Can't be bothered to read through most this nonsense, but it sounds like you need flats and some shin pads if you're worried about pin damage, although I've never bothered, and yes I've had lost a bit of blood, scars are cool. You'll soon know if you're ready to try spds, in the meantime experiment with flats, maybe pick up some secondhand dmr v12s.
Pedals - clipless vs flats
Did anybody mention yet that SPDs are gay?
I tried flats for DH, just never felt as confident as with SPDs, regardless of what shoes/pedlas I tried. Not really an issue in the dry, but in the wet I fould it completely confidence-sapping to not have my feet positioned exactly where I want them, or to have the possibility of slipping.
So I ride SPDs in the Alps on my DH bike, and have yet to have a problem. I know people talk about bail-outs, but frankly, I don't ride as if I'm going to bail out, and when I do crash, my injuries have tended to be hitting my head on things or shoulder-checking a tree; involuntary unclipping has never been a problem.
Did anybody mention yet that SPDs are gay?
Really? I use EggBeaters, does that make me some kind of sub genre of sexuality? And The Pitch has ome great big burgtech flats, does this make me bi? Nope, none of the above.
You however are a knob.
My mates all ride spd's and I ride flats. Generally I'll leave them on most climbs - the only time the spd advantage kicks in is on long flat tarmac sections.
Ride flats but get fitter than your mates so you can still out climb them.
All the fast guys are clipped in!
After years of spds, I have just put flats on my bike, so will report on how I find them in a few weeks' time.
In the meantime, the reason I did it is that I was no longer convinced that they were necessary.
I did an MTB course last year at which I noticed the instructor - who, incidentally, appears to live on his bike - always used flats. I asked about this, and he explained that he even rode enduros with flats and found them just as efficient as the alternative.
Now, this appealed to me, as I had been thinking for a while that one of the things I liked least about my MTB experience was how different it was to when I first began. When I rode on the road, I always used spds, but I took up MTBing precisely because it allowed me to ride where I wanted, more spontaneously... like when I was a kid.
Then I forgot, and MTBing became more 'precious'. I could no longer just hop on my bike for a quick spin because I had to change my clothes and my shoes, and if I wanted to walk any part of my time out, I wasn't equipped. So much for any possibility of exploration!
In any case, I know this is all subjective, and not remotely technical, but I did find that my spds started to take away from the riding.
My (humble)view on this is that if you're new to MTB then the best way to approach this is to learn to ride the bike on flats first. That way you learn to actually 'ride' the bike rather than be a passenger on it.
By this I mean you learn how to be a part of the bike without having to rely on a mechanical attachment.
Then after a year or two learn to ride clipped to the bike. If you find you like it carry on and if not switch back to flats.
Sadly it seems the golden era of flat pedal (DH) racers seems to be dwindling after only a brief flirtation in the limelight. The only rider that seems to be carrying the torch these days is Sam Hill and he seems to be a bit hit and miss these days. Gee, Peaty, Minnar, they're all racing clipped in.
BTW your shins will be fine; it's almost never your shins that get clobbered by the pins but rather your calves. When you slip a flat pedal it's typically your calves that get gouged; they bleed profusly and your partner will curse you for bleeding all over the bed sheets, but strangely enough it doesn't ever hurt.
Most of the scars I've got on my calves were from gouges (gouge really is the right word) I never even knew I'd done.
As a beginner if your aim is to become 'good' on a bike then you should start with flats as you cannot get away with bad technique and have to learn the proper way (heels down, correct bunny hops, efficient pedaling)
If you are not fussed and want to go from A to B as quickly as possible then crack on with clips.
Incidentally, good post pistolpete2010.
Flats all the way for me.
Used SPD's or rather Crank bros clips, they did not release in a crash due to mus or a small stone.
Broke my tib / Fib 2 op operations and 5 months off work.
Use flats now for XC and DH,
If you'r bike is set up ok and you learn to use your legs as suspension
flats are fine.
After 8 months flats i'm finally trying spd's ...had 2 bad crash outs but reckon i will stick with em,just gonna adjust em !
enjoy whatever, i do.
I use SPDs cause they are better.
If others want to use flats then its ok by me.
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