Possible to be less confident on flats than on clipless, if that is what you are you are used to?

Doesn't seem to make sense based on what people generally say.

Went to Bedgebury to ride the singletrack today, for the second time in the past two weeks. Last time I was on clipless, and, even though I had to walk a few parts, I managed to ride most of it. Today I went with some flat pedals, which I thought would be better, but what confidence I had before seemed to have completely evaporated. We (I went with my brother) gave up after a couple of sections, and just rode around.

I was wearing walking shoes with the flats, as those are the only footwear I have that seem to be suitable. I've been using clipless on the road bike and, now and again, on the MTB for a few years now, so am very used to them. Before last week I'd never ridden dedicated MTB singletrack before though, only general countryside riding.

Comments

  • Mad_Malx
    Mad_Malx Posts: 5,042
    I feel more secure when clipped - I’ve had more injuries from slipping off pedals than not being able to unclip. I don’t do anything very technical though.
  • singleton
    singleton Posts: 2,523
    A lot of confidence comes from familiarity, you get used to something, you know how it feels, you know what will happen etc. So it makes sense that when you make a change, you have a dip in confidence while you adjust.

    You can probably get a good combination of pedals and shoes that help to stick you to the pedals if you wanted to.
  • JBA
    JBA Posts: 2,852
    Decent shoes such as Five Tens or Adidas Terrex* make a big difference on flat pedals. The grippier soles keep you attached to the pedals but you still have lots of power transfer due to the stiffness of the soles.
    The pedals themselves also make a huge difference. Cheap, plastic pedals with moulded 'grips' are nowhere near as good as metal or composite pedals with screw-in studs.
    You have to be more aware of where your feet are on the pedals and the angle of your foot (toe down, flat or heel down) to get the most out of riding flat pedals. When I first started using flat pedals about 5 years ago my feet were regularly getting bounced off the pedals because my foot angle was incorrect. It doesn't take long to get used to it though and I now regularly swap between SPD and flats without any problems.


    * Both technically Adidas since they bought Five Ten a few yeas ago.
    “Life has been unfaithful
    And it all promised so so much”

    Giant Trance 2 27.5 2016 ¦ Sonder Broken Road 2021¦ Giant Revolt Advanced 2 2019 ¦ Giant Toughtroad SLR 1 2019 ¦ Giant Anthem 3 2015 ¦ Specialized Myka Comp FSR 2009
  • steve_sordy
    steve_sordy Posts: 2,446
    Proper flats and proper shoes are what is needed. The grip is so good on some combinations that once you plant your foot on the pedal, you cannot shuffle it about to improve the position if you didn't get it right first time. Instead, you have to lift your foot clean off and try again; which is not always possible when hurtling down a bumpy trail.

    The great benefit of riding flats is that it is easier to remove your foot at speed and use it as an an outrigger on flat corners, or just when the rear slides out a bit faster than you had planned.

    Whenever my foot was in the top 25% of the pedal stroke, I could never unclip. My body geometry was all wrong. This caused more than a few unplanned dismounts and was the principal reason for moving back to flats (proper ones this time).
  • mully79
    mully79 Posts: 904
    Clipless can hide a lot of bad technique. To use flats you really need to learn how to weight the pedals properly. it doesnt necessarliy come naturally so you may have to put quite a bit of effort into studying and re-learning how to ride. if you crack the technique you can swap between the two easily and its well worth the effort
  • bungle73
    bungle73 Posts: 758
    JBA said:

    Decent shoes such as Five Tens or Adidas Terrex* make a big difference on flat pedals. The grippier soles keep you attached to the pedals but you still have lots of power transfer due to the stiffness of the soles.
    The pedals themselves also make a huge difference. Cheap, plastic pedals with moulded 'grips' are nowhere near as good as metal or composite pedals with screw-in studs.
    You have to be more aware of where your feet are on the pedals and the angle of your foot (toe down, flat or heel down) to get the most out of riding flat pedals. When I first started using flat pedals about 5 years ago my feet were regularly getting bounced off the pedals because my foot angle was incorrect. It doesn't take long to get used to it though and I now regularly swap between SPD and flats without any problems.


    * Both technically Adidas since they bought Five Ten a few yeas ago.

    I bought a pair of DMR V12s. I'm seeing several different types of shoe called "Terrax", which ones are you referring to? I was advised on another forum that walking shoes would work just fine. Maybe they do, they also suggested that the problem may be that I am so used to being attached the bike that I am subconsciously thrown by not being so.
  • bungle73
    bungle73 Posts: 758
    mully79 said:

    Clipless can hide a lot of bad technique. To use flats you really need to learn how to weight the pedals properly. it doesnt necessarliy come naturally so you may have to put quite a bit of effort into studying and re-learning how to ride. if you crack the technique you can swap between the two easily and its well worth the effort

    That sounds like a lot of effort for something that is supposed to be a bit of recreation. I'm not trying to win any medals
  • steve_sordy
    steve_sordy Posts: 2,446
    bungle73 said:

    mully79 said:

    Clipless can hide a lot of bad technique. To use flats you really need to learn how to weight the pedals properly. it doesnt necessarliy come naturally so you may have to put quite a bit of effort into studying and re-learning how to ride. if you crack the technique you can swap between the two easily and its well worth the effort

    That sounds like a lot of effort for something that is supposed to be a bit of recreation. I'm not trying to win any medals
    I switched from plastic pedals and my trainers to Shimano SPDs and proper shoes because I got fed up of my feet slipping off the pedals and raking my shins. After 18 months I switched from SPDs to proper flats and Shimano 510 shoes. I switched because I couldn't unclip fast enough under certain circumstances and I was getting injured. In addition, if I stalled on rally steep climbs, I couldn't clip in fast enough to get going again!

