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  1. #1
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    Clip In for DH?

    I'm wanting to plan a trip to Trestle Bike Park next summer and have some mixed thoughts. I'm riding a 2012 Trek Superfly 100 AL Elite with SPD pedals. I love clipping in. I've gotten so accustomed to it, I can barely keep my feet on the pedals without being clipped in. I'm here looking for two things:

    1. Should I pack my bike for the park, or rent one of theirs?
    2. Should I stay clipped or practice without?

    Thanks in advance for the feedback!

  2. #2
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    A good percentage of WC DH racers are using clipless pedals on all but the wettest, gnarliest tracks. I for one have had to go to flats more when I'm getting air due to a recurring ankle injury, but if you're used to clipping in then go for it!

  3. #3
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    why spend money if you already have a bike and able to use it?... I'm of the versatility type so I have practice with both clipped in and flats. If there is a lot of flow and pedaling i'll clip in. if there is more steep technical stuff (which i like more) i'll be on flats because if i fall i don't what the bike going with me, i want to be able to push it away... so bring both. it takes all of 3min.s to swap out pedals.

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  4. #4
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    I have tried both, and decided on flats. Like schwinn8, I like steep tech, and being clipped in freaks me out on that stuff. That said, my friends that race and are much better than me all ride clipless.

    99% of Trestle is pretty tame, so I think you could stay clipless there. There are plenty of jumps around, so you would want to feel comfortable in the air on whatever pedals you choose.

    Your Trek will handle anything there, but you will go faster and have more fun on a DH bike.
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  5. #5
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    Kids at the DH resort always tell me how you can't ride clipless in the park or downhill on the gnarly trails...when I do.
    "It's only when you stand over it, you know, when you physically stand over the bike, that then you say 'hey, I don't have much stand over height', you know"-T. Ellsworth

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    I feel like Clipless is much better for rocks and gnar. It keeps your feet planted firmed on the pedals, and obviously won't be bumped off. For fast flowy jump lines (like 90% of resort riding), I prefer flats. Easy enough to throw a foot down, or re-position it for an incoming jump ect.

  7. #7
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    +1 on clipless, for everything.
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  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jayem View Post
    Kids at the DH resort always tell me how you can't ride clipless in the park or downhill on the gnarly trails...when I do.
    Woh!, Jayem and I agree on something... Agree and had the exact same conversation with the younger groms at N*.
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  9. #9
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    Clipless for sure if you're already used to it. Like arkon said, your feet don't bounce around on the pedals through the really rough stuff.

  10. #10
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    maybe ya'll have the wrong shoes? I've never had my feet "bounce off" the pedals. For a new guy I would suggest the route of having the ability to put a foot down quicker rather then be stuck on the bike and just fall over. For clipless, it takes time to practice the subconscious side of the brain to twist one's foot to release from the clips in a hairy situation quickly. granted you can adjust the tightness but still... anther door to walk through is to just do it.. either you'll like it or you won't.. everyone is different. to say one is better then the other is like saying an off the showroom floor jeep Wrangler is better then an FJ Cruiser equally equipped. both have their pros and cons, but I personally enjoy the FJ's nice comfy ride both on and off road.. ( anyone can pay or build an off road rig, opinion based off the off a brand new off the show room floor capability of each respected vehicle)
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  11. #11
    Yes, that's fonetic
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    Bloated analogy aside, he already said he's familiar and comfortable clipping in and out.

  12. #12
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    OP: Don't bring your bike. Riding an XC bike at a resort is a quick way to kill it. DO bring your clipless pedals and have them swapped onto the DH bike you'll rent. You'll be happy with the results but take the time to get the suspension fairly dialed. I've seen rental bikes at Trestle with scary suspension settings.

    whodaphuck: I'll be back on Maui in a month and bringing the 29lb V10 instead of the Scott as my all around bike for the winter. Can't wait to ride Makawao with you guys and show you the Lahaina trails we ran the enduro on.
    Keep the Country country.

