Clipless or Flats?- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    Clipless or Flats?

    Just wanted to see what people wear when DH riding?

    Pros/cons on either one.

    Thanks!

  2. #2
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    flats, too tight for clipless, due to having to take feet of the pedals a few times on each run (some trails are 2" deep dust and marble sized stones on top of off camber)

    however, other places i some times ride i would consider clipless, but cant afford to just trial it out.
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  3. #3
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    All depends on the course, and personal preference.

    You're going to see arguments supporting both, but the only way to know for sure for both you and your trails is to ride them yourself.

  4. #4
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    The reason I use clipless is your feet are always in the right spot. I hate going through a ruff rock section and thinking about my feet bouncing around on my pedals, then trying to set them up quickly for the next jump or drop thats coming up.
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  5. #5
    Ricky DH
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    I ride clipless for trail and DH, and will never go to flats.

    The only negative I can find for clipless is sometimes having a bit of a problem gettng back into the clips in a rocky section. But to me, that one negative aspect does not override all of the positives of clipless.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by rep_1969
    I ride clipless for trail and DH, and will never go to flats.

    The only negative I can find for clipless is sometimes having a bit of a problem gettng back into the clips in a rocky section. But to me, that one negative aspect does not override all of the positives of clipless.
    I hate that feeling. Being clipped out right before the hardest part of the track makes me feel helpless. That's why I wear flats with 5.10's
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  7. #7
    Ancient Chinese Secret
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    Quote Originally Posted by rep_1969
    I ride clipless for trail and DH, and will never go to flats.

    The only negative I can find for clipless is sometimes having a bit of a problem gettng back into the clips in a rocky section. But to me, that one negative aspect does not override all of the positives of clipless.
    Clipless can ruin your jumping technique. It did for me. It causes one to unnaturally rely on being attached to the bike (called "levelling your pedals" according to an instructor I had) rather than physics and technique for making the bike stay attached to your feet. In my case, It was causing me to nose in on my landings with a huge potential for major injury (e.g. OTB) which I almost did a few times.

    After discovering that I had bad technique, I went to flats and haven't looked back. While I rarely become detached from the bike, that downside is not offset by the bad habits that clipless caused for me. It's also a lot easier to dab on tricky sections. Bailing on jumps gone bad is also a positive, but that rarely happens (at least for me) but has helped me out on occasion.

    Imho, clipless is only good for XC or racers, but your mileage might vary. For AM, recreational DH or FR, flats are the way to go.

  8. #8
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  9. #9
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    Flats and 5.10s. I don't ever have a problem with getting bounced off my pedals, and with some of the stuff I get into I would hate to be clipped in.
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  10. #10
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    I honestly don't understand why anyone would ever use clipless for DH. Seems unnecessary, dangerous, and just detrimental to your technique IMO, but I've never used them so I don't know.

  11. #11
    Ricky DH
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    Quote Originally Posted by Swell Guy
    Clipless can ruin your jumping technique. It did for me. It causes one to unnaturally rely on being attached to the bike (called "levelling your pedals" according to an instructor I had) rather than physics and technique for making the bike stay attached to your feet. In my case, It was causing me to nose in on my landings with a huge potential for major injury (e.g. OTB) which I almost did a few times.

    After discovering that I had bad technique, I went to flats and haven't looked back. While I rarely become detached from the bike, that downside is not offset by the bad habits that clipless caused for me. It's also a lot easier to dab on tricky sections. Bailing on jumps gone bad is also a positive, but that rarely happens (at least for me) but has helped me out on occasion.

    Imho, clipless is only good for XC or racers, but your mileage might vary. For AM, recreational DH or FR, flats are the way to go.

    I'm definitely in the minority here, but it's just the way I learned. I used to ride/race bmx as a kid and of course rode with flats. Then I started riding mountain bikes with the cages, then progressed to clipless pedals. Now if i get on a MTB with flats, it feels totally unnatural. As comfortable as I am with clipless, I see no reason to go to flats. I ride, pedal, berm and jump just fine, no problems for me. As they say . . . To each their own.

  12. #12
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    Why are these always left out of the comparison?

    You have just been mentally Rick Roll'd. Yup you're thinking about it right now aren't you? Don't fight it.

  13. #13
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    if u look at the top 10 and any world cup dh race, more often than not most of them are clipless. i think if you have the correct technique they are definitely faster than flats. i personally ride flats, and find clipless pedals scary and hard to use. to each their own as said before

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by csermonet
    if u look at the top 10 and any world cup dh race, more often than not most of them are clipless. i think if you have the correct technique they are definitely faster than flats. i personally ride flats, and find clipless pedals scary and hard to use. to each their own as said before
    But Hill and Blinky can still tear it up on the steep tech tracks. Blinkensop had to hike a bike at Leogang and still finished top 5.

    I think the number one reason that the WC guys run clips is so they can get the power down more efficiently. It, in my opinion, has extremely little to their feet bouncing off the pedals or being in the wrong position. Clipping in delivers more of the power to the ground. And in a WC race where hundredths of a second count, most of these guys can't afford to not be able to go flat out pedaling when ever possible.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by rep_1969
    I ride, pedal, berm and jump just fine, no problems for me. As they say . . . To each their own.
    Agreed, if they're working for you, why change? However, if you never jumped or rode clipless before, you might consider not starting on them. My .02.

