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  1. #1
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    Flat pedals or clipless

    I know this has been discussed but, let's do it again. The hike-a-bike thread got me thinking about trying flats again. The last time I ran flats was at the 1998 Mammoth DH...my foot slipped off, I went thru the snow fencing...got up and I think I still got a top ten finish.
    What are you running and why? Have you tried both styles? Also make sure to list your preferred type of riding: DH, trail, xc, racing of some sort...

  2. #2
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    I try to ride flats at least every week or two, keeps your habits good.

    VP Harrier flats with 5-10 contacts. Mallet E LS clipless, cause they let you out when the fan gets hit by smelly stuff. Worst part of clipless is hiking.
    Last edited by DirtJunky; 2 Weeks Ago at 08:55 AM.

  3. #3
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    I'm the OP on the Mt Elwell thread and can tell you that it was on that very HAB up to the top that I decided I was going to try flats (so I can wear better walking shoes) for the 1st time in 25+ years of riding. I bought a pair of Five Ten Hellcat's which still have the clipless option but have been great riding with flats as well. Some people will say I'm crazy but I'm breaking into last slowly and using them on my 5010 while still running clipless on my Primer. I've been surprised how easily I've adapted to the flats.
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  4. #4
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    I wouldn't go with flats just for the sake of hiking your bike. Plenty of companies are making "enduro" style clipless shoes. Lots of tread and soft enough for hiking, yet plenty supportive for getting power to the pedals, plus more comfortable and protection for your toes. I've never ridden a mountain bike with flats, but I'm done with plastic soled ballet slippers for riding.

  5. #5
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    I rode both today on the exact same trail and liked clipless much better. It was more of a DH trail, but on the rough stuff my feet would bounce around slightly and then they wouldn't be in the perfect spot. Plus I don't like climbing techy stuff with flats. Maybe once it gets muddy I'll give flats an extended try.

  6. #6
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    I used to switch between clipless and flats every few weeks. These days I just stick with flats. Less crap to carry in my car when I need to drive to the trails. I like clipless for sprinting or climbing because I have some stiff soled XC type of clipless shoes, I just use those on my roadbike now. Trail rides can be anywhere from 10-30 miles and flats are just fine for me. I don't have any problems with my feet bouncing around on gnarly descents, I'm on on a 4 year old pair of FiveTen Freeriders that have seen better days with some wide pedals with big pins. The only times I've had serious problems with losing footing is if I wasn't distributing my weight properly or dropping my heels.

  7. #7
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    Slipping shouldnt happen when it gets bouncy if proper pressure is applied. When i went from clipless to flats ive noticed i had a hard time keeping proper pressure, it took a few rides to get that relearn. I really want to use clips for slightly better efficiency but flats have saved my ass a few times. If i raced I'd go clipless and take chances but recreationally I prefer flats for convenience and learning proper technique. I ride mostly trail and some dh. Dont really do freeride.

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  8. #8
    fc
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    THE topic

    I was 18 years on clipped in focused on xc, road, and trail. But as I dabbled in more downhill, pump track, commuting, I realized I couldn't even stay on the bike when I wasn't locked in. I tried riding flats here and there but simply could not stay on the bike or generate any climbing power.

    And then I started getting taken to a lot of exotic riding places that were above my pay scale (or it starts raining). Then I started riding with my kid who is absolutely glued to his bike using any shoe, on any pedal.

    So one day, I just quit riding clipped in. Zero. After two months on flats, I didn't hate it. After 6 months I was fine and after 11 months, I was back at the level when I left clipless. Today, I'm way better.

    Now, I'm glued to the bike and am a much more active jumper and corner'er. Climbing, I lose a couple seconds but I can try techier climbs now. My knee pain is gone too. It's probably saved me from crashes about a dozen times. As I just kick the trail or the ground milliseconds before disaster. The times that I've crashed, I'm on my own, away from the bike.

    I ride clipped in now on occasion but mostly flats.

    Flat pedals or clipless-oneill-ro1d2568-900x600.jpg

    Flat pedals or clipless-squamish-log-jump-900x600.jpg

    Flat pedals or clipless-squamish-steeps-900x600.jpg

    Flat pedals or clipless-slorence_trekitaly_250-1024x682.jpg

    My lessons:
    - you cannot just 'try' flats. you have to commit.
    - there is a lot of technique involved with timing and heel positioning
    - you will be 1-2% slower on flats since the pedal stroke is not as complete and because the shoe is not always in the optimum pedaling position during aggressive descending, pedally sections.
    Last edited by fc; 2 Weeks Ago at 07:58 PM.
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  9. #9
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    I'm waiting for e-clipless pedals to come out.

    I demo'd a $8K bike with flat pedals last week. I don't really get it. (The price or the flat pedal thing). RYOR though.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by hurtssogood View Post
    I wouldn't go with flats just for the sake of hiking your bike. Plenty of companies are making "enduro" style clipless shoes. Lots of tread and soft enough for hiking, yet plenty supportive for getting power to the pedals, plus more comfortable and protection for your toes. I've never ridden a mountain bike with flats, but I'm done with plastic soled ballet slippers for riding.
    None that I like AND that fit properly. I have a wide foot and high instep so finding MTB shoes that fit comfortably is a chore. I can wear Sidi "wide" shoes or Northwave (which is buy multiples of at a time).
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  11. #11
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    Flats for me, learned on them from the start and haven't looked back. Helped me develop proper technique.

