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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    Dual Platform Pedals

    I am a beginner mountain biker but have used SPD clipless pedals when commuting. I'd like to have the OPTION of clipping in, on easier trail sections, and clipping out on technical stuff I'm not sure about. Can someone recommend a good "dual platform" pedal? I have SPD shoes/cleats.

  2. #2
    beater
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    Dual Platform Pedals

    This topic comes up pretty frequently. The short answer is no, there aren't any good ones to recommend. This is because, although it sounds like a good idea to a lot of people when starting out, it doesn't work well in practice, and in my experience, everyone who tries them gets rid of them fairly quickly. So there are a few low-end pedals from Shimano and Performance that are aimed at beginners and commuters. They're all about the same in quality from what I can tell. If that's the way you want to go, find the cheapest one, and consider it a training aid. Before long you'll be ready to commit to one system or the other.

    There are several reason why they don't work well. The clipless side is heavier and wants to roll to the bottom. The clipless portion is fairly cheap to keep cost down, and doesn't work as well as other options. The platform part of the pedal is just an old beartrap pedal, which offers none of the grip of modern flat pedal.

    If you're already comfortable clipped in, you could look at a pedal that has a wide body, like the CB Mallet, but it's not SPD, and frankly, trying to keep a foot on a clipless pedal through a tricky section is inviting a fall.
    "Back off, man. I'm a scientist." - Dr. Peter Venkman

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  3. #3
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    I have dual pedals on my commuter and invariably the side I want is always on the bottom, I couldn't imagine how annoying/dangerous this would be on the trail. Do you have the standard SH51 cleats? I found that changing to the multi-release SH56 has made me more confident with trying things clipped in, especially when the tension is set low on my pedals. I can unclip in a pinch even in a panic.

  4. #4
    Fat-tired Roadie
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    If your not comfortable riding a lot of your trails clipped in, embrace it - get some mid-level flats with concave faces and/or pins. Other posters recommend skate shoes, or get some 5.10s. Go ride.

    Keep your clipless pedals. They don't cost you anything sitting in a box. Try them again in September. (Or don't - plenty of very strong mountain bikers ride flats full-time.)
    "Don't buy upgrades; ride up grades." -Eddy Merckx

  5. #5
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    ^^^This. I ride clipless on my road bike, but just can't quite bring myself to ride clipless on MTB trails. I use a platform pedal with pins, and for a while I was using regular sneakers. However, I got a pair of Five Ten Freeriders in the last year, and it is amazing what a difference they make -- perfect stiffness and they stick to the pedals like crazy.
    I ride at night - see my tips for Night Cycling
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  6. #6
    Trail Noob
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    The best shoes I have found that work with my platform pedals w/ pins are a pair of indoor soccer shoes. I have a pair of old Adidas Samba that are grippy and comfortable enough for mountain biking. I like the more svelte profile of them over something like a pair of skate shoes, which seem to be 75% padding with a thick sole.

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