So, I've got a Mukluk. Now about the pedals...-
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  1. #1
    mtbr member
    Reputation: MuklukMan's Avatar
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    Sep 2013

    So, I've got a Mukluk. Now about the pedals...

    Yes, I know. Groan. Roll your eyes. Rant about the non-use of the search feature (I tried... not working, at least for me...).

    Bought a fancy green 2013 Mukluk 3 about a month ago. I've been riding the thing 24/7, and I've become, to quote my wife, "obsessive".

    To clip in or not to clip in, that is the question which vexes me.

    I've got nice gear for both setups: On one end of the spectrum I've got some nice, new Shimano SPD M530 XT Trail pedals with some Bontrager SPD shoes, and on the other I've got the DMR "Vault" platform pedals with all the pins, matched up with, naturally, a pair of 5.10 Impacts (low).

    I've read all the propaganda from both camps. I've listened to certain "names in the biz" talk about flats & 5.10's as a near-spiritual experience, and I've heard the same said about clipless.

    I've used both. I like both. But the Mukluk is a different beast than any XC bike I've ever ridden (my former life, pre-Fat, was a full-sus 29er).

    One of the reasons I love the Muk is the ability to ride over anything on it, and the way the bike practically encourages you to ride like a kid again - "see that set of stairs coming off the Ranger's office? Let's do it!". I also love the way it allows me to rail corners on singletrack in the summer at high speeds - speeds that would have probably ended up with me eating dirt on a 29er. I also get the itch from time to time and launch the Muk down the local DH trails. I'm not catching air like the DH & Freeride jocks, but I'm letting her roar as needed. All of those things tell me to keep rocking the flats & the 5.10s.

    Then, I launch into a mile-long climb with a heck of a lot of elevation gain on dry, hardpacked trail, and I curse at myself for leaving my clipless pedals at home. I start catching some air on one-foot "poppers" on the local singletrack, and I think how much more fun it would be to elevate while being clipped in. And when I'm tearing up a half-dozen switchbacks, each 50 feet higher than the last one, I scoff at the poor souls running their "inefficient" flats.

    In the end, when I've been on the Mukluk for several months, I wonder if my skills on a Fatty will progress to the point that I will never feel the need to dab, or even want to do so. Over the past month or so, I've only dabbed once, due to misjudging the right amount of speed needed to make it around a sharp upwards turn. I've only had one crash on the Muk, and that was my own fault for deciding to peg a 6' berm ladder wall with a bad approach and an unneeded brake check. I paid for my mistakes with a bum ankle for a few days, and a nasty jammed thumb.

    What say ye, gods of Fat? Clip in and hammer the Mukluk, or wear my chunky 5.10's & flats and ride it like an overgrown teenager on an overgrown BMX bike?

    And for the moment, leave the snow out of it. If we get more than 6 inches where I live, they call out the National Guard and close school for a week, so winter, as a general rule, isn't that much of an issue.


  2. #2
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    Aug 2013
    Shimano® PD-M324 ATB for me. I can do either, depending on weather and what I'm doing.

  3. #3
    Elitest thrill junkie
    Reputation: Jayem's Avatar
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    Jul 2005
    Shimano M520s for summer. Whatever flat pedals for winter.

    I'm not sure why people assume you can't do jumps, drops, doubles, etc, with clipless pedals. I've been doing this for years and frequent the DH hill and jumps with my SPDs. You can absolutely ride like an "overgrown teenager" with clipless pedals.

    I highly recommend against the PD-M324, as the mechanism tends to end up face-down and they can be very difficult to clip into, requiring a kind of "flipping" motion to get the pedal upright, and then the "flat" part is nowhere near the platform size and security of a real flat pedal.

    Nothing wrong with flats though, I plan to use them in the winter and if you are planning on doing snow riding they will be far better than SPDs, which tend to suck the heat out of your foot due to the cleat being close to your foot. Even insulated SPD shoes don't really address this well, as the cleat is what sucks the heat out, no matter how much insulation you add to the sides. I know you said you don't have to worry about snow, but if you have to worry about cold temps this can still be valid.

    Lastly, if you've never used clipless pedals before, I highly suggest M434s, M545s or M637s. All of these have a cage and are the easiest pedals to clip into in my experience. The "trail" pedals are a magnitude harder, as they don't have the mechanism sticking up on a spring-loaded 30 degree cant like these pedals. As you put your feet on these, the mechanism "rotates" to match your shoe, and it's very easy to get clipped in. The wide platform also allows you to influence the edges more (like a flat pedal obviously), which is also good, and lastly, if for some reason you can't get clipped in one side, in a pinch you can put your foot on the pedal for much more stability than you'd get with a small-SPD pedal like an M520. One thing though, these and any other SPD pedals are NOT for unclipping when you get to a technical section. That usually guarantees a fall/crash. When you unclip you have less control, so your now going slowly with less control in a situation you don't really have the skills/confidence for. That is a recipe for crashing. That means you practice and get comfortable with the pedals before hand, not on your favorite trail that puts you in the "do or die" situations. Get the movement down first and then you'll be fine.
    "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

    You're turning black metallic.

  4. #4
    bigger than you.
    Reputation: Gigantic's Avatar
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    Aug 2012
    Crank brothers eggbeater 2's for spring-fall, whatever flats for winter.

  5. #5
    never summer
    Reputation: singlefin's Avatar
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    Nov 2010
    Quite the post for what we think you should do, and it sounds like you know what you want to do. The easiest solution is to ride with what suits your type of riding for the day. Or ride a week with one set, then a week with the other and figure out your favorite choice. Mix it up if you get bored. Only 1 crash? You need to start riding faster and hitting harder lines

    If I'm grinding out long xc miles then it's Time Atac and Giro Privateers. Normal duty of exploring trails and a little foot scrambling the its platforms and 5.10. With any bike I try to switch things around to keep it fresh.
    Fargo Ti + Moonlander + Necro Pug + Nature Boy

  6. #6
    mtbr member
    Reputation: MuklukMan's Avatar
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    Sep 2013
    Thanks for the comments, everyone. As per the solution...

    I've been doing the exact same thing that singlefin suggested. Since making my original post, I've been out for four different rides on the same terrain, two of them on flats & 5.10's, and two of them clipped in. So far, the flats & 5.10's are winning. The whole go anywhere "trails? we don't need no stinkin' trails" mentality of the Mukluk lends itself to flats & 5.10's quite well.

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