  13. #13
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    OP, listen...Pro DH rider talking there/\
    Nice solid results in the Enduro Series this year Leland.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by shwinn8 View Post
    maybe ya'll have the wrong shoes? I've never had my feet "bounce off" the pedals. For a new guy I would suggest the route of having the ability to put a foot down quicker rather then be stuck on the bike and just fall over. For clipless, it takes time to practice the subconscious side of the brain to twist one's foot to release from the clips in a hairy situation quickly. granted you can adjust the tightness but still... anther door to walk through is to just do it.. either you'll like it or you won't.. everyone is different. to say one is better then the other is like saying an off the showroom floor jeep Wrangler is better then an FJ Cruiser equally equipped. both have their pros and cons, but I personally enjoy the FJ's nice comfy ride both on and off road.. ( anyone can pay or build an off road rig, opinion based off the off a brand new off the show room floor capability of each respected vehicle)
    Well, what would you rather barrel down a bumpy road in at 50mph, a seat with a 5 point harness, or no seatbelt and just a few pins to stick into your fire-proof pants? Riding South Mountain at speed did cause my feet to bounce off, not all at once, but significant hits and features would kind of get my feet closer and closer to the edge, causing me to have to reposition them, but the terrain is so unrelenting it's hard to lift a foot for anything without losing control. People do it though, so I know it's possible, it's just not for me (flats on technical terrain). For me, flats are for winter riding and high skinnies, and that's it.

    But back to the topic,

    For downhill, these are the types of pedals you want:

    These have a plastic cage, not the most durable, but cheap (the mechanism is durable, just the cage is not). PD M434.
    Clip In for DH?-640_16396.jpg

    These are much stronger, kind of the "gold standard" in my years. A problem with this and the above is the end-cap unit strips in a few seasons/years of heavy abuse, which can be easily rebuilt with a new end-cap assembly (cheap). This was happening bashing rocks mind you and people behind me said they could see sparks flying off the pedals. Even when they "start to go" it doesn't render the pedal useless, the mechanism still works fine, just needs the end-cap. PD M545.
    Clip In for DH?-g00009wk.jpg

    These are the newer version, with an acrylic/resin cage. These have a newer mechanism that clears mud easier. I never had the end-cap issue, as I think the metal cage on the above 545s transfers the forces just a bit more than these. In the rockiest craziest conditions the cage may not hold up, but they can be replaced and they are pretty strong. PD M647.
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    Even though these have a platform, I highly advise against these. They are much harder to get back into and to balance on if you miss the clip-in for downhill. The above pedals have a 30-degree spring-loaded cant to the mechanism that makes clipping back in easy, just put your foot down and it finds the mech as your foot slides on the pedal. In other words, the mechanism rotates WITHIN the cage. These don't work the same way and the platform is much smaller. You might see some of the advanced racer types with them, and you'll even see straight XC clipless pedals on their DH bikes too, but pass on these "clipless+platform" type pedals, known as "trail" pedals. Not good for a newer-to-DH type rider.
    Clip In for DH?-20110902_umpqua_trip-12.jpg
    "It's only when you stand over it, you know, when you physically stand over the bike, that then you say 'hey, I don't have much stand over height', you know"-T. Ellsworth

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  15. #15
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    ^Agreed. I love the Shimano DX SPDs but recently switched to XTR trails. Not quite as much unclipped platform but lighter and the slimmer profile results in less rock strikes. When unclipped the shoes make a big difference in grip. Sneaker types from 5.10 & Shimano feel great. Enduro models from Pearl Izumi, Mavic, Shimano offer decent grip and are slimmer, lighter and more XCish. Typical XC shoes have almost no grip when unclipped.
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  16. #16
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    Yep, and to say it again, the "trail" pedals aren't bad, they are just not what I'd suggest for a beginner. Good for a "race bike" and an higher level racer. They are very appealing because you can find them for less than $30 new and they are way lighter, even at that pricepoint.

