Ask Pinkbike: Clipless or Flats, Building Ramps, & Preventing Hand Pain

Nov 5, 2019
by Daniel Sapp  

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.




Hand and Knuckle Pain
Question: @Hawkinco asks in the Downhill Forum: This was my first year at the park and on a DH bike, and the bottom side of the base of my ring finger on each side was killing me, I haven’t ridden in 3 weeks and they still feel bruised! I bought thicker grips for my last 3 rides, always brake with one finger, try to be conscious of not gripping too tight. I’m was thinking of trying some Vibrocore bars and definitely upgrading from my Boxxer fork. Any other tips?


bigquotesYour situation isn't isolated by any means. Almost everyone I know, myself included, has had some hand pain after riding in the bike park. After a bunch of runs often all you can do is make circles with your hands and hope you're still holding onto the bars when you land. How long does that take to get conditioned and will you ever be conditioned? It depends on the person, but sometimes it can take a couple weeks of consistent bike park riding, and even at that, some of the best riders will still say that their hands hurt after a long day of hitting rocks and brake bumps. However, there may be some things you can do to help.

Body position is a good place to start. If you're trying to ride in the perfect position, you may be focusing a lot on keeping your arms out, which is good but, your core could be falling down a little because you're loading your arms but not using your core. Doing some core strengthening may help you be able to ride with your body supporting you more rather than relying too much on your arms. This will take some weight off of your hands and provide some relief.

You also seem to be on the right track by trying out different grips but keep in mind that thicker grips may not be the answer. You need the correct size grips for your hands, that's more important than thicker padding. A lot of people seem to be enchanted by the Vibrocore handlebar set up and that could also be worth a try. If your bars are too stiff, they could be transmitting a lot of chatter from the trail into your hands. There's an interesting read on mountain biking and vibrations here.

Ensuring that your fork and shock are properly tuned is really important in managing trail noise. If you have too much or too little compression or rebound damping then you are just fighting your bike the whole run down, so ensure that your fork is properly set up, and if it is a coil set-up then it needs to be the appropriate weight spring for you.

The biggest thing that's helped me is that when my hands start to hurt, I get off of the flow trails and head to the singletrack. There seems to be less traffic and therefore fewer braking bumps and vibrations on technical trails in any bike park I've ever ridden. 14 runs on an A-Line style trail may be fun, but you're going to essentially jackhammer your hands apart by the end of the day. Plus, mixing it up makes you a well-rounded mountain biker, capable of riding more than perfectly groomed jump lips. Sometimes, it's all just pushing through. Do keep in mind that if you're having severe or unusual pain, numbness, or tingling, it's always worth checking in with a medical professional to make sure there are no other underlying issues causing your discomfort.

Kade Edwards good for 59th in qualies after taking one to the hands near the bottom.
Riding the bike park isn't easy on your hands but there are some ways to make it more tolerable.




Clipless vs Flats
Question: @shred14 asks in the All Mountain, Enduro, & Cross-Country Forum: I've been enduro racing for the past year and I have run flats for every race. They have saved me in wash-outs but in short flats and uphill sprints, I seem to be slowed down. I do have a fair bit of experience with clipless riding from XC to cyclocross but am debating whether to try it for enduro? What do you think about clipless or flat pedals for enduro?


bigquotesThis is one of the most timeless debates in our sport. It even outlasts the 27.5" vs 29" wheel argument (at least we can all finally agree that 29" is better now, right?). This is something that is going to be different for everyone and could vary from track to track.

While some people are going to be quick to say, "Flat pedals win medals" and point to Sam Hill's dominance on them, it's really important to remember that you're not Sam Hill. He's an anomaly in a number of ways, and there's just no translating what one of the best riders in the world is doing to what you're doing. You're playing a different sport. Connor Fearon rides flats but is convinced clipping in is better for most riders.

I think that if you have a lot of experience in riding clipless with XC, and especially cyclocross, you probably are proficient in getting in and out of the pedals. Chances are, you could pop out and save yourself from washing out in an enduro race clipped in as well. Clipless pedals offer the advantage of keeping your feet secured while you're in rough terrain and then you have a little more power when heading uphill. There are more styles of high-performance clipless shoes to choose from that will have stiffer soles than there are stiff flat pedal options. The stiffness will help transfer power to the pedals and you'll feel better in those sections of pedaling. Most clipless pedals that you would want to race enduro on will have a fairly substantial platform on them, compared to the bare-bones pedals you use for XC or CX so that you can easily clip in and out, and, if you miss clipping in and you're dropping into a technical section of trail you can still manage.