  12. #12
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    Hello fellow wide footer. I just ordered a set of custom Lake MX332 in extra wide...tried the wide version and they weren't quite enough. They feel like I'd imagine ballet slippers would. Amazing. Foot is a 4E. Previous clipless shoe was Specialized Recon Wide with some stretching - they were still a tad narrow, but thankfully had laces.

    One reason I like clipless is having the stiff platform without compromising feel, especially with a large foot. The Harriers are huge, but still not like a carbon sole. The other is being able to lift the bike without making it heavy first...normally just to make it a tad lighter, e.g. off-camber roots where traction is nonexistent and I've already got body momentum in the proper arc, especially with a very light bike so its impact is negligible. Obviously, I do not mean for bunny hopping and such - that'd be poor technique.

    When conditions are wet, boundaries are going to be pushed on steeps or with air time, or a lot of hiking will happen, flats are the only choice.

  13. #13
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    In my experience it's not the pedal clip or spike grip of flats that keeps your feet on the pedals. It's the horizontal force on the pedals created by good riding technique. As a kid my BMX race bike had terrible pedals by today's standards, but I could bunny hop very well in Sunday shoes!
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  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Empty_Beer View Post
    I'm waiting for e-clipless pedals to come out.

    I demo'd a $8K bike with flat pedals last week. I don't really get it. (The price or the flat pedal thing). RYOR though.
    I'm sure that some fine bike company is already on the path to innovation to create the ultimate clipless pedal. A pedal with a clip/unclip assist.

    Quote Originally Posted by 5k bike 50cent legs View Post
    In my experience it's not the pedal clip or spike grip of flats that keeps your feet on the pedals. It's the horizontal force on the pedals created by good riding technique. As a kid my BMX race bike had terrible pedals by today's standards, but I could bunny hop very well in Sunday shoes!
    That's a really good point. I was able to bunnyhop my BMX bike onto and over stuff as a kid with those shitty plastic pedals. Didn't matter if I was wearing running shoes or some grip tape ravaged skate shoes. If the pedals were wet was another story though. As an adult I struggle to bunnyhop my mountain bike over small obstacles without assistance from other trail features LOL. Child me would be pretty ashamed of adult me.

  15. #15
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    toe clips.

  16. #16
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    Here in Pinecrest, there can be hiking on granite slab and across logs, so the 5-10's are kinda like rock climbing shoes- way better than those metal cleats scapeing the rock. The downhills can be quite technical, so it just feels more comfortable to not be clipped in or fumbling around trying to get clipped back in if you inadvertently unclip. On an hour long climb, how much time are you going to lose on flats? A couple minutes or so? Big deal. But, it's a personal preference thing, and on easier terrain, I suppose you might as well use clips. Pretty easy to swap pedals and use either one.

  17. #17
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    Good riders can go either way without any issue

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  18. #18
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    Sam. Hill. Flats are way less fascist

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by DriverB View Post
    Good riders can go either way without any issue

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    So, what are you running?

  20. #20
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    Next time I see Manuel Beastly I will check out his pedals.Flat pedals or clipless-smithd_13_04_20_img_7539.jpg
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  21. #21
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    Clipless hurts my feet and ego, so I ride flats

    Feet - From pushing the bike
    Ego - From tipping over

  22. #22
    middle ring single track
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    I'm pretty sure riding clipless voids MediCare coverage; I got away from them along time before I had to.

    Flats are where it's at.
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  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by griz View Post
    So, what are you running?
    I like Diety TMACs on the flat side and XTR PD 9020s on the Clipless side.

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  24. #24
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    Clipless pedals for lower skilled riders should be illegal. I'm gettin' really tired of seeing people jumping up and pulling the bike by the pedals. It would be less cringey if they at least pretended to do a bunnyhop.

  25. #25
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    What i dont like on flats are the pins. They really dig into your shins in a way clipless wouldnt. So i ordered a set of black market plastic pedal. Those plastic pins doesnt grip that well with 5/10 shoes.

    I eventually ordered a pair of funn pedal from uk that is clipless one side, flat on the other side. My shin is still a mess, but at least i dont have to choose clipless or flat.

  26. #26
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    Flats always and forever. "Heavy feet light hands" flats really force you to learn it right.

  27. #27
    Hella Olde
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    phlatz

  28. #28
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    Started riding flats when I started bikepacking. Makes the HAB easier to be in regular shoes.

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  29. #29
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    E-bikes make clipless pedals obsolete
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  30. #30
    fc
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    I believe that one of the greatest crimes against mountain biking humanity was the trend to 'force' everyone to clipless 15-30 years ago.

    After I've been biking 6 months, pretty much everyone I met and everything I read said, "Now, you're ready for clipless."

    So I did the deed and fell dozens/hundreds of times on bad products like the Onza H.O. pedal, eggbeater and other works in progress. I finally figured it out and had a decent time.

    I did have a choice to stay flats back then but would been an outcast and beaten with sticks and stones... like Bikerfox. If I stuck with flats, I would have figured out how to stay glued to the bike very quickly using physics and technique. I wouldn't have had to spend a year unlearning how to pull up on pedals.

