Clipless vs Flats Climbing and Descending- Mtbr.com

View Poll Results: Do you climb and descend on flats or clipless?

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  • I ride up and down with flats!

    228 53.40%
  • I ride up and down clipped in!

    199 46.60%
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  1. #1
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    Clipless vs Flats Climbing and Descending

    I'm curious to know how many people are using flats on rides with a lot of climbing.

    How many of you use flats and how many of you use clipless for rides with no shuttling or lifts. Also, pedal up not push up.

    What is your shoe/pedal set-up?

    I'm running XT Trail pedals and Specialized Comps but I'm contemplating flats.

  2. #2
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    I think the only place i have not ran clipless is Mt Fromme, as that was really wild and scary. Any normal All mountain i am always clipped in.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hand/of/Midas View Post
    I think the only place i have not ran clipless is Mt Fromme, as that was really wild and scary. Any normal All mountain i am always clipped in.
    Tried DH once with flats. Never again. Clipped in for control up and down. Only times not clipped in are when practising jumps and manuals (or failing to that is).

  4. #4
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    I have run both and prefer my Teva Links with my Specialized platforms. They are surprisingly sticky and even though I do have to use a little different gearing, I have never had a significant issue with them on uphills. They also have never slipped off while going downhill either.

  5. #5
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    i have one comment, Sam Hill.


    no but im a clip rider. If your a seated spinner they seem a must. But they make me hold back on different little situations; lik blind turns, or in loose turns; i crash more in turns where my front wheel washes out and i cant pull my leg off and lean back to bring the rear around and save it; not neccesarily put my foot down but hang it out as a counter balance. Yes with clips your one with the bike; but with flats you can articulate your feet, and you can manipulate your balance over the top of the bike differently. Your just more free to move. For me theres also a confidence in knowing i can bail. yes you will lose pedaling effeciency which is huge factor in longer fatiguing rides. im switching over today, i think at heart im more of an mx type. than a cardio cyclist. But i enjoy, respect and appreciate the cycling end of it. Maybe im just pissed from some crashes last week. Im not giving up either. But im gonna give flats a shot for while, I have heard alot of people say give it time and it will improve your biking skills. i already have those. jk

  6. #6
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    I think this is one of those debates that no one actually wins. I come from a road and xc racing background. Nearly all of my cycling experience has been while attached to the pedals. However, recently I've started riding more free ride and downhill style tracks. I switched over to flats when I started the more aggressive stuff (mostly because I just wanted to give it a try) and love it. I tried to switch back to being clipped in, but I just can't get my head around being attached in that way to the bike anymore.
    It all comes down to preference. Very few of us are World Cup racers, so to say "Danny Hart rides clipped in, so it must be the best way" is kind of ignorant. Just do what works for you and ride your freakin' bike.

  7. #7
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    i like clips. whatever.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by b-kul View Post
    i like clips. whatever.
    hahha, awesome.

  9. #9
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    i ride flats if the ride is going to be 2-3 hours max. otherwise its clipless for all day rides.

  10. #10
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    You should have one for "both" I'm doing both XTR pedals and Shimano M300, then Twety6 Prerunner/ and a few different 5.10. Also 5.10 Maltese Falcon with M647.

  11. #11
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    I use both. use clips for local riding with steep climbs, and not too much tech. certain rides elsewhere are very rocky though. I find I have more fun and my balls are much bigger on flats in the tech stuff. Always flats on DH for me.
    Switching back and forth works well for me. When I first went to flats, I had trouble getting used to them, and kept pulling my feet of the pedals. Now I'm very comfortable either way.

  12. #12
    namagomi
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    Quote Originally Posted by b-kul View Post
    i like clips. whatever.
    Yeah, I like platforms(and turtles). Next topic.

  13. #13
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    im not fast uphill. but its a good work out.slowly but surely in granny gear. i look forward to the downhills, drops and jumps. so flats for me!

  14. #14
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    I had always ran clipless, but when I started getting into more jumping the flats really improved my jump skills. They force you to have proper technic. I had always pulled my bike up with my clips when jumping which is the wrong way to do it. I liked flats so much my 4 bikes now all have flats. I have about 5 regular friends i ride with which all use clipless and not one of them can bunny hop my bike with flats because they are so use to using the clipless to pull the bike up. I have no problem keeping up with them even on 30+ mile xc rides with a ton of climbing.
    I have one bike with Spark spank flats and the other 3 bikes all have Azonic 420 flats.
    I use 5.10 impact shoes. I feel just as connected to the pedals as I did with clipless.Really no right or wrong, just ride what ever suits you better.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pike14 View Post
    Very few of us are World Cup racers, so to say "Danny Hart rides clipped in, so it must be the best way" is kind of ignorant. Just do what works for you and ride your freakin' bike.
    My observation is that more and more WC DH-ers go clipless.. Even Gwinny...

  16. #16
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    Do I get a prize for being the one-millionth person to comment on a flats vs clipless thread?

  17. #17
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    Flats looks better with skinny jeans... plus u get a little more hangtime.

  18. #18
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    Clipless look better with spandex.
    I ride both flats and clipless. I've been running the flats on my SS for a better workout.

  19. #19
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    I'm another in the both category. For a long xc ride (or racing dh) I want to be clipped in. For dj/ gated racing or short trail rides, I'm on Point 1 Podiums and 5.10's. Maybe if I could find a shoe that allowed a little more feel and still offered some protection I'd ride flats more.
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  20. #20
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    ^that's interesting.. gated you mean bmx and 4X which everyone is clipped in. DJs definitely. waitin on a new pair of spank spikes this week!

  21. #21
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    This again? Ride whatever you want. Beginners shouldn't ride clipless until they learn bike control; after that there is no difference between clipless and flat pedals.

    Clipless can teach some things to riders who ride flats all the time and flats can teach riders who ride clipless all the time some things. If someone tells you that you can't do something while riding one type of pedal or the other, punch them in the throat because they are wrong.
    Don't you hate it when a sentence doesn't end the way you think it octopus?

  22. #22
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    7.3k dedicated climb with flats:


    Clips offer more efficiency and power, but there's no reason a rider can't climb the biggest climbs with flats.

    Hike a bike is so much nicer with flats too! The toughest climbs will always force you to push, so in that regard, flats and 5.10's are a better climbing set up compared to rigid tap shoes and tiny pedals.

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by electrik View Post
    Yeah, I like platforms(and turtles). Next topic.
    turtles are cool but im a salamander guy myself.

  24. #24
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    Flats. Rode clipless for 5 years, been on flats for the last 5. Still use clipless the road.

    I don't think it makes much difference at all climbing on flats or clipless. I like descending better on flats. The only conditions where I miss clipless pedals on the mtb is on flattish XC rides when we're spinning for an extended period of time -- spinning on bumpy ground is the only conditions that have made me lose a pedal now and then. If I did much of that type of riding, I would run clipless.
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  25. #25
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    I started out on flats, because that's all there was in those days... then I put toe clips on so my feet would not rattle off the pedals, all we had was rigid bikes, then clips came out and that was the bee's knees... and I raced XC... then I got older, fatter, and climbing was no longer the highlight of my rides... about then efficient big squishy bikes came into existance and I'm on flats again.

    The only time I miss clips is very techincal steep climbs or extreamly technical trails. I really miss the ability to power through the 11o'clock - 5 o'clock pedal position.
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  26. #26
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    Been clipless ( Shimano M530 ) but these days i use some Superstar CNC Mag's paired with 5.10 Impact's 2. My times didn't drop and i'm actually faster on descends ...

    1: Int J Sports Med. 2008 Oct;29(10):817-22. Epub 2008 Apr 17.
    Effects of pedal type and pull-up action during cycling.
    Mornieux G, Stapelfeldt B, Gollhofer A, Belli A. Institut für Sport und Sportwissenschaft, Universität Freiburg, Freiburg, Germany.

    The aim of this study was to determine the influence of different shoe-pedal interfaces and of an active pulling-up action during the upstroke phase on the pedalling technique. Eight elite cyclists (C) and seven non-cyclists (NC) performed three different bouts at 90 rev . min (-1) and 60 % of their maximal aerobic power. They pedalled with single pedals (PED), with clipless pedals (CLIP) and with a pedal force feedback (CLIPFBACK) where subjects were asked to pull up on the pedal during the upstroke. There was no significant difference for pedalling effectiveness, net mechanical efficiency (NE) and muscular activity between PED and CLIP. When compared to CLIP, CLIPFBACK resulted in a significant increase in pedalling effectiveness during upstroke (86 % for C and 57 % NC, respectively), as well as higher biceps femoris and tibialis anterior muscle activity (p < 0.001). However, NE was significantly reduced (p < 0.008) with 9 % and 3.3 % reduction for C and NC, respectively. Consequently, shoe-pedal interface (PED vs. CLIP) did not significantly influence cycling technique during submaximal exercise. However, an active pulling-up action on the pedal during upstroke increased the pedalling effectiveness, while reducing net mechanical efficiency.

  27. #27
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    this is how i see it

    clipless- reactive
    flats- proactive

    trials/dj/moto/vert/fmx all warrant a very proactive approach to aggressive riding. elite level dh who clip in are strong dirt jumpers and ride moto to train. like somebody said earlier..whatever... (flats for me though)

  28. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by electrik View Post
    Yeah, I like platforms(and turtles). Next topic.


    i like turtles!



    philly style !


    why the fack do they call em clipless when you clip the fack in !?

  29. #29
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    Cause they don't have toe clips ...

  30. #30
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    I've ridden both and like both. Running flats currently because my everyday rides consist of short, steep asphalt climbs with technical singletrack on the way down. I do enjoy going uphill on rooty & rocky terrain as well and only miss clipless pedals then. Low tyre pressure and clipless = climb anything. I also use my bike around town a lot and flats are obviously handy for that.

    I I do feel that every mt.biker should try both to find out what suits them best and improve pedalling technique.

    Btw I ride a XC hardtail with a more agressive trail configuration (stubby stem, wider bars, 2.3in front tyre). Cheap and versatile.

  31. #31
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    Wish I started out on flats so I would have learned how to properly hop a bike. Did not (coming from a road background) and I think it means I'll never become a well rounded rider.

    Clips have one real advantage over flats: more power (full stroke) for climbing steeps.

    They also allow less skilled riders get the rear of the bike in the air just by pulling the feet up.

    The disadvantage is obvious: not being able to unclip in time (not too common): highside fall; more common, embarrassing and painful.

    Clips for xc racers and the less skilled. Flats for everyone else.
    Old enough to know better. And old enough not to care. Best age to be.

