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  1. #1
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    I love flat pedals, but....

    Hi all,

    Just for context, was a clipless user for 10 years or so, current bike is a Bird Aeris AM9 enduro 29er (long wheelbase, 500mm reach at size L).

    Decided to try flat pedals one or two months ago, Nukeproof Horizons Sam Hill edition with Shimano GR7 shoes.

    Had lots of trouble at first with feet coming off in jumps and drops. Then ended up improving mid foot pedal, heels down thing, along with better weight distribution and learning to work with the bike Vs fighting it.
    So, right now, have no problems with jumps, drops or corners or flow style trails in general. In fact, 1 month of flat pedals made me a much better rider in these conditions.

    But, big but, I still struggle at high speed rough sections. I used to be the absolute king of charging through stuff in my group, but with flat pedals I slow down considerably on rock gardens or generally fast, rough sections. I'm speaking about proper enduro and DH tracks.

    It seems no matter how hard I try to move rearwards to put weight in my feet they are still not loaded enough to stay put. Also, by then I start to have too little weight in the front end, causing traction and stability issues.

    Have a race in 2 weeks so need to sort this out.
    Anyone experiences the same? Any tips regarding suspension setup?
    Mind my bikes very long geometry proposes a "weight forward" riding style. Can this be a source of the issues?

    Thanks in advance

  2. #2
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    Probably just need more time. I dont even think about it anymore so i cant tell you what i do but i think i have heels down and absorb the bumps with my knees. I think you will naturally be stable in the attack position. Need decent shoes though. Something like 5.10s

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  3. #3
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    I'm on Shimano GR7s, supposedly are good shoes.

    Then I find myself thinking, all the pros are on clipless (except that alien Sam Hill) so why bother?

  4. #4
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    It just takes time to adjust back to flats. I grew up riding flats then switched all my bikes over to clipless pedals for 8 years. Had no issues with them but I have more fun riding aggressive with flats and 5.10 freeriders.

    Anyways 2 years ago I switched back to flats including my road bike just because. At first I would randomly have a foot blow off the pedals but it was just bad form from riding clipless for so long. It stopped happening after a few months of adjustment. Just stick with it and you will get used to it. For reference my main bike is a YT Capra 29 and ride some steep rocky trails in SoCal and occasional bike park (Mammoth and NorthStar)


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  5. #5
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    Have you adjusted your suspension setup?

    https://youtu.be/v9K0cj7UeA8
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  6. #6
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    I give it another 3-4 hours before someone tells you that your technique is obviously poor and that's the source of your problem......

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ze_Zaskar View Post
    I'm on Shimano GR7s, supposedly are good shoes.

    Then I find myself thinking, all the pros are on clipless (except that alien Sam Hill) so why bother?
    There's a reason that everyone except Sam Hill is using clipless, it's faster on the rough stuff unless you have exceptionally good flat pedal technique. Unless you've spent years & years practising and mastering flat pedal riding, you're not going to be as fast on flats as you are on clipless.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by aerius View Post
    There's a reason that everyone except Sam Hill is using clipless, it's faster on the rough stuff unless you have exceptionally good flat pedal technique. Unless you've spent years & years practising and mastering flat pedal riding, you're not going to be as fast on flats as you are on clipless.
    I don't think that is necessarily it. I have and use both pedals. I don't ride with clipless pedals in races because they are inherently faster. I use clipless pedals in races because i don't have to think about foot placement. The one drawback to platform pedals is that you have to think about foot position a LOT and frequently adjust foot position. With clipless, once you are attached, you don't have to think about it anymore, leaving more bandwidth to think about other things you need to keep in mind during a race.

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  9. #9
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    I use both too. I picked up a set of Crank Brothers Mallet E pedals and I like them. I also have a set of Shimano M520 pedals on my road bike. Additionally, I have 2 sets of flats in my garage. I think Iím a pedalholic and need an intervention.


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  10. #10
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    Go faster do you skip over the top of all the bumps!

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by UtahJohn View Post
    I give it another 3-4 hours before someone tells you that your technique is obviously poor and that's the source of your problem......
    Ha!

    Here it goes... In the really rough I lock my feet in.

    Heel down toe up on lead foot. Back foot has the toe slightly down, heel slightly up.

    By pushing your feet apart you can do what you want with the bike. Imagine a big pipe standing on end. Stick your hands inside. Now grip and pick up the pipe by pushing hands apart.




    Maybe speed up the rebound.

    Give it time.

    Overall, I still prefer clips and I think they are faster.

  12. #12
    WillWorkForTrail
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    Just out of curiosity, have you tried grabbing a harder gear when you get ready to charge the rough stuff on flats?

  13. #13
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    If you're referring to pedal kickback, isn't it better to be in a lower gear or easier gear to minimize anti squat?

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  14. #14
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    By any chance does your bike happen to have high antisqaut and you're getting a lot of pedal kickback that you're only noticing now on flats?

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ze_Zaskar View Post
    Decided to try flat pedals one or two months ago, Nukeproof Horizons Sam Hill edition with Shimano GR7 shoes.
    I have been riding flats for nearly 10yrs with the 15yrs before that on clipless. I have not ever wanted to be clipped in again and have not had any issues with my feet coming off the pedals in rough terrain [coastal BC, SW desert].

    I'm not familiar with your shoe & pedal combo, but that's my first thought. If you don't have pedals with sharp pins and a shoe with sticky rubber your feet will have a hard time staying on the pedals.

    I've run 5.10 shoes the whole time I've been on flats and I know they work well. I've never tried Shimano shoes, but just from reading reviews it seems like nobody has the same level of grip as 5.10 so that could be your problem.

