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  1. #1
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    clipless vs platforms

    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"?

  2. #2
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    I ride to have fun and I choose to ride on flats. I believe that there is "scientific evidence" that clipless is a bit faster but since i dont race i really dont care. I did ride clipless for numerous years and like you I started on the road but about two years ago my wife bought me flats and 5-10's for Christmas and I never looked back just wish I would have switched sooner. For me it is so much more fun and confidence inspiring riding on flats I feel like im a kid again raising hell on my bmx bike. Several people I have talked too that also switched to flats has said the same thing, it is more fun on flats. Unless you are doing some type of racing I dont really think that any type of riding that requires clipless. It comes down to your personal preference just like the type of tires and saddles you like, everyone has their own opinion of what the best one is for them. Give flats a try if its not for you switch back to clipless. Its also kinda cool not having to bring an extra set of shoes along to change into after the ride!!

  3. #3
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    Practice manuals, wheelie, jumps, drops, tech stuffs, as well as pedaling smoothness on flats. The rest of the time use clipless.

    An avg rider produce no noticeable difference in efficiency between clipless and flat pedals with sticky shoes.

    In short, pick the one you like. DJ, and trail, are about the only thing I have not seen using clipless, the rest are free for all

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    Last edited by mimi1885; 01-25-2013 at 07:01 PM.

  4. #4
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    Stick to clips. Feet come out easy. You dont even think about it when you need to dab. Or ride flats no one cares and it doesnt matter.

  5. #5
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    Have ridden clipless pedals since the early '90s. Can't imagine serious XC riding without them. I have never had a serious accident b/c I couldn't unclip. Its a no-brainer to me - clipless.
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  6. #6
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    I like riding platforms more than clipless on my mountain bike, and since for me it is all about fun (I do not ride in organized races) the choice is easy. I'm also old, and I have to admit I love it when people make assumptions about me due to my grey hair and my platform pedals, and then a couple hours later they are gasping for air and struggling to control their bike and I'm still keepin on. No question in my mind you can generate more power and ride more efficiently clipless, but the difference isn't as great as some would suggest.

  7. #7
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    I'd stick to flats. Never once had a problem getting unclipped with them.

    I really don't understand why anyone would recommend them to a beginner. In my opinion it is one more thing you have to think about instead of focusing on your riding and working on your skills. Any decent pair of flats with pins will keep you in contact with our pedals. Hard pressed to think of an instance where I slipped off the pedals.

    I guess is subscribe to the KISS (keep it super simple) theory when it comes to pedals. I know I try a lot more technical situations knowing I can easily bail. Then again I don't race, ride mostly single track, and like to being able to jump on and ride without special shoes. So my vote is for flats in all situations, at least for me.

    Each to their own, I just don't have any desire for clipless.
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  8. #8
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    This has been covered many times.

    Ride good clip-less pedals or good flats with good shoes. To get the best from flats you need good shoes.

    Ride what ever you prefer and you feel confident with.
    Last edited by mitzikatzi; 01-25-2013 at 08:59 PM.
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  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by mattnmtns View Post
    I'd stick to flats. Never once had a problem getting unclipped with them.

    I really don't understand why anyone would recommend them to a beginner. In my opinion it is one more thing you have to think about instead of focusing on your riding and working on your skills. Any decent pair of flats with pins will keep you in contact with our pedals. Hard pressed to think of an instance where I slipped off the pedals.

    I guess is subscribe to the KISS (keep it super simple) theory when it comes to pedals. I know I try a lot more technical situations knowing I can easily bail. Then again I don't race, ride mostly single track, and like to being able to jump on and ride without special shoes. So my vote is for flats in all situations, at least for me.

    Each to their own, I just don't have any desire for clipless.
    Its not like im a beginner to cycling tho. Im comfortable riding clipped in i guess I just feel like riding wise are there techniques in some types of riding that dictate being clipped in is better? I suspect that i just need to improve my skills. Another example where i struggle greatly is making tight right hand turns, apparently bei g lefty or righty matters in cycling too

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  10. #10
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    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.

    I like flats.
    Personally I think a good pair of flats with good shoes like skate shoes are the best option and spur more confidence. However, each person is different.

    So ride what you like, be happy, and don't let anyone tell you that you should do it differently or their way is better. At the end of the day, if you have a smile on your face you did it right.

  11. #11
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    I agree that it's all about having fun, It's why we have hobbies right? Ride clips or plats it doesn't matter just as long as you enjoy it. Me personally, VP Vice and Five10 freeriders.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by cpfitness View Post
    Its not like im a beginner to cycling tho. Im comfortable riding clipped in i guess I just feel like riding wise are there techniques in some types of riding that dictate being clipped in is better? I suspect that i just need to improve my skills. Another example where i struggle greatly is making tight right hand turns, apparently bei g lefty or righty matters in cycling too

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    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.
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  13. #13
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    It's counter intuitive but flats is not as forgiving as one would think. Good combo offer zero float. You can not hide the pedaling flaws with flats the foot will lift mostly on technical climbs.

    Clipless on the other hand, is much more forgiving, regardless of how bad you are pedaling it keeps your feet in a perfect circle, definitely one less thing to worry about. That said, if the rider don't keep up with their pedaling form clipless pedals will promote many bad habits, pushing down and pulling up is not the one


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    Last edited by mimi1885; 01-29-2013 at 04:19 PM.

  14. #14
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    I ride clipless most of the time on my main bike, but i have platforms with straps on my spare bike. Best of both worlds if you aren't an elitist. Your feet are secure, but you can still pull out and throw your feet down if need be (:
    Short guy on a big bike.