    Anyway, fast forward 20 years and I think mountain bikers have a better choice now. As they become intermediate and advanced riders, they can go clipless or flats. Each path has its benefits and has a ton of product options. Technique and coaching is available too on each discipline. So again, kids nowadays have it much better than us old fogeys.

    Here's some of the worst products introduced to our sport.

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  31. #31
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    Yeah, but 30 years ago neither the flat pedals or especially the shoes to wear with them were of today's quality and selection. The biggest difference clipless made for me was the hard soled shoes which made a huge difference. A couple guys in our Team AARP group that previously dabbled in flats a few years ago missed the stiff soled shoes and gravitated back to clipless. However, I'm really liking the Five Ten Hellcats "compromise" as they are working out for both at the moment. If I go all in on flats, I will look at other options...if I can find some that fit my fit since most don't.
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  32. #32
    Axe
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    Flat. My clipless pedals are almost unused now. Modern, thin, grippy flats and sticky shoes work nicely. Less fatigue after a long ride.

  33. #33
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    My MTBs have always been flat. My road and gravel/adventure bike are MTB SPD. SPD because spinning on road is easier to be stuck to the pedal, but at the same time, fit seems to be more important due to the static seated position on road. Road SPD is just dumb, can't walk, single sided pedals, etc.

    I've heard the "go clipless" thing as well. Clipless on MTB, for me, sucked. It just doesn't feel natural on trails, especially when I need to dump it...which was often when learning to ride...so I stayed flats. I did clipless on a couple of rides and that was the worst experience ever.

    I don't think I have any technique on flats, but I've never "popped off" the flats except when I get out of line and about to crash any way. The few jumps I do seems to hold OK. I can't bunnyhop for shit, and rear lifts are dreadful, and do need to work on that. Getting air seems OK, probably due to physics. Berms, corners, etc. seems to hold for me as well. I only took one MTB class, but that didn't really teach me anything I didn't already know.

  34. #34
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    I rode clipless for years... it was fine for non technical XC trails, but my shoes sucked to hike in (stiff soled Sidis with inflexible plastic nubs). When I got my new bike I decided to that I would tackle more technical trails and wanted the option of bailing more quickly if things went wrong. I prefer the flats and my shoes are so much more comfortable, though I have managed to mangle my shins with the pedal pins :/

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  35. #35
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    Boom. That's it, Francis. And this crime is still occurring, though much progress has been made.

    Rick

  36. #36
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    I have wide feet too real chore to find shoes that fit will have to try North
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  37. #37
    fc
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    Quote Originally Posted by 2wheelrevolution View Post
    Boom. That's it, Francis. And this crime is still occurring, though much progress has been made.

    Rick
    Flat pedal jedi quote:

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  38. #38
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    Quote Originally Posted by Harry Mackenzie View Post
    ...I'm gettin' really tired of seeing people jumping up and pulling the bike by the pedals. It would be less cringey if they at least pretended to do a bunnyhop.
    It's so disappointing to see a cyclist disparaging another cyclist over technique or equipment. I have news for you. Clipless or flat, if you don't pull your feet up they don't come up.

  39. #39
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    Started on clipless with trail riding, progressed to racing a bit of DH on them. Then had a bit of a layoff on the bike for a few years. Got back into it and rode clipless for another 6 months. Decided to throw on a set of flats and spent the next few months going back and forth between the two.

    There was a bit of an adjustment period, especially for jumps or drops where the bike would fall away from me. Technical climbing was also a bit of an issue but I really liked them everywhere else. Fast forward another 1.5 years and I haven't even considered putting the clipless back on. Technical climbs are no longer an issue, my form has improved in all areas, and they are just more fun!

  40. #40
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    Flats for life.

    Back in the days of bad ideas bolted to bicycles, I had some toe clips for racing XC, then switch to those neato power grip things and these days just flat pedals. I'd ridden clipless off and on during that time, but never could quite shake the feeling that I was riding around on stilts. Maybe I'm strange but I notice all that extra stuff(cleat, clip mechanism) in between my foot and the pedal axle. I'm always on the look out for the thinnest flats I can find. I'll probably ride flats forever.

    Riding type....
    I like steep, technical trails, or going really fast with jumps, or like just going really fast and making motorcycle noises with my mouth.
    Flat pedals or clipless-73824_1643129609171_8141410_n.jpg

    Flat pedals or clipless-10400314_1184148174922_2369315_n.jpg

    Flat pedals or clipless-10556345_10204447857427541_3132142018853817162_n.jpg

    Flat pedals or clipless-12314618_10208331987648369_4336112519547717623_o.jpg

    Flat pedals or clipless-18156668_10212972990590542_8699689343770223605_o.jpg

  41. #41
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    After 18 years clipped in, gave flats a go a few weeks back. So far so good, but it'll take a while to be good at it.

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  42. #42
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    I remember when I first started mountain biking back in the late 80s, I asked, 'Why don't you make a mountain bike with similar geometry to my MX Enduro bike, and why should I wear women's clothing when I ride?' All sorts of laughter and scorn followed from the roadies who were at the time 'experts' in all things bicycle related. Clipless pedals are probably one of the last vestiges from the roadie era of influence on mountain biking.
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  43. #43
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    One thing that's pretty sweet - the modern flat shoes+pedal combinations are LIGHTER than clipless.

