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  1. #1
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    Flats or clipless

    Like the title says which do you ride with flats or clipless or even clip ins(what ever that is)

    I have ridden clipless for the last four years but have recently been thinking about Flats more and more

    I like the sound of better performance through the tech and a more playfully bike feel on the downhills

    But I am worried that since I am single speed I wouldn't be able to keep my feet on the peddles on the Flats when my legs are spinning up a storm(which is when feel like I use the up stroke the most)

  2. #2
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    I ride clipless on my SS, flats on my trail bike(geared), flats on my fat bikes and clips and straps on my road bike (also an SS).

    I tired the clipless as a universal solution. On my trail bike with a high BB and riding on sketchy terrain I just wasn't comfy. I need to be able to dab easily and not risk falling off a cliff. On my road bike I just like to be able to wear normal shoes....so clips and straps work best there. Might do an endurance race on my SS fatbike...so I'll throw some clipless pedals on for that.

  3. #3
    western NC
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    Flats and fivetens off-road, clipped in onroad.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

  4. #4
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    I'm much happier on flats, but have been considering going back to clipless on my SS. I find I'm getting bounced now and again pedaling through rocky sections on the fully rigid. Just a little bounce and straight back on the pedals, but it costs some momentum. On the other hand, being able to instantly dab a foot on a bike with so little forgiveness has no doubt saved me some pain. May move my Atlas pedals over from my FS first to see if the sharper pins make a difference.

  5. #5
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    Fully rigid and clipless. Can't imagine riding flats.

  6. #6
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    that's interesting you guys have both setups but it seems clipless is most popular so ill just leave it be

    one day if I get a fully ill think about the switch again

  7. #7
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    Clip-less any day, any bike. Last commuter I had was with flats and I missed clip-less everyday but never got around to install'em.

    Only bike I have with flats is my worn down grocery bike. It's a 100 meter trip forth and back, so...

    I use Shimano Click'R shoes, so walking comfort is like any sneaker and they don't look like bike shoes also, so I don't look like someone who just dropped out of Tour de France accidentally.

  8. #8
    local trails rider
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    Clipless, on rigid bike.
    I get that last drop of power for some uphills and some extra security for staying on the bike over the chatter bumps.

    "it IS possible that you are faster or slower than anybody else who is having at least as much if not more or less fun"

  9. #9
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    SPDs on the rigid although I do change to flats and normal footwear if I'm out with the kids and missus.

    Rode my roadie commute bike on flats for a couple months but didnt like it. Changed to some old Shimano DX pedals (SPDs but with a big 'flat pedal' area too) and much prefer it. The SPD/flat combo is good for traffic where you're in and out all the time and maybe need to get moving pretty well before you get a chance to clip in.

    I was really unsure about SPDs when I started but it's second nature now, I don't even think about clipping in or out.

  10. #10
    Wanna ride bikes?
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    clipless on everything. i know i would not be able to make a lot of the climbs on flats. i barely make it clipped in.
    Rigid SS 29er
    SS 29+
    Fat Lefty
    SS cyclocross
    Full Sus 29er (Yuck)

    Stop asking how much it weighs and just go ride it.

  11. #11
    WillWorkForTrail
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    I've ridden both on my SS, but after a couple of rounds with flats on it, decided to keep it clipless. We have some punchy climbs around here, and some you come into around technical 180 degree turns so you can't really carry speed into them, and clipless just helps get that last little bit of power. I run flats a lot on my geared bike.

  12. #12
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    Flats for me. I tried clips and straps for a solid month when I first started MTBing. Couldn't get used to it after many years of riding BMX on flats. I think people generally excel with what they prefer or feel comfortable with.

  13. #13
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    SPD's all the way!

  14. #14
    Life's a Garden, dig it!
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    Quote Originally Posted by SeaBass_ View Post
    SPD's all the way!
    ^^^^ What he said!
    "And crawling on the planet's face, some insects called, The Human Race..."

  15. #15
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    I've been on flats for the past few years and have had no issues. When I started riding rigid SS a little over a year ago, I noticed it was MUCH more difficult to keep my feet on the pedals and I also noticed I couldn't do high cadence or anything that would take weight off the pedals. I've stayed with it using Canfield Crampon pedals and 5.10 shoes. It's a challenge, but I never thought I was at much of a disadvantage and have even raced with this setup.

    Last night I tried clipless for the first time in years. I ended up setting a PR on my local trail and didn't feel like had really put out much effort. I was able to be so lazy during the ride and could also keep pedaling through rough terrain. This morning I ordered a new set of Sidi shoes and spd pedals

  16. #16
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    I see a lot of mentions of SPD pedals, but Shimano has many different pedals marked SPD on their site, and I was wondering which you mean, specifically. I see a few that meet the description of a clipless/flat hybrid here

    Pedals


    Presently I run non-hybrid M520 SPDs, and like them well enough. I love the simlicity of the Crank Brothers Egg beater, but I've never tried them. I look at the Candy model frequently, but I've been happy enough with the 520s that changing them out has never been a priority.

  17. #17
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    I have a set of 520s and a set of XTs. Not a whole lot of difference between the 2. The XTs were easier to repack.

