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  1. #1
    Give it a crank
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    Explaining benefits of clipless to newbies

    It's easy to tell a newbie that riding with clipless pedals is better. But what specific reasons make clipless better?

    I'll start: it keeps your feet exactly where they're supposed to be when it gets rough.

  2. #2
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    yep, exactly where they're supposed to be when it gets rough...its all relative brother
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Explaining benefits of clipless to newbies-otb.jpg  


  3. #3
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    LOL nice photo.

    "Clipless allows you to transfer power to the crank more efficiently than flats. The leg muscles can work up/down (i.e. push/pull) and also apply force forward and back, which is hard to do with flats since flats are most efficient in the down (push down) direction."

    Does that help explain it some?

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mtn-Rider View Post
    It's easy to tell a newbie that riding with clipless pedals is better. But what specific reasons make clipless better?

    I'll start: it keeps your feet exactly where they're supposed to be when it gets rough.
    because it's not necessarily better, especially for a newbie

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by RipRoar View Post
    yep, exactly where they're supposed to be when it gets rough...its all relative brother
    that's gonna hurt

  6. #6
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    I switched to platforms a few weeks ago because Im working on manuals, wheelies and big drops. I have found that the platforms are much better than clipless for this experimental stuff while learning. Also Im much more willing to take risks on new technical areas.

    Where the clip-ins are much better

    1) any time my leg touches the spike on the platform I get a cut. My legs look terrible covered with scabs, although the cuts didnt really hurt at all

    2) going up long hills is definitely not as easy on the platforms.


    Im planning to ride the platforms for 6 months or so and then switch back to clip-ins.

    Also, Im talking about real flats/platforms with spikes and five ten shoes, not the crappy ones that come on wal-mart bikes.

  7. #7
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    Agreed, they're not necessarily better, it's more a personal preference thing of how you like to ride. Have seen the best riders of the day ride platforms on many occasions, and it's pretty much a given that posers will be wearing clipless.
    Think the best thing about clipless aside from the obvious upstroke advantage, is the added control of the bike for bunnie hops and such.

    BTW, I think chocolate is better than vanilla, does that help?
    Last edited by theMeat; 11-10-2012 at 06:30 AM.
    Round and round we go

  8. #8
    see me rollin, they hatin
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    newbies cant appreciate that stuff yet. they're just trying to stay upright! you can tell them why YOU wear em, but dont expect a newbie to wear them on their first ride either. For me, it's fatigue. they make me less tired on long rides
    fap

  9. #9
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    efficient pedaling
    2014 TREK FARLEY
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    2012 TREK SUPERFLY AL ELITE

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by RipRoar View Post
    yep, exactly where they're supposed to be when it gets rough...its all relative brother
    Great header shot, but he's already out of 1 pedal and will surely be unclipped from the other before he lands- clipless pedals are (were) the least of his worries.


    As far as explaining clipless benefits to newbies, I'm not sure that's such a good idea. I had a lot of experience with clipless on the road before I ever started mountain biking so it was a natural transition for me, but I think someone brand new to the sport should work on the basics for awhile before giving clipless a go.

  11. #11
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    I'd personally be worried about the bear he is surely staring at wide-mouthed just out of frame.

  12. #12
    Laramie, Wyoming
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    How can you say "chocolate is better than vanilla"? I like chocolate milk but I like vanilla ice cream.

    I would never ride my road bike without clipless pedals but I'm not as fond of clipless in the snow and cold on the fatbike because they don't make a warm enough shoes for riding during the winter in Wyoming if you are doing more than a stroll across town.

  13. #13
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    You can do a pedal-with-one-leg trick with clipless pedals. Beyond that, it quickly boils down to preference and riding style. If you are riding on roads or double track, clipless pedals let you benefit from the increase in efficiency. Efficiency isn't everything nor is it required to have fun. Cycling specific shoes are helpful to minimize foot fatigue.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by shibiwan View Post
    LOL nice photo.

    "Clipless allows you to transfer power to the crank more efficiently than flats. The leg muscles can work up/down (i.e. push/pull) and also apply force forward and back, which is hard to do with flats since flats are most efficient in the down (push down) direction."

    Does that help explain it some?
    Here we go again .

    Clipless helps keep the feet on the pedals make pedaling in circle a no brainer. Clipless also allow you to be heavy or light on the bike without feet position change on the pedals and floats are pretty nice welcome. It also better in a grunting situation, think single speed on a steep climb low cadence grinding.