  32. #32
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    flats only when i'm recovering from foot/ankle injuries but still gotta ride. flats for me are totally useless for tech. climbing & require too much finesse for airing it out, even the little of that i do. clips, even on log rides, are the pedals of my choice
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  33. #33
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    I just feel more "secure" with clipless pedals. This probably comes from growing up in bmx where everybody is clipped in. When I was younger I even did some dj while clipped in. In hindsight it was a terrible idea, but it worked for me.

  34. #34
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    PowerGrips!
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  35. #35
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    Flats

  36. #36
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    Both. Rode clipless for a while and recently picked up a set of flats to supplement. I kinda hate them so far but I've only been on 2 rides so I still gotta get used to them. I feel like the skate shoes I wore didn't bite that well so I'm looking for a pair of tacky 5.10s. I'll switch back and forth occasionally though as both have their advantages.

  37. #37
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    This is how flats should be ridden. Wish I could. Until then, I'm clipped in.

    <iframe src="http://player.vimeo.com/video/37122608?title=0&amp;byline=0&amp;portrait=0" width="400" height="225" frameborder="0" webkitAllowFullScreen mozallowfullscreen allowFullScreen></iframe><p><a href="http://vimeo.com/37122608">X-Fusion and Brian Lopes Part 2</a> from <a href="http://vimeo.com/user3463265">Devin Schmitt</a> on <a href="http://vimeo.com">Vimeo</a>.</p>
    Old enough to know better. And old enough not to care. Best age to be.

  38. #38
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    I ride mostly clipped because I find that bad bumps tend to knock my feet off the bike if I'm not clipped.

    I also like to pull up when climbing, it just feels more natural to me.

    Whatever works for you, though - it's not something that can be decided by popular opinion.

  39. #39
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    I was riding clips (crankbro) and specialized shoes (carbon, stiff), and had been doing so for the last 5yrs for all mountain and xc racing. Plan on riding flats for everything except xc racing, as soon as I decide which ones to get (want thin and light). For lift and shuttle I was on flats & 5.10's already (using 5050xx - 558g/pr; heavy but I've had them since 2005 - no issues).
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  40. #40
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    Quote Originally Posted by danielsilva View Post
    Been clipless ( Shimano M530 ) but these days i use some Superstar CNC Mag's paired with 5.10 Impact's 2. My times didn't drop and i'm actually faster on descends ...

    [Pedal Studay.....]
    That study is pretty one dimensional and does not jibe with real world results at all. People around here get dropped on steep, technical, climbs running flats. No one fast uses flats here.

  41. #41
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mrwhlr View Post
    That study is pretty one dimensional and does not jibe with real world results at all. People around here get dropped on steep, technical, climbs running flats. No one fast uses flats here.
    Has it been considered that no one who is already fast is riding flats there? Correlation does not imply causation, fast riders are fast riders.
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  42. #42
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    Anyone who has ridden both extensively will tell you they each have their advantages/disadvantages. The key is to put ride time in on each before passing judgment. Coming from clip less, flats terrified me for the first five rides. Now I do most winter riding and skills practice with flats. I use clip less for most summer trail riding and all long rides.

  43. #43
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    Quote Originally Posted by 53119 View Post
    ^that's interesting.. gated you mean bmx and 4X which everyone is clipped in. DJs definitely. waitin on a new pair of spank spikes this week!
    Yeah, I'm backwards. I could probably do gated racing clipped in if I felt I knew the track well enough, but generally on race weekends there's not the time (or maybe I'm just a slow learner...).
    I love my Point ones, but need to try a set of Spank and Canfield pedals yet, too.
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  44. #44
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    Quote Originally Posted by zebrahum View Post
    Has it been considered that no one who is already fast is riding flats there? Correlation does not imply causation, fast riders are fast riders.
    The few attempts I've seen didn't go well. They just give up too much in exchange for a very negligible advantage in very short sections. I may be surprised someday, but so far it hasn't happened.

  45. #45
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    I've ridden both.. To me flats became difficult when bombing down techy downhills. Your feet could and would slip off pedals if your were pushing the bike to hard... I was tired of the scraped up shins, so I went clipless and haven't looked back. Those techy sections I now became even more eager to bomb down as I felt more connected to the bike.. But now I ride strictly XC with a carbon HT 29er and I'm pretty sure flats aren't supposed to be on a bike like this. Let alone I get NO pull up from flats which helps soo much when I stand and mash those super steep sections!

  46. #46
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    Quote Originally Posted by dogo View Post
    I've ridden both.. To me flats became difficult when bombing down techy downhills. Your feet could and would slip off pedals if your were pushing the bike to hard... I was tired of the scraped up shins, so I went clipless and haven't looked back. Those techy sections I now became even more eager to bomb down as I felt more connected to the bike.. But now I ride strictly XC with a carbon HT 29er and I'm pretty sure flats aren't supposed to be on a bike like this. Let alone I get NO pull up from flats which helps soo much when I stand and mash those super steep sections!
    When I first tried flats I went right back to clips because I too moved around on the pedals and felt I wasn't in control on the DH like I was with clips. Good pedals/shoes, and technique changed all that. It's counter intuitive, but I feel more connected on flats compared to clips because I feel the pedal, there's no float, and I'm in control of staying on the pedals, not a mechanism. These things create of more communicative ride that allows me to better control the bike. I'll take the lose of power in trade for that.

    That said, IMO, clips are the only way to go for power, and efficiency. They won't hold anyone back on the DH, super tech, gnar, whatever. Just watch a world cup DH race sometime. Almost all those guys ride clipped. That tells you something that even in the world of dedicated DH racing, clips are preferred.

  47. #47
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    I convert or add flat to my riding to improve my riding skills and so far they did just that. Flats is much less forgiving than CL, I need smooth even stroke, and good timing, as well as proper unweighting the rear.

    The result has been very positive, I've clear more loose or tech climb as well as steeper one I've always got stuck in the middle. I ride with clipless almost everwhere but I seek comfort on flat when I'm on a narrow trail with some big steep drop off, I've never develop a good relationship with that type of trail.

    Use them both to make a better rider out of yourself, there's no clear advantage to an avg trail rider between both types of pedal because pulling up on the pedal stroke does not translate to more efficient pedaling.

  48. #48
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    02-28-2012 09:59 AM Stop being a complete dick

    This person clearly doesn't know me

  49. #49
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    http://mtbstrengthcoach.podbean.com/...FlatPedals.mp3
    Pod cast.

    Barefoot Pedaling & Flat Pedals | MTB Strength Training Systems

    Some good info to help make a good decision for each individual person and riding style.
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  50. #50
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    I understand the whole "preference" thing when it comes to clipless or flats, but I noticed there were some people who said they NEED clipless because they lose their footing on flats.

    If that is the case, those people are doing something horribly wrong. I have ridden rock gardens on a hardtail with flats and never once lost my footing. I gave clipless a shot for a couple months because of the rage but the constant worrying about eating sh*t hard while still clipped in made the little bit of increased uphill pedaling efficiency not worthwhile.

  51. #51
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    blah blah blah dowhillers ride clipped, my feet bounce off, flats are slower.

    come on. downhillers ride clipped cause there on a clock, and they have to pedal through certain sections to maintian light speed and there the bonus of not slippin a pedal. . yah they are ripping it; doin ET phone home triple cadences in the air through jumps. But they know the track and arnt goin blind into stuff on the fly. and there not experimenting and learning their limits, they already know their skills and could do virtually the same on flats. if your feet are bouncing off your pedals your seat is probably too high and your ass should be over the rear tire and while your legs and upper body are pumping the bike and soaking up the terrain. if you have never been able to ride flats i blelieve your cutting your skills in half. riding flats is where you learn to man handle your bike. like learning to manual the terrain and flow with it, you learn to let gravity push the bike up into you. if you can do it on flats you can do it in clipps. but you cant say it the other way around. sorry for the bag on clippless but the you need clippless downhill thing got to me.
    Last edited by akiracornell; 02-29-2012 at 04:47 AM.

  52. #52
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    switched to wellgo mg-1 flats and 5.10 shoes for all "trail" riding

  53. #53
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    Quote Originally Posted by bigfruits View Post
    switched to wellgo mg-1 flats and 5.10 shoes for all "trail" riding
    +1 my weapon of choice!

    Cheaper and lighter than most flats.

  54. #54
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    Quote Originally Posted by akiracornell View Post
    if you have never been able to ride flats i blelieve your cutting your skills in half. riding flats is where you learn to man handle your bike. like learning to manual the terrain and flow with it, you learn to let gravity push the bike up into you. if you can do it on flats you can do it in clipps. but you cant say it the other way around. sorry for the bag on clippless but the you need clippless downhill thing got to me.
    I agree with this. Like I've said I switched to flats (and I have my 5.10s on the way) and found that I was struggling without my clips. Being so used to SPDs became a crutch and now I need to learn to be a bit smoother on the bike with flats. Once I get used to the flats I'll switch between the two depending on the type of riding I'm doing, but for a while I'm gonna make myself ride everything on flats until it's automatic.

  55. #55
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    Quote Originally Posted by Will Goes Boing View Post
    I understand the whole "preference" thing when it comes to clipless or flats, but I noticed there were some people who said they NEED clipless because they lose their footing on flats.

    If that is the case, those people are doing something horribly wrong. I have ridden rock gardens on a hardtail with flats and never once lost my footing. I gave clipless a shot for a couple months because of the rage but the constant worrying about eating sh*t hard while still clipped in made the little bit of increased uphill pedaling efficiency not worthwhile.
    From riding rooty trails in the PNW to Utah's rocks, I can't think of even a single time that I've been "bounced" off my flat pedals, either. Maybe I ride too slow?
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mrwhlr View Post
    That study is pretty one dimensional and does not jibe with real world results at all. People around here get dropped on steep, technical, climbs running flats. No one fast uses flats here.
    Dunno why but i tend to give more credit to an actual study made by researchers from a reputable european university than some random person that say that he's faster on clipless pedals.

    Maybe it's just me ... and after riding both types, i tend to agree with them.

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    Definitely flats IMO. I've ridden flats my entire life and I can't imagine being clipped on to my bike going fast around a corner. Being able to bail is a confidence thing as someone previously stated; being able to push yourself that much further without eating s*** and not being able to ride for the next week isn't cool. As far as feet slipping its either poor technique or your pedals suck. Being able to throw a leg out when your in that rock garden from hell that's a 300 ft stretch of rocky rooty goodness is essential for me. But I'm sure I ride different than those who use clipless and that people who use it can do almost everything as well. Flat pedals=game changer. Lowering the inside leg in to a corner, throwing a leg out when "put in check" in a rock Garden or tech situation, being able to bail when innovating, adjusting foot positions when fatigued, having a wider range of horizontal balance, being able to wear your sneakers/riding shoes, convenience getting on and off the bike. The list goes on and on but I've never worn clipless so maybe I'm being partisan.

