Pros and cons between being clipped into the bike and clip less?- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    Pros and cons between being clipped into the bike and clip less?

    As the title says, "What are the pros and cons to being clipped or clip less?".

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    That's an interesting question. Do the search I think there's one or two result would come up from posters in the past few days.

    If you are not racing, it's basically the same clipless would give you one thing less to worry about, it keep your feet in circle and lock on to the bike.

    Avg riders would not feel anymore efficiency especially the ones that push down and pull up on the clipless pedals.

    That said clipless pedals would make you look like you belong faster than any upgrades you can do on the Mtb. Using both types of pedals would make you a better rider

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    The style of how you are riding is one factor, but personal preference seems to be the ultimate say.

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    I think you're a little confused on your terms. Clipless are the type of pedals that you're "clipped into".

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    This is a pretty common question amongst members on here. You can find a lot of opinions and info in quite a few threads that have already been posted

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    clipless or platform for MTB

    I use clipless (SPD) pedals and cleats. I use the multirelease cleats vs the single release cleats.

    Cliped pedals (toe clips and straps) are fine for the road but I've gotten pretty trapped in the pedals after some MTB crashes - as in "Downieville".

    Either go platform (no straps, clips, or cleats) or clipless (cleats on the shoes); don't try to use toe clips and straps on an MTB.

    My opinion, earned through experience.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by telemike View Post
    I use clipless (SPD) pedals and cleats. I use the multirelease cleats vs the single release cleats.

    Cliped pedals (toe clips and straps) are fine for the road but I've gotten pretty trapped in the pedals after some MTB crashes - as in "Downieville".

    Either go platform (no straps, clips, or cleats) or clipless (cleats on the shoes); don't try to use toe clips and straps on an MTB.

    My opinion, earned through experience.
    Weren't they tried out about fifteen or twenty years ago? I could be going crazy too.

    Also if you have any pictures of being trapped those would be awesome to see especially if one foot was clipped in and the other was free.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by PandaPancake View Post
    Weren't they tried out about fifteen or twenty years ago? I could be going crazy too.

    Also if you have any pictures of being trapped those would be awesome to see especially if one foot was clipped in and the other was free.
    Yeah, but anyone who spent a lot of time on toe-clip pedals can tell you that either of the options that are currently more popular are far superior. In order to have any affect on pedaling when compared to flat pedals then you need to crank down the straps which makes getting out of the pedal much harder, and even then it's only a minimal difference. If you feel you need location security on your pedals, get clipless. At least then your foot comes off the pedal by twisting outward (toward the ground in a fall) instead of to the back of the bike (not the way you're usually falling).

    I've also been trapped by my clipless pedals during a fall, had to have someone untangle me a few times to get out of it. A lot of times if you have one foot out you can untangle yourself, but with both still in, it can be difficult when you're in a bush and trying to clip out. It doesn't happen often, but it can happen.
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  9. #9
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    Pro: your feet are always on the pedals. Not bouncing around.

    Con: something else to set up and tweak until it feels right.

    As a relative newbie,I tried toe cages as a step toward clip less and ended up catching my pedal on a rock and breaking the cage second ride out. Then went to just platforms and my feet were all over the place. On bumpy trails, being clipped in is the best. But also can be scary if you aren't used to the movement to get out. I have adapted quickly and only had one "fall over" from not unclipping.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by burbskate View Post
    On bumpy trails, being clipped in is the best.
    Common misconception.

    I'm not trying to trivialize your personal experience, but this does merit a response from someone who's spent a lot of time on both (actually, toe clips would make three) pedal systems. You need to spend money on decent platforms just like you would on decent clipless pedals. The pedals that come with any bike are to be considered disposable; do not mistake the plastic body pedals that come equipped on your bike from the shop with a pinned, wide body platform pedal because they are not equivalent.

    And like clipless pedals, you need to be wearing appropriate footwear to go along with your pedals. Clipless pedals need a shoe which have an interface for the cleat to attach to and flat pedals need a shoe which will allow the shoe to grip the pins.

    Again, like clipless, it's going to take some adjustment to your technique as well. You have to learn how to clip in and out just like you have to learn how to keep your feet on flat pedals. Riding with your heels down or up depending on the situation, placing your feet on the pedals, and working on your pedaling technique all take practice.

    With the proper equipment and some technique, your feet will not bounce off the pedals. Riding the lifts at Snowshoe is a fitting test for any person and any bike, with my hardtail I can keep my feet on the pedals through any trail I choose. At that time I was riding Vans skate shoes with Wellgo B67 pedals, hardly the optimal choice, but it's more about the rider than it is the equipment.

