Flat pedals or Cleats?

Ron

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#1
Which do you ride and why?
If flats what is your pedal of choice
If cleats, SPD? Crank Bros. Or other, what is your pedal of choice.

I moved my well worn old school Shimano DX red pedals to my EMTB, is there a better way to go?
Ron
 
Oct 3, 2018
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#2
Flat pedals win medals. So they say.

Personally I'm flats, always have, always will. With good shoes and pedals I don't need any more grip. The other benefits of clips don't exist for me, being able to lift the pedals for more efficient climbing etc.

What I do like and need is the ability to 'dab'. Every now and again I'll have a 'moment' and dab my foot out to stay upright. If I didn't have that split second reaction I'd go down at speed, not nice. So the thought of having to twist or whatever to unclip doesn't appeal.

Plus if you're learning to get the front wheel in the air and can't modulate the rear brake, there's every chance you'll loop out. I've seen too many people land on their back learning manuals etc on my courses. Not fun.
 
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#3
Time ATAC Cleats on every one of my bikes - where I ride there is no way I would be able to use flats
 

Gary

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#4
Which do you ride and why?
This might be of interest to you
Do you ride clipped in pedals on your Emtb? - EMTB Forums
If flats what is your pedal of choice
Anything thin but concave and not too grippy so I can reposition my feet easily without having to lift them. (I never use sticky soles either) HT Nanos are fairly unbeatable for those attributes with a few pins removed.
If cleats, SPD? Crank Bros. Or other, what is your pedal of choice.
Shimano SPDs (on road and mtb)
I moved my well worn old school Shimano DX red pedals to my EMTB, is there a better way to go?
Who knows, we're not you. ;)
 

highpeakrider

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Aug 10, 2018
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#6
Flats and 5 10 shoes all the way, mind you I only ride in the Peak District hills and not the mountains of Wiltshire.
 

leverleg

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#7
Flats all the way for me I like to adjust and be able to kick goats, dogs and children easily.

Recently got nukeproof horizons and I gotta say I am loving them they are super grip and a lot thinner than my old ones.
 

mark.ai

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#10
I prefer using clipless whenever I can - I use SPD cleats with Shimano XTR Trail M9020 pedals as that's what I've been used to on my gravel/road bike. But I've switched to using the multi release version of the cleats for faster release on those "oh sh*t" moments.

Reasons I prefer clipless: feels better for power when spinning, foot position closer to centre (narrower q factor), consistent foot position since it's always the same, no cuts on lower legs from pins.

But I switch to using flats about 30% of the time (Specialized Boomslang pedals) if I'm going on a route which will involve some walking or is going to be more technical than I'm comfortable with riding in cleats (i.e. too high chance of falling off :p).

Reasons I prefer flats: nicer for walking around or pushing the bike, easier & faster to put a foot down when needed, can move foot position around for more comfort (e.g. long descents).

I'd probably use flats more but I hate getting all the cuts on my lower legs from the pins on the pedals - my shins have become a real mess since starting MTBing ...
 

Slowroller

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#11
Flats are more fun and force you to ride correctly. Unless you're an xc racer, and we're not, there's no downside to flat pedals.
 

Gary

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#12
I'd agree on flats being more fun (but that's just personal preference/opinion) but the rest of what you just said is a load of rubbish. You can ride correctly on flats or clips. (very few folk do on either TBF)
Being able to pick up and place the bike precisely where and when you want at will without pre-loading can be a huge upside when riding a 50lb bike.
 

Jeff McD

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#13
I initially had Vault flat panels but was getting too many pedal strikes because that's a very thick pedal, and too many cuts on the legs from the sharp pins. Switched to xpedo sprye thinner pedals and with less aggressive pins that are flat on top. Not getting any cuts anymore and can move shoe around on pedal easier like Gary said, without having to lift it off the pedal completely, but never lose the pedal also. Now I don't do jumps and I don't bunnyhop sideways so this works for me. Also massively reduced pedal strikes. Only 250gm but hey since I only weigh 140 pounds every teeny wt loss makes it easier to lift that XL brick into the truck and over fences ha ha.
The reason I ride flats is we have extremely technical trails everywhere that I can ride here and I gotta put a foot down quickly sometimes. Rarely falling any more as when I had clippless pedals initially. If you have no technical trails then it's not as important. I also do lots of trail work twice a week with either a 15 pound chainsaw or weed whacker in a backpack, and you can walk around easier in 5/10 shoes doing the work with no clips/rigid soles in the shoes.
Another consideration is if that you frequently ride in wet slippery conditions like I do, you will just be putting a foot down quickly more often than in dry conditions. Flats are a real benefit for this.
I will say that when I started I was with clippless at first (as well as for the last 30 years of cycling), I last had the Shimano AM9 shoes and cane creek mallet pedals and I thought they were excellent. Larger platform, easy to get into, clip out quickly for a dab and then get back in quick.
I once fell just after getting the heavier E bike and not accustomed to the increased weight, while wearing a backpack with a heavy chainsaw doing trail work, climbing a god awfully steep technical trail and fell into a 30 deg decline off the trail in heavy undergrowth that limited almost all upper body movement. I spent 20 minutes trapped, struggling before I got free of the bike. The chainsaw pinned me upper body to the ground, with old shoulder injuries/weakness I could not push the bike off of me because of its weight significantly worsened by the decline, and because of the ground below and a heavy branch above I could not rotate heels outward on either pedal to unclip. That's when I switched to flat pedals, and started going to the gym to strengthen my shoulders. If anybody was watching they would've bent over laughing at my struggles.
 

