.

    doesnt take long to learn. i suggest the OP give platforms a shot. if you have a similar experience to mine, you will prefer flats on any trail that is not pavement or non-technical singletrack.
    You have a valid point however, I do not agree that you can pull up as well w/o cleats. When I was at Angel Fire Mtn bike park and rented a full 8" dh bike I did like the flats and would not have used cleats. I have been using cleats for years now on XC and all Mtn riding and I am very comfortable with them. If you like the flats that is fine too. This is an apple to oranges thread, use what you like. I am not a hater on those that do not want to use cleats but even when scraping the flats to pull up you can not get the power that cleats will give you. If you look at most Cat 1 XC guys/gals, they are all using some type of cleat.

    Mark
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  2. #27
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    Try Straigtline Amps on my beach bike they work great and have a lot of platform.

  3. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by mjduct View Post
    I think the answer the OP is looking for is not so much what all of our opinions are as it is what riding styles they are appropriate for...

    I think you will see the most clopped in guys riding XC, not that technical, and pedalling power/efficiency is very important. as you get into the more technical disciplines such as Trail and AM, you'll see more and more flat riders, and in the Freeride/Downhill categories you'll probably never see clipless pedals.

    As a roadie looking to cross train, and won't be riding very sketchy stuff, I run the egg beaters most of the time, but I do have a nice set of pimplites that I will swap when the trail is a little over my confidence level (and I know that before I leave the house)
    Thank you for reading my post and addressing the question! So many people responding as if I've never ridden clipless pedals before! This shed a lot of light on the issue for me. While i live in NYC and you don't think of it as a MTB mecca, there are a couple of places that actually have some quite technical trails and I'm now pretty confident that platforms will probably be more appropriate for me.

  4. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by cpfitness View Post
    What say you guys? I come from the road so I'm versed in clipless. I have no worries about forgetting to unclip out on the trails, it's more of a losing confidence in ability to get over something and want to put a foot down, can i unclip fast enough. As a kid, I rode a lot of bmx and i feel like sticking a leg out to make an aggressive turn was what I always did. Riding clipless on a mtb i find myself wanting to do that but obviously I can't.

    So I guess my real question is, what is the threshold for riding clipped in vs platforms. What type of riding do you think "definately clipless" vs. "definately platform"?
    For me, the only time I would take flats over clips is doing skinnies up off the ground. No amount of steepness of roughness makes me want flats over clipless.

    A lot has to do with the pedal, though. I ride Speedplay Frogs, and I find them very easy and fast to get both in and out of. I can drop a foot in a corner and be clipped back in by the end of the next pedal stroke. I can put a foot down in most circumstances nearly as fast as I can with flats (close enough that it is just as fast for all practical purposes).

    Think about this: some people race DH clipped in. Some people ride XC with flats.
    15mm is a second-best solution to a problem that was already solved.

  5. #30
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    I ride for fun & for cardio health with my hubby... we ride platforms. I have a set of magnesium pinned flats and really like them w/ a pair of skate shoes with sticky soles. But I am also about to buy a single speed so I can get more of a work out. I feel like gears are cheating and that's also how I feel about clippin in
    Nah, not really.

  6. #31
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    Quote Originally Posted by Meowhead View Post
    I ride for fun & for cardio health with my hubby... we ride platforms. I have a set of magnesium pinned flats and really like them w/ a pair of skate shoes with sticky soles. But I am also about to buy a single speed so I can get more of a work out. I feel like gears are cheating and that's also how I feel about clippin in
    Thats why i ride a unicycle with a square wheel. Round wheels are for pussies

  7. #32
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    Unfortunately, this topic is basically a "right of passage" question in general. There's little genuine concern about the benefits. To many noobs there's fear of being clipped in, but seriously the feeling went away in a very short period of riding time.

    CT, you've been a roadie using clipless before so you can relate what I'm saying, there's no issue unclipping the pedals, in most situation. Off road is a bit different because there are many difference types of trail so pick the one that suit best.