  15. #15
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    I swapped from clipless to flats last year after 4 years clipless.I'll be swapping back.I've never bailed on anything as a result of being clipped in.I've bailed on stuff in flats that I've ridden clipless,and yes I have good shoes/pedals.For some reason I just feel more comfortable on the rough stuff clipped in.
    I've given Flats a good go but they're not for me

  16. #16
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    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)

  17. #17
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    flats for fun.
    clipless for efficiency.

  18. #18
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    I have spent many years with clips however, once I went clipless I have never looked back. I too feel lost without my cleats. I do not feel that I can climb as well with only pushing down and not pulling up. My 2 cents.

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  19. #19
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    I have never seen a serious (fast) XC rider with flats - I am talking moderately technical flowy trails. As someone above said, its seems to me that if I was riding downhill, all-mountain, etc. that flats would be the logical choice. You already know the basics of clipless, once you are reasonably comfortable on the bike, make the switch.
    Last edited by TiGeo; 01-26-2013 at 09:15 AM.
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  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by millertm View Post
    I do not feel that I can climb as well with only pushing down and not pulling up.
    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.

  21. #21
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    Just read this.

  22. #22
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    In my mind, the "threshold" of moving from flat to clipless (or visa versa) is directly dependent on your confidence in your skill level and the terrain your ride. Before moving to Colorado, I rode strictly clipless as most of the trails I rode were flowing XC type singletrack. However, the terrain I ride in CO is vastly different in that it is more technical, strewn with loose rocks and rock gardens. I was (what am I talking about - I still am!) washing out or going endo fully clipped. I switched to platforms while I continue to improve my skills in the more technical terrain. When my confidence increases to where I can negotiate my current terrain without crashing (or having it occur infrequently), I may make the move back to clipless. But, I find benefit to both.

  23. #23
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    I used to strictly ride flat, but once I tried clipless I can't go back. The benefits greatly outweigh the occasional skinned knee. Besides, riding with clipless will give you much more confidence on the rough climbs when you would normally put your foot down.
    Of course, for DH/Freeride, clipless isn't the best idea. But for XC and all mountain, it's hard to beat clipless.

  24. #24
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    There is technique required to get the most out of flats. Once you master the procedures you'll stick to cheap pedals with cast pins whith just trailrunners. You won't think about your feet no matter what terrain.
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  25. #25
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    No, YOU don't understand. You're making an ass of yourself for all of eternity.

  26. #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.

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

  28. #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.

  29. #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.

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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.

  31. #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

  32. #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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  33. #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.

  34. #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

  35. #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 09:34 AM.
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  36. #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: :

  37. #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.
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  38. #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.
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  39. #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.

  40. #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.

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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 10:02 PM.

  42. #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.
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    Quote Originally Posted by bigfruits View Post
    flats for fun.
    clipless for efficiency.
    This. </thread>

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

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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.

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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

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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.

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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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    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.

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    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.
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  50. #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.
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    Quote Originally Posted by CS2 View Post
    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.
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    Quote Originally Posted by zebrahum View Post
    The pull stroke on a pedal is an emergency move, not an efficient cycling movement.
    True, but it also makes bunny hopping obstacles really easy without all those pesky years of practice.

    Seriously, both flats and clips are fun in their own ways. There's no way for a new rider to know what they'll like best until they try both.
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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.
    zebrahum beats me to it

    Pulling or upstroke is done by smaller group of muscles which overwhelm by larger group of muscles pushing on the down stroke. The transition where clipless would have yield more efficiency over flats is the bottom of stroke. If you work very hard at it you can fill the dead spot by scraping the pedal at the bottom and bring it toward 5 o'clock position and the down stroke of your other foot would do the rest. Repeat again and again til you master it.

    This is very difficult and requires a lot of focus before it becomes second nature. Most pros practice this, many riders do it, their hard work pays off. Average riders, weekend warriors? NO. Like CT said it takes a long time and lots of practice to get the coordination down. It's much simpler and more efficient to just push on the down stroke and rest on the up stroke.

    Some of the reason to use clipless would be the ability to be light and heavy on the pedals, with flats you have to weight the pedals most of the time. Clipless keeps your feet on the pedal and pedaling in circle, that's one less thing to think about.

    As for your riding style, hey do what you want. You were blaming the pedals for the lack of technique on a clipless vs flats thread, expect to be called out. You don't have to weight your pedals all the time when riding, but loosing control of your footing is just bad form, then blame it on the pedals? Have you heard of pumping? Check it out it would help your timing.

    I addressed the pros and cons of both type on the first page as well as efficiency myth. Check it out
    Last edited by mimi1885; 01-29-2013 at 04:58 PM.

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    Well i have ordered a set of vp001 flat pedals. Ive read they are decent but at 40 bucks they are decently priced and they will match my bike nicely. I tjink until i get more time out on the trails i will favor flats. Im especially shitty at making tight right hand turns but am great at the hard lefts. Also being a clyde means there are some steeper hills that are just nearly impossible to get up mainly because of traction issues not lack of power. Many of my falls have been caused by that.

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    Quote Originally Posted by cpfitness View Post
    Well i have ordered a set of vp001 flat pedals. Ive read they are decent but at 40 bucks they are decently priced and they will match my bike nicely. I tjink until i get more time out on the trails i will favor flats. Im especially shitty at making tight right hand turns but am great at the hard lefts. Also being a clyde means there are some steeper hills that are just nearly impossible to get up mainly because of traction issues not lack of power. Many of my falls have been caused by that.

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    On steep climbs I'd pretty much move my butt to the nose of the saddle, slight pull on the handlebar downward toward the bottom bracket. Pedal smoothly, and weight the rear tire enough to bite. We've all been there, just keep at it you'll be surprise how steep you can climb on the bike.


