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  1. #26
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    Started out riding "flats" before some of you were born... then added toe clips .... then went to "clipless (no toe clips)... rode, raced many years... FS and SS. Then decided to try flats again as I knew that I had developed some sloppy habits... Running Five Ten Impacts (great shoe) and the HT 02 pedals... stick like glue! I do like to drop my heels on steep technical descents... seem to have more control to be able to move the foot around. Actually like both systems and go back and forth. The flats have made me more aware of how important foot position is... nice to be able to do both.. like riding FS and SS.
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  2. #27
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    After replying to this thread, I put my forte' convert flats back on and enjoyed it a lot more than I expected. They're great for winter riding and actually gave me a lot more confidence trying stunts in the woods. Even as a confident clipless rider, I usually steer clear of skinnies and sketchy log rides while riding clipped in. Yesterday I found myself trying that stuff again with no problem, and didn't even think about the fact that I was on flat pedals. I rode clipless again today and decided I'd put my flats back on once again. Interesting...We'll see if this becomes a normal thing even when the snow melts.

    Edit: I forgot to mention that climbing power probably suffers to an extent, but it's not noticeable except for on the steepest grades where you really need that "pull up" ability. Basically, you'll be walking more in areas that are less SS friendly to begin with. However, it's less of a deal breaker than I imagined and your form adjusts as you ride them more. I've been on them most of the past week or so and it's already feeling "right" again after many years.

  3. #28
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    Picked up a GT Peace 26er and the previous owner put on Forte platforms on it. On my Jabber I use XT pedals, so figured I'd give it a shot with the platforms on the 26er on its maiden ride. After only riding maybe 3 miles, I already knew I couldn't continue further with the platforms so I turned around and a spare shimano clipless pair went on. I love to climb, even if it means less distance overall, and I rely on "pulling up" for not only power, but also to disperse the effort over the various muscles for sustained climbing. Maybe I just need more "practice" on platforms, but it truly felt I lost half the power.

  4. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by CycleAddict View Post
    Edit: I forgot to mention that climbing power probably suffers to an extent, but it's not noticeable except for on the steepest grades where you really need that "pull up" ability. Basically, you'll be walking more in areas that are less SS friendly to begin with. However, it's less of a deal breaker than I imagined and your form adjusts as you ride them more. I've been on them most of the past week or so and it's already feeling "right" again after many years.
    I'll second this!

    I mostly ride a fixed gear with flats on the trails and the troublesome spots are the ones where its steep, technical and going up the hill. To my surprise being clipped in and on my geared ht doesn't make it much easier in those sections at all. It really seems to be the bike handling skills that gets me up, not the gear I have. Biggest difference in making it easier being the freewheel, not the pedals. Admittedly, riding fixed gear with flats has improved my riding skills a lot and this may be the reason behind it all.

    I did a ride with long road sections last saturday and put clipless on my fixed gear for the road use. It was just completely silly how I could throw the bike around on trails and where ever after riding mostly flats with my mtbs for a couple of years. Before going to flats I rode approx. ten years clipped in and compared to this and now I feel like I learnt nothing at all when it comes to bike handling skills during all that time spent clipped in.

    About Time vs. Crank Bros. I went to Time some years ago after blowing up five pairs of various CB pedals in three years from top to bottom range models. Had all the problems imaginable from regularly replaced inners to snapped axles on the more expensive CB's. My first Time pedals are beat up badly but still no play, no bearing replacement, no problems at all. It's been bliss compared to CB. CB pedals do look good though and I'm tempted all the time, but riding Time being spent well is more important right now.

  5. #30
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    I was clipless for years and switched back to flats because it fits my riding style.

    Some people want that extra few percent efficiency or like not having to get off the bike once or twice a ride to walk the steepest part of a hill. However I prefer the type of riding that platforms encourage.