Most importantly, you just need to be comfortable riding whatever you are riding. I went through years where I rode clipless pedals almost exclusively, then I rode flats for several more before I started occasionally going back to clipping in on rugged terrain. At first, it was terrifying and I was uncomfortable. Now, I'm probably more at home clipped in on almost any terrain compared to flat pedals. Give yourself time to get comfortable while clipped in. If you end up sticking with flats, then that's fine too. Maybe look for a shoe that offers a little more support in that situation.

Connor Fearon rides the all-new carbon Process 29
Connor Fearon rides flats but says clipless pedals are better...




How to Build a Wooden Jump Ramp

Question: @Chamacia asks in the Freeride & Slopestyle Forum: I would like to build a jump ramp out of wood and would like to know if there is a transition radius that's good? Want it to work for 26" and 27.5", not BMX. Any other input is welcome as well.

bigquotesI'm going to make the assumption that you're building a ramp for a trick jump so let's talk about that.

Eric Porter (@portermtb) has been building and riding jumps for a long time and has more experience with it than almost anyone so I gave him a call to get the lowdown on what you want to do. We're going to talk in feet here, so apologies ahead of time if you need to convert things to metric.

For a 12-14' gap, a good place to start is a 10.5' radius with a 6' tall lip. If the gap is longer or shorter, you'll want to open or close the radius some. For instance, a 16-18' gap will have an 11-11.5' radius and an 8-10' gap will have a tighter radius. There's no perfect formula as things could change to account for speed and style. In the end, the speed you're hitting the jump with will help dictate your radius and that's something you will have to decide on yourself through a little trial and error.

There are countless ways that you can construct your jump but a few things to keep in mind to help it go smoothly. If you're riding the jump only on a MTB with some suspension, then you can build the ramp with slats for a nice MTB look and feel. Traditional construction would be using plywood sheeting. You'll want to use 3/4" plywood on the outside with 2x4' ribs up the center and a sheet of 3/8" plywood on the face that you can bend to match the transition. The MTB style with slats is easier to modify as you can just pull a slat off to shorten it without more involved disassembly as you would with plywood.

One big tip is to build the jump in your driveway or on another flat surface so that you can ensure everything is square. Put everything together with screws so you can take it apart or fine-tune things and keep in mind what your run-in looks like...you may need to start your transition a little differently to account for the terrain.

Eric Porter has one of the sickest backyard setups stacked with stunt ramps a pump track and a water slide snake run connected to another pump track in the neighbor s yard.
Wooden ramps are one of the best ways to learn tricks. Measure twice, cut once. Photo by: Ben van Avermaete





142 Comments

  • 45 7
 Clips are more efficient and I find help with climbing but I always come back to flats coz I think why do I ride my bike ?, I'm not a racer, I pedal up just to come down and flats just (for me) make it more fun and free.
Going back to flats from 6 months exclusively on clips on all bikes , I love that you can move your feet around when riding and that you feel 'into' the pedal rather than 'on top' of. The lack of stiffness putting power down is noticeable however now.

I also spent an hour today on the gravel bike with Penthouses practising manuals, wheelies and stoppies on drop bars! I wouldn't have done that with the clips still on. Think that sums it up.
  • 22 25
 If it’s good enough for Sam...
  • 4 7
 I used to race cyclocross on composite flats because I was wildly unprepared to have all of the heat sapped out of my feet by metal clips in my shoes. Borrowing the $50 flats off my MTB were much cheaper than buying booties and socks and whatever else folks use to keep their feet warm.
  • 9 0
 Note the OP is a racer. If you want to go faster, you make sacrifices to comfort.
  • 10 4
 I am also down with the flats unless I’m on a hardtail. Even for the smoothest riders who use their legs as suspension, clipless will allow you to ride fast rocky lines on a hardtail that would buck your feet off the pedals if you were on flats.
  • 26 0
 @diegosk: funny, I rode flats on the hardtail for years just to practice not bouncing off in any situation.
  • 9 2
 I was on Clips for 12 Years and then went on Flats for One year, they definitely made me a better rider...But I eventually went back to Clips so that I had one less thing to worry (think) about on the bike.
  • 12 11
 @diego-b: LOL. ?? Dude it's the other way around. Riding flats gives you one less thing to worry about. You don't have to think about unclipping.... Wink
  • 2 0
 @staylo85: me too and it makes you a great rider. When you have the form that comes from riding flats combined with the security of clipless you can really haul ass.
  • 5 0
 @mybaben: says someone who likely hasn't spent a couple of decades on clips. I've switched back and forth over the last couple of years after clips since the '90s. Flats are hard and require a lot more planning, but that's good for me.
  • 4 0
 I'm a long time flat rider I clipped in for this enduro race season and my results improved which I attribute mostly to the pedals. They definitely feel more efficient to me which means the liaisons are less taxing, and being able to smash pedals in the rocky pinches that some trails have was another clear benefit. Summer is here now and it's shuttle season so I'm back to flats.
  • 1 0
 @iamamodel: yeah exactly. Ask Martin Maes what he uses. Or if not ask the 50/01 crew what they use!

