Clipless or Flats

Forums Mountain Bike Forum Clipless or Flats

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    • #127177

      Hey yall,

      I am new to the sport/hobby and i ride in orlando florida.

      I currently am a student at UCF and i ride an xcal 8. Been hitting the local trails soldiers creek and little big econ both once going to little big econ today 5/10/15 and i was just wondering what is your take on pedals. I am sure it is asked before. I currently have nice shimano clipless on the bike with bontrager shoes. I like them but i have fallen a couple of times hard as i have never used clipless before. Also I have recently gotten scared into trying more technical things. I feel like since im clipped in i am going to eat it hurt. Just want to know opinions etc thanks.

    • #127178

      I personally like flats better because they give your feet more freedom. If you’re carrying speed through a turn you can easily let your foot down for a second to get that much needed extra lean. Although I am quite comfortable with clipless, when I ride flats it just gives me extra bailing confidence if I need to get off the bike and fast. The big downside though is your climbing abilities greatly suffer when you use flats over clipless. One of these days I probably convert to clipless as my bike is pretty heavy.

      Cavermatthew

    • #127179

      Alex,
      My wife and I are in the same boat, we just got new bikes in January this year. What I have found that works best for me is on trails that I have ridden or not extremely technical clipless is the way to go for my skill level. They enable me to pedal more efficiently and ride longer at the end of the day. I wear clipless probably 90% of the time. Also the more you ride the easier and more natural unclipping will get so you will lose some of the intimidation factor of wrecking when clipped in. Also I know when my pedals and cleats were brand new they were pretty hard to unclip even on the easiest setting. With time they wore in and it has become almost second nature to unclip when going over.
      That being said I have hung onto the cheap plastic flats that came on my bike for riding new technical trails I have never ridden. I know they don’t offer great grip but they do offer me the confidence to ride new technical trails I would be afraid of wrecking hard on due to panic and inability to unclip.
      Whatever the case no matter what anyone else says do what you are most confident doing. If riding clipless makes your experience more traumatic than fun then go with flats and enjoy the ride!
      Good luck!

    • #127180

      If you’re not riding competitively, it’s going to come down completely and totally to rider preference. I can only tell you that as you use them, the clipless system will stop feeling different and become second nature to you. It took a while, but now I don’t think about them when riding something technical and slow and am always able to clip out in time to get off the bike. It’s been years since I fell due to not getting my foot to the ground in time. I’ve always adjusted my clipless pedals loose, so it’s easy for me to get out.

      If you’re brand new to biking, I would wait until you’re very comfortable on your bike without them.

    • #127181

      Lets not forget the third option….Pedals with toe clips.

      It provides the confidence you need to ride more technical terrain by keeping your feet on the pedals, and provides peace of mind with easier entry/exit than clip less. In addition it provides some of the benefits of clipless pedals with improved pedaling efficiency over straight flats. 😎

    • #127182

      I don’t know anything about the efficiency of clipless, but I like them more than not. Once I’m in, I don’t worry about foot position. I just ride and enjoy.

      It’s all personal preference. Clipless took me a while to get used to, and a few falling over for all to laugh at stops and a few crashes to realize that my feet won’t break off in the pedals when I crash.

      I ride Shimano SPD.

      Good luck! Have a fun ride.

    • #127183

      I like Flats. I do a good amount of aggressive riding and I don’t need the extra worry of unclipping in time. I ride ladders, rocks and roots at my local trails and so I need to put my foot down in a hurry a lot. I just went down this weekend even with flats. I like clipless when on the road and I do believe they’re more efficient, but I would have to ride some pretty tame trails to run them regularly.

    • #127184
      "cavermatthew" wrote

      I personally like flats better because they give your feet more freedom. If you’re carrying speed through a turn you can easily let your foot down for a second to get that much needed extra lean. Although I am quite comfortable with clipless, when I ride flats it just gives me extra bailing confidence if I need to get off the bike and fast. The big downside though is your climbing abilities greatly suffer when you use flats over clipless. One of these days I probably convert to clipless as my bike is pretty heavy.

      Cavermatthew

      Agree, except for the climbing ability. If you run a good shoe and flat pedal combo, it doesn’t matter. I run 5.10s and Straitlines, no issues here going up or down, ever. I have a set of clips, Shimano M530 (I think or they are 520) and the Shimano M087 shoe. They’re a great combo, but uncomfortable and afford me no advantage whatsoever, except, being able to pull the bike up with my feet. Which takes getting used to when maneuvering in the air coming from flats, the rear comes up more because you’re pulling the bike up as opposed to your feet following it in flats. Anyway …I’m used to both, prefer the flats.

    • #127185
      "sssirois" wrote

      Lets not forget the third option….Pedals with toe clips.

      It provides the confidence you need to ride more technical terrain by keeping your feet on the pedals, and provides peace of mind with easier entry/exit than clip less. In addition it provides some of the benefits of clipless pedals with improved pedaling efficiency over straight flats. 😎

      I have to disagree. Toe clips are more fidly to get in and MUCH harder to get out of then clipless (riding Shimano PD-520’s w/ Sidi Giau). Sure they get easier but it’s never as good. Then if you aren’t using them, then the clips hang down below the pedal where they snag on and hit stuff. I like flats a lot too, but I’ll never do toe clips again.

      edit: for the record, I’ve only fallen once because of my clipless, and it was more due to panicking and putting my foot down on the slippery cleat instead of the heel.

