Ask Pinkbike: More Travel, Locking Out, and Switching to Clipless

Jul 14, 2015
by Pinkbike Staff  
Ask Pinkbike Header

Here at Pinkbike we get inundated with all kinds of questions, ranging from the basic "Can I have stickers" to more in-depth, soul searching types of queries like if you should pop the question or what to name your first child. Ask Pinkbike is an occasional column where we'll be hand picking and answering questions that have been keeping readers up at night, although we'll likely steer clear of those last two and keep it more tech oriented.





More Travel Up Front

Question: Pinkbike user JoshdoesMTBing asked this question in the All-Mountain, Enduro and Cross-Country forum: I own a 120mm travel 29er and I love it. I have been thinking about upgrading the fork, though, and I've also been doing some more aggressive riding. Would adding 10 or 20mm of travel up front be a good or bad idea?

bigquotesThere's nothing wrong with "over-forking" a bike, and plenty of companies offer models with 10 - 20mm more travel up front than out back. But while an extra 20mm of travel might save your ass every now and then, it's not going to instantly allow you to ride faster and go bigger. Skill trumps travel, of course, but it's the slacker head angle that comes from the additional 20mm that might actually make a bigger difference than the travel itself. Likewise, installing a stem that's 10 - 20mm shorter than what you might currently be using will likely give you more confidence than just adding travel. It's not a bad idea to go with a bit more travel if you need a new fork regardless, but I wouldn't recommend spending that kind of money purely to have the extra travel if your fork is functioning well. - Mike Levy

Rocky Mountain Thunderbolt BC Edition review

Rocky Mountain specs their 120mm Thunderbolt with a 130mm travel fork, and they're just one of many companies that offer ''over-forked'' bikes that best suit aggressive riders.






Why Won't My Shock Lock Completely?

Question: Mobweb asks in the All Mountain, Enduro & Cross-Country forum: I'm wondering if there are any enduro shocks that can be almost completely locked during an uphill? I currently ride a Fox shock (not sure about the exact model) which has an "Uphill" mode that reduces some of the bobbing during uphill, but not completely.


bigquotesIt is unlikely that you will find an enduro-specific shock with a true lockout because the typical leverage rates of popular suspension systems nearly triple the compression forces inside the damper - which can balloon the casing and damage the seals in a worse-case scenario, like a botched landing or a bike park hero's "Watch This" moment. For those reasons, suspension makers use a blow-off feature that prevents the shock from "hydraulic locking." Some XC shocks have higher lockout thresholds, and the RockShox Monarch is the "enduro-type" shock that I have used that comes closest to a locked-out feel. Fox takes a more conservative approach with the Float X. Its highest resistance, as you noted, is more like a super firm platform setting. The one AM/enduro shock that does match the nearly rigid XC types in lockout mode is Scott Sport's TwinLoc, made by DT Swiss and featured on its Genius range.

The bottom line, however, is that unless you ride paved roads to get to your downhill tracks, a completely locked rear end is going to slow you down on both the ascents and the flats. XC racers ride rigid rear ends because they need the momentary bursts of acceleration they offer more than the rolling efficiency that suspension brings. If it's rough, they ride out of the saddle and use their muscles for rear suspension, which reflects upon how crazy fit XC pros are. - RC


EWS bike checks
Matti Lehikoinen's Nukeproof Mega AM uses a RockShox Monarch Plus RC3 shock. The "lock" setting is firm, but moderated by a generous blow-off circuit.





Switching to Clipless

Question: Pinkbike user GabrielleV asked this question in the All Mountain, Enduro & Cross-Country Forum: Hey guys, so I've been thinking about it since last fall and now every time I'm on the trail all I can think about is how much more efficient I would be if I were clipped in. Every time I slip a pedal and get my shin eaten up I'm like, OK, seriously, I'm gonna do it! But I don't want to spend much. The price seems to vary so much and I'm new to clipless so I don't see why. I don't mind spending up to $60. I heard something about adjusting the tension I think on Shimano pedals? Which might be good for someone who's new to being clipped in and needs to learn how to bail properly?


bigquotesFor a first set of clipless pedals, I'd recommend the Shimano M530. They're tough, reliable, reasonably light, and at $55 USD or less for a set they fall within your price range. It's easy to be tempted by pedals that only have a clip-in mechanism on one side, but those pedals are best left for commuters, not mountain bikers who need to be able to get in and out as quickly as possible - there's nothing worse than trying to step into a pedal only to find that it's flipped to the wrong side.

