- Flats v Clips – Fascinating article on Pinkbike
I read it this morning and my overwhelming feeling was a big “meh”. Seemed like an article just to stir up debate.
I can’t help but think that the pedals Elite World Cup DH pros use is about as relevant to mere mortal mountain bikers as F1 drivers using traction control is to school run mums. And whilst the article seems to be heralding the death knell of flat pedals and mentions Brook’s win was the only flat pedal victory in two seasons, he neglects to mention how Brook destroyed the competition on the years most balls out technically crazy course, nor does he acknowledge that the winningest (sorry) and arguably still best flat pedal rider, Hill, has been out for two seasons prior to this.Posted 5 years agostevedeMember
I read that this morning, was a good article and have noticed a few of the big flat pedal riders switching to clips this season – Bryceland being the main one, as the riders get faster and faster and the gap between the top few getting smaller they have to look for advantages where they can, Bryceland had an untimely slip of the pedals in one of the early world cup rounds and it cost him what could have been a podium, i think that probably persuaded him to give it another go.Posted 5 years ago
It’s flats for me but i don’t race often, if i did then i may consider going clipped it but then i’m not at that level so probably not!
Lol at muddyfunster…. If the article had been in favour of flats, you’d be reciting it word for word.
Get with the programme…
Not sure what you mean by “get with the programme” Crikey, but I doubt I’d be getting too excited about a pinkbike article. If people want to run clipped or flats i could care less but I do think for technical riding most people would benefit from flats if they want to push their own limits. If they choose not to, so be it – I like passing people after they’ve had comedy falls 🙂Posted 5 years agoNorthwindSubscriber
It’s interesting though in that even if you accept there’s a performance advantage in SPDs- and I reckon there is, but it’s not decisive- there are still riders at the highest level who obviously believe flats suit them better and make them faster.
“In two seasons, only Brook McDonald has won a World Cup Race on flat pedals.” sounds overwhelming- but in those 2 seasons, I think only 4 people have won world cups! Aaron Gwin, Greg Minaar, Brook McDonald and Stevie Smith?
So… Let’s suppose this article was written in 2007 instead. Sam Hill is world champion for the second year running, just won the world cup, winning 7 out of 13 top-flight races. So flats are better and SPDs are a thing of the past?
In 5 years time, the next Gwin/Hill might be on flats and smashing everyone and it’ll all go round again. The dominant pedal will be the one worn by the dominant rider. And hey, I think the junior worlds 2010 and 2011 were won on flats, no?Posted 5 years ago
Interesting. The fastest, most technically skilled riders may be moving away from flats, but it doesn’t fit with your mindset?
Definitely not mate, and I think Northwind makes a great point
In 5 years time, the next Gwin/Hill might be on flats and smashing everyone and it’ll all go round again. The dominant pedal will be the one worn by the dominant rider.
While I am a DH fan boy I am also a rational adult man. I know my limits and what works for me. Even if it could be proven beyond all doubt that clips were essential for WC victory I wouldn’t be switching. just as I won’t be following the pros work out and diet plans, or getting my forks factory tuned or running ti bolts or ….you get the idea.
You said it yourself, they are the fastest and most skilled. I can regularly find the limits of my own skill on flats, and I get to see first hand from my riding buddies how elite level riders are just that, elite level. They aren’t better because of their pedal choice, they are better in every way to you, me and the next guy.Posted 5 years ago
I am pulling your chain a bit, sorry…
It’s interesting to see where peoples limits are in terms of what kit or technique changes they ate prepared to adopt. I’m the same with regard to electronic shifting on road and cross bikes, but over time I think that might change.Posted 5 years agolucienMember
Am I the only one on ‘ere that would be proper sh1tting it clipped in on a WC DH course?
At those speeds and my skills levels – yes, without a doubt.Posted 5 years ago
However, it’s all progressive…at my speed and my skills yes I would ride a DH course clipped in. But it’s horses for courses, and much more about what you feel comfortable with / in / on.joelm76Subscriber
It was interesting although I think he talks a lot of rubbish as others have said. His is just one (non-DH rider) riders perspective, interesting that it’s just really his views referenced and not any respected downhillers. Articles like that need the views of more people to back them up.Posted 5 years agozerocoolMember
I’m trying clips for the entire winter to see if I prefer them or not. Never tried them on an MTB before and figured that the only way to find out for sure was to dedicate 100% to them for 6 months to find out.
If I don’t get on with them i can always switch back to my trusty flats for the summerPosted 5 years agostanyMember
FWIW GeeTee started this with a comment about how flats had progressed his riding. And they will for most. You’ll learn skills and techniques that clips can mask. But if you’re going out of your way to find a tenth of a second, i’d be on clips.Posted 5 years ago
Also, Sam Hill was winning on a bike that was recognised to be below par. An elite rider could beat any of us down a hill riding a hobby horse blindfold, flats or clips.
The pro’s will keep pushing for the win and the kids will keep following the fashions. I’ll stick to my safe comfy 5.10’s and flats, taWooksterSubscriber
I don’t think there is much doubt that clips are not the most effective way to get the power down so are an advantage. I really don’t think any top DH’er is worried about being clipped in. To race at that level you don’t have any doubts or concerns over being clipped in, it’s your day job.
For me, as a chap who’s got to work Monday am, and has less bottle than a dolls house drinks cabinet with two kids at home Ill worry myself out of stuff. That I can do or have done before clipped in or not or if I feel like it or not.
