Video: Clipless vs. Flat Pedals - The Pros and Cons of Both

Feb 20, 2020
by Pinkbike Originals  


The age old debate of clipless vs. flat pedals rages on. Christina Chappetta heads out on a ride in Squamish to discuss the pros and cons of each pedal.











599 Comments

  • 278 10
 Ride both. Different tools for different tasks.
  • 13 4
 Same
  • 886 3
 Yep, flat on the right, clipless on the left.
  • 61 4
 Sure, I've ridden both (though I've been on flats for the last 4 years) so I can relate, but is there some actual scientific data to back up her "15-30% energy savings" claim? I think the last flame war in the forums I read on the subject debated if there were any actual energy savings. I get it, in theory, because your other foot pulls up while the one is pushing down, but I'd still like to see actual evidence of energy savings.
  • 62 99
flag WAKIdesigns (Feb 20, 2020 at 7:54) (Below Threshold)
 Which flats which clipless which shoes on which bike? V8 pedal has little to do with OneUp flat pedal... Shimano XT SPD has also little to do with CrankBros. Same about shoes. Running shoes Vs Freeriders Pro, XC ballerinas vs 5.10 Hellcat... everything of the latter please...
  • 60 2
 This argument has fallen flat once again.
  • 10 6
 exactly.

JKW reasons correspond pretty good to my experience. Flats are more fun even though they are slower. For going very fast or very long at or over the limits of your skills clip in and hang on

youtu.be/cwcu2pvOaxI
  • 107 31
 @gnarlysipes: No there is no evidence for the 15-30% claim. She lost credibility at that moment for me.
  • 21 12
 That almost seems like you could potentially use more energy as you are pulling up where you wouldn’t with flats, or maybe break even in energy expenditure. Either way taking a rider who hasn’t used flats in a long time and doing a back to back test seems like there might be a bias there. Also using less energy for the climbs and not having to think about where your foot is on the pedal, one could make the argument it’s for lazy people with bad technique. Granted I am biased and cheap as I use slip on vans and flats for everything.
  • 4 7
 This. On flats after broken ankle. Tried to go back on spuds, but with 5.10 shoes interface had way too much slop. Picked up some mallets that fit tight with shoe, but miss easy click in and out of shimano. Anyhow sticking with flats except for chairlift laps. Can't afford to lose a pedal when jumping.
  • 25 1
 @maxyedor: Errr, are you some kind of neanderthal? Flats on the left, clips on the right, obviously.
  • 9 2
 @maxyedor: guessing your favorite motorsport is NASCAR
  • 77 2
 @Monsterman156: 61% of all statistics are completely made up
  • 16 0
 @MisterCouch: puns are moving at a slow clip.
  • 44 5
 @gnarlysipes: I remember awhile back seeing a study on roadies, debunking the idea that they're putting power down around their entire pedaling circle. On the upstroke, most people were just unweighting their pedal so that their downstroke wasn't fighting the upstroke.

I think that's probably true here - clipless less you unweight your upstroke pedal while remaining solidly clipped in. So for someone with the right pedaling technique on flats, not putting downward pressure on the pedal during the upstroke, the efficiency level of clips vs. flats could probably be comparable.

I bet a lot of people riding flats unwittingly weight their upstroke pedal though, to keep their foot solidly engaged, making their legs fight each other and hurting their efficiency.
  • 65 1
 @gnarlysipes: there is a ton of data from the road biking world, which is pretty easily accessible, that says there is not any particular difference in power and efficiency between flats and clipless. Essentially all your power is generated during the downstroke, matter what people say about having power on the upstroke with clipless.

That said, if someone is trying to ensure having optimal pedal position, so that they are generating repeatable, maximal force during the downstroke, that's where the real advantage of clipless lies, as you can tune exactly where your foot is on the pedal in a way that is exactly the same every time. Even in this case though, for the average person that makes very little difference, most of the benefit would be if you are trying to shave seconds off of large efforts
  • 25 1
 @gnarlysipes I try to switch between flats and clips pretty regularly. I can say it definitely does feel more efficient with clips, but that's not because I'm pushing/pulling at the same time - I mean who, other than roadies or XC pros, has the discipline to ride like that all the time. If it's on my bike, I'm more than likely to be smashing down regardless of what pedal I'm on.

I think the feeling of efficiency comes more from the stiffer sole on the clipped shoe than anything else.
  • 4 2
 @jesse-effing-edwards: The comments so far fell flat.
  • 13 24
flag WAKIdesigns (Feb 20, 2020 at 8:32) (Below Threshold)
 @Gnarcoticsanonymous: Correct... but for Enduro/DH/Hardtail we use cleats to stay on the bike... yes I do ride flats for most of the time...
  • 13 1
 @gnarlysipes: I think that a lot of the efficiency comes from the fact that your foot does not slip or come up off of the pedals while climbing, so with clips you can be a little lazier and focus solely on the downstroke. Now, your foot probably does not come off that often, but multiply that over a 2-3 hour ride and it adds up. Also, factor in that in technical terrain you need to use more technique to stay on the pedals, and that adds up also.
  • 3 1
 @Monsterman156: yeah, that is a huge gain. In this day and age these statements are highly suspect.
  • 25 1
 It's 2020. I refuse to participate in this debate at this point in time.
  • 4 1
 @gnarlysipes: as someone who rides flats 90 percent of the time I’d agree with that general assessment. Even descending particularly on a hard tail is significantly less energy consuming with clips.
  • 58 0
 Im faster in clips but more willing to do weird shit in flats
  • 2 0
 @maxyedor: I've seriously considered this option, but I'm afraid of getting a hefty fine from the fashion police Big Grin
  • 14 1
 @artistformlyknowasdan: Nope, my favorite motorsport is e-bike racing
  • 4 1
 @Gnarcoticsanonymous: If we are talking optimal foot position/efficiency on the pedal then clips reduce your options dramatically - to one. I have gone to flats for the last 5+ish years from clips and now have a ball of the foot over the pedal axle for pedalling and then more centre of the foot over the pedal axle for a heel drop pumping mode on descents.
That said I will contradict myself with - flat for fun - clips for competition - that many races can't be wrong can they? Wisdom of crowds and all......?
  • 2 0
 @VtVolk: you can also use fact to prove anything that's even remotely true.
  • 4 3
 @wildedge586: +1. There are really two scenarios; recreational riding and racing. For rec riding, use whatever feels good to you. For racing use what keeps you on the bike and keeps you from losing time, which are clip less pedals.
  • 17 1
 There is a missing topic I never hear mentioned, and it really only applies to endurance rides. Argue if you want about more power or not with clipless pedals, but I know for sure they can provide recovery that flats can’t. On long endurance rides, you can focus on only pulling up - yes you will still be using quads - but taking some of the load off from just pushing for even a few minutes can allow your quads to recover while maintaining pace when you are tired and deep into a long day. Sticking in the pedals on rough descents, consistent foot placement and recovery are the biggest pros for me of being clipped.
  • 3 0
 Ditto. I ride clips in the warmer months on my trail/endruo bike, and flats in the winter. Keeps the skills fresh, but I do think I am faster up and down in clips. I do only ride flats on my DH bike though.
  • 1 0
 @Monsterman156: same here. I’ve looked at the papers and even for roadies it’s not this.
  • 3 1
 @g123: that's a good point. Probably works. One counterpoint - on flats you have the ability to move your feet around, where clipped-in you have to stay in the same place under the ball of your foot. So while you can't 'pull up' you can use slightly different muscles or pedaling stroke by adjusting where your foot lands on the pedal. Maybe those platform-clips and a compatible shoe could be best of both worlds.

For what its worth I've never slipped a pedal on a rough descent in 10 years of PNW riding on flats.
  • 11 1
 @gumbytex:
Right - like this paper
Gross cycling efficiency is not altered with and without toe-clips
Laura M. Ostler , James A. Betts & Christopher J. Gore
To cite this article: Laura M. Ostler , James A. Betts & Christopher J. Gore (200Cool Gross cycling efficiency is not altered with and without toe-clips, Journal of Sports Sciences, 26:1, 47-55, DOI: 10.1080/02640410701332507
To link to this article: doi.org/10.1080/02640410701332507
  • 6 1
 @Gnarcoticsanonymous: agreed. But sometimes in mountain biking, especially on technical climbings, you can pull briefly on a pedal, to jump a roots or to add the little power at the right moment. It is not a good idea for real jumps, but useful for super slow situations. Sometimes you cannot even do a full round with your feet because an obstacle is messing, it is easier with clipless pedals to pull, push, pull, push.
I do not see clip pedals improving the average power of a long constant effort, but much more on punctual coups de cul.
  • 51 2
 Pick a pedal and be a dick about it.
  • 2 0
 @maxyedor: and one shaved leg for the win
  • 5 3
 First they should sort out what theyre called - Pedals you clip into that are called clipless...hmm... amIright!?
  • 2 0
 @gnarlysipes: I think the data would be different for each rider depending on the quality of their pedaling technique. I also don't think lifting the pedal is where it's at, it's more dragging it backwards in the bottom of the pedal stroke. I imagine scraping poop off the bottom of my shoe on a step when thinking about technique., Clips or flats, lifting seems like an energy waste.
  • 4 0
 @WAKIdesigns: I agree completely with this, personally I use both depending on the situation. I was speaking more towards the persistent myth of the massive efficiency bonus of clipless
  • 5 4
 @wildedge586: Sam Hill walks behind you saying “oh really...” plenty of racers out there proving you wrong that flats are slower.
  • 5 10
flag WAKIdesigns (Feb 20, 2020 at 11:19) (Below Threshold)
 @Gnarcoticsanonymous: sure, it’s a myth. I personally prefer flats for road and climbing. Especially tech climbs.
  • 2 0
 All the loose turns I ride on my DH trails are lefts....and all the right hand turns are super techy....So I ride with a flat pedal on my left crank and a clipless on my right. Problem Solved
  • 2 0
 @jesse-effing-edwards: Indeed, I must have picked the wrong platform to introduce the pun thread.
  • 1 1
 @Monsterman156: He says with no source to back him up...
  • 1 0
 @kcurd: funny I only run clips for xc.
  • 5 0
 @celstark: That's with toe clips for one, and ignores the fact that a clipless shoe is usually much stiffer than a skate style shoe used with flats. There isn't any increase in efficiency due to pulling up on the pedal, but reducing the losses from flex of the shoe (which would flex more and cause even more loss of efficiency the harder you were pedaling) is likely to be significant.
  • 13 6
 @gumbytex: Flat pedals also don't have float. You may change your foot position multiple times during a ride, but on any given pedal revolution your foot is locked in with regards to rotation, assuming you're using performance flats with good pins and sticky rubber shoes like 5.10s. If you're doing multiple hour rides, not allowing the natural rotation of your foot, like a clipless pedal would, could put stress on the knees.
  • 2 1
 @gnarlysipes: some days ago I saw a video on gcn about this thing. They were doing the test with the same speed, same time in both runs, one in flats with running shoes, other clipped in. The result showed that the difference was on the sole. Since the soft sole of the shoe take some energy away from the pedal, there is a loss of some 5 to 10 percent. On xc it is a big difference, downhill and Enduro, not so much. The main advantage is having the bike glued to you vs having to work your way to have the bike do what you want. And I still prefer the flat pedal, even on a roadie.
  • 2 0
 Yep.

Trail/everyday riding - clipless

Park - Flats
  • 12 14
 @TucsonDon: road clipless have almost zero float. A stiff shoe like Freerider Pro or Impact Pro pressed on big platform pedal give you stable power transfer. Your knees are far worse pressing on a wobbly cleat mechanism , usually no bigger than 2x2cm in a rigid shoe. Especially in shoes with cleat mounted more forward. Flats allow you to easily place the midfoot over the axle. And well.. being aware of grip you can change your foot placement a bit quite often. If you wanted to make a case against flats when it comes to knee health it is the cornering. But then clipping out of pedals like shimano or ht with hard set springs makes a case against clipless. There is no resolving this case...
  • 28 2
 Christ. If I never saw another clips vs flats article for the rest of my life I'd be a happy person.
  • 2 0
 @VtVolk: I disagree that statement is only right 43.72% of the time all of the time.
  • 5 2
 Road and MTB clipless systems both have float. Road systems more than MTB systems for the most part. If your shoe's sole on your MTB clipless system are not making contact with the pedal on both sides of the cleat, then your cleats are not set up properly. Without that contact the interface is really wobbly and inefficient. There is more set-up involved for clipless, but when it's properly dialed in it is really secure, efficient, and easy to get out of fast. I can still foot stomp my way out of a fall on a slippery rooted corner. I have fun shaped feet where they are quite narrow from the mid foot to the heel, kinda wide at the ball of the foot, and pretty low volume. Tried getting some flat shoes a few years back and they all felt awful. Floating in the mid foot and heel while being crushed in a vice at the ball of my foot, no thank you. Plus everyone complains about shoes for flats falling apart pretty fast, while I use the same shoes for at least 5 years at a time. I would hate replacing shoes all the time.
  • 4 0
 @tbubier: No, come on let's argue about it some more. You be flats and I'll be clipless! Or you can be clipless and I'll be flats...
  • 2 14
flag WAKIdesigns (Feb 20, 2020 at 12:47) (Below Threshold)
 @MeloBikeCO: Most shoes these days are too shallow and companies make too thin platforms. Everything to lower the weight. Old Shimano shoes and first Hellcats from 5.10 were working well with old Shimano pedals, but that era is gone. At least with pedals without adjustable pins. Pedals should be thicker just like shoe soles, so that you have a possibility to adjust the spacing using washers between cleat and shoe.
  • 1 0
 I would suggest a power assessment between flats and clips. @gnarlysipes:
  • 2 0
 @WAKIdesigns:
I use rigid shoes and Shimano XT trail pedals. My shoes contact on both sides of the cleat, on the machined smooth section of the pedal. I have run across some shoes that the lugs on either side of the cleat mounting are are too low to contact which is a major oversight on the shoe companies side, since you can always shim a cleat to be able to engage it.

Don't have much experience with clipless flat style shoes, but had one experience that was amazing but it was long ago. Original DX pedals with a Specialized shoe, Fat Boy I think. It felt like your whole shoe was the pedal.

I feel like being clipped in but then also having pin trying to engage into the sole of your shoe would be the most frightening thing ever. Can't imagine that it would be possible to get out when you are trying to put pressure into the bike through a corner, then you have the bike slide out on something wet. I feel like the few people that I knew that ran that sort of set up removed most of the pins because of that.
  • 1 0
 @artistformlyknowasdan: Or Flat Track Motorcycle Racing......All of those left turns with a foot out.
  • 1 1
 @Monsterman156: I stopped watching at that point.
  • 1 0
 @Gnarcoticsanonymous: I think that’s the key. I spend more time than I’d like trying to get my foot exactly where I want it on flats—probably just my OCD. Whereas when I’m running clips, I clip in and don’t think about it again. That said, I prefer flats as an all around pedal. Just my opinion.
  • 1 11
flag WAKIdesigns (Feb 20, 2020 at 13:24) (Below Threshold)
 @MeloBikeCO: that is exactly what I mean. Look at the Thickness of the old DX and those silly new trail pedals. You just can’t achieve that stability. Same was true for old Time DH pedals. Those MX ones or Speciale useless platforms. I can setup my Mallets dh no problem though.
  • 2 0
 @gnarlysipes: the only scientific studies I can find say clips give minimal benefit. Maybe 4% of overall power can be delivered on the upstroke, and that's at lowest speeds, it goes towards 1% as speeds increase.
  • 1 0
 @GBeard: "not having to thing where your foot is..." I completely feel the reverse! On clips your foot stay where you set it up and the cleat play follows your tib/fib rotation while the knee flex/ext. Few rides I did on flats I had to replace my feet a lot while climbing... Only for trial (kind of) training for me.
  • 1 0
 Also on flat AFAIK you're supposed to pedal with the arch of the foot, not with the toe bone or whatever you call it with clipless. Pedalling with the arch makes up for the less stiff sole of the shoes compared to clipless. So if you just switch clips for flats and the other way around, I think you're doing something wrong. Also there are these large catalyst pedals that may be really good to put the power down. Too bad I have a leg discrepancy and have to use 2 different pedal thickness.
  • 1 0
 @WAKIdesigns:
There is no fore/aft stability on a pedal, so the only thing I give up with my setup is being able to apply cross angle pressure on the pedal. If I rode DH or Enduro I would perhaps worry about it.
  • 1 0
 @gumbytex: you bet... Find some proof. Until then, power benefit from clips is scientifically proven as minimal, just a few percent, and even then only with pretty much perfect clipped-in form.
  • 10 0
 @just6979:
I've only ever heard of trying to generate power by pulling up on the pedal in 2 situations.

1. When trying to clear techy rough terrain where you are also needing to ratchet the pedals.

2. When debating flats vs clipless as evidence that it makes no difference to be clipped in as you can't really make power by pull ng up in the pedal.