    When a tree falls in the woods next to a trail, the first thing I look at is if can it be ridden. Yes, I see skinnies everywhere. There are also log piles that most clipless riders don't attempt. They tend to call these things "stunts" and avoid them because they're dangerous. True, they are dangerous, or at least more dangerous if you're clipped in. Similarly, technical drops and bouldering are more likely to happen if you're riding platforms. Granted there are people who ride these things clipped in, but to the vast majority of riders, falling and getting tangled in the bike is enough of a worry that they won't attempt the most technical trail features.

    Normally when I state this opinion, clipless riders counter by saying that they can get unclipped no problem. Sure, they can... 90-something-percent of the time. And it is because of that few percent when they crash without being able to unclip, that motivates them not to try the technical features. Subconsciously, they've let their pedals define their riding style rather than letting their preferred riding style dictate the type of pedals.

    [Edit: To add a bit more to that... getting unclipped isn't always enough. At times it is necessary to jump off of the pedals when attempting new stuff. This is pretty much impossible on clipless. Also, merely getting unclipped before crashing isn't enough. It is better to be able to choose and execute your dismount strategy immediately, not after the quarter second it takes to unclip. That quarter second can make all the difference if you're trying to do something like throw the bike down underneath you and exit with momentum over the bars.]

    This isn't to say that people should prefer more extreme riding and be willing to get injured more often. But rather that they _could_ ride those technical features or do more aggressive riding without incurring more danger. The tradeoff is pedaling efficiency.

    As for coming off of the pedals, that has more to do with experience level than anything. Put as many years on quality platforms, with the proper shoes (5ten), as you've put into clipless pedals, and coming off the pedals will not be a concern. It simply doesn't happen that often. I actually see more clipless riders slipping out of a clogged, frozen, old or damaged clips.

    In summary, don't let your pedals define how you ride. Instead, let how you ride define your pedals.
    Last edited by dfiler; 01-07-2013 at 02:36 PM.

  6. #31
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    +1 on dfilers post. I actually use clips on cross country non technical trails: but I have more fun if I can just bail off the bike.

    Sometimes I slightly hook my toe under the crank arm to pull up a little also you can kinda pull up with your calves if you point your toe down. Cheers

  7. #32
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    Tried it again today. not too bad. riding Odyssey JCPC's with Columbia trail running sneakers and a 32/20 gear on my Karate Monkey with a Reba fork.







    firstly, I will say that I definitely had a harder time climbing. I intentionally went to some trails that wander aimlessly with no well-defined linear path, with lots of twists, rocks, roots, drops, boulders, etc. I figured this would be a lot of fun because I might have the courage to huck some unusual stuff, which I did. not being clipped in is a confidence booster. Had a good time dropping some rooty descents and drops that I would normally bypass.

    two factors killed the fun for me though- slippery leaves and pine needles everywhere and loss of torque. these were a deadly combination. sometimes I could barely walk up some of the short hills with the soft, wet earth covered in even softer, damp leaves. however, I was a little less afraid of them because I could put a foot out a lot easier than normal.

    I did notice shortly after riding that my knees hurt a bit. I have always ridden SS mtb, never had a mtb with gears, and i started out with flat pedals. after a month or two of riding, I noticed that my knees were really screwed up and sore. I switched to SPDs and I have not had that kind of knee paid return until today, my first time on platforms in about three years.

    I think I will try changing to a 22t cog to see if that relieves some of the knee pain. I will probably need the extra torque, clipped in or not, because of the slippery conditions of the trails lately.

  8. #33
    Tulsa
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    my favorite setup

    Last edited by rojogonzo; 01-08-2013 at 03:42 PM. Reason: edit to fix image
    wherever you go, there you are

  9. #34
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    I run shimano DX (PD-MX30) pedals. I love them.

  10. #35
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    One short ride on platform yesterday- horribly inflammed left patella today. Now i remember why i switched to clipless. There goes the next two weeks of riding. Need time to heal.

    How do you guys tolerate riding platforms? My kneecap feels like it's going to explode!