  18. #18
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    And the xts are basically bomb proof...I have purchased 2 different sets (both heavily used and cheap as hell)and have been using them for years without any matinence at all....one of them is even missing a screw and it just keeps trucking

    Just have to avoid hiking in the mud

  19. #19
    I'd rather be on my bike
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    Rigid SS - SPD M520
    Carbon endurance road bike - SPD M520
    Fixed gear commuter track bike - SPD M520

    I am beginning to see a routine here.....
    The pedals turn, not just the left one, but the right one too.

  20. #20
    Life's a Garden, dig it!
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    I have 959's (old XTR) on my mountain bikes and Shimano Dura-Ace on my road bikes
    "And crawling on the planet's face, some insects called, The Human Race..."

  21. #21
    Armature speller
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    XT Trail pedals, XTR Race pedals.

  22. #22
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    I'm flats on everything. My SS rigid 29r, my road bike, and my geared hardtail.

  23. #23
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    Clipless on everything, but I keep a pair of platform pedals around in order to make it easy to loan a bike to a friend for a ride.

    I have been thinking about leaving a pair of flats on my SS hardtail so it can also be a bar bike.

  24. #24
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    Switched to all flats this year after riding clipless for years. Won't go back - my riding skills and feel for the bike have improved a lot and I have much more confidence on tech sections. Much more fun riding and I don't lose any power. Ran about the same time this year as last year on a 100K race with brutal climbs (11,000 feet overall climbing).
    Plus some of our rides are a good bit of hike-a-bike so flats are way easier to hike in than most clipless shoes.
    "Get busy living, or get busy dying"

  25. #25
    one chain, two sprockets
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    I only ride flats - been that way for decades. Big studs help keep my feet in place on the rough stuff, and I never find it sloppy. A lot of it is technique - if you think you need clipless for jumping and hopping you're doing it wrong...

  26. #26
    western NC
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    I mentioned in the what have you learned this season thread that my technique, and the tech stuff I've cleaned this season have skyrocketed after switching to flats on all my bikes. Not bashing clipless at all for guys and gals that like them, but I rode a lot of BMX as a kid, so going back to some nice flats and sticky shoes felt like coming home. Nice for those runs to the brewery 1/2 mile away also.

  27. #27
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    Flats on my rigid SS, geared and road bike. Am doing a bit of cx on the ss and loving it. Climbing hasn't been a issue and I'm feeling way more confidant on the wood work. Went back to clipless for one ride two years ago on the SS and whoa did it feel restrictive. Felt so weird being held in one place, I was so used to being able to move my feet anywhere I wanted to.
    Ease & Flow Where Ever I Go

  28. #28
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    Flats!
    I use power straps with flats on both my singlespeed mountain bikes, toe clips on my road, and flats without anything on my trail bike and townie.

    I like simple and cheap. I'm not in it for performance. Clipless adds money and complexity that's not for me

  29. #29
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    8 bikes... 7 are clipless. Only one that has flats is the fat bike, and I really struggle the first few rides of the season on it and climbing and riding technical stuff/rock gardens. I only keep flats on it because it's the most practical and provides more shoe options when the weather gets super cold.

    SPD M520's on everything (SS, 3 cross bikes) except my geared hardtail and full suspension, both those bikes have XT's. Look pedals on the road bike.

  30. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by one piece crank View Post
    if you think you need clipless for jumping and hopping you're doing it wrong...
    Word
    "Get busy living, or get busy dying"

  31. #31
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    I am an old guy that started biking in 1983. Went clipless for years and I am paying the price now with worn out knees a feet. The repitition of pedaling thousands of miles without the ability to change angles will wear on you. If you go clipless try speedplay's, they have a lot of adjustability and float. Curently using Ti flats.

  32. #32
    local trails rider
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    Quote Originally Posted by kalubi View Post
    ... The repitition of pedaling thousands of miles without the ability to change angles will wear on you....
    Shimano or some clone?
    CB and Time pedals allow some "float".

    "it IS possible that you are faster or slower than anybody else who is having at least as much if not more or less fun"

  33. #33
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    Quote Originally Posted by perttime View Post
    Shimano or some clone?
    CB and Time pedals allow some "float".
    So do Shimano now.

  34. #34
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    Quote Originally Posted by kalubi View Post
    I am an old guy that started biking in 1983. Went clipless for years and I am paying the price now with worn out knees a feet. The repitition of pedaling thousands of miles without the ability to change angles will wear on you. If you go clipless try speedplay's, they have a lot of adjustability and float. Curently using Ti flats.
    83 is about when I started mountain biking and though I have used flat pedals 90% of my riding has been clipped in. My feet are hashed but not from riding, in fact the only time they're pain free is when I'm riding a bike. Knees are fine. I think feet and knees can get worn out for many reasons, but mostly from the passing of time.

  35. #35
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    Quote Originally Posted by perttime View Post
    Shimano or some clone?
    CB and Time pedals allow some "float".
    Ritchey's, Shimano, Crank Bros, Speedplay, Time. I own 16 bikes so many pedals.

  36. #36
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    Quote Originally Posted by J.B. Weld View Post
    83 is about when I started mountain biking and though I have used flat pedals 90% of my riding has been clipped in. My feet are hashed but not from riding, in fact the only time they're pain free is when I'm riding a bike. Knees are fine. I think feet and knees can get worn out for many reasons, but mostly from the passing of time.
    Just giving my experience. When I clip in the pain starts almost immediately.

