Cover photo by Jesper Aggergaard on Unsplash

James Wilson has been helping mountain bikers all around the world get strong and fit since 2005 through his online training programs and podcast. He’s also designed his own flat mountain biking pedal called the Catalyst to help riders improve both power and comfort on the bike.

In this episode, we ask James for mountain bike training tips, and talk about why flat pedals are better than clipless for many riders.

Connect with James at bikejames.com.

# Comments

  • Matt Miller

    Definitely a lot of interesting takes here. Love the thoughts on applying fitness in the gym to MTB. I wouldn’t feel quit as impact resistant without a little gym time throughout the week. I’ve gotta keep the clipless though for the sake of my feet staying in place on rowdy terrain, though, even if the power and efficiency benefits aren’t there. But, there are a lot of skills that can be built through riding flats.

    • ericshell

      Well said. Take what he has to say and use what works for you. I think the Clipless v Flats is more of an individual choice. Like boxer or briefs.

  • Samgreene

    Listened to this podcast and removed my seat post since it’s worthless for climbing and puts me in the adult fetal position. Will report back on the outcome.

  • dtimms

    Exercise and pedal advice from a Bro!! So many strong opinions, pretty obnoxious really. I guess every world cup xc racer has it wrong on the pedals.

  • ericshell

    James is definitely passionate about his beliefs. I ride flats and I own a pair of his pedals. I like the feel of these pedals. Obviously Flats vs Clipless is an argument that will not be settled in one podcast. (or ever) His theories are controversial and I think Jeff did a fantastic job in the interview.

  • ride_today

    Excellent podcast with a trainer that rides MTB. James knows his stuff. I can vouch that his programs have made a very positive impact on my riding and fitness. His recommendation to ride once a week with your seat slammed down has totally changed the way the way I approach trail riding. Start out with just 20-30 minutes of standing pedaling and work your way up. That tip alone pays big dividends.

  • marvinmartian

    A few years ago I ran across a podcast this guy did, well before Ben gave him a shot on MBR… the first one I listened to was his usual anti-clipless diatribe which I thought was bs but basically just considered it a bad opinion so I tried another one and in the next one he said that if you race mountain bikes you should always ride a mountain bike, even on the road, never a road bike. Now that is just ridiculously bad advice and I realized at that point that either this guys bro-ish ego has clouded his opinion or he is just being contradictory to be different enough to gain a following. Either way I never gave him the time of day again, but he keeps showing up on podcasts and stuff. At least MBR only let him last one or two episodes on their network… they have enough bad shows already (like the Path Podcast, or Pathetic Podcast as I refer to it)

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