  11. #36
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    Quote Originally Posted by mack_turtle View Post
    One short ride on platform yesterday- horribly inflammed left patella today. Now i remember why i switched to clipless. There goes the next two weeks of riding. Need time to heal.

    How do you guys tolerate riding platforms? My kneecap feels like it's going to explode!
    Sorry to hear this. Hope you heal up asap! I experienced some very minor knee pain riding flats. It was on and off and strangely enough seemed to happen when I was just riding along on flat ground. Never happened while climbing.

    Regarding your previous post, I would suggest riding in a different pair of shoes. Most trail running shoes aren't stiff enough for me to ride in. I suggest BMX/skate shoes or some 5.10's if you're really serious about it. I've used my timberland hiking boots this winter and haven't had any issues with them. They're probably the most comfortable shoe I've ever ridden flats in, honestly.

    This all being said; I'm back on clipless for the time being, just because I've been putting in more miles and haven't been riding very technical terrain. I also need to possibly re-build one of my flat pedals.

  12. #37
    lgh
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    Quote Originally Posted by mack_turtle View Post
    One short ride on platform yesterday- horribly inflammed left patella today. Now i remember why i switched to clipless. There goes the next two weeks of riding. Need time to heal.

    How do you guys tolerate riding platforms? My kneecap feels like it's going to explode!
    From your knee's point of view, you have to have correct foot position whether you ride platforms or clipless. If your foot is too far out or in, rocks, or can't rotate like it wants to, you could get knee pain. Of course, there are other causes of knee pain but if you only changed pedals and then got knee pain, it could have been foot placement. You might really blow an expensive bike fit by switching to platforms and changing foot position. I'm considering the switch myself but holding back for this reason. (Platforms seem OK on my urban bike.)

    Larry

  13. #38
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    Quote Originally Posted by mack_turtle View Post
    Tried it again today. not too bad. riding Odyssey JCPC's with Columbia trail running sneakers and a 32/20 gear on my Karate Monkey with a Reba fork.
    Those trail running shoes are exactly what you don't want to use, the tread pattern somewhat forces you into non-optimal foot positions and likely won't stick when you need them too. The pedals aren't the worst I've seen but I'd go for thinner and more pins, though it's pointless without good platform shoes.

    Try this pdf for some good tips, also has some of the Mornieux and Korff charts from their study concerning the pedal upstroke non-sense.

    http://www.bikejames.com/wp-content/...withLinks2.pdf

  14. #39
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    I just bought these pedals because they are sticky as hell. there might be something to be said about the stiffness of the sole and how it affects my foot muscles, but these pedals stick to these shoes like glue, no problem. I rode platforms with sticky Etnies skate shoes for the first few months when I started mountain biking and had similar results- patellar tendonitis that required physical therapy and two months off the bike. I might consider getting some better shoes specifically for this purpose, but it seems like a waste of money.

    this is a long shot, and will probably railroad this thread into a stupid debate, but does anyone know of any good shoes for riding in flats, if i ever try it again, that are NOT leather? I already told Five.Ten that they are missing out on the vegetarian market, which is small, but I don't think they have plans to make any hemp Impacts. (my last hemp Ipath sneakers lasted me over five years riding bmx!)

    anyways, I don't think my injury has much to do with foot placement overall, but overuse and strain. when I rode yesterday, I tried to ride these trails like I normally do- steep climbs and all. when I started a difficult hill that I can normally clean, i didn't give up. I would make it 1/4 a way up the hill and then loose momentum and just stall out. I would keep pushing with everything I had to keep going, but eventually I would just stand there on one foot, doing a sort of one-legged squat balancing on my pedal. i know that if i was clipped in, i could have kept going at that speed at least another dozen feet or so if I had the power I usually get from being clipped in, but i lost that with the sneakers. no amount of sticky rubber on my shoes was going to solve that, unless the pedals are so sticky that they actually imbed themselves into my soles.

    so standing there trying to mash the pedal through one more rotation put all that strain on one knee until the irritation from the strain turned into inflammation. it turned my "ride" that afternoon into a half-ride, half-walk through the woods. not the kind of fun I was after.
    Last edited by mack_turtle; 01-09-2013 at 09:29 PM.