  44. #44
    tjp
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    They are both good, but I like being attached to the bike. Low speed tips don't scare me at this point - blowing off in rough terrain at speed, now that scares me.

    On Time pedals. been clipless so long dabs aren't an issue and I never get "stuck". Flats would be fun too, I did a quick ride with some a few months ago and it made me giggle, but I don't have any and can't find a compelling reason to by them.

    I don't see how some people are so evangelical about either one. Y'all are funny.

  45. #45
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    Ok, help needed:
    If I were to throw a pair of flats on my bike, how would I go about reteaching myself how to ride? Because I don't want to waste weeks of riding because I'm worrying about my pedals while I learn "proper" technique.

    As of now I cannot descend or climb rough terrain in flats.

  46. #46
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    Quote Originally Posted by RBoardman View Post
    Ok, help needed:
    If I were to throw a pair of flats on my bike, how would I go about reteaching myself how to ride? Because I don't want to waste weeks of riding because I'm worrying about my pedals while I learn "proper" technique.

    As of now I cannot descend or climb rough terrain in flats.
    Put on the flats and go hit a pump track, like Harvey West. That wouldn't be time wasted!

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    Such a long long time to be gone
    and a short time to be there

  48. #48
    Axe
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    Quote Originally Posted by tjp View Post
    blowing off in rough terrain at speed, now that scares me.
    I was blowing off and mangling my shins, then I started dropping my heels a little.

  49. #49
    fc
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    Quote Originally Posted by RBoardman View Post
    Ok, help needed:
    If I were to throw a pair of flats on my bike, how would I go about reteaching myself how to ride? Because I don't want to waste weeks of riding because I'm worrying about my pedals while I learn "proper" technique.

    As of now I cannot descend or climb rough terrain in flats.
    Here's my tutorial:

    1) Get wide, thin pedals and sticky shoes. OneUp Composite Pedals and Fiveten Freerider Pro's are my favorite right now. One can learn on any plastic pedal and sneakers but if you're already riding advanced terrain, it's good to get excellent gear.

    2) Ride around the neighborhood. Do it as much as you can and hop up and down every curb. Get air on every little lip and get comfortable with this setup. Observe how you feel and what you're doing right and wrong on every drop.

    3) Position your feet slightly back. Be more centered on the pedal, not ball of the feet on the axle. This will allow you to work on your heel positioning. It will decrease the chance of you rotating off the pedal too.

    4) Know that you can reposition your feet while riding. Work on this. Feet forward, feet back, angle your feet when cornering. Stick your foot out and return.

    5) Use a dropper post. It is hard to stay on flat pedals during technical descents if you are jacked all the way up high. The reason is heel positioning is hard to do. We have the luxury of dropper posts so use them.

    6) Heel positioning - Here is the golden advice as everything depends on heel positioning. When you are slamming into ruts and rocks, your heels have to be down. Way down during big hits since the impacts will drive you into the pedals, not off it. Same thing with climbing. When you are approaching a technical climb, heel down so you're not jostled off the pedals while climbing.

    7) Work on timing - Timing is everything now and you will need to learn to weight and unweight the bike. Load the bike with all your force on the face of a jump and release when you're at the lip. This is what makes you fly with your bike glued to you. Clipped in riders just pull up to early so you will have to wait now and be patient if that's the world you're coming from. Load the bike, release and let the bike come to you.

    8) Bunnyhop - Learn how to do this. Heel down to get the front up and heel down to rotate and lift the tail up. This is the essence of jumping too on flats.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nxF1Nsrc6S0

    9) Ride, ride, ride - When you first get on flats, you will lose about 30% of your climbing power. Or at least it feels that way. It's because your timing is off, heel position is wrong and you have to use slightly different muscle groups. After a while, it will feel natural. You'll be 1-3% slower since you can't spin as fast or pull up and vary your pedal stroke. Also on rollers, you're not always in the perfect pedaling position and will lose a little time repositioning. It's a big deal if you're racing but insignificant if you're just riding and having fun.

    10) Don't switch - While you're trying to learn flats, stick with it exclusively. If you switch around between clips and flats, it will delay your learning.
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  50. #50
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    Quote Originally Posted by 5k bike 50cent legs View Post
    Put on the flats and go hit a pump track, like Harvey West. That wouldn't be time wasted!

    I don't have a proper bike for a pump track, and there isn't any quality ones near south san jose that I know of.

    If I lived in SC I would buy a dirt jumper in a heartbeat.

  51. #51
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    Quote Originally Posted by fc View Post
    One can learn on any plastic pedal and sneakers but if you're already riding advanced terrain, it's good to get excellent gear.
    My favorite plastic ones are Flybikes Ruben. Surprisingly stable in regular sneakers when weather is dry - lots of concavity. My wife and daughter use them: adequate for not very technical riding.

  52. #52
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    Quote Originally Posted by griffsterb View Post
    Flats always and forever. "Heavy feet light hands" flats really force you to learn it right.
    So if I switch to flats, I might be able to handle a 29er

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    Quote Originally Posted by tjp View Post
    They are both good, but I like being attached to the bike. Low speed tips don't scare me at this point - blowing off in rough terrain at speed, now that scares me.