    Checking how sharp your pedal pins are is easy. If they don't feel a bit dangerous to your shins they are too dull. You should be able to replace the pins on most quality pedals.
    Safe riding,

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  16. #16
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    Any moron can ride clipless. It takes a special kind of moron to ride flats. I rode clipless exclusively since the late nineties before switching to flats on mtbs ~2 years ago. It was a steep and painful learning curve but I'm OK at it now.

    Of course, no clipless riding motos but motos are different mainly due to being a lot heavier, not to mention no pedaling.
    Do the math.

  17. #17
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    I love flat pedals, but....-img_20181104_084005830-780x1040.jpg

    11mm monster/terror pins with 5-10 shoes is almost like being clipped in. Have to literally peel my shoes from the pedals.

    Like others have said, takes longer to learn to ride/master flat pedals but its worth it.

  18. #18
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    Rough sections try dropping your heels pressing down. Just have to build muscle memory.
    I haven't ridden spd's in 6 yrs after using them for 15, and when I am exhausted I still try to pull up on the pedals when going up and over things. I laugh every time I do it.
    Life in every breath

  19. #19
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    You are not going to be a guru in 2 weeks. Revert back to spd's for the race or accept that you will go slower for a while until your used to flats.

  20. #20
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    Thanks for all the answers

    On suspension setup, I might try to speed up rebound a little. I was, perhaps wrongly, convinced that I needed to slow down rebound to calm down the rear.

    Interesting comment on the suspension kinematics. The Bird Aeris happens to have a fairly high anti squat, around or a little over 100% AFAIK.

    Vikb, my pedals are the same model as used by Sam Hill, they are all the rage here in EU

  21. #21
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    Iíve been riding for five years, only on flats, never tried clipless. I canít remember the last time Iíve beed bounced off or slipped a pedal.

    Your pedals look fine, but like vikb I am not sure about the shoes. Iíve only ever used 5.10s and they are fantastic.

    How stiff are you when you ride? When I ride rough sections I tend to ride very actively. Heels general down, but I am actively absorbing the rocks through my legs (legs compressing and extending just as a shock would)

    Second, I tend to ride with the heavy feet light hands philosophy. If my feet are heavy and my hands light my weight is typically well centered on the bike.

  22. #22
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    FYI, I read a couple of user reviews saying those gr7s aren't as grippy as 510s. Something to consider.

  23. #23
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    I just got a hardtail after not riding one for a couple months. I've only ever rode flats but my feet got bounced off a bit a couple times on smaller rough sections. I realized I didn't have to be as active on the FS over small stuff and I had gotten lazy and let the suspension soak it up. On the big stuff I had no problem on the hardtail cause I was aware I needed to be active.

    My guess is you're experiencing something similar going to flats, where before you didn't have to actively keep your feet on the pedals. You probably need to make sure you're actively controlling how the bike tracks over rough terrain. I think you just need more time on the flats. Practice staying active and keeping your head level.

  24. #24
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    Revalve the suspensions in your legs

  25. #25
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    Gotta agree it's the shoe pedal interface. What you have is good up to a point of speed/roughness. Beyond that you need longer and/or sharper pins combined with stickier soled shoes. And maybe technique can offset some of that. Sam Hill pedals may need a little more development to get his technique. Plus his pins may be tuned based on his experience. Same with shoes. Keep pedaling.

  26. #26
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    I've been running both types of pedals for close to 30 years, platforms a little longer of the two. I am just as fast on platforms, and prefer them in nasty conditions. And when I say nasty conditions, I mean North Shore, Red Bull Rampage, and World Cup caliber DH courses. The pedals I currently use have not only long pins, but they are pointed and threaded all the way to those points. There is no such thing as slipping off them with 510 shoes.

    I don't think about staying on them, regardless of trail conditions. When descending my dropper is slammed all the way down and my rebound speed at both ends of the bike is matched, and on the faster side. Even though I run 180mm at both ends, my greatest suspension is my arms and legs. Though it is important to ride loose and as if your arms and legs are your greatest assets with both pedal styles, clipless pedals allow you to be a little lazier.

    I think this is almost purely a technique issue, but possibly a little bit of a tuning issue. A month or two isn't enough time to become 100% proficient with platforms. You will discover subtle changes as you spend more time with them.

    For your race, I'd stick with clipless for now. But stick with platforms, they're amazing once you master them.

  27. #27
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    OP, what are you trying to gain with flats? It sounds like you're all fighting them just for the sake of being on flats?

    I tried switching back to flats. There's very few sections where I felt it gave any sort of advantage, so I stopped fighting my pedals and went back to spd.

  28. #28
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    I'll speed up rebound in the rear a bit and see what happens

    One Pivot,
    I'm quite a bit faster on corners with flat pedals, and feel much more comfortable jumping and dropping on them as well. Also climb better, go figure...
    My only issue is really high speed charging through stuff

  29. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ze_Zaskar View Post
    I'll speed up rebound in the rear a bit and see what happens

    One Pivot,
    I'm quite a bit faster on corners with flat pedals, and feel much more comfortable jumping and dropping on them as well. Also climb better, go figure...
    My only issue is really high speed charging through stuff
    If your quite a bit faster cornering on flats it means you're not commiting to the corner in spds.

  30. #30
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    That's possible.
    It feels much more natural to me to corner with flats. I think my past on dirt bikes has something to do with it. I also have the awkward habit of twisting my feet quite a bit when doing the body english on tight repeated corners, which leads to some unwanted unclippings

  31. #31
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    Also I've seen a bike review of Sam Hill's Mega and he doesn't run the stock short pins. His pedal pins are massive and scary.
    Last edited by GRPABT1; 11-06-2018 at 04:33 AM.

