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. #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.
    Geologist by trade...bicycle mechanic (former) by the grace of God!

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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.
    Sent via my heady vibes from the heart of Pisgahstan

  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.
    Duct tape iz like teh Force. It has a Lite side and a Dark side and it holdz the Universe together.

  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

    Sent from my DROID RAZR using Tapatalk 2
    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.
    Sent via my heady vibes from the heart of Pisgahstan

  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.

    Mark
    2012 XXL Carve Expert

  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.
    Geologist by trade...bicycle mechanic (former) by the grace of God!

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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.
    Straight Lines with Fabien Barel - YouTube

  25. #25
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    No, YOU don't understand. You're making an ass of yourself for all of eternity.

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