• This topic has 61 replies, 44 voices, and was last updated 8 hours ago by nickc.
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  • Anyone moved from clipless to flats?
  • fudge9202

    Right I’m due knee surgery and for the last thirty years or so been riding clipped in. Currently use crankbrothers Candy pedals for the float to help my knees. Been advised to switch to flats after surgery to help with recovery not to aggravate my knee. They will be going onto a Surly Krampus I’m building during my off time.
    Was considering Kona Wah Wah II pedals?
    Anyone switched ? Worried about shredding my shins with the pins🙁

    Premier Icon st colin

    I went from clips to flats on my full sus about 4 years ago. Haven’t really regretted it. Still struggle with foot placement sometimes, and I initially had issues with not dropping my heels enough. I think this was just because I had become lazy with being clipped in. I’ve only had a couple of run ins with my pedal pins.

    Premier Icon stevied

    Made the switch a few weeks ago to see how I get on.
    1st couple of rides were interesting but seems to be getting easier every ride and I’m planning on sticking with them for a while.
    No shin-pin interaction yet…


    Good to hear I’ve visions of my shins being cheese grated.

    Premier Icon DezB

    I started switching between the 2 after years on SPDs – found that shoes and pedals are so grippy now that it wasn’t much of an issue. Much prefer flats at places like BPW and Rogate. After spending a few Covid related months of riding with clips I was pretty crap on my flats last time I rode them, but it comes back pretty quick. Haven’t had any pin/shin interfaces.

    Premier Icon sirromj

    Assuming you’ll be taking it easy due to the knee surgery, there will be little chance of shredding your shins.

    I made the move a few years ago, after jumping off the pedals for bunny hops, and feet leaving pedals on small drops and bumpy stuff, I soon learnt where to put my weight!

    Numerous threads on the topic.


    I did a few years back. It’s a bit like knives in that a chef will tell you it’s blunt knives that cut people.

    Don’t be put off by aggressive looking pins.
    Ride with the mid foot over the axle rather than ball of the foot and point your heels down.
    Saddle position might need adjusting.
    Some combinations of pedal and shoe may make it harder to adjust foot position than a pedal with float.
    You will spike the back of your calves while pushing the bike.
    Get some Nox Sox to protect the car/house/shed/other bikes/family pets etc.

    I’ve no intention of going back to clippers, in fact my last ride out in the road bike used flat pedals.


    I switched back to flats after I damaged a clipless shoe. At first my feet were coming off when lifting the back end when hopping and jumping but after two rides all was fine – I think I was just over thinking it.

    It sounds odd but my main issue with flats is that I don’t seem to naturally place my foot in the optimum position every time, and find myself checking/correcting when I really should be concentrating on the fast-approaching feature!

    Premier Icon nickc

    Couple of things that I always notice when I go from one to the other.

    After loads of time on clips, you’ll notice that your foot will never quite be where you want it to be when you’re on flats. It doesn’t really matter, and you should probably ignore it, but it will bug you.

    If you’ve bought flats with pins in them, you will need to consciously lift your foot from the pedal and replace it, if your foot’s in the wrong place On a moving pedal that’s not as easy as you might want it to be for the first couple of times. If you’re doing it in a tricky uphill gnadgery section, it may even cause you to put a foot down. This also goes away after a while

    You’ll be surprised how much you use clips to move the back of the bike around, think of this as a way to relearn what you used to take for granted.

    You’ll be surprised at how easy it is for your foot to come off the pedal, unless your technique (heel down) is good.

    You’ll be surprised how easy it is, to get going again (especially uphill) if you’ve need to stop. and you’ll be surprised how little difference to your uphill speed; clips make.

    It’s a fun way to keep MTBing fresh. Some bits of your trails will become a new challenge for you

    Premier Icon ta11pau1

    Switched from clipless to flats on the mtb a year or so ago, much better for riding steep stuff as you can dab a lot easier.

    So use clipless on the gravel bike, so go between them both regularly.

    With proper grippy flat shoes it’s hard to slip a pedal tbh.


    “You’ll be surprised how easy it is, to get going again (especially uphill) if you’ve need to stop. and you’ll be surprised how little difference to your uphill speed; clips make.”

    this.. I’ve been playing with clips recently.. and I’m having a hard time feeling anywhere as near planted as I am on platforms….I really like the big platform I can feel under my foot, and I kind of gathered I wouldn’t get on with the true clip platform combo (I would get stuck)
    Literally just ordered a set of Mopeds to see if that’s the combination I’m looking for

    Ive only actually felt the benefit of being clipped in for pedaling efficiency once.. sprinting…


    Switched to flats, as long as you stay on the ground your shins are safe. I’ve started learning to bunny hop immediately so now I have emmentaler-shins 😉


    Cheers think I’ll give them a go , anyone using the Kona Wah Wah II Pedals?


    went spds to flats a bit more than a year ago on my mtbs, ride spds on my xbike. Advantages:

    – being able to dab on the way up and not fall over sideways when i run out of beans,
    – being able to dab to make tight loose turns on the way down. It’s really not cheating,
    – walking into the pub without sounding like a clog dancer,
    – just generally feeling solid


    – yep, spiking back of calf when pushing. I’ve only cut myself once on the shin and not that badly, but had to take one of my lads to Wharfedale minor injuries last night after his first time out on spiky pedals, to get his shin glued up again and have my attempts at dressings laughed at.
    – not being able to pull the back over obstacles on tech climbs, still not lost the reflex.
    – likewise, as a very rarely (deliberately) airborne rider, I feel less secure on jumps and struggle to get the back of the bike off the ground. I know I should learn to manual and bunny hop for real, but, well, you know…
    – difficulty changing foot position once you’ve started a downhill section.