    • #127186

      I like flats as it’s easier to get on and off. It’s also cheaper because there’s no special shoes to buy.

    • #127187

      i have made the switch to clipless a few months ago and it is honestly the best things i have done as far as bettering my skills. i am so much faster and more confident i would strongly recommend to anyone

    • #127188

      I get asked that a lot by people shopping at The Bicycle Shop. Honestly, it depends on you. People say clipless gives you more power, which is arguable and at best marginal.
      It depends on your riding style for one. I use flats on my mtbs cause I like planting corners and having that kick push over things cause I’m tiny, with a tiny bike, over big logs. Clipless just got in the way. I tried clipless on my mtbs for a bit and it made me a mess. Stuff I could do easy on flats I’d just fall on my face with clip ins for no good reason really. But on the other hand, I love being clipped in on my cross bike and road bike. No good explanation.
      The biggest thing is confidence. If you’re more confident knowing you can bale then you’ll be a better rider on flats. If you’re more confident you’re foot will be planted and secure to the pedal then you’ll be better clipping in. If you’ve got the confidence with the situation you’re in, then you’ll do better. A lot of mtbing is just believing in yourself that you can get through the situation.
      You never know which side you fall on until you try. See if you can borrow a clipless set up from someone and give it a go.

    • #127189

      I’ll just leave this must read clipless vs flats article here: [url:34noxpuh]http://ridekorerva.com/stop-riding-with-crutches-flat-vs-clipped-pedals/[/url:34noxpuh]

      My vote is flats with the correct shoes. The shoes part is a requirement.

    • #127190
      "DK302" wrote

      I like flats as it’s easier to get on and off. It’s also cheaper because there’s no special shoes to buy.

      If you wish to correctly ride flats and keep your shins in tact, there are special shoes to buy. 😎

    • #127191
      "dbisogno" wrote

      [quote="sssirois":12pdve7b]Lets not forget the third option….Pedals with toe clips.

      It provides the confidence you need to ride more technical terrain by keeping your feet on the pedals, and provides peace of mind with easier entry/exit than clip less. In addition it provides some of the benefits of clipless pedals with improved pedaling efficiency over straight flats. 😎

      I have to disagree. Toe clips are more fidly to get in and MUCH harder to get out of then clipless (riding Shimano PD-520’s w/ Sidi Giau). Sure they get easier but it’s never as good. Then if you aren’t using them, then the clips hang down below the pedal where they snag on and hit stuff. I like flats a lot too, but I’ll never do toe clips again.

      edit: for the record, I’ve only fallen once because of my clipless, and it was more due to panicking and putting my foot down on the slippery cleat instead of the heel.[/quote:12pdve7b]

      I have to disagree with your disagreement. I’ve never seen a rider fall over because they can’t get out of their toe clips, however I’ve seen LOTS of riders just fall to the side because their foot stays locked into the pedal on clipless pedals. Also, for the record I’ve never fallen because I could not get my foot out of the toe clip in time.

    • #127192

      If you have problems getting your toe clips sorted, there’s some good tips on properly utilizing them in this book:

      Image

    • #127193

      OMG Schwim, that was funny!

      I absolutely ride clipless on my road bike. On my mountain bike, I use Crank Brother Mallets, which let me clip in, but also have a good platform if I don’t want to be clipped in for a section. I definitely like being clipped in for cross country riding. If I’m at a bike park, I will put on my flats.

    • #127194
      "cavermatthew" wrote

      I personally like flats better because they give your feet more freedom. If you’re carrying speed through a turn you can easily let your foot down for a second to get that much needed extra lean. Although I am quite comfortable with clipless, when I ride flats it just gives me extra bailing confidence if I need to get off the bike and fast. The big downside though is your climbing abilities greatly suffer when you use flats over clipless. One of these days I probably convert to clipless as my bike is pretty heavy.

      I agree completely with what "Cavermatthew" wrote above…..the abilitity to bail or to use my foot in a moment of need has saved me numerous times (I also like that there is no chance of the pedal not releasing when you take a bad spill, and thus having the bike bang around you or wrench your ankle)…..however I also have found that one can get used to climbing well with platforms, you just need to learn to be smooth in your stroke and learn to pedal "circles" in a slightly larger gear, to compensate for the lack of being able to pull up. Way back when I did XC I used to do only clipless…but when I started doing technical trails, DH, Enduro, and Jumping I went platforms on all my bikes. My current platforms weigh pretty much the same as my shimano XT and XTR clipless did, if weight is a concern.

      In the end it really comes down your riding style, the type of riding and trails you do, and what makes you feel the most comfortable and confident in those conditions.

    • #127195

      One big problem with toe clips (I started mountain biking back in the 90s using toe clips (so I do have experience with them), is that if you take a foot out while riding, which WILL happen, your clip is going to drop and point to the ground. Then, if you can’t take the time to properly line your foot up and slip it back into the clip, you will be stuck with the clip below the pedal until you can properly get into it. With a clipless pedal, this is completely removed as a problem.

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