    On each switch the change was motivated by personal safety and not to become a better rider. But once I was safe, and I could trust what was going to happen, then I became a better rider.
  • reaperactual
    reaperactual Posts: 1,185
    edited December 2020
    The use of good composite pedals with metal studs, have always given me confidence and plenty of grip even with 'any old pair of trainers'. The downside has only ever been the odd shin strike.

    The ability to quickly dab, get feet off the pedals in case of over rotation or stalls is why I've always prefered flats for trail riding.

    I'd be happy to clip in if I did a lot of road riding but the thought of being clipped in on the trails scares me.

    Once you adapt to flats it will become natural and confidence level will surely improve.




  • JBA
    JBA Posts: 2,852
    bungle73 said:



    I bought a pair of DMR V12s. I'm seeing several different types of shoe called "Terrax", which ones are you referring to?

    I have a pair of Adidas Terrex Trail Cross SL. They have now been slightly redesigned and renamed as Five Ten Trailcross LT.
    There are plenty of flat shoes available from Shimano, Specialized, Ride Concepts, Bontrager, etc.
    Bike Radar did a review a few months ago. Have read and see if anything grabs your fancy.



    “Life has been unfaithful
    And it all promised so so much”

    Giant Trance 2 27.5 2016 ¦ Sonder Broken Road 2021¦ Giant Revolt Advanced 2 2019 ¦ Giant Toughtroad SLR 1 2019 ¦ Giant Anthem 3 2015 ¦ Specialized Myka Comp FSR 2009
  • bungle73
    bungle73 Posts: 758
    I'm not actually that convinced that an emergency unclipping would be a problem for me, I'm so used to them. There was an incident on the road bike a while ago where I had to do it when I thought I might slip over (it was a narrow steep rough muddy back lane and obviously no tread to speak off on a road bike tyre), and I had my foot out before i even thought about it. But then I've only ridden off road in clips a few times, and sometimes I've just felt the need to ride sections with one foot unclipped, which I know is not a good thing to do. Hence the looking at flats.
    JBA said:

    bungle73 said:



    I bought a pair of DMR V12s. I'm seeing several different types of shoe called "Terrax", which ones are you referring to?

    I have a pair of Adidas Terrex Trail Cross SL. They have now been slightly redesigned and renamed as Five Ten Trailcross LT.
    There are plenty of flat shoes available from Shimano, Specialized, Ride Concepts, Bontrager, etc.
    Bike Radar did a review a few months ago. Have read and see if anything grabs your fancy.



    Thanks, I'll check them out.
  • JBA
    JBA Posts: 2,852
    Another option if you want to stay with SPD is to fit multi-release cleats to your shoes. Shimano SH56 have chamfered edges so allow you to release by pulling up and at an angle rather than having to keep your foot flat. They are much easier to use and you can unclip faster.
    “Life has been unfaithful
    And it all promised so so much”

    Giant Trance 2 27.5 2016 ¦ Sonder Broken Road 2021¦ Giant Revolt Advanced 2 2019 ¦ Giant Toughtroad SLR 1 2019 ¦ Giant Anthem 3 2015 ¦ Specialized Myka Comp FSR 2009
  • bungle73
    bungle73 Posts: 758
    JBA said:

    Another option if you want to stay with SPD is to fit multi-release cleats to your shoes. Shimano SH56 have chamfered edges so allow you to release by pulling up and at an angle rather than having to keep your foot flat. They are much easier to use and you can unclip faster.

    I do have a paid laying around from when I first started using clipless. I could give them a go I suppose.
  • Decent flat pedals and shoes make a big difference.

    I used to have DMR V12s and found the platform a bit small for my feet, changed to Superstar Nano which have bigger platforms and that really helped.

    Changing from Etnies skate shoes to 5:10s really helped too.
    Bikes are OK, I guess... :-)

    2008 Specialized Stumpjumper FSR Comp.
    2013 Trek 1.2
    1982 Holdsworth Elan.
  • bungle73
    bungle73 Posts: 758
    mudsucker said:

    Decent flat pedals and shoes make a big difference.

    I used to have DMR V12s and found the platform a bit small for my feet, changed to Superstar Nano which have bigger platforms and that really helped.

    Changing from Etnies skate shoes to 5:10s really helped too.

    My feet aren't that big, I'm only size 8-9, so I don't think pedal size is an issue.
  • JBA
    JBA Posts: 2,852
    mudsucker said:

    Decent flat pedals and shoes make a big difference.

    I used to have DMR V12s and found the platform a bit small for my feet, changed to Superstar Nano which have bigger platforms and that really helped.

    Changing from Etnies skate shoes to 5:10s really helped too.

    I found that as well with pedals. My first flats were the original Superstar Nanos and they were too narrow so I was always struggling to get a comfortable foot position. Changed to Nano-X when they came out and found them much better to use.
    (Size 9 feet for reference.)


    “Life has been unfaithful
    And it all promised so so much”

    Giant Trance 2 27.5 2016 ¦ Sonder Broken Road 2021¦ Giant Revolt Advanced 2 2019 ¦ Giant Toughtroad SLR 1 2019 ¦ Giant Anthem 3 2015 ¦ Specialized Myka Comp FSR 2009