When I was taught how to smooth my pedal stroke as a junior road racer I was told that you push and then act like you are scraping mud off your shoe at the bottom of the stroke. You can do that with either pedal type, unless you have super dropped heels while pedaling. I was never taught to try and pull up with my foot, I was actually taught that was something not to do outside of a few select situations, like a Time Trial start.
  • 1 11
flag WAKIdesigns (Feb 20, 2020 at 13:50) (Below Threshold)
 @MeloBikeCO: How can there be side play when fore aft is secured? I tried Time Atacs and Deore trail with 5.10 falcons and Shimano mt43 and in both cases the system was wobblt to the sides. You must have some unique shoes
  • 6 12
flag WAKIdesigns (Feb 20, 2020 at 13:53) (Below Threshold)
 @MeloBikeCO: you don’t need to be clipped in to pull on pedals in techy terrain, in the very same way you can jump up pulling on Clipless pedals when wearing sneakers. You just tip your toes down.
  • 2 1
 @WAKIdesigns:
I don't think I understand the question. Your shoes sole/lugs should be contacting the pedal on both the inboard and outboard side of the pedal next to the cleat, that is how you get side to side stability on traditional clipless pedals. You don't need any platform at all.

You can also have a large platform to get stability if your shoes don't have that contact point with the pedal, or are not as rigid. With rigid lugged mountain bike shoes though, the platform is just there in case you miss a clip in or need something to stand on for a moment. When clipped in there is no way my shoes would contact any part of any pedal, except for those 2 spots on either side of the cleat. So I use the Shimano trail pedals, as the platform is only touched by my shoe for about 4 seconds if something goes wrong on a section of trail, but I would probably hit a big platform pedal on the ground multiple times per ride as I wouldn't be used to it.
  • 1 0
 @Will-narayan: I have leg length too and kind of just manage with flats and foot position. What pedals do you have or how do you get the pedal thickness changed?
  • 1 1
 @WAKIdesigns:
That is strange that the MT43's lugs didn't touch the pedal. There are the speedplay Syzr pedals that actually kinda solved this wobble issue, but it can be frustrating as no one has put an adjustable height contact point on either side of the cleat area.
  • 1 1
 @WAKIdesigns:
I actually rode BMX street bikes for a few years, so pretty familiar with pulling the bike up with flats. Different than pulling directly up on the pedal while ratcheting the cranks though.
  • 1 0
 @fautquecaswing: Absolutely. There are pluses to being attached and on those tech bits where I just want a touch more power *now*, being unable to pull while on flats is a downside. But, to start the video saying it's clear that we have a 15-30% efficiency on climbs doesn't capture that.
  • 12 0
 I honestly couldn’t watch the whole thing....please PB if you are going to have someone do a comparison like this please have someone do it who regularly rides both which I assume is a lot of us...clipless for XC and flats for more tech and jump trails on bigger bikes...this was painful to watch at times ....back to basics is completely missing the point and advantages of flats...they both have their place
  • 6 4
 @WAKIdesigns: Go on a road ride and tell me you can put down short bursts of maximum watts on flats (for instance when you need to move up in the group/peleton or beat a yellow light). Clipless isn't more efficient, but it allows for higher maximum wattage. Think way back to world champs in 2015 at Cairns (i think the date is right). Sam Hill took 5th or something on an Enduro bike. Ironically, he lost the most time on the last split which was a 100 yard pedalfest flat section. Don't tell me he isn't one of the more fit DH cyclists out there. He simply couldn't put down track-racing level watts without being clipped in.
  • 1 0
 @celstark: I never really thought about it as I don't ride nearly as much on flats as I do clipped in, but does ratcheting over rock gardens etc. suck on flats?
  • 10 1
 @MeloBikeCO: You and other people here are SO WRONG about clipless pedals. Almost ALL clipless riders pull alot when they are at MAXIMUM TORQUE (and often also maximum power). There situations are not rare. For instance at the beginning of a sprint or a fast start or just about always then you need a lot of power at low RPM. ....many riders riding clip less have experienced this when you don't have the cleat and pedal clamping force set up correctly an you foot gets released when you pull the most (especially with cleats made to release in all directions). And trust me, you are going to be lucky not to totally crush you knee in your handlebars. Your MAXIMUM TOURQUE OUTPUT is much higher with clipless. With FLATS TORQUE IS LIMITED to: ((your weight x gravity)+total force on handlebars) x (crankarm length). ...forces acting tangent to the crankarm. On the other hand with clipless you are unlimited.
  • 1 2
 I'm wondering if the perceived difference in power (as stated) might be because clipless shoes are "usually" stiffer than flats. Not always, I know,

Just saying........it might not have anything to do with the pedal
  • 2 1
 I think a lot of the energy savings comes from the stiffness of your shoe more than the pedal. It’s the shoe that increases the energy transfer. He seems why Top of the line roadie And xc shoes are so stiff are having stiffness ratings. @Monsterman156:
  • 1 1
 @IluvRIDING:
I did say that you pull up on pedals in those sorts of situations, I have blown out of Time clipless road pedals many times in the distant past during Time Trial starts, but only crashed once. Saying that it is not rare is a matter of definition of "rare" however. If I define rare as less than 1% of the time, I would say that it is rare that I pull up on my pedals, especially once I stopped racing.

Most people don't pull up on pedals, while pedaling, at least 99% of the time, unless you are a track sprinter or something. Likely why the track folk were running double toestraps forever.
  • 1 0
 @MeloBikeCO: "Pedal Back not Down"
  • 3 0
 @MeloBikeCO: Your comment is what I wanted to say. There is peddling smooth circles (mud scraping) and mashing. It’s totally possible to spin circles with flats, and I would argue that because of the finesse required I am a better peddler on flats than I would be otherwise. I also feel that overall I am a looser rider with flats because I move with the bike instead of dragging the bike with me. I can ride with clips like that now if I want, but this is because of flats.
  • 1 0
 @polarflux:
Totally agree with your comment. I don't have much mobility in my ankle that I ride with as my back leg, so I can't really drop my heel for the rough stuff. Other wise I would happily ride flats on the mountain bike for at least part of the year.
  • 7 2
 I'M RIGHT BECAUSE I'VE BEEN RIDING CLIPLESS FOR 20 YEARS AND I'M TOO OLD TO CHANGE
  • 1 0
 @Monsterman156: Yep, that is when I hit stop.
  • 1 0
 @gnarlysipes: I think the energy savings is largely due to the ability to not use stabilizers to stay in the correct position on the pedal. Idk
  • 2 0
 @gnarlysipes: it's not about energy saving, since to go faster you must put out more energy. Conservation of energy and thermodymanics are a cruel mistress! that said, it's actually about ability to put out energy. If you are using more muscle groups for a given task at a given total output, you wil be able to go futher and potentially faster. Clips allow you to engage the hamstrings, and the even the glutes to a fuller extent. It boils down to stored glucogen and lactic acid build up. you need to spread the load, and Clips 100% do that where flats do not to the same degree
  • 2 0
 Agreed, clipless on xc all mt and enduro, flat or clips on Dh bike, and flats only on Dj bike.
  • 1 0
 @gumbytex: same for bunny hops and jumps. Pretty hard to not have at least a little bit of weight on the pedals.
  • 3 1
 Clipless or you’re just scared. JK, How about this angle though: Shoes for flats are significantly heavier and I like lighter shit. Not breakable, but sensibly light is good for cycling.
  • 2 0
 exactly, enough video's on the subject. ride what you came with......
  • 2 1
 @SlodownU: Your foot does not slip on the upstroke with the tiniest bit of practice. Much less than most people put in towards learning to ride clips without falling over and bashing elbows at every stop.

I'd also argue that in technical terrain, clips take much more technique. Between unclipping, reclipping, missing the cleat, reclipping again (count the tappy tap taps next time you ride without someone on clips, including yourself), there is a lot to do. Subconsciously your brain isn't going to want to deal with that, so you'll just keep your foot on, thus shutting down numerous lines that might just need a little foot out to clean.
  • 6 1
 Flats are more bro, end of story
  • 1 2
 @g123: Are you racing? Does not having that extra recovery mean you lose the race and might not make rent? No? Then just go out and ride and get stronger.
  • 1 0
 @Aikow: You think you are faster, but you probably are not: even pros with great pedaling technique only get a few percent extra power from clips.

Why not find out? And not just bring both pedals on a ride and do repeats. I mean ride each for a while and practice a loops and time it at the end of each period with the respective pedals.
  • 1 0
 @WAKIdesigns: What's the case against flats for knee health in cornering? On the surface that makes even less sense than usual for you.
  • 1 1
 @MeloBikeCO: Then why do most clips advocates, including the video, claim up to 30% power increase?

What you were taught is good, and kind of negates the need for clips. Using a similar (same?) technique I can pedal one footed on flats...
  • 1 3
 @celstark: You can pull on flats. Most anyone can pull back through the bottom of the stroke, and many can even pull up a bit with a tiny bit of practice. Plus by working on that, you gain the ability/technique to maintain pressure on the pedals to stay attached through the tech bits, instead of relying on the clips, which just breeds bad habits.
  • 3 2
 @IluvRIDING: Prove it. Scientific studies have only ever shown a few percent increase, even at the low-speed end of the spectrum, it decreases rapidly as pedaling speed increases. Humans just aren't made to pull with their feet, pushing will always the most significant contributor to pedaling, around 96% worst case. Well, best case for clip-in proponents, but 4% gain in power is not worth the trade-offs: extra time to unclip and reclip (yes I know you're fast at that, but obsiously it'll never be as fast as flats), less need for perfect aim when placing a foot back on the pedal (yes I know you almost never miss the cleat, but with flats you will literally never ever miss), etc.
  • 6 0
 whatever, I just like it when my feet d'ont fly off in the fast chunder
  • 2 0
 @just6979:
I don't know where those numbers come from. I have never looked at the studies in depth enough to know if they were comparing the real difference maker in my opinion, shoes. Big heavy squishy shoes vs composite soled shoes, are a big reason for differences in efficiency in my opinion. I could be wrong but I would be willing to change my opinion if shown a study that showed that squishy shoes made no difference compared to composite soled with a rigid interface.

I have been quite used to flats on BMX bikes in the past and they are great. I just can't move my left ankle enough to drop my heel in the rough stuff so there is no way I can ride them on the MTB. Plus all the shoes made for flat pedals don't even come close to fitting my feet. My pedaling technique has also made flats on a MTB a bit harder for me. My heel starts very dropped and at the bottom of the stroke it is just a bit higher than my toe. Sure, I could change the way I've been pedalling my bike for the last 30 years but, I have no real reason to.
  • 1 0
 @jesse-effing-edwards:
We need some kind of speed play to crank things up a bit.
  • 1 0
 @maxyedor: you joke but, I've seen this at a 4X race. The gate compressor shit the bed so it was decided the start would be one foot on the floor an a few riders decided to run one flat one clip......... :/
  • 1 10
flag WAKIdesigns (Feb 20, 2020 at 21:53) (Below Threshold)
 @IluvRIDING: @hamncheez - I gladly agree to that when it comes to bursts. That’s onvious. Not only that, track cyclists and BmXers surely take advantage of clipless when they start to spin insane cadences. But that adds more specificity to the Issue. Just Saying clipless add 15-30% is insinuating each pedal stroke at all times adds this much power. Now, show me Enduro bros doing sprints where they would pedal as hard as on the Watt bike... or BMXer at the gate or The beginning of the second straight. How often do you do that? So...
  • 3 1
 @gnarlysipes: That claim really bugged me. As far as I am aware, almost all studies on this topic show that there is actually close to no energy saving when clipped in. What I remember is a study that showed that efficiency actually goes up by focussing on your downstroke. Where clipless pedal surely have an advantage is that your foot is always positioned perfectly, and you can put power down on rough terrain.
  • 1 0
 @Monsterman156: Yes there is, Sheldon at Big Bang theory has prove it!
  • 2 0
 @hamncheez: yep, just look at what BMX pros race with.
  • 1 0
 @headshot: R U aware how long a BMX course is?
  • 1 7
flag WAKIdesigns (Feb 20, 2020 at 23:00) (Below Threshold)
 @MeloBikeCO: For tech climbs Flats definitely don’t allow you to pull instantly, they require a bit of planning where you will pull and thus pull has to be initiated like a second before what you would achieve on clips BUT! That is mainly because you need to use the “proper” technique. Just ratcheting and pulling, means you don’t preload the rear, meaning you just use your hamstrings, meaning you lift height will be no more than half of a foot, meaning in reality - the only technical move that clips allow you to do efficiently on tech climbs is to unweight the bike Rapidly. Like when rear rolls over a slippery root. And that is a true advantage. The cons though... balance. Float makes it harder to balance, even if it is as little as with properly setup shoe/ pedal interface on Shimano. The ability to push all to the end of balance because you can always easily stick the foot out, clipless? Especially crank bros? You need to abort way earlier that you need because you will simply not clip out. Get a rock under your femur at the Hip joint when you are falling and a Few months of bursitis will make you unclip early every time you are even slightly unsure whether you can balance it out and unclip or not.
  • 2 6
flag WAKIdesigns (Feb 20, 2020 at 23:03) (Below Threshold)
 @bikegreece: what do you mean? 99.9% or mortals gas out in the middle of the second straight of a Olympic grade BMX course. 3.5 straights to go.
  • 2 0
 @WAKIdesigns:
I know that when I'm moving at anything above walking pace I can get a foot down as quick as I've ever needed to. I don't know or care how it happens, just that when I slide on that spiderweb of wet roots on the inside of a corner I get my foot down no problem. Like I said though, I don't think it would be the same story if I was wearing a pair of 510 Falcons standing on a clipless pedal with a pinned platform. There would be other advantages to that setup, but for me it wouldn't out way the falls. I've had enough surgeries already.
  • 1 0
 @WAKIdesigns: I am referring to the... immortals!
  • 1 6
flag WAKIdesigns (Feb 21, 2020 at 2:06) (Below Threshold)
 @bikegreece: it seems that the ulitmate proof of being a demigod is clearing last double of each straight... you don't need to race world cups but if you can send the last double on third straight while sending most doubles on the way, you are officialy transcended humanity
  • 2 7
flag WAKIdesigns (Feb 21, 2020 at 3:00) (Below Threshold)
 @MeloBikeCO: I need to setup Shimano pedals really hard otherwise I clip out in the air or mid corner. So I may be different. In general I do have problem clipping out on climbs when I stall. As to clipless and pulling on tech bits. The only time I feel I need it is steps or bigger roots in wet on steep stuff I am not familiar with. When it comes to root ladders, doing a gear one step harder than usual and spinning slowly but hardly works 99% of the time and in wide yet stiff shoe allowing movement of the foot (like Freerider Pro) balance and modulation get simproved over a stiff and tight SPD shoe. I usually ride with people stronger than me. Power is rarely the answer for really tricky sections. Balance and measure is. like Nino in Humbled with Mike. He is taking it "easy", meaning he does not try to spin as fast as he can and hurry up through it. I am dying to know his crank length... Anyhoo, thanks fo a civilized discussion. I do agree with you, I just tried to point out nuances Smile Cheers!
  • 2 1
 @celstark: Or this one, comparing running shoes on flats whithcycling shoes on clipless :
www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/19424280.2016.1140817?src=recsys
  • 2 6
flag WAKIdesigns (Feb 21, 2020 at 3:08) (Below Threshold)
 @Ricolaburle: interesting. Thanks for posting!

I wonder what would be the result with Impact pro on a big platform like CB Stamp Large. Running shoe has more cussion, there has to be efficiency loss there in comparison to a professional flat pedal shoe. it is worth mentioning that this study was made for a company that has more interest in selling clipless shoes than flat pedal ones... they could also do a test like this on differen cadences, including a sprint simulating BMX/track gate start
  • 2 0
 @g123: fully agree.. even 15-20 seconds of rest from time to time makes huge difference in a marathon type race
  • 3 0
 @just6979: you dont need to be racing to need extra recovery.. any long endurance ride will put you in a situation where those small bits help.. if you arent doing such rides that push your limits, then maybe you should go out and ride more
  • 2 8
flag WAKIdesigns (Feb 21, 2020 at 3:54) (Below Threshold)
 @GZMS: must be very personal. I can’t ride any longer than 2.5h on road when clipped in. I need to change foot position. It helps particularly when I want to stand up, I can stand on balls of my feet and it feels better. Switching between ball and midfoot makes the whole world of a difference. When I ride clipped in I purposefully clip out and pedal with midfoot from time to time (Mallets) just to not get too tired. Compensation with pulling doesn’t sound good, but well, you got to do what you got to do. Racing is different from riding/training.
  • 1 0
 @oldmanfalling: so maybe Sam Hill is running hidden carbon layers on that winning 5ten ?
  • 1 0
 @maxyedor: Great idea!
  • 1 4
 @just6979: you want to turn your hips towards the exit of a corner. In Times and CB your feet rotate a lot. On flats they stay put. Stand on the ground Woth both legs like you would on pedals. turn your hips 45 degrees and try to bend your knees and put your ass back. That’s Side load on the knee right there, imagine it all shaking.
  • 2 1
 @WAKIdesigns: So clips are better because your foot is always in the same place and doesn't bounce off, but then flats are bad because your foot is locked into one position and doesn't change even with "it all shaking". Which is it?

Who is turning their hips 45 degrees in a corner? Also, hips are made to move like that. Do a lunge, watch your front foot stay pointing straight while your hips rotate, possibly up to 45 degrees.

