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. #101
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    Quote Originally Posted by cpfitness View Post
    I dont know why this efficiency discussion continues. If i want to be fast and efficient i would be on my road bike. Im trying to figure out what will serve me best on the technical stuff and tight twisty stuff. Where I ride we dont have this flowy fire roady stuff

    Sent from my DROID RAZR using Tapatalk 2
    I just want to acknowledge your much improve attitude, especially in such a potential blood boiling topic. That's just awesome, you are on point.

    That said, well, it's a very difficult topic to discuss without throwing out the term efficiency.

    I said a few times before, noobs look at clipless pedals as a "right of passage", something that proves they belong, and have moved up in the world of cycling. I doubt that they know or care about efficiency, I know that they are crapping in the pants half the time riding over tech sections.

    They know that they can now pull up on the pedal, the sensation is there, there's no denying but does the sensation translates to more efficiency? NO, unless you are grunting up the steep climb on a big gear SS.

  2. #102
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    Quote Originally Posted by zebrahum View Post
    The misunderstanding of the phrase "pedaling circles" is probably one of the most destructive forces in rec cycling. Pedaling circles does not mean applying equal force to the pedal in all positions, it simply means smoothing the stabbing motion most people ride with from the outset.

    Now like I said there are plenty of good reasons to ride clipless like for you, adding confidence to your riding. And I will concede that during a 100 mile ride, any level of improved efficiency will become noticeable and will be welcome; but for the rec riding weekend warrior there is not enough difference to supersede the need for people to be comfortable with their equipment above all else.
    Agree

    I'm not against clipless either as the matter of fact, sometime I'd ride clipless exclusively for a few months before going to flats, it just depends on my mood. It's not really dictate by the trail I'm riding. I ride tech climb and descend with clipless, but riding with flats brings fresh feeling while improving my riding as well.

    One of my favorite group ride would be the noobs ride, I usually go with flats. The usual recommendation from noobs on the pedals, they'd suggestion that I should switch to clipless to improve my climbing ability, and efficiency. Oh yeah? How so?

  3. #103
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    To the OP.

    Play around with both and see what you prefer.

    That's the best answer someone can give you.

    You've seen how divided people are on the issue and that's because...at the end of the day...efficiency depends on more than your pedal.

  4. #104
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    Quote Originally Posted by mattnmtns View Post
    Sorry. Didn't mean to imply that you are. Just it's in the beginner forum and it seems some people are very apt to suggest clippless to people just starting out on mountain bikes.

    I think you just answered your on question though. Ride flats if you think you will be more comfortable with them. Not sure where you ride. I encounter enough rock gardens, drops, jumps, and chunky boulders where I am more comfortable with flats. There is also plenty of flowy xc style trails or fire roads where clipless would be hard to argue. I guess I am lazy though. For me flats are more flexible. I can to the technical or the flow and the same pedal works for me. Just comes down to what you like.
    I'm with you. Lots of people do suggest clipless too beginners such as myself. Which I now don't see as the method for a beginner. I've been riding since November and I was told "clipless" is a no brainer. Well, I didn't enjoy all the falling and cuts from my first day of clipless. Video for proof: Clipless Pedals = CRASH, FALL, OUCH.....ugh.... - YouTube

    Any who, it's about 70 days later and I'm doing much better and I rarely fall now. Truthfully though, I think I enjoyed the flats better for a few reasons: comfort in putting my foot down on turns and being able to prevent myself from falling when needing to bail quickly. The only thing I do like about clipless is that my foot never slips when doing a quick steep incline or when doing some sort of jump. Sorry if I don't know all the lingo. I'm a beginner with experience. Lol! Any who, the only reason I'm not going back to flats now is because I payed way too much money for these crank brother candy pedals and shoes and I'm gonna ride the hell outta them before I switch to flats one day.

  5. #105
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    Well, I went out for a ride on platforms and I must say, I can see merits to both. Incidentally it was my first ride out on a brand new build so I'm sure a lot of the improvements in my riding were from a better geometry and mentally trusting the frame that I had underneath me. There were pros and cons to both. There were times I was able to put my foot down into some corners and have a bit more trust. There were some rocky areas that i turned into a wuss on and took a leg off but still coasted through the trouble surprisingly easy. However, when you take a foot off and your not clipped in, you can't keep the pedals in the proper position so then I was banging around the other side. Then I took the bike off of a small jump. went back to hit it again and hit the edge of a rock that I couldn't see as it was hidden in the snow, it sent me off line right as I hit the jump. I landed, hit the brakes hard and put my leg out to try to steady myself. my foot slid on the ground then caught something and I felt my knee twist. The knee that already doesn't have an ACL in it. So now this morning I have a nice sprained knee I'm dealing with! Had I been clipped in, I'm not sure that I would have safely landed the jump, I may have bit it pretty hard on the frozen ground. In the end, I'm going to keep riding some with the platforms, but I can ultimately see myself going back to clipless at some point.