  32. #32
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    Quote Originally Posted by jacksonlui View Post
    If you're referring to pedal kickback, isn't it better to be in a lower gear or easier gear to minimize anti squat?

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    Nothing to do with anti-squat. It's about being able to let your legs stabilize on the pedals a little better because they're turning slower for the same ground speed. I discovered this was a thing for me switching between my geared bike and my single speed on flats.

  33. #33
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    i ride flats only...for AM/DH and XC/trail biking. i'll get a good shin wack about once every 6 months at the most but i ride flats on everything and run Vans shoes. the waffle pattern is like glue to flat pins.

  34. #34
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    It sounds like you understand the fundamentals, it's just a matter of time to dial it all in. Regardless of technique and experience, you can get bounced, or worse blow off in the rough. Pedal/shoe combo is huge. Longer pins will make any pedal better in the rough. As far as shoes go, I've strayed from 5.10 twice and found traction was perfect 90% of the time then all of a sudden in the rough, or in a g out I nearly blew off my pedals a few times.

    5.10 S1 rubber has been the standard since the early 2000's for a reason. No company has been able to match their compounds. I'm not a 5.10 fan boy, I've wanted alternatives to their over priced and sometimes less than durable shoes but they don't exist.

  35. #35
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    Quote Originally Posted by mannyfnz View Post
    FYI, I read a couple of user reviews saying those gr7s aren't as grippy as 510s. Something to consider.
    That's the case with every flat shoe it seems. Every flat shoe review reads the same: traction is great but not 5.10 sticky.

  36. #36
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    Well, I believe the GR7s are not in the exact same level as the 510s in absolute stickiness.

    My problem with flats is not the shoe slipping from the pedal, is more like the pedal running away from me with the bike's movement. Sometimes it's hard to keep the body english at the same rhythm as the trail

  37. #37
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    I think getting good flat pedals is important. Ive initially gone with light weight pedals but in the end after a lot of money through trial and error, I'd rather go with a heavier pedal which feels good. Something like a oneup, tmac, vault, etc.. a good shoe is only part of the equation.

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  38. #38
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    10+ years ago I was really into the DH/Freeride scene and only rode flats. Then I moved far enough away from good DH trails to force a switch to more XC/Trail riding. I switched to clipless then for the added power. It took me awhile to get used to clipless.

    I've moved again about 2 years ago and have started riding more aggressive trails again. I decided to try flats again (oneup AL pedals and 5.10 freerider contacts). Man was I surprised how detached from the bike I had become with clipless. It took me a good month of 3 rides per week to get fully comfortable on flats again but now I feel much more connected to the bike. It takes time and practice.

    Both types have their pros and cons. Like you I feel better in corners on flats because i also twist my feed and legs which did cause unwanted unclipping. If I'm really hauling the mail through the super chunder I still get a little bouncing off the pedals but that's happening less and less now.

  39. #39
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    Did some rig worthy fast chunk last night. Infact I was the only rider not on a rig. There are some shutes that are full on matted with leg thickness roots for 100m or so. I discovered on those shutes that are likely to bounce a foot off I used quite a bit of heel down technique.
    So much so that my heels of my feet would occasionally tag the roots. I didn't have any foot bouncing issues.

    Try some more heel down.

  40. #40
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ze_Zaskar View Post
    Well, I believe the GR7s are not in the exact same level as the 510s in absolute stickiness.

    My problem with flats is not the shoe slipping from the pedal, is more like the pedal running away from me with the bike's movement. Sometimes it's hard to keep the body english at the same rhythm as the trail
    I would say that means that you just need to spend some more time getting used to riding flats.

  41. #41
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    Personal guess, I think along with the heels thing, you are also tensing up too much. Your legs are the biggest source of suspension. If they are too tense, it is like running too much spring, you just can't use all the suspension. Relax more and flow with it.

    Quote Originally Posted by plummet View Post
    You are not going to be a guru in 2 weeks. Revert back to spd's for the race or accept that you will go slower for a while until your used to flats.
    I agree with this.

    You obviously need to work on your technique still with flats. Pick the pedal system you are more comfortable with for your race.

    I personally ride flats on my enduro bike that I prefer big chunk on, I RARELY lose bite on the pedals (510's and Chesters). But everything else I have I am clipped in to.

  42. #42
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    Sounds like you want @half inch less reach..& 510freerider soles, nothing cheaper
    video=youtube;][/video]...

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    I'm 47 and have ridden bmx from a young age, racing and street.
    And mtb's for the last 25, i've never tried clips, and so can't comment on there benefits im afraid.
    But flats are just something i've grown up with, so for me climbing, jumping, downhill or xc doesn't make any difference.
    Ive seen in bmx racing the very young kids, the under 10's that clip in. That pretty much can't even preform a simple bunnyhop because there so used to being clipped in. And can't get the technique of doing it in flats.
    So i think a lot of the problems today are kids/adults see other people clipped in, and think "i need to be as well". When they don't, and most would actually benefit from learning proper technique before moving onto clips if they choose.
    Flats are just pure, and you get the satisfaction of knowing what ever you do you've done it, not just got through by the skin of your teeth by being attached too your bike.
    So for me 5.10 impact pros teamed with Sam Hill Nukeproof pedals, trusted enough combo for me to enter a EWS qualifying event this weekend. And not think twice about my feet.
    So practice practice practice.
    Sorry for a bit of a rant.