Also watch your foot possibly roll side to side during the lunge to adjust balance. Can your fancy clips allow that motion? Because my flats sure can.
  • 1 2
 @SlodownU: You're the only one saying clips help _down_ stroke. Also, if you're being so lazy as to need to clips to stay on the pedals, you're completely missing the scuff/drag part of the pedal stroke on the top and bottom, so it's definitely less efficient to just concentrate on only pushing down. I put power into the pedals through at least 230ish degrees of stroke, much more than just the down stroke, and in fact can pedal one footed on flats.
  • 2 4
 @just6979: who is turning their hips 45 degrees in a corner?! Anyone who can corner a tight berm at speed? Or a loose flat corner? If you don’t hang your bum out in the corner = twist your hips a lot if the rear foot is on the outside, then we have nothing to talk about.

You are talking to the wrong person mate... I am not against flats I am against bullshit like X pedal makes your knees worse no matter what. I just gave an example where flats cause problems as a response to people whom claim that clipless cause problems. I do get knee pain from pumping flat ground drill on flats. If you want to find a boxing bag with (clips are better) it’s not me. Sorry.
  • 1 3
 @Woodpeckar: Exactly!!

And what if that one option is wrong? How many people riding clips and claiming power gains have gotten a bike fit? And then also gotten a power test at different cleat positions to prove they're in the right spot? And don't we know that repetitive motion can be harmful to joints? So why would you want to lock yourself into _exactly_ the same motion for all the repetitions. Do weightlifters lock their feet down to an exact position, to the mm, every time? No, because that's f*cking insane!

My feet move all over the place on flats, but only when I want them to and yet, I haven't bashed a shin since I got off clips and stopped subconsciously depending on them.
  • 1 2
 @TucsonDon: Rubber is soft and as many people keep pointing out, flat shoes are much softer (though my choice of Freerider Pro or Contact is plenty stiff while being miles away from being uncomfortably stiff like most clip shoes), so your foot has plenty of float on flats.

Also, your foot doesn't just stay on the pedal for hours at a time. With flats you're more likely to detach and make a balance move or something, and then your foot goes back on the pedal in slightly different place each time.

Versus clips keeping your foot and leg in the exact same motion _forever_, which is definitely not good for joints (RSI). Especially so since the vast majority of clips riders have not gotten (or kept up with, because bodies change throughout life) a professional bike fit, so that RSI hit is likely worse since the motion is not optimal to being with.
  • 1 3
 @MeloBikeCO: I'm sure there are just as many clip-in shoes that would mutilate your feet. More so since your foot needs to be locked in even tighter with clips. That's a stupid argument to make about fit: there are tons of flat shoes options.

Not matter how easy they are to get out of, clips will _always_ be slower than flats. And for most riders, who don't need to win races to pay rent, the tiny efficiency gains aren't worth the trade-offs. "Secure" is the only valid argument, but it's easily argued that your riding will benefit more from getting good at staying on flats (it's not hard, easier than learning to get out of clips really quickly), and never even having the possibility of developing the bad habit of relying on the clips.
  • 1 4
 @jesse-effing-edwards: Why would it? Ratcheting is literally only pushing down with only one leg. All the perceived power gains of clips go right out the window when you're only talking about down stroke.
  • 1 2
 @cru-jones: It is positioned perfectly though? Have you got a bike fit and power test? Have you gotten another one recently as your body changes with age? I'd argue that clips keeping you in the exact same position (regardless of being the "perfect position") is just a great way to get Repetitive Strain Injury.
  • 2 0
 @just6979: professional bike fitting is a scam
  • 2 3
 @just6979: bike fit in mountain biking? Really? The change in geometry of mtbs over the last 20 years has been quite dramatic, the whole relation between BB, saddle and bar position has changed... seat angles, reach, stack, bars coming in so many different angles - how do bike fitters even keep their jobs when they need to reinvent themselves every four years? Generalizing Overuse injury from using clipless pedals in MTB? Considering dramatic difference between way we ride bikes in Marathon XC, DH and everything in between? R.e.a.l.l.y.?
  • 1 0
 @Monsterman156: stopped the clip right there as well. Get your research / facts right and don‘t put fake news out pinkbike Razz
  • 1 3
 @hamncheez: Then any claim of clips being more efficient is a scam. If you haven't positioned the cleat in the perfect spot, it's probably less efficient than letting your body find the right spot on its own.
  • 2 3
 @hamncheez: not in road and Marathon XC. But on MTB it definitely is. It’s a genuine scam and whoever offers that is a bullshitter. Lee McCormack kind of laid only good base line because he looks at it from perspective of body mechanics for bunnyhopping and manualing but again... most folks from pros to Joeys use setups that are extremely similar because it’s hard to run anything else...
  • 1 4
 @WAKIdesigns: Every industry evolves. By your argument, there would be zero software engineers because computing changes constantly. Of course bike fit is different than it used to be. Doesn't change that there are way to find the optimum position for whatever kind of riding your want to do. And if you don't find that optimum cleat position, any claims of efficiency are inaccurate.
  • 2 3
 @just6979: bullshit. If you knew (understood) anything about riding mountain bikes (DJs and BMXes for that matter) where you don’t seat on the saddle you’d optimize everything for body mechanics of rowing and anti rowing. Currently there is no way to adress cleat position without a dremmel since there is virtually no shoe that allows to place the cleat far enough to the back For the foot to achieve optimal position for generating power And taking eccentric loads using hip drive (Considering rider can do that) , so I don’t know what you are talking about in relation to age. The whole thing is so nuanced that any form of generalizing is
  • 2 0
 @ryan77777: My leg difference (15mm) is on the femur and I'd get kneeache as soon as I'd try to ride regularly.
As the length difference is on the femur I only need to correct it when the leg is extended, so I use 2 different pedals (a 11m thick XPedo Spry and a 20mm thick XPedo Detox) and 2 different cranks (one 170mm and one 175mm).
Small crank goes with the thick pedal and long crank with the thinner pedal so when the crank is at 12 o'clock there is no correction (top of pedals are level if you could put both crank upt at once), but at 6 o'clock I get 10mm of correction, so my longer leg now has enough room to extend fully and doesn't move outward when the foot goes forward as it used to, which was the cause of the kneeache as the muscles slightly pulled on the patela.
I still feel a bit unbalanced when pedals are level but I can't correct this.
Maybe I could make a user generated article, as maybe it could help some people, though it's not approved by a physio or anybody else.
  • 7 0
 C'mon Pinkbike... No offense to Christina, but why would you guys use a rider who doesn't even ride flats? She literally described proper riding position then said it was distracting to try and remember. Dropping your heels will activate your glutes which drops your hips into a more engaged and stable position. I guarantee if she applied this to her riding in clips, you wouldn't see her dropping one foot in corners searching for stability or bouncing around over those roots. Every rider should start on flats till they can properly shred. Having spent multiple years racing WC DH and even more years in the industry, I can first hand attest to clips contributing to lazy riding and lack of form. They are a crutch that enables a rider (beginner through expert) to smash without properly weighting their suspension or even knowing what proper riding position feels like. It also allows for terrible pedaling form be totally eliminating the concept of pedal pressure. Possibly one of the worst side effect of clip is that they encourage riders to "pull up" with their feet over jumps. Literally the worst thing you could do off a jump. Just cruise the Friday Fails and see how many people are trying to bunny hop off a jump and end up dead sailoring at the mercy of their poorly set up suspension. Clips belong in racing and endurance. Flats will hands down make you a better rider. Don't listen to me, listen to Bryn Atkinson, possibly the sickest "cornered" ever. His post on the matter shines light on all the things I just mentioned.
  • 1 1
 @just6979:
Clearly you need to be right about this so answer these 2 questions for me.

What are the shoes I should try on for flats? I have tried 510, RC, Shimano, Giro. None were even close to fitting. As there are something like 10 times as many options with rigid shoes it has always been annoying but possible to find shoes that work. Teva shoes actually felt good but they are long gone.

You also say that it is not hard to get used to staying on flats. I have quite limited mobility in my left ankle, which is my rear leg. What is a good technique to staying on flat pedals when you cannot drop your heel, due to having around 60% range of motion as a result of shattering my ankle 28 years ago on my bike?
  • 1 1
 @hamncheez: BMX racers out out huge watts and ride flats.

Clipless works better than toe clips, which was what Look replaced with the first clipless pedals in the 1980’s.

The evidence about clipless vs modern flats is murky at best.
  • 1 1
 @hamncheez: I raced up to Cat 2 on the road-more 10s of thousands of miles than I can count clipped in-and I just switched to flats last year. And it made me a better rider. You can change/improve buddy. It’s worth the discomfort and effort.
  • 2 1
 @peleton7: ? BMX races almost all use clipless.
  • 2 2
 @hamncheez: there is a dramatic difference between BMX racing and any MTB. BMX racing is basically track cycling on Crabapple bits performed on kids bikes. Enduro is road racing with MTB DH. XC is CX on bikes that actually have basic level of handling and bars that make sense. DH is DH. Start out of the gate doesn’t win you a race. In BMX, your whole career depends on first 3 pedal strokes. On tenth stroke you are spinning faster than anyone in MTB who’s AXS didn’t get stuck on 50t. Then... even though there’s tons of benefits to be gained from BMX training programs due to the fact how explosive they are, how fast the can move their arms and legs on rollers which would come extremely handy in rock gardens... but enduro bros, Down Country Wokes, Trail Chillers like their Garmins, Watts, Verts, Strava and other irrelevant roadie stuff. They are more interested in not getting tired too soon, than getting fast. Oh... Outside of BMX racing, general BMX performance comes from the way they train and practice. Clips are the cherry on the pie... 30% extra Watts at best... that’s like 1700 unclipped... that’s best roadies clipped in. And like a grand over a kook who thinks his Wattage goes up by using cleats over flats... what was that? Oh he wishes he was better at cornering jumping... yeah... he likes Functional training exercises and HIIT... side leg raises yes... so much balance
  • 2 1
 @WAKIdesigns: its like 11pm local time in Sweden right now, on a Friday night. Most likely kids are in bed.

How much have you had to drink so far this evening?
  • 2 2
 @hamncheez: nothing... watching a comedy with DeNiro and Anne Hathaway... I call this marriage... waiting for an idiot to tell me in few days how he noticed me speaking bad about my family. I should have taken my medicine... if only 1,5g...
  • 1 1
 @gumbytex: yeah man I had flats on my all city nature boy cx/commuter for a while and I never noticed any difference when I would go on 20 mile rides with it compared to my trek emonda w/ clipless pedals
  • 1 1
 @WAKIdesigns: Haha. My wife is 8 months pregnant, and we have two toddlers besides. The best we can manage on a Friday night is binge watching TV too while my wife tells me to get off my phone.
  • 1 1
 With different riding techniques.
  • 1 1
 @Ricolaburle: it does note that the cyclist is in a seated position for something like 5 mins. Could leave a little room for the claims of max watts on clips in a standing sprint or when hammering a short tech climb.

Definitely in accord on the overall lack of efficiency effect.
  • 1 1
 @gnarlysipes: I'd love to see the data too, I'm doing a research project at uni looking at the energy cost of clips vs flats in a lab based simulation of enduro. Most of the research out there is based on steady state and with road cyclists or xc. There is also a very large training effect in play, once a rider is used to the modified peddling dynamic it is hard to unlearn the 'pull-up'. 15-30% is a bold claim.
  • 2 1
 @eppingforestmtb: please take a good track cyclist and put Them on a Watt bike in clips and on 5.10 Freerider pro and CB stamp. Those tests where they put someone in running shoes on cheap wellgos from city bikes don’t help! You can reach out to JamesWilson from Pedalling Innovations to send you his pedal. Please. This is actually important. You can do a really good thing Smile it is very important to take an advanced or even elite cyclist since many amateurs have no idea how to generate max power effort
  • 1 1
 @just6979: well, when 45min of enduro racing is settled with a .5 sec interval between first and second.....
  • 1 1
 @WAKIdesigns: Thankfully all my riders have access FiveTens for the tests, and the flat pedals I'm using are Superstar Components Nano X EVOs fresh out the box. I only got a small sample group but have a 50/50 split of flat pedal and clip riders for balance and to look at the training effect of familiarity using clips.

My Lab protocol is an adaption of the Enduro test done by Lewis Kirkwood

www.downtimepodcast.com/lewis-kirkwood

www.jsc-journal.com/ojs/index.php?journal=JSC&page=article&op=view&path%5B%5D=10.28985%2F171231.jsc.10
  • 2 2
 @gnarlysipes: Yeah, what a completely stupid statement that is. You can’t climb using less energy. That’s physics. If you really working less, then you are working less, but pedals won’t save you much, if any energy. “Saving 15-30% energy”. !? The data I have seen, and my own tests using power meters indicates this is not correct, even swinging the other way that flats are more efficient. (I think this is because riders use their quads and glutes which are your strongest and most efficient muscles and you don’t waste energy trying to pull up or other such bs)

Thanks for listening. I hate this type of bullshit.

Anyways, just ride and have fun.
Flats are safer and more fun for many riders, especially beginners and intermediates.
In my experiences as an instructor, riding flats is the best ways to learn good pressure control, allows for better body position and dynamic movement and leads to better skills overall.

I expected more from Pinkbike here.
Garbage post guys.
  • 2 0
 @UNITEDFREERIDE: I didn’t care about using flats ’til I was at a bike park, hit a good sized table and became unclipped. . .mid-air.

I became an instant fan of flats then I can tell you.
  • 182 0
 Toe Straps for me. Adds a sense or serious danger that i couldn't get from flats or clips
  • 13 0
 Plus it has that retro charm.
  • 37 0
 combine with a moustache to be the real danger boy
  • 16 0
 In my Jorts.
  • 9 1
 @mattrix2: Don't forget your stripe-top tube socks!
  • 4 0
 Funny enough, those toe straps are clips, the other style of pedal is clipless. Unless you're talking about the power grip strap. Then yeah those are death.
  • 3 0
 They're called toe clips btw
  • 3 0
 @takeiteasyridehard: No. The metal part bolted to the pedal (and through which the toe strap passes) is the toe clip. Together: toe clips and straps.
  • 3 0
 @MtbSince84: Your name checks out. Credibility of source verified. I suppose I was generalizing with my previous statement. But thank you for the very specific definition of toe clips.
  • 2 0
 I, too, like to live dangerously
  • 1 0
 Username checks out
  • 1 0
 @takeiteasyridehard: Hm, I correct your pedantic correction, and *I'm* the a*shole? Got it.
  • 1 0
 @MtbSince84: whoa whoa whoa...I never called you any names. I will agree I may have been being pedantic, I just feel many people are unaware of what clips refer to vs clipless. I was trying to educate. I also took your comment in exactly the same manner. Why you chose to take my response the way you did is beyond me. Sorry I offended you. It appears we are both a bit pedantic eh?

ped·ant
/ˈpednt/
Learn to pronounce
noun
noun: pedant; plural noun: pedants
a person who is excessively concerned with minor details and rules or with displaying academic learning.
"the royal palace (some pedants would say the ex-royal palace)"
  • 89 2
 Why is this still a debate? Why does there have to be a "winner"?

Some people are fast on flats (Brook, Brendog, Sam Hill etc)

Others are fast on clips (Bruni, Pierron, Brosnan etc)

This whole topic needs to die; put your feet on whatever feels best for you and go ride your bike
  • 15 1
 Must have been a slow day on PB. A Clips v Flat article always gets the hits. IMO you should ride both. They both have their place.
  • 41 1
 The list would have to be more like

Fast on flats (Hill, Fearon, Brendog.)

Fast on clips (everyone else)
  • 6 3
 @fartymarty: Not sure why I should ride both. When I got into mountainbiking I was told "If you want to get good better learn to ride with clips right away" so that's what I did. I got the SPD type pedal. Initially from Ritchey, later on from Shiman as they appeared a bit more open so I thought they'd be more reliable (which they were, to be honest). Loads of crashes, injuries, kept at it because I loved it but never got along with being clipped in. Eventually I got myself some nice very concave platforms (those 24 butterfly pedals) and all was good, instantly. I could crash and be on my feet immediately which actually implied it was easier to commit because I could bail later. Sure I had to learn to hop all over again because I learned it the wrong way, but it was all worth it. When I later got myself a pretty heavy full susser, I thought I needed to be clipped in to climb that heavy beast with rear suspension and all. So I got Time Z. Immediately started tipping over again. I didn't even bother getting used to these and soon enough went back to platforms again. I don't think I'll be able to get used to riding both so I'll stick with platforms. Being clipped in doesn't have advantages for me, no point riding both. It is much easier to rely on one system and learn to take advantage of its good stuff and live with the shortcomings rather than change my mindset depending on what pedals I'm running. Sure I know there are more than enough riders out there who are able to adapt to different systems but I am much better off sticking to one type of pedal I can trust.
  • 1 0
 @vinay: I can't argue with that. I like both for different reasons. Over the last year I have been riding clips on both full sus and rigid bikes but once it starts to dry up the flats are going back on the full sus bike. Rigid is hard work normally and flats make it even harder... maybe that's a good reason to put them back on the rigid bike.

I like the "fun" of flats and ability to get your foot on and off quickly around corners. But then I like the "locked in" feeling of clips and not having to worry about the position of your feet and being able to pedal through bumpy stuff.