    I should have also included the Time ATAC downhill pedals, Time in general makes excellent pedals and a realistic alternative to shimano. I don't recommend crank brothers, although they are similar to time in function, I've never even had them hold up for XC, much less DH. Clip In for DH?-time-atac-dh4-mtb-pedals-2013.jpg
    "It's only when you stand over it, you know, when you physically stand over the bike, that then you say 'hey, I don't have much stand over height', you know"-T. Ellsworth

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  17. #17
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    The old Shimano 646'z were, they quit makin'em (still are IMO), the best clipless pedal out there. I still have a coupl'a sets that wont last forever...not sure what happens after they wear out
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  18. #18
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    I 2nd renting a bike and bringing your pedals. You'll be tiptoeing around on a typical xc bike on pretty much any lift served terrain, and if you break something, you'll likely be renting then, anyway.
    And I'm not sure how this turned into a pedal suggestion thread, but I'll throw in my 2 cents for CB. I've run them for 10 years now on every bike in my garage ('cept for the '55 Schwinn and bmx) and they have not self destructed, as it's so popular to say these days. The new Candy's offer a bit of platform, light weight and mud shedding. And they're easily rebuildable.
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  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by agarner59 View Post
    I'm wanting to plan a trip to Trestle Bike Park next summer and have some mixed thoughts. I'm riding a 2012 Trek Superfly 100 AL Elite with SPD pedals. I love clipping in. I've gotten so accustomed to it, I can barely keep my feet on the pedals without being clipped in. I'm here looking for two things:

    1. Should I pack my bike for the park, or rent one of theirs?
    2. Should I stay clipped or practice without?

    Thanks in advance for the feedback!
    If I were you I would use my bike of course and stay clipped...
    Last edited by Max24; 03-02-2015 at 08:17 PM.

  20. #20
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    If you want to have fun at a downhill park, do not bring your bike. Do whatever you want with the pedals, I would go flats....but a superfly has no business at a bike park.

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jayem View Post
    Well, what would you rather barrel down a bumpy road in at 50mph, a seat with a 5 point harness, or no seatbelt and just a few pins to stick into your fire-proof pants?
    i would much rather barrel down a bumpy road at 50mph's without a seat belt... because my FJ Cruiser is much smoother at doing it then a jeep
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  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by dbabuser View Post
    And I'm not sure how this turned into a pedal suggestion thread, but I'll throw in my 2 cents for CB. I've run them for 10 years now on every bike in my garage ('cept for the '55 Schwinn and bmx) and they have not self destructed, as it's so popular to say these days. The new Candy's offer a bit of platform, light weight and mud shedding. And they're easily rebuildable.
    Picture_096.jpg
    Here's one of my sets of mallets after a month (if the MTBR upload feature works, if not, spindle broke, supposedly the strongest part of a pedal). Go check the kronolog thread for more of CBs engineering prowess, or consider the crankarms they tried to make a few years back by gluing two halves of a crank-arm together. I went through multiple eggbeaters, mallets, and the like. I do have one of their handlebars now, but it's a joke, the thickness of the carbon on the edges is not constant, and it's different from the left side to the right side too. They do make some of the best lightweight disposable equipment though.

    Wish I still had that pedal though, as I've had formal accident investigation and metal failure training now...
    "It's only when you stand over it, you know, when you physically stand over the bike, that then you say 'hey, I don't have much stand over height', you know"-T. Ellsworth

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  23. #23
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    I don't know if you should bring your bike, per se, but you should ride whatever pedals you are used to. If you're used to clipless pedals, you should bring and ride those. The DH park is no time to be switching what you're used to.

    That being said, IMHO, clipless pedals have no business at the bike park and you should try to get used to flats in a situation where it doesn't matter (e.g. the local trails your used to or a pump track). Once you have transtioned to flats, then ride the bike park on them.

  24. #24
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    I just bought the Shimano XT PD-M785 trails pedal with platform. I have always used flats in the past. I went for my first ride last night clipped in and it was amazing. These pedels are awesome!! I was used to having a large standing platform with the flats, so the cage really helps me with extra support. Part of the cage makes contact with the sole of the shoe. Perfect if you ask me. Didn't have much of a problem getting clipped in for a newbie. The above post trashed them but man they are nice for me. I would like to try the DX pedals too