  44. #44
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    Quote Originally Posted by Roba1 View Post
    Ive seen in bmx racing the very young kids, the under 10's that clip in. That pretty much can't even preform a simple bunnyhop because there so used to being clipped in. And can't get the technique of doing it in flats.
    So i think a lot of the problems today are kids/adults see other people clipped in, and think "i need to be as well". When they don't, and most would actually benefit from learning proper technique before moving onto clips if they choose.
    Flats are just pure, and you get the satisfaction of knowing what ever you do you've done it, not just got through by the skin of your teeth by being attached too your bike.

    Sorry for a bit of a rant.

    I agree that good flat riding ability is a skill worth learning

    There is also satisfaction charging hard on clips too. Infact you have to be more committed and more skilled on spd's to charge technical chunk as fast as flats. Flats do not require full commitment to the corner without dabbing. At any stage you can dab and correct an error. Spd's have a delay clipping out and in so when you hit that feature at full pace you are fully committed.

    Its the reason op can go faster on flats he isnt committing fully on his spd's.

    Saying that flats are pure and guys using spds just got through because they wore spd's shows a bit of ignorance to be honest.

  45. #45
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    After trying so many different types of flat pedals, initially going for the lighter ones, i can't seem to find anything better feeling than the tmacs. It has a real concave feel. It provides more confidence and a good platform for your feet. The pins arent thin and i like that they arent too sticky. It lets you adjust your foot position but doesnt lack traction with my 510. Its definitely worth the extra 100 grams. Ive stopped counting grams on saddles and pedals and grips.

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  46. #46
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    So today, my flat pedal shoes were not dry yet from the last ride.
    I decided to put on the SPDs (Saints) for my 35km commuting/training loop.

    It was enough to make my mind. It's incredible how much slower I am climbing with the clipless pedals, flats just feel so much more natural and comfortable to put the power down.
    Also, my dreaded lowerback pain of which I was free since switching to flats came back today.
    I found myself missing the flats for the whole ride.

    I realize now, for me, I prefer to be on flats which are better in 80% or so of situations and just work to improve the remaining 20%

  47. #47
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    U should be faster in your spd's. You can pull up on tech climbs.

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  48. #48
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    I can't believe no one has mentioned foot position! On spd's you clip in with the ball of your foot over the pedal spindle. On flats that is a recipe for feet coming off in rough sections. I rode clipless for about 15 years before going to flats. My shins were getting pretty chewed up until a BMX buddy asked why in the hell my feet weren't more centered on the flat pedals... LOL, no problems since.

    Have FUN!

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  49. #49
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gman086 View Post
    I can't believe no one has mentioned foot position! On spd's you clip in with the ball of your foot over the pedal spindle. On flats that is a recipe for feet coming off in rough sections. I rode clipless for about 15 years before going to flats. My shins were getting pretty chewed up until a BMX buddy asked why in the hell my feet weren't more centered on the flat pedals... LOL, no problems since.

    Have FUN!

    G MAN
    This

  50. #50
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gman086 View Post
    I can't believe no one has mentioned foot position! On spd's you clip in with the ball of your foot over the pedal spindle. On flats that is a recipe for feet coming off in rough sections. I rode clipless for about 15 years before going to flats. My shins were getting pretty chewed up until a BMX buddy asked why in the hell my feet weren't more centered on the flat pedals... LOL, no problems since.

    Have FUN!

    G MAN
    I have been riding clipless pedals since they came out decades ago, used them for XC/DH/Enduro, everything.

    BUT, in August, for the first time, I found a good reason to dump them. I cased a jump so hard at Winter Park that the heel of my rear foot was forced down so far by the landing that I suffered a severe high ankle sprain. It still hasn't healed completely (I'm 58, so things take a long time to heal).

    Of course when I clipped in, the ball of my foot was over the pedal axle, I have now moved the cleats on my shoes as far back as possible, but there is no way to get the middle of your foot over the axle with normal clipless pedals and shoes.

    I don't know if this old dog can learn how to ride on flats. I'm actually thinking about modding a pair of shoes to put the cleat under the center of my foot, and seeing how well that works.

  52. #52
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    You can make the switch to flats. I did it at 63.
    Do the math.

  53. #53
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    Quote Originally Posted by jacksonlui View Post
    U should be faster in your spd's. You can pull up on tech climbs.

    Sent from my SM-G930V using Tapatalk
    You also pull up with flat pedals, but in a sort of "scraping" motion.
    I find this feels much more natural than having my feet attached to the pedals. Pushing the pedal down on the big platform and pins feels much more like running or doing a squat rather then stepping on a bearing.

    But this is strictly personal

  54. #54
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    Interesting subject. I will stay clipless since they are perfect for my type of riding.....not very aggressive at my age with 13 screws holding my foot and lower back together. True that vast majority of downhill pros use clipless?

  55. #55
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    Quote Originally Posted by jupiter58 View Post
    True that vast majority of downhill pros use clipless?
    Most of them are playing the game of marginal gains, would likely be only marginally slower with flats, but that edge is relevant in the context of 0,1s

  56. #56
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    Quote Originally Posted by jupiter58 View Post
    True that vast majority of downhill pros use clipless?
    Yep. Every style of bicycle racing is dominated by clips. Occasionally there are anomolies like Sam Hill. The fact is clips are faster when you commit fully.

  57. #57
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gman086 View Post
    I can't believe no one has mentioned foot position! On spd's you clip in with the ball of your foot over the pedal spindle. On flats that is a recipe for feet coming off in rough sections. I rode clipless for about 15 years before going to flats. My shins were getting pretty chewed up until a BMX buddy asked why in the hell my feet weren't more centered on the flat pedals... LOL, no problems since.

    Have FUN!

    G MAN
    Great point. Centering your foot over a platform pedal also has the effect of your foot flexing over the pedal a little and helping lock the shoes onto the pins better.