  37. #37
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    I've gone a full circle from flats to clipless to flats again. I think clipless are great when you're just starting out (after you get used to 'em) because they forgive you for riding sloppy. You learn to jump over stuff the wrong way, you learn to ride downhill with incorrect posture. Going to flats (as going to a rigid fork) will quickly make you pay for your mistakes, which forces you to ride the right way. Once you re-adjust, you will not even think about the fact that you're on flats and will take downhill and jumps just fine without thinking twice. I think one drawback is that you are a bit slower on flats thorough chunky stuff, as your feet bounce around a bit and on flat stuff, where being clipped in would allow you to spin faster, but maybe, that's a skill that I haven't mastered yet. I have studs (screws) in my pedals that help and having rubbery shoes (like 5-10s) helps a lot too. One thing I really like about flats is that if I plan on venturing out on rides that cover uncharted/barely ridable territory that requires a lot of HAB, I can just bring along a pair of worn out (smooth soles) hiking shoes. Not very fashionable, but makes pushing the bike up the hill that much easier.

  38. #38
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    Quote Originally Posted by kalubi View Post
    Just giving my experience. When I clip in the pain starts almost immediately.
    Same here. I wasn't trying to invalidate your experience, only offering a counterpoint that clipless doesn't necessarily = pain. This is probably the wrong sub-forum for this but IMO if one wants to avoid knee pain they should probably consider gears.


    Quote Originally Posted by az3075 View Post
    I think clipless are great when you're just starting out (after you get used to 'em) because they forgive you for riding sloppy. You learn to jump over stuff the wrong way, you learn to ride downhill with incorrect posture.

    Disagree. 99% of people learn to ride on flat pedals before venturing into clipless, and starting out on clipless would be foolhardy IMO. For the last several years nearly all of my riding has been on clipless but I could use flats on my next ride no problem. Everyone can learn (and has learned) a lot from riding with flat pedals but it's an incorrect assumption that switching to clipless will automatically degrade your riding skills.

  39. #39
    Trail Ninja
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    I think clipless is way more beginner friendly than flats for singlespeed. You'd need to have some established fitness to get the power output you need to clear climbs, and a bit of advanced technique that allows you to push a higher rpm on rough ground with flats, since you don't have the ability to put out more power out on demand like you do on clipless. Hard to get rhythm to spin a faster RPM (60-80, rather than 30 or so) if you're just letting your weight do much of the work. It's not about efficiency, it's about staying on the bike and pushing through with brute force, and forgiveness for shitty technique. If you're weak-willed and give up easily, choose to walk challenging sections... you'd be better off with flats. Just don't go with cheap shoes. 5.10s or better are definitely a huge part of the flat pedal experience (at a level that rivals clipless).

    I did clipless 4 years ago on a Gary Fisher Rig, with old 747s and equally old Answer Accelerators. I was snaking up 10% grades, climbing up 800' at a time, happy with that achievement, crediting clipless pedals with that, since it required A LOT of power and pulling up allowed me to keep the cranks turning a bit faster (32-18 gearing). Discovered Sunline V1 pedals and put that on my HT and tried skate shoes, but moved up to 5.10s for stiffer soles and less feedback through my feet. I'm now on a ROS 9 with 32-19 with flats and am riding flatter terrain, and I don't miss clipless. If there were more climbing involved, I'd be considering switching to clipless if I needed that power boost.

  40. #40
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    I can't be the only one who spent endless summers hopping curbs, jumping ramps, and having wheelie contests with friends on my single speed (flat pedaled) Schwinn Stingray, can I?

  41. #41
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    I gave flats a try for about two months after being on clipless for several years and really started to get the hang of it. I've switched back to SPDs for no good reason, just decided to put them back on, and I really miss the mid-foot feel I would get with the flats. It would be cool if I could find an SPD compatible shoe that could have the cleat in a position that could replicate the mid-foot feel of flats.

  42. #42
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    I mix it up, just got new shoes & clipless pedals though so I'll be running them for a bit now, unclip when ive had knee surgery or the snow comes.

    Single speeding fat lad

  43. #43
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    I never realized that clipless was hurting people's knees guess I am lucky

    But for the guys that think clipless is more expensive
    You couldn't be further from the truth...you can get some used spd pedals for like 10 bucks and I'll bet money they will never give you problems....and as far shoes you can get those used for at most 20 bucks

    As for Flatts Idk but ideally you would have to buy the same amount of gear....you need the pedals(obviously) and the ones I see for 10$ would need atleast bearings and new spikes in the pedals. On top of the pedals you would need to buy a pair of biking shoes that have a nice flat bottom so that they actually grip the pedal
    Maybe that me but last I priced out a set of Flatts and shoes I was around 100$

  44. #44
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    If you're going with flats, a light hiking boot can give you the same grip or more as flat specific biking shoes. Also look for "approach shoes" which are light hikers with lots of grip for exposed hiking.

  45. #45
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    I ride flats, still have an almost new pair of shoes and clipless pedals that I tried shortly and just didn't like one bit, so I am biased and want to be upfront about that.

    My friend who steered me into MTB for fitness reasons was a competitive road racer, yet he is the one who e-mailed me a story about flats vs clipless and the myths that have been scientifically settled. I have been googling and can't find the article he sent me but I found quite a few others that show time and time again that there is no power boost or mechanical advantage to using clipless pedals. An efficient pedaling stroke is just that and can be practiced with either type of equipment.