Edit - I just watched some Kovarik vids. I really need to get my flats on again....

Each have advantages and disadvantages and it doesn't really matter what you ride at the end of the day.
  • 1 1
 @fartymarty: Yeah, I think everything can be great if you're able to work with it and use it to its full potential. I tried it with being clipped in and I can honestly say that I am not able to make it work Wink . It doesn't feel to me like platforms are holding me back in any way so that's what I will stick with. That's the main thing, isn't it? One reason to choose for gear is that it takes away part of the workload. That's for instance what suspension is for. But for me an even more important part is to have gear that doesn't obstruct you in any way. That it messes with your confidence and/or range of motion, that would be horrible.
  • 1 0
 @vinay: Yeah you want stuff you don't have to think about and you can trust when you are riding. There's nothing worse than worrying about gear during a ride.

We rode Afan Masts for the first time late last year and I was on clips and was constantly thinking about my pedals and clipping in and out. Once we had done a few runs I was fine but it would have been better on flats. For me it is better if I ride new tech steep stuff on flats until I get to a point I know the track. Then I can change back to clips if needed.
  • 6 4
 Semenuk rides flats.
  • 4 1
 @mattrix2: cant think of any slopestyle rider who ride clipless/spd pedals
  • 2 1
 @vinay: TLDR: tried clipless - didnt get on with them so now only flats.
  • 2 0
 @fartymarty: three types of articles will garner views and posts: clipless vs flats, wheel size debates, and e-bikes
  • 2 0
 @cuban-b: you forgot tyres.
  • 3 0
 Anything loosely related to politics or guns works well here too. It is a mountainbike website after all.
  • 2 1
 @wipz07: Great point. I think there are likely some riding styles that are faster with flat pedals but it's pretty revealing that even though the vast majority of riders seem to prefer flat pedals these days, the vast majority of professional racers are clipped in.
  • 4 0
 @ButtermilkBar: its cuz pro's know what makes them fast, and most non pro mtn bikers generally suck and dont know what theyre doing. myself included of course.
  • 1 0
 @ButtermilkBar: If these same pros aren't racing against the clock or each other or aren't training to achieve that, they're often on flat pedals too. So this "vast majority of riders" you speak of, are they racing or just out there to have fun?
  • 2 0
 @vinay I haven't talked with them about it so I don't know the motivation. I doubt most pros are on flats "often", but yeah, some do run flats when they are dirt jumping or riding a pumptrack.
  • 1 0
 @ButtermilkBar: Well yeah, that's a good part of the training too isn't it? The Athertons do it, Greg Minnaar too. Riding clipped in seems to be big with the French riders though and fair enough they're doing well at the moment.
  • 90 15
 Flats are the only way to learn to bunny hop properly and jump safely. Dirt jumping and BMX help develop skills needed in gravity racing too. Flats are also more fun. People who say there’s an advantage in racing, well...
  • 23 7
 Exactly! A lot of people just hop on a $5k full sus bike with clips for their first taste of mountain biking. Should always start with the basics! Jumping, hopping, manuals, pumping...all so much more beneficial to your trail and gravity riding.
  • 61 42
 29ers, no skills required!
  • 33 21
 We need more inflammatory content... Corona VS Blue Waffle

@ADGproductions - most Joeys I see in the parks ride flats... just saying... I don't mean poor riders ride flats, I mean poor riders also ride flats, there is NO correlation bewteen type of pedal and a type of rider...
  • 12 3
 @WAKIdesigns: True, every rental bike also has flats not clips.
  • 6 0
 I’ve heard about more than one pro in gravity disciplines that trains with flats and races with clipless. I think there maybe something to that.
  • 1 4
 @drivereight: Amen brother...amen...
  • 9 1
 Can you even bunny hop a 29er E-Bike motorcycle? Impossible!
  • 10 19
flag WAKIdesigns (Feb 20, 2020 at 8:20) (Below Threshold)
 @Mondbiker: pfff... I kindly excluded rental folks out of that pack... whoever thinks pedals tell how good someone is, probably thinks only fast riders ride super long bikes or long travel hardtails... the skill pack comes with purchase... yes... cuz you're so WOKE
  • 3 16
flag WAKIdesigns (Feb 20, 2020 at 8:20) (Below Threshold)
 @drivereight: easy.
  • 13 2
 Yep, learn the proper techniques (fundamentals) on flats. After that use whatever you want.
  • 10 7
 @WAKIdesigns: The other thing you forgot -- and I'm not sure how we ever got to this point -- is that not only can you tell how good someone is by the pedals they use, but also that the more expensive a bike is, the more the guy is just some Fred or Jerry with money. If you're really hardcore and can ride, everyone knows you ride a ratty, third-hand, aluminum bro bike (not Specialized or Yeti) with flats. That's core, brah!
  • 5 14
flag chriskneeland (Feb 20, 2020 at 9:27) (Below Threshold)
 @drivereight: 29ers, no skills required!

Funny, because it's true
  • 4 14
flag WAKIdesigns (Feb 20, 2020 at 9:34) (Below Threshold)
 @TheR: nope... I have a Genuine park rat over here, he runs a Nomad... when he does flips or can cans, unturn down pancakes with it, we shout at him to learn to ride and get a DJ!
  • 1 0
 @whambat: That's actually a great idea.
  • 3 11
flag WAKIdesigns (Feb 20, 2020 at 9:52) (Below Threshold)
 @whambat: really? How do they train? I am dying to know their stats and program. Please. Or did you just do a quick probability check?
  • 7 5
 @WAKIdesigns:
Clips=rollerblades
Flats=skateboard
No need learn ta bunny hop just lift up your feet
  • 5 0
 @WAKIdesigns: Correct. There are also many people out there who should bin the clips, learn how to ride with flats and if they are taking things serious, switch to clips again.
  • 4 12
flag WAKIdesigns (Feb 20, 2020 at 10:17) (Below Threshold)
 @BambaClaat: if someone doesn’t feel the need to bunnyhop higher than 1ft (which is pretty much highest you can get by not engaging hips: then why would you learn the right bunnyhop? (Where you can pull on flat pedals too BTW)
  • 2 1
 @drivereight: sure, tell that to Kirt Voreis, or JKW
  • 1 0
 @TheR: So much truth to this. Most of my friends have just recently started getting 27.5 stuff cause the cheap 26 stuff is drying up. They are also the kind of nutters like Dylan Stark, insane BMX skills that carry over. I just laugh and shake my head at the stuff they can ride and pull on bikes they have pieced together.
  • 1 8
flag WAKIdesigns (Feb 20, 2020 at 11:46) (Below Threshold)
 ...
  • 1 5
flag TucsonDon (Feb 20, 2020 at 11:49) (Below Threshold)
 @mybaben: It's actually a pretty bad idea, because you're likely to forget to unclip if you need to because you're muscle memory will be used to flats.
  • 2 0
 @TheR: 1000 percent
  • 1 2
 @WAKIdesigns: clipless and singlespeed is nearly universal
  • 2 0
 “Properly.”

It can be done with any type of pedals, the technique is just different.
  • 4 2
 We can rest assured that there are lots of pros and virtually zero cons to using BOTH clips and flats on different occasions... can we PLEASE settle on that?! If we do, can we have a day in a year to commomerate that? A part of worldwide bicycle day on 19th of April or something?
  • 2 0
 @DHhack: OOPS! Accidental down vote. And the SS'rs definitely "pull-up." A LOT.
  • 1 0
 @ADGproductions: sounds good. I get 8 hours a week to ride. I’m not wasting my time riding in a $&@#ing dirt jump park or pump track. I bought a mountain bike to go mountain biking.
  • 2 2
 @pcledrew: And your lack of skill will show...
  • 53 9
 Flats FTW... the reviewer is a tad bit biased towards clipless... of course the flats aren't going to feel as good initally. It takes a bit of getting used to. It would be interesting to see a flat pedal rider do the same review...
  • 19 0
 Pretty much every mountain biker I’ve met that rides clipped in, started on flats. Some people are really good at riding flats, others excel clipped in. Most of the time when people get used to being clipped in and aren’t falling/twisting ankles, they stick with clipless. All about preference and confidence, but it’s good to ride both occasionally.
  • 3 0
 I can ride with both and from time to time I do ride with flats. Just because I can I suppose. Once you get over the fear of being stuck in them good clips are a lot more comfortable to ride with. Emphasis on good, some pedals (and shoe combos) are just plain bad, just like with flats. It´s just one thing less to worry about if your feet aren´t likely to be blown off on rough trails or heavy landings. I have a racing background tho and have been riding clips since I was like 12 so I may not be completely unbiased. Still I make sure to keep a pair of flats around for when I´m in the mood to slap them on.
  • 2 3
 What is radder, watching some dude shhhllarrrrp that gnarly section with his foot out, or watching someone nail it clipped in (knowing it takes way more balls to keep your feet on the pedals and commit on said section)

Asking for my looser mate who rides the devil pedals
  • 1 0
 @reindeln: Blake is the best! I agree with Blake and most reviewers - you can go faster with clips due to your feet staying put, and can place the rear end more precisely. There is a reason why pretty much all racers ride clips. I don't race anymore, so I switched to flats last year to improve my jumping and manuals. I see a big improvement, and will eventually switch back to clips.
  • 2 1
 @reindeln: Love the GMBN boys, but hated that vid. It really was stupid dangerous to make someone ride clipped in the freaking ice and mud.
  • 3 0
 @usmbc-co-uk: not unheard of to unclip in order to shhhllarrrrrp a gnarly section
  • 42 1
 So now Pinkbike has repeatedly informed me that only clip(less) pedals and 29ers are the way to ride a MTB. My Bronson and Chromag Daggas have fallen into a deep depression. I enjoyed this video but you took a clipless rider and threw her on flats to compare them to the clipless pedals she rides 99% of the time.

Clip(less) is definitely faster. I ride both and yes, you can put power down in the roughest of sections without worrying about your feet coming off. That is where they have a real advantage IMO. However, flats do force you to learn good technique. I don't race anymore, I DGAF about Strava "racing", and flat pedals and shoes are way more comfortable for me so that's what I ride now.

Pinkbike editorial staff needs some shredders on board to contrast the "racers". Every bike review should have two reviewers. A person who prioritizes how fast the bike is and a person who prioritizes how fun/nimble/maneuverable/jumpy/jibby the bike is. Yes, "fastest" is fun but it's not the only kind of fun. A 3 meter long bike that "sticks to the ground" is only one kind of fun and definitely not the other kind of fun. Also, get some 85+ kilo testers on board. This stuff feels different to a big strong bloke vs. a lean featherweight. Just suggestions, you can stick with the strava focused and e-bike reviews if you like.

Pole Bike review: Racer: "It was the fastest! I loved it!" Shredder: "Throw this yacht in the bin, I couldn't 3 it of anything and it won't turn."
  • 10 1
 Didn't you hear? Fun is fast nowadays. Air time and switchbacks are scary.
  • 7 0
 @Ajorda: I missed the memo i guess. I was on the longer, lower, slacker, 29er, Strava*shole train and I was getting more and more frustrated with riding. When I would put the Strava away the toboggan bike just wasn't all that fun. I test rode a 27.5 on a whim after being 29er only for 5 or so years and I was like, "WTF! This is fun and amazing!" Don't believe the hype... This isn't to say that I've abandoned 29ers. I'm looking forward to getting a Tallboy or Forbidden Druid in the future for epic rides in the woods but the Bronson will remain the bike I grab when I want some punk rock fun.
  • 42 2
 Pinkbike, I managed to make it 3 minutes before shutting this thing off. This is not quality content. I feel a lot of this was made up, 20-30% efficiency?! Most of the top DH racers are NOT using platform pedals. Come on! Give us more credit than that.

Also, the "toe cage" was called a "toe clip". Hence, clipless...

The biggest differences in climbing for clipless vs platform pedals would be in technical sections, many riders find that the ability to really pull up on the pedals can power them up and over those difficult chunky climbs. Whether you are drained after a long climb or not has NOTHING to do with your pedal choice.

The issue with pedaling in squares, is actually been shown to be compounded by the use of clipless pedals and using platform pedals has been seen to improve overall pedal efficiency when switching back to clipless because that switch from push to pull becomes more fluid.

Technique is a big factor in using platform pedals and just switching from clipless to platform pedals without identifying and instituting the proper footwork will nullify most of the benefits of platform pedals.

I haven't been so disappointed with the content on this site in a very long time. Do your research.
  • 1 0
 I'm also disappointed with this one... doesn't seem like they did any research, they just went out and filmed a video based on Christina's opinion. I know she's a great rider, and I respect her opinion, but that's not journalism, it's editorial at best.

Bottom line is: There have been way too many studies debunking the myths that she's perpetuating in this video to just ignore it.
  • 35 1
 if anyones learning how to wheelie, start on flat pedals, even if you only ride clipless. you can thank me later
  • 10 0
 Our asses will thank you later! I tried doing a wheelie on the first ride on a new bike with much shorter chainstays and ended up flat on my ass in the parking lot with my bike in the air. The good news is my feet were still firmly attached to the bike, so no worries about pedal slips later on.
  • 7 1
 counterpoint: no better way to master that quick unclip than when you're about to land on your back!
  • 11 0
 @VtVolk: counter-counterpoint, use that back brake.
  • 30 5
 I switched about 5 years ago to clips after riding flats for about 5 years. The "increased power" is at best extremely marginal and nowhere near 20-30% as stated in this video, a few lab tests seen on youtube put it as 0-5%.

I changed in the hopes of being a smoother rider, and feel like I ride much smoother/precise now, not particularly faster in the descents, but i'm going through a whole lot less gear nowdays as my pedals, shoes and tyres had to binned every couple of months. Also stopped breaking wheels, I think being able to react faster in lifting/unweighting the bike helps a ton.

I do wish I could go back to flats for fun, but a few parking lot tests didnt feel right...
  • 6 0
 That's actually a good point there, are least for me. Clipless stuff, particularly if we are talking Shimano, seem to last a lot longer than flat pedals and shoes. I had a pair of Shimano M540 that lasted from 2006 to 2018. My Nukeproof Horizons on the other hand are barely 2 years old and already crying for mercy
  • 8 3
 I can't tell any difference in "power loss" for climbing. I'd like to see where she gets 15-30% numbers? I still turn circles with my legs on flats with a slight scrub and tilt. My strava climbs clipped vs clipless have a difference of a couple of seconds over miles of climbing.

The climbing scenario where the clipless are clearly superior has nothing to do with pedaling efficiency- it's large things that you can more easily pull up and forward and get over instead of trying to 'technique' it. It's all fun to talk about technique but when you've already been climbing for a while just just want to get it done.
  • 13 11
 @ICKYBOD: the 15-30% number is made up. There is 0% increase in power or efficiency when clipped in.
  • 3 0
 I’m always switching back and forth and when going from clips to flats the place I really notice it is when you are going fast but approaching a climb where you need to gear way down to try and keep a steady cadence for a short punchy climb - just happened to me two days ago and both feet almost came off the pedals. Even though I’ve been riding both for decades it still amazes me how I pick up bad habits from clips that don’t manifest until I go back on flats. That’s what keeps me switching back and forth.
  • 1 0
 Agree that flat pedals are way more expensive in the long run, especially with low BB. They simply don't last and it's hard to get a rebuild kit for most brands. Shoes wear out faster too.
  • 2 0
 @tsn73: I always feel like it makes a big difference on light, fast climbing bikes. But on something more relaxed like my Meta AM I don't really feel much of a difference power wise
  • 6 0
 There are only two differences between clips and flats.
One is when you're activity trying to accelerate. Being able to pull up during this makes a noticeable difference.
Sitting, spinning and maintaining a power output (ie 99% of your actual pedalling) there is no difference in efficiency.
Second is pedalling over rough ground. (Think rock garden/prolonged roots).
Anything else is just preference, so there is no right or wrong answer. The 15-30% claim in the video is extremely misleading.
  • 1 0
 There's marginal difference at that. If you truly want to master your pedal stroke get a set of rollers. It'll teach you REAL QUICK!
  • 1 0
 @F22: funny that’s what it was, a Tallboy that I’ve always run clips and xc cleat shoes but a pedal bearing failed on me so I put flats on it just for fun until I fix it.
  • 1 1
 For me I find on average I'm about 10% faster uphills clipped in. Any increase in efficiency is due to your foot being able to transfer energy straight to your pedal without energy being lost with pins being pushed into the soft rubber sole of a flat pedal shoe. I agree that the spinning circles thing is BS as our legs just never evolved to have muscles working in that way.
  • 1 1
 @panaphonic: while I don't think the variation in rigidity is to blame for those 10% you claim, there's also a huge variability in rigidity and power transfer feel between flat pedal shoes (as there is between clipless shoes).
My Five Ten Impacts feel more direct on the pedal than most clipless shoes I've tried
  • 1 0
 @Arierep: the example is between MY flat shoes and my clipped shoes which happen to be impacts too.
  • 2 4
 Any percentages Higher than 1-3% are horseshit and everyone who says that knows that it is taken straight out of their bum. Show me the numbers in a well performed test, like 20min climbs made on same days, then spread apart. At least 10 sample measurements. I am 100% sure I am faster on downhills on clipless, but not by how much
  • 1 0
 @WAKIdesigns: my 10% figure comes from a 20 min climb that is on my daily commute that I've done hundreds of times. It usually takes 20 minutes on clipless pedals and usually takes 22 minutes on flat pedals. I'm not making any claims about power or efficiency my observations over the past 10 years of riding up the same Hill twice a day.
  • 2 2
 @panaphonic: You ride uphill both ways? Is it in the snow too?

