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Clipless VS Flats - one man's opinion


wesley_r
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The dude makes it sound like 'learning to use clipless' is really difficult. It isn't. Loosen the tension on the spring and off you go.

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Or just get a some Crank Brothers - much easier to clip in and more important, to clip out than my old Shimanos. But lack of skill is not excuse to blame the pedals ;)

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Clipless for me all the way. It's much more efficient and I'm more stable / connected on the bike, especially on downhills. And if the tension is correct your feet 'automatically' release in a crash, or so far it has for me. Feels weird riding flats now!

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I'm anti-clipless all the way. Can't stand the damn things. The "twist to undo" movement is unnatural and not instinctual in a possible accident scenario. I use old fashioned toe clips with my road bikes and, when on a MTB, prefer flats so I can use my feet as part of my overall technique.

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I have both options and switch between them based on what kind of riding I'll be doing. If it's moderate trail riding with few jumps etc I'll opt for the clipless. If I'm on DH terrain or technical trail I prefer to be on flats. Get both, use both for their advantages.

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if it's really that easy to unclip then why do i see so many people falling over on the trails?

 

on a side note - i had to laugh at myself last saturday at the greyton classic - a lady couldn't unclip in time and fell over in front of me, in the mud. i quietly thought to myself "snigger, see, clipless!" but then I started to topple over (as I had to stop quickly behind her, in the mud). i thought to myself "haha, i will have no problem, flats!" as i hopped off my bike

 

and then my baggies hooked on my saddle and it was all over :lol:

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I am so used to cleats that I struggle to cycle with flats...so don't see what the problem is, it is super easy to use them, its like driving a car, you get so used to it that you don't even realise you unclip it just becomes a habit

Edited by MTB_Roadie
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I am so used to cleats that I struggle to cycle with flats...so don't see what the problem is, it is super easy to use them, its like driving a car, you get so used to it that you don't even realise you unclip it just becomes a habit

 

Same here...I pull my feet of the pedals now....and yes, I do have the occasional slow crash to personal embarrassment :blush:

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Flats only make sense on Downhill and Bmx bikes.

The rest clipless, you pedal stroke is so much more efficient. Suppose you would not know until you have tried them.

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I'm anti-clipless all the way. Can't stand the damn things. The "twist to undo" movement is unnatural and not instinctual in a possible accident scenario. I use old fashioned toe clips with my road bikes and, when on a MTB, prefer flats so I can use my feet as part of my overall technique.

 

Riding a bike and even wearing clothes are unnatural. Clipped in is the only way to cycle. It is second nature for me.

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I have both options and switch between them based on what kind of riding I'll be doing. If it's moderate trail riding with few jumps etc I'll opt for the clipless. If I'm on DH terrain or technical trail I prefer to be on flats. Get both, use both for their advantages.

 

Ja jeesh, I mtbiked for 7 years with platforms and vowed I would never get clipless. Then curiosity got the better of me and I eventually tried clipless. And I've been on clipless ever since. Can't imagine riding with my feet not clipped in. Just so much more control over the bike. Even jumps (ok maybe not full on DH stuff) I wouldn't know how to do with loose feet. But ja, I guess everyone needs to ride with a set up that they feel comfy with, whether it be clipless or platform. Doesn't really matter, as long as you ride!

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The dude makes it sound like 'learning to use clipless' is really difficult. It isn't. Loosen the tension on the spring and off you go.

 

doesn't "learning to use clipless" refer to more than just clipping in and out? the proper use is complex and takes some time getting used to? push-pull and peddling similar to wiping your feet?

 

just asking...

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Ja jeesh, I mtbiked for 7 years with platforms and vowed I would never get clipless. Then curiosity got the better of me and I eventually tried clipless. And I've been on clipless ever since. Can't imagine riding with my feet not clipped in. Just so much more control over the bike. Even jumps (ok maybe not full on DH stuff) I wouldn't know how to do with loose feet. But ja, I guess everyone needs to ride with a set up that they feel comfy with, whether it be clipless or platform. Doesn't really matter, as long as you ride!

There's the problem with clipless. If you can't jump a bike with flats then you're using the wrong technique. It might serve you ok now to jump by pulling up on the clipless pedals, but the motion is wrong, and at some point if you want to go bigger and stick decent air this wont help you to flow and stay balanced in the air. Edit - as well as air, proper bunny hop technique is essential to clearing logs and things on trails. If you jump with clipped feet, you are likely to lift the whole bike at once. Proper technique sees the front lift first, clear the obstacle, then the back feet come up with the back end. It's an extension of the manual.

 

The pedal stroke point is also subjective (as the article linked points out). I'm happy to hit the most badass trail you like with my 5.10's and a pair of 5050 flats. My feet don't move. If your feet are bouncing off the pedals it means you are not working with the bike. Think of horse riding. You don't need to be clipped in to trot. You move dynamically with the horse. Same principle.

Edited by grb285
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ride what you're used to...

 

after riding clipless exclusively for well over ten years (roadie), i turned an old road frame into a s/s commuter and put flats on for convenience. every now and then i'd slip on the pedals while accellerating, but never thought too much of it - until one day i came around salt river circle and, having made it through the gauntlet, indicated with my left hand/arm that i was moving back across to the side of the road to the motorist behind. i simultaneously slipped on the left pedal and, with only one hand on the bars, lost control of the bike at speed.

 

i landed heavily on my shoulder and basically spent whatever cash i'd saved over the last several months riding to work on:

 

1) one trip to the emergency room (cha-ching)

2) x-rays (cha-ching)

3) ultrasound (cha-ching)

4) consultations with various specialists attending to my shoulder (cha-ching).

 

lesson learned - i've since put my old set of clipless pedals back on as that's what i know.

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