    I did read that there may be a slight edge to clipless in World level Downhill, but not completely proven and not of any concern except to those who do it. Being strapped to the bike may be a good thing for a few seconds difference in that extreme sport.

    So if you have a link to some evidence that shows clipless to be superior in applying power to the crank then I'd like to read it. No, it won't make ME screw mine back on the bike, I like my flats too much, but it would be interesting to see how that is accomplished.

  46. #46
    I have Flat Pedal shame.
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    There are all kinds of opinions out there about the benefits of clipless over flats and they usually revolve around the word "efficiency" or "power" or "connected" or whatever... it's all been proven wrong, and in fact, it was proven that flats are better at all those things. The ONLY reason for clipless is to keep you stuck to your pedals... whether that is an advantage or disadvantage depends on your riding style.

    I ride 5.10's and flats.
    We don't ride to add days to our life, we ride to add life to the days we have left here.

  47. #47
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    Quote Originally Posted by Thustlewhumber View Post
    There are all kinds of opinions out there about the benefits of clipless over flats and they usually revolve around the word "efficiency" or "power" or "connected" or whatever... it's all been proven wrong, and in fact, it was proven that flats are better at all those things. The ONLY reason for clipless is to keep you stuck to your pedals... whether that is an advantage or disadvantage depends on your riding style.

    I ride 5.10's and flats.
    "proven" my @ss.

  48. #48
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    Quote Originally Posted by J.B. Weld View Post
    "proven" my @ss.
    well, according to Bike James:......
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    p.s. isn't he dreamy?

  49. #49
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    With flats, aren't you only going to ever be pushing your weight through the pedal and no more? (Discounting pulling on the bars).
    With clips/clipless, you can put a lot more effort in.

    It may not be as efficient, but for pure power...

  50. #50
    WillWorkForTrail
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    Yeah look. I can ride both types of pedals just fine. I can bunny hop and jump on flats and I can ride technical stuff while clipped it. The only reason I keep clipless on my SS is so I can pull up on the pedals. We have short punchy climbs, some of them you enter after 180 degree technical turns with roots and rocks in them. The only way I can clean them is riding clipless on the SS, because it takes that extra little pull to make it. So whoever wants to claim whatever proof they want to is fine. I'll claim that as my proof and ride what I want to. Which is what everyone else should do too.

  51. #51
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    Look, you can't win. If you ride flats sooner or later your foot will come off and they'll eat your shin. Ride clipped in and when you endo into the scenery your bike will follow you and break your ankles. So you're f***ed whatever, deal with it :0)

  52. #52
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    Back when I used to road bike years ago I was really happy when I bought my first set of clipless pedals, way more efficient, no comparison. Only downside was, I have Fred Flintsone feet and it's hard to find shoes that fit, but I made do.

    When I first started riding off-road, I started off clipless and it was cool but I kind of lost my enthusiasm one day, trying to power through a big mud puddle. Ran out of steam halfway through and couldn't unclip as I was sloooooowly tipping over. Fortunately there were no gators, snakes or leeches involved so it was no biggie but I got flats after that and haven't looked back.

    Going with flats has allowed me to get more aggressive. Keep in mind I ride in Florida. When you're sliding around in the sand and mud, it helps to be able to put a foot down if you wash out, and if you crash, I figure it makes for a cleaner rollout and less chance of ankle injury.

    Easier to find boots that fit, and if your boots have sticky soles (not all do) you gain back a little pedaling efficiency.

    I'm a casual rider, and the older I get the more casual I am, so YMMV. But just for riding around in the swamp like an overgrown adolescent goofball, I've been sticking with platforms and liking it.

  53. #53
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    I was told that clipless gave you up to 15% more efficiency by other riders. My buddys article he sent me also had tests (that I can't find) that said that it was a mind thing and there was no proof of any pulling up on the clipless pedal stroke. If you do you lose the rhythm of the stroke.

    Un-weighting your foot on the upstroke pedal allows the other downstroke power. GCN also did some other measurements in their test and were clipless fans as well.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CNedIJBZpgM

    I'm just saying that in searching for answers I have found no testing that shows an increase in power or efficiency from clipless pedals and I suspect if I did that it would be everywhere and the clipless riders would be holding it up.

  54. #54
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    Clipless are more efficient. Anyone who has tried both knows this.

  55. #55
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    ?......really? Do you mean anyone who has tried both "thinks" this? What makes clipless more efficient?

    I tried both, I don't think I can pedal any faster or with more power with my clipless pedals.

    Do you think you can actually pull up on your pedal and add power without disrupting your smooth circular stroke? You are only talking about a fraction of the stroke where this could even happen.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0QEj...ature=youtu.be

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    Parts of the trail you'll happily navigate with flats (i.e. steep/slippery/off-camber) clipped in? No thanks. Think that's the only difference for me. That and I don't fall over when my foot won't come out when stopped!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Glynn Sluder View Post
    I'm just saying that in searching for answers I have found no testing that shows an increase in power or efficiency from clipless pedals and I suspect if I did that it would be everywhere and the clipless riders would be holding it up.
    I don't think there are many tests because it would be akin to testing whether or not water is wet. Why does it matter?

    It seems that whenever the subject of flats vs. clips comes up it always results in someone wanting to prove that flats are just as efficient, which seems ridiculous because a lot of those same people are proclaiming that riding is all about fun.