    On Time pedals. been clipless so long dabs aren't an issue and I never get "stuck". Flats would be fun too, I did a quick ride with some a few months ago and it made me giggle, but I don't have any and can't find a compelling reason to by them.

    I don't see how some people are so evangelical about either one. Y'all are funny.
    I like being attached to the pedals at high speed! Slow wet, muddy tech trails...flats sound great.

  54. #54
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    Quote Originally Posted by fc View Post
    Here's my tutorial:

    1) Get wide, thin pedals and sticky shoes. OneUp Composite Pedals and Fiveten Freerider Pro's are my favorite right now. One can learn on any plastic pedal and sneakers but if you're already riding advanced terrain, it's good to get excellent gear.

    2) Ride around the neighborhood. Do it as much as you can and hop up and down every curb. Get air on every little lip and get comfortable with this setup. Observe how you feel and what you're doing right and wrong on every drop.

    3) Position your feet slightly back. Be more centered on the pedal, not ball of the feet on the axle. This will allow you to work on your heel positioning. It will decrease the chance of you rotating off the pedal too.

    4) Know that you can reposition your feet while riding. Work on this. Feet forward, feet back, angle your feet when cornering. Stick your foot out and return.

    5) Use a dropper post. It is hard to stay on flat pedals during technical descents if you are jacked all the way up high. The reason is heel positioning is hard to do. We have the luxury of dropper posts so use them.

    6) Heel positioning - Here is the golden advice as everything depends on heel positioning. When you are slamming into ruts and rocks, your heels have to be down. Way down during big hits since the impacts will drive you into the pedals, not off it. Same thing with climbing. When you are approaching a technical climb, heel down so you're not jostled off the pedals while climbing.

    7) Work on timing - Timing is everything now and you will need to learn to weight and unweight the bike. Load the bike with all your force on the face of a jump and release when you're at the lip. This is what makes you fly with your bike glued to you. Clipped in riders just pull up to early so you will have to wait now and be patient if that's the world you're coming from. Load the bike, release and let the bike come to you.

    8) Bunnyhop - Learn how to do this. Heel down to get the front up and heel down to rotate and lift the tail up. This is the essence of jumping too on flats.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nxF1Nsrc6S0

    9) Ride, ride, ride - When you first get on flats, you will lose about 30% of your climbing power. Or at least it feels that way. It's because your timing is off, heel position is wrong and you have to use slightly different muscle groups. After a while, it will feel natural. You'll be 1-3% slower since you can't spin as fast or pull up and vary your pedal stroke. Also on rollers, you're not always in the perfect pedaling position and will lose a little time repositioning. It's a big deal if you're racing but insignificant if you're just riding and having fun.

    10) Don't switch - While you're trying to learn flats, stick with it exclusively. If you switch around between clips and flats, it will delay your learning.
    Thank you for the advice.
    I have a pair of thin Diety flats, so I'm good there. But I may need to invest in some proper shoes.

    I should definitely ride around casually more often and work on progressing my skills. Also need to learn how to wheelie.

    Repositioning my feet was something that I struggled with when I wore a pair of 5/10's at a bike park. They were so sticky to the pedals, that once they bounced into the incorrect position I could not slide them back to where they were supposed to be.

    I'm good at using my dropper post and never do the slightest bit of DH or even a log crossing without it out of my way.

    I seem to be able to jump fine with flats, even though I have ridden clipless my whole life. Maybe that is because I have a moto background and a similar technique is used when approaching the lip of a jump.

    If I do convert to flats it will be after my last enduro of the year in Ashland. One thing I have learned is never try anything new right before a race.

  55. #55
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    Having run Frogs and SPD for years after graduating away from Powergrips, I'm back to Powergrips for the Fat Bike, which is for mild singletrack, wash runs, pavement hopping and, this winter, snow.

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    Quote Originally Posted by fc View Post
    I believe that one of the greatest crimes against mountain biking humanity was the trend to 'force' everyone to clipless 15-30 years ago.

    After I've been biking 6 months, pretty much everyone I met and everything I read said, "Now, you're ready for clipless."

    So I did the deed and fell dozens/hundreds of times on bad products like the Onza H.O. pedal, eggbeater and other works in progress. I finally figured it out and had a decent time.

    I did have a choice to stay flats back then but would been an outcast and beaten with sticks and stones... like Bikerfox. If I stuck with flats, I would have figured out how to stay glued to the bike very quickly using physics and technique. I wouldn't have had to spend a year unlearning how to pull up on pedals.

    Anyway, fast forward 20 years and I think mountain bikers have a better choice now. As they become intermediate and advanced riders, they can go clipless or flats. Each path has its benefits and has a ton of product options. Technique and coaching is available too on each discipline. So again, kids nowadays have it much better than us old fogeys.

    Here's some of the worst products introduced to our sport.

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    fc, did you ever try the Onza pedals? Those elastomers sucked...they were affected by the ambient temps...impossible to unclip during the Winter

  57. #57
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    Personally, I love Powergrips. I enjoyed clipless, but am happy to return to shoes I can wander around/hike in-and still get good connection to the pedals.