Seated pedalling, there is no difference. Even the roady "lab tests" (GCN did a few) showed that, and they were using plastic sole'd Clip shoes on top of small platform cheap pedals.
With a proper flat pedal and appropriate shoe, you can push and pull at the top and bottom of the stroke, so you only lose the ability to pull on the pedal which is an unnatural movement for your legs, and unless you're consciously trying to do it, I'd wager you don't pull on the pedals while sitting and pedalling, or even standing while maintaining an output.

For reference, I'm currently riding clipped in, and swap fairly regularly. The only physical differences I'm noticing are the ones I've outlined above. Psychologically, I feel I ride looser on flats, and I much prefer them for wheelies and dicking about.
  • 3 0
 @Konda: "You ride uphill both ways? Is it in the snow too?"

Uhh.....yeah? it's a hill. i ride up one side and down the other to get to work and then up that side and down again to get home. So yes it's "uphill both ways". Pretty simple concept really that shouldn't need explaining.

I've only ridden it once while snowing and it's also part of a mtb park.
  • 1 0
 @ICKYBOD: Might as well just get an eBike and stick those clips on that, then.
  • 1 0
 @just6979: Well, I ride flats- maybe I wasn't clear with what I meant to say though- no need to get nasty with the e-bike insults. All I meant was: my climbing times are almost the same between clips and flats. It's easier to get over obstacles clipped in when I'm tired though.
  • 29 1
 "15% to 30%" more energy efficient with clipless? Total bullshit.
  • 4 0
 That was going to be my post, too.

So, you'd have to put out the equivalent of 230-260Watts on flats to keep out with a rider putting out 200W in clipless? That defies common sense.
  • 2 0
 @EuroinSF: In the event that you're not joking, common sense would tell you the article is saying it would take less energy/effort to put out the same wattage. The equivalent of watts is watts. Not saying I agree with the number, but man...
  • 1 0
 @Eatsdirt: You're both saying the same thing:

"would take 200W on clips to keep up with someone putting 250W on flats" is the same as "it would take 250W on flats to keep up with with someone putting 200W on clips".

Man...
  • 1 0
 @just6979: No. Watts are watts. This is a simple concept.
  • 1 0
 @Eatsdirt: No, I am right. Watts is the measurement of power. You are confusing where the measurement of power takes place.

She is saying that 15-30% of your power is lost in the pedal interface when you compare flats v. clipless. Thus, she effectively claims that to put out the same power at the rear wheel, you need to put out 230-260 watts (measured at your foot) on flats v. 200 on clipless.

In the future, please think before attacking others. There is a certain, unfounded, arrogance in your post.
  • 1 0
 @EuroinSF: Not sure why and how you’d estimate/measure watts at the foot as opposed to pedal/crank/etc, but if you’re saying it’s done then I guess you’re right. Doubt that would be remotely accurate for various reasons though.

I believe she mentions energy efficiency though, not power. Related but not the same in my mind.
  • 1 0
 @Eatsdirt: Watts are watts. but watts in are never watts out (pretty sure we haven't found 100% efficiency in anything yet). Since we're talking pedals, obviously watts in is from the human from the foot up, and watts out goes through the pedal to the bike. So you're saying the same thing in the context of pedaling.

Obviously if one rider is putting 200 watts to the ground, they'll probably be slower than someone putting 250 watts to the ground. But if they're both putting 250 watts into their feet, but one is only getting 200 watts to the ground, well then they'd be slower again.
  • 31 5
 This test would have been much more applicable if done on the Grim Doughnut. Flats for me.
  • 7 3
 If I wanted to know the pros and cons of flats & clipless pedals I would go over to /r/mtb. Bummed this is the #content we get instead of Grim Donut Episode 2.
  • 3 0
 @OpeSorryAbootThat: seriously... hey how bout an article about the benefits of tubeless over tubed?! and then we can debate it in the comments section!
  • 27 5
 people complaining about feet bumping off from flat pedals, there is a magic trick, called... wait for it... drop your heels. Solves 61.01% of problems people are having with flats, other 28.99% includes, having proper technique. Last 10% is actual benefits of being clipped and being one with your bike.
  • 10 0
 is this Bro-Science oooor real Science? lol
  • 20 0
 I think it solves closer to 69% of problems. And around 420% of problems can be solved with proper technique..
  • 7 0
 @TheBearDen: This is pro-science. the result of a bro being told vague science a while back and them trying to remember what it was when they are talking about how they are pretty much a pro
  • 5 3
 @dumr666 This is like saying: You don't need good brakes, you just need to pull them harder.
  • 23 1
 I always enjoy watching riders who have only ever ridden clipped in try to ride on flats. The lack of technique and ability due to having the bike attached to them is sad. Basic skills like a bunny hop or lifting the rear of the bike up or over an obstacle all of a sudden become impossible maneuvers for even the most advanced riders. Learn to ride without being attached to your bike then decided if you want to ride flats or clips, you will be a much better rider.
  • 1 0
 This is so true
  • 17 1
 So I've ridden mostly clipless for 25 years. Dabbled in trials, bmx, and dirt jumping on flat over that time as well. Last year, I got a pair of 5.10s and some nice platforms and really pushed myself to get comfortable on platform pedals again. By the end of the season I was back on clipless and having more fun riding than all year. Here's the tip I'd give anyone who wants to ride clipless but sees benefit to platforms too: get some Mallet pedals and a clipless shoe with a sticky rubber sole like 5.10 Maltese Falcons or something. I tried this combo for the first time this year and it finally gave me what I always wanted: clipless but with a reasonable level of confidence on rough stuff if you miss a clip-in before you hit a tech section. This was a constant problem for me for years of shimano pedal use that a switch to Mallet-Es fixed instantly.
  • 14 2
 Best remake lots of this video as its full of old wives tales, especially about efficiency.

watch a test...

pedalinginnovations.com/does-this-video-really-prove-that-flats-are-more-efficient-than-clipless-pedals

The conclusion:

Despite being on crappy flat pedals and using his clipless pedal shoes (hardly a fair comparison to a decent set of flats and shoes), the end result of the test was that the rider pedaled more efficiently on flats. He consumed less oxygen to complete the test on them than he did on the clipless pedals, which obviously shocked everyone.
  • 10 0
 Some folks I work with switch from clipless to flats during the winters. It gives them a chance to work out some of the bad habits that can develop with clipless. Winter seems to be the best time to do this since there tend to be patches of ice on the trail (if the trail's even rideable) so nobody's gonna be setting a KOM anyway and it's nice to be able to bail a little bit easier.

I jumped on the band wagon this winter and committed to flats until March. As much as I hate being on flats on technical descents, I can tell that my technique has improved a lot and I'm excited to see if this makes me any better when spring rolls around and I switch back to SPD.
  • 5 0
 I don't like the argument that flats will rattle your feet off. That's more of an issue with bike setup, line choice and technique unless you're riding over tech that's similar to 20 speed bumps in a row.
  • 13 4
 Decades of testing has reaffirmed the fact that there is zero efficiency gain with clips over flats

www.bikejames.com/strength/why-pedaling-efficiency-has-nothing-to-do-with-your-pedals


Somebody needs to cite sources or retract
  • 3 9
flag betsie (Feb 20, 2020 at 8:17) (Below Threshold)
 You are correct, even more so, Flats are more efficient that clips!

pedalinginnovations.com/does-this-video-really-prove-that-flats-are-more-efficient-than-clipless-pedals

You can get away with poor technique on clips that you cant on flats though.

Despite being on crappy flat pedals and using his clipless pedal shoes (hardly a fair comparison to a decent set of flats and shoes), the end result of the test was that the rider pedaled more efficiently on flats. He consumed less oxygen to complete the test on them than he did on the clipless pedals, which obviously shocked everyone.
  • 14 1
 Decades of lab research prove that on a stationary bike this may be true. In the field, no competitive road or Xc mtb rider I know of uses flats. If they were actually more efficient or faster there is enough money involved in the sport that someone would use them. Alas.... we wait.
  • 3 6
 @thisspock: "no one in xc uses them, if it was faster they would" I'd argue is more down to tradition and fear of changing things that may not work instantly. For examples see: wide bars, dropper posts, 29ers in DH, slack head angles. It takes a few mavericks to make the leap before others follow.
  • 10 2
 @thisspock: It's true that clips are the superior choice for racing, but that's not for reasons of efficiency. Clips deliver more peak power in sprints (incredibly inefficient) and have superior bike retention in the rough when you're tired. This has been beat to death in biomechanical literature and I don't want to rehash it here, just trying to help new riders who watch a PB video and suddenly think they're going to go faster uphill with clips. There's zero efficiency difference and it's a myth we need to kill with fire.

New riders out there bunny hopping by pulling their clips up and afraid to manual because they're attached to their bike, misinformation victims every one. I used to be one of them.
  • 4 5
 @Mtmw: biomedical literature... I guess someone has paid the 100k for a clinical study, with a full clinical team (there is 15 in our team), a stats team (at least 3) project manager, clinicians etc.
Or was it someone doing a type test or a university study?
Nothing wrong with university studies, they are run across the road from us, but they are not subjected to anything like the scrutiny of a clinical study.

Anyway.. who is Sam hill
Who has the largest winning margin in Dh
How did Gee manage at Cairns when he switched from clips to borrowed flats?

for XC, its not the clip, its the firmness of the sole that removes the losses.

as for losing your feet, I dont lose mine, Sam Hill doesnt see to lose his either and he is better than everyone.
  • 1 0
 @thisspock: dont make me call Frank Day at PowerCranks........
  • 1 0
 @thisspock: Because the pros need a 3% gain, and will take it anywhere they legally can get it. Most riders do not need to be 3% more efficient, and their riding would benefit more from practicing staying on the bike on flats and pedaling smoothly, and never even having a chance to develop the bad habits of relying on the clips. I've seen way more people shred their shins or knees by doing a "clip-pull" to clear something and having the clip release unintentionally and their foot flies off the pedal.
  • 2 0
 So I will go 3% faster down Fort William with clips!!!
My PB on flats is 5:05 (305 seconds), so that equates to 295 seconds on clips or a 4:55, I still have 6 seconds to find somwhere to catch Steve Peats time for fastest over 40!
Maybe I should change from 26 to a 29er, what will that gain me?

Keep these hidden gems coming (I am slower on clips from testing unfortunately).
  • 2 0
 James recently dedicated a video to this discussion.

www.bikejames.com/strength/why-clipless-pedals-are-not-20-30-more-efficient-than-flats

I'd say let's all shut up and allow @Pinkbikeoriginals to chime in and back up their claim properly. It is between Pinkbike and James Wilson now. Let's all sit back, relax and enjoy the show.

@Pinkbikeoriginals: Take the stage, it is your turn.
  • 1 0
 @betsie: 3% more efficient pedaling does NOT mean 3% faster, especially for gravity racing...
  • 1 0
 @betsie: and that 3% is an estimate for a fit athlete that already pedals efficiently...
  • 2 0
 I was taking the micky.
I was trained as a junior for the road, retired when I turned senior, 100mile time trial to qualify for the year, no thanks.

Now I just race Dh and have done a couple of Enduros.
Might do more Enduros, just need to put the turbo work in, will still be on Flats though for racing (clips for the road bike on the turbo)
  • 1 0
 @betsie: I can honestly say that I have not seen someone on flat pedals on the road (racing) in my entire carear. Not since 1989 that is...either with toe clips (and straps), or clipless. Never, not ever with out unitl about two years ago when I discovered MTN bikes.
  • 1 0
 @Mtmw: bio mechanical literature, ahem, again I can reiterate my point.

You can maintain a more constant pedal when in clips. Over any terrain you can pedal, and you are ultimately faster.
It’s not a matter of efficiency, it’s a matter of speed. You’re not riding to the end point of your physical limit on a bike .

If they were faster all the racers would switch to them. As has been previously said when someone else in this thread badly compared clips to wide bars or droppers, these things take time.

However, flats have been around pretty much forever in MTB and have never caught on on the race scene because they bring slower results for the vast majority of people. If they actually made you faster on a bike every single roadie would have them in colors matching their jersey
  • 1 0
 @thisspock: you noticed the part of my post where I said they were superior for racing right? =P
  • 1 0
 @thisspock: Strong disagree on "You can maintain a more constant pedal when in clips. Over any terrain you can pedal, and you are ultimately faster."

It certainly feels like you maintain a consistent pedal in clips, because even if you're inconsistent, your foot stays on (until it doesn't and you smash a knee into the bars or a pedal into a shin). On the other hand, on flats you _have to_ maintain a consistent pedal or your feet will come off.

I'm positing that it's no more difficult, and in fact much easier, to learn to pedal well (on flats) than learning to deal with clips. With the bonus that learning to pedal well helps on both flats and clips, if you choose to go that route. Where-as learning to use clips doesn't at all help your actual pedaling, and in fact allows bad habits to form.

Therefore, you maintain a more consistent pedal when on flats.
  • 2 0
 @thisspock: I don't think anyone is saying flats are faster. They're mostly trying to debunk the myth that clips are 25% more efficient, because they are in fact only a couple percent more efficient, if you're lucky.

Road is a completely different prospect than MTB. When there is virtually no need to put a foot down, or even just off the pedal and stuck out for balance, the small power increase is worth it, especially with the long steady outputs of a road ride. But on MTB there is a trade-off between that tiny power increase versus the agility of not being clipped in, that probably isn't worth it for most riders, especially with the unsteady/spiky outputs of a trail ride.
  • 1 0
 @RoadStain: I am pretty sure that Akkrig won a hill climb on the road on flats. On a jump bike. Smoked all the roadies on their 10k carbon bikes and clips.

That's all the proof we need. Lol

Last I checked this wasn't a roadie site, think you might have had a bad crash and bumped your head.
  • 1 0
 @betsie: You may want to read the entire comment - "Never, not ever without until about two years ago when I discovered MTN bikes."
  • 1 0
 @RoadStain: so...
Have you never seen anyone one road bike on flats or have you seen someone within the last 2 years and not prior to that on a road bike on flats?

Your statement suggests you have never seen a roadie on flats, where my statement with respect to this not being a road website stands and this was just noise, then you took up MTN, mountain biking 2 years ago where younfirat encountered flats.
  • 1 0
 @betsie: No, I have not -ever- since 1989 seen a roadie in a race of any level (Cat4-Pro) on flats. 2 years ago I got my first MTN bike...never did I ever consider flat pedals (and honestly, not sure why not).
  • 2 0
 @RoadStain: so you started MTB 2 years ago.
Welcome to the light from the dark side. Haha.
  • 1 0
 @betsie: The MTN folks tend to be quite a bit more laid back, not so apt to brag about how many grams a bolt saved them....and, as compared to Triathletes do not tend to be douchbags.
  • 1 0
 @RoadStain: What, you know of places on the internet more brutal than this. Good to know, I'll never get into road racing. And I'll keep cycling and swimming strictly separated. Which makes lake jumping even more dangerous...
  • 1 0
 @RoadStain: so true. I never got the appeal of a sunday run that was about dropping people on the climbs, hanging the. Out the back the getting home to say what a great time you had with the lads... great time riding by yourself abusing other people!

Dh and enduro. Ride up or push up slowly, send it on the way down, everyone struggles with something, sit and eat your lunch at the car and go again.