  15. #40
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    +3 on dfilers post. My fun factor on my bike has gone through the roof since switching back to flats 3 years ago. I totally look at logs and rocks from a different perspective now. As hard as I tried to ignore that little niggly fear of not being able to unclip if I try this or that it would not go away. The fear came from a few bad crashes from not being able to get that one foot out when I needed to. In all honesty the first season sucked because I could not get over things and launching scared the heck out of me now that my feet could come off the pedals. Plus I leaked a little blood from pedal strikes to the shins and back of calves. I'm at a place now where things are feeling pretty much second nature so it just takes time to readjust and this past season no bloodshed. James Wilson's posts regarding riding with flats really helped and his manifesto is really worth the read. As far as climbing goes it is all in the technique and I do not feel limited in any way. I regularly climb things that my clipless friends do not.
    Like others have said you have to get good shoes and pedals to really get the benefit of going flats. I use 5/10s and Spike/Spank flats. I love these flats, great pins plus a really wide platform for really laying down the power. I did put the clipless back on my SS for a ride on the pavement once and it felt so uncomfortable, like balancing on ice that I took them right off. I now have them on all my bikes including my road bike, the later I use on my trainer for the winter. I figure if I want to learn how to lay down the power with flats I had better train with them.
    I say to anyone considering switching that they should go for it. Just be prepared to give it a honest try, a full season would be best. It takes awhile to adjust to a different technique but in my opinion it is totally worth it.

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  16. #41
    Baby Bear is in the house
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    I use platforms. I've had one too many falls with clipless that got me hurt. I just never got used to them. And since I only have one bike (my SS), I like that I can just get on it whenever, with whatever footwear I'm wearing.
    Better to have and not need it, than to need it and not have it.

  17. #42
    lgh
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    Quote Originally Posted by mack_turtle View Post
    ....I don't think my injury has much to do with foot placement overall, but overuse and strain. when I rode yesterday,.
    mack - Those are the conditions under which you (your knee) would notice incorrect placement. Casual riding is much more forgiving of fit-related problems.

    Larry

  18. #43
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    I got Blackspire Sub4 pedals when I got my new mountain bike just before the winter. Thus far no complaints.

    First mountain bike in over 10 years, first time going SS and rigid so after considering going with clipless I decided platforms would be a safer bet for a beginner (I also couldn't really find shoes that I liked). I just didn't want to have that hesitation when exploring a new trail even though I've been riding clipless on the road bike for some time. Maybe down the line I'll get clipless pedals as well, but so far I'm really enjoy the "freedom".

  19. #44
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    Quote Originally Posted by mack_turtle View Post
    I just bought these pedals because they are sticky as hell. there might be something to be said about the stiffness of the sole and how it affects my foot muscles, but these pedals stick to these shoes like glue, no problem. I rode platforms with sticky Etnies skate shoes for the first few months when I started mountain biking and had similar results- patellar tendonitis that required physical therapy and two months off the bike. I might consider getting some better shoes specifically for this purpose, but it seems like a waste of money.

    this is a long shot, and will probably railroad this thread into a stupid debate, but does anyone know of any good shoes for riding in flats, if i ever try it again, that are NOT leather? I already told Five.Ten that they are missing out on the vegetarian market, which is small, but I don't think they have plans to make any hemp Impacts. (my last hemp Ipath sneakers lasted me over five years riding bmx!)

    anyways, I don't think my injury has much to do with foot placement overall, but overuse and strain. when I rode yesterday, I tried to ride these trails like I normally do- steep climbs and all. when I started a difficult hill that I can normally clean, i didn't give up. I would make it 1/4 a way up the hill and then loose momentum and just stall out. I would keep pushing with everything I had to keep going, but eventually I would just stand there on one foot, doing a sort of one-legged squat balancing on my pedal. i know that if i was clipped in, i could have kept going at that speed at least another dozen feet or so if I had the power I usually get from being clipped in, but i lost that with the sneakers. no amount of sticky rubber on my shoes was going to solve that, unless the pedals are so sticky that they actually imbed themselves into my soles.