    I find that clipless pedals are sort of an intermediate rider's dream. You have already developed some skills and confidence as a beginner rider and clipless pedals can be that break through to some new skills and riding areas. I think the only problem is that riders get "stuck" in the mindset that clipless is the end-all be-all and forget that there are still things to be learned after you've mastered the intermediate level. It's funny how many skills I have picked up since switching back to flats, your confidence level just goes through the roof and it's still there when you put your funny shoes back on to go ride. By going back to flats I have picked up this hard to describe connection to the way the bike is working. Looking back on my time with clipless (it's not entirely over, I still ride clipless on my SS bike) I found myself forcing the bike to do things instead of finding ways for the bike to do it its self because I could more or less just pick it up and move it with my legs. On flats, you can't just throw the bike around as easily so you learn to set your body up and get the bike to respond. You don't have to yank up on the bike to do a hop, you can throw a little manual in and give a push on the bars. Throwing the flats back on can lead to a totally new level of bike control and skill, so don't get stuck with one pedal for too long if you can manage it; they both (not toe-clips) have things to teach you.
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  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by zebrahum View Post

    I find that clipless pedals are sort of an intermediate rider's dream. You have already developed some skills and confidence as a beginner rider and clipless pedals can be that break through to some new skills and riding areas. I think the only problem is that riders get "stuck" in the mindset that clipless is the end-all be-all and forget that there are still things to be learned after you've mastered the intermediate level. It's funny how many skills I have picked up since switching back to flats, your confidence level just goes through the roof and it's still there when you put your funny shoes back on to go ride. By going back to flats I have picked up this hard to describe connection to the way the bike is working.

    Looking back on my time with clipless (it's not entirely over, I still ride clipless on my SS bike) I found myself forcing the bike to do things instead of finding ways for the bike to do it its self because I could more or less just pick it up and move it with my legs. On flats, you can't just throw the bike around as easily so you learn to set your body up and get the bike to respond. You don't have to yank up on the bike to do a hop, you can throw a little manual in and give a push on the bars. Throwing the flats back on can lead to a totally new level of bike control and skill, so don't get stuck with one pedal for too long if you can manage it; they both (not toe-clips) have things to teach you.
    I think this is one of the best advice about the type of pedals to use.

    Going Flats to clipless and back to Flats or both is the best way to optimize the bike skills.

    Feet bouncing off the pedals are pretty rare but if it happens get better pedals, sticky shoes, scan further ahead/pick your line, pump the backside, and learn better ways to be on the bike. You are a driver on the Mt bike not a passenger, so drive it.

    It's easier to blame the pedals than other issues that cause the feet to move. It'd be worse on the rough section on the clipless if your feet take the rear wheel up with it or worst unclip.

  12. #12
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    Personal preference and comfort-ability. Each has their pro's and con's. I think flats are better for a beginner to develop a good pedal stroke, picking lines, basic bunnyhop, etc. Then you can switch to clipless if you think it's better.
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  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by pfox90 View Post
    Personal preference and comfort-ability. Each has their pro's and con's. I think flats are better for a beginner to develop a good pedal stroke, picking lines, basic bunnyhop, etc. Then you can switch to clipless if you think it's better.
    Like the avatar, with that kind of bike you don't need clipless

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by pfox90 View Post
    Personal preference and comfort-ability. Each has their pro's and con's. I think flats are better for a beginner to develop a good pedal stroke, picking lines, basic bunnyhop, etc. Then you can switch to clipless if you think it's better.
    That's the route I took. Started riding last year on flats, then this year switched to clipless. I can't see ever going back.
    SS ==> Nut up or Shut up!

  15. #15
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    Clipless shoes are great for XC riding but become less advantageous the more you move into the Trail/AM categories. Here's a list of my Pros and Cons:

    Pros

    - You can utilize more leg muscles by learning to pedal in a circle vs. up and down. (This is the only real reason I see to ride clipless)
    - Easier to control the rear of the bike with your legs (i.e. bunny hopping, etc).
    - Clipless shoes seem to last a long time (at least the ones like this because they have a rubber sole but maybe not the ones like this due to the plastic lugs).
    - Less chance of tearing up your shins

    Cons

    - Clipless pedals are more of a hazard in slow technical situations. It's harder to put your foot down/out for balance and just the act of unclipping can make you lose your balance.
    - Trying to unclip while crashing.
    - Not being able to unclip while crashing.
    Killing it with close inspection.

  16. #16
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    Same here. Started on flats, hated the pedal bites and slipping of shoes if the soles got wet. Went clipless. Happy as a pig in a poke now.

    Oh, still can't ride for crap using either.