Tell the boys on tubes that tubeless is the way ahead the spend all day pumping up your burped or tyre slit tubeless tyres with their inserts haha.
  • 7 0
 Both pedals have their pros and cons. Clipless really shine in keep feet connected super rowdy tech. Flats are better for obstacles like elevated skinnies because you can ditch your bike easier. Also, flats help with downhill riding technique. It is good to mix it up occasionally, but I never do. lol.
  • 12 4
 Can you pull off a wheelie, jump, bunny hop, endo, or any other basic mtb manouvre in a good manner..? No..? Okay, buy a set of flat pedals and learn how to ride a bike first.-
  • 8 0
 I'm not worried about being clipped in for ever. I'm worried about getting my foot back in after a dab on a rough trail. 20+ years of clipless pedal use can't help me there.
  • 6 0
 can, because a lot of clipped in people have no problem with that
  • 6 0
 I love how no one in this expert discussion has mentioned a power meter. You know those thing that measure your actual power out put. Careful when looking up as they are kinda roadyish. May burn some eye and blow some minds. But pretty easy science. Ride w/flats looks at power curve. Ride clippylessy look at power curve. As someone who has been on flats and clipless both for 20+ years they both have their place. I do find the flat pedal bros pretty hilarious
  • 4 0
 +1 on using a power meter to figure it out for yourself. I'm an avid XC/Cyclocross racer, so clips all the way for most of the year. As soon as 'cross season ends, I put flats on the mtb. Better shoe choices for cold, snow, wet. Also ride them on the indoor trainer some. Power output is about the same, but my heart rate decouples sooner with the flats. I am not as efficient with them even after 3-4 months. The flats do make me a better bike handler. The first week I can barely hop a curb or parking barrier. After a few weeks I'm back to jumping and hopping and being comfortable on the flats. Once I put the clips back on in March, I go a little faster on climbs and downhills. I think this is from years of clipless riding. Many folks would be held back by clips. Just depends on what you learned on and how efficient you have become. One of my main complaints about flats is that I get pedal strikes, never happens on my clips, not totally sure why. For clips, I find that really hard accelerations (over 1000w) and extremely steep, slippery, tech climbs are much easier. I can't even get close to those hard accelerations or ultra steep moves on my flats. Could just be my techinique (or lack of it).
  • 1 1
 @pbayne29: you track your heart rate. Shut the front door. Get the f*ck off Pinkbike. Lololozzz.
I will say I concur with the efficiency stand point. I have had flats on dj and dh bike for 20 years. I tried to ride xc on flats and it was more of a mental game of feeling non efficient.
  • 3 1
 The efficiency experiments that determined that flat pedals are as efficient as clips didn't just use a power meter. They used a power meter and a closed respiration mask that measures oxygen consumed and can estimate metabolism. The problem with looking at raw power is that you can put out more power in a less efficient way and there's no way to get an efficiency number without also measuring metabolism. Flat pedal bros use science. The science of pedal efficiency is reproducible and conclusive- every experiment has the same result, no efficiency difference whatsoever. This has been measured again and again since the 70s.
  • 5 0
 I used to ride flats but my size 15s make it feel like I'm standing on golf balls most of the time. It was usually never an issue but the margin of error for comfortable foot placement is alot narrower for me vs other people. Clips for me but I dont discriminate against either.
  • 2 0
 I’m size 13 and I’ve found VP harriers and the Large Stamp to be a new level of comfort.. might be worth a shot
  • 5 0
 Kona Wah Wah 2 are massive
  • 8 0
 Also check out the pedalling innovations flats.
  • 1 0
 I wear a size 16. I ride the Diety T-macs and they are large enough for me, however no one makes a flat specific shoe in that size so I end up riding clips most of the time.
  • 6 1
 OK, so I posted a bit in a reply, but thought it'd be worth doing this more long-form...

We have Ostler, Betts, & Gore (200Cool "Gross cycling efficiency is not altered with and without toe-clips", doi.org/10.1080/02640410701332507. This looks at VO2 with flats vs clipped in (straps in this case) min a lab environment. Clipped in was numerically higher in V02 and there was a 99% chance that clipped in was not more efficient. Aka, there is no statistical difference between them and if you ignore the stats (which, please don't) it said that flats were better.

We have Shaw & Kram (2016) "Effects of shoe type and shoe–pedal interface on the metabolic cost of bicycling " doi.org/10.1080/19424280.2016.1140817. This looked at running shoes on cheapo flats vs toe clips vs. the cyclist's personal clip setup. "As hypothesized, there were no significant differences (p > 0.57) in the metabolic power consumed for pedaling at 50,100, and 150 W: Nike Free and flat pedals: 445.7, 619.0, and 817.9 W; Nike Free and quill pedals with toe clips: 428.7,600.7, and 818.0 W and cycling shoes with clipless pedals: 441.6, 612.3, and 806.4 W, respectively. Though cycling shoes may have comfort or safety benefits, they do not enhance efficiency."

There are certainly differences between flats and clips, but it seems wrong to walk in with the claim that it's patently obvious that flats are less efficient when the science says there's no difference.
  • 6 1
 Save 15-30%....seriously? Show me the study to back that up. Maybe 5% at an elite level. Maybe. And circular isn't the best pedal stroke. There is no real power on the upstroke. It may feel like it because your under tension but it isn't there Plus our hip flexors are not a power muscle. They have evolved to get our feet off the ground. If you do some ski touring you'll figure out real quick how weak that muscle is. Specialized has video comparing the 2 pedals with roadies on shit pedals and they actually produced slightly more power on the flats once they figured out how to pedal. You guys have Lee McCormack on all the time. You should have had him do this video. This thing was wildly inaccurate.
  • 4 0
 I’ve ridden both. After both of my ankle surgeries I switched back to flats. It’s a great way to relearn handling skills and jumping. When I switch back to my Time pedals once the ankle was back to “normal” I noticed an increase in height, distance, and overall better form. I notice I rely more on being clipped in when I haven’t ridden flats for a while. Good to switch it up. Both have their merits.

Switch it up, ride your damn bike. Don’t just be a fanboy and ride what your favorite pro rider uses; ride what works best for you.
  • 6 0
 I prefer to climb with clips then swap over to flats for the descent. Sure its a pain in the ass to carry an extra pair of shoes and pedals but this is serious shit.
  • 10 0
 Dude.....just use a XC bike with clips on the climb, and carrry a DH bike with flats on your back and then swap for the descent, It will be quicker than swaping the pedals every time.
  • 6 0
 @jurassicrider:
Everyone knows switching to the secondary is faster than reloading
  • 3 0
 @jurassicrider:

Carry?!?!? That's the domestique's job!
  • 4 0
 I've ridden both and I prefer flats. Sometimes clips would be beneficial if I'm riding the North Shore, just to keep my feet on the pedals when I'm descending. Realistically though, I've only ever slipped a pedal when I haven't had my heels dipped properly. Clips would just let me ride with poor technique.
  • 5 1
 This article is a Murphies Law Troll bait. All the Flat riders bagging Clipless will have their foot booted off the pedal and cause a crash; in turn all the Clipless riders bagging Flats will have a near miss, unable to dab a foot and go OTB with no excape from the bike pretzel.
  • 2 0
 Lol yes
  • 3 0
 Plan to try clipless this year. Been on flats for last three years and used to use actual toe clips in the 90s. I'm tired of my feet bouncing off in the rough stuff. But, as of right now, my only functional bike is a single speed rigid so getting the other bikes put back together it's going to be the main priority.
  • 3 0
 Clips most of the year, but I ride flats all winter. It's the off season, no racing. My feet keep warm in my Keen hiking boots. Easy to step off in the snow and hike-a-bike whenever needed. Builds skills and it so fun to foot-out turns.
  • 4 1
 Dear pinkbike staff,

Articles like this that are informative but on the light side of being "in-depth" not would be great additions to the tech section over at cyclingtips.com

You own both sites, cycling tips is generally a little light on things that have to do with MTB so why not sprinkle some more tech content like this over there.
  • 4 1
 Informative? What was informative? Confusing And polarizing to say the least. Social Misledia
  • 3 0
 There is a huge variation in the levels of grip with flat pedals (and shoes).
I ride both flats and clips.
My current flat pedals (Nukeproof Horizon) are simply amazing and I've never blown a foot off one.
The previous flats (Shimano Saint) were decent but there was always the chance of blowing a foot off when things got very rough.
5 10s are the only flat pedal shoes I've tried that are worth using.
  • 3 0
 I ride flats in snow & slop and at the in-door bike park, but everywhere else clipped in. I've spent enough time not clipped in to not use my feet to yank the bike in the air every jump and learned to bunny hop (not super well, mind you) before spds were really available. The only time I find flats lead to a way better ride are when you are about to hurt yourself really bad. It's easy to get out of clips, but if you're 5 feet in the air and don't want to be attached to your bike they aren't that great. Personally, I don't get enough huge air to care, so being clipped in just makes riding more fun as I never think of where my foot is on my pedal and I never lose my pedals over rough stuff. I don't think there's any real difference in climbing efficiency and if there's one thing I miss being clipped in is I can't move my foot forward on the downs. Just my experience.
  • 1 0
 @jesse-effing-edwards You don't have to really think about where your feet are on flats, because everywhere on them is great! There is no one spot to hit to get the cleat to engage. You just put your foot on and go. You'll know if it's in a totally weird position and can adjust at any time. You don't need to miss being able to move your foot, just ride flats! If you're worried about losing your pedals in the rough, put just a 1/4 of the effort you put into getting good at clipping in & out into practicing bowl-theory, and you'll never lose them again.
  • 3 0
 Another non-definitive opinion piece. Use what you like, for the terrain you are riding. BTW - enjoy walking in those SPD shoes. Especially in really muddy or over broken boulder fields.

I give this video two thumbs down. Sorry Christina.

Have any of you ever considered the old school XT/rat trap-type pedals (not the SunTour XC bear traps) with the mini-toeclips? Those are a great option, especially for longer distance/bikepacking.
  • 6 2
 I stopped watching as soon as she said “it’s been a long time since I’ve ridden flat pedals.” The is no one worse to talk about flat pedals than someone that rides clipped.
  • 2 0
 By that logic, wouldn't it be pointless to talk about clipless pedals with someone who rides flats?
  • 5 0
 My ankles have decided flats are the way to go after trying several clip less pedal and shoe combinations.
  • 4 0
 While I generally prefer flats, my ankles actually prefer clipless. My left ankle gets sore easily with me forcing heels down on technical rough sections. With clipless my ankles tended to be more relaxed
  • 4 0
 opposite for me. 5:10s on good flats have less float than a set of SPDs - my knees need a bit of movement through the stroke.
  • 6 0
 Pick a pedal based on a rhyme and be a dick about it.
  • 2 0
 I used to like riding flats but now it seems like a lot of extra work. To me its like comparing a modern ski binding vs an 1800's one. You need a ton of more skill to ski in some leather boots tied to your skis, but I'm not interested in putting myself through that 99% of the time. That said, I do ride flats on my DJ/pumptrack bike and when I go one rides with the kids.
  • 3 0
 I use to ride with clipless (???) but they suck if you ride in the winter. So I used flats for winter riding. Spring came and I stayed with flats, 10 years later flats all the way...
  • 2 0
 Both should be ridden. As both require different techniques. And if you are really brave you will screw up and bring the wrong shoes for the pedals on your bike. Nothing like riding skate/flats shoes on a clipless pair of pedals on a technical trail.
  • 2 0
 Ryan Leech has some really good articles and clips about riding flats. Technique is everything, not the pedal. Flats for me are like barefoot running: they are completely unforgiving of shitty technique. Mostly they help me clean up my spin and stay connected all the way around through technical terrain and in the air without being lashed in. Also teaches me to pay attention to the terrain through my feet, not the handlebars.
  • 6 0
 Please stop republishing this article.
  • 2 0
 I love tech climbing, and my ONLY real issue with flats is I have 30 yrs of riding clipped in, and am used to pulling the forward pedal up to "backpedal" instead of pushing the rear pedal down. When I ride flats, a few times each ride I end up pulling my leg up right when I need it on the pedal the most. Beyond that, its a preference thing, and even that is something I could train out if I cared to. But with no issues at all on my years riding clipped in, and never having my pedals hold me back from doing something, or causing me to crash, why change?
  • 4 1
 All the people saying you have to ride flats to learn "proper" technique better be riding full rigid bikes to learn proper technique and not just be letting suspension smooth everything out for them.
  • 2 0
 The most important reason to ride flats for older riders is that clipless places all of the stress directly behind the knee cap because the attachment to the pedal is the ball of the foot. By running flats and placing the pedal axel mid-foot it distributes the pressure through the leg and into the hip flexors. Switching to flats was a game changer for me in reducing knee pain.
  • 3 0
 Some people go back to flats in the winter to correct all the bad habits the pick up from clipless... I go back to a hartail in the winter to correct all the bad habits I pick up on my squish...
  • 4 2
 I can keep my feet/legs "looser"/"lighter" on the pedals with clips. And some trails are just rattling you all the way down and you end up with your heel on the pedal, doesn't happen with clips.
  • 14 1
 That actually doesn’t happen with flats. If it does, you need to buy pedals with pins. And better shoes. And practice.
  • 2 1
 I find riding flats more comfortable and more fun. I don't like the way you feel 'on top' of clips rather than 'into' the pedals on flats. Foot position is also nearly always touted as a benefit of clips but maybe as its because I've been riding flats since my Wellgo copies of V8s back in the 90s, but I actually like being able to move my foot around on the pedal. Absolutely no question clips offer better performance, in fact on my FS running clips on a local climb is like having an extra gear , I just don't care that much for performance over fun and comfort.
  • 1 0
 I felt the same for a while when getting used to clipless. Turns out I just needed the right shoe/pedal combo. A lot of the more trail/enduro/DH style shoes really give you a similar feeling to flats. I think XC shoes sit a little higher because it allows them more maneuverability on the techy climbs.
  • 1 0
 @Ajorda: that's a fair point. My experience has mainly been with 'trail' style pedals and particularly downhill I do feel 'on top' and it's just the cleat holding my foot rather being pressed into the pedal.
What do you use? Do you have a recommendation for a 'flat feeling' setup without forking out big for Mallet DH?
  • 1 0
 Cool video. Definitely highlights some of the pros and cons of both set ups. Ultimately I think it comes down to rider preference but I do believe some riders (depending on their goals and aspirations) can benefit from riding flat pedals, particularly when it comes to bunny hopping and jumping. Not that you can’t learn proper technique clipped in but flat pedals take away the ability to “cheat”. Even in technical descending situations I believe flat pedals can help a rider learn better technique because if you’re body and feet aren’t properly positioned on the bike you’re more likely to slip a pedal. In my opinion long time clipless riders, if they feel so inclined, can benefit from riding flat pedals and will feel that much more confident if or when they go back to being clipped in.
  • 3 0
 I had a set of the cheap shimano clipless pedals and shoes. Made the switch to 5.10s and mallet e pedals, its was 100x better, as I come from mostly riding jumps.
  • 1 0
 Funny timing... just got a new set of flats last week for the first time in 10 years. My reasoning was four fold: work on improved bike handling (re-learn real bunny hops, manuals, etc), nail down some tougher/more committing features (lots of North Shore wood and rock to progress on), have a flat pedal option i was used to for bike-park days, and have another set of DRY shoes to swap between in the 'winter' here.

I plan to be back on clipless most of the time- but it's honestly been fun to inject something new and work on different skills for a little while too.
  • 1 0
 I'm surprised no one mentioned shinners! They are by far the worst drawback to riding flats. I think the Christina nailed it though. Flats are easier to get started on a climb or when you expect to bail quickly (skinnies, TTFs) but knowing once you're clipped in that your feet will stay in the right spot no matter how rough the terrain and despite what someone said above, I definitely notice my energy levels are lower when riding flats. I guess I have a pretty good spin technique when clipped in.
  • 9 1
 If you're having regular shinners, you need better shoes/pedals, and better technique.
  • 1 0
 Good video!
That being said, as a beginner I'm not too sure which way to go from here. Flats for skills building first then plan to switch to clipless? Or maybe flats all the way? Or yet clipless right away to build the 'right' (right?) habits from the get go and never mind flats?
Just got my bike a few days ago and already scratching my head what pedals/shoes to get now lol
  • 3 0
 I would recommend flats for a beginner. Theres a lot of new skills to learn when you are just starting out, and clipless will just give you another thing to think about. When I switched to clipless my riding took a step back for about a month as I got comfortable with getting in and out of pedals. I wouldn't want to overlap that learning curve with everything else. Also, you will lkely fall alot at the beginning so being able to get your feet off the pedals quickly to catch yourself is important.
  • 6 0
 100% flats to start with. Then clipless in a year or two. Then back to flats. Both can teach you a lot about bike handling, but flats help much more with basic technique.
  • 2 0
 Definitely start with flats. Build the skills of bike maneuvering with the ability to bail easily first, once you really get into it, try clipless out. It isn't for everyone, I've had a few friends borrow my SPD pedals and shoes for a few shuttle runs and decided they didn't like them, went back to flats.
  • 1 0
 @mtmc99: You had me at “fall a lot” :-)
What you say makes sense. I’ll go with flats first. Cheers for the recommendation!
  • 1 0
 @bikekrieg: I’ll go with flats for now. There’s so much to learn so happy to at least not have to worry about this too. Thanks!
  • 2 0
 @Ajorda: comments here just helped me make my mind - will go with flats and work in basics first. Thanks for sharing.
  • 1 0
 I mainly love flats for riding blind on tech trails and the fact I can hop on and do wheelie practice without special shoes. I love clips for the gnarly DH sh** that bucks your feet off, and for jumping (crutch for that 1% of the time when my feet float off the pedals and I have to land pogo style on the seat, then launch myself into the ditch or lowside hard). When I'm going all-out it drives me nuts and breaks my concentration if my foot placement is off or not ideal. So... clips apparently compensate for areas I'm lacking in technique / skill / mental game / fitness (which affects mental game).