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    Quote Originally Posted by DanMTB View Post
    Definitely flats IMO. I've ridden flats my entire life and I can't imagine being clipped on to my bike going fast around a corner. Being able to bail is a confidence thing as someone previously stated; being able to push yourself that much further without eating s*** and not being able to ride for the next week isn't cool. As far as feet slipping its either poor technique or your pedals suck. Being able to throw a leg out when your in that rock garden from hell that's a 300 ft stretch of rocky rooty goodness is essential for me. But I'm sure I ride different than those who use clipless and that people who use it can do almost everything as well. Flat pedals=game changer. Lowering the inside leg in to a corner, throwing a leg out when "put in check" in a rock Garden or tech situation, being able to bail when innovating, adjusting foot positions when fatigued, having a wider range of horizontal balance, being able to wear your sneakers/riding shoes, convenience getting on and off the bike. The list goes on and on but I've never worn clipless so maybe I'm being partisan.
    You are. It definitely shows that you've never ridden clipless. Unclipping to put a foot down on the inside of a turn or if you're thrown off balance on a tech section is not an issue. The issue is more with clipping back in after stopping in the middle of the rock garden haha. Better control over weight distribution is a real advantage to flats, but there's no need to spew misinformation about clipless if you've never tried em. The only time I really feel like flats let me get off the bike easier is on elevated skinnies or steep slickrock climbs and stuff.

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    Quote Originally Posted by birdman829 View Post
    You are. It definitely shows that you've never ridden clipless. Unclipping to put a foot down on the inside of a turn or if you're thrown off balance on a tech section is not an issue. The issue is more with clipping back in after stopping in the middle of the rock garden haha. Better control over weight distribution is a real advantage to flats, but there's no need to spew misinformation about clipless if you've never tried em. The only time I really feel like flats let me get off the bike easier is on elevated skinnies or steep slickrock climbs and stuff.
    I realized after writing it that I was biased haha, definitely wrote that hoping someone would sort that out for me so thanks. I guess it is simply individual preference but wanted to get a clear counter-argument for clipless going

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    Twenty6 predators and 5.10 impact lows.

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    [Unclipping to put a foot down on the inside of a turn or if you're thrown off balance on a tech section is not an issue. ]


    i cannot totally agree here. yes the more experienced and comfortable you are faster you can get out with jiffy twist for the expected slide. But it is delayed compared to flats; you have to pull out sideways first always before you can put your foot in any other direction. . when your flying a split second is the difference between an ugly crash or a managable one. It makes me think of a video clip where greg minnar crashed in the beginnig of a run where he wouldnt have on flats; not that that matters, but my point is even the best can get screwed with clips. if the bike bounces or floats in an unexpected direction sometimes your just screwed. more than anything i think someone previous said that clipless is more a reactive riding and flats is a more proactive riding and I couldnt agree more.
    Last edited by akiracornell; 02-29-2012 at 10:13 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by capslayer View Post
    Twenty6 predators and 5.10 impact lows.

    Flats4Life
    That's my primary setup. Aside from price, hard to beat. I live in MT, and I like to support the local businesses.

    I have SPDs and Acids, and clipless have their place. I like them for some things. I had a learning curve when I went to flats, and it took a while to learn to keep my footing on them. But once I did, I was riding faster and in more control, and floating over the trail far more than I ever did when I could count on the clipless pedals to hold my feet in place. There is definitely a trend away from clipless around here, at least with the AM crowd.

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    I only clip in on my road bike. As for off road, I run the same pedal shoe combo wherever I ride be it resort or single track.

    DMR V8s and Teva Links. Love the feel of flats and grippyness of the Links are insane with pedals with decent sized pins.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tystevens View Post
    From riding rooty trails in the PNW to Utah's rocks, I can't think of even a single time that I've been "bounced" off my flat pedals, either. Maybe I ride too slow?
    I've never had a problem with proper pedals but i've got an STP with DMR copy pedals with cast lumps instead of proper pins and have been worried about being bounced off on them but that's substandard pedals on a very unforgiving hardtail.

    And the advantage isn't so much being able to put a foot down without unclipping, it's the small adjustments you make to the positioning of your feet on the pedal when you're cornering. This is what you really notice when you go back to clipless and can't do it any more

  65. #65
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    Lee Mcormack's site on flats vs. clipless

    This is good stuff. Read the responses as well. Conclusion:

    "Learn to spin with flats, then really pin it with clips"
    Old enough to know better. And old enough not to care. Best age to be.

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    Quote Originally Posted by evasive View Post
    That's my primary setup. Aside from price, hard to beat. I live in MT, and I like to support the local businesses.

    I have SPDs and Acids, and clipless have their place. I like them for some things. I had a learning curve when I went to flats, and it took a while to learn to keep my footing on them. But once I did, I was riding faster and in more control, and floating over the trail far more than I ever did when I could count on the clipless pedals to hold my feet in place. There is definitely a trend away from clipless around here, at least with the AM crowd.
    Sweet! As far as the price, I think of it this way. Five Ten Impact's are $100 and Twenty6 Predators are $280, while a set of XTR trail pedals are $250 and a decent set of clipless shoes is between $150 and $200. As far as pricing goes I believe flats are just like clipless, the more you spend the better quality and feel you get.

    I completely agree about the learning curve. I think the steep learning curve is what keeps more riders from making the switch. I was clipless for 10 years and hit a plateau in my riding progression. I decided to re learn how to ride trail on flats and it has helped me get past that point I was stuck at and now feel even faster and more comfortable than ever. It did take a couple months of awkward rides though. I don't plan on going back, but if I did I know I'm a better rider because of the time I've spent on the flat pedals.

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    With 5.10's and my Wellgo's my foot is sooo stuck to the pedal in a turn that I cannot move it the slightest amount. I have much more "float" in my Sidi slippers and Ritchie SPD's.
    So, for all those that say they can adjust their footing while turning... I don't buy it.

    One thing no one has mentioned is the comfort of flats.
    Having a thick rubber sole on a relatively large surface (platform vs clipped pedal) has much more shock absorption than a rigid soled slipper mechanically/metallically fastened to the pedal.
    That is the main reason I run flats now.

    I rode clipped in for long enough that there is absolutely no concerns about getting a leg out mid corner, getting re-clipped in, getting free of the bike in a wreck or falling over in super tech terrain as a result of being locked in. Anyone that has rode clipped in for a million years in tech terrain will tell you the same thing.
    On that note, the only time I ever put a leg down in a corner is as a last resort in an impending doom situation. I have much more control of the bike with both feet firmly planted. One foot attached to the bike does not allow as precise body movement over the bike. So, the whole notion that getting a leg down to corner simply does not apply as this is not a part of my riding technique. If putting a foot down in a corner is part of your concern when looking at pedal choices, you really need to work on your cornering and bike handling because it isn’t the pedal that’s holding you back.

    In my opinion trials riders are on their own. Their ability to simply bunny hop 5’ into the air at any time repeatedly has little to do with us mere mortals that need try and apply power thru the pedals to get up and over tech terrain. That is a specialized bit of riding, and even the bike they prefer is not what we’d want to ride for 3-4 hours in the mountains.
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    Quote Originally Posted by capslayer View Post
    Sweet! As far as the price, I think of it this way. Five Ten Impact's are $100 and Twenty6 Predators are $280, while a set of XTR trail pedals are $250 and a decent set of clipless shoes is between $150 and $200. As far as pricing goes I believe flats are just like clipless, the more you spend the better quality and feel you get.
    This is funny to me because I will never in my life spend 250 dollars on pedals. My Shimano M540s were 60 bucks and they're more than adequate and other think so too (4.5 chilis over 72 reviews). I have shimano shoes that I picked up a couple years ago on sale for $60. I paid like $25 for my DMR V8s and $80 for FiveTen Freeriders. But there are sooooooo many nice flats out there for under 100 bucks (v12, answer rove fr, cb 5050, azonic 420) that spending more is like lighting money on fire.

  69. #69
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    Quote Originally Posted by birdman829 View Post
    This is funny to me because I will never in my life spend 250 dollars on pedals. My Shimano M540s were 60 bucks and they're more than adequate and other think so too (4.5 chilis over 72 reviews). I have shimano shoes that I picked up a couple years ago on sale for $60. I paid like $25 for my DMR V8s and $80 for FiveTen Freeriders. But there are sooooooo many nice flats out there for under 100 bucks (v12, answer rove fr, cb 5050, azonic 420) that spending more is like lighting money on fire.
    Well, I'd argue buying CB 5050s is setting money on fire no matter the price, based on some friends' experiences and most of the reviews I've read. Besides, anything related to mountain biking is discretionary spending, and everyone's idea of reasonable is different.

    That said, twenty6 pedals with a steel axle are ~$150. That's kind of my top end for pedals, flat or clipless.

  70. #70
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    "If putting a foot down in a corner is part of your concern when looking at pedal choices, you really need to work on your cornering and bike handling because it isn’t the pedal that’s holding you back."


    depends on the corner situation and if you're rushing to meet it like a hot blind date and lots of times i do it just to say "brrrraaaaaaaaappp!!" at the exit. obviously the goal is to be on the gas for maximum flow but entrance and exit lines with speed in the mix can dictate a certain approach. but hey i mainly imply the flat out foot out approach to test my comfort limits and say bbbbbbbbbbbrrrrrrrrrraaaaaaaaaapppp.

    i personally don't think i have a corner dialled at my fastest til i can comfortably feel a drift then grip towards the exit and I love my flats for that! having raced road & xc in spuds thru the 90s the control issue with SPuDs is a myth to me on dirt with my time growin up on bmx and moto toys.
    Last edited by 53119; 03-01-2012 at 10:43 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by evasive View Post
    Well, I'd argue buying CB 5050s is setting money on fire no matter the price, based on some friends' experiences and most of the reviews I've read. Besides, anything related to mountain biking is discretionary spending, and everyone's idea of reasonable is different.

    That said, twenty6 pedals with a steel axle are ~$150. That's kind of my top end for pedals, flat or clipless.
    Yeah looking around that does seem to be a reasonable ceiling. Even the XTR trail clipless can be had for 150, regardless of the 250 dollar msrp. I have heard mixed things about CB pedals in general, though I've never owned a pair. I went cheap with my V8s because I wanted to pick up a set of flats to try on the cheap. If I find I need a better pedal or am going to run flats more often, I can pick up a better set.