    I began "centering" my feet over the pedal axle as I started jumping and hucking bigger and bigger drops years ago. Occasionally in freeride/DH you misjudge a landing and land HARD, or you case a landing. If you do that in clipless pedals or have the balls of your feet over the axle, you're going to tear your Achilles tendon or break your ankle.

    With my clipless shoes, I've got the cleats set as far back on the shoes as possible, but it's still not enough to make me comfortable doing big jumps and drops.

    With my feet centered over the axles, I can take a massive hit and my ankles are fine.
    Bikes belong in Wilderness areas.

  58. #58
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    Quote Originally Posted by Thustlewhumber View Post
    "By switching from clipless pedals to flat pedals and following this program, you will improve your riding skills more than with any other method I know of - though not without some challenge and perhaps frustration.

    Riding with flat pedals reveals inefficiencies in your riding technique and forces you to learn and relearn skills in the most effective way. Many skills developed while on clipless pedals are compromised and therefore very limiting for long term skill progression. Our bike and body need to move as one cohesive and connected unit, and flat pedals inspire this.

    This integrated movement is also related to style - riders who have spent time developing their skills on flat pedals simply look good when mountain biking!

    Iím not trying to convert you into a die-hard flat pedal rider however, clipless pedals do have benefits too. Though if you havenít paid your dues on flats, youíre missing out on some major mountain biking benefits! After this challenge you can then translate these skills and style back to your clipless pedalsÖ or continue on with your feet free.

    This course provides enough structure, instruction, drills, theory, and support so that you can gain the incredible benefits that flat pedals give, which requires a dozen rides!

    Ride ON!

    Ryan Leech

  59. #59
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    When I rode clipless, I tended to let just my legs/feet go loose over rough stuff, which works OK when your pedals are fastening you to the bike but not so well when they're not. Staying centered on the bike with all your weight in your feet and pumping the terrain tends to alleviate this and can actually gain some speed when you get it right.

    And as was mentioned above, sometimes the best way isn't through but over. If you pump the big shapes you can glide over a lot of the other chunk that would normally slow you down. Jumping over stuff is also a good option sometimes.

  60. #60
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    yes they do. but their using a combo platform/SPD pedal so having the platform could be insurance or it allows them to use both features on different sections.

  61. #61
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    Quote Originally Posted by cookieMonster View Post
    I began "centering" my feet over the pedal axle as I started jumping and hucking bigger and bigger drops years ago. Occasionally in freeride/DH you misjudge a landing and land HARD, or you case a landing. If you do that in clipless pedals or have the balls of your feet over the axle, you're going to tear your Achilles tendon or break your ankle.

    With my clipless shoes, I've got the cleats set as far back on the shoes as possible, but it's still not enough to make me comfortable doing big jumps and drops.

    With my feet centered over the axles, I can take a massive hit and my ankles are fine.
    I started shifting my foot forward for all of the same reasons, and liked it, but wasn't quite committed to it. Then one of my pedals lost a bearing I switched to these...
    https://pedalinginnovations.com/
    ...and now I'm committed. They're huge, so they look funny, but they're perfect.

  62. #62
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    For shoes, I like the specialized 2fo. Never had 510ís to compare, but the 2fo is dialed

  63. #63
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    I have both 2fo and 510. 510 is a little bit stickier but the 2fo sheds water much better. Both are great shoes.

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  64. #64
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    Anyone compare the tmac to the new anvl3 pedals?

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  65. #65
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    https://www.jensonusa.com/Kona-Wah-Wah-Plastic-Pedals
    Here's a bigger composite pedal at a good price.

    I love flat pedals, but....-pe181a03-black.jpg

  66. #66
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    Quote Originally Posted by rynomx785 View Post
    "By switching from clipless pedals to flat pedals and following this program, you will improve your riding skills more than with any other method I know of - though not without some challenge and perhaps frustration.

    Riding with flat pedals reveals inefficiencies in your riding technique and forces you to learn and relearn skills in the most effective way. Many skills developed while on clipless pedals are compromised and therefore very limiting for long term skill progression. Our bike and body need to move as one cohesive and connected unit, and flat pedals inspire this.

    This integrated movement is also related to style - riders who have spent time developing their skills on flat pedals simply look good when mountain biking!

    Iím not trying to convert you into a die-hard flat pedal rider however, clipless pedals do have benefits too. Though if you havenít paid your dues on flats, youíre missing out on some major mountain biking benefits! After this challenge you can then translate these skills and style back to your clipless pedalsÖ or continue on with your feet....

    ...Ride ON!

    Ryan Leech

    Very true. Great advice.


    A clippy rider spending at least a dozen rides on flats on techy trails will be forced to really clean up his/her technique.

  67. #67
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    A skills coach recommended that I switch to flats. He said it would take 3 months to acclimate and he was right. The biggest issue I had was bringing the rear pedal up when trying to ride up ledges.

    I feel more comfy going down steeps. Learned that I i my weight too far rearward, but I suspect I could of tuned out that bad habit with clipless

    Big feet require big pedals. Now thereís a good selection out. However, I lost clearance in chutes.

    I have less foot and knee pain.

    Not a clipless hater, will continue to use on road bikes. It takes a big commitment to change to flats and obviously there are extremely good riders rocking with clipless.


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  68. #68
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    Quote Originally Posted by Miker J View Post
    Very true. Great advice.


    A clippy rider spending at least a dozen rides on flats on techy trails will be forced to really clean up his/her technique.
    That is what I was getting at originally and I got harped on for saying that flats took proper form.

  69. #69
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    I didn't like flats until I tried 510 shoes... big, big difference for me.