I agree you may need to sacrifice feel/comfort/freedom for performance if you're a racer.
  • 1 0
 @staylo85: yea @diegosk more pumptrack man
  • 1 0
 After watching m.pinkbike.com/news/video-sam-hill-goes-downcountry-on-the-nukeproof-reactor.html how could you not want to ride flats. You can get your feet off and on so quickly without thinking.

I ride both but prefer flats when things get tech or you just want to have fun. Clips are more efficient though
  • 2 12
flag WAKIdesigns (Nov 6, 2019 at 4:12) (Below Threshold)
 @fartymarty: there can be no flats vs clips debate when people are ready to spend hours debating Shimano SPD over Crankbros or Times... as to flats, extra large platform with thin concave and pins with thread on the outside or GTFO. There are flat pedals and there are flat pedals. Not to mention the shoes... there are five tens and there are five tens. And then everything else. I'd never ride DH on flats, I'd never ride a hardtail in the woods on flats. I'd never clip in for road or dirt. XC FS - flats, clipping in, whatever. Most of all I will never ride Shimano SPD system. I'd rather ride plastic wellgos from my kids bike.
  • 4 0
 @WAKIdesigns: and just the mention of "Clips v Flats" in a Pinkbike article will generate hundreds of comments.

Each to their own I say. Try both and make up your own mind rather than letting the keyboard warriors decide for you.
  • 2 0
 @fartymarty: Agreed. Everybody has their own opinion, and but the truth is both clips and flats can be both fast and fun. Just find what you like and roll with it. The only exception I would make is for beginers. Learning to jump on clips is a recipe for bad jumping form down the road (learned this the hard way).
  • 2 1
 Not only do I fully agree, but I honestly think the gains with clips in enduro are borderline negligible. I look around at ppl on clips and most don't even have decent pedaling form. I feel the majority of people would get more benefit from keeping their back straight and applying smoother pedal strokes than clips. Also, if it is so significant for racing, why are many pros still running flats? In my opinion it's like an automatic vs standard transmission; sure auto's are easier, but I think a skilled driver will have more fun and possibly get some performance gains(not power in this analogy but other gains like adjusting foot position and easily taking your foot on and off the pedal) from a standard.
  • 2 0
 I have grown up riding XC and road, and carried on riding clipped in when I started riding more technical stuff and racing enduros. This year I thought I'd get some proper flat shoes and pedals and learn to ride flats, and I am now in a position where I can easily change from one to another, and feel like I have got benefits from both. Clipped in is still faster for me in racing, particularly in rough stuff or when there is a lot of pedalling involved. But riding the flats has helped me be looser and more relaxed, and work on better technique for jumping. Flats for wet days and loose rides, and clips for longer rides and racing
  • 2 1
 @InsaNeil024: for most people, including experts clipping in is a matter of being able to focus more on the trail ahead. You have some nice focus on trail ahead? Your foot got bounced - there it was... i am no stranger to flats, hip drive and all fancy shmamcy jargon of keepimg it real, skills development and feedback, dropped hees and supple feet, but when I am in the minefield of fixed rocks and roots on a 160-200 bike I don’t want to need to think about my feet. I also love the float of crank bros pedals allowing me to corner with hips more and get my weight forward. I am telling that from experience, not theory
  • 1 1
 @InsaNeil024: there can be no doubt that there is plenty of misinformation and pure, marketing driven BS in clipped in world (which is why I don’t use them for road riding) but there’s quite a few myths floating around flat pedals too. Try everything for a prolonged period of time, it’s the only way to make an ”informed” choice. But we have to remember that many folks don’t have the luxury of time and dedication to do that.