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    Quote Originally Posted by mimi1885 View Post

    As for your riding style, hey do what you want. You were blaming the pedals for the lack of technique on a clipless vs flats thread, expect to be called out. You don't have to weight your pedals all the time when riding, but loosing control of your footing is just bad form, then blame it on the pedals? Have you heard of pumping? Check it out it would help your timing.

    I addressed the pros and cons of both type on the first page as well as efficiency myth. Check it out
    I apologize for noticing a significant improvement in my general riding style after switching to clips. I also apologize for having "bad form" during my first few months of riding by losing my pedals a few times. Hadn't ever ridden a mountain bike...ever...and had a hard time adjusting.

    And if they are not more efficient...why the heck don't the pros all just ride flats? Why don't road riders use flats as well? Your argument isn't based on fact. It's opinion. Which is fine.

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    I prefer clipless personally. Not really for efficiency but I just like having my feet secured to the pedals. I rode BMX for years before getting on a mountain bike so I was used to flats. With some of the rooted and rocky downhills here my feet always seemed to get forced off a pedal in some way or another when bombing down a hill as fast as I could on my hard tail. Maybe it wouldn't be as bad on an FS bike?

    It makes it easier to pedal on these rough down hills too. I like going as fast as possible . After using them for a little while slipping out of the pedal to dab a foot down hasn't been an issue with the Crank Bros Candy 2 pedals I'm using.

  58. #58
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    jayseakay, just remember heavy feet light hands. when ur feet are well planted and hands are barely holding the bars, ur in sync with the bike.

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    I think you just sold me. For 20 years I related my mtb to have my clipless petals because they are efficient, but I would race and ride BMX with "flats". I have fun on flats. I dont plan to win any XC races where I need to be efficient. I will start having fun on my mtb with flats.

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    Quote Originally Posted by jayseakay View Post
    I apologize for noticing a significant improvement in my general riding style after switching to clips. I also apologize for having "bad form" during my first few months of riding by losing my pedals a few times. Hadn't ever ridden a mountain bike...ever...and had a hard time adjusting.

    And if they are not more efficient...why the heck don't the pros all just ride flats? Why don't road riders use flats as well? Your argument isn't based on fact. It's opinion. Which is fine.
    Actually studies have been done that do show that using the upstroke (pulling up) is NOT more efficient.

    There is a way to make clipless more efficient, however it is very unlikely that anyone that isn't devoting their entire day to riding would be able to achieve this (professional). I have a friend that is a pro and she laughs when she reads about how pulling up on the pedals is proper form. Sure it can be used in an emergency situation to get to the top of a hill but it's no way proper form as you are using the wrong muscles to pedal.

    Keep in mind that Pro riders spend countless hours in practicing technique that most of us don't have the time for. Not too mention the slight weight advantage which means a lot to them.

    Clipless is more of a preference and while there may be benifits pedaling efficeincy isn't one IMO. One tip I learned on here was to keep the heels down when decending and I honestly couldn't believe the difference it made. No more bouncing off the pedals lol.

    Don't take offense to Mimi, he knows his stuff and this topic has been beat to death on here and 99% of the time ends up with the same reasoning.

  61. #61
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    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.

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    Hello and good morning everyone. Please excuse me for jumping in. I'm new with alot of questions. Ivee never used a site like this before and I'm unsure where to start. My 12yr old daughter wants a bike. We were looking at the mongoose XR100.Can anyone tell me anything on this bike or recommend anything. I don't have alot on money to spend do realize you get what you pay for...which is why I don't mind buying used. Please help

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    I vote for clipless. Just because the effeciency and because your feet won't slip down on a bigger hit, or rough terrain. Sure you have to get used to the clipless riding and train how to clip out in different situations, but it worth to try out. It is used mostly on XC, Marathon, Trail and some All Mountain bikes, but some use it on his(/her) Downhill bike. You can find pedals on the web that is both clipless and flat, for example Crank Brothers Mallet. (I think it's usable with normal shoes)

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    Re: clipless vs platforms

    Quote Originally Posted by CURIOUS LYNN View Post
    Hello and good morning everyone. Please excuse me for jumping in. I'm new with alot of questions. Ivee never used a site like this before and I'm unsure where to start. My 12yr old daughter wants a bike. We were looking at the mongoose XR100.Can anyone tell me anything on this bike or recommend anything. I don't have alot on money to spend do realize you get what you pay for...which is why I don't mind buying used. Please help
    No offense but you should start a new thread within the beginner forum to get this answered. Proper etiquette is to keep responses within a topic soecific to that topic

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    I couldn't figure out how to start a new one. Sorry & good bye.

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    Quote Originally Posted by cpfitness View Post
    Its not like im a beginner to cycling tho. Im comfortable riding clipped in i guess I just feel like riding wise are there techniques in some types of riding that dictate being clipped in is better? I suspect that i just need to improve my skills. Another example where i struggle greatly is making tight right hand turns, apparently bei g lefty or righty matters in cycling too

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    I would say yes there are times. i switched to platforms to work on wheelies and manuals and really enjoyed the benefits of platforms. However there are a number of very technical climbs on a particular trail that when I switched back to clipless I could throw down the bit of extra power to clean them. It wasnt a huge difference, but if there were 30 things that I couldnt clear I could clear an extra 5.

    I never hamburgered my shins on platforms but on our very technical trails starting from a stop on technical terrain I often times just nicked my legs on the platforms. Not enough that it hurt, but enough that I have small dot scars all over my legs.

