Do Flat Pedals Win (more) Medals? Have Your Say...

Jul 3, 2015 at 9:20
by Chain Reaction Cycles  
Two of Team Chain Reaction Cycles PayPal riders are advocates of flat pedals over clips. Sam Hill has won several World Cups on flats, and not long ago, his team mate, Joe Smith converted to them too. Although Sam has missed much of this season so far due to injury, Joe recently won back-to-back races in the British Downhill Series, the last race being in Rhyd Y Felin in Wales, and the previous race at Llangollen, arguably the steepest and most technical track in the UK. Unlike the majority of his competitors at these races, Joe ran flat pedals and managed to cross the line two and a half seconds up from his nearest rival.








So, what is it about flats that makes our riders want to keep using them? The science suggests that riding with clips ensures you can pedal faster, and along with a range of other factors, like bike set-up, the steepness of the track, and riding style. Why is it that riding flats or clipless is seen as a key factor for a rider?

With downhill tracks increasing in their difficulty thanks to more rock gardens, stump sections and root-infested loam corridors, it is arguable that riders are tackling the features at a greater speed compared to a few years ago. That's probably why more and more riders are turning to riding flats as it provides them with more control and the opportunity to easily correct mistakes or have more confidence going into difficult sections, knowing that they are able to eject themselves from their bikes faster if things go wrong.

Do Flat Pedals Win more Medals Have Your Say.
bigquotesBecause clipless ain't cool and flat pedals are. So go back to school. - Sam Hill, Team Chain Reaction Cycles PayPal

F.P.W.M.

Sam Hill's personal Nukeproof pedals are looking fresh, ready and out soon!


Do Flat Pedals Win more Medals Have Your Say.
bigquotesI always ride flats now as I found I couldn't commit as much with my riding while running clipless. There are advantages of both pedals, but I find flat pedals suit my style better and I can't handle the disappointment in my team manager's face when I run clipless. - Joe Smith, Team Chain Reaction Cycles PayPal

We want to hear what you have to say about wearing flats over clips. Let us know by voting in the poll below and in the comments section.

What's faster - flats or clipless?

We want to hear what you have to say about wearing flats over clipless. Let us know by voting in the poll and telling us what you think in the comments section.




MENTIONS: @ChainReactionCycles / @Nukeproof-bikes




249 Comments

  • + 207
 Who cares what's faster? I ride for fun and getting big smiles every minute on my bike. Flats makes me feel free and secure that I can foot out in the moment I need to do that. I don't care if I'm giving the best times on the stopwatch. I don't like the feeling of being attached to any part of my bike. My ass and hands are free to leave my bike and I want the same for my feet.
  • + 114
 Yeah, but you need clipless pedals to pull one of these: www.pinkbike.com/photo/7335729
  • + 8
 Kitejumping just made my day, thanks HAHA
  • + 9
 can some1 explain to me why the pedals are called clipless/clipped? because these two words sound completely contrary to me.
  • + 14
 this explains why clipless is called clipless

www.caree.org/bike101cliplesspedals.htm
  • + 12
 I think the term "clipless" came from the days when people rode with toe clips, metal cages on the top of the pedal you slipped the front of your foot into, then strapped it in with a sinch tie. You couldn't get out of those things without leaning down and undoing the straps! When the new pedals came along (spd etc) that had a cleat in the shoe, they got called clipless as there wasn't a physical clip you needed to release by hand to get out of your pedal. Clip in makes a lot more sense now days, Joe must be old school.
  • + 4
 @kitejumping that is the epitome of "I always unclip when I crash" argument.
  • + 4
 Thoughts after looking at the pedal pics above: The crank arm and pedal spindle rod must be really strong to hold our fat asses without breaking from all that torque.
  • + 9
 My shins prefer clipless (yes, I'm a pansy)
  • - 55
flag LCW1 (Jul 5, 2015 at 20:50) (Below Threshold)
 Clipless is for fags
  • + 5
 straight preference. I like to clip in for road. I ride flats for mtb, sometimes I do that motogp spec leg kickout coming into corners, flats work great to accomodate this.
  • + 10
 @LCW1 .... the day he finds out his dad rides clipless...
  • + 4
 I've never ridden dh on clips and never will, I've gone forward and backward for years on both for XC, still struggling to find preference, perhaps I don't really care as I enjoy both, clips cause me problems in steep techy rocks, I've never had problems with my feet bouncing off my flats Road there is only one option I have more fun on flats - FACT - Climbs are A BIT easier on clips and longer rides are a bit less tiring 6 at one and half dozen at the other folks
  • + 1
 Hey man, fuck you, I like figs...
  • + 2
 ROFLMAO thanks Kite!!!! I lost my shit!!!
  • + 3
 I mean.. flats have won every single medal at Red Bull Joyride and every slopestyle stop.. can't get much more convincing than that. LOL
  • + 4
 @g-roy33 Clips have won every XC, cycleX, and road medal. I know you weren't being serious, but still.
  • + 144
 More confident cornering with flats but more confident charging choppy sections with clipless. That is all for me.
  • + 5
 couldn´t agree more
  • + 5
 I was instantly in love when I switched from flats to clipless because of how much faster I could take on rock gardens. It wasn't until a recent foot injury forced me to switch back to flats that I realized they really do redeem themselves in the corners. It's a tough call. That said, I think once my foot allows I'll be back to clipless
  • + 3
 They also make you ever so slightly lower(less pedal width + mounted on shoe very close to the foot), putting your center of gravity a good 15-20mm lower might make some difference, just something I noticed.
  • + 12
 Agreed. I swap my pedals frequently depending on the terrain. Just like setting my suspension for different trails, ill ride flats for the fast flowy stuff and clip in for the super rocky chunder or the long technical climbs. There is no better, just best for the terrain.
  • + 3
 For me flats win it on tech uphills and slow rocky sections. God knows how many times I fell due to not being able to clip out. So the biggest advantage for me is climbing. But when rough things get fast I clip in. On HT I always clip in, as despite having supple feet and active lower body I just don't want to put so much focus on keeping my feet on pedals. With cornering I find clipless better as my Times have plenty of float and I can position my hips towards the exit effortlessly.
  • + 2
 @scrippsranchDJ You nailed it.
  • + 5
 I had so many falls/crashes while learning to run clipless that I put them away 2 months after buying them. I was running shitty stock Bontrager tires and probably running too high tire pressure and would spin out (lose traction) trying to crest steep uphills and just got stuck to the bike and had probably my 5 worst crashes ever. I have the same feeling for clipless as I do about Jack Daniels... stay away or you'll be in pain very soon.
  • + 2
 Spot on Andy. That's why I go off and on between the two. Still can't decide which I like more.
  • + 2
 Deadtime - just like with flat pedals and shoes, there are huge differences between various clipless pedal systems, having much bigger impact on the way you ride and eventually race results you get than buying sUm carbon. I have spent considerable amount of time on Shimano, CBros and Time. Times offer me the best float and easyness of clipping out. Same on flats, I feel great only on Hope F20 or Spank Spikes and 5.10 rubber and I tried Teva, Vans, various flat pedals DMR, Syntace, Wellgos. Give it some time. The most stupid thing for me is to consequently run something that we are not feeling alright with, because someone, somewhere says it wins medals. People do it with pedals, tyres, suspension, geometries etc.
  • + 13
 It's good to know you have supple feet Waki
  • + 6
 When I first got my XT trails I rode around the neighborhood with the pedals on the lowest spring setting and just spent time cruising around putting my foot into the pedal and out. It got to a point where I was no longer nervous about the engagement/disengagement. I spent a day or two practicing, then tightened the pedals a little and took it to some mellow singletrack. It wasn't until about a month later that I actually took the clips out to the real mtb trails.
  • + 2
 The biggest issue for me was the time i came "unclipped" half way through a gnarly rock garden. After two attempts to get "clipped back-in" and a nasty header over the bars, the SPD shoes and the pedals went up for sale.