You're correct about Shimano pedals possessing adjustable tension - there's a hex bolt on each side of the pedals that can be turned counter-clockwise to reduce the amount of force that's needed to release from the pedals. Start with it almost all the way loose (make sure to adjust both sides of the pedal evenly), and as you become more comfortable you'll be able to increase the tension to suit your needs. Before heading out onto the trails, I'd recommend practicing clipping in and out with your bike mounted in a stationary trainer. This will help you get used to the location of the cleat on each shoe, as well as the motion required for entry and exit without needing to worry about tipping over in front of your buddies. Once it starts to feel natural, head to a grassy field for a little more practice, and then you can take your newfound skills to the trails. - Mike Kazimer

Shimano M530
Shimano's M530 pedals are cable of enduring seasons of abuse without any issues.



Have some unresolved tech questions? Jump in the Pinkbike Forum and we'll look to answer it for next time.


158 Comments

  • 283 101
 Tips for transitioning to clipless:

Dont. Only ride flats.
  • 117 16
 Nothing quite like stalling out on that first mega climb in clips and slowly tipping over into the abyss while you scream WTF!
  • 67 26
 Tips on actually transferring to clipless: Get ready to tip over more times than when you first learned how to walk. Don't worry, one day you'll get so good at clipping out that tip overs will only happen once every dozen rides or so... IT NEVER GOES AWAY! NEVER!!!
  • 9 0
 Been there...
  • 176 6
 i only clip in on my road bike.... that i dont have...
  • 62 26
 I love this attitude!! Stay proud of your speed and bike handling handicap!! Keeps me faster just for being brave enough to ride clipless(which are way less sketchy than flats in reality. Outside of your overthinking mind.)
  • 69 7
 I agree with banjberra, flats are great for some things, but once you get used to clips they're actually great for riding really gnarly stuff that you might be prone to slip a pedal on. Of course it's not for everyone, but give it a fair go (with an open mind) before you write it off.
  • 18 14
 ^Say that to Connor or Sam. I dare you.
  • 5 2
 My comment was actually pointed at banjberra. Anyway. I agree different strokes for different folks. I don't believe, however, that one has a distinct advantage over another, even within racing scenarios, riding clipless or on flats.
  • 13 8
 In spite of your beliefs, clipless pedals paired with confidence and commitment are faster than flats, aside from situations where you will need to be taking your foot off the pedals regularly like in cairns last year. Even then, it's debatable.
  • 10 10
 and like, sam hill and chris kovarik like to drift, drifting through a corner is nearly always slower. That's their style and they don't compromise it for results. It's important that they win on their terms, their way. Or else it's pointless. They can win and it is super sick when someone wins on flats, but most of the time they lose to people in clips.
  • 10 1
 Just got into clips, and my advise is to first just ride around your streets clipping and unclipping, riding in tight circles and hopping up and down the kerb. getting air with clips is quite different, you need to take care of how you move your feet. I'm pretty sold on clips. They require more commitment if you're doing sketchy lines, because you can't move your foot to that 'half bail out' position, but they give you more stability and smoother rider.
  • 15 0
 Was sick and tired off feet flying off in steep tech to rooty to wet crud made the change not caring about uphill effiencey Rear control on the downs is amazing
  • 23 3
 @GetREkTm8 no one cares. Go back to 4chan.
  • 63 2
 tip for switching to clipless, don't tell anyone on Pinkbike Big Grin
  • 15 1
 Rode clipless for years, never tipped over once. Actually unclipping becomes subconscious and you get out fast enough to catch washouts. Switched to flats because clipless is bad for riding unknown technical stuff where you want to session a section and you need an awful lot of distance to clip back in and it messes with your focus. Now i am totally confident on flats and apart from the occasional shin bite and now and then when i am really tired trying to burst up gnarly climbs i pull the foot off the pedal on upstrokes - oh and downswitching under load might lead to losing a pedal as well unless you are used to it. Its more in the mind and habit. Unless you know a section by memory like a wc pro and want to milk it for every tenth flats make more sense to me. I find clipping in always more of a gassle than out.
  • 20 1
 Clipless is great on a hardcore hard tail. If you don't have the dollar to buy a full sus bike or you're still getting into riding, now is the perfect time to give clipless a try! Makes the rear end much easier to control on rougher stuff and your legs can focus on suspension duties. Just thought I'd add that for anyone thinking about giving it a go.
  • 7 27
flag lro0001 (Jul 14, 2015 at 23:49) (Below Threshold)
 Clips are for road bikes
  • 11 0
 I swing both ways, and love it! Flats on the DH bike and clipped in on the pedal bike.
  • 7 2
 PS you can lift and throw the bike around in new and interesting ways with clipless pedals. I wouldn't bother on a FS bike but on a hardtail I'd chose clipless for everything but dirt jumps.
  • 19 7
 ThomDawson - with correct technique you can throw bike around with high heels on pedal axles, lifting bike with cleats is as good as using biceps to pull the front wheel off the ground. I will never forget whipping and unclipping while trying get back to straight. Neither will my balls and top tube Big Grin Roll on what you like, but for fundamental skills, flats are the only way
  • 6 2
 I personnaly have so much more fun since I'm riding clipless. It depends on the rider. Ther's just so much more control! A lot of people don't feel good with the idea of beeing attached to their bike, but dont worry, if you crash the resultis the same,clips or flats.
  • 13 4
 @waki - pretty useful then? :-p
Correct technique is overrated and misconstrued as the hard way always being the best. Just like people who say 'you have to ride a hardtail for x amount of years before you're allowed anywhere near a FS...etc etc'...it's all rubbish. Get the best bike you can, ride the shit out of it and have a blast. Don't let anyone tell you there's a wrong way. I'm not sure who I'm preaching to here but whoever you are thanks for listening!
  • 13 2
 I see no corelation between pulling bike with hamstrings and riding a HT instead of FS. Those are oranges and potatoes. Overdoing pulling with clips, not only limits your max clearance but also throws you out of balance, with little margin for error in case of casing obstacle. Correct technique involves having your toe tips pointing down on the lift thus making it irrelevant what pedals you are on.
  • 9 2
 I clip in for most of the time BTW Wink
  • 9 1
 If you have trouble getting out of clipless pedals...then you just haven't ridden them long enough. Muscle and Mind memory. I don't even think about getting my foot out, it just happens.
  • 4 4
 I just ride...no hate
  • 30 1
 I just hate...no riding here.
  • 5 4
 "correct technique...yada yada yada...you're doing it wrong and I'm better than you"