    I can see that in the past there's not much comparison between flat and CL, the pedals are heavy and the shoes are just like glass, nowadays the sole technology has improve and yield gummy bear like grip and there are plenty if light weight flat pedals at any price point, why not?

    There's no difference for most riders, but like kapusta said he uses flats when riding skinnies because as I can imagine track standing 10' above ground in the middle of a 90* corner would give me great comfort knowing I can just lift my foot off the pedal instead of twisting off.

    It's not exactly threshold from one to another but just mood or preference that dictate the choice.




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  8. #33
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    Quote Originally Posted by mimi1885 View Post

    There's no difference for most riders, but like kapusta said he uses flats when riding skinnies because as I can imagine track standing 10' above ground in the middle of a 90* corner would give me great comfort knowing I can just lift my foot off the pedal instead of twisting off.
    Yeah, I WISH

    You have clearly never seen me work my nerve up to do a skinny 2' off the ground in a straight line
    15mm is a second-best solution to a problem that was already solved.

  9. #34
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    Quote Originally Posted by kapusta View Post
    Yeah, I WISH

    You have clearly never seen me work my nerve up to do a skinny 2' off the ground in a straight line
    ha ha, I fell off a 3' skinny over a pond, I swear it was like a 10' drop, and I was doing just fine on the same plank that laid flat on the ground

    I was really doing fine til my friends yell, don't look down, and I just told you what happened after that

  10. #35
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    Quote Originally Posted by cpfitness View Post
    What say you guys? I come from the road so I'm versed in clipless. I have no worries about forgetting to unclip out on the trails, it's more of a losing confidence in ability to get over something and want to put a foot down, can i unclip fast enough. As a kid, I rode a lot of bmx and i feel like sticking a leg out to make an aggressive turn was what I always did. Riding clipless on a mtb i find myself wanting to do that but obviously I can't.

    So I guess my real question is, what is the threshold for riding clipped in vs platforms. What type of riding do you think "definately clipless" vs. "definately platform"?
    I ride clipless and have no desire to ride platforms. That said I started on platform and they do give you confidence to be able to put a foot down when you want to.

    To me the threshold is dependent on the rider. If you always have to unclip and walk a section due to fear of falling or are always struggling to get in the pedals on the ride then platforms are better. If however you can ride trail clean then clipless have no downsides.

    platforms are best for learning or for really really nasty stuff or for tying to clean the same 10foot long rock for 10-20 times in a row over 45 minutes.
    Last edited by JoePAz; 01-28-2013 at 08:34 AM.
    Joe
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  11. #36
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fuglio View Post
    Thats why i ride a unicycle with a square wheel. Round wheels are for pussies
    My unicycle doesn't even have a seat, that's how much a man I am: :

  12. #37
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    Quote Originally Posted by kjlued View Post
    The great debate with no right answer,

    I will put it this way.
    I see friends bail on obstacles I know they could clear because they are clippled in.
    These are people that have ridden longer than me and have even said they don't try because they are clipped in. Yet they still wont switch.
    The reason is simple. Do you ride for 3 hrs and 20 miles only to have one 10 foot place you unclip? If so then ride what you like for that 2hrs and 55 min. Now if you are having to unclip ever 3 minutes because of the terrain and don't try because you are clipped in then it make sense to give flats a try.

    BTW... I there are obstacles that I don't try, but it not because I am I use clipless pedals. They are just places I don't want to risk falling. One spot I tried and fell down rock face into some boulders. Nothing you can do when you put a foot and there is nothing there,but air.

    There a few trails I ride where I can clear everything every time. Most have a least one or two spots where I am likely to put a food down. Also even with clipless pedals I can still pull out one foot and put it in the ground while turning just like you would with flats.
    Joe
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  13. #38
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    Flats for me. I have a little less than 2 years on a mountain bike, let alone any bicycle and I'm a Cat 2 XC racer with 5 races total under my belt. I tried the clipless thing for a few months and didn't like it.
    Yeti SB-66 Carbon

  14. #39
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    Quote Originally Posted by Naturally Aspirated View Post
    Flats for me. I have a little less than 2 years on a mountain bike, let alone any bicycle and I'm a Cat 2 XC racer with 5 races total under my belt. I tried the clipless thing for a few months and didn't like it.

