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  1. #1
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    Jun 2013

    Question about pedals - clipless or flats

    I'm a newb planning my first bikepacking trip and I have a question, concerning pedals. Do you guys prefer clipless or flats and what are the pros and cons of each? Thanks

  2. #2
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    Reputation: Aushiker's Avatar
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    Sep 2007
    I prefer clipless. Doubt I could ride well now days with flats. If necessary I just unclip for the technical section or cope with falling over


  3. #3
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    Reputation: icecreamjay's Avatar
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    Apr 2004
    Where are you riding? If its technical stuff and you usually ride clipless, then stick with that. The con is that you might want a more comfortable camp shoe, or something to hike around in. You can get around this if you get a clipless shoe with good tread.

    Flats are nice if its smoother terrain and you can just wear hiking shoes/boots.

    I think its pretty much a preference thing. I would stick with whatever you usually ride in.

  4. #4
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    Reputation: sasquatch rides a SS's Avatar
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    Dec 2010
    I would also say stick with whatever you're used to or prefer most. You could go with a Shimano PD-M324 pedal to have flats and clipless on your bike at all times, then it's just up to your mood or what shoes you grab first.

  5. #5
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    Feb 2004
    I go flats. They allow me to bring just one pair of shoes, one that's generally suitable for riding and hiking (and bar hopping). Approach shoes like the Five Ten Aescent work well, provided you use a good set of BMX-style pedals. There's some loss of efficiency I guess, but very little, and you can move your feet around on the pedals to minimize fatigue over the course of a very long day, negating at least some of the efficiency disadvantage.

    I'd certainly not deride anyone's preference, but honestly, I think a lot of clipless devotees would be surprised at how well you can pedal with a good flat/shoe combo. And then you can just get off your bike and walk around like a normal human, since your shoes are no longer "gear."

  6. #6
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    Reputation: vikb's Avatar
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    Sep 2008
    Quote Originally Posted by t3mplar View Post
    I'm a newb planning my first bikepacking trip and I have a question, concerning pedals. Do you guys prefer clipless or flats and what are the pros and cons of each? Thanks
    I ride flats. I like wearing walkable street shoes since I am likely to hike/push/drag my bike a bunch on a variety of surfaces.

    I can also grab whatever footwear makes sense depending on the forecast. On a tour a couple weeks ago I wore waterproof light hikers for the likely snowy/wet conditions on the high points of my route. Later in the Spring and Summer I'll wear lighter shoes for the heat.

    On my last tour with two friends one had swapped to flats from being a 100% SPD rider and was loving it and the other guy was adamant about using clipless pedals/shoes on the trip when we were talking about gear. By about half way he was planning what flats to buy.

    Ultimately as Sasquatch says you need to figure out what will work best for you and the riding you'll be doing.
    Safe riding,


  7. #7
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    Jun 2013
    Thanks for all the input. I'm currently riding clipess right now for all types of riding.

    For our first bikepacking trip we are planning doing Catalina island. From what I've read, it seems to be almost exclusively fireroads with almost no technical trails.

    The convenience of having just one shoe is really appealing.

  8. #8
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    Reputation: Welnic's Avatar
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    Feb 2013
    If you usually ride clipless, I would try to find some clipless touring shoes to wear. Most bike shoe companies make mellow, comfortable clipless shoes that are comfortable enough to just wear as the one shoe on a trip. I have a pair of Shimano MT43Gs that I would wear on a trip like yours. Looking at Shimano's site I found MT44s and MT34s which would both work well. The key when you are looking for them is that they are in the touring category instead of mountain bike. If you have shoes that you like I would see if the same company makes a touring clipless shoe.

    I have flats on my FS mountain bike, and I really like them, but they do take a little getting used to. And non-technical riding is actually a good place to try them out. I don't think you can go wrong either way as long as you end up with shoes that you can wear just walking around.

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