Should I embrace SPD's?

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  • Should I embrace SPD's?
  • alex222

    Should I embrace SPD’s?


    Premier Icon jam bo

    try it. its really not that hard.

    Premier Icon jambalaya

    In your situation no.

    I rode SPD’s for 5 years and made the switch the other way as I started to ride 75% XC and 25% more technical trails and a few jumps.

    I know quite a few riders who’ve always ridden SPD and continue to do so on pretty big jumps etc, but that’s not you. i don’t see why you’d go for SPDs now unless it was primarily XC.

    Premier Icon mikewsmith

    CB Mallets (new ones) with 5.10 Minnars or Shimano platform SPD shoes to give you the chance to ride flat on spd’s

    It’s great just go into the park when it’s quiet to practice

    Premier Icon jam bo

    That split moment of being able to just lift, vs a conscious twist & lift could be the difference in saving something & eating sh*t.

    oh and its not clipping out that’s the issue.

    its trying to get clipped back in at speed over rough ground that has given me the sketchiest moments.

    Premier Icon martymac

    you can get shimano m520 spd pedals for about 20 quid, and if you shop around a pair of shoes will set you back about 20-30 quid.
    so it wont cost much to try.
    you already know how to use clipless so shouldnt have any issues falling over a traffic lights etc.
    fwiw, ive been using spd since it was introduced in (1987?) the uk, love it, never had any issues at all, and i massively prefer it to flats.


    Die hard flats rider & made the switch?

    I used to only ride flats when I was younger. Made the switch they are much better and clipping out is not a problem; clipping back in was the hardest part.

    Premier Icon Rusty Spanner

    I went the other way – spuds for years, then had an OTB crash where I managed to hit myself on the back of the head with my own bike – not nice. 🙂

    Flats for 6 years now, would never go back for off road stuff.
    Feel loads more confident and happy that I can get away from the bike without potential knee damage.

    And the pedal scars look cool. 😀

    Premier Icon scaled

    I went from flats to CB candys, few sketchy moments (and i don’t do anything ‘gnarrr’) most interesting was bombing down potato alley and unclipped somehow and let go of the bars with one hand 😀

    On the plus side i’ve not had my shins or calves gouged since the switch.

    Premier Icon cookeaa

    I’ve gone through an SPD switch much like you sound like your considering OP.

    I went from using flats on all my MTBs, to owning a road bike with SPDs and gradually found that my Xc, SS, and DH bike all gradually got infected…

    IMO riding clipped in especially for DH forces you to commit and ride corners ‘feet on’ – unclipping in an emergency hasn’t been an issue really but it’s reduced the urge to dab in me which I know isn’t the best way to corner fast…

    I can remember coming out of a dusty corner having felt both wheels sliding and not really bothering about unclipping/dabbing but just holding the line and thinking, “Yep that was as fast as I could possibly have ridden that” had I still been on flats I know I’d have dabbed…

    Riding clipped in on an MTB though isn’t the same as with a Road bike though, as you move the bike about more under yourself, get it off the ground and sometimes have to just plough through rough stuff the risk of accidental releases seems a bit higher hence in recent months I’ve found I benefit from upping the release spring to keep me attached in those marginal situations…

    having said all of that its down to what you like and are comfortable with, there’s no law to say you Must use one pedal type or another…

    The only bike still fitted with flats is my BMX and i doubt it will get SPDs either…

    Don’t ‘Embrace’ SPDs; fit them to a bike stamp on them, see how you get on, give it a chance but if they don’t float your boat don’t be affraid to bin em and go back to flats…

    Premier Icon Lifer

    jambalaya – Member
    i don’t see why you’d go for SPDs now unless it was primarily XC.

    Utter pish.

    10 years of flats then switched to Crank Bros Candys.

    I don’t see why you wouldn’t go for SPDs now unless it was primarily dirt jumping.


    5 years with toeclips and straps
    20 years with SPD’s
    and the last 9 months on flats and I think I’m going to stick with them.

    I just ride mincy xc and I haven’t found it a hindrance although I had fully expected it not to work.

    The point I’m making is not to stick with flats but to try the SPD’s – don’t wait 25 years to try something and then realise you should have done it years ago.


    That split moment of being able to just lift, vs a conscious twist & lift could be the difference in saving something & eating sh*t.

    When you get used to them you dont think about it, it becomes entirely instinctive.

    Prepare to eat quite a lot of sh*t while you get used to them (YMMV)


    I’ve gone from riding SPDs for 15 years to flats. Much prefer flats for many reasons and I really don’t feel like I’m any slower. I SPDs help when flat out sprinting and also when pedalling over very rough terrain, where your foot gets knocked off with flats. In many ways I feel faster because I’ve learnt to pedal more effectively. I don’t believe ‘pulling up’ is a good pedalling technique.

    I have found the swap quite interesting. You ride the bike quite different and with that you change your suspension setup slightly. I find I hang off the back more with flats and think much more about carrying speed, especially through corners.

    I always considered SPDs to be a must have and riders with flats were lacking in some sort of skill and missing out, but I think I fell for market hype.

    It’s always worth trying different things to see if they work for you, but I personally don’t think that riding with SPDs is all it’s made out to be.


    Feel a bit silly asking a bunch of strangers whether I should try being clipped in or not…

    I’ve always ridden with flats. I ride & race DH, and it’s been flats all the way, to the extent I couldn’t even consider SPD’s.

    However, over the past 2 years, i’ve started riding a lot more XC/Trail/Enduro (whatever you want to call it), racing Gravity Enduro’s, the Mega, Super Enduro’s etc with some reasonable results.

    Always on flats, decent pedals with 5:10’s. However, I train a lot on the road bike, clipped in & have no issues, but that’s a different beast of course.