That being said 5.10's are a definite requirement for flats … i wish i had them back in the old bmx days!
  • + 16
 magnetic pedals, just wait
  • + 2
 I switch between the 2 depending on what I'm doing. If I'm racing I tend to use the clips as I like being locked in on the bike. Gives me a bit more power when trying to sprint the flats and climbs and you don't risk slipping. Over time I've also learnt to bail pretty quickly with my cleats; it's almost graceful how quickly I can unclip nowadays as I flip over my handlebars...

That said, when just cruising I do have some love for my flats. Great for getting that inside foot down low for roosting, and in general stops me from getting lazy technique e.g dropping those heels for the descents, which only makes me faster when I move back to the clips. Yes, it's not always about the race, and yes, there are some perks to each. So I just sometimes use one or the other depending on what I want to do Smile
  • + 4
 So glad this article came out. I thought I was old school because I ride flats. I mostly ride all-mountain. Most people I know ride clipless. Gave clipless a fair chance, but had some wipeouts and never went back. I just feel more confident with flats, so flats win for me.
  • + 0
 @scrammer: I have some mesh water shoes (Merrel) and Wellgo mg087 pedals and actually have to lift my feet to adjust their position, so I can't see the need for any specific biking shoes.
  • + 2
 I always ride flats for a few months per year to improve technique and save my knees but ride clipless so I can ride for longer without back pain from constantly pushing my feet into the pedals. I have gotten injuries from riding flats from either being too reckless or under committing two things I don't do when clipped in.
  • + 3
 Since I have been running proper shoes and pedals (510's and Vaults) I have yet to be bucked off the bike. Unweighting the bike over stuff should be harder but coming from bmx I never felt the need for clicks either.
  • + 3
 Just what I was going to say. My 5ten stealth rubber is damn sticky on flats with good and sharp pins that it really is as if I have clipless, my feet stay on those pedals through very chundery stuff and I'm not a slow poke either. I've tried clipless and found I was more occupied with the thought I might crash with my bike instead of concentrating on the trail itself. I prefer flats and always will.
  • + 1
 mesh water shoe? what's that?
  • + 99
 Gwin won without a chain so does that mean bikes with chains are slower? its a f*cking pointless discussion.

Next it will be coil or air which is faster.
  • + 51
 Shorts or long pants! Which is faster?
  • + 28
 Jorts are fastest
  • + 24
 pissed or sober ?
  • + 1
 @Poah, Richard Cunningham has already covered that - air must better
  • + 3
 he's wrong, its coil
  • + 0
 We need to look into his data
  • + 18
 I ride bike
  • + 52
 My bike would be quicker if some one else rode it for me
  • + 1
 ^ Ha, same!
  • + 16
 Are anodised parts faster than painted parts? Or is matte black faster? Do I go faster if my shorts match my jersey?
  • - 1
 bigburd, we put all recent wheel sizes to the test lately to determine which is the fastest. To make things as scientific as possible we put same type of tyre and tube on them. We went to a nearby hill found a spot where we could climb a tree, sit on a branch and just let the wheel go so it would bounce off the ground and roll in and through a rockgarden. Then we would measure the time from the moment we release the wheel from our hands to the moment it would cross a set up line. We used a high speed camera to improve precision of measurement. Undoubtedly 275+ was the fastest o speed camera and in time trial, beating 29er by 0.3second. 29" wheel managed to reach the goal 5 out of 10 times, 26" and 275 equally by 3 out of 10.

