Started using SPD in 1991. Time for flat pedals?- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    Started using SPD in 1991. Time for flat pedals?

    I took a long time off from cycling. When I was active, I always used SPD pedals. I just got a new bike (Specialized Fuse 27.5+) and it came with flats.

    I was planning on switching them out for my SPDís but now it looks like flat pedals are actually a ďthingĒ now.

    Any of you switched to flats after a lifetime with SPD? Any advice?


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  2. #2
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    I bought the SPD 737's when they were first released, before even shoes for them were available. I modified a pair of nike hiking shoes with metal plates and cleats so I could ride. I rode with them from 1990 or so until a couple of years ago when I moved to Washington State.

    I started riding here and just decided to give flats a try. I had a pair of old welgo pedals and I have been using them since. It is nice to try something different and where I had a hard time jump with spd's before I have now final learned to jumping with the flats. They are definitely something that will help your technique, just like most things.

    The things I dislike is pedal/shin strikes, pedal hits on trail obstacle, the choices in shoes for wide feet, and sore feet from using shoes that fit my wide flippers (Vans old schools).

    That said I really am enjoying riding them, I no longer dread the accidentally unclipped foot during jump, and they don't foul as much in inclement weather.

    Hike a bike on flat shoes are no better or no worse than spd shoes in my opinion. There are areas where a HAB with spds would be better, and there are areas where a HAB with flat shoes would be much better.

    Try it, you may like it.
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  3. #3
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    A tip -

    Riding with platform pedals is different than riding with clipless. It takes commitment to learn that difference.

    I have both types of pedals, though I mostly use platforms nowadays because they suit my riding better.

  4. #4
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    I started SPDs, sometime in the late '90s. Switched to flats about 4 years ago and never looked back. That's because I'm old/slow and everybody I ride with is out in front of me.

    But yeah. As Harold says, it's something that has to be learned. It was a fairly long and steep curve for me as I wasn't used to having to keep my feet on the pedals after having relied on clipless for so long. I'm still clipless at times and always on the road bikes.
    What, me worry?

  5. #5
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    Personal preference. My GF prefers flat pedals and I prefer step-ins. Weíre both right.
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  6. #6
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    I bought my first set of clipless pedals in 1994, a set of Shimano 737 SPDs. rockcrusher, that is some dedication to use them for that long. Love the current XT SPDs, but what I remember most about the 737s was how it seemed just thinking about dirt and then getting in and out of them became a real adventure.

    I still run SPDs on my SS, but have flats on my Honzo and been running them for a little over a year. Decided to give flats a shot primarily for two reasons, a very rocky, technical trail where I tend to ride my Honzo and the encouragement of a couple friends that only run flats. Their skills make a very good argument for them.

    I'll repeat what the others said. Don't be that guy that uses them three times and then makes a YouTube video on why they suck. Coming from SPDs, there is a serious, and sometimes frustrating learning curve. It has taken me the better part of a year to get where they feel completely natural and I am not spending the first 30 feet of every ride trying to reposition my left foot (no idea why only the left never seemed right), lifting a foot off a pedal in difficult climbs and worried about getting bounced off them on rough, fast downhills. Up until a couple months ago, I still was not sure if they were for me and then finally things just sort of clicked. Really enjoy them now.

    I think one of the big reasons flats are now a "thing" is the availability of good plastic pedals. You can pick up a set of Race Face Chesters or OneUp Components for around $50. Although you still need to get a good pair of shoes designed to run with flats to really get the most from them.

  7. #7
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    I would be interested in trying flats again after my last 29 years on clipless, but I'm pretty heavily invested in clipless with 3 pairs of shoes and clipless pedals on 6 bikes. To move back to flats after all these years would be expensive.

  8. #8
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    Just my opinion, keep it simple and stick with what you know.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by OldHouseMan View Post
    Just my opinion, keep it simple and stick with what you know.
    Agreed.

    Quote Originally Posted by BrianU View Post
    Don't be that guy that uses them three times and then makes a YouTube video on why they suck. Coming from SPDs, there is a serious, and sometimes frustrating learning curve. It has taken me the better part of a year to get where they feel completely natural and I am not spending the first 30 feet of every ride trying to reposition my left foot (no idea why only the left never seemed right), lifting a foot off a pedal in difficult climbs and worried about getting bounced off them on rough, fast downhills. Up until a couple months ago, I still was not sure if they were for me ... you still need to get a good pair of shoes designed to run with flats to really get the most from them.
    This makes a good enough argument for me to stick with step-in pedals. I have zero motivation to make the very inconvenient leap to something that I donít perceive as better simply so I can say Iíve learned a new skill, particularly one that Iím convinced doesnít offer added benefits.

    But to anyone who prefers flat pedals: more power to you. Itís your bike, I respect this.
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  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sparticus View Post
    Agreed.



    This makes a good enough argument for me to stick with step-in pedals. I have zero motivation to make the very inconvenient leap to something that I donít perceive as better simply so I can say Iíve learned a new skill, particularly one that Iím convinced doesnít offer added benefits.

    But to anyone who prefers flat pedals: more power to you. Itís your bike, I respect this.
    =sParty
    If this were my only bike, I do not know if I would have stuck with them. My SS is my first love and it still runs SPDs.

  11. #11
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    I just did my first ride with the flats. I think I like them. Itís still going to take some getting used to but overall I liked them much better than I expected.




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  12. #12
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    I started flats, sometime in the early '80s. Switched to SPDs about 30 years ago and never looked back.
    I Pity The Fool That Can't Ride A Bike Without A Dropper!!

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by OldHouseMan View Post
    Just my opinion, keep it simple and stick with what you know.
    DING DING DING!

    I'm another rider that's been on SPD's since the beginning of time. Once in a while, a new cool looking set of flats catch my eye and I give them a try. But I always come back to SPD after only a couple of rides. Like others have said, it takes time to relearn. I guess I'm just not interested in relearning. I don't feel one is better or worse than the other... it's your preference and what you know that matters.

    My SPD shoes have hiking boot kinda tread, so hike a bike is easy. In fact, the shoes I pick I can drive in, walk around in, etc., without issue or discomfort. And I've gone to SPD pedals that have more flat area (and can be ridden with non SPD shoes) so feel I get the best of both worlds... kinda.
    You didn't quit riding because you're old, you're old because you quit riding.

  14. #14
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    I just switched back to SPD yesterday after giving the flats a go for the past few weeks.

    I swear I finished my single track loop yesterday 5 minutes faster with my clipless pedals than I did the day before with flats and sneakers. I made it up every climb and never had to stop once.

    Total night and day difference for me. And I was able to be aggressive through the rough spots and hit some drops pretty fast since I was so connected. I'm stoked.


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  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by OldHouseMan View Post
    Just my opinion, keep it simple and stick with what you know.

    This is the best advice you're likely to get.

    That said, try something new -- you might like it. If nothing else you'll look at trails a bit differently for a spell.

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