    Great! You don't have to use clipless to race. In some races, I found that flat's better. One of the local race I do at the end of the year, flats faster for me. First of all, the first bottle neck to get to the single track. People are just literally standing around and wait for the traffic. I hopped out and just ran with my bike on the side of the trail, gain about 30 spots before I slowly gave them back

    Also, some promoter just make up technical sections that yet create another bottle neck, I just ran with the bike til I cleared the traffic this make up a lot of time on the first lap, then laps after that I can just ride my pace. Can you do that with clipless shoes, sure it's not as comfortable.

  15. #40
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    It doesn't take long to swap out pedals. I ride clipless 95% of the time because I find it's easier to clear hills on a singlespeed with them. In other words, they suit my riding style and the trails I ride (flowy xc stuff). But every now and again I like throwing on a pair of grippy flats, dropping my seat and riding a "skills" loop where I'll spend time practicing my technique getting over obstacles I struggle with until I can clean them. Usually after I build up the confidence to clean a tough trail feature on flats it's no problem clearing it clipped in, either.
    Everything in moderation. Including moderation.

  16. #41
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    I predict that you'll go clipless because you have experience riding with them on your road bike and you'll likely be able to transition and feel comfortable with them on the mountain bike. I had no such experience and after purchasing my first mountain bike, I tried for weeks but never felt comfortable with clipless pedals.

    My very first ride with platform pedals and 510's sealed the deal for me. I instantly gained confidence and enjoyed my time on the bike so much more and I've never looked back. Perhaps I am losing a little pedaling efficiency, especially on the climbs. However, it's a trade off I'm willing to make.

    The answer to your question, for me, is that if I was going to ride smoother, faster, flowing trails that didn't have much in the way of obstacles- then I could probably convert to clipless. However, when I ride trails filled with big roots, big rocks, some of which are wet and slick no matter the current or past weather, sudden and steep climbs, tight and technical terrain- then it's platform pedals all day.
    Last edited by dancingoutlaw; 01-28-2013 at 09:02 PM.

  17. #42
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    Quote Originally Posted by mimi1885 View Post
    Great! You don't have to use clipless to race. In some races, I found that flat's better. One of the local race I do at the end of the year, flats faster for me. First of all, the first bottle neck to get to the single track. People are just literally standing around and wait for the traffic. I hopped out and just ran with my bike on the side of the trail, gain about 30 spots before I slowly gave them back

    Also, some promoter just make up technical sections that yet create another bottle neck, I just ran with the bike til I cleared the traffic this make up a lot of time on the first lap, then laps after that I can just ride my pace. Can you do that with clipless shoes, sure it's not as comfortable.
    Yup. And the argument that clipless riders use that gets them over obstacles better... bs... I have yet to fail with my 510's and pinned platforms.
    Yeti SB-66 Carbon

  18. #43
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    Quote Originally Posted by bigfruits View Post
    flats for fun.
    clipless for efficiency.
    This.

    BTW, I ride both. Neither one is better. Just different.

  19. #44
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    When I ride lift assisted downhill, I still use clipless pedals. I like the extra control they give me and I can still unclip and stick out a leg when I want to. The only reason I would ever ride platform pedals on a mountain bike is if I were trying to do aerial maneuvers where I might want to bail in midair. But if I am just hucking it into the air and not getting too fancy, then clipless is just fine for jumping or dropping off boulders.

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    I hate flats...specially on bumpy a** singletrack. My feet fly all over the place. I was a newbie, rode for 6 mos, and I was able to transition to clips on mtn with very little problems. Coming from a road background you'll be fine. If you like DH riding and that's more your style...stay flat. If you like xc and you wanna go a little fast and have that extra pull on the up stroke...go for clips.