With this scientific experiment we determine that 275 wheel is the fastest. End of discussion. We shall test pedals now in a similar way. All hail science.
  • + 7
 Red is fast
  • + 1
 @poah: bikes with chains may not be slower per se, but the chain hampers suspension work (and design), so a chainless bike can in fact descend faster.
  • + 3
 You can't pedal a bike faster with no chain.
  • + 3
 @fracasnoxteam
You've seen that study too then? Wasn't it ski-suits or something?
  • - 1
 Unofficial gain on skin suit in Fort William was 5sec
  • + 3
 Haha. Seriously though, some crazy European scientists decided to test the speed of colours, must be ten years ago now.. Turns out red is a bit faster. Apparently.
  • + 2
 @IronYeti: I didn't say they ARE faster, just that they CAN BE faster; point is you can't pedal, but suspension may compensate for that by working better (and you're going down hill, anyway) - here's a couple examples it's not necessarily bad:
www.pinkbike.com/news/video-aaron-gwin-chainless-leogang-2015.html
www.pinkbike.com/video/378566

Yep, had no idea, but it seems it's actually a "thing":
www.pinkbike.com/video/380723
www.pinkbike.com/video/380422
www.pinkbike.com/video/366477
www.pinkbike.com/news/whistlers-a-line-chainless-race-2014.html
www.pinkbike.com/video/384369
www.pinkbike.com/video/411487
  • + 1
 @cmmx maybe you should have worded your comment like this "" bikes with chains may not be slower per se, but the chain hampers suspension work (and design), so a chainless bike can in fact descend SMOOTHER "" .. The rider of the bike dictates how fast it goes down, not so much the bike itself. You can give an experienced rider a crappy bike and a novice rider the nicest bike and the experienced rider always overpowers outright bike setup.
  • + 1
 The suspension dictates as well how fast the bike can go, by the way it absorbs bumps and holes - that's part of the reason why they exist - so if its performance is limited in any way and you go bumping around or need to swerve around every rock, root or hole, you ultimately won't be as fast across the finish line as you could, no matter how fast you pedal or experienced you are.
  • + 1
 but yeah, I should've said IF the chain hampers the suspension work...
  • + 3
 That doesn't automatically make you faster, it's up to the rider to actually utilize it which was my point. If there is a bit of pedaling involved then it most likely is not faster. Like Gwin said there were 2 very small sections you could actually pedal for the race he did chainless, it was a combination of a steep track with limited pedaling and him trying as hard as he could(staying off the brakes and pumping terrain). At that level of racing most of the racers are running the worlds best parts, I don't believe there is a significant performance difference when it comes to comparing the pros bikes so it's pretty much all up to the rider at that point.
  • + 2
 @cmmx you are right it can be. I realize I went off in those last 2 posts but there are too many variables when it comes to racing. Not trying to cause a fuss.
  • + 1
 no worries. I was just putting things in perspective, anyway.
  • + 1
 My chain snapped and broke my rear mech on an uplift day so rather than going home I rode chainless all day, hit all the big shit and made it back to the bottom first after setting off last. so yeah fite me
  • + 1
 scrippsranchDJ - he wasn't staying off the brakes that much, actually if you look at it from that angle, in some sections he was braking really hard on the entrance and then meticulously nailing a line and gaining lots of exit speed, where others were charging in and flying around.
  • + 44
 It's a preference. Going with your preference is faster than going against your preference.
  • + 9
 Sir I think you just saved us hours of arguing.
  • + 2
 Sage advice.
  • + 17
 I personally use flats, but all my other riding buddies use clipless. They crash a lot more than me and I put that down to the pedals. Many of their crashes could have been avoided if they were using flats. For me it's a confidence thing, I just genuinely don't like the idea of being stuck to my pedals. And as the owner of a rather large pair of feet I prefer having a large platform under my feet.
  • + 7
 ya and i like no footers
  • - 12
flag poah (Jul 5, 2015 at 9:57) (Below Threshold)
 nah, thats cause you lack balls and go slow like a pussy :p
  • + 1
 The main advantage of clipless (not coming off your pedals) is also the main DIS-advantage of clipless (not being able to come off your pedals). I think it is up to the individual to see if it is worth it or not to learn proper technique or just go clipless.
  • + 1
 poah I bet riders you will never be nearly as fast as ride flats
  • - 1
 and equally there are riders that are faster than me on spds - what is your point.
  • + 2
 Nah, your buddies aren't use to them if that's the case. I can frog the bars, put a foot out whenever while being clipped in. There's no difference when you get use to them in that department.
  • + 1
 poah my point is iv'e seen your videos and you go slow even with clipless
  • - 2
 not according to strava I'm not but thats beside the point.