  67. #67
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    Uh-oh, another clipless vs. flats thread.

    Well, I'm out of things to do and want to procrastinate a little more before I go to school.

    I usually ride clipless pedals on my "serious" bikes. Do I think I'm more efficient on them? Sure. I have a pretty rapid cadence and a very light pedal stroke. I stay in the right place on my pedals, and they mate with my rigid-soled cycling shoes. Do I think I'm 10% more efficient? Hell no. Probably 1-2%. A small difference, anyway. Bear in mind that the jumps in gear ratio on a mountain bike cassette are 15%. I do think the shoes have a bit more importance, although again, it's on the order of 1-2%, probably that same 1-2% I just credited to the pedals.

    I was already on clipless when I learned to "bunny hop." It was a crappy, inefficient bunny hop, and I had to preload, so it was a bit slow. But yes, you can jump, then yank your bike upwards with clipless pedals.

    After I started racing and got to see more strong technical riders, I identified my technique as being a major area of potential growth (euphemism for suckiness...) So I bought some cheap flats and worked on wheelies, manuals and bunny hops. I can't balance a wheelie, but I now do my manuals and bunnyhops by pressing with my legs and moving my center of mass around. I can do both much faster and with much less effort. To be fair, I currently have a better bunny hop with clipless pedals than with flats. So I'm sure I'm still cheating some. But I agree with those who say that if you can't do a bunny hop on flat pedals, you aren't actually doing a bunny hop.

    As far as what other people should ride? Both. There are things to learn from both systems. Clipless pedal systems do seem to have a higher minimum cost, but I think someone who does some road miles could learn the same things in pedals with toe clips and the straps cinched down. Those pedals only cost $15. Clipless riders whining about the cost of another system need only spend $15 too. I'm sure the more expensive pedals are better - I thought it worthwhile to buy expensive shoes for riding. But as a training tool, why spend more than the minimum? Go ahead and shell out a bit more for good parts for your primary system...
    "Don't buy upgrades; ride up grades." -Eddy Merckx

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    Quote Originally Posted by CURIOUS LYNN View Post
    I couldn't figure out how to start a new one. Sorry & good bye.
    No worries, I believe you may have to make a minimum number of posts before you can start a new thread. it's either 5 or 10 posts i believe.

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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.
    I don't know how anyone can claim anything without proof of said claim. Do some reading, I think there's some papers referenced in this article as well: http://www.bikejames.com/wp-content/...withLinks2.pdf
    Most people ride clipless because everyone tells them they should. If there wasn't a stigma about what pedals you need to ride if you want to be "serious" about mountain biking, I doubt that you could say the "majority" is riding clips (you meant to say clipless there).

    Quite frankly, Mimi was right to criticize your riding technique (not your style as you claimed). If your feet bounce off of flat pedals while riding, you aren't riding correctly for the use of flat pedals. Downhill racers often ride flat pedals and they don't bounce off the pedals so no matter where you're riding, you have the same capability if you knew how. Everyone has plenty to learn, it's not an indictment on anyone's ability or willingness to ride a bike it was simply pointing out that you're using clipless pedals as a crutch to mask a physiological deficiency when it comes to flat pedal cycling.

    I'm pretty certain no one knows how to stick to a flat pedal without a learning curve or some guided discovery. Flats: check 'em out.
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    clipless vs platforms

    Quote Originally Posted by jayseakay View Post
    I apologize for noticing a significant improvement in my general riding style after switching to clips. I also apologize for having "bad form" during my first few months of riding by losing my pedals a few times. Hadn't ever ridden a mountain bike...ever...and had a hard time adjusting.

    And if they are not more efficient...why the heck don't the pros all just ride flats? Why don't road riders use flats as well? Your argument isn't based on fact. It's opinion. Which is fine.
    Thanks guys and zebra

    It's not my intention to bust your ball, but we are in a beginners forum and this topic is one of the most popular topic among noobs. Misconception like clipless gives noob more pedaling efficiency is just not true. Same can be said about hardtail is more efficient than FS, but that's another can of worm

    If you want to do the experiment yourself, you can just time yourself on the flat road, say 1/2 a mile. Ride one normally, then ride one with push down only, and lastly ride one with pull up only no help from down stroke. You'd have your answer. I did it but you probably want to prove it yourself. The focus of pulling up motion is enough distraction to erase any efficiency gain. Putting all the motion together into one perfect stroke is just as difficult. Do that a million+ times a year for a few years, then you'd have a stroke that's more efficient than flats.

    On the other hand, you can just re-install the flats and see how much bad habits you have accumulated from clipless, like lifting your feet on the climb, jerky motion, etc and try to make the improvement from there.

    I came across a few studies on efficiency so Jay, if you still want the info pm me I'll google that for you. I'm not anti-clipless I'm using both love them both.

    Pedaling is a skill just like everything else, doing it is a no brainer, mastering however, may takes years. Do you still me to answer why pros are using clipless?





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    Not this topic again. It appears that it is already answered. If you are very comfortable riding clipless then ride clipless. If you feel uncomfortable and need to put your foot down a lot do not ride clipless. It isn't for everyone. Do what you're most comfortable with. Once you gain more confidence on your bike you may want to opt for clipless again then.
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    Quote Originally Posted by mimi1885 View Post
    Thanks guys and zebra

    It's not my intention to bust your ball, but we are in a beginners forum and this topic is one of the most popular topic among noobs. Misconception like clipless gives noob more pedaling efficiency is just not true. Same can be said about hardtail is more efficient than FS, but that's another can of worm

    If you want to do the experiment yourself, you can just time yourself on the flat road, say 1/2 a mile. Ride one normally, then ride one with push down only, and lastly ride one with pull up only no help from down stroke. You'd have your answer. I did it but you probably want to prove it yourself. The focus of pulling up motion is enough distraction to erase any efficiency gain. Putting all the motion together into one perfect stroke is just as difficult. Do that a million+ times a year for a few years, then you'd have a stroke that's more efficient than flats.