    As far as discretionary spending, yeah reasonable is different for different folks, but I was more responding to capslayers idea that the more you spend the better quality and feel you get. That's true up to a certain extent, but its also true that the higher up in price you get, the more minute the improvements are. Its a bigger jump from a 30 dollar pedal to a 100 dollar set, than from a 100 to a 250 dollar set.

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    Quote Originally Posted by danielsilva View Post
    Dunno why but i tend to give more credit to an actual study made by researchers from a reputable european university than some random person that say that he's faster on clipless pedals.

    Maybe it's just me ... and after riding both types, i tend to agree with them.
    When someone wins the TDF on flats, then I'll reconsider their reputable European credibility.

    Downhill races are won on clipless pedals.

    People riding on flats get dropped here all the time.

  73. #73
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    I only use my shinburglars on unknown techy trails.

    Other than that I'm clipped in with a slightly smaller "bbrrrraaaapp" factor.
    Ride your bike and be happy.

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    Quote Originally Posted by 53119 View Post
    lots of times i do it just to say "brrrraaaaaaaaappp!!"
    Oh, see, there's the difference, mine goes "whhhhaaaaaghn-ta-ting-ting-ting-ting".
    My bike, Slayer 70

  75. #75
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mike H. View Post
    Oh, see, there's the difference, mine goes "whhhhaaaaaghn-ta-ting-ting-ting-ting".
    it's all moto goodness! 4 or 2 stroke! \m/!

  76. #76
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    I'm running:
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    Great things are done when men and mountains meet. This is not done by jostling in the street .

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    Quote Originally Posted by danielsilva View Post
    Dunno why but i tend to give more credit to an actual study made by researchers from a reputable european university than some random person that say that he's faster on clipless pedals.

    Maybe it's just me ... and after riding both types, i tend to agree with them.
    It's hard to argue against clips being more efficient on long climbs, but for steep/technical climbs I am often glad if I'm using platforms - easy to dab and start pedaling again. When you're really "commited" it can be difficult to clip out and get a foot down.

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    I'm running clipless mainly because of my knees. They keep my feet in a comfortable position avoiding pain after my rides. Otherwise I would probably go back to flats. I would rather have problems climbing then messing a nice run on the slow technical bits.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mike H. View Post

    [I rode clipped in for long enough that there is absolutely no concerns about getting a leg out mid corner, getting re-clipped in, getting free of the bike in a wreck or falling over in super tech terrain as a result of being locked in. Anyone that has rode clipped in for a million years in tech terrain will tell you the same thing.
    On that note, the only time I ever put a leg down in a corner is as a last resort in an impending doom situation. I have much more control of the bike with both feet firmly planted. One foot attached to the bike does not allow as precise body movement over the bike. So, the whole notion that getting a leg down to corner simply does not apply as this is not a part of my riding technique. If putting a foot down in a corner is part of your concern when looking at pedal choices, you really need to work on your cornering and bike handling because it isn’t the pedal that’s holding you back.}

    .
    i think this is true when you say a million years, but i also beleive clipped you are more riding within your limits= aka experience or establiblished skill set; not going into new territory, as far as taking your foot off low side, i prefer to slide the rear and some front through as many turn as possible. rolling can get boring so being able to counterbalance with a leg out at times is helpfull if i cn just use my hips or bow my legs fine but in hairy spots things happen in a split second.

    or how about this one: happens almost every ride. you're riding clipless;you been climbing for a while and approach technical and challenging feature; its a 50/50 chance you can make it because you're not sure you have the legs and balance to power through it at the moment; and if you fall you could get hurt; you dont want to stop and recover; 9/10 times what do you do? You get off and hike your bike through. what about with flats? no question you go for it and get off if you peter out. making that section could be the part that makes the whole ride memorable.
    Last edited by akiracornell; 03-01-2012 at 07:56 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by theslowestrider View Post
    I'm running clipless mainly because of my knees. They keep my feet in a comfortable position avoiding pain after my rides. Otherwise I would probably go back to flats. I would rather have problems climbing then messing a nice run on the slow technical bits.
    This is another important aspect of the debate. For those with creaky knees, the float in clipless pedals can save you from some pain. That is one of the things I'm finding I have to adjust to with my new flats is not having that side to side play when spinning.

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    here is an awesome article about some of the one track mindedness of clippless that comes from xc roadie discipline. barefoot running theory applied to biking?

    Experimentation Never Hurt Anyone | Rubber Side Down

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    Quote Originally Posted by akiracornell View Post
    i think this is true when you say a million years, but i also beleive clipped you are more riding within your limits= aka experience or establiblished skill set; not going into new territory, as far as taking your foot off low side, i prefer to slide the rear and some front through as many turn as possible. rolling can get boring so being able to counterbalance with a leg out at times is helpfull if i cn just use my hips or bow my legs fine but in hairy spots things happen in a split second.

    or how about this one: happens almost every ride. you're riding clipless;you been climbing for a while and approach technical and challenging feature; its a 50/50 chance you can make it because you're not sure you have the legs and balance to power through it at the moment; and if you fall you could get hurt; you dont want to stop and recover; 9/10 times what do you do? You get off and hike your bike through. what about with flats? no question you go for it and get off if you peter out. making that section could be the part that makes the whole ride memorable.
    I assure you I too enjoy pushing the bike to the point of needing to countersteer and move weight around on the bike. In either situation I'm typically committed enought that I either "drive" out of it... or... the other... . Of course there are occassions where I'll throw out the anchor, but it's not something I like to do... if the anchors out, it's because I'm scrubbing too much speed.
    As to the super steep tech climb, I'll go for it either way, but to be honest, knowing that with clips I can power over the top and through the bottom, and even pull up if need be, and being confident that I'm hooked into the pedal... I am definately (no question about it) going to go harder clip'd in. I find on flats, that you can stall out easier as you cannot power over the top/thru the bottom, and while I'll go anyways, I'll actually attack hardera and with more confidence when hooked up.

    Everyone has a different comfort level. Mine happens to be pretty level between the 2 systems.
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    I have ridden clipped on the road but never on the mountain. Always flats so far

    Most people in So Cal ride clipped in - at least from what i see. But I only started about a year ago -and i climb pretty well so thats not a problem for me. Doing downhill i have saved myself many times with the front wheel washing out while pushing it so i continue with flats.

    I bet i would gain very little climbing a smooth fire road clipped in compared to flats - i pedal pretty smoothly

    But i think on steep tech climbs is where flats fall short and i wish i was clipped - thats pretty much the main part. That and being able to cheat a bunny hop by pulling up

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mike H. View Post
    I assure you I too enjoy pushing the bike to the point of needing to countersteer and move weight around on the bike. In either situation I'm typically committed enought that I either "drive" out of it... or... the other... . Of course there are occassions where I'll throw out the anchor, but it's not something I like to do... if the anchors out, it's because I'm scrubbing too much speed.
    As to the super steep tech climb, I'll go for it either way, but to be honest, knowing that with clips I can power over the top and through the bottom, and even pull up if need be, and being confident that I'm hooked into the pedal... I am definately (no question about it) going to go harder clip'd in. I find on flats, that you can stall out easier as you cannot power over the top/thru the bottom, and while I'll go anyways, I'll actually attack hardera and with more confidence when hooked up.

    Everyone has a different comfort level. Mine happens to be pretty level between the 2 systems.
    true dat true dat, i see you, your rite, its comfort level. im just pissed off lately from some crashes clipped in and its been funner lately not clipped, its just been a no stress factor me latlely. If i were to go race i would run my clips. and especially if im gonna run a track i know and can clean everything. for right now i just feel more free. but yes if im locked and loaded and want to make time clips all the way.

    without clips in some of those crashes i could have just bailed over the bars or let the bike slide out to the side and ran it out and i would have been cool, probably tumbled but better than being stuck to the bike. one of the incidents a year ago cost me broken ribs washing out. another recently got me speared buy a relativly sharp logish branch. i got lucky just a scab and bruised ribs but it knocked the wind out of me.

    Here one incident where clipps helped me from putting a foot down. I come flying down a hill into a long, drawn out, flat graded turn. Theres ends up being some unepected sparse layer of dg. The front tire starts to release and rear with it, and they dont wanna hook back up; Im sliding on solid summer desert hardpack Im going too fast to throw my foot down or im gonna low side with the bike and go off the trail or rip my groing. So im just gonna ride this suckker out and hope for the best. As im drifting the rear tire starts to gradualy come around and then suddenly whips and releases me 180 degrees, catapulting me backwards with the bike in my hands. I got my feet out and behind me and the bike in my hands upside down, which keeps me from doing reverse summersaults. The drift itself scrubbed most of the speed and im still not sure how i walked away from that one it happened so fast but was also like slow motion. it is by far the scariest thing on a mountian bike yet. except for riding and looking out of the edges of vertical cliffs in utah. Friggen utah.
    Last edited by akiracornell; 03-02-2012 at 05:05 AM.

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    haha. I hear you.
    Unfortunately my mentality is that no matter what I can ride it out... it makes for some specatular rag dolls... followed up by time off the bike.
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  86. #86
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    Quote Originally Posted by birdman829 View Post
    This is another important aspect of the debate. For those with creaky knees, the float in clipless pedals can save you from some pain. That is one of the things I'm finding I have to adjust to with my new flats is not having that side to side play when spinning.
    Actually most orthopedists will discourage you running clipless pedals if you have joint/knee problems ....
    A few years ago i had knee surgery and since my doctor knew that i ride bicycles, she warned me against using clipless pedals, not really a problem since i used flats anyway. Free of movements you know ...

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    Quote Originally Posted by danielsilva View Post
    Actually most orthopedists will discourage you running clipless pedals if you have joint/knee problems ....
    A few years ago i had knee surgery and since my doctor knew that i ride bicycles, she warned me against using clipless pedals, not really a problem since i used flats anyway. Free of movements you know ...


    Actually good flat and sticky shoes combo would be worse because they yield zero float. If you want float then Time, CB, BeBob, and Frog are the best options I've tried. May be the doctors were talking about rubber flat and tennis shoes.
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    hey lowball, don't ya love Voreis' segment on NWD10 as well? it's on the same page as this fox edit. best mtb trail edit ever!

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    Quote Originally Posted by mimi1885 View Post
    Actually good flat and sticky shoes combo would be worse because they yield zero float. If you want float then Time, CB, BeBob, and Frog are the best options I've tried. May be the doctors were talking about rubber flat and tennis shoes.
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    It's not always about "Float"...it's about natural foot movement (in the shoe) and pedal feel/contact. have you done any reading on any of the links posted or just going off your personal opinion and/or what you think you know?