how many of the top 10 where in flats this weekend? the winner was clipped in. your argument is null and void.
  • + 16
 I feel better on clipless pedals. Imo there is no difference between flats and clipless until you get to rocky and bumpy parts which you have to go through fast. I was riding flats and hated having to adjusting my feet after every bump. So I would say it's down to the rider which ones are better.
  • + 1
 dont forget flats allow you to jump off the bike.
  • + 2
 Yes, but most of the time you don't even have time to react not mentining jumping off the bike.
  • + 4
 I prefer clips, but recently tried flats with some 510 and it was amazing. Will it make me give up my clips?...no, but I'm glad it's a solid option to have.
  • + 4
 I'm using Saint pedals with some Shimano shoes and my foot feels glued to the pedal, it's crazy
  • + 7
 Saints + 5.10s = No movement.
  • + 3
 You almost have to ride flats with 5-10's (or an equivalent) to really get the most out of it. My Freeriders stick like glue and I even get that upward pulling effect when climbing.
  • + 0
 Pulling effect on pedalling is proven to be inefficient, even for roadies and circular/ even stroke is virtually unachievable on MTB. The most efficient pedal stroke ever measured belongs to Gunn Rhita Dahle and she has not been pulling, she was only unweighing her foot. In general people don't train their pedal stroke and they don't measure the efficiency to determine which pedal stroke suits their muscle structure so 99% of opinions in the subject are sucked out of their bum. They read some article in some spandex magazine and tell people of various physiology what is best for everybody. So let's chill out and crank it Big Grin
  • - 1
 @ibisshreddin- I can frog the bars no problem riding clipped in. After getting use to them, there is no difference when taking a foot off or bailing.
  • + 1
 good for you dualsuspensiondave. my experience showed when i slide out im on the ground still attatched to the bike occasionally, and occasionally is too much.
  • + 0
 Dualsuspensiondave - if you run crankbros then you can't clip out with your crank being anywhere between 3 and 6 o'clock as your toes push against the crankarm not allowing you to twist the foot enough to clip out. You will find many mid-carnage pics where rider is upside down with one foot still clipped in, and it's almost certainly mallets. Then you need to change cleats on CBs and Times quite often as the risk of unintentional clip outs is high when they wear put.
  • + 1
 hmm weird. i had shimanos
  • + 1
 @wakidesigns- That's definitely not true. I'm running mallets and I have no trouble unclipping there. In fact, it's necessary to frog the bars and mallets are so easy to unclip. You must not have the spacers under the cleats right. I also have found that certain shoes don't play well with them such as Teva's. My Maltese Falcon and Mallet DH combo is perfect.
  • - 1
 I rode CB acids for almost a year and I have never been crashing so often. That's just the report of my experience. And you can't clip out of CBros pedals with cranks between 3 and 6, having a wide shoe like 5.10 - it is impossible, go and try it. Lots of people report that. And if you put spacers or ride with smaller clip out angle, the life of your cleats gets cut in half, you will clip out unintentionally all the time. This is exactly why I went for Times and even those give me trouble occasionally. Previously I rode for 5 years with Shimano SPDs so I ain't a newbie in this area.
  • + 1
 With all due respect, the Mallet DH are the easiest to unclip in all the ones i've tried. I wouldn't even consider acid's though. I can't deal without a platform coming from most of my riding on flats. I've never heard of or seen anyone have those issues that you speak of, but I can say that it can take about a few months to get used to them in my experience. It really is preference for us mere mortals, however there is a reason that the vast majority of MTB racers in all disciplines, ride/race clipped in.
  • + 1
 All I mean is, that it is not always a matter of "getting used to". For some people it will always lay outside of their comfort zone. I tried many systems for prolongued period of time. That involves also flat pedals on which I jumped on, after 5 years of riding clipped in, in the period when thin platforms and 5.10s became a norm. I would never ride some thick pedals with hiking or skate shoes, that is far too sketchy for me.

5.10 has seriously changed mountain biking like few companies, including bike component manufacturers have. You can now buy Maltese Falcons or Impacts VXii clipless and ride flat pedals with CBros or Time cleats in the fkng shoe, like you would with non-clipless shoe.
  • + 19
 Connor Fearon was charging with flats too.
  • + 4
 Did you see Connor's crash at this weekend's WC?

I guarantee that he was happy to be on his - HT AE05 flat pedals - as a slow speed over the bars is never fun when clipped in!
  • + 13
 Clipless is definitely faster, there are only a hand full of riders that can go fast on flats. Not saying flats don´t have their place but as sonn as it comes to racing for me it´s clipless only.
  • + 14
 left pedal clipless, right one flat.. problem solved Razz
  • + 5
 Hahahahaha. This is great.
  • + 9
 Calling pedals that you clip into "clipless" is stupid and it's time to stop the nonsense. Flat pedals are "flats". Pedals that you clip into will henceforth be known as "Clips." There- see how easy that was?

If you are one of the 0.0001% who still use toe clips, fine. We can accommodate you. We'll have two types of clips: your pedal will be known as "Toe Clips," and the ones that attach on the bottom will be technically known as "Sole Clips."

However, since nobody rides with toe clips any more, we'll just go with Flats and Clips 99.999% of the time.

Done. You're welcome. Viva la revolucion!
  • + 7
 I honestly like clips cause your feet stay planted no matter how nasty the trail gets and you can lift and move the bike around with more control I feel. But I ride both depending on how I feel like riding that day. But I'm slow so my opinion is less valid ahahaha
  • + 1
 I have always used flats and probably will but have often thought it would be great to be clipped in for nasty rock gardens where your foot blowing or bouncing off can occur
  • + 6
 I ride clipped on the xc bike and flats on the dh, i like to be able to bale out easy when the shit hits the fan!! Clips are good for climbing, but thats the only real advantage for me, my shoes and pedals are so good that my feet never move about even in the rough stuff.
  • + 6
 Flats are way more fun and not really a disadvantage on steep tracks, but I prefer clipless because they consistently are easier to go fast on with better control of the bike. EVERYONE, especially XC riders, should spend a year learning how to handle their bikes by using flats. Otherwise, its just cringe-worthy.
  • + 5
 I couldn't agree more. I started mountain biking on clipless pedals and found out five years later that I had developed some seriously bad habits that I'm now havin to "unlearn".

