First time back on flats – pedal strike city.

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  • First time back on flats – pedal strike city.
  • Having been riding SPD’s since the very first generation way back when, I thought I would give flats a try on my new build.

    I went up to Afan yesterday and had a great time in the hail storms and on the slushy sodden trails. But I did notice that I was pedal striking absolutely everywhere. I don’t think it’s the new frame geometry, but I suspect it’s a combination of a few things.

    Firstly, I’m crap and keep pedalling when perhaps I should level the cranks and roll through. Secondly, I have 175mm cranks which is right for my size (34″ inseam), but maybe 170’s would give me a teeny weenie bit more clearance. And thirdly and perhaps most crucially, I guess a flat pedal has much less clearance to it than a pair of small SPD pedals.

    I’m working on the third point being the main culprit. Has anyone else had similar issues?

    Premier Icon coolhandluke

    Grippier shoes

    Longer pins on the pedals

    Get pads for your calfs

    EDIT, oh, I thought you meant pedal strikes into you legs. 😳

    Premier Icon Northwind

    A flat does have a wee bit less ground clearance but it’s probably mostly just that your pedalling instincts are all for SPDs and so now that you’re all jangled with a couple of big changes, some of those instincts aren’t quite working out. Most likely once you get more comfortable with flats and it all gets back to being back-of-the-head automatic stuff to pedal in the right places etc.

    I think if it was me, I’d stick the SPDs onto the new bike for a little while, partly to see if it still happens but mostly just to get used to that bike. Break it into easier pieces.


    Depends on the flat pedal but my Spank Spikes have way more clearance than SPDs. You might be running to much sag, be pedalling where you shouldn’t and/or running long cranks with a low slung frame.

    Have a look at your pedals, decide what you can get more clearance by investing in – shorter cranks or thinner pedals. The thinner pedals are a better idea as it allows you to keep the extra power from your cranks. Are you striking the bottom of the cranks or the pedals themselves?

    That’s really weird you should post this! I went to AFan on Tues and Weds and used flats for first time in over 20 years and had exactly the same issue just put it down to me being a moron? Maybe not then? Loved riding flats felt so free and was surprised at how easy it was as well.

    put it down to me being a moron


    compared to small SPDs, or to SPDs with cages like XT Trail, DX etc? If “normal” spds possibly the extra width of the pedal is a factor – youve got pedal under (or even beyond) the outer edge of your foot which you dont with a compact SPD pedal?

    Premier Icon jambalaya

    Similar experience, yes it’s technique levelling pedals or indeed raising the one on the same side as the obstacle. Don’t buy new kit just practice.

    Premier Icon chakaping

    You might be running to much sag

    Just what I thought.

    New bike? You might have the shock too soft or it might be blowing through the travel.

    What frame/shock?


    It’s a new build innit? That’s the reason! New bike you’re getting used to. Learn the bike and you’ll not get flipped with a stopper strike someday 🙂

    It is indeed a new build, but I tend to change my bikes more often than I actually ride them and this is the first time I’ve had the issue, with the only variables being the use of flat pedals. Most recent bikes were a Turner Flux and then a Yeti ASR5. The FTM Carbon isn’t fantastically different and I’m not bottoming the shock.

    Glasgowdan, never heard the phrase “stopper strike” before, but I have had a couple. Although my face and chest ultimately finished the stopping… Ouch.


    If you ride flats the ball of your foot is generally further back and the pedal is on a slight incline( as opposed to spd’s), this results in the weight being further back. But also as the pedal is not horizontal clearance is compromised.

    Premier Icon sockpuppet

    May not be thickness on its own: flats are often wider too, which had a massive effect on line choice and strikes when the bike’s leant over.

    I fitted flats onto a bike when it moved to pub bike/childseat duties, and managed a pedal strike on flat Tarmac.

    I don’t pedal round fast corners so much no more!

    Premier Icon JoeG

    I have flats (beartraps) on one retrobike, and had them on another. I get waaaayyy more pedal strikes with them than riding with SPDs. I blame the added pedal thickness and width, mainly. The other factor IMO is that clipped in, its easy to backpedal by raising your leading foot when clipped in, which isn’t possible on flats w/o toeclips.


    JoeG you’d be surprised. I can stand off the bike and do full backpedalling revolutions with only one foot using flats. Plus when riding there’s usually one foot on the rearward pedal that can be pushed down to achieve a backpedal!

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