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

    I'm from the midwest and I'm used to pretty easy going non technical XC trails. I'm planning on relocating to Asheville this August (parents careers). My question for you guys is should I invest in flats for the upcoming riding season and for Pisgah? I've been riding clipless for about as long as I have been mountain biking, about five years, and like them. I've done research on the benefits they would offer me in Pisgah's chunder, like improved riding technique, ability to bail, simplicity, and most importantly swag factor. However, I feel like flats might give up some of my climbing prowess, especially on the steep technical climbs that Pisgah is known for. What are you guys running on your bikes, and what bikes are you running flats on? What works for you guys? If the general consensus is flat pedals what composite flats would you guys recomend? FWIW, I have a Santa Cruz Tallboy. Thanks in advance!
    Last edited by t-ruh; 03-29-2018 at 09:45 PM.

  2. #2
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    I'd say run what you normally run. If youre dealing with mild trails in the midwest, the last thing you want to be dealing with in a gnarly place like Pisgah is adapting to new pedals. Just IMO

  3. #3
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    Either or. I ride clipless 99% of the time from bike park DH on a DH bike to all day epics on shorter travel bikes on Farlow etc.

  4. #4
    Big Mac
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    Ride what you ride. Iím clipless, but know plenty of folks on flats. Neither works better than the other, just personal preference.


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  5. #5
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    Man it dont even matter... run what ya brung.

    Personally I feel all the jargon out there about flats vs. clips and folks saying one is better and offers X, Y, Z over the other is completely bogus.

    No one is going to get miraculously better by choosing one pedal vs the other.

    If you're fast, you're fast and pedals aint gonna help/hurt.
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  6. #6
    since 4/10/2009
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    Yup. Run what ya brung.

    I started riding clipless pedals in around 2000 or so. Did a few Pisgah visits on clipless back then. Rode clipless exclusively for 14yrs.

    I started using platforms a number of years ago and I tend to prefer them for most of my riding. Mostly not for the reasons you read about. I also come from the midwest, and I was never happy with winter riding and clipless shoes. I wasn't about to drop $300 on shoes I'd only wear for a couple months out of the year, either. At first, I started using platform pedals so I could wear hiking boots for winter riding. Kept my feet infinitely warmer and I was able to extend my temp range for riding conditions down to 0F pretty easily. I've also never found a pair of clipless shoes that were truly comfortable. They always pinched or rubbed my feet in the wrong places. I didn't realize exactly how much this affected me until after I installed platforms part time.

    There's definitely a learning curve to platforms. And especially if you're trying to switch from clipless, it can be troublesome on technical terrain. At this point, I've figured it out and don't really have any problems. I've noticed that a lot of people switch and then go and ride the same hard stuff the same way they did with clipless, thinking that platforms are a magic bullet, before they've made their way through that learning curve. Then they get angry/disappointed that the platforms aren't working as well for them. If you switch, you've gotta dial back and work on the technique before you start pushing yourself again.

    At this point, I still pull out the clipless pedals, but it tends to be for more specific scenarios. I even have a pair of platforms for my Salsa Vaya.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by t-ruh View Post
    what composite flats would you guys recomend?
    Really digging my Raceface Chesters. Have had a couple pairs on a couple bikes. I broke a pedal (the composite frame and bent the axle - it was a hard hit!) at Bailey on DH bike, but through two years of daily driver duty in Pisgah, they have downright delivered. Would def buy again.

  8. #8
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    I've been riding clipless for way longer than I want to admit to and the only time they've let me down was when I got stuck on a rocky section on a really hairy trail in Phoenix (Geronimo) and stalled at the apex of a turn, and didn't have enough spaced to flip either heel out enough to disengage, and flipped over sideways a couple times.

    So, unless you're going to suddenly go all "hairball #enduro" on crazy tech stuff I wouldn't worry about it, like they said, "ride what you brung" - you'll be fine.

    * that said I now have flats on my dedicated DH bike just for Those Special situations when I just need to let the big go without any possibility of resistance. Was an interesting transition though, learning how to ride tech, jumps and drops and pedal hard when not attached at all anymore. Quite a few bumps and scrapes incurred during that transition. :^)

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by SCxXxMTB View Post
    I'd say run what you normally run. If youre dealing with mild trails in the midwest, the last thing you want to be dealing with in a gnarly place like Pisgah is adapting to new pedals. Just IMO
    ^^This. If you try to change on unfamiliar territory, you'll be worse off.

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  10. #10
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    One of the things I want to work on is proper technique when doing things like jumping and bunny hops. Is it possible to teach myself proper technique for these using clipless pedals?

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by t-ruh View Post
    One of the things I want to work on is proper technique when doing things like jumping and bunny hops. Is it possible to teach myself proper technique for these using clipless pedals?
    Yes, but probably best to try elsewhere like in a park or something. Trying to do this on unfamiliar terrain is counter intuitive.

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  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Timothy G. Parrish View Post
    Yes, but probably best to try elsewhere like in a park or something. Trying to do this on unfamiliar terrain is counter intuitive.

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    Good advice. You may want to stay at BC or dupont if you have to ask that question.

  13. #13
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    If you've been riding clipless, like them and that's what you're used to why change? The effect of change in locale and terrain compared to where you ride now will be amplified if you change to flats without spending time on them. No harm in trying flats but I would do it on familiar trails for awhile then make decision from there. No right or wrong...all about preference.

    I've always been clipless but have used flats from time to time in super cold riding so I can use warm boots. I have always gone back to clipless because that's just my preference. I visited family in A'ville last year and rode Pisgah and Dupont...never even considered changing to flats. Didn't notice any difference in percentage of flats vs clipless than I see at New England trails where I ride. The one exception is Bike parks where there are more flats.

    OP considers 'swag factor' to be the most important benefit of flats. That never entered into any of my equipment decisions but that's just me.
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  14. #14
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    Ride what you normally ride, don't let the Pisgah hype make you change things. It is an awesome place to ride, but people make it to be tougher than it really is, you will be better off riding what you are used to than trying to tackle new terrain and adapt to new equipment like new shoes etc.
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  15. #15
    loud hubs save lives
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    I swap back and forth between flats and clips, sometimes just because of boredom.

    The last couple trips up to Pisgah Iíve run the flats, but not for reason youíd expect.

    The extended downs were really killing my feet in the super stuff clipless shoes ( 5.10 kestrel ). In central NC we just have short ups and downs and i never had an issue. I recently got a different pair of clipless shoes and Iíll be wearing those when i head up next in a few weeks.

    Ride what you normally ride.

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