  58. #58
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    Quote Originally Posted by griz View Post
    fc, did you ever try the Onza pedals? Those elastomers sucked...they were affected by the ambient temps...impossible to unclip during the Winter
    Yeah, they were key to the birth of Mtbr. How could a product so popular and so revered be so dangerous to use.
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  59. #59
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    Quote Originally Posted by Axe View Post
    My favorite plastic ones are Flybikes Ruben. Surprisingly stable in regular sneakers when weather is dry - lots of concavity. My wife and daughter use them: adequate for not very technical riding.
    Thes ones are good too. Grippy at $20.

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  60. #60
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    Quote Originally Posted by fc View Post
    I'm tempted to pick up a set and see how fast I destroy them at Northstar...

  61. #61
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    Quote Originally Posted by RBoardman View Post
    Thank you for the advice.
    I have a pair of thin Diety flats, so I'm good there. But I may need to invest in some proper shoes.

    I should definitely ride around casually more often and work on progressing my skills. Also need to learn how to wheelie.

    Repositioning my feet was something that I struggled with when I wore a pair of 5/10's at a bike park. They were so sticky to the pedals, that once they bounced into the incorrect position I could not slide them back to where they were supposed to be.

    I'm good at using my dropper post and never do the slightest bit of DH or even a log crossing without it out of my way.

    I seem to be able to jump fine with flats, even though I have ridden clipless my whole life. Maybe that is because I have a moto background and a similar technique is used when approaching the lip of a jump.

    If I do convert to flats it will be after my last enduro of the year in Ashland. One thing I have learned is never try anything new right before a race.
    Right on, you're on the right track.

    This is a worthwhile time investment and whatever happens, you will learn more about bike physics and how to be one with the bike..

    When my kid was tiny, he could do this while I had zero chance of pulling it off. I asked him how he didn't pull of his feet off the pedals and he said, "why would i want to do that??"
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  62. #62
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    Quote Originally Posted by fc View Post
    Those do work better than Ruben's - with proper flat pedal shoes. Flybikes advantage is with regular softer sneakers.. Which is more for a casual rider..

  63. #63
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    I have both, flats (Race Face Chesters) on my Hightower and clipless (Crankbrothers platforms) on my Rock Lobster hardtail. I have bad knee's from 40 years of competitive running so, like having flats which allows me to adjust my feet on the fly. I have clipless for my road bike and a monster cross bike I ride occasionally. I ride XC type terrain mostly.

  64. #64
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    They say flat pedals win medals, so far I'm at 2.
    NICA XC, CES Enduro, Fontana DH, Sea Otter DS, always flats.

    I've saved myself from countless bails and have become a better rider on flats, the added optionality and consistency on the trail make for a looser, rowdier ride. It's fast as hell if you know how to do it just right and on some steep and muddy tracks it is mandatory to keep times down. Try riding SoCal steeps like SM and MH with clips and you will be buying flat's by the time you climb back to the car.

    Clips make your riding fast and hoppy by virtue of being clipped in, flats eliminate any advantage you have and make you work for your jumps, speed, tech, everything!

    The secret is to hop WITH the bike and go over, not on, tricky sections of trail. Push your heels down when things are getting sketch, lift them when things get boring. It becomes second nature within your first 50 miles and if you go to the pump track or flow trails regularly you can speed up the longer learning process of staying on the pedals and . Marred shins and torn up shoes will compensate you to be a better rider and you will have more fun on the trail then ever before.

  65. #65
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    Quote Originally Posted by Singlespeedmedia View Post
    They say flat pedals win medals, so far I'm at 2.
    NICA XC, CES Enduro, Fontana DH, Sea Otter DS, always flats.

    I've saved myself from countless bails and have become a better rider on flats, the added optionality and consistency on the trail make for a looser, rowdier ride. It's fast as hell if you know how to do it just right and on some steep and muddy tracks it is mandatory to keep times down. Try riding SoCal steeps like SM and MH with clips and you will be buying flat's by the time you climb back to the car.

    Clips make your riding fast and hoppy by virtue of being clipped in, flats eliminate any advantage you have and make you work for your jumps, speed, tech, everything!

    The secret is to hop WITH the bike and go over, not on, tricky sections of trail. Push your heels down when things are getting sketch, lift them when things get boring. It becomes second nature within your first 50 miles and if you go to the pump track or flow trails regularly you can speed up the longer learning process of staying on the pedals and . Marred shins and torn up shoes will compensate you to be a better rider and you will have more fun on the trail then ever before.




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  66. #66
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    Started on flats, went to clips, back on flats for the freeride heyday and have been back on clips since. If I were to pull the downhill bike down out of the rafters the flats would be a no brainer. I think it is crucial to develop technique on flats then deciding what works for you.

  67. #67
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    I actually did away with pedals all together. Forces you to ride in the saddle on the DH and works more running muscles for the ups. My taint is like a baseball glove now.
    I'm not sure how this works.

  68. #68
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    flat platform pedals all the way!

    better for the occasional hike up a steep pitch

    work even better now that Five Ten makes grippy shoes for platform pedals!

    easier to step off the bike or put a foot out on a turn or tricky section (less commitment)

    keeps you going a little slower maybe but, sometimes that can be a good thing, it is for me!

  69. #69
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    Who cares about medals. Flat pedals pull bitches. I landed my qom on flats. She said it wasn't the pedals but it was the pedals. Gamut podiums ftw (for the women)

  70. #70
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    Quote Originally Posted by squashyo View Post
    I actually did away with pedals all together. Forces you to ride in the saddle on the DH and works more running muscles for the ups. My taint is like a baseball glove now.
    Pics???