Try not thinking about it all so much and just ride the bicycle. The more you ride, the quicker you get, the better your technique will be, whatever type of bike it is and whatever pedals you're using.

Correct technique involves riding awesome.
  • 5 2
 @thomdawson That's not true at all. Attitudes like that are why I feel the need to speak up. If you're just a casual rider then don't involve yourself in dialogue about what is the fastest. You don't have the right. Not unless you care about doing what it takes to be the fastest you can be. Flats are good, if you are learning or like to drift excessively. You can learn proper technique on clips if you aren't lazy/mindless. But it is more natural/essential on flats. If you are serious about racing and winning, ride clips. If you want to prove flats can be competitive... try your best. It is possible to win but you are handicapped. If you don't care, ride your bike and don't talk about what is faster or better.
  • 5 1
 No ego here mate. No need to be so defensive. Being able to bunnyhop 2ft log, jump 6ft off a 3" stone at cruising speed, nose wheelie a switchback adds flow, control and lots of flavor to your riding - just sayin'
  • 5 2
 @banjberra sorry I offended you dude. I didn't say either was faster..? I truly don't believe one is faster than the other (if we're talking about pedals still?) I'm still not sure what part of my statement you took a dislike to but I disagree that any casual riders don't have the right to voice their opinion on what may or may not be fast. A guy who is racing has no more right to speak his mind on any topic than anybody else.
@waki I didn't mean to be defensive dude, I respect your opinions (and sometimes even agree!). My comments shouldn't be directed at you personally so I apologise. The whole world of skills courses, correct technique and so on puts my back up. I see people rolling ruts and stuff at 3mph with their "elbows out, knees out, heels down, eyes up" as I'm sure they've been told by an 'instructor' and I can't help but think if they just got on with it and rode some more they'd be eating sections like that for breakfast.
Just for the hell of it: I ride flats for life.
  • 2 1
 I ride both ways. I can ride everything both ways. HT, FS and rigid. My technique is stylish (to the old, fat guy brain I have and what the kids I don't pay have to say) I could ride Rays clipped in with no issues (it's on my bucket list to ride there clipped in). It's all in the mind. It rounds out your skill riding both ways. There is nothing I can do because of the pedal interface and nothing I can't do because of it. BTW, I don't notice the pedals, I see the rider. Stop the hate and just ride..
  • 4 1
 @ThomDawson it's cool, never offended anyone. We're just talking about bikes
  • 7 1
 I vant yoo to die Mr. Bond
  • 1 5
flag WasatchEnduro (Jul 15, 2015 at 9:19) (Below Threshold)
 Time ATAC clipless. You'll never look back. Easy to get in/out of. Plenty of float. Inexpensive and bombproof. Flats for winter riding.
  • 3 2
 I once got stuck in a set of Time ATACs and fell off a cliff. Had to be helivac'd and spent a week in the hospital. It takes so much rotation to disengage out of them that I really don't understand why people rave about them so much. To be fair my ankles do have an unusually small amount of lateral rotation, but I never had a problem with getting out of SPDs. After that incident though, it's flats exclusively for me.
  • 2 1
 I don't know that I have ever slipped a foot off my pedals with Five Tens and HT flats. But i cetainly have gone through rough sections that have slowed me so much I had to put a foot out!
  • 1 0
 Fear mongering "flat pedal riders" spreading conspiracy theories about going OTB scorpion style every run. I understand now. It's all racer subterfuge.
  • 4 0
 Time atac have 3deg quicker release angle than crankbros. I ride them cuz I had trouble clicking out from CBs
  • 4 1
 Reason I like running clips! Bro! Nice bike can I try it out?! Oh wait! You have clips! Never mind!
  • 1 0
 Whenever I decide to clip in I have to max out the tension on my Shimano pedals, and I still have the occasional unintentional pedal release. But I never come off my flat pedals with Five Ten shoes.
  • 1 0
 ^ Then get the Mallets. I've been using them for the past 3-4 years now (same set, shocking, I know). Its essentially a clipless pedal with a big platform and adjustable pin height. They're amazing.
  • 2 0
 @SoDiezl350 -> sorry to hear that, man. No issues getting out of mine ever, including mud/snow. I prefer the open design and the float is easier on my knees than Shimano, though their pedals are bombproof also.
  • 1 0
 I run mallet DH's as well love them! On both of my bikes trail an downhill rigs!
  • 1 0
 Mallets my arse, I got more than plenty of unintentional clip outs in CBs, all it took was adding 2mm spacer between pedal and crank arm because I was tired of getting front of my shoe locked against the crank arm, thus not being able to clip out anytime my left crankarm was anywhere between 3 and 6 o'clock
  • 1 0
 ^ I've never had an unintentional clip out with these (run em tight) but I have gotten that annoying inside front of my shoe hitting the crank arm. It took some time to get use to it but still bugs me.
  • 1 0
 It's all about shimano DX until they release the dh specific pedals. SPD for life!
  • 1 1
 there not even hard to learn, like unless you have no bike skill i only fell over probably 5-10 times and then the next week that i rode with them probably only 1-2 times and now i never do.
  • 68 1
 I think i fell over twice while adapting to clipless 15 years ago and never again after that. All those EWS fast guys and UCI Downhill pros that are clipped in must be wrong. I don't get all the clipless pedal hate on PB, ride what you like and move on.
  • 20 0
 Well said. - I love to clip into my short travel bike, huck jumps and ride down steep tech stuff. Never crash because I'm clipped in, only because I made a mistake.
  • 6 0
 It's probably the initial steep learning curve, they get scared and throw it in early. Completely agree, flats win races so rarely its always a note worthy thing. Had my first clipless related crash a month ago after 20 years, during a climb, cleats where 3+ years old, user error for not checking them.