    This is not meaningful to anyone reading this but if you really want proof of efficiency look at the starting line at any pro level cycling event that doesn't involve lift assist and count how many flat pedals you see. As tough as Nino Shurter is he would not be World Champion if he lined up next to Absalon with flats & 5-10's.

    As I said, the above example is irrelevant to nearly everyone reading this but remember, you asked!

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    Just a reminder to everyone commenting on this thread

    IT'S THE SINGLESPEED FOURM

    I think were getting alot of geared comments

  59. #59
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    Quote Originally Posted by Singletrackd View Post
    Just a reminder to everyone commenting on this thread

    IT'S THE SINGLESPEED FOURM

    I think were getting alot of geared comments
    What difference does that make? Both kinds of bikes need pedals do they not?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mr Pig View Post
    What difference does that make? Both kinds of bikes need pedals do they not?
    The difference is that on a single speed you often pull up on the pedals when you are grunting up those tough climbs out of the saddle. You are not worried about a smooth pedal stroke in the way you would be if you were seated and trying to spin an efficient circle. On a single speed you are often riding ugly just to try to clean the hill. In fairness, it has been demonstrated that you cannot pull up on the pedals during a seated pedal stroke, at least not without interrupting the other phases of the stroke. That is not what is being discussed here. We (or I) are talking about SS hill climbing out of the saddle where it is sometimes an anything goes battle to get up a hill.

  61. #61
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    Quote Originally Posted by jmal View Post
    it has been demonstrated that you cannot pull up on the pedals during a seated pedal stroke..
    Rubbish. I do it all the time.

    The advantages and disadvantages of both types of pedal apply to any type of bike. People with gears climb out of the saddle too you know.

    And when you fail to clear the climb and stop half-way, let's see you try to get started again and get clipped back in at the same time. Nope, you're walking dude.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mr Pig View Post
    Rubbish. I do it all the time.

    The advantages and disadvantages of both types of pedal apply to any type of bike. People with gears climb out of the saddle too you know.

    And when you fail to clear the climb and stop half-way, let's see you try to get started again and get clipped back in at the same time. Nope, you're walking dude.
    You only quoted half of my comment. Studies have demonstrated that when people think they are pulling up, they actually are not. Of course, you CAN pull up intentionally, but it will be at the expense of the circular pedal stroke, and of efficiency. This pertains to seated pedaling.

    I would agree that the same applies on a geared bike, but to a lesser degree. I rarely need to go for a hail Mary all out effort on my geared bike because I have gears to assist. On a SS, I find myself yanking up on the pedals much more often when out of the saddle. The SS often dictates an unorthodox approach.

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    Your pedals arn't spinning half as fast on a geared because you can change gears when going fast

    If you read the original question all I realy wanted to know was if you can keep your feet on the Flats when you are spinning as fast as possible

    The Flats verse clipless discuss is already brought up weekly on the other forums and has been beaten to death

    But thanks for being a pig about it.....you realy helped

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    Quote Originally Posted by Singletrackd View Post
    Your pedals arn't spinning half as fast on a geared because you can change gears when going fast

    If you read the original question all I realy wanted to know was if you can keep your feet on the Flats when you are spinning as fast as possible

    The Flats verse clipless discuss is already brought up weekly on the other forums and has been beaten to death

    But thanks for being a pig about it.....you realy helped
    Yes, I can keep my feet on flats spinning fast. I don't ride them because I like the control I have with clipless, but I can ride them just fine. I grew up racing bmx on flats and can spin plenty fast. There are other times when my feet get bounced around on flats, but that has nothing to do with how fast I'm spinning.

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    Quote Originally Posted by J.B. Weld View Post
    I don't think there are many tests because it would be akin to testing whether or not water is wet. Why does it matter?

    It seems that whenever the subject of flats vs. clips comes up it always results in someone wanting to prove that flats are just as efficient, which seems ridiculous because a lot of those same people are proclaiming that riding is all about fun.

    This is not meaningful to anyone reading this but if you really want proof of efficiency look at the starting line at any pro level cycling event that doesn't involve lift assist and count how many flat pedals you see. As tough as Nino Shurter is he would not be World Champion if he lined up next to Absalon with flats & 5-10's.

    As I said, the above example is irrelevant to nearly everyone reading this but remember, you asked!
    You are right, this is kinda silly. I don't need any more efficiency in my pedaling, will never run a race at that level and really couldn't care less what any one else rides or uses unless I want to try it myself.

    I tried clipless for my type of riding and frankly just didn't care for the shoes or the hassle, I only gave it about three weeks to be honest.

    It's probably just my personality or way of thinking, I should have just let it go.

    So you think that Swiss guy was just a better sprinter than whoever the other racer was? Seems like he was ahead of him from the starting line to the 200M mark without clipless.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0QEj...ature=youtu.be

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    Quote Originally Posted by Glynn Sluder View Post
    So you think that Swiss guy was just a better sprinter than whoever the other racer was? Seems like he was ahead of him from the starting line to the 200M mark without clipless.
    The single speed won. That's all we need to know.







    Even though he was handicapped by using flats.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mr Pig View Post
    Rubbish. I do it all the time.

    The advantages and disadvantages of both types of pedal apply to any type of bike. People with gears climb out of the saddle too you know.

    And when you fail to clear the climb and stop half-way, let's see you try to get started again and get clipped back in at the same time. Nope, you're walking dude.
    Or falling over - I'm not good enough to ride clipped in.