  6. #106
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    Quote Originally Posted by cpfitness View Post
    Then I took the bike off of a small jump. went back to hit it again and hit the edge of a rock that I couldn't see as it was hidden in the snow, it sent me off line right as I hit the jump. I landed, hit the brakes hard and put my leg out to try to steady myself. my foot slid on the ground then caught something and I felt my knee twist. The knee that already doesn't have an ACL in it. So now this morning I have a nice sprained knee I'm dealing with! Had I been clipped in, I'm not sure that I would have safely landed the jump, I may have bit it pretty hard on the frozen ground.
    I would put my money on you being better off right now had you not been able to put your foot down to get sprained. As a general rule, putting a foot down to catch yourself while still moving with any speed is asking for heaps of trouble.

    I gotta ask: what were you thinking taking jumps in snow deep enough to cover the rocks?
    15mm is a second-best solution to a problem that was already solved.

  7. #107
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    There's all sorts of anecdotes going both ways. I've torn my shin up on the pins on a platform, but it did give me peace of mind to put my foot down in an "oh **** moment". On the other hand, clipless gave me a better surface to press my foot against due to the hard sole of the shoe. (note that my toes used to cramp when on platforms on a long, 20mi+, ride)

    As a total noob, when you're trying to learn handling, pedaling, braking, shifting, climbing, turning, different surfaces etc... reducing the number of things you have to learn at one time, in this case unclipping, is not a bad idea.


    So my $.02, is that for a noob, stick with platforms to start with until you get a solid grasp of the basics, then introduce another variable. If you're not good at handling tough surfaces (sand, loose gravel, chunk) worrying about unclipping if you slip is only going to make you more nervous, and cause you to have poor form.

  8. #108
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    Quote Originally Posted by kapusta View Post
    I would put my money on you being better off right now had you not been able to put your foot down to get sprained. As a general rule, putting a foot down to catch yourself while still moving with any speed is asking for heaps of trouble.

    I gotta ask: what were you thinking taking jumps in snow deep enough to cover the rocks?
    Snow wasn't that deep, only about an inch or so and the jump was pretty small, probably doesn't even deserve to be called a jump! As for being better off? tough to say, I really think I would have gone down pretty hard and on that frozen ground, who knows what woulda happened.

  9. #109
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    one of the challenges is that all the trails I have access to are pretty darn technical. the one beginner trail is quite short and certainly gets a bit boring fast. At this stage I really would love some nice flowy type stuff to simply work on my handling and turning skills but it just doesn't exist near me.

  10. #110
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    Highbridge Park?

    Check out Cunningham Park. It feels a bit like being in a Corona commercial to me - I'm in a scrap of woods, surrounded by Queens.

    There's more non-technical trails further out on Long Island, and there are some options along Metro North as well, but I never went to anything more than once. I had already left New York before the Wolfe's Pond trails were opened. So Highbridge and Cunningham were my main spots.

    Mountain biking is part of why I left New York.
    "Don't buy upgrades; ride up grades." -Eddy Merckx

  11. #111
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    Quote Originally Posted by AndrwSwitch View Post
    Highbridge Park?

    Check out Cunningham Park. It feels a bit like being in a Corona commercial to me - I'm in a scrap of woods, surrounded by Queens.

    There's more non-technical trails further out on Long Island, and there are some options along Metro North as well, but I never went to anything more than once. I had already left New York before the Wolfe's Pond trails were opened. So Highbridge and Cunningham were my main spots.

    Mountain biking is part of why I left New York.
    I'll try cunningham, I've heard it's pretty good. Highbridge got destroyed by sandy and I dont think it's very high priority getting it cleaned up. Sprain Ridge is where I've been riding and I've still got stuff to learn about the trails there. I live in spanish harlem so sprain and Graham are easy to get to, cunningham is probably a royal pain in the ass to get to since I don't have a car. I know there is stuff out in long island but it seems to be WAAAYYYYY out there. I'll check some of that stuff out in the warm weather months

  12. #112
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    I may have ridden Sprain, actually. Not sure.... I forget what my one Metro North foray was.

    Cunningham's actually not that hard to access. You take one of the subways to the end of the line, then ride for another mile and a half or so. It takes a while, but I preferred it to Highbridge, which ramped up from boring to gut check way too fast.
    "Don't buy upgrades; ride up grades." -Eddy Merckx

  13. #113
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    Clipless, commit, practice, you'll love them!

  14. #114
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    Quote Originally Posted by evasive View Post
    cpfitness: if I'd come across this thread earlier, I'd have just recommended going with what you know, since you're already comfortable with clipless pedals, and flat pedals have their own learning curve, which will add one more thing for your mind to keep track of in your transition to mountain biking. Since you've bought the flats already, you'll learn another skill and you can choose for yourself which you prefer. Make sure you give them at least a month before deciding.