  71. #71
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    Quote Originally Posted by griz View Post
    Pics???
    No problem
    Attached Images Attached Images  
    I'm not sure how this works.

  72. #72
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    Quote Originally Posted by mtbrdan View Post
    Started on flats, went to clips, back on flats for the freeride heyday and have been back on clips since. If I were to pull the downhill bike down out of the rafters the flats would be a no brainer. I think it is crucial to develop technique on flats then deciding what works for you.
    I agree with this. Flats give you the technique and SPDs give you the speed. If you can ride both with full confidence, you'll have an edge.

    SPD's give you a little more speed because of the shoes, faster spin, foot always at the optimal pedaling position. It's worth about 1-3% only and that is meaningless to most on the daily rides. But if you're racing or into very long rides, faster by a minute in a 100 minute race is very significant.

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    I ate shit this weekend and sprained my right thumb for what has to be the 3rd or 4th time in last two years. I'm just wondering if I wasn't clipped in if I couldn't have bailed easier and avoided a face plant.
    After reading all your replies I think I may ride clipped in on my road bike and start trying the flats on my MTB


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  74. #74
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    Quote Originally Posted by injected59 View Post
    I ate shit this weekend and sprained my right thumb for what has to be the 3rd or 4th time in last two years. I'm just wondering if I wasn't clipped in if I couldn't have bailed easier and avoided a face plant.
    After reading all your replies I think I may ride clipped in on my road bike and start trying the flats on my MTB


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    For sure, your chances are better. You can stick your foot out as your tires start to lose traction and/or you can jump away from your bike.

    You can still have the same injury with flats but your chances are better.

    Wear one of these new lightweight knee pads too. Nobody plans on crashing and knee pads now offer so much protection without getting too much in the way now.

    fc
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  75. #75
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    Quote Originally Posted by DriverB View Post
    I like Diety TMACs on the flat side and XTR PD 9020s on the Clipless side.

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    Deity TMac's = Best flat pedal ever.

    Concave like a little skateboard under each foot.
    They grip so well there are times after an extra rough downhill where you can hear my 5-10's peel off the pedal.


    Flat pedals or clipless-deity-tmac-pedal-bladerunner-blacklabel-micro-dm-stem-cavity-35-2-600x400.jpg

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    Quote Originally Posted by T.Max View Post
    Deity TMac's = Best flat pedal ever.

    Concave like a little skateboard under each foot.
    They grip so well there are times after an extra rough downhill where you can hear my 5-10's peel off the pedal.


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    Totally agree. I have the same chrome color, amazing highly engineering look in person as well.

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  77. #77
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    Silly question. Science tells us that there is no real difference between the two in terms of power. It then comes down to personal pref. If you are an XC nerd, then it comes down to tradition, and fitting in with the lycra crowd. Ride whatever the hell you like!

    I like the ability to bail - so many times have I chucked the bike away from me and landed on my feet when it could have been quite painful. I do 100 mile races on flats and they are the least of my worries.

    Probably the best real use for clipless is super techy riding (aka world cup DH-type courses) where your feet can get knocked off the pedals easily.
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  78. #78
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    Quote Originally Posted by T.Max View Post
    Deity TMac's = Best flat pedal ever.

    Concave like a little skateboard under each foot.
    They grip so well there are times after an extra rough downhill where you can hear my 5-10's peel off the pedal.


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    I need those.

  79. #79
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    FWIW moto's are ridden over some very challenging terrain and I've never heard it proposed that there'd be an advantage to the riders being "clipped in".
    Content here does not officially represent the CA DPR.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Moe Ped View Post
    FWIW moto's are ridden over some very challenging terrain and I've never heard it proposed that there'd be an advantage to the riders being "clipped in".
    Very good point. I'll use that.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Moe Ped View Post
    FWIW moto's are ridden over some very challenging terrain and I've never heard it proposed that there'd be an advantage to the riders being "clipped in".
    The majority of folks racing the World Cups are using clipless pedals these days. I figured there must be some valid reason. So your point is they are just being silly? Maybe there is no use for clipless pedals and they should just die off like long stems and narrow bars. I'm with you on that.
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  82. #82
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    Quote Originally Posted by shredchic View Post
    The majority of folks racing the World Cups are using clipless pedals these days. I figured there must be some valid reason. So your point is they are just being silly? Maybe there is no use for clipless pedals and they should just die off like long stems and narrow bars. I'm with you on that.
    The reason is they pedal... pedal hard, pedal fast, pedal through rocks they do.

    Clipless allows you to spin faster and use different muscle groups. Sprinting is better. And one is always in the right shoe pedaling position on the whole run. On flats there's some time spent repositioning the feet.

    So although some lab tests may show power output is the same or comparable. Pedaling clipped in is faster. Only 1-3% faster according my best sources. Insignificant for most rides but very important for racing.
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  83. #83
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    Flat pedals let you position your feet more towards the center.
    For those that use flats, do you use the ball of your feet or your arches?

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  84. #84
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    Anything good (flats) in the $100 range?


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    Quote Originally Posted by Moe Ped View Post
    FWIW moto's are ridden over some very challenging terrain and I've never heard it proposed that there'd be an advantage to the riders being "clipped in".
    The difference between motorcycles and bicycles is the weight ratio between rider and machine. A 200 lb bike vs. a 30 lb bike...the moto is going to be very stable...and a moto has a motor, so you're not pedaling.

