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  1. #1
    EXW
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    Switching To Platform Pedals - Questions

    I've been a mountain biker (and road rider) for around 20 years and for all of that time I've ridden clipless.

    This year I decided to try platform pedals on my mountain bike due to some old knee issues and also thinking it might give me the confidence to try lines I would otherwise avoid.

    So yesterday I rode my local trail, which I would classify as easy single track with a few techie sections using my new platforms and some 510 Impact shoes.

    I felt slow the entire ride. My feet felt solid on the pedals, in fact I had to get use to less movement since there was no float. I just didn't seem nearly as fast (which ain't all that fast ) as usual.

    Today, legs, especially my calves are more sore than I would expect from yesterday's ride.

    Anyone else experience this going to platforms after a long time on clipless? Is this normal? Any tips?

  2. #2
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    Re: Switching To Platform Pedals - Questions

    I just went clipless because my knees hurt and I felt slow on flats, so I don't know. Do you ride with your saddle fixed? I know that, from flats to clips, I did change the position when I switched.

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  3. #3
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    Welcome to the site
    I ride both clipless and platform and usually choose platform for mtbing. I also have 5.10s and love them but feel they are too stiff and grippy unless it's a dhing day. I usually ride with flat bottomed basketball shoes that give me all the grip I need yet don't feel so stuck.
    I also can't say I feel slow on platforms but after not riding clipless for a while feel turbo charged when I do.
    the strongest trees grow on the windiest plains... ~Tone's

  4. #4
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    I trail ride most days with flats and 5.10 freeriders. Great shoes! I switched (not entirely, just primarily) from clipless about two years ago. I think the key is to practice pedaling in a circle (just not pulling up) and make a motion like you are scraping dog poop off the bottom of your shoe across the pedal (best way I can describe it). good luck! it does take a bit of getting used to, but that "stuck" feeling is now a feeling of control and I won't give it up (clipless now feels like riding with my feet on ball bearings).

  5. #5
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    You'll get used to the different techniques and muscles required with flats. It's no biggie. Did you readjust your seat height? Your shoes may have thicker soles than your clipless shoes, and the platform pedals may be thinner or taller. Just a thought.

  6. #6
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    Can't speak to the muscle issues, but I started playing with platforms about 7 or so years ago after being exclusively on clipless for the prior decade.

    The platforms did help my knees, but more importantly, I noticed my natural foot position using the platforms and later used that to adjust my cleats to mimic that, reducing knee problems when riding clipless.

    The platforms did help me in working on riding technical features. Once I got comfortable on these features on the platforms I was able to ride them with clipless.

    I was never able to get comfortable with platforms when getting the wheels off the ground. I also had occasional problems loosing the pedals on fast bumpy downhills. I learned to adapt somewhat, but I found I wasn't having as much fun because of that. In fact, I was hoping riding platforms would help me to learn "proper" bunnyhopping, but the end result was I had so many problems that I lost a lot of confidence when hopping and subsequently I'm worse at bunnyhopping now even with clipless than I was 10 years ago.

    I went back to clipless for most of my serious trail riding. I still use platforms for more casual rides and for winter trail riding.

    I never really cared that much about the "efficency" aspect of clipless, but I do like the security of staying on the pedals and the extra power you can get out of them on steep climbs. I originally ran platforms on my rigid single speed because I wanted to go the whole "simple" route, but there were climbs I just couldn't make until I switched back to clipless.
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  7. #7
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    Here's a vid on the low heels technique you can use for platforms. You can use trailrunners with flats if you use short pins or fat pins without tearing up the bottoms of your shoes. Those 5.10s are hot in the summer if you aren't running dh.
    Straight Lines with Fabien Barel - YouTube

  8. #8
    EXW
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    Thanks for all the responses. I definitely have a lot to think about now.

    I did adjust the saddle height but might not have gotten it correct. It feels as if my foot is more level with the platforms while with clipless, I have a feeling of pushing my heal down and then pulling up (the scraping method mentioned above). It could be that I'm not quite able to do that with platforms yet.

    That locked in feeling is also going to take some getting used to, but I'm gathering that is normal.

    One other thing I noticed (kind of dumb) is that on clipless, I must be in the habit of letting a pedal rest against my calf when stopped and leaning on the bars to take a breather. With platforms, the grub screws tear up my calf at the slightest touch. Like I said, dumb and nothing I would have ever noticed but apparently it's a habit I've developed.

    I'll keep at it and check out the video as well.

    Thanks for all of the help.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by EXW View Post
    I must be in the habit of letting a pedal rest against my calf when stopped and leaning on the bars to take a breather. With platforms, the grub screws tear up my calf at the slightest touch.
    You'll adapt fast to that. I remember I bloodied my leg very quickly on my first ride on platforms but rarely after that. They do still bite me occasionally hauling my bikes with platforms up and down the basement stairs though.
    Warning: may contain sarcasm and/or crap made up in an attempt to feel important.

  10. #10
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    Regarding getting bounced off in rough terrain and uncomfortable in the air.... you don't have to learn how to bunny hop, but it is VERY helpful to teaching you how to pick up the rear of the bike with flats. That will allow you to grab the bike like you are strapped in.
    Anyhow, ride whats fun one way or another!

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