    Much of this is already covered, so I'll just add a couple random observations: as far as the conventional wisdom of clipless or XC; flats for DH - plenty of WC level downhill racers ride clipped in (e.g. Gwin, Hart). In fact, flat riders are still probably in the minority in the top 10, enough that it's not unusual to hear Rob Warner point out a rider on them (e.g. Hill, Bryceland). On the other hand, I'd guess most of not all freeriders/big mountain riders are on flat pedals. Then there are a couple disciplines where you absolutely have to be on flats: slopestyle and dirt jump. Hard to do a superman when you're clipped in...

    And mimi1885 and zebrahum are absolutely right about staying planted on flat pedals. Riding them WILL make you a better rider through the rough, because you'll have to learn to relax and get loose to stay on the pedals. If you feel like your feet are getting bucked off, that's a signal. Remember Lee McCormack's mantra of "heavy feet; light hands" and keep your weight on the pedals, centered over your bottom bracket.

    But in the end, at our level, it's 100% personal preference.
    Many WC DH riders are using clipless in competition, but still train and ride on flats. They clip in because a pedal slip due to slip a technique can be the difference between a podium and mid pack finish. Everyone has the occasional technique fart. If you're hitting heavy downhill rock gardens at speeds greater than 20 MPH there would be an advantage to being clipped in. I wouldn't consider this an inditement on flats.

    I find that flats actually improve technique. In order to keep your feet planted over technical sections you have to have your heels low, otherwise your feet will be moving around on your pedals. Having your heels low actually loosens up your lower body, which really smooths out the trail and increases your ability to ride fast and smooth. Using Clipless as a crutch for bad technique will help keep your feet on the pedals, but you aren't improving as a rider.

  15. #115
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    I hate the feeling of being clipped in, Im a newb though so no real advice to offer.

  16. #116
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    Even as a beginner, I knew I would appreciate clipless. I got myself a pair and can't switch them out for platforms for anything.

    You can try some out some used ones on eBay first...

  17. #117
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    Thanks for all the info guys! I was trying to figure out which way to go myself. Now I know but I'm not telling

  18. #118
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    Quote Originally Posted by efox View Post
    Thanks for all the info guys! I was trying to figure out which way to go myself. Now I know but I'm not telling
    Seriously? I read through all these posts, and then this? You have got to be kidding! BTW, Flats for me all the way, but to each their own. Choice and options is a good thing. Personally I think pointing beginners to clips is a mistake (I know the history of why they are called clipLESS, but I refuse to carry on the tradition, they are not without clips, they ARE clips, call them what they are - LOL).

    For me: Flats + 5.10's = Fun & Less Injuries = More ride time

  19. #119
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    Quote Originally Posted by efox View Post
    Thanks for all the info guys! I was trying to figure out which way to go myself. Now I know but I'm not telling
    Nice first post... Thanks for the help guys, you helped me but I am not going to tell you what I decided, LOL. You know there are probably other beginners on here that may be interested in knowing what you decided (hopefully it was flats).

  20. #120
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    Given how contentious the subject can be, I think efox is probably right to keep his mouth shut. You devoted two posts to berating him without him giving an opinion.
    "Don't buy upgrades; ride up grades." -Eddy Merckx

  21. #121
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    Quote Originally Posted by AndrwSwitch View Post
    Given how contentious the subject can be, I think efox is probably right to keep his mouth shut. You devoted two posts to berating him without him giving an opinion.
    I assume you are directing this at me. I appologize for the duplicate posts, mtbr gave me an error on the first one and I thought it was lost, so I posted again. Sorry about that.

    You can clearly see in my first post that I indeed did give an opinion, I ride flats:

    Quote Originally Posted by mtbdennis View Post
    ...For me: Flats + 5.10's = Fun & Less Injuries = More ride time ...
    And beginers should not be on clipless:

    Quote Originally Posted by mtbdennis View Post
    ...Personally I think pointing beginners to clips is a mistake...
    Carry on...

  22. #122
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    mtbdennis, I meant without efox stating his opinion.
    "Don't buy upgrades; ride up grades." -Eddy Merckx

  23. #123
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    jesus christ guys, can't you see that he was making a joke about how retarded people get about clipless vs flats??? lol

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    Thanks, I deserved that.

    I was all set to go out and get some clips, but this thread helped me decide to stick with flats. I've also found I can get pretty good push through about 260 deg. of the rotation. Being a cheapskate, it was easy for me to accept that as good enough, especially since I ride only for fun and exercise.

    Switching gears, anyone know a good thread with current info on tires?

  25. #125
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    Tires are almost as bad. Also, there's a whole forum dedicated to the topic.

    If you're not competing and you ride off-road, 2.3" tires with a full knob and a 60 or 120 tpi casing and call it a day. Tread pattern isn't as important as we all want it to be, but knob size does matter quite a lot. Rubber compound matters too, but there's no consistency in how anyone reports it.
    "Don't buy upgrades; ride up grades." -Eddy Merckx

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