  • 6 0
 "ride what you like". I like my feet attached. I have been unceremoniously ejected from bike plenty of times an I've not had a problem. (For me) Unclipping is never the thing. It is unconscious and automatic. Getting back in, in a hurry can be the thing. Here my Minnaar 5.10s can help me out. I use Time pedals.
  • 32 4
 Clipless are marginally faster for pros, but clipless pedals don't win races- fast riders do. What pros use is irrelevant to most riders. If you want to ride like the pros, you don't mimic what they are doing NOW. You mimic what they did to get there, and that was probably learning how to ride on flats. Learning to manual, jump, ride trials, high skinnies, etc, is a risk and potential barrier to progress. Learn on flats. Perfect your craft. Then switch(if you want) to clips to shave that last tick off the clock.
  • 4 0
 Yep, bailing/unclipping should become second nature after you make the adjustment. I still ride flats for DH & jumping but clipping in makes too much sense to me for xc. It's al just personal preference.
  • 5 0
 Everybody keeps talking about un-clipping but to me that's the easy part. The real challenge is getting clipped back in when your 20 plus feet up a slab and you know you only have one chance to get back in. One thing that's helped me with this, is moving the cleat closer to the ball of my foot.
I'm running Mavic/Time pedals and am wondering if the spring tension is too weak for me because I often unclip in the of when getting rad. Anyone switch from Times to something with more tension?
  • 5 1
 @AllMountin I wish I could prop you up harder. About +100 or so.
  • 2 0
 I've switched back and forth a few times. I am on clipless now and it is definitely the choice for XC rides and for me it is more efficient and feels more secure on gnarlier trails that I am familiar with. For a really tough trail or something I haven't done before, flats are best. I also need to go back to flats for a while to learn better technique, but every time I do it I get a shinburger. My legs look like leprosy. I need to stop sucking. Meanwhile, I agree the main problem with clipless is getting clipped back in on a rough part, up or down. I can't safely start at the top of a steep one with clipless, I need a ramp up to get clipped in and balanced.
  • 4 0
 Oh, and I would suggest the M540 for entry level clipless. Much better axle and seal; it is as good as the XT and will last forever, marginal cost increase. The cages on the "trail" versions might help a bit for wandering feet but they are also good mud collectors.
  • 1 0
 Agree on the 540s, I have 3 sets, they are nice.
  • 4 1
 I've been clipped in for 22 years or so. I switched to flats with Five Tens and a wide pin Answer Rove (no slipping and get less shoe damage compared to sharp/skinny pins) last year to see if there was a difference. I've ridden bridges, skinnies (40 foot long, 4"-6" wide) jumped, dropped, bunny hopped logs/obstacles, manuals, wheelies and bump jumped, both ways, clipped in and with flats, on the same trail 50 or so times with each set up. I actually have slightly faster total times (only a minute or so over an hour) and don't feel as worn out after a ride being clipped in. There is nothing I can't do with or without clips. I get flack from guys I ride with for riding clipped in and am not sure why. I do the same stuff they do in flats while I'm clipped in. Or maybe that's why.. Wink
  • 31 5
 With pinned flats and 5.10 freeriders my foot never slips off the pedals. I think I actually used to come off the clipless pedals.
  • 5 2
 Agreed. Used to get more unintentional clip outs than I do pedal slips.
  • 6 0
 I ride pinned flats and 5.10s too... My shins and ankles are proof of that!
  • 5 0
 With DMR Vaults and 510s I haven't ever cut my shin
  • 1 0
 i scarred my shin pretty good with flats... but that was before 5.10's... no unintentionnal pedal slips ever after
  • 1 0
 yup. Rode clipless for 20 years then switched to flats a few years ago when my original Shimano m747's finally died. What I know: I have more fun on flats, I feel like my riding's progressed way more since switching to flats, and with Freeriders I've never even come close to slipping a pedal, though can say I came unclipped in some pretty hairy situations. That all said, I'm not a racer, nor do I wish to be; it's more important to me to both have fun and be able to ride tomorrow than to go that fast Wink
  • 14 1
 I switched to clipless over a year ago but I got nothing against flats. They both have their benefits. I stopped riding Dh and went more to the Enduro scene and that's when I switched. I actually am about 10 seconds slower on my Dh times even after over a year of riding on them. I feel more hesitant to do something dumb but I do like the ease of peddling and pumping things that I would normally loose my footing. Now although I have lost time going downhill I am actually faster going up and have gotten in better shape. Maybe it's because of the ability to wear carbon fiber soled shoes. I don't know. I just say ride with what you like and have fun.
  • 8 0
 Took me at least a year to feel completely competant with clip less. I try flats now and then and feel the same as when I did starting clip less. Uncomfortable and hesitant. I can't stand the feeling of my feet moving around on flats now.
  • 3 0
 Strange. I was faster riding DH a week or so after I switched to clips, just because I knew my feet were always exactly where i wanted them. It felt easier on my knees too due to the float.
  • 3 0
 yah, it's always crazy every time I get on flats again lol.
  • 11 0
 I clipout almost every time when I crash riding DH. I never go into a section scared to ride fast because of it.
  • 8 0
 Why is everyone obsessed with "switching" to flats or clipless? Am I the only person who regularly swaps out pedal depending on what I'm riding? Seriously, pedals are the fastest, easiest thing on a bike to swap, it takes under a minute if you're sober, maybe just over a minute drunk.

