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  1. #1
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    First Time Buying Pedals (flats)

    Hi everyone, hope you're all getting out on the trails and tearing it up !

    I bought my first MTB about 6 weeks ago, and lately have been trying to get out every day. Mostly on flat, sealed track, but when I see any obstacles/downhill/small things to jump off, I'll take them, as I gain some more experience. I'm already noticing a bit of slipping off the pedals. They are stock, with no pins, pretty crap as you might imagine.

    So I'm going to take the advice given to me by another member here, and grab myself a pair of Raceface Chesters.

    My question is, how do flats with pins go with standard shoes/sneakers ? I'm not in a position to pick up a pair of MTB dedicated shoes at the moment. Plus, the bike stores in my area still have a 'no trying on apparel' policy during Covid-19, so I'm not going to buy something I can't try on.

    The shoes I wear have fairly soft soles, will the pins digging into them end up with me destroying them, and should I look for a cheap pair of sneakers with some chunky solid grip for the time being ?

    How important are 'the right shoes' for running flats with pins ?

  2. #2
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    You're on the right track with getting some decent pedals first. Legit bike shoes or Vans, doesn't really matter at this point for you. Those Chester's will give you uber grip compared to those stock caged crap pedals that comes with some bikes.

    Let me put it this way. If you bought a $125 pair of 510 shoes, and use them on your crappy pedals, you'll gain nothing. Total waste of money. If you buy a $35 pair of Chester's and use them with Vans or whatever it'll be a game-changer in terms of grip.

  3. #3
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    Don't overthink/spend on shoes at this point, but, yeah, pins will dig up your soft soles.

    Your idea of cheap sneakers with some chunky solid grip is good. Some specific things when selecting your cheap sneaks:
    1. Body of shoe should have some ventilation. You can drill some holes yourself too, no big deal
    2. Court shoe (vs running shoe) so material can actually support your feet/weight shifting and bouncing around on the pedals, plus sturdy enough to protect your foot.
    3. Get dark color

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    Quote Originally Posted by eatdrinkride View Post
    You're on the right track with getting some decent pedals first. Legit bike shoes or Vans, doesn't really matter at this point for you. Those Chester's will give you uber grip compared to those stock caged crap pedals that comes with some bikes.

    Let me put it this way. If you bought a $125 pair of 510 shoes, and use them on your crappy pedals, you'll gain nothing. Total waste of money. If you buy a $35 pair of Chester's and use them with Vans or whatever it'll be a game-changer in terms of grip.
    I'm in Australia, so Chesters are closer to $90 AUD (or around $65 USD), owing to import taxes, shitty exchange rate and a smaller market. So it stands to reason that the shoes you mention might be closer to $250 !

    And yea, I would say the stock pedals are crap. They are also quite small - for me at least, with size 13 hoofs ! Here's a side by side photoshop image I mocked up to see the difference.

    >
    First Time Buying Pedals (flats)-pedal_profiles.png

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    Quote Originally Posted by kevin_sbay View Post
    Don't overthink/spend on shoes at this point, but, yeah, pins will dig up your soft soles.

    Your idea of cheap sneakers with some chunky solid grip is good. Some specific things when selecting your cheap sneaks:
    1. Body of shoe should have some ventilation. You can drill some holes yourself too, no big deal
    2. Court shoe (vs running shoe) so material can actually support your feet/weight shifting and bouncing around on the pedals, plus sturdy enough to protect your foot.
    3. Get dark color
    Some great advice. Thanks.

    I have several old pairs of shoes I was about to toss out, but I might hang on to them and ride with each for a while to see what types of grip work best for staying on the pins.

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    Have you already bought the Chesters? Because if not you might take a look at the OneUp Composites or Kona WahWah 2. They're both quite a bit bigger. I wear a 10.5 wide, and Chesters feel small to me. I like OneUps a lot better.

    As to shoes, I've found stiffness to be critical. I'm a fairly new rider (year and a half or so), and I can still pick up the loss in pedaling power from sole flex and compression in a soft pair of street running shoes vs. a stiff, hard pair of trailrunners. And proper mtb shoes are another whole tier up in improvement. But if you can wait 'til December or January you can probably find "last years" shoes in clearance for 50% off, especially in outlier sizes like what you wear.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by looks easy from here View Post
    Have you already bought the Chesters? Because if not you might take a look at the OneUp Composites or Kona WahWah 2. They're both quite a bit bigger. I wear a 10.5 wide, and Chesters feel small to me. I like OneUps a lot better.
    With your size 13 feet, something to consider. I wear size 10, also felt the Chesters were too narrow and have been happy with the composite OneUps. The Kona Wah Wah 2s are even larger.

