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Pedal Choice for "Red" Trails?

HebdenBikerHebdenBiker Posts: 787
edited February 2011 in MTB general
Did a few sections of the North Face Trail at Grizedale today, after the forest protest. It's certainly the most technical riding I've done in years, and I had a couple of "offs". Also, I rode very carefully, not wanting to take a spill still clipped into my ATACs. Every time I come off, I hit the ground knee first and it bloody hurts! But if I'd been using flats, I could have just put my foot down.

Yes I know I need to practice to improve my skills, but I'm giving some thought to riding technical routes on flat pedals from now on. This will improve my confidence and I will go faster. The downside, of course, is the compromise in performance, particularly when climbing. The same argument goes for lowering my saddle, which I know I probably should do...

SO... What pedals do you good people use for technical trails? Clipless or flats?

Ta.
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  • nicklousenicklouse Posts: 81,520 Lives Here
    both. it depends on the bike.

    used to even have clipped in on the DH bike.

    sounds like more practice needed.
    "Do not follow where the path may lead, Go instead where there is no path, and Leave a Trail."
    Parktools :?:SheldonBrown
  • AnonymousAnonymous Posts: 79,692
    If SPDs or similar are making you uncertain, ditch them. There's no actual pedal police that will fine you for using flats (despite what a few people might seem to believe).
    Riding is meant to be fun, if they're getting in the way of that, get rid.
  • If SPDs or similar are making you uncertain, ditch them. There's no actual pedal police that will fine you for using flats (despite what a few people might seem to believe).
    Riding is meant to be fun, if they're getting in the way of that, get rid.

    LOL - I'll try the flats!
  • NorthwindNorthwind Posts: 15,475
    Though course, it's possible that you'd end up liking the clipless pedals more than flats if you spend more time with them. Yeehaa's spot on though, no right or wrong answer.
    Uncompromising extremist
  • ilovedirtilovedirt Posts: 5,798
    I used flats for years until a couple of months ago, I found spds have given me more confidence on descents, as I wasn't worried about my feet slipping on rocky sections etc (possibly due to poor choice of pedal and footwear before), and maybe more efficient on the climbs... but that doesn't bother me. Obviously they're more of a risk if you have an off (had a couple yesterday where i fell over because i couldn't unclip in time, as i'm still getting used to them), but it is just personal preference. If you feel you're lacking in skill and therefore don't feel comfortable clipped in, switch to flats for a while, build up you skills and go back to spds again when you're more confident.
    Production Privee Shan

    B'Twin Triban 5
  • AnonymousAnonymous Posts: 79,692
    ilovedirt wrote:
    If you feel you're lacking in skill and therefore don't feel comfortable clipped in, switch to flats for a while, build up you skills and go back to spds again when you're more confident.
    It has nothing to do with skill. It's all about personal preference.
  • ilovedirtilovedirt Posts: 5,798
    ilovedirt wrote:
    If you feel you're lacking in skill and therefore don't feel comfortable clipped in, switch to flats for a while, build up you skills and go back to spds again when you're more confident.
    It has nothing to do with skill. It's all about personal preference.
    I was referring to his original post when he said he had a couple of offs because he thought he was lacking the technical skill slightly, and personally, even though i like SPDs, I wouldn't use them for instance on a steep and technical downhill track where I might be out of my depth R.E. skill, as crashing with SPD's isn't a pleasant experience, and it's more difficult to put your foot down if you find yourself in a sticky situation.

    Of course, you can practice clipping in/unclipping, but there isn't always time if you're flying down the side of a hill.
    Production Privee Shan

    B'Twin Triban 5
  • phzphz Posts: 478
    true that it's a personal thing

    but

    answer is still flats, big pins and five 10s

    slainte 8) rob
  • If SPDs or similar are making you uncertain, ditch them. There's no actual pedal police that will fine you for using flats (despite what a few people might seem to believe).
    Riding is meant to be fun, if they're getting in the way of that, get rid.


    Totally agree... Its all about you and what makes you feel comfortable... I personally recommend flats although this brings a new hazard, And thast the shin ripping pins on the flats when you come off.... :D
  • welshkevwelshkev Posts: 9,690
    i ride spd's all the time (except on my commuter cos it means i don't have to take a second pair of shoes) even on DH type stuff, but that might just be becasue i'm stupid :lol:
  • Yeehaa is right, there are no pedal police. Everyone has their own preference as to which type of pedal to have, and it all comes down to what you feel comfortable using.

    It seems to me like you like everything about SPD's, just the not being able to put your foot down is putting you off and adding to small worries. That could be solved by practice to be able to get your foot out of the pedal and down on the floor faster.

    I ride with SPD's, and love to them bits, but unfortunately there a few offs i've had that would have possibly been made worse by having flat pedals, as I now have enough experience with SPD's to get my foot down fast enough for anything that CAN be saved.

    Of course though, there are a few who just don't get along with SPD's, and almost dread having to use them. If your one of those, then definitely ditch them.
  • Daz555Daz555 Posts: 4,040
    unfortunately there a few offs i've had that would have possibly been made worse by having flat pedals
    Just curious to know what sort of off could be worse with flat pedals?
    You only need two tools: WD40 and Duck Tape.
    If it doesn't move and should, use the WD40.
    If it shouldn't move and does, use the tape.
  • AnonymousAnonymous Posts: 79,692
    I have to ask... What kind of crash could ever be made worse by flat pedals? :?
  • popstarpopstar Posts: 1,392
    At least flat pedals will mark you sooner or later as a true MTB-er. People in the know will see it straight away and pay respect.