It'd be fine if I just stuck to XC but as my skills progressed I got into more and more technical riding (and trials) where it became evident that I sucked at step ups, jumps, and chunky sections without being clipped in. I'm sure this doesn't happen to everyone but the threat of becoming over reliant on clipless and developing poor technique is real, at least it was for me and I'm still paying for it 2 years after switching to flats!
  • + 0
 Trials or trails?
  • + 5
 Trials. A little trials ability goes a long way on my home trails, on any bike.
  • + 4
 Yeah I learnt on flats and then switched to clips. Now four years on and I cant ride fast in flats.
  • + 8
 Most people who have never learned on flats like to pull up with their feet. Plus they seem to rather spin rather than pedal in short bursts, not knowing how to 'dig' into their pedals with their heels. Its like fingernails on a chalkboard - gives me the shivers when I think about it. If you adapt all those benefits of flats into being clipped in, you are using the best of both worlds.
  • + 5
 Everyone should learn with flats, then go on to making the choice of staying with flats or riding clipless. If you learn with flats, you will get proper bike handling skill which will then help you with riding clipless, and your feet will be more secure. If you learn with clipless, your riding technique will be slightly off such as when bunny hopping , you will pull straight up rather than using your arms more. That will cause frequent otb's and other crashes, so you should always learn by rising flats and if you feel yourself starting bad habits such as bunny hopping only using your clipless pedals, you should ride flats to learn the basics again. Those are just my thoughts on it.
  • + 7
 I ride 26" with coil sprung suspension and flat pedals - that automatically makes me Brendog on a-line - respect me, I am more stoked than you
  • + 3
 Hahahahahaha
  • + 2
 @WAKIdesigns do you like meatballs?
  • + 0
 Meatballs with mashed potatoes, brown sauce and cranberry jam any day of the week. Just don'teat that sht from IKEA
  • + 1
 Dinner round wakis then..
  • + 4
 If your at a standard where your winning world cup races, you would do well on a chopper never mind pedal choice. Ive been riding spds since I was 16 so thats 20 years now and I am very confindent with them. Use them on my work hack racer, hardtail and my big bike. That said, in the mud they are shit so I revert to flats and that means a massive set of Superstar Nanos with long pins and 5.10s. Ill say this, the 'flat pedal and sticky rubber is the same as clips' argument is bollocks. Its a totally differant technique and 5.10s cant defy gravity. They dont magnetically lift the pedal like some magic trick. Its horses for courses and what ever floats your boat. Also I have reached a point in life where my lower legs are no longer composed if scar tissue.
  • + 4
 I ride flats (Specialized Bennies on my DH, Spank Spike on my DJ) and Five-Ten's- more traction that I could possibly need. I wouldn't be averse to trying clips, but don't feel a need for them.

I say it's down to rider, and what they want to run. Let the racers worry about what's faster. Our opinions won't make them slower, that's for sure.
  • + 3
 Any instructor that i know will ALWAYS teach you riding flat pedals, riding clipless makes you lazy and makes you rely on being attached to the pedals to bunny hop etc where as teaching you on flats gives you better skills, saying that, i still can't bunny hop lol
  • + 1
 You're missing out. How do you cope then? Get a cheap jump bike and learn that shit immediately. I prescribe stacks of flower pots and a garden cane!!
  • + 2
 Being able to bunny hop and jump with flats makes you a better rider. You can pull more with clipless and that's great for peddling, but nothing beats pushing your bike instead of pulling. Loading up the suspension seems way more natural with flats and some 5.10s to me. Pushing into corners and loading up on a jump or over logs and rocks. And I can bail....
  • + 4
 I have more confidence ridding clipless, because my feet keep on the pedals, But I'm ridding a HT so that could be something.
  • + 1
 With a good set of flats and good flat pedal shoes your feet are pretty damn stuck to the pedals anyway.
  • + 3
 most probably have to try good flats, but not like spending $$$ on something that probably will not be of my taste Razz
  • + 5
 Anybody who's a Dirt Jumper,Slope rider,Slalom rider,DH'er knows that flats are the way to go!
  • + 2
 Does it really matter Besides Sam Hill,rennie and rat Who have one dh champs on flats If you wanna play numbers game clipless wins I don't see how clips can make you lazy When flats let you get away with poorer riding position Either way the debate has raged for decades and it will. Never die Just run what ya want to run stop hating and go ride your bike And get off the dam Internet
  • + 2
 Rode flats for the best part of 10 years having previously used clips only, then entered two back to back enduro races.Noting that most riders almost always ride clips I switched to clips and for the next 3 months ahead of the first race I loved clipping in my commitment was total, I felt in control. Then on race day I bottled it (we were racing blind) I bottled it and switched back to flats on the basis that 'if in doubt, there is no doubt' generally, i felt fast in the race and in control, but when instant gear changes from fast flowy turned to technical pedally I lost time because my feet were all over the place, end result 19/94 20 seconds off top ten, would the consistency of clips boosted me up the order? Next race worse was to come my 5.10s rolled over the pedal, which then spun round and jammed my foot against the rocks breaking my toe, from then on I was spending as much time thinking about my foot position As I was about the the course, not good. If I was clipped in would I be more focused, more effficient? Yes.
Am I ready, to ditch flats for clips then? No, why? Because I don't always race, I like to get sideways now and again, plus clipped in, as rowdy as I think I'm getting, cornering isn't the same as it is on flats, even though I'm technically 'with the bike' I don't feel as 'at one' with the bike as I do when I ride flats, despite race results. So bottom line, clips or flats? I think flats, Why? Underdog, with flats I want them to work for all occasions, why give up now?
  • + 4
 Although I do like and use Chainreaction, it should say advertisement, not user generated when links to their shop are in the main body of the 'article'
  • + 2
 I usally ride clipless on my 29er trail bike and flats on my freeride bike especially when riding in bike parks. Three weeks ago i thought i give clipless a try on the freeride bike too. Better pedaling and less risk for bad pedal strokes... It turned out as a bad idea: Went to short on a gap and got a bad rebound kick. Beside some other stupid mistakes i couldn't get ridof my bike and went over the bars violently. I don't think the clipless pedals where the reason i broke both my arms. But for riders that don't chase for seconds and go more safely flats and chin guards are the better option. Because when you fail pushing away your bike is much moe easy and that gives you maybe one more option to avoid desaster.
  • + 2
 If you don't like clips. You haven't learned what they were meant to teach you.
Same thing if you don't like flats.
There's no sense saying one rules all.
I'd like to see Gwin stomping everyone on flats.
Wouldn't all the racers be confused as to what to do then?!
And can we stop calling the pedals that clip,
Clipless?!?!
  • + 4
 Nah, they're clipless pedals man. Because they don't have toe clips on 'em anymore.
  • + 2
 I understand that. But it's stupid. We should evolve. Your feet clip to them. They make a clipping noise. When's the last time anyone even saw toe clips and straps.
  • + 1
 Stopped seeing them in the mid 90's. Horrible things. To me, the name was and still is a celebration of the end of those stupid clips. So, the name, clipless should live on 4ever.
  • + 2
 Does anyone remember last year when Gee Atherton at Cairns, Aust world cup? He asked a spectator to swap his clips for a pair of Five Tens to eventually win in the mud and slop of the Australian tropics. Pretty impressive stuff. I ride flats for mostly trail / XC riding, because my feet and knees don't like being locked into my pedals, but also because it's way more fun.
  • + 2
 I use flats for everything for a variety of reasons but the two prominent reasons are I hate the feeling of being attached to my bike & while on a ride I like to get off my bike & explore. Clipless shoes aren't made for walking any real distances, I can be in my 5-10s all day without the least bit of discomfort. Try trail building in a pair of clipless? Try winter riding(real winter) in clipless? Cleats clog with ice & snow. To each their own & their own reasons but for me the versatility of flats win hands...uh...feet down.
  • + 2
 When I was young I used baskets, which takes skill and commitment. Then i went to clipless when that technology became available...it was a game changer. But shore riding became popular and I learned riding skinnies, teeters and ladders clipped in was pure stupidity so I switched to flats for about 10 years. Recently I've switched back to clipless and I love it. I ride a lot of park now and do the odd local DH race. Where I have fallen I would have fallen with flats regardless. I have unclipped in midair on dirt merchant but I can recover. Clipless have kept me on my bike and allowed me to ride out if some nasty situations where flats I would have just ejected because it was an option. After all that....I still can't say which is better. Just rider preference and what's the fad of the day really. But I still crap my pants when I ride a trail that has skinnies and I'm clipped in. Lol!
  • + 2
 You can go loose with flats and clean with clips, but i think flats are better because you don't have to think of how you have to get in or out for some parts of a track. I personaly ride flats. When you can go fast with flats it's just a personal decision.
"Flat pedals win medals" says it all
  • + 2
 If you aint fallin', you aint haulin. so flats are better in that regard imo. and for those that have ridden flats, but without 5 10s, you might want to give 5 10s a try before you make your decision.