    Blimey an essay. Either way, sticking with flats (nukeproof plastic ones with little bolt pins, colours matching bike frame).

    Premier Icon FOG

    I went Spd from flat in about 1995 and only gave up about five years ago. I just wish I had returned to flat years ago, I just can’t find a downside. I still have Spd on my road and gravel bike but for pure MTB it’s flat all the way

    Yep – and switched back shortly after. Shortly that is after a month off the bike  and numerous trips to A&E….


    @martinkiely I’m assuming shin grating

    Premier Icon Northwind

    I used to ride spds but I switched to flats when i got back into riding, because my leg’s held on with bolts and one of my knees is pretty dodgy, it just seemed a good idea.

    Still not sure which I prefer tbh. They both have advantages, I guess I’d say the only time it’s a decisive advantage, is when it’s flats- ie, snow and not filling your pedals with ice. The mega’d be a bit tricker on spds when you’re a glacier-tripodder like me! Also, I just like being able to ride in normal shoes- go for a spur of the moment spin or just jump on when spannering…

    I like that they both teach you different skills though.


    Question is:

    1 Colour match pedals to frame? Or

    2 Colour match pedals to hubs etc

    Swamp green Krampus with Hope purple bling hubs and purple Hope headset

    Premier Icon asbrooks

    Yes, switched around 5 years ago, I had an off in which one foot remained clipped in. I twisted my leg, knee and ankle.
    Ride mid foot, I found it easier to drop my ankles in that position. I’ve never gone back, I wish I’d done it earlier.
    As said above, you’ll need to adjust your saddle. I needed to lower it a bit.

    Premier Icon stevious

    Clips to flats here about a decade ago. Did my trail cycle leader training and realised my technique was poor so swapped as a ‘learning’ thing. Since decided that flats are just more fun to ride on for MTB. Have recently been riding a bit more MTB after years of gravel and road. Tried the SPDs out and confirmed what I found before – flats are just more fun for me.

    Premier Icon rhayter

    I switched about 4 years ago after many years of riding clipped in, but a couple of crashes wrecked my confidence. Still ride my gravel bike clipped in, but don’t see any need to go back on my mountain bike. I don’t really notice any lack of climbing efficiency with flats, but then I don’t have a power meter either. All the above comments about adjusting saddle etc. are bob on. I have had a few minor spills but my shins haven’t been shredded to mince.

    Premier Icon Bez

    Switched nearly 25 years ago 😳

    Never found shins a problem. Calves and achilles when you’re pushing the bike, however…

    Premier Icon 2orangey4crows

    I’ve switched a bit over the years, but probably spent nearly 10 years on SPDs, only to switch to flats a few months back just for a change. As others have said, first few rides were tricky – on drop offs and jumps in particular for me – but I’ve now got back into it. I like being able to move my feet around and (as I’ve become wimpier) like the option to bail more easily! I also really like it for more technical slow stuff where a bit of track standing/thinking time might be required.

    Will keep SPDs on the CX bike though.

    I chop and change between flats and clips a fair bit. No real reason. I just fancy a change now and again. After about ten minutes on the flats I’m comfy again. They really don’t let you away with being lazy on steep techy stuff which I love. Keeps my habits in the right direction foot wise.

    A small learning and you will be fine


    Was on clips for about 10 years, then precisely 2 years ago decided to switch to flats. Might be relevant to point that my use ranges from full on DH tracks to all day trail rides.

    It was a slow process of adaptation for me, but an absolutely worthy one. My riding had several issues that were being camouflaged by clips but badly surfaced with flats:
    – my body position was all over the place, the load on my feet was not consistent, I was loosing composure all the time and the bike was taking me for a ride
    – I wasn’t dropping my heels
    – I wasn’t preloading the bike prior to maneuvers

    Correcting these not only made flat pedals usable, but also made me a way better rider.
    After 2 years I can say that:
    – flats let you know on spot if you are with the wrong body position
    – I used to consistently drop my outside foot on corners, now I always corner with level pedals, feel more stable this way
    – all my current personal bests are on flat pedals
    – climbing was never an issue, personally never understood the whole pedaling efficiency thing
    – feel way more comfortable on long days on the bike. Feet, ankles and knees are not locked and more naturally
    – raising your bars a little Vs your clips setup is generally a good idea, in my case +20mm made a huge difference on how planted my feet feel
    – I feel a lot more connected to the bike, I know that as long as I do the correct operation the bike will do what I want, no unforeseen unclipping, etc


    Great advice re set up will adjust saddle accordingly. Looking forward to not being so rigid especially my knees

    Premier Icon Pyro

    I started to re-learn riding on flats recently. I haven’t switched fully, flats on the BMX and the long-low-slack hardtail for fun stuff, clips on the faster bikes because I find them more efficient. I can happily switch backwards and forwards, took a bit of time to adjust back to flats after 20+ years on clips, but decent pedals and sticky shoes (CB Stamps and 5.10 Impacts in my case) means I haven’t stabbed myself in the shins too many times…


    Shin ripping (to the bone – bleugh!) rather than gouging… as bad as it sounds!