On the part of Sam and flats the most impressive thing for me is that he races XC on them, on a hardtail with tall saddle and no dropper.
  • 1 0
 @diegosk: I've always ridden with flats and i suck
  • 43 17
 29'ers are better at being heavy, better at flexing, better at slow acceleration & better at sucking the fun out of riding a bike.
  • 6 1
 Love this post. Lol. I absolutely love my 27.5 remedy
  • 19 0
 Like those Kong toys. Can never get all the peanut butter out no matter how hard I try.
  • 7 9
 Just rode my first 29er (a Kona process 134) and it was amazingly fun. I was sold. Lighter feeling, snappier, hecka poppy, and FAST. My patrol, Troy, and transam haven't ever felt quite as playful.
  • 2 2
 @VFreehd: 3 bike you mention are know to be on heavy side.
  • 2 1
 When are your 24s arriving?
  • 6 1
 Don't forget better at giving you skid marks if your inseam is under 32" and you ride mildly steep stuff!
  • 1 0
 @Brzzi: my patrol is heavy but my Troy was carbón and lighter than the Aluminum process I rode.
  • 42 16
 "at least we can all finally agree that 29" is better now, right?" No they're not. What a load of crap, who are those "we" you are talking about, don't count me in.
  • 19 7
 +1 on that bullshit. There are MANY factors that determine which wheel size is best for a given rider. Also, only a very small percentage of MTB riders actually race competitively, so who cares what is "supposed" to be fastest. Along those same lines there is only 1-2% of riders in the world who can actually ride a 275 to its maximum, and then say, "I need more speed."
  • 18 5
 It was a joke homie
  • 13 2
 29" for rollover.... 27.5" for everything else, unless you want more rollover and speed - then 27.5+... unless you bikepack - then 29+... unless you DJ then 26"... unless you bmx - then 20"... unless you ride in the snow then 26+++... unless you ski then ski-blades.
  • 4 0
 @Thustlewhumber: or ride whatever make you smile
  • 1 0
 @Thustlewhumber:and dont forget the 4y0ld rockin the 16''
  • 1 0
 So, “Pick a wheel size and be a dick about it” is no longer a thing?
  • 3 1
 @skibuilder: People have no sense of humor.
  • 1 1
 I interpreted this differently, I thought he meant that 29" is better now...than it used to be. Which is most definitely true.
  • 3 0
 @TheR: That's not funny.
  • 3 0
 @matttauszik: That's because you're one of those without a sense of humor. Big Grin
  • 18 1
 Free plug: I started using Cushcores and found that helped substantially with decreased hand pain in addition to all their other added benefits. I know they're expensive but I'm super happy them. I used to take extra strength Advil like candy to manage hand pain from bike park riding and now I only need them for when I inevitably eat shit.
  • 2 0
 Totally agree - same here, cushcore since August this year and noticed a big difference
  • 2 1
 Cushcore, 31.6 alloy bars and revgrips.
  • 3 1
 @dubod22: that sounds like one dope product! Cushcore Handlebars With Revgrips Suspension
  • 5 0
 +1 for 31.8mm bars. I rode 35mm bars for over a year and tried really hard to like them (a carbon set and an alloy set). In the end I gave up and went back to 31.8mm and I'm SO glad.
  • 11 0
 @shred14: Easy answer. You are a racer. The most important thing is the stopwatch. Ride the same courses several times switching from clips to flats. Time yourself. Choose what is fastest. Keep in mind 'in order to finish first, first you must finish ', so if the fastest pedal is also the sketchiest, then are you aiming for consistency or are you a 'checkers or wreckers ' kinda guy /gal?
  • 14 1
 Ugh. 2019 and we're still talking flats vs. clips. I'm out.
  • 2 0
 clips are clearly better. flats are still the best.yep
  • 11 0
 If Connor Fearon is wrong, I don't wanna be right.
  • 10 0
 Just to qualify.....29ers are better than 27.5 for SOME PEOPLE....NOT ALL
  • 6 0
 The clipless vs flats dead horse is still alive? Somebody please kill this thing with fire. Then send it to the glue factory. Or the (insert elementary school name here) cafeteria.
  • 8 0
 Clip for the left pedal and flat for the right, vice versa for northern hemisphere.
  • 5 1
 Soreness to both ring and pinky fingers could be ulnar tunnel syndrome._ You might have your handlebars rotated to an upwards V like trials riders prefer._Try playing around with the angle the bar is rotated to even the pressure across your palms (you won't need to go to the downwards angled extreme of a cafe/moto GP racer)
  • 1 0
 there are multiple factors involved in hand comfort, Bar rotation, brake position, grip size, bar width, reach, body position, A fatter grip doesn't necessarily mean more comfort. If we look at the easy changes brake position is really key to alleviating hand pain, brakes rotated too far down will mean that on steep sections you are having to wrap your wrist further round & therefore putting constant stress on tendons, as a starting point brakes should be inline with your hand/arm when stood on the pedals in a neutral position, having brakes with a far out bite point also increases the stress try to bring the lever/bite point closer to the grip so your hand can make more of a fist shape when braking. don't forget that the tendons in your hand are linked so stress in one finger also gets transmitted to its neighbour finger. As taprider commented bar rotation is also key too far back or forward will also add stress to wrist & hand, this is something you will have to play with, for me I prefer a small amount of bar roll away from me as this puts support on the hand rather than the wrist . Adjusting to new positions can feel awkward at first but after a while your brain will adjust, there are a lot of factors, start with one element like brake position ride a few runs & see how it works then try to change another element, don't go changing every thing at one go. Make notes of the positions you start with so you can always s return to them as a base. I use the level measure on my iPhone to measure brake lever level degrees, a simple tape measure to measure brake reach & marks on my stem & handlebars for bar alignment.