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    Flats or clipless

    Haha. That was jens voight clipped in. I have no idea what that clip was but jens voigt is a major bike racer (tour de France). I don't think that video was about clipless vs flats.

    But maybe someone can translate.

    I believe he recently set the hour record.

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    The video was about the Swiss guy out sprinting the other one on a 27 kg bike that was a several decades old military singlespeed. Even when I switched the youtube to translate it was kinda vague.

    I can get clipless vs flats out of it.

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    The other guy was jens freaking voigt. He is famous. He is a legend in the tour. But he was never a sprinter. We other way. Don't think the guy could out ride him for much more distance.

    I vaguely remember when the bmx was added to Olympics. The cycling USA or someone started testing the top bmx riders and found that they had crazy high power outputs. Totally not related but I think hey race on flats right?

    They wanted to groom them into track racers.

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    Back out on the road, I don't know that I was pedaling any stronger with clips, I'm just not very coordinated and have a hard time making a perfect circle with my foot. Just keeps my feet in the pedal the whole way. Keep in mind, on the road you're spinning, and likewise on a ss you're spinning a lot. IIRC my power stroke on my road bike was from like 2 oclock to like 7 oclock, and I can do that with flats if my boots aren't wet, but it's harder to keep my feet on the pedals consistently through the whole cycle. That's how I look at it anyway.

  72. #72
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    There's no win the the flats versus Clipless argument. I ride clipless and prefer them whether on a geared bike, my road bike or my SS. I can pedal in circles while attached to my pedals and I can tell the difference, as I can actually feel that I'm puling the pedal up on the back/up stroke, regardless of whether I'm seated or standing.

    For those committed to clipless, a good training crank set are Power Cranks by Rotor. They make you balance your stroke, as they unhinge if your downstroke is ahead of your upstroke. If you want to gain pedaling efficiency, I would check them out. They may freak you out the first time you see them though. Both pedals hang form the bottom of the bike.

    As for being able to unclip... after a couple of rides being clipped in, it became a non issue. Personally, I found a huge improvement riding in technical terrain, as I wasn't as prone to bailing out when it got tricky. I can't imagine riding on flats now.
    "And crawling on the planet's face, some insects called, The Human Race..."

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    Quote Originally Posted by chuckha62 View Post
    Personally, I found a huge improvement riding in technical terrain, as I wasn't as prone to bailing out when it got tricky. I can't imagine riding on flats now.
    This is where the difference came in for me as well. While I've suffered the consequence a few times, I've never suffered a serious injury due to being clipped in. When I did fall due to being clipped in it has almost always been because I stall in mud or on a hill, not because I lose traction/balance

  74. #74
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    Quote Originally Posted by SS Hack View Post
    Or falling over - I'm not good enough to ride clipped in.
    A friend of mine chipped his knee because he had to stop suddenly and couldn't unclip quick enough. He was hardly moving at the time.

    Quote Originally Posted by Singletrackd View Post
    If you read the original question all I really wanted to know was if you can keep your feet on the Flats when you are spinning as fast as possible
    Why spend an hour trying it when you could spend a week talking about it on the internet?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mr Pig View Post
    Why spend an hour trying it when you could spend a week talking about it on the internet?
    You're here doing the same thing, so maybe you can answer that yourself. Or maybe you prefer just being passive aggressive and snarky instead.

  76. #76
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    Quote Originally Posted by Singletrackd View Post
    If you read the original question all I realy wanted to know was if you can keep your feet on the Flats when you are spinning as fast as possible

    I think with good technique and practice you can spin just as high rpm's on flats as clipped in. As mentioned bmx'ers are king of this, though most bmx racers at the pro level do use clipless.

  77. #77
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    Quote Originally Posted by praharin View Post
    You're here doing the same thing, so maybe you can answer that yourself.
    Well my advice would be to head down the local playground where you will find lots of children on single-speed, flat-pedal bikes. Ask the experts? ;0)

    To be honest, I think it's a stupid question. If you're wound-out, is your more foot more likely to slip off a flat than a clipless pedal? Yes, it is. Obviously...

    Pedals are things you can talk about all day but the bottom line is we're all different. You need to try them. Just because one person can spin flats safely doesn't mean another can. I use flats off road but would I want to spin them at speed on road? No. Did it as a kid and remember the crashes too well.

  78. #78
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    Quote Originally Posted by az3075 View Post
    I've gone a full circle from flats to clipless to flats again. I think clipless are great when you're just starting out (after you get used to 'em) because they forgive you for riding sloppy. You learn to jump over stuff the wrong way, you learn to ride downhill with incorrect posture. Going to flats (as going to a rigid fork) will quickly make you pay for your mistakes, which forces you to ride the right way. Once you re-adjust, you will not even think about the fact that you're on flats and will take downhill and jumps just fine without thinking twice. I think one drawback is that you are a bit slower on flats thorough chunky stuff, as your feet bounce around a bit and on flat stuff, where being clipped in would allow you to spin faster, but maybe, that's a skill that I haven't mastered yet. I have studs (screws) in my pedals that help and having rubbery shoes (like 5-10s) helps a lot too. One thing I really like about flats is that if I plan on venturing out on rides that cover uncharted/barely ridable territory that requires a lot of HAB, I can just bring along a pair of worn out (smooth soles) hiking shoes. Not very fashionable, but makes pushing the bike up the hill that much easier.
    I'll just leave this here for you:

    http://www.bikejames.com/wp-content/...-Manifesto.pdf

    Convinced me to switch back to flats after years of clipless (about 9 years after spending the first year learning on flats) and I'm much happier now.