    SPD's are for racing snake type riders, so there go shaven legs, tight lycra's etc. You will get admiration and respect too, but from different crowd.
    What could have been (Video)

    I'll choose not put too much stake into someone's opinion who is admittingly terrible though
  • I use SPD's to commute to work in. No idea why really, just do. They're quite loose and I can unclip and clip in very easily.
    I bought some clips for my Cube, which I've only been out on a few times, and, as Ibbo can point out, I had a few comedy offs and one big off (but I survived it!). I'll stick with them though as they really help me when pointing uphill (Though this is where most comedy offs happen as I get slower and slower, then can't unclip).
    On my blender I have flats, because I jump around all over the place, fly down stairs etc and want to evacuate the bike at any possible moment.

    Only you can decide really.
    It takes as much courage to have tried and failed as it does to have tried and succeeded.
    Join us on UK-MTB we won't bite, but bring cake!
    Blender Cube AMS Pro
  • I have to ask... What kind of crash could ever be made worse by flat pedals? :?

    When I did a 3/4 front flip and landed on my back.... feet stayed clipped in and bike didn't take any impact at all... if I'd been riding flats it might have got damaged!
  • AnonymousAnonymous Posts: 79,692
    I have to ask... What kind of crash could ever be made worse by flat pedals? :?

    When I did a 3/4 front flip and landed on my back.... feet stayed clipped in and bike didn't take any impact at all... if I'd been riding flats it might have got damaged!
    :lol:
  • welshkevwelshkev Posts: 9,690
    popstar wrote:
    SPD's are for racing snake type riders, so there go shaven legs, tight lycra's etc. You will get admiration and respect too, but from different crowd.

    have you seen me? :lol:

    14 stone of pure flab and not an xc racing type in sight :lol:
  • NorthwindNorthwind Posts: 15,475
    I have to ask... What kind of crash could ever be made worse by flat pedals? :?

    The ones where the pins leave you looking like you've been attached by mudsharks.
    Uncompromising extremist
  • AnonymousAnonymous Posts: 79,692
    phz wrote:
    answer is still flats, big pins and five 10s
    ^ this

    Big pins & Five 10s have sorted out the majority of pedal strikes too.

    Easy to make up your own mind though. Try riding technical and DHilly stuff with SPDs. If you still prefer SPDs... well done :P, otherwise join the rest of us with flats.

    The only loss with flats is in climbs and if you're doing this kind of riding you're probably not out for an epic hill climb type of ride anyway.
  • seftonsefton Posts: 98
    I got some Easton flatboys for sale (only 2 months old)...i've recently changed to spd's
  • Thanks for all the advice. Will have a go with flats. Will also drop my saddle a couple of inches (and see how long my knees last :shock: )
  • MigginsMiggins Posts: 433
    I've read so many threads on the SPDs/flats debate and it seems that neither is head and shoulders above the other; they've both got their pros and cons so I'd say it comes down to personal preference.
    After uphill there's downhill
  • AnonymousAnonymous Posts: 79,692
    Honestly, I can't claim there's much difference in climbing with flats either, unless you are eeking out every last millisecond of performance. I rode them for years, just didn't notice any real advantage.
    Maybe it's because id already been riding long enough to sort my pedalling technique, who knows.
  • AnonymousAnonymous Posts: 79,692
    Will also drop my saddle a couple of inches (and see how long my knees last :shock: )
    Generally want saddle higher for climbs, lower for gnarly steeps.
  • Get a cheap set of flats, then try the spds again in a few months. You'll probably find you are confident on most sections of a red by then and won't care that you are clipped in... If you prefer flats still you can go back to them and/or splash out on some half decent ones...
  • bike-a-swanbike-a-swan Posts: 1,235
    slimboyjim wrote:
    Get a cheap set of flats, then try the spds again in a few months. You'll probably find you are confident on most sections of a red by then and won't care that you are clipped in... If you prefer flats still you can go back to them and/or splash out on some half decent ones...

    This. I periodically go back to flats, because well, why not? Usually shocking how lazy I've got at some things with spds. Doesn't do it for me permanently though. Just what you fancy.
    Rock Lobster 853, Trek 1200 and a very old, tired and loved Apollo Javelin.
  • NorthwindNorthwind Posts: 15,475
    Think it's good to be able to use both, neither's better or worse but some skills are easier to learn on one type of pedal or another (and each type of pedal can encourage laziness too). I never learned to bunnyhop on SPDs, I just did the SPD Jump Thing but I did learn to pedal better than I think I would have on flats. Then fubarred my knee and switched to flats and transferred some skills and had to work on others. Gives you a best of both worlds.

    Most riders just stick with what they like which is fine- but, what you like might just be what you're familiar with. Swapping pedals is a weird feeling because in some ways you're right back to square one and it's not nice kicking off on the bike and finding out you can't ride :lol: Most folks never get to the point where they're equally good and comfortable on both pedals, and how do you know which you like best til you've done that?
    Uncompromising extremist
  • Id always use flays but like it says its personal. I like to be able to dab a foot down on a fast / flat corner if I need to, or be able to create distance between the bike and me if I think a jump is going wrong.

    imho the worst part of falling off is being tangled up in my bike and end up with aluminium bars in places where aluminium bars should never go!
  • Oh and as for which ones. Id recommend DMR (V8 or V12) or if on a budget Welgo are pretty good replicas for half the price
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