or the simple solution imparted to me by a top level rider 25 years ago 'you just need to get off those coward levers
mate!'.

hope this helps
  • 1 0
 @Noserider5: ^Yes
Make adjustments to and experiment with the equipment you have and/or get someone knowledgeable to assess your set up , BEFORE buying new stuff
  • 4 0
 Oneup carbon bar + rev grips and I can finally ride in comfort. I should also mention that having the correct bar rise/height plays a big role. I was riding a 15mm rise bar and felt like too much of my weight was being supported through my arms. Changed out to a 35mm rise and it feels worlds better.
  • 1 0
 Handel bar is HUGE in hand pain. With the new larger diameter bars more vibration can be sent to your hands. I was having issues and couldn't ride. Switched to a Renthal 30 mm riser and my pain went away almost instantly.
  • 1 0
 I'm sure that there are different variables at play regarding that hand pain. What really helped me was adjusting the brake levers to bite as close as possible to the bars so your tendons are not stretched out too much during the ride.

The second thing is making stops during runs. Just a minute or two for your hands to recover. I always imagine having some pain limit in your hands and if you cross it (which is usually easy) your hands will not recover that day, and from that point on your pain will just be greater and greater. I'm a very occasional bike park rider and we always go in groups. Most of the guys are less experienced with that and what they do without fail is to do as much runs as possible ("to make their money's worth"). So they will do full runs immediately until they scream from hand pain, making second half of the day completely unenjoyable. So I always stop on the same spots during the run and once people figure out that it helps, they join it. Also, it does help not riding with dicksWink
  • 6 0
 Flats for practice/skills building, Clips for races.
  • 3 0
 Great answer on the pedals question. Basically it's highly likely that most riders would be faster on clipless, but many are simply afraid of them - it's the uncomfortable truth. Queue neg props...
  • 2 0
 I had pain and have permanent lumps in the meat on the bottom sides of ring and middle finger from shitty grips.Went to quality grips and pain went away, it was like night and day.
  • 2 0
 I ride bikes because I enjoy it, and for that flat pedals are better so its easy. Also standing 'in to' the bike is so much better for cornering & riding in general than being propped up on a clipless pedal.
  • 2 1
 Pedal bit mirror to my own situation. Dead comfortable with either setup but for Enduro I have stuck with Flats as: 1. no matter how hard I tighten clipless pedal, angle of bike out of turns = foot blow out if sprinting. 2. Enduro Stage starts have been mostly from a standstill in my experience, with no gate to lean on so with clips first 3 seconds are trying to get foot in with moderate pedaling. Flats it is full mash from ‘go’, multiplied by # of stages meaning measurable time loss if clipped in on each start on day. Flying start enduros #2 NA of course.
  • 3 1
 Lol @ reason 2...
  • 1 0
 @Hawkinco I agree with strengthening exercises. I don't like the gym too much, but despise cold weather more, so I do the gym thing in winter and taper off in the summer. Personally, I do a mix of strength, core, and endurance exercises to mix it up so I'm ready for bike park season. You don't have to go nuts., but it's amazing what strength and core do to help manage a bike. I have one of those squishy egg thingys that I have at work or home and I'll squeeze the heck out of that thing a zillion times. Mixing the runs up is pretty good too. The flow trails are way more punishing than the tech.
  • 2 1