    so standing there trying to mash the pedal through one more rotation put all that strain on one knee until the irritation from the strain turned into inflammation. it turned my "ride" that afternoon into a half-ride, half-walk through the woods. not the kind of fun I was after.
    I don't know of any non leather shoes in particular that work well for riding flats, but vans and Etnies both make vegan friendly shoes (or used to).

    Honestly though, it sounds like you've had some injuries in the past that make riding clip less more important. If it comes down to riding clip less or not riding at all..I think you know what I'd do!

    Good luck

  20. #45
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    I enjoy both clipless and flats.
    The year before last was a bad one for me as I developed a heartconditon.
    Couldnīt do anything...
    To ride a bit with my kid I got flats so I could use any shoe I had on.
    I just let them be on the bike and got a pair of 5.10 freeride shoes as I got well.
    Great shoes that stick like glue.
    Iīm interested in using my clipless again so I just bought another pair of 5.10īs, but for clipless pedals this time. Really like those 5.10īs...
    /J

  21. #46
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    More often then not, I ride my Monocog, which does have flats on it. I have used spds and now have Time Zs on my geared hardtail. My Monocog will have flats on it until the day it dies. The main reason is the rigid fork. It is rare but I can hit an unexpected bump that nearly tosses me and being able to put a foot down can save me. Also, in my neck of the woods I have plenty of short steep hills I am gonna be hit or miss on when it comes to getting to the top. To top that off, I am poor at admitting defeat. This leads to me stalling out with all my weight on the one pedal that is just past the top of my stroke. I feel like I'm 8 feet tall. It isn't easy hopping down from up there regardless of what pedals I have. And the last thing is knees. SS riding can be hard enough on the knees and I would just rather not throw another issue at it.
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  22. #47
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    I just went for my first ride since I moved back to Hawaii. I went up to Ka'ena Point which is the most northwest point on the island of Oahu. It's a mixture of jeep trails and then turns into a wildlife preserve. It's very rocky and full of ruts. It's a rough ride at the beginning. This was my first time running flats. I have to say that I felt more confident on the bike than I ever have. I have run clipless pedals for years and have had my fair share of scares on the trail. Well not this time. I was able to keep moving while putting my feet on rocks as I passed them or whatever. It was also nice being able to shift my foot around if it started to go numb or anything.

    I'm a believer!

    Quick cell picture by the huge trail washout.



    Last edited by worrptangl; 01-12-2013 at 11:57 PM.

  23. #48
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    quote:
    this is a long shot, and will probably railroad this thread into a stupid debate, but does anyone know of any good shoes for riding in flats, if i ever try it again, that are NOT leather? I already told Five.Ten that they are missing out on the vegetarian market, which is small, but I don't think they have plans to make any hemp Impacts. (my last hemp Ipath sneakers lasted me over five years riding bmx!)

    I as well have been looking for something similar and i found the answer i believe on my friends feet. They have almost the exact same tread pattern as the five ten impact, possibly a little firmer rubber on sole, but appears will work. Coincidentally they are made by five ten. See link and compare for yourself.
    Five Ten | Guide Tennie Canvas

  24. #49
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    Dark Cycles Arachnids....

    I run Arachnids on all my bikes with Five Tens. I switch back to clipless every once in a while to see if I'm missing out on performance and NEVER see a difference in trail times etc. I'm fearless in rock gardens and drops with flats. Would never try most of it clipped. I'm much more confident on flats. I ride the road exclusively clipped in however.

    Arachnids and Five Tens are just about as good as clipless if schticky is your desire. You literally have to lift your foot to readjust on the pedals in the roughest sections.




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