Why debate? Know how to ride both and what situation demands it.
  • 4 0
 You are right pedals are the fastest! Oh sorry I didn't finish reading the sentence. But seriously did you every try riding with out pedals, it doesn't matter if you clip on or ride flats it's tough.
  • 1 0
 Nice I do the same
  • 7 0
 When switching to clipless check your local pinkbike buy/sell section. I picked up a pair of Shimano pedals and specialized shoes for $50.
  • 5 0
 Check with the manufacturer to be sure. I have a Transition Bandit 29er with an upgraded fork...now 140mm vs 120mm spec. When I checked in with Transition before pulling the trigger, they confirmed that the frame was actually designed with up to 140mm in mind. Verdict - I love it!
  • 4 0
 I transferred to clipless earlier in the war after taking a pin from the flat pedal to the back of the leg, leading to 12 stitches. I would suggest pairing the M530 trail pedals with the new shimano m089 shoes. Cost a total of about $140. Easy to set up and feel comfortable. I practiced in my backyard, then the oval, then the path and then the trails. Only took a day or two to get the hang of it. Be ready for lots of awkward spills when you forget to clip out though haha
  • 4 0
 Year* not war :/
  • 36 0
 shhh, it's a better story
  • 8 0
 "Don't mention the war!"
  • 6 1
 What about the "Jewish gold"? could that unease Claudio Caluori?
  • 3 1
 "Hello, I'd like to deposit some jewish gold"
  • 3 0
 I just put a new Fox 36 170 on my Banshee Rune, after having a 160 on it for the last year, and holy shite, it's a huge difference. I'm sure it's a better fork that's making part of the difference but now it feels like I can plow through stuff way way faster than before. I am having to keep weight forward on the climbs though, so it's a bit of a tradeoff. So I'd say add more travel and slack that rig out for good times!
  • 1 0
 Good advice! Slackem and Rackem
  • 3 0
 I use a Sidi with Shimano clip on my left foot and a 5.10 with Stratline flat on my right. I am indecisive, and want the benefits of both! I don't really, but the conversation of flats v clips is ridiculous. Try 'em both. Ride what you like.