  70. #70
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    To the OP, I'm in the same boat. Or was, anyway. I switched to flats beginning of the season, and there's totally a learning curve. I had to learn proper foot technique, when to go heel up vs heel down, and even had a couple of times where reflex kicked in and I tried to pivot a foot to release when stopping. Losing a pedal on the upstroke because I was used to being able to pedal full circle cost me some blood, too.

    Things that helped me:

    Session small, easy rock gardens, concentrating on riding heavy feet/light hands and letting my legs help float the bike over. Let the knees and hips work. I did end up quickening rebound on my bike a click or two to help keep good ground contact.

    Session riding up curbs, emphasis on going toe down to help lift the rear wheel over.

    Session American bunny hops. I used the English bunny hop for years because, well, clipless. That was a hard one to relearn, but has saved my butt countless times on drops and jumps. I ended up wearing hockey shin guards for this after a couple of Band-Aid moments.

    It took most of this season, but I've gone from being a bit of a spaz on flats to ripping bike park stuff and riding Moab with confidence.

    The right shoes are a must. I'm using 510 Freeriders and Deity Black Kat pedals.

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  71. #71
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    heel down

  72. #72
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    relatively new rider, learning on flats, and loving it

    I ride FBM N!ce nylon pedals, that don't exactly have very good pins (just nylon protrusions). I also ride on running shoes, so that might not help things much. I have nothing else to compare to, other than walking shoes and restaurant quality boots (those boots really stuck like glue on everything they came in contact with, other than loose on hardpack).

    TBH, I enjoy riding with non-mtb kit, because it makes me really have to learn how to keep myself planted on the bike, but remain light. I've only been riding a MTB off-road about 7 months now, and am quickly approaching a skill level 7, and a fitness level 5 according to Sacred Rides:
    https://sacredrides.com/skill-and-fitness-ratings

    If you're curious as to what bike I ride, it is posted here: https://forums.mtbr.com/all-mountain...l#post13919830

    I should note that I have replaced every non-frame component on that bike (including rear shock), minus the front wheel (hub, rim, tire, 9mm skewer), headset, rear rim, seatpost, and saddle. Stock, it is an atrocious ride, like a super short travel hardtail, and noise central.
    Last edited by SchwinnJumper; 4 Weeks Ago at 10:59 PM. Reason: added info

  73. #73
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    Rider at the season opening enduro in N England.
    I love flat pedals, but....-p5pb16761100.jpg

    Zoom in on the pedals and shoes.

  74. #74
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    Im 35. I've been riding since I was a little kid racing bmx.

    I dont think I care about technique and skillbuilding anymore. It seems like nearly every thread breaks down like everything is a training ride, like everything is race prep or "practice".

    Sure, I could work on my foot position and heels down and etc etc, or just stay on SPD's and have a blast. I know other people feel the same way but with flats instead of spd and they shouldnt change either.

    If you really are on a hardcore training ride and you do have that big event coming up... seems like those guys who take it seriously are on spds anyway!

  75. #75
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    Not really getting all the love for flats. Grew up riding them but been in clips for years. I don't have a problem if you want to ride flats but I don't get the theme of riding in clips means you aren't as skilled or as developed. I guess if you never started or learned on flats there could be something to that, ie you've never learned some techniques. To me it seems like you can do everything in clips that you can do on flats but in addition you also have the option of more control over your bike. I disagree with this whole idea that using the clips to pull the bike upwards is bad form. Being attached to the bike gives you more not less methods to manipulate the bike. And of course more power/efficiency.

    I see the primary advantages to flats being confidence to dab in the gnar and being able to drop a foot in tight high speed turns and loose terrain. Or if you are doing can-cans and one footers etc. LOL. I would love to be able to do this on certain types of turns but am not willing to give up all the advantages of clips.

  76. #76
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    Quote Originally Posted by Preston67 View Post
    Not really getting all the love for flats. Grew up riding them but been in clips for years. I don't have a problem if you want to ride flats but I don't get the theme of riding in clips means you aren't as skilled or as developed. I guess if you never started or learned on flats there could be something to that, ie you've never learned some techniques. To me it seems like you can do everything in clips that you can do on flats but in addition you also have the option of more control over your bike. I disagree with this whole idea that using the clips to pull the bike upwards is bad form. Being attached to the bike gives you more not less methods to manipulate the bike. And of course more power/efficiency.
    I agree that a person's skill is not tied to their choice of pedals, but people who bunny hop by yanking up on their pedals are not being more powerful or efficient. Being attached to your bike does have certain advantages, but that connection can also stunt a person's development as a rider. I know it did mine.

  77. #77
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    The issue is, pulling the bike up isn't what adds height to the bunny hop. That's not the hard part, that's just a preliminary skill.
    Last edited by jeremy3220; 4 Days Ago at 08:51 AM.

  78. #78
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    Quote Originally Posted by Preston67 View Post
    Not really getting all the love for flats. Grew up riding them but been in clips for years. I don't have a problem if you want to ride flats but I don't get the theme of riding in clips means you aren't as skilled or as developed. I guess if you never started or learned on flats there could be something to that, ie you've never learned some techniques. To me it seems like you can do everything in clips that you can do on flats but in addition you also have the option of more control over your bike. I disagree with this whole idea that using the clips to pull the bike upwards is bad form. Being attached to the bike gives you more not less methods to manipulate the bike. And of course more power/efficiency.

    I see the primary advantages to flats being confidence to dab in the gnar and being able to drop a foot in tight high speed turns and loose terrain. Or if you are doing can-cans and one footers etc. LOL. I would love to be able to do this on certain types of turns but am not willing to give up all the advantages of clips.