    Here are some direct links for you:
    Interview with Barefoot Training Expert Andy Clower | MTB Strength Training Systems

    Clipless Pedals: Enhancing Performance or Covering Up Dysfunction? | MTB Strength Training Systems
    Last edited by Lowball; 03-02-2012 at 04:46 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by danielsilva View Post
    Actually most orthopedists will discourage you running clipless pedals if you have joint/knee problems ....
    A few years ago i had knee surgery and since my doctor knew that i ride bicycles, she warned me against using clipless pedals, not really a problem since i used flats anyway. Free of movements you know ...
    In my case I get knee pain later in the ride and after the ride if I use flats.

    That's the reason I go clipless. It allows me to set my feet in the right position avoiding to much lateral movement and horizontal force vectors to the knee that cause me pain. That's one of the reasons I quit skiing, for example

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    Quote Originally Posted by 53119 View Post
    hey lowball, don't ya love Voreis' segment on NWD10 as well? it's on the same page as this fox edit. best mtb trail edit ever!
    Yeah that is a sick seg! The best one is the one without the music IMO. And I'm pretty sure he's clipped in on that one with crankbro mallet's!

    To me it's all about being proficient on both platforms and clips...they both have there place, but for normal trail riding clips are not 100% necessary. I've used clips everywhere except northstar or shuttling only days for the last 5 years and can do anything on both on the same trails...including Downieville w/climb up to big boulder, HITG, and Mr. Toads...I'm comfortable either way....but I've been mountain biking and/or biking since I was 5 and I'm 42 now.

    This year I'm going back to flats, except for xc racing which I do just for fitness/fun to be stronger for trail rides with friends. Reason being is knee pain. I'm 100% certain, in my situation that being clipped in all the time is causing me unnecessary knee pain...even with "Float" type pedals.
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    Use concave profile "flats"(multi-brands) with the allen screw-in spikes, 5-10 Sam Hils for SingleSpeed and on the FS. Ultimate freedom but stick like glue when you need/want.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Lowball View Post
    It's not always about "Float"...it's about natural foot movement (in the shoe) and pedal feel/contact. have you done any reading on any of the links posted or just going off your personal opinion and/or what you think you know?

    I'm quite familiar with James Wilson website and I read many of the articles there, many them I've experience personally and I agree with the finding.

    I read both the link but found nothing on "knee injury" and prescription on flat pedal? If you have knee pain due to too much torque on your knee from the lack of float Zero float is not going to solve that problem, unless I read into it wrong.

    It's my personal opinion and experience, I notice that there's definitely more tension on my knee while riding with my flats and 5.10 than on my clipless set up. As for the floats, I prefer the SPD range of float, a bit of the limited side but it's the most comfortable to me, then I compare that with all of the other CL pedals I own then I offered my opinion.

    As for movement in the shoes I don't feel any major difference between the Maltese Falcon (SPD) and Impact. There's some difference between brands but how much difference should I feel in the shoes.
    Last edited by mimi1885; 03-02-2012 at 05:56 PM.

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    I rode flats a long time ago on my last mountain bike. I have been riding clipless on my road bike. Now that I have a new Rumblefish coming, I think I am going with a combo. I think it will be the Shimano 540's.

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    sick little video. i like the brian lopes one on page 2 of the thread. they make you wanna go ride. nothing crazy freeride like but check this wicked one i stumbled on. pay close attention at the 1min 40sec to 1min 42sec mark.. and i thought ive had some scares. holy moly here.


    watch this video anyone. Downhill Extreme Mountainbiking Freeride DH MTB awesome!!! - YouTube
    Last edited by akiracornell; 03-02-2012 at 11:51 PM.

  97. #97
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    Quote Originally Posted by mimi1885 View Post
    I read both the link but found nothing on "knee injury" and prescription on flat pedal? If you have knee pain due to too much torque on your knee from the lack of float Zero float is not going to solve that problem, unless I read into it wrong.

    As for the floats, I prefer the SPD range of float, a bit of the limited side but it's the most comfortable to me, then I compare that with all of the other CL pedals I own then I offered my opinion.
    Agreed, I don't see anything stating flat pedals are a "prescription" for a cure to knee pain. But I do see a lot of good info and comments, interviews, and other references that lead me to be of the opinion that clips can cause limited range of motion, and/or "impacting natural foot movement," again like with clips and stiff non-flexible shoes.

    Couple of good quotes from readers:
    Quote Originally Posted by TrevorB
    Anybody who has tried flats will quickly realize that the foot has a much broader range of movement on the bike. Similar to what all these new shoes offer, flats allow you to pronate your foot inward as you pedal forward preventing misuse knee injury.

    My wife happens to have a masters in PT and the first thing she taught me many years ago was to walk correctly after 3 knee surgeries. She is a big proponent of these softer shoes and has taught numerous patients to do the same thereby relieving their knee pain.

    When you walk/bike in such a manner your tib fib aligns with your femur correctly thereby preventing knee pain by creating more shock absorption. This in a nutshell is why I love flats and so glad you turned them on to me!!!
    another good quote directly from James:
    Quote Originally Posted by JamesWilson
    I think that clipless shoes and pedals should be looked at the same way – competition level performance enhancing technology that isn’t meant to be used everyday by your average rider. Flat pedals will enhance your technical skills and confidence, teach you better pedaling technique and save your knees, hips and low back – not a bad trade off if you can get past the “myths” surrounding clipless pedals.
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    ride both, it will make you a better rider.

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    You all need to spend more time riding and less geeking out about this. I ride both equally well.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Lowball View Post
    "impacting natural foot movement," again like with clips and stiff non-flexible shoes.

    :
    There are clipless shoes that have softer soles. Not all clipless shoes have carbon soles. And not all clipless pedals are like egg beaters. There are plenty with a bigger platform. So to say you have a better foot motion on 5:10's, or similar, is false. You can still get a natural foot motion in a clip-less shoe, and bigger clipless pedal.

    As for James Wilson, I like that he has a different perspective. What I don't like about him is that he fails to see the other point of view and it's benefits. And he make ridiculous analogies. Running barefoot has nothing to do with cycling. The motion of the foot is completely different. Whether it's pedals, or tires, or whatever, he is VERY opinionated. And to boot, he has no medical or scientific data showing that flat pedals are better than clip-lessor any other argument he poses. If he were to say that it was "his belief" I would have more respect for him. He's really no different than any salesman or politician.

    I think flats have their place, and clipless have their place. I ride both, and to say one is better than the other is insane. There is a reason why every road racer and every MTB XC racer uses clipless pedals. And I was meant to believe DHer's use flats. I can tell you for a fact that in the NORBA days, all DH racers used clipless.

  101. #101
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    i ride both. simultaneously.

    my favorite setup is clipless left foot and flats on the right, i usually run that when riding light all-mountain style trails. i really like the feeling of being able to dab one foot while turning right.

    sometimes i'll switch it up to some aggressive xc/trail (it's a subtle differences that only marketing directors and i can fully appreciate) and reverse left/right. that way my naturally more powerful right quads can really increase my efficiency uphill while my left foot is free. plus it helps the pedals in each set wear a little more evenly.

    oh you wanted a serious answer? stop caring about peoples' opinion on this intensely personal subject and just try it.
    Honi soit qui mal y pense

  102. #102
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    Quote Originally Posted by mucky View Post
    There are clipless shoes that have softer soles. Not all clipless shoes have carbon soles. And not all clipless pedals are like egg beaters. There are plenty with a bigger platform. So to say you have a better foot motion on 5:10's, or similar, is false. You can still get a natural foot motion in a clip-less shoe, and bigger clipless pedal.

    As for James Wilson, I like that he has a different perspective. What I don't like about him is that he fails to see the other point of view and it's benefits. And he make ridiculous analogies. Running barefoot has nothing to do with cycling. The motion of the foot is completely different. Whether it's pedals, or tires, or whatever, he is VERY opinionated. And to boot, he has no medical or scientific data showing that flat pedals are better than clip-lessor any other argument he poses. If he were to say that it was "his belief" I would have more respect for him. He's really no different than any salesman or politician.

    I think flats have their place, and clipless have their place. I ride both, and to say one is better than the other is insane. There is a reason why every road racer and every MTB XC racer uses clipless pedals. And I was meant to believe DHer's use flats. I can tell you for a fact that in the NORBA days, all DH racers used clipless.
    Your points are valid. I'm just trying to point out that, like you, there is no one solution. And as I've stated I've ridden both and am proficient in both as well. I've ridden quite a few clips starting back in 80's with the original white Look pedals...along with Time, Shimano, and various CB setups. the wider platform of something other than a eggbeater has nothing to do with anything really...they just make them bigger for people who like the option of wearing something other than a normal stiff clip in race style shoe...and for inexperienced riders to get there foot in because they have something larger to feel for under foot...maybe durability in rocky type conditions...

    I don't know for a fact that James Wilson is "selling" anything other than his training programs. And he is not saying clipless doesn't have its place (have you listened to any of the interviews/pod casts). Everyone has a feel for what works for them, when and where. I know back in the day a lot of NORBA racers were clipped in for racing...but they also were riding different types of DH races back then and the "industry" was all about pushing clips (as they still are) because they were the "in-thing." But I'm sure you could find one guy who didn't run clips back in NORBA...so I don't buy that statement 100%.

    I'm just trying to play devils advocate and give people things to think about before just jumping into clips right out the gate. Everyone should ride there local trails with both clips and flats and then figure it out for themselves as to what works best for them. But not trying flats just because someone says they don't work or are less efficient...seems like they may not understand the concept of flats or how to make them work properly.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lowball View Post
    I don't know for a fact that James Wilson is "selling" anything other than his training programs. And he is not saying clipless doesn't have its place (have you listened to any of the interviews/pod casts). Everyone has a feel for what works for them, when and where. I know back in the day a lot of NORBA racers were clipped in for racing...but they also were riding different types of DH races back then and the "industry" was all about pushing clips (as they still are) because they were the "in-thing." But I'm sure you could find one guy who didn't run clips back in NORBA...so I don't buy that statement 100%.
    I have listened to them all. I think it relates to him selling his program. Believe what he preaches, must be good, buy his program. As for the NORBA reference, I meant the pro downhillers There were only 50 pros and every one used clipless pedals. I was one of the 50. Back thenm it wasn't as hard to be a pro in DH as it was in XC. The pro XC riders were clipped in as well. I just haven't heard James say anything positive about clipped, just how adimant he is about flats.

    Quote Originally Posted by Lowball View Post
    I'm just trying to play devils advocate and give people things to think about before just jumping into clips right out the gate. Everyone should ride there local trails with both clips and flats and then figure it out for themselves as to what works best for them. But not trying flats just because someone says they don't work or are less efficient...seems like they may not understand the concept of flats or how to make them work properly.
    I totally agree. For me, using flats helps my pedal stroke when clipped in.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Philly B View Post

    stop caring about peoples' opinion on this intensely personal subject and just try it.
    Try what.