I'm never going to be a pro, just out riding my bike. Fast is fun. But hot damn I do like me a foot out drift.
  • 5 0
 Pick a pedal type..... Be a Dick about it.
  • 1 0
 I personnaly ride clipless( for almost 10 years now), but I wouldn't mind to go flat.
I just need a good pair of shoes that will allow me to walk for long days in the mountains (lots of push and carry the bike sections in the alps...) Any idea on the kind of shoes I need?
  • 1 0
 Used both , rode clips for years. Took 6yrs off tried flats, still on them years later. Have tried clips , posture has changed and they are hard on my knees now. Walking duck footed does not work well with clips. I do have interest in the latest magnetic designs.
  • 2 0
 Switched to flats on my big bike a year ago. It was rough initially, but I credit it for a marked improvement in my descending technique. Finally tossed the Mallets back on last week on the big bike, flats on the hardtail.
  • 1 0
 There was a video two or three years ago of a guy in practice at a UCI dh event who went directly forward OTB, didn't unclip and the bike scorpioned him in the back of the head basically folding him in half backward. I'll pass on clips thx.
  • 1 0
 Clipless were an eye opener for me after riding flats, power in circles instead of just downward, but a lot of that is transferrable back to flats. Flats taught me how to really stay on the pedals, bunnyhop correctly, 1 foot tables off roots and so much more. If I was racing, however..
  • 1 0
 I feel like the efficiency advantage to clips was significantly more pronounced when seat tube angles were slacker. With the pedals further out in front, I could pull back on them at the bottom of the stroke and push forward at the top better--basically spin better by using more muscles to do the work. I love steeper ST angles for several other reasons, but the slacker angles were better for me in terms of overall efficiency.
  • 1 0
 @Dmroggio you can 100% pull back and push forward on flats regardless of seat tube angle. I can pedal one footed on flats... and have done on a range of seat tube angles.
  • 3 2
 As an ex-road racer, I spent decades clipped in. The past few years I rode all sorts of gnarly stuff on the MTB-but started getting hurt pushing my limits. Tried flats to improve technique-and haven't gone back.

Flats keep you honest-are you properly preloading and pumping the bike?? You get immediate feedback! Rock strike? That chunky flat will stop you right there! (where an SPD would grind through the hit). Set up poorly for a technical up-move? The sweet spot (power delivery) is smaller on flats, so you're less likely to muscle through.

A couple of seasons in, I'm riding bigger moves-and on flats-and with more control!!

For racing-clipless is still (a little) faster. But even for most beer league racers (anyone who reads this) I'd say get on flats for a season. You will feel like you've regressed when moves that seemed easy become regular dabs. You'll mutter dark oaths when a foot comes off on a long climb. But 10-20 rides in....you'll notice that those rock strikes aren't happening. Your feet stay on when you climb. You'll feel planted descending steep chutes. You'll be waaay more in control getting the bike in the air. You'll have become a better bike handler. And that's an awesome feeling!!!

And you get to keep those skills if you go back to locking your feet down the next season.
  • 2 1
 *Clips, not "clipless." I understand why they're called clipless but it makes absolutely no sense because with that logic flats are clipless as well. Nobody uses "clips" in the old sense anymore so it's time for us to pivot and call them something new.
  • 1 1
 Oh, I'm not the only one who do not understand why these pedals are called "clipless". How "clipmore" pedals would look like?
  • 1 0
 @funbox: cuz they don't have these toe cages (called clips) on the front to insert your toes into.
  • 1 0
 I'm riding with Schwalbe ProCore. I can't get myself to say I'm riding tubeless so I may be messing up all the Pinkbike polls. That's just what you get when you define something by what it is not. It is just never going to hold. Same here. If "cllipless" implies "without old school toe straps" then that would probably go for pretty much everyone on here.
  • 1 0
 Flats on the trail, spd on the trainer because spinning 120 rpm on flats is a fools errand.

Roadies and xc racers use clips for a solid platform to sprint in - the whole lift up is nonesense but push trough the top and pull back through the bottom of the stroke helps power delivery and is easier in clips (not impossible in flats obvs).

If I didn't have a spaz foot that makes unclipping tricky I would consider going back to spd's full time but as it is I like being able to get a foot down quickly. I do find spds helped me clear climbs more often as instead of giving up and dabbing I would grab another spin of the cranks while thinking about unclipping and probably clear whatever caused me the problem.
  • 1 0
 Does anyone else like flats for the ability to change foot angle on the climbs? I know it's less efficient, but it sure helps to change how my legs are pushing that crank, even slightly can give some relief on those long fire roads.
  • 1 0
 @ThSlug How do you know it's less efficient? All the science says it's about even for most people, maybe a few percent for a pro with great pedaling technique.
  • 1 0
 @just6979: it’s a good point, but I think different people mean different things by “efficient.” Power per stroke or power per calorie? I’m assuming, but I think most cyclists can generate more power every revolution with clips even if the total energy used is the same per mile... makes sense or no?
  • 3 2
 People should have a look at pedaling innovations pedals, i ride both clipped in and flats, mainly flats and can honestly say these are the best pedals i have ever used with plenty of research put into them to make them the best performing flat pedal out there that should out perform any supposed advantages of clip pedals.
Head here if you want to know more, they are awesome, i wouldn't go back now!
pedalinginnovations.com/?referrer=137
  • 2 0
 Big spiky flats for gravity, clips for my hardtail and road bike. I tried clips on my big boy bike for a while. I really like being clipped in but it didn't suit my riding style for that bike.
  • 1 0
 I have ridden clipless before and I think they are slightly more efficient, probably the stiffer sole and you can push sooner at the top of the pedal stroke and pull longer at the bottom of the stroke without your feet slipping off the pedal. I ride quite a bit of trails that it is better to be on flats. I also don't want to buy another pair of expensive shoes and pedals. Maybe someday I will try clipless again as I think they are better for less technical riding. Both types you have to learn.
  • 1 0
 @joelsman You can push just as soon at the top and just as long at the bottom on flats, with just the tiniest bit of practice. Unless you don't have ankles... Hell, I can pedal one footed on flats thanks to my ankles!
  • 1 0
 I did some testing and I'm definitely quicker over anything bumpy on clips. Flats are fun for flow trails, but there are several things I don't like about them: your foot is in a slightly different position each time, there is no "float" and it's difficult to reposition without lifting your foot up off the pins, my feet get bounced off on tech climbs where you need to pedal and navigate obstacles at the same time (especially when riding on a hardtail).
  • 3 0
 Can’t believe “flats vs clips” content is still being produced in 2020. Maybe next we can get a “what does low speed compression do?” video next
  • 1 0
 To me, there are two major differences between trail-riding on clipless and flats that comparisons usually don't talk about:
- Clipless have smaller profile => it's much easier to get a pedal strike on flats.
- Flats are no-brainer to get back on after a dab or foot-out => getting clipped back needs attention which can be distracting.
(Well this video slightly touches the second point.)
  • 1 0
 Ridden both, currently have flats on both bikes though. What I miss the most about clipless is putting my feet in the same spot every time rather than having to make minute adjustments on the fly with my 5:10 Freeriders (that have the no dimple section across the front ball of the foot) so that it feels "right". Had to re-learn how to move my body after putting the flats back on my trail bike too, this was a good thing and they give a reminders every now and then to remember to drop my heels. Will one day go back to the clipless but for the moment I find flats suit the type of riding I do.
  • 1 0
 Ride both and switch between them as I please. Ride differently with them too. Race enduro in clips but on the odd corner think damn I would like flats here. Used to race DH on either depending on type of track.,,, Nationals was typically clipped in.
  • 1 0
 The most important reason to ride flats for older riders is that clipless places all of the stress directly behind the knee cap because the attachment to the pedal is the ball of the foot. By running flats and placing the pedal axel mid-foot it distributes the pressure through the leg and into the hip flexors. Switching to flats was a game changer for me in reducing knee pain.
  • 1 0
 I like flats for rock gardens and jumps bc it's way easier to bail so I feel more confident. Never really have any issues slipping pedals anymore either, although I did when I first started. You get used to it quickly though.
  • 1 0
 Flats but its purely psychological. Went from clips to flats maybe 6 years ago. In my head i have more confidence in being able to get my foot down quicker, good thing i can feel like i can ride both without much thought now, trails here are always pretty much soaked, so riding flats is generally my go to.
  • 1 0
 Anyone who thinks the point of clipless pedals is to "pull up" on them for more power is clearly a moron. Only energy savings are thanks to your foot always being in the perfect place to put power down, never wasting energy shuffling your feet around or trying to pedal with your feet too far forward or backward.

Number one benefit of flats is that it helps beaters be less scared of biking. Which technically is a nice benefit, lots of my friends who got in to biking used flats for this reason for their first season or two. Only reason to keep using them, though, is if you do jump tricks that require moving your feet around. Otherwise you're just making your life harder for no reason. Which is fine, doesn't make my life harder... but come on.
  • 1 0
 After spraining my ankle 100000 times I can't really ride with any degree of float in a pedal. Feels way too sketchy. Thus flats for me. If my foot wasn't messed up I'd be fine with either, you get used to one or the other quite quickly anyway.
  • 1 0
 I think the lady in the film likes running clips. I personally feel quicker and also always time quicker uphill clipless. I also feel less tired on a ride on the clips. The thing is, I feel instantly more brave and confident in flats on the DH’s, so for racing it’s the only option even if I ride a little more loose and sloppy.
  • 1 0
 I’ve found that regionally you’ll find riders favor different styles. Being a Colorado native, my friends and I ride locked in. I moved to Oregon and my riding partners rode almost exclusively flats. Fast forward to me moving to Hong Kong: flats again, unless you’re wearing Lycra. Riding in Oregon is smooth and virtually rockless ( Hood River). Hong Kong is rocky and nasty. Trends and friends dictate local pedal demands.
  • 1 0
 I'd be interested with a tester that was a typical flat pedal rider. She is more confident on clips, only because she doesn't ride flats. I rode clips for 25 years, switched to flats 3 years ago, and will never turn back. The positives of flats far exceed and "climbing efficiency" clip riders say exists - I don't believe the hype.
  • 1 0
 Ok. This topic will always get me to break my silence. Anything you're not used to will feel weird and don't tell me you gave them a "week" or two. Clipless pedals became the "go to" because toe-clips were an absolute disaster off road. Platforms back in the day were super thick and shoes had hard high durometer rubber which was another loosing combination. You were either hooking your toe-clips on things and getting flung to your death or running flats and beating the life out of your shins. Clipless pedals weren't good at all they, just stunk less than the other options and it was easy to do a lot of things without proper technique. (I.E. Jumps, drops, and technical climb moves) That being said do you see many FMB, Rampage, big mountain, trials riders on them? No! Why, because with proper bike handling skills all of these things are easier and "FAR" more stylish on platforms. As for the 15-30% increase in efficiency!? Maybe if you have a super inefficient pedal stroke or haven't been privileged to some thin high quality flats paired with Five Ten shoes, that might be valid. Flat pedals and sticky rubber shoes "round out" your pedal stroke and buy a lot of that efficiency back. Also over super long climbs (talking many hours here) you can move your foot around the pedal as your body starts firing different muscle groups to rest others and keep your legs from grenading! When you spin high cadence the balls of the feet work best, but for out of the saddle grinding sliding your feet forward so the pedal is more under your bone structure adds watts and reduces ankle and calve fatigue tremendously. They are also easier on the body as your foot can fall wherever it belongs on the pedal as opposed to one contrived spot. My left and right feet sit in very different spots on my pedals. Maybe from injuries or just personal bio-mechanics I'm not sure. Easing knee pain and calf strain a good amount for me. Then there is the fact that you feel more confident to keep speed in corners thus increasing exit speed requiring less acceleration after the corner, which "saves" energy. Race cars and motorcycles realized years ago that slowing down and reaccelarating for corners meant having to "pit" for fuel more often and increasing exit speed saved fuel/energy. Same can be said for nasty tech which can be navigated with less physical and "much" less mental energy. All of this really eats into that mythical increase in efficiency with Clipless pedals. Also plane and simple you'll crash less. This is an unarguable (I know you will anyway) fact! Even if you say you just unclip in those instances, we all know unclipped and on Clipless feels worse than any of the previously mentioned setups and doesn't allow proper hookup of your tires because how you apply pressure to your pedals severely impacts traction. It causes hesitation which is literally the opposite of momentum. I rode toe clips before you were born, Clipless for fifteen years while your daddy courted your mom in his Ford Taurus, about three on both (Clipless XC and a mix on the DH) then literally and figuratively threw my Clipless pedals in the trash and have been on flats for "everything" for the past twelve years. Once committed to flats and not see-sawing between the two, my technique came around in about a year. I also noticed I finished my races and rides with noticeably less crashes than the twenty or so year period beforehand. (No, I don't ride slower now. Still chasing the young elite and if anything should be wadding up more than ever) If you argue that a lot of World Cup DHers run Clipless I understand. Those guys are participating in a different sport than us. It is such a chaotic war on those courses and those guys are so insanely good that some of them just want to be locked on. If you haven't raced a World Cup track, you can't even begin to imagine the difference from national level racing. Greg Minnarr couldn't ride as bad as you if he were standing on only his crank arms, hung over, shoulder popped out, and super worried about how his hair was going to look when he took off his helmet. Those guys are another level. Similar to the shaking dogs in those ASPCA commercials, Clipless pedals make me sad! Variety though, is the spice of life and they will always exist. Personally I think the image of having to use them to be an "advanced" rider prevents participation in our sport and makes a lot of people "crash out" of it as well. Our sport started correct and then got pirated by the road world thirty plus years ago but slowly we're taking it back. Platforms are a huge part of our "return to paradise"! By the way Christina is a super rad ripper and all around great person! I just feel this comparison is way off target.
  • 1 0
 A few years ago a friend and I bikepacked the Old Ghost Road in New Zealand. It is a 80km trail and it took us two days. My friend was clipped in to a XC hardtail and I was on a full sus trail bike with flats. When we got to the end we were both pretty tired and he said that he was surprised that I was not more wrecked because I was on a heavier bike and my flat pedals were only 60% as efficient as his. Absolute f*cking nonsense. I then went and did some reading. I found a study that showed that flat pedals are indeed less efficient. This was apparently taken as fact by many people and never questioned by most. The problem with the study was that it took roadies used to being clipped in and put them on flats. Later studies actually found out that you develop a pedalling style depending on which type of pedal you use. Equal power can be generated from either flats or clips but if you switch from one to the other, your power output will decrease.

I use flats on my trail bike and clips on my XC. I do not notice a difference. I ride up hills faster on the XC bike but it is a carbon hardtail so much lighter than my alu full sus trail bike.
  • 1 0
 Comme quelqu’un qui a honnêtement jamais essayer les pédales automatiques je peux rien dire sur leurs avantages et désavantages. Mais je crois qu’ils ont certainement le mérite et si tu les utilise j’aurais aucun problème avec ca. Mais pour moi j’aime beaucoup les pédales plat. J'ai jamais dans ma vie pensée “Wow ses pédales ne sont pas assez bonne pour ce que je fais.”
J’aime leur diversité, je peut les utilise dans mes sandales durant l'été, facilement éjecté de mon vélo sur les sauts et même les utiliser sans problèmes sur les pistes de Downhill. C’est pour ca j’ai jamais eu le désire d’essayer les pédales automatique car comme ils dit “Si ce n’est pas cassé ne le répare pas.”
  • 4 0
 Any factual support for those energy difference claims?
  • 4 3
 No. She is completely incorrect.
  • 1 2
 @gally-nh:
Do you have any factual evidence to prove other?
  • 4 0
 Ride what you want and be a dick about it
  • 1 0
 This and wheel size is like getting into a politics or religion debate. It's been discussed so many times yet invokes such intense reactions from the masses every time. Popcorn time...
  • 4 0
 Thank you for that incredibly biased comparison.
  • 4 1
 She is 100% dead wrong about the power/efficiency of clips vs flats. And I ride clips. It's science.
  • 1 1
 Flats on my BMX bike and clipless on my MTB. I never understood why people who can’t even bunny hop a bike switch to clipless. They seem to be the ones who fall over when “learning” to ride clipless as well. I just like being connected on trails, used to switch back to flats for the bike park but not anymore.
  • 4 4
 I can’t believe that in 2020 we still need to do some polarizing stuff, why wouldn’t people use cleats and flats depending on occasion?! This is silly , hello! Two people may use a same type of pedal for two completely different sets of reasons! It’s all personal, depends on variety of factors and No, there is no science supporting any side, why the f*ck are there any sides? God... ugh... and who cares whether someone is a beginner or not?! Everyone should be able to use both kinds of pedals if they think they are good at riding bikes, doesn’t matter if you are road riding, racing enduro or Dirt Jumping... it should be flatsvsclipless VS flats and clipless!
  • 1 0
 I use flats for commuting and on my dirt jumper, while all my trail rigs are spd
  • 2 3
 @gnarnaimo: I use flats because they are more fun, for me at least. I mountain bike for fun, not strava times, so that makes it an easy decision.
  • 5 1
 @Skooks: “Flats fun - clipless race“ mindset is not helping really. Why would someone not have fun on clipless? I have tons of fun on clipless on my Enduro bike and much less on flats because i have to think of my feet too often.
  • 1 0
 @WAKIdesigns: I find clips more fun on the trail bike as I feel more connected to the bike and have the ability to roll and/or pedal over rough terrain without my feet getting displaced.
  • 1 1
 Going back and forth between flats and clips never worked well for me. I could always go back to clips with no learning curve but every time I did, my skills with flats went to sh*t. Finally solved the problem by hanging up the SPDs and Sidis for good.
  • 1 1
 This story has really gone "FLAT"!