I rode clippless for a year and was convinced they were better that you can unweight the bike easier in rocks and control the back end better, which is true. Though leaning corners to slide out and be attatched to the bike which would drag me an additional 10 feet was not in my foreay, of course, most of the time they would unclip, but not 100% of the time. So my decision came when i was on a ride with buddies and it was 'one of those days' i had crashed 4 times in one run, then i nose cased a jump throwing me over the bars. It was an unlucky crash in the fact that my feet did not unclip so my bikes weight + my weight went towards the ground and i procceed to break my collar bone and thumb. Sure, i could have broken the same things with clips but it would have been less likely. Anyways, take from that what you want but I am flats for everything now.
  • + 3
 'with flats'
  • + 2
 Same for me. I got to the point where I was tired of wrecking with clips b/c I couldn't release my foot. The marginal mechanical advantage you have with clips (being able to pull you pedal up) is not worth the wrecks, bruises and sprains. I am much more confident on flats and feel I can go faster because I know I can bail at the last minute if I needed. I never felt that way with clips.
  • + 2
 I have both, but never use clips anymore (also: I refuse to call them clipless).

If I were racing I would switch back to clips, just to be certain that my feet stay right where I want them through rock gardens and roots. That stuff gets hectic at race speeds, even the pros have trouble sometimes.

But I'm not racing, and rocks/roots have no appeal to me, so I only use flats. I'll take that 0.1% risk that the pedals might come off of my feet, just to avoid that 0.1% chance that I might crash without unclipping.
  • + 1
 I love both. I started riding clips about two years ago and just went back to some flats recently and realized i had some bad habits. Mainly pulling up on my cleats while jumping and on the trail. These were fixed about a week after riding flats. Also i noticed that crashing in flats is WAY safer. In the end they both have their advantages and disadvantages. Like flats aren't as effiecient but i noticed the more you ride with them, the more your musceles adjust to just pushing down while pedaling rather than pushing and pulling. But flats are so much more fun and because of this i just purchased a set of fivetens for my saints.
  • + 1
 I have a busted knee and ankle that go off at adjacent angles to each other, I have tried to ride clipless but end up hitting my knee off of my frame constantly so they are not really an option for me. flats let me move my feet to a position that's comfortable for me to ride and make small adjustments to my position as and when i need to
  • + 1
 As I'd imagine this poll relates to racing, and more specifically at the WC level, the real answer is "It's down to the rider". People get so emotionally involved with this question. Ride what you like, or have the most fun on, and who cares about having to justify it to others.
  • + 1
 Running quite loose clipless, because i got annoyed of being kicked of the pedals in rough sections. Now i got "upwards" grip, that flats couldn't provide that much, but i can still get my feet of the pedals quite quick because i don't change the cleats often and choose the smaller angle for unclipping.
  • + 1
 I wear flats on my full suspension Stumpy for trail and AM rides. If I have to use my hardtail for XC, I will ride with toe clips and straps the old school way. For road bikes, I will do clipless pedals 100% of the time.