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    Those stock “floor demo” pedals are trash.
    Ive used skate shoes long before bike specific flat shoes were a thing and they work well too. Ive also used deck shoes and work shoes in a pinch. Friend doing triathalons did bike segment with road flats and same running shoes. Running shoe soles will get torn up faster, but theyll work ok. Its when you get into multi hour rides when you might notice you want stiffer bike specific shoes.
    Oh, and if you like playing around on little obstacles and stuff, you might consider shin guards. But youll find out quick if you need them the first time you trap your leg. The downside of those crap pedals are you slip off them at any provocation, the upside is when they hit your shin and back of calf, they at most bruise you. Pinned perals are opposite. You wont slip off as much, but if you do, watch out, its gonna hurt!

  9. #9
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    the chesters were just a suggestion as they're usually on the inexpensive side of decent pedals. However I would agree with the others if you're a size 12 foot the Chester's are too small.

    I also have composite one up pedals. They're not as grippy as a Chester's but they are a bigger platform and would probably work very well for you. Kona Wah Wah are even bigger I believe. But now you're talkin expensive. You could probably find some Wellgo of similar size for much less money.

  10. #10
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    First Time Buying Pedals (flats)

    If you have large feet check out Crank Brothers Stamp 1 in Large. Light, cheap, and are made for size 10-15 shoe. (Their small is for size 5-10).

    Plus they use the same rebuild kit as other Crank Bros pedals like Eggbeaters so finding service kits is easy.


    https://www.expeditionrecreation.com...others-stamp-1

    Santa Cruz Tallboy 4


  11. #11
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    My spending on extras has been at my LBS, mainly to 'support local' but also to build a rapport with a single shop, since I'm a newbie and figure that getting to know the same guys might serve me well if I need advice in the future. HOWEVER.... this presents some supply issues at the moment, as stock levels are very low (for example, all the stores in Sydney, Australia are virtually empty of bikes right now due to imports from Asia being severely affected by the pandemic, combined with an unprecedented demand for riding since the gyms closed down in March, and a lot of people have free time due to job losses etc)

    What this means for me is that pedal stocks are fairly restricted. I can either wait a few months, or I can order from the USA (but shipping is hell expensive, and again, the wait for shipping might be up to a month anyway).

    Here are my current options at my preferred LBS
    https://www.99bikes.com.au/parts-com..._list_limit=72

    I was thinking of popping in today to grab those Shimano PD-GR500 pedals. But I cannot find any size specifications, which is annoying, and size is not even stated on Shimano's website.

    The gold-colored Jetblack pedals on that page may be another option. I want black, but JB are an Australian company so I could always get them to try and order the color I want. But again, no size specifications !

    The other option on that page I linked to are the DEITY Deftraps. They have a footprint of 115 x 103mm. But maybe I'm being a bit vain, I think they LOOK pretty blocky. I guess it's not a fashion contest though...

  12. #12
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    I traced my (bare) foot, and at it's widest, I measure in at 105mm wide. Obviously with shoes on that means the sole will be a lot wider (my preferred sneakers measure in at 115mm wide)

    In my research I've discovered 'extenders' that bolt between the crank arm and the pedal. Is this a viable option to get a better purchase on the pedals since I would be able to centre my foot a little better? I'm a bit dubious, since more parts = more failure points.

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    Out of what you've listed I'd go with the Deftraps. Blocky=large useable area.

    Alternatively, the Ryfe Sasquatchs look like OneUp clones, and are also quite large, if you want to save a few bucks.
    Knorth - 2017 Jamis DragonSlayer Pro
    Tinkerbell - 1995 Trek 930

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    Thanks to everyone who steered this thread discussion towards pedal sizing. Although Chesters seems to be one of the most popular suggestions for this price range, they really are quite a lot smaller a platform than some others on the market. For riders with larger feet, The OneUp composites, Deity Deftraps and Crankbrother Stamp1 (large variant) are all on the larger end.

    I decided on the Stamp 1's, and my LBS ordered them for me today. They should arrive mid July.

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    Looks like you got a choice made OP and the product in flight to you so this comment is mainly for those finding this via search or surf. Chesters are nice but definitely on the compact side. I put a pair on my daughters 24+ bike to replace better than average but still garbage stock pedals. My old bike turned gravel/extra rigid ride has a pair too. They are a great value for sure.

    I took my clip-less pedals off and put a pair of DMR Vaults on my 4 season fatty to ride with insulated boots in the winter and am never taking them off again. Had an old pair of Teva Links which I love but are more Gorilla glue than I would like between the boot and sole. Replaced those with some regular 5.10 Freeriders which I don't love as much, but were on sale. With either shoe I feel like I gained versatility while not losing much if any connection to the pedals.

    Point being, there are many good flats and shoes out there that will work very well. As with everything your size and needs will vary and "perfect" does not exist so don't let the search for perfect keep you from taking something really good to the trail.