BTW - can we stop calling clipped-in pedals clipless yet? Clipless was a name given to pedals with binding-and-cleat engagement when they were the alternative to the cage and toe clip (strap) that preceded them. That was 25 years ago.
  • 2 0
 Thanks for the history lesson. This "clipless" term is inverse of the actual application FTW!
  • 4 1
 Thinking of switching from clips to flats to learn better technique. What are good shoes. I'm not sure it's worth the extra $50 to get 5.10 when vans look like they'd work fine.
  • 9 0
 5.10's and other mtb specific flat shoes have a more durable flat surface that will last longer. Vans may work well at first, but they won't last very long.
  • 11 0
 5.10s stick where Vans don't too. You'll regret Vans if you get them.
  • 8 0
 I went from vans to 5.10 freeriders and the difference is astounding. I clip in on the road bike, but have stuck with flats for off road.
  • 4 18
flag anchoricex (Jul 14, 2015 at 19:16) (Below Threshold)
 Vans last plenty long. This is nuts. I've rode the same pair all year and they're fine, in fact I prefer the bottom of my Vans to any of my other shoes for holding onto pedals. I outgrew slipping pedals and smacking shins when I was, what, 15? Just be conscious about it while you ride for a few days and then it's like second nature. Cheap shoes + ride more = realize you probably didnt need those hideous 5 10 shoes after all when your skillset improves
  • 5 0
 @jfkusa, you will forget about that extra $50 in the long run. Just get the Five Tens. They are the best. I've been riding MTB pretty hard for over twenty years, and am confident on both clips (race and train) or flats (fun and muddy conditions). I used to use skate shoes, but once I tried Five Tens (I have owned six pairs) it really changed my MTB experience for the better.
  • 1 1
 Go for it jfkusa, did the same years ago and don't regret it. FWIW I ride 5.10 impacts or dirtbags with saint or nukeproof pedals. Best advice I can give is drop your heels down when it gets gnarly or steep. I reckon the main benefit is my balance on the bike is better these days, especially when jumping. I still suck, just less than when clipped in.
  • 1 0
 I would never have put the money aside to get 5.10s and would always ride in whatever skate shoes I would find cheap in tk maxx. Then a generous riding buddy gave me his old pair of 5.10s and having had them I would never go back! Get the 5.10s, you won't regret it.
  • 2 0
 I wore some Vans on literally one ride and there was already obvious wear and tear on the sole, with pitting and small pieces getting torn out. They don't grip as well, and so shift around in the rough, and being of a more brittle rubber compound, get torn up by the pins. In short, skate shoes functionally suck for MTB, and will be very short-lived. Every penny spent on 5.10s is worth it, but I've also seen some on sale in the $60-75 range. It depends on size and what colors you can tolerate. Look around.

