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Does Using SPD Pedals Encourage Bad Technique?

albus16albus16 Posts: 18
edited August 2012 in MTB beginners
I know, I know - there are a million and one SPD threads and I'm sorry for starting another one but my situation is slightly different.

I'm a newbie but beginning to improve rapidly but my basic techniques still needs work. I managed to get an absolute bargain on some SPD pedals and shoes from CRC and thought I would give them a try as I am finding my feet coming off the pedals quite a lot recently.

My dilemma is this: whilst I am still learning fundamental skills and techniques of MTBing, is it a bad idea to use SPD pedals? I have a lot to learn still so should I hold off and improve a bit more in terms of technical ability first? Are SPD pedals likely to get me into bad habits?

Any input would be appreciated!

Alex

Posts

  • cooldadcooldad Posts: 32,601
    Just use whatever feels right for you and enjoy yourself.
    I don't do smileys.

    There is no secret ingredient - Kung Fu Panda

    London Calling on Facebook

    Parktools
  • When I started my feet were coming off the pedals all the time and whacking my shins, i spent the rirst 4 months looking like I had been savaged by a dog. But, some grippy pedals such as MG1's and perseverance and i never have a problem now. I have spds on my road bike i just bought and dont see a massive amount of difference with regards to efficiency. I'd keep persevering with the flats.
    My biggest fear is that should I crash, burn and die, my Wife would sell my stuff based upon what I told her I paid for it.
  • YeehaaMcgeeYeehaaMcgee Posts: 5,740
    cooldad wrote:
    Just use whatever feels right for you and enjoy yourself.
    Whilst I echo this sentiment, if your feet are coming off the pedals all the time on flats, then yes, something is wrong with your technique.
    SPDs will stop your feet coming off the pedals, however, that doesn't mean your technique will improve, and may make things worse further down the line.
  • cooldadcooldad Posts: 32,601
    True I didn't register the feet coming off pedals a bit. Just imagine your body is a big set of springs and let it absorb the shocks and bumps. Especially your legs.
    As they used to say when I was a lad, loose as a goose, although that might have been in a different context.
    I don't do smileys.

    There is no secret ingredient - Kung Fu Panda

    London Calling on Facebook

    Parktools
  • YeehaaMcgeeYeehaaMcgee Posts: 5,740
    cooldad wrote:
    As they used to say when I was a lad, loose as a goose, although that might have been in a different context.
    Relax, don't do it, if you want to get to it?
  • hiho9hiho9 Posts: 17
    I bought my SPDs after a month of owning my first bike in years.
    Wouldn't go back to flats
  • hiho9 wrote:
    I bought my SPDs after a month of owning my first bike in years.
    Wouldn't go back to flats
    Only reason i wouldnt mind flats is to wear my nike airs when i'm nipping out somewhere. Shimano SPD shoes don't really look cool
  • BigchrisBigchris Posts: 131
    edited August 2012
    I struggled with this, but knew it was bad technique. On Downhills I just try and keep my heel down and toes up, legs slightly bent and loose. There's been a massive improvement. Other than Dow hills I didn't really have a problem with it but the overall skill is useful everywhere. I would imagine decent pedals and footwear would be a even bigger improvement though. There on the need list at the top.
  • hiho9hiho9 Posts: 17
    I'm using M324 pedals atm so easy to use my trainers when i nip somewhere.
    but been waiting 3 weeks for some dual sided ones to turn up form the classified to see if there's a difference.
  • YeehaaMcgeeYeehaaMcgee Posts: 5,740
    Dual sided SPD pedals - horrible, the flat side is a terrible flat pedal, and you never end up with the side you really want facing upwards.
  • felix.londonfelix.london Posts: 4,067
    Dual sided SPD pedals - horrible, the flat side is a terrible flat pedal, and you never end up with the side you really want facing upwards.

    What he said ^^ - If you're just riding roads, pavements and very light trails there annoying at best as soon as you really start mountain biking they are f.ing dangerous! My M324's lasted about 4 rides when I moved to the Alps before swapping them for some M530 Trail's

    Have flats on the other bikes though. Enjoy riding with both.