    Individual results may vary.
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    Is that really 60 pages long?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Derek200 View Post
    Is that really 60 pages long?
    Yeah, but he prefaces his entire manifesto with this statement-

    Eventually I decided to take the plunge and try clipless pedals. I spent hours practicing getting in and out
    of them but I could never get my left foot to cooperate to the point I felt comfortable on the trail. After
    falling over at a stop sign because I couldn't get unclipped I figured I would have died if that had
    happened on the trail and decided to go back to my flats - they were way more fun and less stressful
    so if you're interested in an objective analysis you might want to look elsewhere.

  81. #81
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mr Pig View Post
    Well my advice would be to head down the local playground where you will find lots of children on single-speed, flat-pedal bikes. Ask the experts? ;0)
    Last time I did that the police were called. :-o


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

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    Guys, this can also be an age thing. 20 years ago I rode clipless everything, as I've gotten older clipless just become a little more hassle, and harder on the knees.

    Now it's flats, RF Atlas on my Domahidy belt drive, and 5-10's or suprisingly Nike flat sole flynits. The Nike's are light and cheap at the local outlet mall and grip well.

    One thing to note, even when my roadie buddies try out my SS they tend to put their feet too far forward on the flats. When riding flats, put the ball of your foot directly over the center, same position as clipless. You'll get plenty of power.

  83. #83
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    Quote Originally Posted by praharin View Post
    Last time I did that the police were called.
    You're not supposed to proposition them! ;0)

    Quote Originally Posted by Tweekster View Post
    20 years ago I rode clipless everything, as I've gotten older clipless just become a little more hassle, and harder on the knees.
    For years I've been getting cramps in my calf. Tried just about everything I could think of, food, stretches, nothing worked. Do you know what it was? Foot too far back on the pedal. All of the clipless advice you see tells you to have the ball of your foot over the spindle. Feels great as you pedal but it was wrong for me. Knees are the same. I get sore knees too if my foot position is wrong.

    I agree though that flats just feel...nicer. At first it was hard going back to flats after not using them for many years but now I switch between the two no problem. They both have merit so I use both.

  84. #84
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mr Pig View Post



    For years I've been getting cramps in my calf. Tried just about everything I could think of, food, stretches, nothing worked. Do you know what it was? Foot too far back on the pedal. All of the clipless advice you see tells you to have the ball of your foot over the spindle. Feels great as you pedal but it was wrong for me. Knees are the same. I get sore knees too if my foot position is wrong.
    This is another thing that people don't get right off the bat. I too had my foot too far back on the pedal. I have my cleats set behind the ball of my foot. My road and XC bikes have it set behind the ball. For my trail bike...my cleat is far back as it will go. With the foot too far back on the pedal, my calf will cramp on the rougher and longer downhills. Since I moved the cleats back...the cramping went away. It didn't affect my pedaling either.

    Lol...the Bike James guy gave up too fast. He couldn't figure out how to clip out...so he wrote a 60 page manifesto on why he prefers flats.

    Clipping out is a pretty unnatural thing to do. Instinct is to sidestep off the pedal, not twist the heel. Bike James couldn't seem to figure that out.

    My GF had a real hard time with her clipless pedals, on her road and MTB. She fell over and over...for months...but she stuck with it...and now she clips out with no issues. As of late she has been real good at clipping out of some sketchy situations. She did not ride her bike with flats all summer and we did some shuttle runs a few weeks back. She told me that she tried to clip out of her flats. It's muscle memory now.

    Regarding knee pain...it's not the fault of the pedals (at least I don't think so). Typically a fit issue. You have to look at how your feet naturally rest on the pedal. Some people have their toes pointing out when pedaling. So if you use clipless pedals that force you to have your toes pointed straight...then you're going to have problems. That can usually be alleviated by pedal choice and cleat adjustment.

  85. #85
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    Quote Originally Posted by RS VR6 View Post
    My road and XC bikes have it set behind the ball. For my trail bike...my cleat is far back as it will go. With the foot too far back on the pedal, my calf will cramp on the rougher and longer downhills.
    I've never cramped off road but cramp on road all the time, typically after about thirty miles but I once cramped at thirteen. That was bad, as I had another thirty-seven to go. Could hardly walk.

    I suffered for years until I realised what was wrong.

  86. #86
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    Quote Originally Posted by RS VR6 View Post
    Clipping out is a pretty unnatural thing to do. Instinct is to sidestep off the pedal, not twist the heel.
    I don't usually feel it as twisting. I just push my heel, instead of lifting my toes, away from the bike.

    "it IS possible that you are faster or slower than anybody else who is having at least as much if not more or less fun"

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mr Pig View Post
    For years I've been getting cramps in my calf. Tried just about everything I could think of, food, stretches, nothing worked. Do you know what it was? Foot too far back on the pedal. All of the clipless advice you see tells you to have the ball of your foot over the spindle. Feels great as you pedal but it was wrong for me. Knees are the same. I get sore knees too if my foot position is wrong.
    Did that too!