I don't know what @anchoricex is speaking about. I'd guess that Vans makes shoe soles with several different rubber compounds and some work better than others for MTB? Or maybe his trails are much more smooth than mine? In any case, given then choice between "any old Vans" and "any old 5.10s," I'll take one pair of the 5.10s before I'd take 5 or 10 pairs of the Vans.
  • 2 0
 I always buy 5.10's on sale, can usually get them for $50. I just picked up a pair of Dirtbag low's for $30, free shipping (6pm.com). These will be my commute to work, hang out with shorts on at a picnic type shoes. That's the beauty of flats. I can get on a bike anytime and ride!
  • 4 0
 All five ten's have better grip then other even the five ten's that are worn out
  • 2 0
 But God do they wear out quick. I usually go through like 3-4 a season. Am I doing it wrong?
  • 1 0
 @SoDiezl350 sounds like it - 5.10's use very soft rubber for the grip - are you walking around in them a lot? that will wear them down 10 times faster than pedaling in them
  • 2 0
 @jfkusa another vote for 5.10's - the grip provided vs skate shoes like vans is astounding. you'll never be able to go back
  • 1 0
 Find some skates shoes that fit you well and add some ankle protection this seems to work for the worlds best riders.
  • 7 3
 "but it's the slacker head angle that comes from the additional 20mm that might actually make a bigger difference..."
Hmm, a angle headset???
  • 3 2
 second that. adding 20mm will change the seat angle, bb height, stack and reach. that's a lot of changes.
  • 5 3
 Umm, as will an angled headset...
  • 4 1
 I run 36 160 in my 125 blur tr and I like it ten times mores than stock 32 130mm, even though seat angle sits at 70deg now
  • 1 0
 Yes, you'll own a Frankenstein version of your original bikes design. So, just ask yourself "you feel lucky punk? So do ya?"
  • 7 0
 i ride with no pedals
  • 2 0
 Don't be so crazy, try pedals.
  • 2 0
 Wow clip vs flats exposes an ugly side of p├«nkbike, there is trail rage out there just under the surface so I'm going to be more careful how I address strangers..