  16. #16
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    First Time Buying Pedals (flats)

    Quote Originally Posted by Jay719 View Post
    Thanks to everyone who steered this thread discussion towards pedal sizing. Although Chesters seems to be one of the most popular suggestions for this price range, they really are quite a lot smaller a platform than some others on the market. For riders with larger feet, The OneUp composites, Deity Deftraps and Crankbrother Stamp1 (large variant) are all on the larger end.

    I decided on the Stamp 1's, and my LBS ordered them for me today. They should arrive mid July.
    I suggest you get some longer pins right away. I found the grip lacking a bit vs say Chesters or DMR Vaults...

    But just changing them from an M3 x 10 screw to an M3 x 12 (standard 0.5 thread pitch), is a MASSIVE improvement in grip.

    Longer pins on my Stamp 1’s...




    Santa Cruz Tallboy 4


  17. #17
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    shoes with a relatively flat, even sole are best for pedals, stiff or not. skate shoes like Vans work will, but they tend to be a bit soft and wear out quickly. the new breed of MTB-specific sneakers are made with more durable soles and tend to be worth the expense. I got some Ride Concept Livewires for $100 USD, which is considerably more than I usually pay for sneakers.

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    Quote Originally Posted by LCW View Post
    I suggest you get some longer pins right away. I found the grip lacking a bit vs say Chesters or DMR Vaults...

    But just changing them from an M3 x 10 screw to an M3 x 12 (standard 0.5 thread pitch), is a MASSIVE improvement in grip.
    Is that right ? I didn't even think that there might be after-market pin kits available. But I'll try the standard ones out for a while first and see how I go.

    Something I thought was a good idea when doing my research, is that the Shimano GR500 comes with two washers under the head of each pin, effectively allowing three depth positions. I set off the other day with the intent to buy them, since they offer some good length as they are quite a distance from the crank arm, but when I measured the width (yes, Im a bit of a nerd, I took a tape measure to the store!), the USABLE platform length is a mere 90mm - the whole dimension on that plane is over 100mm, but they kind of 'drop off' on each side, so that final 10mm is not on the active side of the platform.

    Are the pins adjustable on the Stamp 1's ? From looking at the image it seems there are no washers, but perhaps a recessed head ? Can they be screwed up and down to the desired height ?

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by mack_turtle View Post
    shoes with a relatively flat, even sole are best for pedals, stiff or not. skate shoes like Vans work will, but they tend to be a bit soft and wear out quickly. the new breed of MTB-specific sneakers are made with more durable soles and tend to be worth the expense. I got some Ride Concept Livewires for $100 USD, which is considerably more than I usually pay for sneakers.
    When I get the pedals, I'm going to chew through some old shoes as a bit of an experiment, before I buy any. I have about four pairs that I was about to throw out, but they'll be put to good use in destructive testing.

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jay719 View Post
    Hi everyone, hope you're all getting out on the trails and tearing it up !

    I bought my first MTB about 6 weeks ago, and lately have been trying to get out every day. Mostly on flat, sealed track, but when I see any obstacles/downhill/small things to jump off, I'll take them, as I gain some more experience. I'm already noticing a bit of slipping off the pedals. They are stock, with no pins, pretty crap as you might imagine.

    So I'm going to take the advice given to me by another member here, and grab myself a pair of Raceface Chesters.

    My question is, how do flats with pins go with standard shoes/sneakers ? I'm not in a position to pick up a pair of MTB dedicated shoes at the moment. Plus, the bike stores in my area still have a 'no trying on apparel' policy during Covid-19, so I'm not going to buy something I can't try on.

    The shoes I wear have fairly soft soles, will the pins digging into them end up with me destroying them, and should I look for a cheap pair of sneakers with some chunky solid grip for the time being ?

    How important are 'the right shoes' for running flats with pins ?



    I'm coming in a bit later with an opposite experience. I wear running shoes with open tread with individual lugs. Pins don't need to long or sharp. Those tear up soles and your shins unless you wear shin guards as protection. Shorter rounded or larger diameter pins work with most running or trailrunners because they fit between the lugs. When you ride over rocks and bounce a procedure works to keep you in place. Keep your heels low and the angle of interference between the pins and the tread of your shoes makes it impossible to bounce you off if you put weight on your pedals. Usually getting off the seat does it.

    This vid at 1:30 shows the position.



    Wellgo makes lots of pedals including these-
    https://www.amazon.com/Wellgo-Bicycl...79&sr=1-8&th=1

    First Time Buying Pedals (flats)-111201603070837251.jpg


    Good but out of stock.
    https://www.chainreactioncycles.com/.../rp-prod183389

    https://www.ebay.com/itm/NEW-Wellgo-...AAAOSwDYZd5xnS

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    I've been thinking since this thread has been going....It's an unusual situation to be buying for a product that's certainly going to cause me injury. I guess Deity nailed their product name, calling their pedals 'deftrap'

    Everything I have read is that shin strike is inevitable, and often with quite bad outcomes. Does it offset the likelihood of coming off the bike and causing more injury ? Just sharing this though since the previous member recommended longer pins.