  86. #86
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    I ride flats, because I need to be able to bail.

    I use my clipless mtn bike shoes for spin class at the gym.

  87. #87
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    Quote Originally Posted by griz View Post
    The difference between motorcycles and bicycles is the weight ratio between rider and machine. A 200 lb bike vs. a 30 lb bike...the moto is going to be very stable...and a moto has a motor, so you're not pedaling.
    The other big difference is you can use your knees to hold onto the moto.
    Such a long long time to be gone
    and a short time to be there

  88. #88
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    Quote Originally Posted by injected59 View Post
    Anything good (flats) in the $100 range?
    DMR v12 Magnesium is $75 at Chain reaction. 350g

  89. #89
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    Quote Originally Posted by Axe View Post
    DMR v12 Magnesium is $75 at Chain reaction. 350g
    Thnx I'll take a look


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  90. #90
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    Quote Originally Posted by fc View Post
    The reason is they pedal... pedal hard, pedal fast, pedal through rocks they do.

    Clipless allows you to spin faster and use different muscle groups. Sprinting is better. And one is always in the right shoe pedaling position on the whole run. On flats there's some time spent repositioning the feet.

    So although some lab tests may show power output is the same or comparable. Pedaling clipped in is faster. Only 1-3% faster according my best sources. Insignificant for most rides but very important for racing.
    Lab tests show that efficiency at LOW POWER OUTPUTS is the roughly the same.

    Great. You burn a couple fewer calories while out getting groceries.
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  91. #91
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    Quote Originally Posted by injected59 View Post
    Anything good (flats) in the $100 range?


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    These are excellent...they live on both my bikes: https://www.raceface.com/products/de...chester-pedals
    I'm not sure how this works.

  92. #92
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    I just went to clipless and dam I have eaten it at low speeds.
    I have learned that you can't hesitate at the slow technical obstacles, climbs though are much more efficient.



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  93. #93
    Calgon, take me away!
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    Been on flats for about 3 months now. I do like being able to wear normal comfortable shoes (5 tens currently) and just hop on and ride, and it's easier to dab. However I feel like the pedals have too much grip. It's kind of a pain getting your foot in the right position. I'm thinking about grinding down the pins a bit to reduce the grip.

    I have 13.5 very wide feet, and had to add pedal extenders to my clipless pedals to keep from banging my ankles on the cranks. The flat pedals did eliminate that problem. Also the size 14 5-tens fit beautifully, better than any clipless shoes I could find. Still I may go back to clipless at some point; we will see.
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  94. #94
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    Quote Originally Posted by squashyo View Post
    These are excellent...they live on both my bikes: https://www.raceface.com/products/de...chester-pedals
    Thanks, those look attractive.


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  95. #95
    Paper or plastic?
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    Got some xpedos flats at the LBS. Seems to work fine. I found slow techy climb to be harder with the flats as my feet keep bouncing. Not a deal killer though. Jumping will require more practice.

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  96. #96
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    Quote Originally Posted by griz View Post
    The difference between motorcycles and bicycles is the weight ratio between rider and machine. A 200 lb bike vs. a 30 lb bike...the moto is going to be very stable...and a moto has a motor, so you're not pedaling.
    I know it depends on the course but it seems like there's not much pedaling DH'ing. And how many bikers continue pedaling when they've grabbed some air?
    Content here does not officially represent the CA DPR.

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  97. #97
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    Quote Originally Posted by 5k bike 50cent legs View Post
    The other big difference is you can use your knees to hold onto the moto.
    Aaah! Pseudo tanks for bikes!
    Content here does not officially represent the CA DPR.

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  98. #98
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    My bother has been on my case to switch to clipless, and I'm gonna send him the link to this thread to give him a little food for thought lol.

    My wife and I both run Deity Compound flats, and we love them. Wide, thin, light, rebuild-able/serviceable, and cheaper than the alloy versions (although those TMACs look sick!). Up until now I've worn Brooks Beast running shoes because the Compounds grip so well I hadn't felt the need to spend any more money, but my cat took a piss in BOTH of them the other day, so a new pair of Five Ten Freeriders just showed up on my doorstep yesterday. Can't wait to try them out!

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  99. #99
    I'm really diggin it!
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    Quote Originally Posted by jacksonlui View Post
    Flat pedals let you position your feet more towards the center.
    For those that use flats, do you use the ball of your feet or your arches?

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    Both. Thats the beauty of flats and one of the big disadvantages of clips.

    When I climb I can naturally put the axle over the 5th metatarsle. When I descend my feet naturally fall into the center of the pedal which is much better for jumping and a lot safer as well.

  100. #100
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    I've ridden both over the years and tend to prefer riding clips. My riding ranges from Skeggs, Water Dog, Alpine, Carlmont, Pacifica & some times the dirt jumps if I'm riding my BMX race bike. Overall, I feel faster, more efficient & have better control over technical choppy sections with clips. I do run flats on my dirt jumper unless racing slalom. When doing sprint training for BMX I sometimes put flats on to practice better form and develop different muscles. It's also great to run flats at local races and switch to clips for bigger races - you feel so much faster for those big events.

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