I bought m737 new, massive improvement to the toe clips I used before. Toe clips were dangerous!
  • 2 0
 From experience I have run both the basic Rockshox Monarch and the newer RockShox Monarch Plus RC3 shock ... the Basic Monarch has as close to a lockout as you can get, the latter is just very firm and not even close to a lockout, it's not even penned as a lockout, it does give you a totally railed feel though. Hope this helps
  • 14 13
 "Every time I slip a pedal and get my shin eaten up I'm like, OK, seriously" if you were clipped in you would have likely taken it down quite a bit harder. I'll take a shin hit and an easy bail over a clipped in crash any day.
  • 5 3
 Lately I have hit my shin and even made me ride fewer days last week to be able to recover properly. But I prefer the freedom of the flats than any clipless the market can offer.
  • 4 2
 Furthermore, @joshdoesmtbing what pedals and shoes are you using?? With Five tens and some decent flats ya won't be slipping pedals all too often.
  • 6 1
 Two words of advice: FIVE TEN
  • 24 3
 I take it you don't ride clips then, 99% of my high speed crashes Im clipped out before I touch the ground! not once have a crashed and said I wish I had of had flats on for that.
  • 5 21
flag Thustlewhumber (Jul 14, 2015 at 18:42) (Below Threshold)
 I'm sure 99% of your high speed crashes would go away if you weren't spending time trying to unclip.
  • 2 2
 that's how you describe a joey.
  • 2 0
 @Roguee : I don't anymore because I pretty much only freeride and I have not had great luck unclipping in the air to bail. I guess there are more types of pedal slips than what I encounter. I only seem to have a problem slipping a pedal on hard landings.
  • 1 0
 Another trade off. I used to ride flats on a big bike, but would often come unglued in gnarly rock gardens. High skinnies clipped in are interesting to say the least. I would say clips for park/AM, and maybe flats for North Shore tech rainy months.
  • 1 0
 This was my 'switching to clipless' from flats Spent money on new Crank Bros Mallet DH Spent money on 5.10 Minnaars Rode Sold Crank Bros Mallet DH Sold 5.10 Minnaars Spent money on 5.10 Hills Ride whatever you're comfortable with. I'm a flat man, regardless of which bike
  • 1 0
 OVERFORKING: I have a Commencal Meta29 AM, 130mm front and back: I felt like it needed to be slacker and able to take bigger hits whilst enduro racing, so I took the Fox Float 130mm off and put a 160mm Pike up front, and a shorter 35mm stem. The bike is utterly transformed: it swallows black runs in the Alps, and has given me so much more confidence at speed on gnarly trails.
Highly recommend it. But as stated in the article, the taller fork slackened the head angle which is also a bonus.
  • 2 0
 Did the same on my yeti. Stock 140 switched to 160. Yetis already have a pretty slack head angle and that made it even better. Man I can haul over some pretty gnarly stuff
  • 1 0
 All the people saying they destroy their shins on flats in steep, tech stuff and blow their feet off. May I recommend looking at your shock settings? If your feet are getting blown off a lot, your rear end is too stiff.

Only time my feet come off in rock/root gardens, steep tech stuff is when its my mistake or I want my foot off
  • 3 2
 I ride the North Shore, Squamish, Whistler (not WBP) and Pemby and rarely, if ever, see anyone riding black trails on flats. If flats are so great how come nobody rides them on some of the best technical trails anywhere?
  • 1 1
 Probably because of the steep technical climbs that lead to the top of those trails, that's why I switched back to clipless after years of riding flats.
  • 2 1
 Same for me. Some of these guys will have you believe 5-10's plus flats are just as good but obviously they've never had the pleasure of grinding up Legacy or Nimby.
  • 3 0
 If you really want to over fork your 29er put a fox 40 with a 26'er wheel in front. HA!
  • 2 0
 Nah go for a Super Monster
  • 2 0
 I'd pay money to see that. Not a lot, but i'd pay.
  • 1 0
 How about an Cane Creek Angleset for @JoshdoesMTBing? I've always been curious as to how much difference slacking the head tube 1.5 degrees can have on a bike not designed for it.
  • 1 0
 I have those pedals and they are good, they are durable so you can bash them around all you want without fear of internal damage.
  • 1 0
 I ride 520's for about ~12k kilometers (5 years) without rebuild or one problem. They ate lot of rocks over the time, not much rain though, but I'd say they are pretty solid.
  • 1 0
 Size 16 shoe. No five10 option. In fact, There are no large shoes developed for flats. At least not that I have seen. It would be nice to try...
  • 2 0
 Are "cable" of taking abuse?
  • 1 0
 exactly, laughed so hard Big Grin
  • 3 1
 Need to go fast so i ride clipped in, I can't help if I always win
  • 2 0
 @six66
I'm using shimano Saint flats at the moment.
  • 1 0
 More importantly, what shoes ya using?
  • 2 0
 Just some trainers/walking shoes
  • 3 0
 More importantly than pedals, get yourself some five tens (shoes), check on pinkbikes Buysell if money is an issue... You'll probably never slip a pedal again in your life man..
  • 2 0
 Thanks for answering my question here, lots of help!
  • 1 0
 I'd like to see someone do a superman seat grab on clips. Now that would take talent
  • 1 0
 Cheap clipless pedals: REI outlet has VP vpx trails on sale for $20 right now. If you're a member you get 25% off that.
  • 1 0
 they don't know before this. Now they know.
  • 1 0
 cliptomaniacs everywhere aahhh !!
  • 1 0
 Rabble, rabble, rabble!
  • 1 1
 YOU GUYS ARE A LOT OF FUN.
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