    This...The flat pedal love seems to go hand in hand with new trends like super long reach and 30mm stems, etc. Not to say these things aren't better, but they're marketable as mt. bikes become more "capable". Just for context I ride flat pedals on my all mountain bike (if that's still a thing) and on my bmx bike (poorly). But I also ride clips on my xc, cx and road bikes and sometimes even on my AM bike (gasp!) and i think the advantages/disadvantages are overblown.

    For the OP, I currently ride the GR7's and have previously owned 510's and even Tevas. Sure the 510's are definitely the grippiest, but they're all pretty good and provide plenty of grip. So i suspect it's a little bit of technique and a little bit of just getting used to the feel of the flats in rough terrain.

  79. #79
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    I have always been pretty firmly in flats camp but after riding Sedona for the first time and doing my best to keep up with riders that are stronger than me on the technical climb sections, I am considering a set of clipless pedals to add to the stable. I have preached for a long time that with proper form that clipless isn't necessary and I still believe that but, when my heart rate is above 170 and my legs feel like wet noodles, proper form is nowhere to be found. LOL

  80. #80
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    I hate to start a 2nd debate, but for full on tech climbing clips are a big advantage. As in technique not just because more efficient cardio wise.
    Again, IMO.

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    I love flat petals but...... I don't know why. haha

    Kidding. I do enjoy them. I have clipless for road bike but I don't have confidence with MTB clips for the stupid crap I'm always doing. My nickname should be 'dab'.
    Generally I don't leg out, but I wheelie and am not super good at it. I like to do silly tricks but am not good at it.

    When I'm actually riding though, my feet seem to stay on the pedals just fine through all conditions.

    I'm not here to say that flats are best or safe or fast or anything really. I haven't MTB'd on clips so really I can't say why flats are better (for me).

    My take on clips and my mental capacity is "I guess clips would be good if I felt like having a boring ride."
    I've done miles and miles of non-techy stuff that I could experiment with, just no desire because I have zero issues on flats.

  82. #82
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    I started on flat pedals in the 90s on a bmx bike...I knew one day it would be trendy in mtb and I had to stay ahead.

  83. #83
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    Love the xxxx vs xxxx debate...

    True, most EWS riders run clipless... but, a lot of them have eaten sh!t & ended up broken/out of the game for extended periods.

    How many times has Sam eaten sh!t & broken himself!? (in EWS)

    Sure, I think he's had one or two crashes... but, the bike hasn't dragged him to his doom i.e. he can step off & salvage the most important bit - himself.

    Personally I ride both... If it's going to be a slog fest w/ the main focus being on turning the cranks - I'll go clipless every time.

    If it's super gnarly & bailing is a high probability, I'll defer to flats.

    5.10's plus pins w/ spacers removed & you're golden.

    Feet further forward & heel down... & shred it!!

    NB, you do get more pedal strikes on flats... just sayin'

    'Born to ride!'
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  84. #84
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    Quote Originally Posted by rynomx785 View Post
    I have always been pretty firmly in flats camp but after riding Sedona for the first time and doing my best to keep up with riders that are stronger than me on the technical climb sections, I am considering a set of clipless pedals to add to the stable. I have preached for a long time that with proper form that clipless isn't necessary and I still believe that but, when my heart rate is above 170 and my legs feel like wet noodles, proper form is nowhere to be found. LOL
    That's totally what im saying! A few hours into a ride, Im trying to save energy, not be at peak form and all that. I can fly into a rock garden and there's really no form or foot technique to worry about, im just glued in.

  85. #85
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    Quote Originally Posted by targnik View Post
    If it's super gnarly & bailing is a high probability, I'll defer to flats.
    Roger that 200%.
    I ride both, but when going into something unknown - I usually use flats, when going over something I've already ridden and know - I usually go clip-less. Crashed on both

  86. #86
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    Quote Originally Posted by borisotto View Post
    Roger that 200%.
    I ride both, but when going into something unknown - I usually use flats, when going over something I've already ridden and know - I usually go clip-less. Crashed on both
    Quick release pedals...?? (+Batman shoes)

    You might be onto something!

    'Born to ride!'
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  87. #87
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    Quote Originally Posted by targnik View Post
    Quick release pedals...?? (+Batman shoes)
    I use SPD cleats with side release only, ones you are talking about (if I understood you correctly) do not help on long steep climbs when you not only push pedal down, but also pull another one up. Not pure DH stuff, but I like when things do get tough.

    You might be onto something!
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    And to ski too ;-P

  88. #88
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    I really want to know if the average rider is any faster on anything other the smoothest XC trails on clipless then flats.
    Niner WFO9, Sunday Soundwave (BMX), Nashbar CXSS (town/workout/gravel)

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    Quote Originally Posted by 93EXCivic View Post
    I really want to know if the average rider is any faster on anything other the smoothest XC trails on clipless then flats.
    It's funny, clipless seems to have benefits on two opposing sides of the riding spectrum. They help with pedaling efficiency by keep feet fixed and giving a rigid attachment from shoe to pedal (the big XC advantage), but they also help a lot in maintaining bike control when riding at super high speed through super rough terrain (the big DH advantage). A lot of pro riders on the gravity side of things actually do the majority of their training on flats to support proper riding form, and then will switch to clips for racing. Ultimately, the decision to race in flats vs. clips is all about which you're comfortable going faster with.

    I'm a mountain bike instructor and we require that all students use flats in class. There are often a couple riders who throw a bit of a fit, or blame difficulties at the beginning of class on not being in their clips, but in reality, clips just mask bad habits for a lot of riders. Making sure heels are down and pedal axle is just behind the ball of your foot are key tips for keep flats locked to your shoes, but there are bigger lessons to be learned around using your legs to control the bike, dialing in proper cornering form, and using your legs as suspension to ride faster and with more control.