  21. #46
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    Quote Originally Posted by jayseakay View Post
    I hate flats...specially on bumpy a** singletrack. My feet fly all over the place. I was a newbie, rode for 6 mos, and I was able to transition to clips on mtn with very little problems. Coming from a road background you'll be fine. If you like DH riding and that's more your style...stay flat. If you like xc and you wanna go a little fast and have that extra pull on the up stroke...go for clips.
    If you feet fly all over the place, you need to improve your technique, it's not the pedals. Switching to clipless may keep the feet attach to the bike but it does not solve the problem, your rear wheel still flying all over the place

    You can go faster up the climb on a SS using clipless it's higher gear and the rider has no choice but to muscle the climb so pulling on a low rpm would help. Normal riding nope, pulling does not make it more efficient, sorry. If you were to tell me, feeling faster makes you faster, I'd buy that

  22. #47
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    Quote Originally Posted by mimi1885 View Post
    If you feet fly all over the place, you need to improve your technique, it's not the pedals. Switching to clipless may keep the feet attach to the bike but it does not solve the problem, your rear wheel still flying all over the place

    You can go faster up the climb on a SS using clipless it's higher gear and the rider has no choice but to muscle the climb so pulling on a low rpm would help. Normal riding nope, pulling does not make it more efficient, sorry. If you were to tell me, feeling faster makes you faster, I'd buy that
    I don't know how anyone can deny that having a pull and a push does not increase pedaling efficiency. You only have a push on a platform...it's as simple as that. If it wasn't more efficient than everyone would ride platforms instead of the majority riding with clips.

    And that's for criticizing my riding style...even though you don't know me...or my bike...or my location.

  23. #48
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    Quote Originally Posted by jayseakay View Post
    I don't know how anyone can deny that having a pull and a push does not increase pedaling efficiency. You only have a push on a platform...it's as simple as that. If it wasn't more efficient than everyone would ride platforms instead of the majority riding with clips.

    And that's for criticizing my riding style...even though you don't know me...or my bike...or my location.
    Most people arent coordinated enough to push and pull at the same time so being clipped in doesnt necessarily mean more efficiency. Slow climbs you can pull only and give the pushing muscles some rest and alternate between the too. But my question wasnt about efficiency it's about ride style/ terrain and its effect on determining what to use.

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  24. #49
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    Quote Originally Posted by millertm View Post
    You have a valid point however, I do not agree that you can pull up as well w/o cleats. When I was at Angel Fire Mtn bike park and rented a full 8" dh bike I did like the flats and would not have used cleats. I have been using cleats for years now on XC and all Mtn riding and I am very comfortable with them. If you like the flats that is fine too. This is an apple to oranges thread, use what you like. I am not a hater on those that do not want to use cleats but even when scraping the flats to pull up you can not get the power that cleats will give you. If you look at most Cat 1 XC guys/gals, they are all using some type of cleat.

    Mark
    Ug, this topic again...

    Don't confuse the ability to pull on a pedal with power. The pull stroke on a pedal is an emergency move, not an efficient cycling movement. There are a lot of reasons to ride either clipless or flat pedals but pedaling efficiency is not one of them. Or, perhaps I should say, that unless someone is paying you to ride your bike full time then this isn't a valid reason to choose one pedal over another. Flats are not less efficient, and ask any BMX rider if they can "pull up" on their pedals and they'll bunny hop over your head.

    I recommend anyone who is new to off road cycling, no matter their comfort level with clipless pedals from any other type of cycling, learn to ride off road with [good] flat pedals. Of course, since you are familiar with the mechanism you will probably be fine if you just run them straight away but I find that it is one less thing to hamper your skill development since you're not worried if you'll come out of the pedals or not.
    Don't you hate it when a sentence doesn't end the way you think it octopus?

  25. #50
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    Quote Originally Posted by mitzikatzi View Post
    To get the best from flats you need good shoes.
    Coming from a road background what are good shoes for platforms? I was too old for the BMX craze. So, I don't know much about their shoes.
    1982, 1983, 1984, 1985, 1986, 1992 Stumpjumpers. 1995 Waterford 1200, 1999 Waterford RSE, plus a garage full of steel frames.

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