Viewing 18 posts - 1 through 18 (of 18 total)
  • Returning to mtb – flats advice
  • malley
    Full Member

    2024 is the year I will return to cycling. Everything is in my favour. Overweight. Unfit. Time rich.

    Here’s the thing.

    I feel the need to start out with flat pedals. Lack of muscle memory and confidence – as well as anticipated need to get off and push often – have found me thinking it’s time to try something different.

    Deore DX w toe straps until around 1995. Made the leap with Ritchey WCS and have been on SPDs ever since. I’ve also been a lover of SIDI shoes over the years

    So, I’m thinking of/favouring some HOPE flat pedals.

    A little confused by the choice of flat-pedal shoes though!! I’m used to a stiff sole, but recognise I will be walking/pushing quite a bit to start out.

    Any advice or recommendations?

    Many thanks,
    Steve

    franksinatra
    Full Member

    I’ve just done the same. Been riding SPD’s since 1995 or so. Just shifted to a Five Ten Freeriders and Nukeproof Neutron pedals.
    First thoughts –

    • Transition is not that big a deal really, super grippy interface between pedal and shoe and rarely think about it once riding
    • Foot position when placing foot on pedal takes a bit of thinking about, I’m not really sure exactly where to put my feet but not an issue once you get going.
    • Grip on mud off the bike is woeful, they are like ice skates if walking or pushing in mud
    • Pedals are much bigger, jaggier and more painful when you get it wrong

    All in all its not any big revolution for me. I’ll carry on with them now that I have spent the cash but I can see myself going back to SPD’s at some point.

    Maybe try some budget pedals and shoes combo before you commit.

    franksinatra
    Full Member

    and here was my thread asking the same, some good advice on here

    https://singletrackworld.com/forum/topic/help-me-buy-my-first-pair-of-flats/

    igm
    Full Member

    £17 in horrible turquoise – but a good pedal, and cheap if you might go back to SPDs

    https://www.evanscycles.com/brand/dmr/v11-mtb-flat-pedal-709886#colcode=70988618

    swanny853
    Full Member

    In general- keep at it even if it takes a while to click.. It probably took me most of a year back on flats before I really started to feel like I wasn’t having to concentrate on pedalling for flats. I assume this is a personal thing- I’ve noticed where I put my feet with spds vs flats are very different (feels very wrong to put cleats to replicate my flats position), ymmv.

    Specifically- I found a massive help putting slightly longer pins on the back edge of the pedals. Just seemed to help bridge the gap in feel.

    thepurist
    Full Member

    Start with some decent composite flats – no point in going straight to spendy hopes if you might end up back on spds. Use the money you’ll save from not buying hopes to get some decent shoes. Spesh 2FO are worth a look – great grip and don’t soak up as much water as most 510s which will be a bonus at the moment. Also Ride Concepts – plenty of good options beyond the default 510.

    martinhutch
    Full Member

    Foot position when placing foot on pedal takes a bit of thinking about,

    I kind of have a ‘halfway house’ (well, not really) – a pair of normal outdoor boots/trainers, with a proper tread and a ridge on the sole where the heel starts, rather than the completely flat sole 5.10 style shoes.

    If you use a stanley knife blade to slice off the tread lugs just in front of the ridge, a flat pedal will slip against it, make good contact and stay put. I rarely lose a pedal into my shin, even on lumpy stuff. Either way, shin pads are probably a good idea for the first few rides!

    That way you also have good grip on mud etc when off and pushing.

    malley
    Full Member

    Cheers 👍

    malley
    Full Member

    Oh, I’ll check that out. Thank you 👍

    malley
    Full Member

    Brilliant stuff. I hadn’t even considered foot position changes.  Really appreciate the advice. Cheers. 

    franksinatra
    Full Member

    This did get me thinking though. We used to ride with clips and straps, on mountain bikes. What on earth were we thinking? I don’t remember being terrified but just the idea of it now is crazy.

    ampthill
    Full Member

    I had toe straps as every one else did and believed the lie about pulling up. They did keep your feet in place on slippy pedals and were easy enough to escape. But they were clearly a poor group think

    dvnjhn
    Full Member

    Im the same.  I started cycling again last week, using flats.  I have found them super gripy and absolutely fine to use.  I got DMR V11s and Adidas 5:10s really cheap and I have had no issue with either.

    malley
    Full Member

    Just caught up w replies here. Thank you!

    failedengineer
    Full Member

    Just for balance – I tried flats recently (Ride Concept shoes and Nukeproof pedals) because, well, most people seem to use them these days, especially on ebikes.  6 rides in total and I just can’t get on with them at all.  They’re OK going down, but for climbing and particularly pedalling on flattish gnarly stuff – my feet never seemed to be in the correct position and always seemed to be bouncing off.  Back to Time clip-ins for me now.

    swanny853
    Full Member

    Failedengineer- it took me longer than that to unlearn spd habits. Got there in the end and I think I’ve better technique as a result.

    didnthurt
    Full Member

    I’ve been back riding with flat pedals for a good few years now, and prefer them for general MTB rides, rides with some hike-a-bike and especially when riding challenging trails I’ve not ridden before. But do still use SPDs on the road and cx bike and sometimes on the MTB for longer rides when efficiency is a priority.

    One thing to note is that I can sometimes find riding modern flat pedals (with modern tacky soled shoes) a bit of a distraction when I need to  reposition my feet mid descent. With SPDs, once clipped in your feet are always in the same place. And I’m definitely quicker up and down with SPDs.

    Oh, and remember to drop your saddle about 6mm when moving from SPDs to flats as there is a slight but noticeable height difference.

    So in essence, both modern flat and spd pedals are great with slightly different strengths and weaknesses so comes down to personal choice.

    didnthurt
    Full Member

    I forgot to mention that with flat pedals, you’re better off having the pedal more mid foot IME. This could feel odd to some.

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