  25. #25
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    I say this time and time again....bring your own bike to a resort...the reason....you feel the most comfortable on your own bike....that comfort can be the difference of a bad crash or not. Second if you ride clips and feel comfortable using them...then why change?? ride what makes you the most comfortable

    edit....your lite bike breaks the above rule about bringing your own bike...xc bikes will get beat to $hit
    Last edited by SHIVER ME TIMBERS; 09-26-2013 at 02:27 PM.
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  26. #26
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    But will an XC rider from the flats feel comfortable on steep, rocky trails or jumps regardless of which bike they use? Would the e tra margin for error afforded by slack angles, suspension, and big tires not help? As for the pedals I definitely agree with "use what you're used to" but I just think an XC bike at a resort is a big handycap and could result in damaging your bike. At Trestle they include body armor and a full-face with a DH bike rental which is good insurance.
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  27. #27
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    Lelandjt is right, yes you can ride every part of Trestles on a XC bike (and if you did some of the jumps on one you would have serious skills!) but you will go faster and have more fun on a real DH bike.

    I ride a Transition Covert with a coil shock and an X-Fusion Vengance at WP and love it for 98% of the trails and prefer it on trails like Rainmaker. However when I hit Trestle Downhill I know I am on a trail bike (notice this is a trail bike, freeride, enduro or whatever name the bike industry is using this week, not a true xc bike) and the speeds are slower compared to a DH bike. Rent if you want to get the most out of your trip to a bike park.

    As for the pedal question, I prefer flats now, after using clipless for the first 15 years of mountain biking I found that I was more comfortable jumping my bike on flat pedals. I think a lot of that has to do with having a dedicated pair of 5.10's and a good set of pedals, I would say bring your clipless and if you don't like them after the first run or the first day swap them out for the flats that came with the rental.
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  28. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by Puddy View Post
    As for the pedal question, I prefer flats now, after using clipless for the first 15 years of mountain biking I found that I was more comfortable jumping my bike on flat pedals. I think a lot of that has to do with having a dedicated pair of 5.10's and a good set of pedals, I would say bring your clipless and if you don't like them after the first run or the first day swap them out for the flats that came with the rental.
    I don't agree that it's the 5.10's that make the difference, it's technique that makes the difference. So, if you're not comfortable on flats, I would not ride them.

    I agree with the rest of what you said mainly because bringing your own bike seems like a hassle to me and I don't think it would make that much difference. If it's otherwise easy to get there, then why not? I'll defer to others who know the place can assess whether a true DH is required. In my experience, most places don't, but it's helpful.

  29. #29
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    I once tried clip ins after I took a bad fall from when my foot slipped from the pedal. It's not comfortable for me when riding in the air if you hit any jumps. I would say getting BMX pedals with large platforms are the ideal route.

  30. #30
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    I was in the same boat as you a few months ago... I have the same bike as you but a different trim level and I rented one of their bikes (SC Tallboy LTc) and rode flat pedals. It was my first time doing DH and the trail was way more technical than I was used to so I'm really glad I rode flats.

  31. #31
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    imho - the regular, old-style (I guess roc style now) atac times work well with sneaker-style shoes (e.g. 5.10 minnarr) for everything but serious-business dirt jumping.

  32. #32
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    Clipped is the total best for dh with no exceptions, if you like riding clips. If however you don't like riding them it sucks worse than getting your nuts stuck in a vice. Clips also help you go fast if you are already fast. If you are slow, they either slow you down or maybe help you go a bit faster but you will never be pro level fast and no one cares.

    I think I finally solved the debate.

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    debate = solve

  34. #34
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    I'm a fan of clippless for XC and road riding. However, when it comes to big airs and DH, I like platforms. With platforms, I can chuck the bike in an instant if needed. I'm not a fan of being connected to the bike in a big wreck. I think this is much easier than the split second it takes to unclip and then chuck the bike. Also, I find I can manipulate the bike in air far easier with platforms...
    When it comes to nar nar rocky sections...good platforms and skate shoes seem to do just fine. I do wear shin and knee guards when riding platforms in case I do slip and case a peddle to the shin area.
    One other thing. I grew up riding MX. Occasionally, when the rear wheel gets loose in a corner, I resort to taking my inside foot off the pedal to slide the rear end and use my inside foot for balance. Again, clippless pedals feel too slow here.
    Last edited by swagbrdr; 10-18-2013 at 05:08 PM. Reason: more to add...

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