    Sure, I know the response will be 'get shin pads', but I'm already in a huge (for me) spending cycle with this new hobby. Cost of the new bike aside, I also have bought an expensive portable pump, a fairly top end floor pump, bottle cage, frame mounted multitool, helmet, onboard storage bag, lubes, tools, spare tubes, some gloves next week, pedals already paid for........ I really need to ease off on buying bike shit for a while !

  22. #22
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    I bought shin pads when I first switched to flats. I wore them maybe twice and stopped wearing them. Not worth it in my opinion. Will you get shark bites and cuss at your pedals a few times? Yes, but you'll live. I've been on flats for like 8 years now, every once in a while I'll still ding my shin or calf, but I still like them way better than clipless.

    Sent from my SM-G960U using Tapatalk

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jay719 View Post
    I've been thinking since this thread has been going....It's an unusual situation to be buying for a product that's certainly going to cause me injury. I guess Deity nailed their product name, calling their pedals 'deftrap'

    Everything I have read is that shin strike is inevitable, and often with quite bad outcomes. Does it offset the likelihood of coming off the bike and causing more injury ? Just sharing this though since the previous member recommended longer pins.

    Sure, I know the response will be 'get shin pads', but I'm already in a huge (for me) spending cycle with this new hobby. Cost of the new bike aside, I also have bought an expensive portable pump, a fairly top end floor pump, bottle cage, frame mounted multitool, helmet, onboard storage bag, lubes, tools, spare tubes, some gloves next week, pedals already paid for........ I really need to ease off on buying bike shit for a while !
    Unless you’re racing enduro or pushing the envelope at the bike park, you shouldn’t really be terribly at risk having shin strikes. Just be weary if you’re to being clipped, of not trying to pull your feet up when pedaling or push your foot forward. Always downward pressure - let your body weight do the work. And be mindful of pointing your heels when descending or going over technical sections.

    Honestly, if you have enough grip via good pedals and shoes, then that will actually keep shin strikes to a minimum in my experience. It’s when you have lackluster grip and your foot slips off the pedal is when you’ll have shin strikes.

    Let’s put it this way, I’d rather wear through shoe soles quicker than tenderize my shins.

    Santa Cruz Tallboy 4


  24. #24
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    First Time Buying Pedals (flats)

    Quote Originally Posted by Jay719 View Post
    Is that right ? I didn't even think that there might be after-market pin kits available. But I'll try the standard ones out for a while first and see how I go.

    Something I thought was a good idea when doing my research, is that the Shimano GR500 comes with two washers under the head of each pin, effectively allowing three depth positions. I set off the other day with the intent to buy them, since they offer some good length as they are quite a distance from the crank arm, but when I measured the width (yes, Im a bit of a nerd, I took a tape measure to the store!), the USABLE platform length is a mere 90mm - the whole dimension on that plane is over 100mm, but they kind of 'drop off' on each side, so that final 10mm is not on the active side of the platform.

    Are the pins adjustable on the Stamp 1's ? From looking at the image it seems there are no washers, but perhaps a recessed head ? Can they be screwed up and down to the desired height ?
    The “pins” on the Stamp 1, like many pedals are just regular hex head screws. The Stamp 1 has M3x0.5 thread pitch. They are 10mm long (bottom of head to end of threads).

    I picked up some 12mm long ones from the hardware store and swapped them. Easy as that. Grip is now equal or better than the Chesters, whereas stock I found them lacking grip and more prone to slipping a foot if not careful.

    As a side note I run Five Ten Freeriders.

    Santa Cruz Tallboy 4


  25. #25
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    Use running shoes and the pedals above and guess what? No injury and you'll stick like glue if you drop your heels with weight.

    If you don't create an angle, if you position your feet in the horizontal plane you'll be bounced of any pedals with any pins.

    Here's another pair of vey thin metal pedals with shorter pins. I have these. Origin8 Slimlines.
    https://www.ebay.com/itm/PEDALS-PLAT...AAAOSwRY1dpKaw
    https://www.citygrounds.com/products...SABEgIVzvD_BwE

    First Time Buying Pedals (flats)-origin8.png

    Forged AL6061-T6 pedal body
    Dual DU sleeve bushings for long lasting maintenance free performance
    9/16" CNC chromoly spindle
    Ultra-thin 100mm x 95mm x 6mm platform
    M3-8mm SS replaceable pins
    308g per pair

    First Time Buying Pedals (flats)-media_734135df-6655-4ea2-b2f3-450c0693e4aa_1024x1024.jpg
    Last edited by eb1888; 06-28-2020 at 09:59 AM.

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