    If you're having trouble with flats, watch some YouTube videos from Fluidride and GMBN. There are some good principles in there that can help a lot. If you're still struggling, I'd recommend a class with a local instructor who teaches on flats - there's a ton to learn riding flats, and all of it will benefit your on-trail riding form regardless of which type of pedals you choose to ride most of the time.

  90. #90
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    Quote Originally Posted by 93EXCivic View Post
    I really want to know if the average rider is any faster on anything other the smoothest XC trails on clipless then flats.
    I am pretty confident in saying I would not be faster on clips.

    I once left my house in a hurry to meet my road bike friends. In my rush I forgot the shoes and helmet. I rode my SPD MTB pedals with my beat up running shoes. Aside from slipping a foot of the pedal just a few times, I rode just the same as if I were connected. It was an easy ride on a paved bike path but was 20 miles.

    Clarification, the road bike has MTB pedals installed.


    I'd love to see the scientific proof that clips are this efficient wonder of the world.
    Nobody can ever seem to explain why it is 'efficient'. Yes, people say "because of the pull" but I could make up something that sounds convincing too with nothing to back it up and get people to believe.

    I'm not knocking clipless or the technology. They are neat. I enjoy them on my road bike. But the whole "efficient' thing is lost on me.

  91. #91
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    I'm not going to do the search for you but they've done scientific measurements and showed that the "average" expert cyclist is more efficient clipped in - ie more watts to the wheel per period of time. Actually maybe I will go do that search as I'm curious what type of percentages we're talking about. But in the world of cycling even 1% would be huge.

  92. #92
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    Quote Originally Posted by 93EXCivic View Post
    I really want to know if the average rider is any faster on anything other the smoothest XC trails on clipless then flats.
    They are faster on rough trails, too. Imagine that.


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  93. #93
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    Faster on clipless funner on flats.

  94. #94
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    Quote Originally Posted by karthur View Post
    Faster on clipless funner on flats.
    *more fun

    For the sake of being argumentative like a lot of people are when clipless vs. flats comes up.

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    This topic comes up every year.

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  96. #96
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    Quote Originally Posted by 93EXCivic View Post
    I really want to know if the average rider is any faster on anything other the smoothest XC trails on clipless then flats.
    I do not seem to be faster on clipless according to Strava. After riding platforms for over 10 yrs, I bought a road bike and some SPD MTB pedals and shoes thinking I could experiment with them on the MTB too, hoping that I would be a little faster with them. For me, the only advantage was in fast chunky sections where my foot might occasionally slip some with platforms - it never slips off but just enough where I have to readjust. But, we don't have prolonged sections like that on trails I ride and the added confidence of platforms in other places made up for the small benefit of clipless. After maybe 10 MTB rides with clipless, I pretty much left them on the road bike, only going back to the clipless if I'm having an issue with my flat pedals/shoes.

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  97. #97
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    Quote Originally Posted by Le Duke View Post
    They are faster on rough trails, too. Imagine that.


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    In my experience they are only faster on rough trails. And then, it still depends on conditions. If it's steep, fall-line DH, then it doesn't matter, because you're not pedaling through it. "Slipping" off the pedals (on dual suspension bikes at least) only happens to people who are not used to flats and/or using sub-par shoes and pins.

    The advantage clips have on really technical terrain is not an obvious one. They are smaller, so you can get a few more pedal strokes in without hitting them on rocks and roots. It's not a huge difference.

    Also, Sam Hill.
    Bikes belong in Wilderness areas.

  98. #98
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    Quote Originally Posted by tarheel03 View Post
    I do not seem to be faster on clipless according to Strava. After riding platforms for over 10 yrs, I bought a road bike and some SPD MTB pedals and shoes thinking I could experiment with them on the MTB too, hoping that I would be a little faster with them. For me, the only advantage was in fast chunky sections where my foot might occasionally slip some with platforms - it never slips off but just enough where I have to readjust. But, we don't have prolonged sections like that on trails I ride and the added confidence of platforms in other places made up for the small benefit of clipless. After maybe 10 MTB rides with clipless, I pretty much left them on the road bike, only going back to the clipless if I'm having an issue with my flat pedals/shoes.

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    Same. I've compared the two head to head on the same trails that I ride all the time. I haven't done truly scientific tests such as measuring watts, etc. -- but just giving it 110% effort on segments, the only difference being flats vs. clipless, it's a crapshoot. I've had many a time where my flat pedal time was faster than my clipless time. But sometimes I'm faster on clipless too. At the end of the day, it really doesn't make any difference. This is mostly on smooth trails, but with some tech.

    All of my KOMs on downhill segments were done with platform pedals.
    Bikes belong in Wilderness areas.

  99. #99
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    Quote Originally Posted by Forest Rider View Post
    I'd love to see the scientific proof that clips are this efficient wonder of the world.
    Nobody can ever seem to explain why it is 'efficient'. Yes, people say "because of the pull" but I could make up something that sounds convincing too with nothing to back it up and get people to believe.
    I can clear some long exhausting gravel/tech climbs clipless because on less steeper sections I can switch to 'pull' mechanics and get some rest before attacking much steeper sections with 'push' pedalling. Have never been able to clear these on flats. Not too relevant to DH or regular XC trail riding I guess.

  100. #100
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    I enjoy flats more. And I feel just as fast. Mostly. I feel much more solid in corners on flats. I also have a different max seat height and riding style with flats. Lower seat, more centered pedal, lower gear. How different is your seat position when switching?

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