These DHers don’t think in that way!Posted 5 years agodirtbiker100Member
I’ve always been a flats rider as my background has been playing around type riding – DH and DJ, but as I’m wanting to take next years gravity enduros a bit more seriously I’m about to buy some mallets and am45’s. Therefore seems like I’m with the “flats for fun but clips for racing” school of thought.Posted 5 years agoDigger90Member
Ride what ya want.. each type of pedal has its advantages/disadvantages. Do you always ride the same tyres in every terrain? The same forks? Even the same bike?
I ride SPDs most of the time for trail use – but flats all the time for DH.
4 weeks ago I rode down the Champery World Champs course – on flats – and there’s no way I’d ride it on SPDs. It was barely manageable on flats so far as I’m concerned.Posted 5 years agocontinuityMember
I’m going to go hardline on one side rather than sit on the fence.
Listen to the interview with Smith, and have a search down the CRC pit talk video about cleats/flats. Arguing that flats are just as good just because Brook does well is no better than arguing that they aren’t because Gwinn does. However, the riders that have SWITCHED to cleats, (or smith who rode flats for a couple of years) all say that they personally are faster now.
There are almost no noticeable racing advantages from flats, but there are noticeable advantages to cleats. These advantages may not be always relevant to the course or format, but they do exist. Cleats let you pedal cleanly over technical sections, and they increase the margin for error also on technical sections where on flats just to retain pedal grip you have to force your heels down in perfect time.
The argument made in the article is not that cleats are better because gwinn or anyone else rides them, but cleats are abstractly better and that bike geometry has accommodated to make them easier to ride on the downhill.Posted 5 years agocontinuityMember
That said, I’m making the switch to flats after the winter (cant’ find any winter non-spd boots and my toes get icy) because they’ll improve my riding technique because the same freedom with your margin of error accommodates for poor riding and line choice (for me), and my jumping technique is bad.
Flats offer confidence, and whilst confidence at the expense of speed is not what top DH riders are looking for, it may be what you’re looking for.Posted 5 years agochiefgrooveguruMember
I’ve also read plenty of articles which discuss how riding flats will make you better on clips by improving your pedal stroke (more powerful pedalling) and footwork (more balanced and smoother riding). Learn on flats, race on clips, regularly revisit flats to remove bad habits. I suspect I’ll always be stuck in stage 1!Posted 5 years agolittlegirlbunnyMember
Thanks for posting the linky geetee 🙂
I’ve been thinking about clipless for racing myself. After starting my riding career with clipless, then making the painfully difficult transition to flats (which, there is no doubt, massively improved my riding) I had no desire to return to clipless. However, I do believe there would be distinct advantages when racing….pedalling over the rough stuff, power off the start line, etc. I’m not a ‘foot-out’ rider and pretty much always keep my feet on the pedals even with flats.
Will struggle to return to the foot position for clipless though. Tried earlier in the year and not having the pedal right under the arch of my foot now feels very uncomfortable!Posted 5 years agonedrapierSubscriber
To race at that level you don’t have any doubts or concerns over being clipped in, it’s your day job.
Maybe not while they’re actually racing, but I’d say having doubts and concerns over what kit you choose to race with is absolutely the day job.
Think about a rider making the decision to switch for the next season. Think there’d be doubts and concerns over what it’s going to do to their performance, results, career? Course there would be.Posted 5 years agoTrimixMember
I find that Im not in control if Im not clipped in. I also find that when I need to stick a foot out to dab, (or crash) I unclip without thinking and without delay.
So for me SPD’s work both for XC (faster, more efficient) and for DH (greater control).
I dont find they lower my confidence when its technical, quite the opposite.
But as stated earlier, we are not even close to these guys level, so ride what your happy with.Posted 5 years agoatlazMember
A few of my friends, purely as a result of that article, are considering riding clipless pedals for the first time. I find it a little odd considering they were quite vocal about not riding clipless in the past. I ride a mix because I’m comfortable with both types of pedals. Additionally, I find it really hard to move my feel around when I’m riding flats anyway (grippy shoes and pedal combo) so I don’t notice a lot of difference. That said, I’m never going to ride to the level where it makes a massive amount of difference. I still think that riding what you’re happiest with is the right advice for the majority of us.Posted 5 years agojimtheladMember
I rode flats for mtb until last summer when I dragged out the old hardtail and started ragging it. After 2 years of full suss, my feet just wouldnt stay on the pedals without them. Dont think I would ever ride HT flats again. I even raced the Ft Bill enduro HT clipped in. This is obviously a whole world away from super slack, long DH bikes. On my DH bike which is now slightly dated, I wouldn’t dream of riding clipped in, not because of the increased crash risk, but because of the body position it puts you in, and the fact bikes of that era are not designed for that style of riding. If I ever get a new DH rig, with new geo, I would stick clips on from the first ride.Posted 5 years agoshemMember
I dont ride downhill any more, but a few mates that do switched and started using clips as soon as the pros started. Many of these are guys that are also road riders so are more than familiar with using clipped road peddles, but they all dropped them for down hill bikes pretty quickly. pro only option? I wont even ride clipped for All mountain or XC any more.Posted 5 years agoflangeSubscriber
I’ve always ridden with flats on my trail bike, usually 5-10s on a decent set of grippy flats. However, recently I got a set of XTR trail pedals and a set of the Minaar 5-10s and I’m much much faster both up and down hill. For anything other than a DH course I’d go SPD’s every time, and if I raced DH then I’d use them there too.Posted 5 years ago
The topic ‘Flats v Clips – Fascinating article on Pinkbike’ is closed to new replies.