A pros thought on pedals....

pliny the elder

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so stating objective facts is being a dick?
I was just paraphrasing a common joke about wheel size to the pedal choice conundrum. It actually wasn't about you.

For the record, I'm currently on Mallet E's in hopes that they could be a little of both, although sometimes you end up with neither of either.

pliny the elder
 

Smear

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I've had a long period on flat pedals after starting out on click-pedals (SPD) 3 years ago. The motivation was initially to practice manuals, wheelies and bunny hops, trying to get comfortable at the balance point without freaking out and grabbing too much rear brake too soon. But then I just stayed on flats and it's been OK. I like flats, but do want to get back on click-pedals sometime. Have noticed how much I suck at tech climbing during group rides and been thinking that switching pedals might help.

Was planning to get back on SPD before my first enduro race. Bought new shoes and everything. I like that the feet just stay in a proper position on and the ease of being able to lift the rear end from any position.

Switched a week before the race and went out on a dark wet evening to test and practice. Local terrain has lots of roots, also in places where it's difficult to get enough speed. Often one just comes to a stall, and even with speed one just has to accept that the bike will move around a lot on diagonal and off chamber wet roots. Felt very uncomfortable being back on spd's on those conditions so put the flats back on for the race. There where enough stuff that could go wrong without having to worry about pedals...

Somehow this thread has motivated to try click-pedals again under better conditions. So my next trail ride will be with SPD's and my new fiveten shoes with cleats. But will probably switch back to flats in the winter season.
 
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Josh Matta

Josh Matta

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Yeah the thing you kinda of need to practice to make the clipless exit automatic.

With that said, I got a concussion last week I dont remember the wreck at all, but I managed to unclip........
 
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Josh Matta

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WadeHoliday

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Always a fun debate, thx Josh!

I think this discussion becomes much more interesting if you throw out the "hard to get out" idea. It's working from a negative, defensive, position in my opinion.
The quote you shared is nice and accurate,
I think there are benefits to flats beside, "easier to get out when you need to". flats feel more like you are just out playing in the woods, once you work out the skills and technique, you can feel very in tune with the bike due to the softer sole and bigger platform, foot out drifted turns are possible, and even if you don't get your foot out, the ability to "open" your toe and knee more into turns seems to make cornering in some instances better.
but, you are more connected and efficient on clips, you don't have to adjust position and work your foot position to hold the bike...
Pros and cons in my opinion,

I ride both, but this summer, I did a big climbing day (trying to catch dawgcatching, ironically) on my flats and my knees were super sore that night. I put my clips on for a long day the next day, (CRANK BROTHERS candy, w/ easy release cleat, by the way, best interface I've ever used, after breaking 2 sets of xtr's last summer!), and bam, no knee pain. So, I stayed clipped the rest of the summer, no knee pain, more efficient climbing, not quite a playful or moto style w/ foot out drifting... :)

The interesting thing for me is there is one place were clips are so much better, techy climbing... more clearance and power, but that is also where people are most afraid they might not get out if they stall out... The challenge for Josh to climb some techy CO climb is interesting, as I would bet anyone climbing that would say it's easier on clips than flats. If you have to fail... then maybe stiff soles with cleats suck.. That said, I'd much rather have a 1mph techy climbing tip over then a 15plus mph slip a pedal accidentally and go down fall... that is the defensive thought though, not the positive, what works best scenario...

I also ride smaller wheels and think e bikes should stay on motorized trails, so there you have it...

Cheers!
Wade
 
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Josh Matta

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I mean who actually falls because they can not un clip? Also I foot out drift all the time on clips......
 

WadeHoliday

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lots of people think they will fall because they can't unclip, that's the biggest reason people ride flats... but I agree, and why I think they should take that point out of the debate, spend the time to make your unclipping movement automatic and that point holds a lot less water. I don't disagree on the foot out drift, it's just not as natural as it is on flats. Who corners foot out the most on the EWS... S. Hill of course, for obvious reasons.

Both are great, no wrong or right, but if you are looking for connectedness and efficiency (and consistent position to ease knee concerns), clips win imo. Looking for looser, more playful experience, flats often win.

Snowing here! trails finally buried this week.
cheers,
W
 

Tom K.

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...after breaking 2 sets of xtr's last summer...
FWIW, I've had the same hit or miss experience with XTRs. Shimano was great on warranty. I ended up trading two pair of XTRs for three pair of XTs, and life is good again.

I've got so many bikes, it would be $$$ to swap away from Shimano pedals/cleats. If I were starting from scratch tomorrow, I would lean towards Time. They've got that smooth Crank Bros feel, and the longevity of XTs.
 

Erik Timmerman

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How are you guys breaking XTR pedals? I have worn them out, but breaking them? I'm using Saint now for trail because I wanted the even bigger platform!
 

WadeHoliday

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How are you guys breaking XTR pedals? I have worn them out, but breaking them? I'm using Saint now for trail because I wanted the even bigger platform!
I had old xtrs, right before they called them xtr for many many years with no issues, something with last years version, where they tried to open it up for mud shedding was weak. I broke 2 sets in a summer in the clamp area, rock contact, but still.. I hit lots of rocks, and had never broken one until those two.

I was skeptical of candy, but after the new 10degree release cleat came out, I fell in love with them. They hold more securely then an xtr at a somewhat loose setting I used to ride, but release come out more consistently and never surprisingly...
Cheers!
W
 

Tom K.

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How are you guys breaking XTR pedals? I have worn them out, but breaking them? I'm using Saint now for trail because I wanted the even bigger platform!
For me, it was blown bearings, and related.

I love the feel of CB pedals, but I can wear out a pair of cleats in 20 hours, and the pedals themselves in 40.

But I'm big-ish, and at least used to pedal really hard. :)
 

Erik Timmerman

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So we've been doing a lot of gravel riding this year. Only been on the Mountain bike a couple of times. My daughter has always been vehemently anti-clipless and loves her Hope pedals + 5.10 combo. I'm fine with that and have never pushed her to switch. Of course she is clipped in on the gravel bike. Anyway... after our last ride she says she wants to switch to clipless on the mountain bike. She said that after so much gravel riding she felt like she was really missing something on her mountain bike. She said she is missing something on the climbs and never realized how much effort she is using just to stay on the pedals on the downhills.
 

martyg

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I don’t see our pros or their coaches on flats. Good enough for me.

I have access to several PhD level physiologists, one who also raced on the world stage, and have been watching for opportunities to discuss this with them. Any peer reviewed study that I have read
has been flawed, and / or has a very small sample set.
 

princo

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I was very quad dominant when pedaling and had to work a little bit to improve my pedal efficiency by engaging and recruiting the various muscles that contribute to the pedal stroke. This diagram helped me visualized the chain of muscles used in the pedal stroke:



(source: http://coachrobmuller.blogspot.com/2017/12/pedal-stroke-explained.html):

While some people claim that flats are as efficient as clips, to me it is very hard to have an efficient use of the muscles referenced in stages 3 to 6 of the diagram when using flats pedals. It feels that with flats you need to use (waste) some force to keep the shoes pressed in contact with the pedal at the bottom of the pedal stroke (3,4,5 in the diagram). This keeps the quads engaged and makes it difficult the transition to using other muscles that could effectively and efficiently contribute power to the stroke. And that to me is inefficient: wasting energy in muscles that are not contributing and preventing the engagement of those that can.
 
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