 I am 30 yrs old been riding clips for 20 years from dh to dj xc and anything in between. Racing its what's fastest but being comfortable on your bike is important too. If you are uncomfortable on your bike then you are more likely to over think or hesitate which can cause crash. Do what make you feel comfortable. 29ers arent the best just the trend for the tight trails with switchbacks I ride and lots of tech I appreciate the maneuvering ability of the smaller wheels but I do still ride 26in in the bike park there is no perfect answer for everyone.
  • 2 1
 7 years ago I spent 3 days at Angel Fire on my Giant Faith and I had crazy arm pump and finger soreness/stiffness. It was my first park experience. It took a week for the pain to subside. Since then, I have pain, stiffness, and some swelling with every ride and it comes up in other activities like weightlifting, kayaking, and climbing- basically, I can't climb. I never had issues before that trip. I haven't seen a doctor but I'm wondering if you can develop arthritis from overdoing it like that. I'm only 33 and don't like my hands feeling decades older.
  • 1 0
 I recommend a few sessions with a great massage therapist, especially one who specializes in recovery from injury. Made a world of a difference for me. Or, if youd rather do it at home, get a roleo.
  • 1 0
 Is there a marginal difference between the Crankbros clipless systems(egg beater pedals) vs. the Shimano SPD? One you "pull up" and SPD you twist the ankle, wondering if using Crankbros would be that much "different" ? I wanna give em a try at some point perhaps
  • 2 0
 CB are easier to get in but a bit harder to come out than SPD. SPD have a more binding kind of feel while CB feel a bit more floaty. If you ride in mud, CB clears it bit better, especially in CX when you ride that frozen kind of mud. SPD cleats lcan last years, CB cleats need to be replaced frequently, usually less than a year for frequent use. Quality wise Shimano is still miles ahead, I have 5yo XTR pedals which were completely trashed, used in every condition, never serviced and are still perfect, although I can't say the same thing for egg beaters.
  • 3 0
 Times.
  • 1 0
 The sore base of fingers could be pain linked to finger tendon pulleys. I find riding bike park stuff, fast, chattery, rough/braking bumps seem to give me this problem, especially on multiple days. I use climbers finger tape between my knuckle joints on my middle and ring fingers to offer support to the pulleys and it tends to help to prevent this pain.
Obviously there's more factors to hand pain than just this, most have been mentioned already.
  • 1 0
 Finally, someone else complaining about their hands after the bike park... brake bumps are the WORST.... as long as there aren't brake bumps everywhere, I can ride all day, every day... 3-4 consecutive laps on Live Wire (Northstar), with those brake bumps, I'm out of commission for a couple days... Brake bump sections should be turned into asphalt!
  • 1 0
 Is my face read after actually reading the answer. Sam Hill might be an anomaly but sure is a damn good example that it is not a disadvantage. I've been switching back and forth lately and I'm more and more convinced that there is little (very little) advantage to being clipped in. Especially with how good flat pedals and shoes are now. The real answer is try both and ride what feels better.
  • 4 0
 I ride my Clips like flat. Experience and practice makes perfection.
  • 4 0
 Any links for plans to build wooden ramps would be great.
  • 2 0
 Dj Brandt has a good tutorial on YouTube
  • 4 0
 Why are clips called clip-less anyway?
  • 11 0
 Toe clips used to be literal plastic cages with a strap that you slipped your foot in and cinched down on your shoe. Very similar to the kind of foot strap you would find on a rowing machine.

Once shimano came out with SPD they became known as "Clip-Less" because you didn't need toe clips anymore!