    I don't care about anybody's "opinion". As I stated, I ride both. They both have their place. I just don't like someone trying to justify one is better than the other, like James Wilson states, and having no data to support his opinionated view.

    It's personal, when you claim you like one or the other. It's not personal when you claim one is better than the other.

    What you said doesn't relate to anything on this subject.
    So, if you want to post your opinion on the debate, do so. If not, keep your mindless thoughts to yourself !

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    Not having a lot of knowledge with clipless MTB, I am going back and forth between the two schools of thought. I always used Flats, of course that was 20+ years ago. Road cycling I use a clipless system.
    I am definetely thinking a combo pedal for myself when I get my new Rumblefish Elite.

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    I really appreciate everyones responses. I had no idea flats were as prevalent for trail riding. No one I ride with uses them. All the info has been great to sort through and I have to agree both have their places. I've been riding for decades blindly believing clipless was the only way. Thanks for enlightening me.

    At this point in my riding, racing and competition behind me, fun far outweighs efficiency. I'm gonna give it a go. Barons and Superstar Nanos, I do believe.

    I enjoyed reading all the constructive educational responses from people who realize threads like this aren't about what's better but rather what different options can offer. Thanks, it's been eye opening.

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    I've always ridden flats, quality ones with sticky skate shoes, on all my bikes be it rigid, full squish or hardtail. Right now I'm riding flats on my rigid singlespeed, and it isn't hard to go downhill and stay on the pedals, it just takes proper technique. Personally I'm afraid of clipless, although I own a pair, I've yet to try them out... Maybe if I could find a cheap pair of clipless shoes, they are so damn expensive, then maybe I'd try them out.
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  108. #108
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    It's a very difficult topic to discuss. Many NuBs view clipless pedals as "the right of passage". Like riding clipless is a hard thing to do It only takes a few weeks for most people to transition and if you practice emergency situation unclipping is really a non-issue.

    They misguidedly think that pushing and pulling double the pedaling efficiency which is not true and you don't need a scientific study and data to back that up, commonsense alone can easily answer that a larger/stronger muscle group pushing down on the pedal would generate more power than small muscle group pulling up. In addition, it takes a whole lot of practice to perfect the efficient pedaling stroke at an optimum cadence.

    Sure, at a lower cadence (grunting fest) pushing and pulling may be more useful getting over some steep tech climb but it's come at a price of extra energy spent on such afterburner move. I do that all the time on my SS

    After switching/adding flats I found that my cadence is smoother and I don't scratch the rear tires as much and I start cleaning more tech, and steep climbs more. Many poster here who ride both already understand the value and benefit of using both types of pedal to make them better riders.

  109. #109
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    Quote Originally Posted by mucky View Post
    Try what.
    Try both!

    It hardly matters what anyone says in this "debate" unless it's something that works for the OP.

    I.e., debate is kind of pointless. Better to just get out there, try both cleats and flats, and decide for yourself.
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    I think this is really really really simple.

    1. if you plan to (or think you might) have a reason for you feet to leave contact with you pedals, ride flats.

    2. If you plan to keep you feet 100% of the time on the pedals. Ride clips.

    So for me if I am at Ray's MTB Park, I'm all about the flats. I don't do tail whips, inverted tricks or superman's but if i did, id go for flats.

    Update: I forgot heavy clay soils, deep snow...and super GNAR. I ride flats here too, but only because I can't get into my clips...... or I am riding over my head in the GNAR and falling is almost a given.

    Otherwise I never plan or want to have my feet leave the pedals. Ever. So clips pose no restriction to something I would do regardless.

    And if you are "scared" to ride clips on trail (see #2), then you need to work on you technique, stop falling, and commit. My poor technique has been the blame for all my "single bike" crashes, I never punked out and blamed my clips. SMH

  111. #111
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    Quote Originally Posted by mucky View Post
    I don't care about anybody's "opinion".
    I get it now. You thought I was directly addressing your comments when my intention was to address the OP. I was wondering, why so angry?
    Honi soit qui mal y pense

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    Quote Originally Posted by Philly B View Post
    Try both!

    It hardly matters what anyone says in this "debate" unless it's something that works for the OP.

    I.e., debate is kind of pointless. Better to just get out there, try both cleats and flats, and decide for yourself.
    Trying both would be the best solution I agree.

    However, to add another setup is not exactly cheap, good shoes and pedals on either setup would run about $120-180, a little cheaper on a decent clipless combo.

    That's why I think the discussion not exactly debate like this serves good purpose especially now that a lot of riders start getting back into flats. It's easy if you can just try out your friends' combo but usually it's not possible for most.

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    I agree, like most have said here, that riding both is certainly to the advantage of the rider who wants to broaden their skills package, but one thing that no one (at least in my quick glancing so often of this thread) has touched on, is the effect that riding clipless has on sprinting. If I had to choose flats or clipless, I'd go for flats in almost any situation, but in recently swapping out my flats for a pair of clipless pedals, I've found that my sprinting is greatly improved. The effect of "pulling up" while sprinting is greater exaggerated because you're using your hamstrings and not your hip flexors to bring the pedals around on your upstroke when in a standing sprint as compared to a seated climb.
    For the average trail rider this may or may not be an issue, but for someone focused on racing the clock (i.e. Downhill, Super-D, Enduro racers), this might be something to consider. Just my .02 on an observation I recently made. Carry on the debate!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Philly B View Post
    Try both!

    It hardly matters what anyone says in this "debate" unless it's something that works for the OP.

    I.e., debate is kind of pointless. Better to just get out there, try both cleats and flats, and decide for yourself.
    I said I already use both

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    Quote Originally Posted by Philly B View Post
    I get it now. You thought I was directly addressing your comments when my intention was to address the OP. I was wondering, why so angry?
    You are right. No problem.
    I'm not angry. Perfect example how things are misunderstood on the internet.

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    for me i just ordered my dual spd/ platforms pdm324's from nashbar for 44 bucks and bought some agu aq34's for 20 bucks this way if i want to clip its there and if i want to ride flats i flip the pedal. From my perspective i love to ride so logically i want a pedal that can do both.

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    Cross Country or climbing = Clips FTW

    Big Downhill = Flasts FTW

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mr.Crowe View Post
    for me i just ordered my dual spd/ platforms pdm324's from nashbar for 44 bucks and bought some agu aq34's for 20 bucks this way if i want to clip its there and if i want to ride flats i flip the pedal. From my perspective i love to ride so logically i want a pedal that can do both.
    Yeah I don't know how well that will work for you. I have those same pedals on my old steel Puegeot commuter and they're great in that application, but its not really an offroad pedal. I'm sure the spd side will be fine, but those platforms aren't going to have enough grip for any kind of technical offroad riding.


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    i think there is enough examples on both sides that at the end of the day it isn't really about the pedals now is it?

  120. #120
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    I ride both , it works, it's easy and you learn to ride both ways .. If the trails are super crazy then flats 100% otherwise clips .. Best solution here is just to have both and you can pick and choose yourself .

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    Quote Originally Posted by mimi1885 View Post
    Trying both would be the best solution I agree.

    However, to add another setup is not exactly cheap, good shoes and pedals on either setup would run about $120-180, a little cheaper on a decent clipless combo.

    That's why I think the discussion not exactly debate like this serves good purpose especially now that a lot of riders start getting back into flats. It's easy if you can just try out your friends' combo but usually it's not possible for most.
    +1

    Not only does it cost money, but it takes some time to optimize either combo too, so trying "the other one" once or twice, and hating it, doesn't prove anything other than you need the better part of a season to really know.

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    Quote Originally Posted by birdman829 View Post
    Yeah I don't know how well that will work for you. I have those same pedals on my old steel Puegeot commuter and they're great in that application, but its not really an offroad pedal. I'm sure the spd side will be fine, but those platforms aren't going to have enough grip for any kind of technical offroad riding.

    i did the similar with the nashbar highlander which is also the wellgo WAM D10 which is a much more robust platform. problem is the the shoe. most clipless shoes dont stick well to the flats. unless you get a skate type clippless which i never invested into. i just switched back to flats, but the shoe change is still and option. any 5.10 clipless would work. maltese, hellcat, minnar, vans warner, sixsixone filter.

  123. #123
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mr.Crowe View Post
    for me i just ordered my dual spd/ platforms pdm324's from nashbar for 44 bucks and bought some agu aq34's for 20 bucks this way if i want to clip its there and if i want to ride flats i flip the pedal. From my perspective i love to ride so logically i want a pedal that can do both.
    i think those shoes will work but if your not sure about the pedal you could exchange the pedal for the nashbar highlander pedal. the size of a standard flat with pins in it, i liked it but heavy and i never had the rite shoe for the flat side.

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    Here's my take:

    Having learned how to MTB from an XC racing background I really learned how to ride a mountain bike clipped-in. 5 years ago I was introduced to lift-assisted downhill riding by a friend and rode flats for the first time since I was a kid.

    Since I've been doing a lot of bike park riding in the last few years, my XC rides have turned much more into all-mountain rides. With this change in overall riding style I've also almost completely stopped riding clip-less. I'm less focused on completing a 12-mile loop as fast as possible and more focused on enjoying the ride, saving my energy on the climbs, and smoking both downhill and flat technical sections. I'd probably be marginally faster (A to B time-wise) in an XC race running clip-less, but I just have more fun and enjoy the overall experience more on flat pedals.

    One thing that flats have going for them that no one has brought-up is the ability to walk around off the bike during a ride (food break, chill break, or just to stop and enjoy the scenery) without the discomfort of walking around in clipless shoes. There are SPD shoes out there modeled after the skate-type shoe, but generally speaking clip-less shoes are sketchy at best in terms of grip on the ground.

    Flats for me.

  125. #125
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    I tried going to flats recently because I realised I was riding clipless because I was told that was better and I never made my own assessment. Biggest outcome after a month or so of flats is I'm enjoying riding more. It took a while to get my technique right, especially for 'bunny hopping' but the benefits are there for me. I'm more aggressive on technical climbs and desents and I've not noticed any difference in my power output or ability to climb.
    The other aspect to this is that your position on the bike may change with different options. ie. I'm out of the saddle a lot more and pushing bigger gears with flats.

  126. #126
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    I ride flats. They're more fun. I don't tip over like an idiot when I can't get unclipped. Also, another advantage of flats is that you can laugh at the people with clips that randomly tip over.