  16. #16
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    I grew up racing bmx way before clipless ever touched a 20". It's what I'm used to and it's my personal preference. Grippy flats with traditional Vans waffle soles is how I rock it.

  17. #17
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    Wow, so much noobery in this thread. (FYI I ride flats on my DH bike, clips on my trail bike)


    1. Clips are faster, (almost) always, period. You can pedal a little better, but the main reason is they give you SOOOOOO much more control through the rocks and technical sections. You have way more control over your bike clipped in
    2. Clips make many sections easier, but on the flip side can reduce your bike handling skillz development (the main reason I don't ride clips on my DH bike)
    3. Clips rarely make any section harder or more dangerous for a skilled rider, even the most dangerous and technical trails are better on clips, period (only noobs disagree). I've seen only 1-2 trails that clips are more of a pain than they are worth on, but they are pretty crazy trails.
    4. Did I miss anything?
    5. Oh ya, everyone should learn on flats. As I said above, clips can make you lazy, and I've seen some TERRIBLE jumping technique from people who learned on clips, but never from people who learned on flats.

  18. #18
    calma
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    I ride with both depending on weather, course and how I feel that day.

    I can typically switch without any real notice with regards to pedalling on a dh ride. Yes I do notice some difference on flatter (xc) type riding, but still make it work.

    Regarding unclipping and foot placement no real issues; as I have had my feet come off with both and trying to reclip and finding right foot placement (flat) about the same.

    With flats - shoe choice is the key; for me 5.10's work great (riding Shimano DX Flats with long / short pin combo). Feel pretty much clipped in as the grip is great, some times to grippy.

    Best advise, ride the same trail, sections, etc with both and choose from that.

  19. #19
    Ricky DH
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    Quote Originally Posted by Swell Guy
    Agreed, if they're working for you, why change? However, if you never jumped or rode clipless before, you might consider not starting on them. My .02.
    I totally agree with you here.

  20. #20
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    Over the years the popularity and overall sucess on the WC DH circuit has gone back and forth between flats and clips. As of late it seems that clips are making a comeback on the WC for top finishers, but there are still a few top riders on flats. Ultimately I think you should ride both and decide from there. For myself I seem to change every year. One year on flats, the next on clips. I don't make the change on purpose, it just seems to happen. Things like wearing out my clipless shoes and not finding a new pair I like. Or when 5.10s were reintroduced a few years ago. Sometimes it's been and injury, or I've been DJing or MXing more than usual.

    As for clips causing bad habits when jumping, I dissagree. Moving your bike around with your feet is an advantage of clips and should be used. However, when you go from clips to flats you have to relearn how to keep your feet on the pedals when jumping. For me it doesn't seem to be a problem. But I can also ride MX one day with front brake on the right and DH the next with front brake on the left. All I have to do is squeeze them once and I seem to reset to that vehicle.

    The last couple of years I've been mostly riding clips as I've been doing more XC riding in the mornings. However as I write this post I'm nursing a broken rib due to not being able to get my foot out of my clips a 1/2 second earlier. Hmm..... maybe it's time to change again.
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  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gemini2k05
    1. Clips are faster, (almost) always, period. You can pedal a little better, but the main reason is they give you SOOOOOO much more control through the rocks and technical sections. You have way more control over your bike clipped in
    I agree with the almost. People who are good on flats are good on flats. I still thing that WC riders use clips more for the pedaling and then for the added control. It's why guys like Hill and Blinkensop and Fairclough can do well at tracks like Schladming and Leogang but struggle on tracks like Camberra.

    But in the real world most people aren't world cup riders. And don't even have close to the ability of some of these top level riders. Clips are useful. I ride flats I do find my self getting bobbled off. Less now then when I started but it still happens. But I'd rather do that then not be able to get a foot on the pedal, even if it isn't in ideal position, or have to have a friends hold me up while I get clipped in for a steep section.

    And I absolutely agree that in the hands of skilled rider clips aren't dangerous. Most of the really fast guys around here ride clipped in all the time, even on the trails that would make most riders sh*t their pants. If you are skilled in your clips there isn't a problem. It's when people aren't completely proficient with their clips that they have problems.
    Last edited by jcook1989; 07-14-2010 at 10:32 AM.

  22. #22
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    I grew up with toe-clips, then clipless ( wtf is up with that name anyway it makes no sense )

    Now I'm not 20years old anymore and nuts anymore and ride flats.

    The only thing I hated about clip-less was when your going downhill fast and get bucked over the bars...i was never able to get out of them before face planting. All other times I could pop out of them usually with no issues. I would much rather jump through my bars and try to land on my feet now.

    Like my 5-10's and flats now, have no intention of returning to clipless.

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by KTMDirtFace
    I grew up with toe-clips, then clipless ( wtf is up with that name anyway it makes no sense )
    It's because they use a cleat and not a toe-clip. So they are clipless.

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by jcook1989
    It's because they use a cleat and not a toe-clip. So they are clipless.
    Yea I realize that but its still a stupid name.

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by KTMDirtFace
    Yea I realize that but its still a stupid name.
    Absolutely.

  26. #26
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    I've been riding flats for a couple of months now. Same bikes, same trails, same jumps. The only benefit I've seen thus far is that I can jump on and demo my buddies' bikes. Oh, and my shoes look cooler.
    Ride it like you stole it!

  27. #27
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    Kona Wah Wah's work for me.

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