    On the other hand, you can just re-install the flats and see how much bad habits you have accumulated from clipless, like lifting your feet on the climb, jerky motion, etc and try to make the improvement from there.

    I came across a few studies on efficiency so Jay, if you still want the info pm me I'll google that for you. I'm not anti-clipless I'm using both love them both.

    Pedaling is a skill just like everything else, doing it is a no brainer, mastering however, may takes years. Do you still me to answer why pros are using clipless?





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    Thanks for referencing the ball but I'm actually a girl

    Mid-twenties. No previous experience on bikes other than having learned to ride one when I was a kid. Obviously I started on flats. Yes...my feet flew off the pedals my first few months of riding. After that I was able to ride flats...without losing my grip on the pedals (you guys are preaching to the choir about learning). AFTER that...clips made me feel even better on the downs and ups. I'll never ride without clips again. It's a preference.

  73. #73
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    Quote Originally Posted by jayseakay View Post
    Thanks for referencing the ball but I'm actually a girl

    Mid-twenties. No previous experience on bikes other than having learned to ride one when I was a kid. Obviously I started on flats. Yes...my feet flew off the pedals my first few months of riding. After that I was able to ride flats...without losing my grip on the pedals (you guys are preaching to the choir about learning). AFTER that...clips made me feel even better on the downs and ups. I'll never ride without clips again. It's a preference.
    This has been my experience as well. There's no turning back for me either unless I thought I was going to be riding crazy stuff where I would need to bail in a moments notice. I do not ride like that, I'm an XC guy, so I just own my clipless pedals and shoes. There is a learning curve, but there is a learning curve to everything in life.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rod View Post
    This has been my experience as well. There's no turning back for me either unless I thought I was going to be riding crazy stuff where I would need to bail in a moments notice. I do not ride like that, I'm an XC guy, so I just own my clipless pedals and shoes. There is a learning curve, but there is a learning curve to everything in life.
    This...thank you!

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    Quote Originally Posted by jayseakay View Post
    Thanks for referencing the ball but I'm actually a girl

    Mid-twenties. No previous experience on bikes other than having learned to ride one when I was a kid. Obviously I started on flats. Yes...my feet flew off the pedals my first few months of riding. After that I was able to ride flats...without losing my grip on the pedals (you guys are preaching to the choir about learning). AFTER that...clips made me feel even better on the downs and ups. I'll never ride without clips again. It's a preference.

    Ha ha, no problem, I'm a guy, I know the user name, long story. Well keep at it, and keep an open mind, there's a reason(s) why many veterans start switching/adding flats to their rides.

    Some riders don't want to switch because it makes them look like a noobs, myself included, but seriously how hard is it to unclip after a few months of riding, I've been on clipless for about 10 yrs. it's not about that.

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    My preference...

    Not the stickiest soles but they make me feel pretty

    clipless vs platforms-20120813-bra2409-r1-016-6a.jpg

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    Quote Originally Posted by jayseakay View Post
    ...I'll never ride without clips again. It's a preference.
    Quote Originally Posted by Rod View Post
    ...There's no turning back for me either unless I thought I was going to be riding crazy stuff where I would need to bail in a moments notice.
    I learned on toe clips, moved on to clipless and stayed there for around 10 years. Bought a DJ bike and rode Ray's a few times, started to realize just how much I relied on the pedals to do a lot of the work. I'd ride the DJ bike around and practiced the skills I was lacking, eventually I could take those skills over to my trail bike. I kept the flats on the DJ and clipless on my hardtail for a few years then I got a long travel full suspension bike which is my every-day workhorse now. Put flats on it exclusively and haven't looked back. It's impossible to describe but they make riding a bike more fun. I would imagine I'll ride clipless again, maybe when I build myself a new [650?] hardtail, but it's been quite a beneficial experience to learn so much after feeling pretty confident in my skill set.

    So watch saying you'll never go back, just remember that there's a lot to learn from either pedal and that getting stagnate in your skill set stagnates your progress on trail.

    My objection to these threads is the boast that one is inherently better than the other and that's simply not true. Back in the time where toe-clips were the norm, clipless was a reasonable suggestion to improve one's life on the bike. Today with insanely grippy shoes and wide, flat, and pinned pedals the gap has closed. No longer do you have to choose between getting stuck in a toe clip tightened down enough to hold your foot or riding clipless. Technology has changed and it's time that baseless statements about pulling pedals and efficiency are put to rest.
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    As a side note... I hate that clipless pedals are called that. It sounds dumb. You freaking clip in and clip out. And yet...clipless.

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    clipless vs platforms

    Quote Originally Posted by jayseakay View Post
    As a side note... I hate that clipless pedals are called that. It sounds dumb. You freaking clip in and clip out. And yet...clipless.
    Well a clip was the reference to the toe clip pedals, the cleats retention type pedals like shimano spd no longer need the toe clip, hence the term clipless. Now you know.


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    Plenty of people still use toe clips. I have a set on my commuter, in fact. So that name is occupied, and you can't have it for your pedals that don't actually have toe clips on them anyway.
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    Yeah no I know the origin. Just sounds stupid lol.

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    Quote Originally Posted by zebrahum View Post
    My objection to these threads is the boast that one is inherently better than the other and that's simply not true. Technology has changed and it's time that baseless statements about pulling pedals and efficiency are put to rest.