I ride both, but always go back to clipless on my MTB's. However, I "only" use flats when riding my E-MTB, as I don't want to be clipped in to a much heavier bike. I've been riding since the late 80's and clipless to me seems more efficient and takes less energy on the steep climbs & they're easier to hop bike over obstacles, etc + you do not have to constantly worry about your feet coming off. No question, flats are better when riding bike parks, or very steep descents where you may have to bail quickly. The biggest adjustment for me going from clipless to flats is learning how to jump again. Clipless you have a tendency to pull up on the pedals and when on flats, this can cause your feet to come off pedals easily. Switching between the two, can definitely help with your bike riding skills...Tip: If you are a beginner, go flats to start with (as bruised shins are better than not being able to clip out on a steep hairy descent or a jump gone horribly wrong...)
  • 1 0
 @RowdyAirTime you don't need to worry about your feet coming off if you never rely on the clips to pull up on to hop over things. Put a tiny bit of time (way less than you put into learning to clip out on a steep hairy descent) into practicing bowl-theory or similar techniques and you won't need the crutch of clips for hops and keeping your feet on.
  • 1 0
 I use to ride spds but switched to flats about 3 years ago. Now I find my spd can't to back far enough on the shoe to match my preferred position from the flat pedals so when I do ride spd Its very uncomfortable.
  • 7 3
 Flat riders are scared of clips. Too much commitment
  • 2 0
 It's usually the other way around...
  • 1 0
 We still call click In pedals clipless. As in no toe clips. Flats don't use clips either so they are both clipless . Clicked in you have more control of the bike. Flats are far more convenient. I don't race so flats FTW.
  • 2 0
 Come on PB, it’s 2020 and you still want us to argue about pedals? Better show us the grim donut review. Looks like you are running out of ideas.
  • 2 0
 % I down vote everyone throwing around percentages to justify their claims and do not site the research. Your anecdotal references are unconvincing.
  • 3 0
 This has got to be most beaten dead horse in mounting biking. I got triggered just reading the article title.
  • 1 1
 www.lexico.com/en/definition/clip
Clip:
A device, typically flexible or worked by a spring, for holding an object or objects together or in place.

www.lexico.com/definition/-less
-less:
(forming adjectives and adverbs from nouns) not having; free from.

Essentially this article is titled Flats VS Flats.

You are welcome. Smile
  • 1 1
 I switched to clipless when I switched to a larger bike, with a larger wheelbase. I just feel more "inside" the bike, so I feel good being connected to it. It reacts more slowly, so I don't feel the need to be able to remove the foot ligthning-quick. I just integrate myself with it, surpass the limits of traction with it and on it. Removing a foot from the pedal is disconnecting yourself from the bike in a way, it's the chicken out option
  • 1 1
 @g123: Agreed! When I get tired, I (used to) pull up exclusively for a period to recover. Then, I came unclipped in the air and ended up hitting a tree (10 fractures in my back). Since then, I've been on flats. No difference in the (long!) time required to get up the 5-mile, 2,000 foot climb near my CO house (salidavacationrental.com), so Christina may be selling snake oil in that regard.

It's soggy in Missouri this weekend (where I live during the academic year). I think I'll convert my Fuel into a hybrid (slicks, old-lady-seat, clipless pedals) and ride paved bike paths. I'm a little nervous about twisting our of my ATACs since I've been on flats for more than a year.

Another observation, women MTBers should be discouraged from wearing baggies. However, it should be required for men, particularly old ones like me.
  • 1 0
 Dear Pinkbike, please never do a flats v clips article/video ever again. That dead horse has been beat enough. It's personal preference. It's that simple. Thank you and goodbye
  • 3 0
 Never heard of this issue. Is there much contention@
  • 5 1
 just ride a fcking bike!
  • 3 0
 One of each......job jobbed. Then you can be a dick about both.
  • 3 0
 i only ride fats!!! oh sorry, i meant flats!
  • 4 1
 Ride 29er E-Bike motorcycles, no skills required!
  • 3 0
 All that stuff about power transfer has been thoroughly debunked.
  • 2 0
 Clips for normal riding and races, flats for screwing around and trying sketchy lines.
  • 1 0
 @jonnycrash you bringing pedals with you to swap on the trails? Screwing around and trying sketchy lines is part of normal riding, or you're doing it wrong.
  • 2 0
 Ok sure, but lets see what a proper bail looks like on each. That's how you really want to compare them.
  • 1 0
 Clips for me have a huge benefit on long or technical climbs and really rough descent...but 25 years of riding BMX has me super comfy on flats.
  • 4 0
 I only ride magnets
  • 1 0
 I've been thinking there is a role for magnets on a flat pedal.
  • 2 0
 PB comes up with stupid shit like this just for our trollings. 61% Sure of that.
  • 1 0
 Those of you with knee and winter riding problems should try Frogs from Speedplay. Of course I have always used Gripshift and I still ride 26.
  • 1 0
 Scorpion!!! to face plant and all the other injuries is why only experts and above can run them in BMX races now. The risk VS reward is just not worth it.
  • 1 0
 They both have their place & I ride both. I prefer clipless, especially on gnarly DH's. Been hurt more times because of slipping flats than not being able to unclip.
  • 4 0
 Yawn.
This again?!?
  • 2 0
 Seriously. It's like the ultimate annual troll bait article that we come back to every year with the same hashed out arguments.
  • 3 2
 Clips are for road bikes.... flats for everything else. Would you ever clip in on your moto? Why clip in on your mtb then? #footoutflatout #flatpedalswinmedals
  • 1 0
 Would you ever pedal on your moto ?
  • 1 0
 @JimLad: yeah if it was a proper modped that you have to pedal to get started.
  • 1 0
 Flats allow for more adjustment to my stance, gives me room for tricks and ability to bail in case of a bad launch. Flats always.
  • 1 2
 I've tried clipless pedals several times and never remember it giving me extra "energy." Just not sure how you lose energy on flats like she describes. I have only ever noticed a little extra help cranking up extra techy rock features. But otherwise efficiency on flats can be achieved at virtually the same level. The same amount of energy is required to move a particular mass up a hill regardless of how your feet are fixed to the pedals.
  • 1 0
 Climbing is way way easier clipped it ... at least in my experience.
  • 2 1
 Wow. Watched the vid, someone hasn’t spent enough time on flats to give them a proper comparison. If jumping is easier with clips, you have a problem..
  • 1 2
 Efficiency comments were exactly what I would expect from someone who does not ride flats. An elite pedaler on clips might eek out 10% -maybe a tad more on some ascents -more efficiency than an elite pedaler on flats. For the rest of us you can get 30% better by just improving our pedal stroke flats or clips! A little disappointed by the bias in this discussion.
  • 1 0
 @argonaut45 It's even worse. The science says maybe 4% for someone really good.
  • 3 1
 Pinkbike doesn’t even try anymore. Chick being hot makes up for her stupidity though.
  • 1 0
 Nah, I don't think that was nice. If I recall correctly she is new here and putting yourself in the line of fire by posting an article that should just have been a poll and a post in the comment section, there is no way she could have done this right. It was basically her opinion on what she preferred and what she thought of having a short dabble with platform pedals. That is comment section material. If anything, it would be her PB colleagues who should take the blame for allowing her to get into this position. If she wants to do this, then great. I think Ryan Leech has a course (it might even be free) for people who want to make the transition to flat pedals. Ideally she'd go through that and with the experience she already has clipped in, she might actually be able to make a fairer comparison.
  • 2 0
 And when are we going to see some clarification or a retraction by Christina Chappetta on her wildly inaccurate claims?
  • 1 0
 When deciding if one is more efficient, don’t point to “internet studies” just follow the money. What do the pros use?
  • 3 3
 I have been clipped in for so long, I literally can't ride flat pedals - my foot goes everywhere and then makes me have to think about something, I never had to think about.
  • 4 1
 Slow news day eh?
  • 1 3
 Flats and 5/10 freeriders for street and skatepark duties and Shimano shoes with a vibram sole for trail riding. Wouldn't waste my time with 5/10 for trail riding, the pedal pins burst through the sole far too easy. No one wants wet feet.
  • 1 0
 That was the case for my first set of Freerider Pros from 2017. The pair I bought last year is lasting *much* longer.
  • 2 0
 3 years straight with the same 5/10s and the pins haven't even dented them, how far out are your pins?!
  • 2 0
 Ride which ever one is the most FUN!
  • 2 0
 Great video and the southern accent remains funny.
  • 2 0
 ...Toe straps for the win!
  • 2 0
 This again ????????‍♂️
  • 1 0
 Different (pedal) strokes for different folks... and terrain / riding style.
  • 3 0
 clipflats?
  • 2 1
 I ride flats on my 26er and clips on my 29er, just keeping technologies together.
  • 1 0
 clips are good for going uphill and most of us don't care about being fast uphill.
  • 1 0
 Flats on the bike I use to “race” XC, because even with clips I’m not going to podium.
  • 1 0
 Flats don't win medals, Low pressure does apparently! Unless your Aaron Gwin, no chain, no tires, no problem!
  • 2 0
 Clipless for everyday trail riding. Flats for windrock.
  • 1 0
 For road, clipless for obvious reasons. For MTB, clipless for obvious reasons.
  • 2 0
 maybe not the place....but flats for bike packing? who's doing what?
  • 2 0
 Chocolate vs Vanilla icecream. The pros and cons.
  • 2 0
 I ride____, therefore they are better.
  • 1 0
 Flat Peddles, 26F 24R mullet, 3.0 tyres on 50mm rims, 40mm riser,720mm bars on 80mm stem. If you know, you know.
  • 1 0
 Choose whatever the heck you want and deal with it. Effing debate my ass. My farts has bettwe debates.
  • 1 0
 I ride both. But for fast, rough tracks, clips are undeniably faster. You’re in the bike
  • 1 0
 When you expect Levy's or MK's voice and this beautiful Lady starts talking... Smile
  • 1 0
 Is there a correlation between flats and clip less and helmets and beanies?
  • 1 0
 I race/daily flats and smoke my friends who clip. It’s all about the rider not the equipment. Conclusion, Sam Hill.
  • 1 0
 @maxyedor: ummmm, I'm gonna have to disagree with you on this one...
Flat on the left, clipless on the right. Haha!
  • 1 0
 Ride flats like clipless and clipless like flats. That way you would never fail. hahahaha
  • 1 0
 Ripper. Great on camera. And successfully stirring up comments. Do one on forks vs. spoons next
  • 1 0
 @jurassicrider Five Ten just released a shoe called the Trailcross. It's perfect for mountain adventurers such as yourself.
  • 1 2
 I am a terrible pedaler (not even a square more of a triangle) so there are really marginal advantages to clips for me. Flat all the way baby!
  • 1 0
 Wait, isn't it the opposite? If you are a terrible pedaler, aren't you the exact person whom clips would help the most (with pedalling that is, not with things that flats tend to help with)?
  • 1 0
 Maybe I'll try clips one day... But for now i'm ok with flats.
  • 1 0
 The presenter is outstanding. Flats for me, btw.
  • 1 1
 Flats are easier on my knees. Also- pushing/hike a bike is so much better with sticky rubber shoes.
  • 6 0
 but your shins and calfs stay in much better condition pushing a bike with SPDs than with pinned flats....
  • 1 0
 I demand equal time for toe clips (clipfull?)!!!!
  • 2 0
 I think its "clipmore"
  • 1 0
 People argue about this like it would be unsightly to ride both.
  • 1 0
 Who cares if she cooks?
That girl can ride!
  • 2 1
 Oh God, here we go again... does ad revenue pay per comment?
  • 2 2
 Pretty sure I've never seen an XC racer win on flats. Clipless + spandex = fast and sexy.
  • 5 0
 lol, it would be awesome to see some jort cutoff metal shirt wearing kid crush some xc shit!
  • 1 0
 Clips for miles flats for smiles
  • 1 0
 I'm putting my flats on tonight.
  • 1 0
 Flat Pedals and Flannels. We are in the peak of this fashion right now.
  • 1 1
 Great video - quite insightful. Hope to see more from Christina in the future.
  • 1 0
 Flats for bike park days and Clips for everything else
  • 3 1
 26" FLATS FOR LIFE!
  • 2 0
 those are some pretty big pedals
  • 1 0
 @T4THH: No. 27.5 and 29ers are pretty big pedals.
  • 1 0
 Wh's got 10 min for pedals video in 2020? What a great content PB!
  • 1 0
 who cares about pedals. I NEED THAT PINKBIKE RAIN JACKET
  • 1 0
 all depends on the terrain or DH race course for me
  • 1 0
 Green jacket, yellow jacket who gives a shit?
  • 1 0
 Clips for DH and Trail. Flats for DJ
  • 1 0
 One of the most interesting and informative comments section
  • 1 0
 Pedals......without cranks......can’t will no medals.....
  • 1 0
 youtu.be/4aoJK5IYxI0

How about this pedal?
  • 1 1
 My riding mates that have no skills ride flats so they don't have to think about the foot release in technical sections.
  • 1 0
 Clips for technical riding, flats for bikepacking
  • 1 0
 Use what you feel comfortable with and dont be a dick about it ????
  • 1 0
 Cool trail. I liked the review!!
  • 1 0
 (Below Threshold)
- WAKIdesigns
  • 4 3
 I only ride flats.
  • 8 2
 I only ride park.
  • 7 2
 need to go fast so I ride clipped in, I can't help If I always win
  • 3 1
 @EC1ark: Gotta say that flats haven’t slowed me down. I don’t seem to have much trouble keeping up with the fast guys who use clips.
  • 6 0
 @h82crash: thanks for getting my joke. Unfortunately it fell a bit flat.
  • 2 1
 only flats forever!
  • 2 2
 The flats crew is way more vocal than the clipped crew. I wonder why....
  • 8 1
 Clipped riders are busy riding
  • 2 5
 @gnarnaimo: no, they just know they’re pansies snd don’t want anyone else to call em on it.
  • 1 1
 I don't think anybody could argue clips are more! fun than flats
  • 1 0
 I'd say its the other way around, flats are WAY more fun, but clips are faster (usually, not on everyone).
  • 1 1
 There should really be an option for toeclips...
  • 2 2
 Mike? Grim Donut? Did you die?
  • 3 0
 Flats
  • 1 0
 The frame broke, so they’re waiting on parts from Poland.
  • 2 2
 What kind of pedals does the Grim Donut have?
  • 4 0
 Clips here
  • 2 1
 Flats!
  • 1 2
 She didn't mention anything about crashing while being clipped in - that is a big CON...
  • 1 0
 Ejecting is technique like anything else...
  • 1 0
 Clipless, sorry.
  • 1 0
 No, wait.. flats
  • 1 0
 Yawn. Both. Next...
  • 9 10
 Flats are faster. Ask Sam Hill
  • 17 1
 I asked Loic Bruni, Amaury Pierron, and Greg Minnaar and got a different answer.
  • 3 1
 @ReformedRoadie: who’s won more races in the last 3 years?
  • 10 1
 @HVrider: no one in the comments section has to worry about that Wink
  • 6 0
 @HVrider: Sam didn't win any EWS events in 2019...won the series on consistent placings...but that doesn't rhyme.
I'd guess Bruni, but that is a guess.
  • 2 2
 Seems like Sam Hill is faster with flat pedals. How about you?
  • 5 0
 @HVrider: If you ask which pedal has won more races, it would be clipless by about 69 miles. Sam is the only prominent rider that can win on flats. The only other one that immediately comes to mind is ratboy when he used to race. Aside from a few outliers, the vast majority of people prefer clipless racing.
  • 3 0
 @goldencycle: Even Ol ratty swapped between flats and clips. :O

“I’m on flat pedals, Burgtecs,” says Bryceland. “Just ‘cos I’ve been getting my feet off a lot as I don’t know when the bike is going to turn. I much prefer riding flats, but some tracks are so rough you need to clip in just to keep your feet in.” 2016 bike check
  • 1 0
 @ReformedRoadie: Don't forget Aaron Gwin!
  • 8 8
 flat pedals win medals
  • 1 3
 if you switch to flats from clipless you can PR all your local climbs within a few weeks.
  • 2 3
 So, 29” inch wheels are still a thing?
  • 1 1
 Only for folks who ride clipless, since it’s harder to stay on a 29er, they need that little extra safety Wink
  • 1 2
 Flats... 60% of the time they are the right choice everytime.
  • 2 4
 Sam Hill runs flats. World champ. I think it makes you a better rider overall. imo
  • 4 5
 Which pedal won medals?
  • 21 0
 Do pedals compete against each other in some sort of wrestling style cage match?
  • 20 0
 @hbar314: The winner gets put on a pedal stool.
  • 1 0
 @hbar314: The loser is a damp squid.
  • 2 0
 @excavator666: I came here to argue with people and all I got was a good pun
  • 1 1
 Shimano DX, Burgtech, Time Pedals, and HT!
  • 1 2
 Flats
  • 2 3
 Flats!!! Go chapetta!!!
  • 1 4
 Flats for life! How can you call something that clips on to your shoes « CLIPLESS »
  • 5 0
 This was covered in the video
  • 1 3
 Whe they are called clipless? less what?
  • 3 0
 This was covered in the video
  • 1 2
 @pmhobson: so the old style pedals with cage could be called "clipmore"?
  • 1 3
 Waaay more flat pedal riders, interesting ????
  • 1 0
 I love the negative rep thing, it’s really quite silly Smile

I want to get the record for most negative reps:

People who ride clipless are “dog faved poney soldiers”!
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