    That's the beauty of flats, you can adjust during the ride and find that sweet spot. On longer rides I'll start off with my feet straight, but get a little knee pain after awhile, switch to a little pigeon toed and the pain goes away. Everyone's joints are different, and move different.

    I haven't tried this yet, but I bet if you ride flats for awhile and find that sweet spot in foot position, then go back to clipless and set the cleat up the same way, you would be more comfortable.

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    I want to try clip less but on our last ride it had a lot of muddy spots and the riders with spds had issues getting clipped/unclipped and one lady fell over sever times cause her clips had so much mud packed in she couldnt get her feet unclipped. I have saints and 510s and had no problems so I am still undecided.

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    iowa, i too was undecided…. until i went down to the LBS today and after a while, they finally convinced me to try out some shimano clipless.


    I was honestly convinced this morning that I was going to get some nice flats and shoes but i figured what the hell….i'll give the spd's a shot.

    if i don't like em i'll sell em and go with the original plan.

    But I do see a LOT of clip less riders out here where I live…. like 97% are clip less.
    Rick~
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    Quote Originally Posted by iowamtb View Post
    I want to try clip less but on our last ride it had a lot of muddy spots and the riders with spds had issues getting clipped/unclipped ...
    Shimano is about the worst in mud or snow. The more open construction of CB or Time helps a bit.
    You wont know if you like clipless, unless you give them a good long try. Some don't, some do.

    "it IS possible that you are faster or slower than anybody else who is having at least as much if not more or less fun"

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    Quote Originally Posted by perttime View Post
    Shimano is about the worst in mud or snow. The more open construction of CB or Time helps a bit.
    You wont know if you like clipless, unless you give them a good long try. Some don't, some do.
    My friend said he was thinking of trying some egg beaters. Is it the pedal or the clip in the shoe that sticks when it gets full of mud?

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    my recent experience might be taken with a grain of salt because I have been riding 1x9 instead of SS (gasp!) but here it is...

    I got a hold of some older Azonic pedals, put some fresh pins in them, and got some closeout Giro Jacket shoes.

    general riding: feels no different than being clipped in. I don't miss the "pull up" feeling that being clipped in gives.

    climbing: feels about the same on even terrain.

    descending: this is where my experiences seems to differ. descending anything extended and with technical stuff like loose rocks, steps, and ledges feels pretty terrifying to me without being clipped in. my calves are cramped up at the bottom of the hill. maybe some thinner pedals and changing my foot position would help with that.

    technical features: this is where the flats shine through. i tackle rock gardens and punchy climbs and ledges with more confidence knowing that it's so much easier to pop out of the pedals and ground myself.

    I will have to try riding SS again with the platform pedals. my main beef with clipping in on a SS bike is how difficult it is to get going again when you have lost momentum. if you stall in a rock garden and you are clipped in, you have to push yourself forward, find your cleats, clip in, and start pedaling before you stall out again. with platforms, getting going is a lot simpler.

  93. #93
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    Quote Originally Posted by mack_turtle View Post
    Descending anything extended and with technical stuff like loose rocks, steps, and ledges feels pretty terrifying to me without being clipped in. my calves are cramped up at the bottom of the hill.
    It just takes practice. I've bounced my feet off the pedals, a friend had a bad crash that way, but once you get the hang of you're fine. You need to sit your foot further forward than you would for clips, push your heels down and keep your legs 'springy'.

    If I am going to crash I'd rather crash without having a bicycle nailed to me feet I know that.

  94. #94
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    Quote Originally Posted by iowamtb View Post
    Is it the pedal or the clip in the shoe that sticks when it gets full of mud?
    Both.
    CB and Time pedals leave the mud and snow more room to get out. Things still stick to the shoe and cleat - which mainly interferes with clipping in. Getting started in sticky snow I sometimes need to scrape and kick the pedals with my shoes to clear the CLEATS. I've never got stuck on my Time pedals because of mud or snow.

    "it IS possible that you are faster or slower than anybody else who is having at least as much if not more or less fun"

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    Went for my 1st ride this morning using the clipless and man oh man was it fun.

    I rode a loop that I am very familiar with and the Very 1st thing I noticed, was how I was able to shoot past all the techy terrain I used to have trouble with.

    My feet "stay" where they need to instead of me constantly trying to find the right position.

    I'm sure one day I'll try flats again but for now, I think I am truly converted.
    Rick~
    16' Superfly 9.6
    Tucson, Az.

  96. #96
    mtbr member
    Reputation: targnik's Avatar
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    The best thing about clipless is... Your feet are stuck to the pedals.

    The worst thing about clipless is... Your feet are stuck to the pedals!!!

    -----------------------------------------------------------
    'Yes! I'm an opinionated Mofo... Next question'.
    Last edited by targnik; 10-06-2015 at 12:57 PM.
    "Mountain biking: the under-rated and drug-free antidepressant"

  97. #97
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    Clipless ...false skills
    Flats ....raw skill

  98. #98
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    Quote Originally Posted by 1979gladiator View Post
    Clipless ...false skills
    Flats ....raw skill
    What others use ... false skills
    What I use ... raw skill

  99. #99
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    https://youtu.be/GW36UIgYK6Q
    The comfort with flats..

  100. #100
    SSlow rider
    Reputation: Elisdad's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by KevinGT View Post
    What others use ... false skills
    What I use ... raw skill
    Exactly.

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