    There is not really improvement in pedaling efficiency over flats, and the push/pull, up/down is one of the biggest myth noobs tell other noobs about the superiority of clipless over flats. A simple reason any noobs want to convert to clipless is to look good. I've never met a rider who out performs the limitation of flats and seeking better solution, myself included.

    Racers and pros use clipless for more reasons than better transfer because racing is not about form its about time. You'd have to dedicate lots of practice to better form and once you achieve a good pedaling form it does not really matter much what type of pedals you're using.




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  15. #15
    Front Range, Colorado
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    I disagree, how can you say there is not better pedal efficiency using clipless over flats. A clipless pedal puts the ball of your foot in the optimal position to push and pull through the power stroke. The shoe of a clipless pedal is curved and stiff to provide that "sweet spot" for optimal performance. It keeps your foot in that position. A non clipless flat pedal doesn't keep your foot in that optimal position. There is movement around the pedal where your foot meets it. That's not to say some riders are better riders on flats in all aspects. But IMO if a new rider starts out on clipless and sticks with them and then masters them in,all trail conditions they will become a better rider overall. These guys that are amazing riders on non clipless flat pedals, there is a high probability that they either never tried clipless or tried them and never mastered them. Sure some mastered them and reverted back to flats but that is rare.
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  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by RipRoar View Post
    yep, exactly where they're supposed to be when it gets rough...its all relative brother
    Awesome action shot! Makes me wonder how the landing on the photographer went, obviously the camera survived after recording the shot.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by DIRTJUNKIE, View Post
    I disagree, how can you say there is not better pedal efficiency using clipless over flats. A clipless pedal puts the ball of your foot in the optimal position to push and pull through the power stroke.

    Pulling is not as efficient as pushing, the small muscles that do the "pulling" can easily get overwhelmed by the large muscles "pushing". In order to benefit the efficiency the riders have to hard work on their pedaling form. Clipless pedal would not give you an instant improvement in efficiency, by no mean.

    The shoe of a clipless pedal is curved and stiff to provide that "sweet spot" for optimal performance. It keeps your foot in that position. A non clipless flat pedal doesn't keep your foot in that optimal position.

    Shoes of the clipless is designed as an extension of the pedal, stiff carbon sole(in some model) pretty much transform your shoes into pedals.

    There is movement around the pedal where your foot meets it. That's not to say some riders are better riders on flats in all aspects. But IMO if a new rider starts out on clipless and sticks with them and then masters them in,all trail conditions they will become a better rider overall.

    I agree, flats pedals with good sticky shoes yield zero floats.


    These guys that are amazing riders on non clipless flat pedals, there is a high probability that they either never tried clipless or tried them and never mastered them. Sure some mastered them and reverted back to flats but that is rare.
    As for your last comment, I feel it's the other way around. More and more riders switch or add flats to their riding, myself included. My die-hard, bib wearing XC riding friends gave flats combo a tried and they just love them. Clipless while great at many things it does contribute to many bad habits.

    I used both but prefer flats now for most of my riding, and one of the perk is when I get the popular question "Why don't you convert to clipless, they are more efficient".

  18. #18
    Front Range, Colorado
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    Quote Originally Posted by mimi1885 View Post
    As for your last comment, I feel it's the other way around. More and more riders switch or add flats to their riding, myself included. My die-hard, bib wearing XC riding friends gave flats combo a tried and they just love them. Clipless while great at many things it does contribute to many bad habits.

    I used both but prefer flats now for most of my riding, and one of the perk is when I get the popular question "Why don't you convert to clipless, they are more efficient".
    Well yeah obviously once you've mastered clipless and then flats it becomes a personal preference, of what works better for you. I just really think a newcomer to the sport should start out on clipless and master them. Then if desired try flats, if a new rider starts out on flats clipless will never be given the chance to be mastered.
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  19. #19
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    Yup- rite of passage.

    I have flats on both bikes, but I'm completely comfortable clipped in. Both are valid and viable options, but you can't make a truly informed choice without really learning both systems. And flats have their own learning curve.
    "Back off, man. I'm a scientist." - Dr. Peter Venkman

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  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by DIRTJUNKIE, View Post
    Well yeah obviously once you've mastered clipless and then flats it becomes a personal preference, of what works better for you. I just really think a newcomer to the sport should start out on clipless and master them. Then if desired try flats, if a new rider starts out on flats clipless will never be given the chance to be mastered.
    That I strongly agree. Using both types makes better rider for sure.

    There are many good reasons noobs should consider clipless but more efficiency is definitely not one of them, unfortunately it's usually the first, if not the only reason given.