    Better is subjective, efficiency isn't.

    Please don't view this statement as me beating the war drum, I am only trying to learn. I keep hearing about clipless pedals having 0% efficiency advantage on this forum and I can find no studies to confirm or deny this. Maybe "pulling" is the wrong word but I hardly think the opinion of thousands of pro racers is "baseless statements".

    I will gladly eat crow if I am proven wrong.

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    Re: clipless vs platforms

    Quote Originally Posted by J.B. Weld View Post
    Better is subjective, efficiency isn't.

    Please don't view this statement as me beating the war drum, I am only trying to learn. I keep hearing about clipless pedals having 0% efficiency advantage on this forum and I can find no studies to confirm or deny this. Maybe "pulling" is the wrong word but I hardly think the opinion of thousands of pro racers is "baseless statements".

    I will gladly eat crow if I am proven wrong.
    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

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    Quote Originally Posted by cpfitness View Post
    I dont know why this efficiency discussion continues.

    Should have read the whole thread, sorry for the drift.

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    Quote Originally Posted by J.B. Weld View Post
    Better is subjective, efficiency isn't.

    Please don't view this statement as me beating the war drum, I am only trying to learn. I keep hearing about clipless pedals having 0% efficiency advantage on this forum and I can find no studies to confirm or deny this. Maybe "pulling" is the wrong word but I hardly think the opinion of thousands of pro racers is "baseless statements".

    I will gladly eat crow if I am proven wrong.
    First off, stop comparing yourself to pro racers. If you had any idea what it takes to ride a bike at that level you would understand that what you do has nothing to do with what they do with the vague exception that they are also on a human powered machine rolling on two wheels. As soon as you spend every day with a cycling trainer with the goal of shaving thousandths off of a time then you can start pulling the "well the pros do it" card.

    Even very serious rec riding will not be impacted by the inherent efficiency difference between one system or the other. Let's say we find a study that shows a 2% difference between a clipless system and a flat pedal system, so what? What does 2% mean? How does 2% affect your leg fatigue or your distance capability? It's not a 100% transfer from the efficiency of a part of a bicycle to the performance of a bicycle. I think the studies relating pedaling efficiency are focused on the power application to the pedals. Anytime someone says that pulling on pedals is an efficient cycling movement it's been proven incorrect through a few studies.

    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
    Make sure you try to search the forum for your answers before posting a question. It will keep you from posting one of the handful of grenades like "clipless vs flats" or "26 vs 29" which are destined to turn your topic into a constantly downward spiraling flame war of misinformation.

    To directly answer your question once again:
    Quote Originally Posted by zebrahum View Post
    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.
    The biggest hurdle to skill development is fear and fear can be as innocuous as that little voice in the back of your head that asks if your feet will hit the ground first if you tip over. Many people can get over this quickly, but it is my opinion that if everyone starts on flats that they have the best chance of developing skills without worrying about the falling due to pedals issue. If you would rather run clipless straight away, you'll probably be fine but I always suggest that people run flats first.
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    I don't think you need to be some elite level road racer to gain some efficiency from clip-less. I'm an average rider and I can tell the difference. Is it huge? No, but it's there. However, it is a small enough difference that if I felt like flats were an advantage to me from a technical standpoint (or if clipless were a hindrance), I'd run them. But for me, they are not.
    15mm is a second-best solution to a problem that was already solved.

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    Quote Originally Posted by zebrahum View Post


    Make sure you try to search the forum for your answers before posting a question. It will keep you from posting one of the handful of grenades like "clipless vs flats" or "26 vs 29" which are destined to turn your topic into a constantly downward spiraling flame war of misinformation.
    When I find a forum that has a working search feature, I will gladly use it. I understand my topic is vague, but my question was fairly specific, everyone just assumes that clipless vs flats is an efficiency discussion when I never said anything of the sort. I'm not mad about it, I like spirited discussions, I'm just trying to keep it germane to the actual question.

    Totally agree with you on the fear element, my first couple times out I was very fearless, then I went into a muddy turn and the front tire washed out and I was on my ass in no time flat. then I was climbing in a rocky area and fell over. so on and so forth, 2nd time out, I had a lot less confidence as I thought about how little I wanted to fall and bust my ass and as a result, I wasn't bold enough to try much of anything.

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    Quote Originally Posted by cpfitness View Post
    When I find a forum that has a working search feature, I will gladly use it. I understand my topic is vague, but my question was fairly specific, everyone just assumes that clipless vs flats is an efficiency discussion when I never said anything of the sort. I'm not mad about it, I like spirited discussions, I'm just trying to keep it germane to the actual question.

    Totally agree with you on the fear element, my first couple times out I was very fearless, then I went into a muddy turn and the front tire washed out and I was on my ass in no time flat. then I was climbing in a rocky area and fell over. so on and so forth, 2nd time out, I had a lot less confidence as I thought about how little I wanted to fall and bust my ass and as a result, I wasn't bold enough to try much of anything.
    All I meant is that if you've ever seen one of the near weekly discussions on the topic of clipless vs flats you would know that no matter the intent of the topic they always devolve into exactly what you've seen here. People pulling threads off topic presenting opinions as facts then others spiraling out of control while they try to set what is and is not accurate. It's a problem throughout a lot of the beginner's forum, really.