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    I think the last time i randomly tipped over in clips was 15 years ago... lol. I think as a lot of people who didn't start riding in the early to mid 90's never got used to clips, so naturally they are not as comfortable in them as flats. I get mad if i miss my clip after 90 degrees or revolution! That's how entrained they are for me.

    But you wont catch me on the skinnies in clips!
    Last edited by hilltopcrew; 03-05-2012 at 10:09 PM. Reason: spel ing...

  128. #128
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    have you seen people who drink beer while in clipless shoes?!! same people who think planking is still funny..not hatin' just statin.

  129. #129
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    Quote Originally Posted by 53119 View Post
    have you seen people who drink beer while in clipless shoes?!! same people who think planking is still funny..not hatin' just statin.
    LOL, I guess you are right. Beer + Clips = FAIL

  130. #130
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    i dont do AM, but i like creeping this thread
    having tried both, i can say i DONT like clipless in technical stuff. i ride like a weenie and it takes the fun out. I also dont mind climbing in flats. There IS a technique to it. i've beaten clipped in riders up hill! Perhaps being "attached" helps in that last fighting oommph up a hill, but more often than not, i either MAKE a hill, or i'm not even close. Pedals dont matter in those situations

    but as somebody recently said, the sitting and spinning stuff is better clipped in. My road/offroad bike is clipless.

  131. #131
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    Quote Originally Posted by NicoleB28 View Post
    Pedals dont matter in those situations
    .
    ...to you.
    Actually, I was an early adopter of clipless use off road (had the first Shimano spuds and have had every iteration since) and it's second nature to me. I do ride flats when sessioning dh/jump lines, but do hit the occasional jump line while sporting the clipless pedals. For me when it comes to jumping, I much prefer flats with which I can center my foot more than when clipped in. I've moved the cleats as far back as they can go but still get the occasional ankle tweak from landing because my feet are too far back on the pedals when clipped in. I've shelved the tiny XTR's I used to swear by for XC rides (getting less weight weinie in my old age) and now exclusively use the platform/clipless hybrid, but again use the Crampons when on the big bike.
    Edit: funny, 20 minutes after posting I came across this.

  132. #132
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    To all the die-hard clipless fans. Would you do this clipless?
    Radwanderung... - YouTube

    If yes then hats off - you are the master of clipless pedals... amongst many other things apparently.
    "Single track is for pansies!
    I blast down a mountain once, and in my wake, lies a new single track for the rest of you."-sm

  133. #133
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    ^^^^ Nice Vid, one place where a narrow set of bars would help.
    I've recently gone back to flats, not because I had issues getting in or out but more to save some strain on my knees. My clips didn't have enough float to let me pedal in my natural (duck like) stance.
    I climb & descend the same as clipless. My flats did hit a few more trail features (when I changed) but now it seems automatic when to pedal & when to coast.

  134. #134
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    Quote Originally Posted by KVW View Post
    To all the die-hard clipless fans. Would you do this clipless?
    Radwanderung... - YouTube

    If yes then hats off - you are the master of clipless pedals... amongst many other things apparently.
    Embedded for you:


    Ummm probably. And I'm not even a diehard clipless guy. And certainly not the master of anything. Most of that is just a bench cut with a high consequence fall. But it's not gonna be the pedals that save you. Its no more difficult to stop and check out a section or walk over a sketchy bridge clipless than with flats. I mean, if you were to lose your balance to the right and fall, I don't really see how wearing flats is going to help you. Really awesome trail though. Where is that?

  135. #135
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    Quote Originally Posted by KVW View Post
    To all the die-hard clipless fans. Would you do this clipless?
    Radwanderung... - YouTube

    If yes then hats off - you are the master of clipless pedals... amongst many other things apparently.
    Check out the first rider's shoes and pedals. Shoes look like spd for sure, it's hard to tell, but I think those are DH clip pedals?

    Even if they are all on flats, there are plenty of guys that would ride that trail on clips. Blue dot/Portal doesn't have as much exposure as this trail, but the end results of falling off any of these trails will be the same. I ride flats now, but I've rode said trails many times clipped as have countless others.

  136. #136
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    Quote Originally Posted by birdman829 View Post
    Embedded for you:


    Ummm probably. And I'm not even a diehard clipless guy. And certainly not the master of anything. Most of that is just a bench cut with a high consequence fall. But it's not gonna be the pedals that save you. Its no more difficult to stop and check out a section or walk over a sketchy bridge clipless than with flats. I mean, if you were to lose your balance to the right and fall, I don't really see how wearing flats is going to help you. Really awesome trail though. Where is that?
    Too funny: Check out 3:07. They guy clearly unclips! He's the guy that pulled a wheelie on an exposed section too.

  137. #137
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    ^^^ Its funny too because I don't like riding wheelies clipped but would have no problem with any of the rest of it. I worry more about elevated skinnies like "northshore" style than gnarly benchcuts.

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    I ride on flats, not very confident on SPD-s, because I have a constant urge to take my foot of pedal

  139. #139
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    Quote Originally Posted by KVW View Post
    To all the die-hard clipless fans. Would you do this clipless?
    Radwanderung... - YouTube

    If yes then hats off - you are the master of clipless pedals... amongst many other things apparently.
    I think the proper question is "should anyone ride this PERIOD"....lol
    Clips would not scare me here, the cliff would. If you lean right and have to put a foot down, you are screwed because there is nothing to step on. Low technical riding, very high risk.

  140. #140
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    On longer rides I will usually go to clipless unless it is really technical or fast. I prefer flats but like the extra boost I get with a clipless setup.

  141. #141
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    Goals for 2012: learn how to hop with flats; learn to wheelie and manual.

    Since you've gotta be nutty to LEARN to wheelie with clipless, I'll put the flats on and go for the trifecta.

    It WILL be tough to hop for a clipless rider since early 90's to do it with no cheating
    Old enough to know better. And old enough not to care. Best age to be.

  142. #142
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    I hear you about the "cheating". I go back and forth a lot and invariably the first ride back on the clipless (if I"ve been on the flats for a few rides) I hop off the pedals on the first jump.

  143. #143
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    I'm apparently challenged. While I can do most stuff on flats when I put the clipless back on it's like someone took a 50 lb weight off my back. I feel so much more light and in control of the bike and not having to think about what my feet are doing. If I'm on a really hard technical climb and need to launch the bike (especially the rear tire) forward up over something it's a lot easier. And then if I'm really tired lifting over logs and stuff takes twice the energy to accomplish on flats. It's like a whole body effort on flats where with clipless it's just an easy lift.

  144. #144
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    Quote Originally Posted by geo025 View Post
    ^^^^ Nice Vid, one place where a narrow set of bars would help.
    .
    Seriously. I would be way more concerned with hitting my bars than with dabbing a foot here and there. Pucker factor looks real high on that trail. Kudos to those riders though I'd like to ride it.

  145. #145
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    Quote Originally Posted by modifier View Post
    I'm apparently challenged. While I can do most stuff on flats when I put the clipless back on it's like someone took a 50 lb weight off my back. I feel so much more light and in control of the bike and not having to think about what my feet are doing. If I'm on a really hard technical climb and need to launch the bike (especially the rear tire) forward up over something it's a lot easier. And then if I'm really tired lifting over logs and stuff takes twice the energy to accomplish on flats. It's like a whole body effort on flats where with clipless it's just an easy lift.
    I know what you mean and had similar experiences when I was learning flats and switched back and forth. Like you said, you don't have to think about anything when clipped. Flats have a long learning curve, and until it becomes second nature, you have to focus on downward pressure, angles, and foot placement. Clips do these things for you. What clips can't do is allow you to fine tune those things which allows for better body english, and better over all control of the bike. Flats offer a much more communicative ride which translates to more work, but also means more control!

  146. #146
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    Great thread, I've been having this exact debate (with myself) for awhile. The Last 15 years I have ridden clipless, even though I started as an XC weight weenie I LIKE air time, scars aside, clipless keeps the bike and the tires under me. Sometimes this does not end well, sometimes it saves your ass, but since this whole ENDURO thing has exploded I think I've found my niche. So, now I got long travel and big tires, I find the traditional XC shoe is not meant for "all mountain" although I do like my DX's. I just got Shimano's new-ish DH/FR shoe with cleat-a-bility as I'm too old and set in my ways to go to flats, this is the compromise for awhile unless I auger in BECAUSE I was stuck to the bike. Time will tell.

  147. #147
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    I'm still not convinced that flats offer better handling than clipless. It's just a different technique and if you keep your pedals loose or use Eggbeaters you have a lot of float with clipless but you still stay hooked to the pedal.

    Lifting your feet to elevate the bike if you can isn't wrong it's just different. Everyone says it's improper technique. Yeah it's improper if your shoes aren't connected to the pedals. Other wise it is the technique.

    It just like saying that telemark bindings are superior to alpine bindings. Yeah if you have to walk.

    There is a place for each but in general if I am going downhill skiing I want alpine bindings. If someone wants to dedicate a lot of time to learning how to ski with telemark bindings they can do pretty well especially with modern designs but they aren't going to win any slalom races against top skiers with alpine setups. I think there is cross over logic here that applies to flats vs clipless.

  148. #148
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    Quote Originally Posted by modifier View Post
    I'm still not convinced that flats offer better handling than clipless. It's just a different technique and if you keep your pedals loose or use Eggbeaters you have a lot of float with clipless but you still stay hooked to the pedal.

    Lifting your feet to elevate the bike if you can isn't wrong it's just different. Everyone says it's improper technique. Yeah it's improper if your shoes aren't connected to the pedals. Other wise it is the technique.

    It just like saying that telemark bindings are superior to alpine bindings. Yeah if you have to walk.

    There is a place for each but in general if I am going downhill skiing I want alpine bindings. If someone wants to dedicate a lot of time to learning how to ski with telemark bindings they can do pretty well especially with modern designs but they aren't going to win any slalom races against top skiers with alpine setups. I think there is cross over logic here that applies to flats vs clipless.


    I don't believe the proper tech thing is a major reason flats offer better control. I attribute the better control to feel. There's a disconnect with clips in the form of shoes with a rigid sole, float, and the fact that you are in a fixed position with a cleat as your interface instead of the full pedal platform cradling a flexible shoe.

    A well designed concave platform will allow your feet to sit in the pedal and provide a large contact patch whereas clips position you on top of the pedal with a small contact patch in the form of a cleat that moves from side to side.

  149. #149
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    I put flats on my hardtail and did my first ride today. As has been said, a little less power climbing had me not cleaning stuff I can clean with clipless, but nowhere near as bad as I thought it might be. Still don't know how to hop properly but was able to lunge up and over some obstacles lifting the front wheel, twisting the bar forward, and weighting forward. Hops and air will come with practice. I plan on keeping the flats on the hardtail all this season until I get it down. Clipless will remain on the dualie. I switch between the bikes about 50/50.
    Old enough to know better. And old enough not to care. Best age to be.