    I read many different school of thoughts on pedaling stroke and I didn't see the part that mention pulling up on the pedal anywhere. How in the world that they think pulling up on the pedal stroke would generate more power than pushing down stroke I don't know.


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    Last edited by mimi1885; 11-10-2012 at 07:17 PM.

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by mimi1885 View Post
    That I strongly agree. Using both types makes better rider for sure.

    There are many good reasons noobs should consider clipless but more efficiency is definitely one of them, unfortunately it's usually the first, if not the only reason given.

    I read many different school of thoughts on pedaling stroke and I didn't see the part that mention pulling up on the pedal anywhere. How in the world that they think pulling up on the pedal stroke would generate more power than pushing down stroke I don't know.


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    Yeah I agree this pedaling up in my experience and mind seems to be unfounded. When pedaling up the other foot is doing the power by pedaling down. The up pedal is just along for the ride and IMO not making a difference. The more efficiency theory comes into play with the fact that with a clipless pedal your foot is stationary in the optimal position for an efficient power stroke every time. No room for movement like a flat that can change the efficiency.
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  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by DIRTJUNKIE, View Post
    Yeah I agree this pedaling up in my experience and mind seems to be unfounded. When pedaling up the other foot is doing the power by pedaling down. The up pedal is just along for the ride and IMO not making a difference. The more efficiency theory comes into play with the fact that with a clipless pedal your foot is stationary in the optimal position for an efficient power stroke every time. No room for movement like a flat that can change the efficiency.
    I just realized that the auto correction took out "not" on the pedaling stroke context. But your post is correct, it's one of the pros clip in, the riders do not have to focus about their footing anymore, regardless the pedaling action would always be in circle and once optimized foot position is set it's 100% repeat every time you clip in.


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  23. #23
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    Been riding clipless 25 yrs and just bought new TIME sets

    I will not change to flats. However, more and more of the experienced guys I ride with are switching back to FLATS. I would correct "BACK" to flats with the following observation. I think the modern Flats with modern rubber soled shoes are superior to what we rode in the 1970's. I really should give Flat pedals a shot. If I were a newbie, I would only ride Quality Flat pedals paired with Quality shoes. No brainer. I have been beat on 3500 foot fire road climbs by guys with Flats (by about 10 feet, hahaha).

  24. #24
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    My wife is a newbie, and she rides flats. Due to a horrendous knee injury, she has to ride flats - her bike is fitted perfectly. That being said, I wouldn't recommend clipless to anyone, even though personally, I prefer clipless for mountain biking. I'm good with just letting people ride with what they feel comfortable with. Unless somebody asks me why I ride clipless, I'm not one to start telling people, "Oh... you ought to __________". I wouldn't ride my BMX or go dirt jumping with clipless pedals.

    If somebody inquires, I tell them I like the pedal stroke, the feel... but it's a personal preference. Flats are cool, too. Not one has an advantage over the other - depends on the rider and what they ride better with.

    If my wife rides clipless, her knee kills her and then she can't ride for a week. How is that an advantage?

    Some riders will spend more time worrying about falling over with clipless pedals than actually riding well... there's no advantage in that. I'd prefer them just to stick to flat pedals.

    Conversely, some riders will go to clipless and rock with them. Whatever works the best is the best pedal choice.

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dion View Post
    My wife is a newbie, and she rides flats. Due to a horrendous knee injury, she has to ride flats - her bike is fitted perfectly. That being said, I wouldn't recommend clipless to anyone, even though personally, I prefer clipless for mountain biking. I'm good with just letting people ride with what they feel comfortable with. Unless somebody asks me why I ride clipless, I'm not one to start telling people, "Oh... you ought to __________". I wouldn't ride my BMX or go dirt jumping with clipless pedals.

    If somebody inquires, I tell them I like the pedal stroke, the feel... but it's a personal preference. Flats are cool, too. Not one has an advantage over the other - depends on the rider and what they ride better with.

    If my wife rides clipless, her knee kills her and then she can't ride for a week. How is that an advantage?

    Some riders will spend more time worrying about falling over with clipless pedals than actually riding well... there's no advantage in that. I'd prefer them just to stick to flat pedals.



    Conversely, some riders will go to clipless and rock with them. Whatever works the best is the best pedal choice.

    Dion, You wouldn't happen to be a politician would you?
    You sure flapped your gums a lot and came up with nothing in the end. It's like you were trying to please everybody's opinion but had no real opinion of your own. Trying to please everybody in life is a way to conduct oneself.

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