    There's a lot of things you can do to cope with being in an uncomfortable situation as it pertains to mountain biking. Obviously, picking a pedal you are comfortable with is one of those things. As a road cyclist, I would venture to guess your saddle is up high in an efficient position for pedaling; may I suggest lowering it as you learn? Most of us off road riders are pretty used to constantly changing saddle height depending on the terrain we are riding or expecting. The prevalence of dropper seatposts is testament to that. But as someone just getting comfortable, I would suggest playing with your saddle height. Drop it down 2" and go for a ride. It'll probably feel awful when you're climbing but for flat and downhill terrain it will be an eye opener. Then play with it, maybe an inch down is good for now, maybe 1.5" inches. Maybe there's a tricky section (a rock garden or a steep hill) where you would want to slam that thing to the top tube; well go for it. Eventually you might get into the habit of adjusting your saddle at the tops and bottoms of hills. Around here we climb for several miles then descend for several miles so it's easy to put the saddle up for pedaling and down for downhills. I think the best thing we did for my wife's biking (she picked up mountain biking for the first time a few years back) was to get her a dropper seatpost. With that one upgrade, she can nearly instantly get the saddle down when a tricky spot pops up and still be able to ride up hill without having to get off and stop (which can be very frustrating). It's an expensive upgrade but it is a serious tool for all riders if they want to need to get the saddle down. I've been riding a long time so I'm used to bouncing the saddle off my chest as I hang off the back of the bike, but I will be purchasing the Thomson dropper post when they release it because it is an amazing tool for all riders.
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    If you're using a proper pedal stroke, clipless pedals are extremely helpful if not mandatory if efficiency is what you're after. The proper pedal stroke consists of firing your legs using four different muscle groups in sequential timing similar to how a four cylinder engine works. You fire glutes from 2-5, hamstrings from 5-9, hip flexors from 9-11:30 and quads from 11:30 to 2. This is a very loose range of designations for how you should pedal and there is some overlap between the groups (the use of hip flexors to quads in the stroke may be blurred a bit).

    If you're doing more stunty type of riding, or working on skills such as a true bunny hop or other ways to get your rear wheel off the ground without pulling up on your heels, flat pedals are very helpful.

    They each have different qualities and neither one is better than the other. I don't think there's really a clear threshold. If I was going to do a century of singletrack, I'd definitely want clipless. When I'm simply doing technique practice/drills, flats are what I prefer... 95% of my riding is on clipless though and I think they add some confidence when bombing down hills. I have the pedals set to release pretty easily and can pup out of them extremely quickly.

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    Quote Originally Posted by cpfitness View Post
    When I find a forum that has a working search feature, I will gladly use it.
    Every forum has a working search feature.

    Google.

    add "site:forums.mtbr.com" to the search box to restrict your search to MTBR.

    Although it doesn't hurt to also bump into stuff like the Bikejames and Grant Peterson articles.
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    Quote Originally Posted by zebrahum View Post
    First off, stop comparing yourself to pro racers. If you had any idea what it takes to ride a bike at that level you would understand that what you do has nothing to do with what they do with the vague exception that they are also on a human powered machine rolling on two wheels. As soon as you spend every day with a cycling trainer with the goal of shaving thousandths off of a time then you can start pulling the "well the pros do it" card.



    I was trying to ask a legit question, why the need to be demeaning? I didn't compare myself to a pro (though I'm not sure how you know of my past career), however I have been friends with a few though and I definitely learned a thing or two from them. I already apologized for the thread drift and I was only asking because despite reading past threads on the subject I haven't really learned much because for some reason people get in a huff and throw out spiteful responses instead of actually contributing.

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    I started out on flats, like most beginners do. After a couple of years riding flats, it was recommended that I give clipless pedals a try because it would improve my efficiency and climbing ability. I did notice a difference in how much more power I felt on my pedal strokes and for some applications, it was great. After a couple of years on them, though, I found that I was not progressing the way I felt I should. Rather than use good technique on going over log piles or other obstacles, I was instead relying on the fact that my pedals, and hence my bike, were attached to my feet and I was basically pulling it along. But, then I had some hard falls going over things that I was just unable to unclip in time. It happens. I had a lot of experience unclipping. I've written about this on other threads. Sometimes things just "happen". Clipless pedals need to be properly maintained in order to make sure the spring is working properly. Cleats wear out and make it more difficult to unclip. I grew frustrated with the fact that I was becoming less confident despite gaining more experience.

    Last summer I enrolled in a clinic. I decided to put flats back on. And this time, when learning about unweighting the bike to go over things, I was using the right technique to do it, instead of dragging my bike with me. And believe me, it was hard at first! It felt like I had developed a lot of "bad" habits along the way. There are definitely different techniques employed when using flat pedals. However, my confidence increased tremendously. Just knowing I could put a foot down easily was huge. Look at all of the trails riders out there and what they can do - without their feet clipped in. It's technique. Now, if you're doing a lot of cross-country riding that doesn't get into much techy stuff, and you feel comfortable with them, go for it! I'm not saying one type of pedal is more "right" than the other. Do what is "right" for you! I still use clipless pedals on my singlespeed 29er xc bike. Fine. But my other bikes all now sport flats and I couldn't be happier. I try a lot more and my confidence has increased. I get people who tell me I should really try clipless. I tell them, I have, I prefer flats. Nothing "wrong" with that. I can still climb. I can do any of the things they can with their clipless pedals.

    If you are happier and more confident on flats - ride them! After all, it's all about fun, and getting out there and riding...right?

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    Quote Originally Posted by dirtdan View Post
    If you're using a proper pedal stroke, clipless pedals are extremely helpful if not mandatory if efficiency is what you're after. The proper pedal stroke consists of firing your legs using four different muscle groups in sequential timing similar to how a four cylinder engine works. You fire glutes from 2-5, hamstrings from 5-9, hip flexors from 9-11:30 and quads from 11:30 to 2. This is a very loose range of designations for how you should pedal and there is some overlap between the groups (the use of hip flexors to quads in the stroke may be blurred a bit).