If you think clip less is sketchy, try riding legit toe clips.

www.sportsmith.com/toe-clip-assembly-pair-3-in-1/product/P1495150A?gclid=Cj0KCQiA2ITuBRDkARIsAMK9Q7M9RE-E4rEpNW74YtloBO1-zPu63uHcy85EgPLUALprz1_1uk9FR9MaAmE7EALw_wcB

P.S. Thanks for making me feel old Wink
  • 3 1
 @hardcore-hardtail: Ha, my first real bike was a Ritchey Logic full rigid with plastic basket death pedals, I'm feeling old with you. Thanks for the info, I always wondered and never asked.
  • 2 1
 Because they don't have toe clips and straps. When I started racing that was the option for mtb's and I also used them for road racing for about a year. Got me some spd's when they first came out and never looked back...well I tried flats for a minute in 2005 but not long enough to get used to it, so it was just super unnerving.
  • 2 3
 Clips is short for clipless.
  • 4 0
 @DarrenBlois123:
Plastic clips are bad enough but...

My first road bike had metal pedals that the cleat on the shoe would slot onto then you cinch your foot on with leather toe straps. I fell down so many times after derailing off the chainrings or having to stop unexpectedly. Then you are pretty much just stuck on your bike lying on your side like a total idiot, trying to figure out how to reach the foot that is under the bike to undo the toe straps.
  • 4 2
 start calling them clip pedals and one day others will follow please
  • 6 3
 @hardcore-hardtail: Wrong. The original Shimano clip pedals were too strong for many riders. After some well publicized injuries on Mt Tam, they came out with clip-less and clip-more versions. Eventually all but the strongest riders came to prefer the "less" model. The "more" model was dropped for liability concerns and now all clip pedals are called clipless even though the history has been largely forgotten.
  • 3 0
 @acali: hahahaaa
  • 1 0
 @acali: nailed it
  • 1 0
 @Hawkinco I have the vibrocore bars and I can’t notice any difference between them and regular bars. I got revgrips because their designed to stop arm pump and they work wonders
  • 3 0
 On the sore hands issue... maybe try raising your brake levels and perhaps a two clicks open on HSC,???
  • 4 0
 Bruh. Sore hands? Two words: SHAKE WEIGHT
  • 2 0
 Although for guys there’s another option Wink
  • 1 0
 What is this about the 27.5 vs 29 debate being over? Was thinking about buying a new 27.5er but sounds like I better just maintain my current bike and wait a good 3 or so years for this to sort out before I get a new one.
  • 2 2
 I ride and race XC, CX, and ride my road bikes all clipped in, but riding mountain bikes on gnarly terrain clipped in, scares the shit out of me!! I'm flats guy all the way on my MTB. LOL. Oh well....
  • 6 6
 If you suffer from sore fingers and forearms, do some cross training in the form of rock climbing. Get to the level that you can climb 5.12 sport routes and you won’t have all those sore fingers or forearms anymore.
  • 6 0
 Or learn how to play guitar, that will strengthen your wrists and fingers up. Then we can have the acoustic vs. electric debate (answer = both).
  • 5 0
 damn, you speak of 5.12 as something that can be achieved easily... it takes years and commitment to do that unless for some gifted individuals (at least on real rock).

Climbing is technically and physically complex and demanding, but something that can be done exclusively for finger strenght/stamina with quite fast results and little work is finger board training (hanging). Google for 'Eva Lopez training' and you'll find the methodology.

Also, I've been a commited climber for 13 years and counting and I climb 5.12, but still get sore fingers at the park. Taping helps, takes some strain off the tendons and pulleys.

BTW, ring finger is the worst, the size of the index and the streght of the pinkie, that's asking for trouble, most finger injuries go there.
  • 1 0
 @ismasan: I do agree with you. 5.12 isn’t easily achieved... but nothing worthwhile is. Do you think rock climbing has helped you as it relates to finger strength helping with reducing the finger/forearm pain associated with long descents and riding all day in the bike park? I can say with certainty that it has for me, but I’ve spent most of the last 15 years racing/riding bmx, sport climbing, and bouldering. I definitely don’t get the finger/forearm pump I’ve heard others complain about while spending all day in the bike park. A little discomfort, sure. But nothing a little shake out doesn’t cure in 30 seconds at the bottom of park.

Also, anyone considering rock climbing as a means to increase finger strength should probably just focus on climbing a couple/few times a week for at least 6 months before hitting the hangboard for the purpose of avoiding tendon issues.
  • 1 0
 Regardless of my rock climbing strength / endurance, I get knuckle pain if I use grips that are too small. Switched to larger diameter grips and the knuckle pain was gone. Arm pump on the other hand is more of a strength / body position issue for me.
  • 1 0
 @breakerb: That's a good call, you need a little conditioning before moving to a hangboard. It could probably be done in a bar first, if not climbing.