Even with the toe clips and straps, I can get out of those super quick, but in situations when you're going down really steep or really technical sections, I get out of the toe clips completely. I've had some epic fails landing head over heals enough times that I feel it's way safer to go flat. Been to Moab slick rocks where I hit a patch of sand and the front or rear tire gives out. If I was wearing clipless pedals or straps, I would've wiped out and my buddy would've run me over in the same process. I've also fallen over too many times on clipless pedals going up a very steep section and just couldn't get enough speed to get over the top and I fall over panicking to get my foot out. I did this a couple of times and Ihate that feeling of falling over so much that I took the pedals off and put back on toe clips and straps which I can get out of fairly quick. I tried using the toe clips and straps on my full suspension bike and I don't feel comfortable using it like on my hardtail. I go faster on downs and technical sections without being tied down to the pedals. So many times I could've wiped out but having flat pedals without cleats, I was able to hop out of the saddle or use one or both of my feet to negate a crash scenario. So, yeah, flats all the way.
  • + 3
 But again it's down to the rider , the bike's characteristics , the track's features and many more .. It's like saying 800 mm handlebar width vs 750mm width
  • + 2
 The statistics would say otherwise. 90% of race wins are taken on clipless pedals. It's not a coincidence that almost all top pros ride them.
  • + 2
 - depends on the course / rider.......personally, sometimes I ride flats, sometimes clipless because no two trails are the same.......to make the best of this situation, I have some CBs Mallet 3s..........
  • + 6
 Flats give me FREEDOM !!
  • + 3
 Gnar and wet - flats.
Loose - flats.
Everything in between is good for clipless but thats less than 30% of my riding so flats win most of the time.
  • + 2
 I keep my clips as loose as they can go. My feet stay planted and never unclip when I don't want them to and I'm able to take my foot off just as fast as I would if I were on flats.
  • + 5
 Simple, Flats are more Fun!
  • + 5
 Wow! Nice advertisement...Er... Sorry... Article
  • + 2
 I see we think alike!
  • + 2
 My main issue is the shoe. If they made a typical spd racing shoe with stealth rubber then perhaps. I hate the clunky skate shoes I keep seeing. Its getting better but still not what I want.
  • + 1
 People have this idea that you can't get out of clipless quick enough in a bad situation. trust me, its like magic the getting out. furthermore, once you get use to them it becomes intuitive, you don't even think, you just unhook when you want/need to. its up to the individual as to what they feel is best for them. But love clipless for a couple reasons: makes you grow some balls, because it forces you to commit, when those climbs gets steep, you don't want your foot slipping under that kind of pressure. your shin won't like it one bit. only drawback I found with clipless, is that it will rob of you of some flat pedal skills.
  • + 1
 At the end of the day, its whatever makes you happy and it does not really matter. Im an XC racer that also races endure so I clip in but when I ride DH or even BMX I ride flats. If its faster thats a bonus but its just whatever floats your boat
  • + 3
 ...would be more interesting to see a chart of stats of world cup podium vs pedal type used
  • + 4
 Not if you're trying to sell flat pedals on the back of this "article" it wouldn't
  • + 4
 Clips make you fast, Flats make you good
  • + 0
 My only bike is a ht and I switch between flat and clipless regularly. Not so much due to terrain, but because I don't want my technique to go stale.

On challenging terrain I tend to go for clipless as it makes me commit more (dabbing is not an option) and there's way more clearance (shimano spd have a smaller surface area than any flat).