    Get some burgtec penthouse flats btw

    Premier Icon ahsat

    Switched 2 years ago after my ACL reconstruction. Got DMR pedals which are fine, but I only owned xc type shoes, so started off trying to ride in approach shoes – fine as I very slowly pottered about; but after a while drove me mad slipping off the pedals and @p20 picked me up some 5:10’s in the CRC sale and it has been much better since.

    That said, pending buying new pedals, I am looking to go back. I have ridden clipped in on cx and road for the last year plus.


    switched to flats after many years with clips at the start of lockdown, so i could practice balancing, wheelies, manuals, and jumping off stuff in the garden, left them on so far, it does (re)teach you to get your feet and weight balance correct or they tend to bite you.


    I know shallow question but pedals to match frame colour or match hub/headset colour?

    Premier Icon mmannerr

    Switch between SPDs (now Time) and flats few times each year, this year mostly on SPDs as I haven’t ridden any bike parks.

    I’d use flats more but I find that they aggravate my knees more than SPDs. My theory is that on technical sections with flats I’m pushing pedals down more from different angles which my knees don’t like.

    Premier Icon funkmasterp

    I know shallow question but pedals to match frame colour or match hub/headset colour?

    I like a bit of colour on a bike, but always go for black pedals. Any anodising wears off very quickly.


    Used SPD’s for over 20 years and put flats on one bike to re learn some old skills for fun. It’s taking me a while to break out of the habit of pulling up and small jumps and rough parts. I do find them quite a lot slower up hill or sprinting but that was expected.


    I switched to flats 2 rides ago. And I have a nice shin dig to show for it, before I even left the garden.

    If you’re a life long spd man then like me you’ll be putting your foot far too far back for flats. We usually put the ball of our foot on the pedal axel with spds, but you need the ball fo your foot in front of the axel for flats. This means you need to relearn/reset the muscle memory.

    It’s important, because with the foot in the spd position you’ll not be able to lift the back of the bike with your feet very easily. Your toes won’t “grip” the pedal and therefore you’ll slip off when you bunny hop. When you land the bunny hop you’ll effectively apply pressure to the back 50% of the pedal and it will spin round and gouge your shin. This is what I learned in the garden day 1 of flats.

    Really concentrate on foot position and it’s absolutely fine. It’s like learning a skill – practice and concentration until the foot position is second nature.

    Also, flats are so very grippy now compared to the late ‘90s, which inspires confidence a whole lot more. I’m using nukeproof neutron composites.

    Hope this helps. Watch videos on foot position, it’s the only thing which will limit progress and cause shin digs in my experience. Very important and easy – simply move your foot to the right place. Just don’t forget to check/do it. It feels odd but makes a world of difference


    @rickbst170 great explanation and great tip about video tutorials. I’ll check out YouTube. Cheers.


    Also, on foot positioning, I see a good number of comments on trouble to both place the foot right away in the right place and correcting the position when riding.

    This was an issue for me as well for a very long time, each time I put my feet on the pedals they went into the wrong place, to the point I was looking down to check what I was doing. Besides putting down the miles (perhaps the most important thing) the biggest thing for me was simply stop thinking about it. Just slamming the feet into the pedals and not pay attention to it for some reason seems to make things right.

    On foot position correcting when riding, I’d say it pays off to play a bit with the pedal pins. Using Nukeproof Horizons with Five Ten Impacts I had trouble to adjust foot position, and then, after seeing so many people doing so, I removed the two inside pins on the pedals. This somehow made a world of difference, I can now adjust my feet mid ride without and detriment to actual pedal traction

    Premier Icon joebristol

    I tend to switch between both. Generally I’m happier in flats (in my case I use 5-10 freerider elements with Superstar Nano Evo pedals) but I find on rocky / fast stuff I’d you’re doing it all day my ankles get sore on flats towards the end of the day. No idea why, but I don’t get that on spds. Wonder if it’s because I don’t keep my heels down enough and it’s putting force into my ankles gripping the pedals.

    We’ve got a 3 dayer coming up – day at FOD exploring off piste – will use flats for that. BMCC uplift day – will be clipped in for that probably. 3rd day I decided yet but unless it’s steep off-piste I’ll probably leave the clips on.

    Most of my riding is on flats though – most pin related injuries are from catching the front or back of my lower leg whilst pushing the bike uphill or getting it out the garage!

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