  17. #17
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    To those who think that you might not be able to unclip while crashing. Once you learn the muscle memory of unclipping, you would be surprised at how fast you can unclip. I crashed yesterday riding a huge log pile, and right at the end, I veered too far to the right, and got caught up, and went otb. I was unclipped before I hit the ground. The bike came down next to me.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by TenSpeed View Post
    To those who think that you might not be able to unclip while crashing. Once you learn the muscle memory of unclipping, you would be surprised at how fast you can unclip. I crashed yesterday riding a huge log pile, and right at the end, I veered too far to the right, and got caught up, and went otb. I was unclipped before I hit the ground. The bike came down next to me.
    +1. I agree but there is a learning curve.
    Killing it with close inspection.

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    I am a relatively experienced but casual road biker - very comfortable clipped in on the road- new to mtb. Almost killed myself my first time out on the trails being clipped in because I was super timid clipped into my mtb... Decided to get a pair of platforms and good shoes- my pedaling efficiency is way down but I have become so much better on the trails because I don't hesitate anymore. I figure in a month or so I'll try clipped in on the mtb with my new found skills. After doing much research - I use a pair of tioga mx pro pedals and a pair of Sam hill 2s by 5-10. The setup is a bit heavy and really meant for dh ( I am probably closer to the xc realm) but I can almost pull up on the pedals because the shoe pedal combo is so grippy. I would recommend this set up to any mtb novice (like me) who wants to get comfortable on the rough terrain without the added anxiety of being cliipped in but still wants quality performance

  20. #20
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    I think most people say "clipless is better" because they have never tried a good flat pedal shoe combo. I have a pair of 5.ten freeriders and one of teva links and a pair of deity compound pedals in my butcher. My foot never slips, It used to slip but i learned how to ride with them, just as you would with clipless. Right Now I am learning (in my xc HT) how to ride with clipless.

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by TenSpeed View Post
    To those who think that you might not be able to unclip while crashing. Once you learn the muscle memory of unclipping,...
    It's simpler than that. In a crash the bike is doing its thing and the rider is doing something completely different. Since my first set of Looks in '89 or SPD's in '91 I've had dozens (if not more) of crashes. Only once have I had a release issue and that was because my foot wasn't able to rotate due to the planet being in the way. Every pedal would have held my foot.
    Authorities speculate that speed may have been a factor. They are also holding gravity and inertia for questioning.

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tech420 View Post
    I think you're a little confused on your terms. Clipless are the type of pedals that you're "clipped into".
    Yup.

  23. #23
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    I tried clipless on my mountain bike because it is the in thing these days. Crashed twice and said forget it. I do ride road clipless but I don't like it for mountain biking. I grew up a BMX rider and use my feet for a lot more than pedaling the bike. Yesterday I crashed attempting to jump a boulder, the bike went one way and I went the other. I landed on my rear laughing my ass off. I think if I was clipped in I would have been hurt rather than laughing. If you decide to go flat pedal, buy a good set of pedals and a set of grippy riding shoes like Five Tens. A good set of pedals can be had for around 100.00 and the same for a good set of flat pedal shoes. Of course you can spend a lot more if the desire strikes you.

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by ComfortableWolf View Post
    I am a relatively experienced but casual road biker - very comfortable clipped in on the road- new to mtb. Almost killed myself my first time out on the trails being clipped in because I was super timid clipped into my mtb... Decided to get a pair of platforms and good shoes- my pedaling efficiency is way down but I have become so much better on the trails because I don't hesitate anymore. I figure in a month or so I'll try clipped in on the mtb with my new found skills. After doing much research - I use a pair of tioga mx pro pedals and a pair of Sam hill 2s by 5-10. The setup is a bit heavy and really meant for dh ( I am probably closer to the xc realm) but I can almost pull up on the pedals because the shoe pedal combo is so grippy. I would recommend this set up to any mtb novice (like me) who wants to get comfortable on the rough terrain without the added anxiety of being cliipped in but still wants quality performance
    Pedaling efficiency on a road bike and a mountain bike are two different things unless you are riding a lot of flat groomed trail. The clipped in mountain biking thing seems to be an American thing. You watch the European riders and read their rags you don't see the XC clipped in business for mountain biking. Honestly I don't get it except for the endurance XC crowd. All mountain, downhill, freeride it almost makes zero sense to me. Even my buddy that rides clipped in consistently beats me going uphill but he can't touch me going downhill on flat pedals. He thinks I'm nuts and it's really not the case. I can just move around the bike a lot better on flats to maintain good riding position and balance so I go a lot faster. He on the other hand has better uphill efficiency being clipped in and kills me going uphill.

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