    But if you're feet are coming off the pedals a lot I'd personally stick with flats, at least until you've got that basic skill sorted then give SPD's a try and decide what you prefer.
    "Why have that extra tooth if you're not using it?" - Brian Lopes

    Votec V.SX Enduro 'Alpine Thug' 2012/2013 build

    Trek Session 8
  • felix.londonfelix.london Posts: 4,067
    hiho9 wrote:
    I'm using M324 pedals atm so easy to use my trainers when i nip somewhere.
    but been waiting 3 weeks for some dual sided ones to turn up form the classified to see if there's a difference.

    btw - when you say "dual sided" I'm presuming you just mean SPD's. A lot of people will think you mean the M324 type dual-sided SPD/Flat type pedals
    "Why have that extra tooth if you're not using it?" - Brian Lopes

    Votec V.SX Enduro 'Alpine Thug' 2012/2013 build

    Trek Session 8
  • RockmonkeySCRockmonkeySC Posts: 15,247
    But if you're feet are coming off the pedals a lot I'd personally stick with flats, at least until you've got that basic skill sorted then give SPD's a try and decide what you prefer.

    Though if you prefer riding with SPD's and aren't using flat's then that technique is irrelivent. Usual reason for reet coming off the pedals is either censored pedals or not dropping heels.
    I'm just starting to use SPD's for downhill and really seeing some advantages. Even though I have used them on my XC bike for a few years and won't go back to flats for XC.
  • albus16albus16 Posts: 18
    Thanks for all the advice guys!

    I honestly think my main issue is my pedals. They are just standard Wellgo ones which came on my new bike - small and limited traction. I have now put the pedals (ones which I upgraded to, some Onza ones) onto my new bike and although I haven't used them in anger yet, they feel a lot better already.

    I am going to take your advice and continue with them for a while before trying out SPDs. I still bought the SPDs anyway as they were a bargain! So will just store them until I want to give them a go.

    Thanks again,

    Alex
  • felix.londonfelix.london Posts: 4,067
    But if you're feet are coming off the pedals a lot I'd personally stick with flats, at least until you've got that basic skill sorted then give SPD's a try and decide what you prefer.

    Though if you prefer riding with SPD's and aren't using flat's then that technique is irrelivent. Usual reason for reet coming off the pedals is either censored pedals or not dropping heels

    If the OP's feet are slipping off the pedals i.e when applying pressure through the cranks then I'd say it's down to censored pedals but if their feet are bouncing off the pedals i.e. on rough ground etc then I'd say the riding technique should be addressed first.
    "Why have that extra tooth if you're not using it?" - Brian Lopes

    Votec V.SX Enduro 'Alpine Thug' 2012/2013 build

    Trek Session 8
  • hiho9hiho9 Posts: 17
    hiho9 wrote:
    I'm using M324 pedals atm so easy to use my trainers when i nip somewhere.
    but been waiting 3 weeks for some dual sided ones to turn up form the classified to see if there's a difference.

    btw - when you say "dual sided" I'm presuming you just mean SPD's. A lot of people will think you mean the M324 type dual-sided SPD/Flat type pedals

    yeah there a standard spd with clips on both sides :)
  • NorthwindNorthwind Posts: 15,475
    Though if you prefer riding with SPD's and aren't using flat's then that technique is irrelivent.

    Don't agree- if you're relying on your SPDs to keep you attached to your bike then you're not moving smoothly with the bike- which translates into unplanned weight shifts etc. The techniques that keep you on flats are still worth having on SPDs, they're not as essential but they help overall control and give you and the bike an easier time of it. Basically means you're riding with the bike not against it.
    Uncompromising extremist
  • I went from welgo touring flat pedals to using my spds and I crashed a lot less, but I think that could have been achieved with a proper wide flat bmx style pedal, before my spd, my left foot used to naturally sit further out on the pedal than my left and my knee used to wobble at the top of each stroke, so I think they helped my technique. If your always going to ride spd, it doesn’t matter if you have bad flat technique.

    I love the efficiency of them, push pull push pull, instead of push push push (think about it) it takes a bit of time to build the pulling muscles, I ride xc and a bit of freestyle. I would only go to flats if I was doing big dirt jumps, which is unlikely. and as for shimano shoes not looking cool, I'm a biker, I love my shimano shoes (well the goofy white sk8 trainers, could have a restyle and some deeper grip).

    I have used the shimano dual use flat spd pedals, but the cage on the flat side, doesn’t allow for as much ground clearance, they are also more likely to grip than slide over a log, than spd spd dual entry I dont un clip a lot, so right side wrong side not an issue for me .

    its all, down to practice and what works for you, and confidence.
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