MattyB

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#14
Time ATAC Cleats on every one of my bikes - where I ride there is no way I would be able to use flats
You mean the 6% fire road climbs where you only need 7 gears? :unsure: Give Sam Hill a ring, you need to let him know he’s been doing it all wrong... :ROFLMAO:
 
Last edited:
Sep 25, 2018
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Sass81sass81
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#15
Flats with five ten shoes.

Im an ex track and roadie and found on the mtb clipless caused crashes where id lose balance and couldn't clip out so over id go. I had a bad stationary one onto rock and lost a decent chunk of skin and that was it, flats ever since.

Have heard stories of knees going and bones breaking when people cant unclip and the bike twists with their feet still connected. A good mate fractured his hip on his roadie (clipless) messing around on his driveway and he was going slow, front wheel jammed, through him off balance and he couldnt unclip and bam, 3 months off.
 

idahoskiguy

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#16
Alway rode cleats on my road and mtn bikes until I starting riding an e-mtn bike. So naturally started e-biking using cleats and quickly found out that flats were much safer than cleats! Technical terrain is better ridden using flats and the consequences of pedal strikes are much worse when using cleats, IMHO.
 
Last edited:

Tamas

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#17
It’s personal preference but I’m also in the flats/five ten ‘group’. Nukeproof Horizon pedals and Five Ten Impact Pro shoes. Never felt the need for spd on my mountain bikes (I ride them on my road bike) and the proper flat/shoe combo has only benefits for me. The Impact Pro is my ‘new found’ but they are the best shoes I ever used, perfect for harder riding.
 

Macone

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#18
Flats with five ten shoes.

Im an ex track and roadie and found on the mtb clipless caused crashes where id lose balance and couldn't clip out so over id go. I had a bad stationary one onto rock and lost a decent chunk of skin and that was it, flats ever since.

Have heard stories of knees going and bones breaking when people cant unclip and the bike twists with their feet still connected. A good mate fractured his hip on his roadie (clipless) messing around on his driveway and he was going slow, front wheel jammed, through him off balance and he couldnt unclip and bam, 3 months off.
Yeah I know that pain.
in 2015 I came back from a 53km tough hill ride on my road bike, was almost stationary and turning in a driveway when I realised i'd lost control, went to unclip and got cramp in my calf, unclip didn't happen due to the cramp, went down and landed on my hip: Acetabula Fracture - basically drove the ball of my Femur through the socket(Acetabula) of my pelvis. Three months laid up. I don't do much road bike riding these days but still use the SPD's when I do. When riding river trails and roads on my hardtail, I still clip in. my ebike (focus Jam2) has flats as I ride a bit more technical on that and haven't got the confidence to unclip quickly if I get out of control
 

Al Boneta

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#20
I run flats on my BMX bike and my Dirt Jumper. I don’t really pedal these all that much
I clip in on everything else, mostly so my feet are are in the correct position. My left foot is longer than my right and I have had knee surgery and a shattered ankle. If my cleats and shoes aren’t set up right, I get knee pain and numbness in my toes.
 

MarkH

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#22
Used spd on all my bikes for 25 years until getting the Levo, as it was the only way I was comfortable with jumping (poor technique I know) . Figured the Levo would be such a reset. with the weight, engine, fat tyres that I might as well throw flats into the learning curve. One year later I'm jumping farther that I've ever been able to and have put flats on all my other bikes too. Chesters and 510s.
 

Dax

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#23
I ride spds for everything and have for about a decade, there have been too occasions that I wanted flats, once on the top section of Top of the World, and once on some sketchy unmaintained feature on the north shore. TotW was purely psychological, it's really exposed but not very difficult, the shore was just sketchy and I'd had a migraine that morning so was riding 3/10. Otherwise I'm happy with cleats, ridden lots of hard technical stuff on them with no issues, although I run them fairly loose.

Typically run xtr race pedals, the trail cage offers no benefits, but recently switched to Saints on my emtb and they're by far the best pedal I've used, the first big cage pedal that is usable when not clipped.
 

Doomanic

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#24
I also run cleats and have done for 25 years. I just feel more comfortable on them. I run either Shimano DX pedals from the '90's
p2pb11566587.jpg

Or Nukeproof Horizon SPD pedals.
stw-2018-09-06-C7933531-9924-4B04-8A31-4B25D490A663.jpeg

Always with Shimano multi-release cleats and run as loose as possible.

The Horizons are the best pedals I've ever used; easy to clip in and out, stable pedaling platform and usable without clipping in for those "Oh shiiiiiiiiit" moments.
 

Ron

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#26
I also run cleats and have done for 25 years. I just feel more comfortable on them. I run either Shimano DX pedals from the '90's
p2pb11566587.jpg

Or Nukeproof Horizon SPD pedals.
stw-2018-09-06-C7933531-9924-4B04-8A31-4B25D490A663.jpeg

Always with Shimano multi-release cleats and run as loose as possible.

The Horizons are the best pedals I've ever used; easy to clip in and out, stable pedaling platform and usable without clipping in for those "Oh shiiiiiiiiit" moments.
Yes, I have old DX red pedals on my Levo , they have been my mainstay, I clip out sometimes on difficult terrain but love them expecislly on a long climb
 

R120

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#27
The great thing about an EMTB is you really can run whichever pedals you feel comfortable with.

On a personal level I run clipless on road bikes, but never have on MTB’s, mainly because I cam from the classic BMX, jumping background, and when I started MTB clipless equaled Lycra and XC to me!
 

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