I mean, to climb 5.12 one has to really be into climbing in the long term, ain't something you can do casually. But sure beining able to climb easier stuff already makes a difference.

After all this years, in my case, I can say I barely have arm pump riding park but man, the fingers... the vibration is killer. Pinkie and ring fingers mostly.
  • 5 0
 @SlodownU: just wanted to say thank you for bringing guitar into this. That is all.
  • 1 2
 I love the way riding enduro clipped in feels, I switched from exclusively riding flats a bit over a year ago and now whenever i switch back i feel sketchy af. however I also like to take my bike to the bike park and will (try) to throw 3's and hopefully flips soon. Should i man up and try to flip clipped in or relearn to ride trail on flats?
  • 4 0
 Flip clipped in? Sure if you want a Darwin Award.
  • 11 1
 Learn to flip the correct way with flats. Watch any ex roadie at Rampage and you'll see they all cheat by pulling up with their legs across the canyon gap.
  • 2 0
 @acali: This didn't get the upvotes it deserved!! Love it.
  • 4 3
 Can we officially stop saying clipless for a clip pedal/shoe? everyone says its 'weird', so lets end it now. Edit the article please, it starts here lol.
  • 1 0
 @stikmanglaspell Also can we stop writing stick with the extra "C"? Its unnecessary and confusing. From here on lets write "Stiks and stones is a good beginner trail at Northstar.
  • 1 0
 Um no. You see, with clipless there are no clips. Flat pedals are flat and clipless pedals have no clips. The world isn't going to change language because you don't know the etymology.
  • 1 0
 No love in the comments section for the good advice on building a jump?
I mean, I'm not going to do it, but I like to know I could.
  • 1 0
 Slip on grips, ODI Rouges. best change for combating hand pain. An I tried stem up/down long/short bard back/forward. Second best was going from 50 to a 35mm stem
  • 2 0
 The Rouges are great, but I’ve had much better luck with Oury grips. +1 for getting that handle bar height and length dialed. Helps a ton.
  • 2 0
 ODI Elite Pro's = win.
  • 1 0
 For hand strenght,I recommend working 8h a day with a fork lifter. Works for me.
  • 1 0
 I operated a forklift once upon a time. What are you talking about?
  • 1 0
 @the-burd: The manual one. Moving heavy cargo around a warehouse all day as strenghtened my hands a lot.
  • 2 0
 Connor's forearms are massive holy shit
  • 3 1
 clipless is faster for any sort of bike racing...... sorry
  • 2 1
 Never apologize for being the smartest person in the Forum
  • 1 0
 Except for that time when Sam Hill won the championship on flats. Oh yeah and that other time in another discipline.
  • 2 0
 @the-burd: cant we all agree Sam is an outlier
  • 1 0
 Real riders all rode Suntour Bear Trap pedals. I still have the scars to prove it! Long live clipless.
  • 1 0
 best Thing I ever did to reduce hand pain riding bike park every day was stop wearing gloves!
  • 3 1
 Clip in to Win fo life!
  • 1 0
 Funny how they no longer have the author sign off on the advice given...
  • 1 0
 Not necessary when all the responses are from the same person, and they give his byline at the top. No conspiracy, dude.
  • 1 0
 Easy answer to the clipless vs flats question: Sam Hill.
  • 2 0
 ur not Sam Hill, look at basically any other racer
  • 1 0
 Clipped in = no Jibbing. That's it for me!
  • 1 0
 still terrified of the clips. OG bmx guy thing, I guess.
  • 1 0
 #NEVERCLIPIN
  • 2 5
 I'm leading a grip strength workshop for mountain bikers at Brevard Yoga Center Nov. 23. at 11 a.m. Come see me.
  • 5 7
 Buncha wimps trying to decide footwear, go ride your bikes!
  • 3 0
 Ya but what does do I wear?
  • 3 1
 @scvkurt03: who the hell needs shoes. You think jesus wore shoes while he ripped up the trails of Jerusalem? WWMTBJD
  • 3 0
 @SacAssassin: Does that mean I finally have a practical reason to purchase these?? www.rei.com/product/111667/shimano-sd5-bike-sandals-mens
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