The rear wheel tends to bounce a lot on a ht too, so anything that helps my feet planted at speed is welcome.
  • + 1
 Medals asside everyone should ride what they feel comfortable with. Some people suggest switching between clips and flats every once in a while in order to try new techniques and I think that's a good idea.
  • + 1
 Flats! Choppy sections are the reason why I run flats....I can foot dab anytime! and lean the bike over at a crazy angle. where I have seen many clipped riders just eat it hard....while tying to clip out.
  • + 1
 People don't use clipless pedals because of the fear. My friend started to use clipless pedals. And he say, at first it was scary but it gives a lot of control. Now I want to overcome the fear and try clipless.
  • + 2
 I think it's the rider and the trails. I ride flats, but did clips for years, because flats sucked back then. Flat pedels have improved so much the past 5 years.
  • + 2
 And with Five Ten shoes Flats have been much more apparent
  • + 5
 Nice advert
  • + 5
 Flats are more fun
  • + 1
 Honestly, I see benefits for both and have ridden both. I prefer flats because it helps my mental game. But there are definitely times when I wish I was clipped in. It's all personal preference.
  • + 1
 I look back at my last 3 crashes, all of them were over the bar crashes. If I had been wearing clips, I surely would've been injured. With flats you can hop over the bars and save it, sometimes. Flats are more fun
  • + 1
 Flats. No wait, clips. No, no, flats for sure. But sometimes only clips make sense. Flats though, always work.....Crap, I dont know, can't you guys do like another poll or something? They're always so conclusive...
  • + 0
 I ride flats. Always road flats. I raced DS in flats. A lot of depends on the rider and the course. Some courses are flat out. Like Sea Otter. Those courses that have a lot of sprinting you can benefit from the 360 degrees of torque. Don't forget that not too long ago there were articles like this praising clips and being stupid for running flats. Flat technology is getting better and so is shoe technology. I know with my Jackets my flats stick pretty good.
  • + 2
 Raceface Atlas with 510's. Good combo, super sticky and you can re-position your feet quick. Don't like feeling like a Roadie clipped in.
  • + 4
 clips get you chicks
  • + 0
 I learned long ago not to trust clipless while riding DH. After a pair of XTR's refused to release in a crash I ended up doing significant and long term damage to my ankle. Never again.
  • + 3
 Big pins and 5 10's! that is all
  • + 2
 Why settle for one? Have to pedal to death? Get your clipless. Is there lots of techy schtuff? Ride flats. Simples.
  • + 3
 Those pictures make my shins hurt....
  • + 1
 Especially the Hope pedals.....*Shivers*
  • + 1
 Yeah, I am surprised almost no one has mentioned the major problem with flats (for me) -- they eat the crap out of my shins and calves. I like both flats and clipless but wanted to go back to flats for a while to work on my modest skillz and learn to corner better. Two dozen small cuts and two big ones later, I put my XT Trails back on.
  • + 1
 I've used both and find I can get the power down better on FLATS .. Spds tend to make my gear rang feel off soooooo flats for me
  • + 1
 I like flats for non competitive riding and general pissing about but clips for racing and really long xc rides with lots of climbing
  • + 2
 Flats are for riders who fail to commit. Bring back toe straps!! But I ride flats on DH and clips for all else.
  • + 1
 Commit or eat shit, brutha.
  • + 1
 I ride both, clips for trail and flats for DH. I grew up riding BMX, and have never had an issue gripping the pedals without being clipped in.
  • + 0
 Where is the Canfield flat pedal in the picture. They were way ahead of all the rest with thin pedals production. Boo Pinkbike for leaving out the smaller better pioneering company. CANFIELD CANFIELD CANFIELD!!!
  • + 1
 I would say it depends on the rider and what track it is. Just like a suspension setup you keep changing it and what you prefer!
  • + 1
 SPD's on my commute bike, flats on my DH bike. I don't ride hard or fast enough to justify SPD's on my DH bike. I like mid foot placement on my DH bike aswell.
  • + 1
 I have bad knees. I never done clipless because I heard it was hard on your knees. Anybody?
  • + 1
 Clips son mejor para pedalear para saltar para hacer trucos para todo MENOS PARA CAERTE
  • + 1
 Spd for XC racing and road commute........flats for Mountain trails and lift access downhill
  • + 2
 Flats make you a better rider. Forces you to develop better technique.
  • + 1
 I got flats on my dj bike and clips on my xc bike clips allow you to do bunnyhops easier
  • + 1
 Flats give me more confidence in most time, but in rock section or something like that I prefer clips.
  • + 2
 Bike park - Flats Racing - Clips
  • + 1
 DH flats, Xc clip, road clip, moto x flat, enduro flat unless it's a 29er, bmx flat, fat tire flat, unicycle clip
  • + 2
 Can you clip onto a moto x bike?
  • + 1
 let's all weigh in too because, y'know, we're as fast as the world cup racers...
  • + 2
 Flats all day, if I can't throw a random nacnac then why ride.
  • + 1
 And then this is what flats dohttp://i.imgur.com/p80iSK6.jpg there still better.
  • + 2
 Kindalikethewheelsizeargument?
  • + 2
 This article is worse clickbait than yahoo news
  • - 2
 Flats. Sure, clipless lets you get away with lazy/dirty riding, but flats actually teach you something. It is kinda like the Fully-vs.-Hardtail argument - the fully lets you get away wit shit while the hardtail will teach you a lesson.
  • + 1
 Ummm kind of. I must say I get more from riding a fully for riding on HT than other way around. Also you ride HT in a different manner, you use your arms more, so you need to stay on the fromt. Then the HT gets tossed around on rough bits so much that the only skill you develop is holding on to the bike whith limited vision
  • + 2
 The future is magnets! A switch to go attached or looseSmile
  • + 1
 would any of you care what I ride?
  • + 1
 depends on the rider, personal prefrence also.
  • + 1
 Weird to think how bar shimano those pedals are all from uk
  • + 1
 A few months ago - Sam Hill Says about clipless: "Nahhh"
  • + 1
 Flats for m left foot, clipless for my right. Get the best of both worlds!
  • + 0
 There the other half to this equation, with five tens on flats who needs clipless Smile
  • + 1
 Flats for ever ,that clip thing is for lazy people.
  • + 0
 It's been said before and will always be true, flats give you a better bike sense. Clips are just a crutch
  • - 9
flag wipz07 (Jul 5, 2015 at 9:02) (Below Threshold)
 do you even bike bro ???
  • + 2
 Two things...
I like the clip crutch idea but how does it apply to bmx racing where everyone clips, or road for that matter?
And secondly.. Lol how did he get nine negs for that gag?
  • + 1
 I don't do either of those so there ya go! Haha
  • + 0
 Ha Ha, you guys are funny, more comfortable is more confident, do what makes you have more fun.
  • + 0
 your mom Razz
  • + 1
 Every pic I see of peddles I see my shins start to hurt
  • + 1
 Sweet nukeproof commercail!
  • + 1
 Every rider should start with flats on a hard tail and go from there.
  • + 1
 Flats is freedom
  • - 3
 Flats is Muerica!!!!
  • + 0
 The next pressing question should be lycra vs baggy shorts.
  • + 2
 I wear lycra under baggy shorts. I have to try other way around though, thT would fit my beard And round glasses - sooo fatbike
  • + 0
 It´s definetly up to the rider!!!
  • + 0
 See @Scotj009 flat pedals win more medals
  • + 0
 I'm sorry but where does it say that?
  • + 0
 In the post about your one... ^

and here twitter.com/hashtag/flatpedalswinmedals
  • + 0
 But that doesn't say 90% of winners ride flats nor does it say 90% of winners ride clips Razz
  • + 0
 No, I'm sure there are tracks which favor each type of pedal, but the biggest factor is the BS trends that we are all sold by the bike industry. Which is quicker for 100% of the tracks in the world I don't know.
  • + 0
 yeah sure i get your point Smile
  • + 1
 FLAT PEDALS WIN MEDALS
  • + 1
 Flats for flips
  • + 1
 Nope, clips.
  • - 1
 clips are so much better than flats they just make u more faster and they are not hard at all to get out of
  • + 0
 For anything that matters, flats are the only option.
  • + 0
 Just frickin ride FLAT OUT
  • + 1
 Clipless pedals, aren't.
  • - 1
 Clips to attach Flats to engage
  • + 0
 what knee brace is that?
  • + 0
 Flats
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