  150. #150
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    I found the less power feeling was because I wasn't clearing my rear leg in the pedal stroke. Once I focused onunweighting my rear leg I found I climb just as well if not better on flats. Took me about five rides to get bunny hops down, trick is to learn to pick the rear of the bike up by pulling back with your feet.

  151. #151
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    Quote Originally Posted by dwt View Post
    Goals for 2012: learn how to hop with flats; learn to wheelie and manual.

    Since you've gotta be nutty to LEARN to wheelie with clipless, I'll put the flats on and go for the trifecta.

    It WILL be tough to hop for a clipless rider since early 90's to do it with no cheating
    i can wheelie a bit but manuals are different. i was kinda messin around with them today as i only have done really quick ones on bmx bike. i would suggest learning both at super slow speeds;like walking speed; to reduce the wipe out factor if you mess up. balance is balance. if you cant do it slow i wouldnt wanna do it fast. im finding to manual on 26 wheels takes significant upper and lower body strength. no doubt about it; to learn to manual you need to drop your seat completly out of the way. i would sugest low to where you can pinch your seat with your knees while standing.

    You have to really get your legs in a crouch position behind the seat when you pull back, from there you need to pump the rear wheel in and out with your legs to keep from falling back and letting it down. i was only doing them for a few seconds to get the feel, i actually had trouble commiting to pulling them up cause im use to wheelies where you can pedal to maintain them. manual are completly different. i was practicing at almost a stand still speed where i ended up balacing while sitting still. if you mess up and are goin back you need to be able to push the bike out with your feet and at the same time jump to your feet while while holding on to the bike, but better yet you need to be able to rely on a rear brake trigger finger to keep you from loopin out. good luck, thought id give some tips as im experimenting with them.

    in conclusion: low seat, commit to pullin them up and back while standing and get your ass back and low, intense strong reactive squating legs, itchy one break finger to save looping back, but your legs should be really saving it, strong arms and core, with the body all working together, really pumping that rear wheel in and out with the legs, its a rather coordinated manuver to really hold it up.

    somthin to do when your bored and ambitious. id say wheelies are easier than manuals, while they look similar they are completly different. manual are much more technical in my opinion, and more usefull for on the trails. both are more less to show off but the manual is a realworld skill of controling the bike while pulling back. where as realistically a wheelie is useless on the trail cause you would never want to be sitting while pumping or dropp offs. manuals is a mastery of balance and bike control.

    woops i just went to youtube and arron chase says learn to master a wheelie first. sorry i guess scratch all the above. as it does seem that fundamental balace of wheelies would be better first. youtube it for tips. goodluck . you really have just start messin around and having fun and trying them all the time when your bored. each day will improve some. i would say practice at home where your not distracted with riding trails.just focus on the wheelies. on inch at a time, one pedal at a time.
    Last edited by akiracornell; 03-13-2012 at 04:40 AM.

  152. #152
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    I don't think that this debate will ever end.
    It's all personal preference.
    Sorta like Chevy vs Ford vs Dodge.
    Another debate that won't end, ever.
    I drive a Toyota, but who beside me really gives a s--t.
    Ride what you like, and try to have as much fun as possible, that should be the main thing.

  153. #153
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    Alright dammit, this thread along with the one in the SS forum last week has convinced me to give flats another try. I snagged I a pair of Fox Defaults really really cheap and I have a pair of Kona Jackshit pedals that I tried a few years ago. Honestly I hate these pedals though, I have repacked the bearing with a ton of grease but they just weren't very nice to start with. What are some suggestions for a decent pair of sealed bearing replaceable pin pedals? I am thinking MG-1 but I sort of like the idea of the thinner concave pedals.

  154. #154
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    Quote Originally Posted by dwt View Post
    Goals for 2012: learn how to hop with flats; learn to wheelie and manual.

    Since you've gotta be nutty to LEARN to wheelie with clipless, I'll put the flats on and go for the trifecta.

    It WILL be tough to hop for a clipless rider since early 90's to do it with no cheating
    haha, i DID learn to wheelie clipped!!!! well, lets say, i tried my first wheelie within minutes of putting on clipless pedals.

    i rode into the side of my house.

  155. #155
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    Quote Originally Posted by akiracornell View Post
    i can wheelie a bit but manuals are different. i was kinda messin around with them today as i only have done really quick ones on bmx bike. i would suggest learning both at super slow speeds;like walking speed; to reduce the wipe out factor if you mess up. balance is balance. if you cant do it slow i wouldnt wanna do it fast. im finding to manual on 26 wheels takes significant upper and lower body strength. no doubt about it; to learn to manual you need to drop your seat completly out of the way. i would sugest low to where you can pinch your seat with your knees while standing.

    You have to really get your legs in a crouch position behind the seat when you pull back, from there you need to pump the rear wheel in and out with your legs to keep from falling back and letting it down. i was only doing them for a few seconds to get the feel, i actually had trouble commiting to pulling them up cause im use to wheelies where you can pedal to maintain them. manual are completly different. i was practicing at almost a stand still speed where i ended up balacing while sitting still. if you mess up and are goin back you need to be able to push the bike out with your feet and at the same time jump to your feet while while holding on to the bike, but better yet you need to be able to rely on a rear brake trigger finger to keep you from loopin out. good luck, thought id give some tips as im experimenting with them.

    in conclusion: low seat, commit to pullin them up and back while standing and get your ass back and low, intense strong reactive squating legs, itchy one break finger to save looping back, but your legs should be really saving it, strong arms and core, with the body all working together, really pumping that rear wheel in and out with the legs, its a rather coordinated manuver to really hold it up.

    somthin to do when your bored and ambitious. id say wheelies are easier than manuals, while they look similar they are completly different. manual are much more technical in my opinion, and more usefull for on the trails. both are more less to show off but the manual is a realworld skill of controling the bike while pulling back. where as realistically a wheelie is useless on the trail cause you would never want to be sitting while pumping or dropp offs. manuals is a mastery of balance and bike control.

    woops i just went to youtube and arron chase says learn to master a wheelie first. sorry i guess scratch all the above. as it does seem that fundamental balace of wheelies would be better first. youtube it for tips. goodluck . you really have just start messin around and having fun and trying them all the time when your bored. each day will improve some. i would say practice at home where your not distracted with riding trails.just focus on the wheelies. on inch at a time, one pedal at a time.
    what a friggen babbling idiot, i feel dumb

  156. #156
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    Quote Originally Posted by yellowjeep View Post
    Alright dammit, this thread along with the one in the SS forum last week has convinced me to give flats another try. I snagged I a pair of Fox Defaults really really cheap and I have a pair of Kona Jackshit pedals that I tried a few years ago. Honestly I hate these pedals though, I have repacked the bearing with a ton of grease but they just weren't very nice to start with. What are some suggestions for a decent pair of sealed bearing replaceable pin pedals? I am thinking MG-1 but I sort of like the idea of the thinner concave pedals.
    the MG-1 is concave.
    the MG-52 is concave, thin and cheaper... allbeit a little heavier... ~50 grams...
    I like the 52's.
    My bike, Slayer 70

  157. #157
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    Quote Originally Posted by slimat99 View Post
    I don't believe the proper tech thing is a major reason flats offer better control. I attribute the better control to feel. There's a disconnect with clips in the form of shoes with a rigid sole, float, and the fact that you are in a fixed position with a cleat as your interface instead of the full pedal platform cradling a flexible shoe.

    A well designed concave platform will allow your feet to sit in the pedal and provide a large contact patch whereas clips position you on top of the pedal with a small contact patch in the form of a cleat that moves from side to side.
    I believe this to be true. Flats have much more of a "natural" feeling to them, especially once you get over the learning curve. Putting your feet into a super tight shoe with a rigid sole and a little cleat on the bottom that clips into a tiny little contact point that gives you a little bit of side to side "float" is not ideal as far as full body movement and balance goes.

  158. #158
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    Quote Originally Posted by capslayer View Post
    I believe this to be true. Flats have much more of a "natural" feeling to them, especially once you get over the learning curve. Putting your feet into a super tight shoe with a rigid sole and a little cleat on the bottom that clips into a tiny little contact point that gives you a little bit of side to side "float" is not ideal as far as full body movement and balance goes.
    Interesting, as I disagree and find flats more disconnected...I find being attached to the bike makes it feel more connected to myself and therefore to the trail. I also find it easier to balance and move, as my feet are always in the "right" position no matter where i move the upper body

    It just goes to show that it's really a preference thing....I ride both clips and flats but this season I'm gonna experiment with clips on the DH bike!
    what would rainbow unicorn do?

  159. #159
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    Quote Originally Posted by dwt View Post
    This is how flats should be ridden. Wish I could. Until then, I'm clipped in.

    <iframe src="http://player.vimeo.com/video/37122608?title=0&amp;byline=0&amp;portrait=0" width="400" height="225" frameborder="0" webkitAllowFullScreen mozallowfullscreen allowFullScreen></iframe><p><a href="http://vimeo.com/37122608">X-Fusion and Brian Lopes Part 2</a> from <a href="http://vimeo.com/user3463265">Devin Schmitt</a> on <a href="http://vimeo.com">Vimeo</a>.</p>
    Umm, he's clipped. This is the second video posted to show guys riding flats but the rider is clipped.

    Man I love these flat v clipped threads. Entertainment never ends. So much more fun than which is the best bike. Carry on.

  160. #160
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    Quote Originally Posted by ferday View Post
    Interesting, as I disagree and find flats more disconnected...I find being attached to the bike makes it feel more connected to myself and therefore to the trail. I also find it easier to balance and move, as my feet are always in the "right" position no matter where i move the upper body

    It just goes to show that it's really a preference thing....I ride both clips and flats but this season I'm gonna experiment with clips on the DH bike!
    It's counter intuitive that flats connect you better than clips. Having control over the things clips do automatically is what I'm talking about when I say flats connect you better to your bike. It's a little like driving a manual vs automatic; which provides a more connected driving experience? That's not the best analogy, but you know where I'm trying to go with that. Like you said, it is personal preference, so just because flats allow more input from the rider doesn't mean that will translate to better control, it may result in far less control which is what most riders experience during the learning cure.

    I used to ride DH only clipped.My first DH day on flats was sketch. I so wanted to be clipped on the gaps and drops so I wouldn't have to worry about my feet. I did not feel I had more control at first that's for sure.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Clipless vs Flats Climbing and Descending-specialized-07-021.jpg  


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