    If you're doing more stunty type of riding, or working on skills such as a true bunny hop or other ways to get your rear wheel off the ground without pulling up on your heels, flat pedals are very helpful.

    They each have different qualities and neither one is better than the other. I don't think there's really a clear threshold. If I was going to do a century of singletrack, I'd definitely want clipless. When I'm simply doing technique practice/drills, flats are what I prefer... 95% of my riding is on clipless though and I think they add some confidence when bombing down hills. I have the pedals set to release pretty easily and can pup out of them extremely quickly.
    See, this is exactly what I'm talking about. Have you actually done any reading on the research which has been done on cycling? While you have simplified the pedal stroke, I'm not going to argue that you have identified the major muscle groups in each segment pretty well I will point out there there is a lot more muscle overlap then you are implying. The upward stroke is not applying force to the pedal when you're pedaling properly, it is simply lifting the weight of the leg and foot. This means that no matter what pedal you are using you are capable of pedaling with a proper cycling movement. The hip flexors are much weaker and much more easily injured than the much larger muscle groups which are meant for body weight bearing and movement. Using the hip flexors as they are intended is a much more efficient way of pedaling than attempting to pull upward on a pedal.

    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.

    Perhaps it's important to note that I'm not against clipless pedals, I'm simply against misinformation. I have clipless pedals on my singlespeed (which I am too weak to ride most of the time) and am generally comfortable riding them in any terrain. Maybe next I'll jump over and rain on a thread about why global warming is a myth because January has been colder than average!
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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

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    I would say it depends. If the technical stuff is so sketchy that you are scared to do it clipped in then use platforms. Once you feel comfortable, clipless works to help generate that little bit of extra power that might help you to clear more features.

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    Quote Originally Posted by zebrahum View Post
    See, this is exactly what I'm talking about. Have you actually done any reading on the research which has been done on cycling? While you have simplified the pedal stroke, I'm not going to argue that you have identified the major muscle groups in each segment pretty well I will point out there there is a lot more muscle overlap then you are implying. The upward stroke is not applying force to the pedal when you're pedaling properly, it is simply lifting the weight of the leg and foot. This means that no matter what pedal you are using you are capable of pedaling with a proper cycling movement. The hip flexors are much weaker and much more easily injured than the much larger muscle groups which are meant for body weight bearing and movement. Using the hip flexors as they are intended is a much more efficient way of pedaling than attempting to pull upward on a pedal.

    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.

    Perhaps it's important to note that I'm not against clipless pedals, I'm simply against misinformation. I have clipless pedals on my singlespeed (which I am too weak to ride most of the time) and am generally comfortable riding them in any terrain. Maybe next I'll jump over and rain on a thread about why global warming is a myth because January has been colder than average!
    I actually stated that my over simplification was in fact an over simplification. And yes, I've done reading, studied etc., but the best instruction I've received is from monster riders who sit on their bike tied in to a computer to analyze their efficiency and see that they have a near 100% efficient pedal stroke. I've seen my own pedaling efficiency increase greatly by isolating those muscles and working only on them. I work my hip flexors by doing single pedal strokes on my trainer where I actually do pull up to help get the pedal over the top to exaggerate the movement. On the bike outside, I agree that pedaling I'm not using any real force at this moment upward, it's the transition into the push from the quad at this point that gives sprinting speed, etc...
    While I agree it's not applicable to the weekend warrior, I still say it's accurate that clipless pedals are more efficient. I wouldn't call anything I've said as misinformation as you accuse, but you're of course entitled to your opinion.

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    Quote Originally Posted by dirtdan View Post
    If you're using a proper pedal stroke, clipless pedals are extremely helpful if not mandatory if efficiency is what you're after.

    If you're doing more stunty type of riding, or working on skills such as a true bunny hop or other ways to get your rear wheel off the ground without pulling up on your heels, flat pedals are very helpful.

    They each have different qualities and neither one is better than the other.



    This is almost exactly what I posted and I got railed for it. After reading yours though I think it would be more accurate to say that one is better for one type of riding and the other is better for other types, which is what I was trying to clarify. Depending on your goals there sometimes is an optimum choice.
    Last edited by J.B. Weld; 01-31-2013 at 12:57 PM.

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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.

    Perhaps it's important to note that I'm not against clipless pedals, I'm simply against misinformation.

    Speaking of misinformation, "one of the most destructive forces in rec cycling" ? I mean I know it's not exactly accurate but I still think it can be a decent basic visual for a newbie, but I suppose since I've never picked up a book before it's probably common knowledge for most that it causes your knees to explode.

  98. #98
    T.W.O.
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    Here's some study I found, I wish I can find the one where the study shows the watts and difference on the 3 types of stroke/pedals. I'll do some more digging. I know it's there, I wish I had my iPad when I read that the first time, it would have been easy to just put it on my reading list

    Some reading, but basically the same clipless more efficient? Yes, but...you need proper technique to draw it out. Now ask yourself, are you that person.






    Bike and Body: Clipless versus platform pedals


    Effects of pedal type and pull-up action du... [Int J Sports Med. 2008] - PubMed - NCBI

    BetterRide Mountain Bike Skills Tips
    Flats vs. Clipless: Please prove me wrong & why I won
    Effect of pedaling technique on mechanical effectiveness and efficiency in cyclists. - Abstract - Europe PubMed Central

  99. #99
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    Thanks mimi, that's what I was looking for!

  100. #100
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    Don't you hate it when a sentence doesn't end the way you think it octopus?

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