    I am what I would consider to be a ‘comfort dabber’, normally i’ll have a foot off the pedal when it’s loose & i’m over committed, often when I don’t need to, which is where my fear of being clipped in becomes irrational. That split moment of being able to just lift, vs a conscious twist & lift could be the difference in saving something & eating sh*t.

    I know i’m a serial masher of the pedals, and on the road bike I find climbing way more efficient, but I can’t quite make the leap of faith to going in for clips on the sort of riding/events aforementioned.

    Sounds stupid I know – and should probably be an MTFU moment & just get on with it. So i’m asking has anyone else been in a similar situation to me? Die hard flats rider & made the switch? I think if I do make the change it would be something like a 661 Filter shoe & Mallet pedal combo so I still have some security blanket there.



    I’m just about to try riding SPDs for the first time after 20 odd years on flats. I ride AM with a focus firmly on the downs and drops and liked the security of being able to dab or leap off the bike whenever I wanted.

    With the rise of full suss I was finding pedalling uphill on a relatively big bike just a tad too much like hard work so thought I’d try out SPDs to see if it made a difference.

    I’ve plumped for big Shimano DX pedals with a platform and shoes to match. First ride out on them this weekend so I’ll let you know how I get on.

    I was pretty similair to you but I’ve made the switch to clips (AM45s and M530 trail pedals) and I’m loving it. I definitely feel quicker and I don’t dab for no reason anymore, instead just commit. Clipping out quite quickly becomes instictive. Give it a go.


    When you get used to them you dont think about it, it becomes entirely instinctive

    I never in 20 years reached that stage. 😳
    I equate it to the difference between my Rohloff bike where I am not even aware I’m changing gear and my dérailleur bike where it’s always a concious decision.

    NB. This may say more about me than the equipment.

    Premier Icon jambalaya

    Lifer – Member
    I don’t see why you wouldn’t go for SPDs now unless it was primarily dirt jumping.

    I found I was having too many crashes due to being clipped in as I started to push my riding harder. I’ve changed to flats and it’s much better.


    all the fastest dh’ers I know ride spd’s. annoying.

    Premier Icon D0NK

    definitely give them a serious go, couple of months of mixed riding, if you don’t get on with them drop em.

    My timeline
    (rubbish plastic) flats, clips, clipless, flats (learned to bunny hop properly), clipless, flats on bmx, clipless

    flats are good for learning proper technique but clipless are great for last minute thrutch manoeuvres without breaking your pedal stroke, and of course better for “just pedalling”.


    I say go for it as well. I rode flats for a while but all my mates were clipped in so I thought I’d give it a go.

    First ride clipped in was at Cwmcarn and I had one of my worst rides ever only because I hadn’t sorted out the cleat position – it was too far forward. Moved it back and it was perfect, felt entirely natural and you soon find you clip out without thinking about it if you crash.

    As others have said above, you commit more. I certainly found technical climbs where I would have dabbed on flats I kept peddling with SPDs

    Van Halen

    I spent 10+ years on flats and recently I think I prefer being clipped after dabbling for 2 years. It’s still super sketch in the wet if you are trying to corner hard. I’ve also been in the most painful crashes clipped in. I still ride flats but I think, because I don’t just mess in the woods any more I rode more all round stuff, it benefits my riding more. If anything I get more loose on the techy bits as you don’t worry about the bike. A good front tyre is a must. I learnt that quickly and most painfully. It wasn’t a quick transition mind. Oh use crank bro candys as I think they are more forgiving to learners and allow you to move your feet like on flats.


    Go for it. SPDs are awesome. Give them a go.

    its trying to get clipped back in

    if you’ve had to stop on or before a nadgery bit that’s hard. This force you to commit.

    I’ve bee riding spds for XC for 6 years and DH for about 4 I only swich back to flats if it’s really muddy and I think my cleats will get clogged.

    Ner had any unclipping issue and as I ride DX’s I’ve got away with the odd missed clip-in (10%er on the pleny was a bit hairy). I like knowing exactly where my feet will be when I land/ come out the back of a rock garden, it’s helped my riding a lot.


    I’ve been wondering about going to SPDs for ages. I think they really might compliment my riding style, being a hardtail thoroughbred and riding flats I’ve developed quite a smooth, floaty style (i like to think anyway). The commitment into corners aspect of it really appeals to me, as that’s the main area I’m trying to develop at the moment.

    That said, I’ve only ever ridden clips once and don’t have a road bike, it might be a steep learning curve.


    Rode SPD’s for years till I got stuck in a crash and broke my tib and fib, back on flats for about 5 years would never go back to SPD’s.


    It’s not actually a conscious thought process after you get used to them, I’ve dabbed plenty of times without any thinking, but you might just need a bit of time to get used to them.

    I’ve never ridden clips but if I was seriously competing and really chasing seconds/tenths then I think I’d use them. All the evidence suggests that flats are the easiest way to develop good technique but clips will allow you to pedal harder in the rough stuff and unweight more easily over roots. I’d still plan to swap back to flats when it’s really greasy. As I’m rarely doing much more than beating my own best times I delight in my ability to more often than not stave off disaster thanks to a dropped saddle and flat pedals allowing my feet to reach the ground before the rest of me!

    Clipless are 3 great days of good clean family fun as you learn. Those elbow get a pounding!

    Premier Icon bigdean

    Clips are good in there place. Personally i dont use then in the peaks for fear of losing my knees.

    A plus for being cliped in i’ve noticed a few times is, wobbly moment went to dab, cliped in, brought bike back to line with force of dabing foot trying to come out.

    Oh and there is the law where you only fall over from not unclipping only if there’s someone to see (laugh at) you.

    Embrace hot chicks not spds

    And time pedals are much nicer on the knees.


    Yes you should, but what you should not do is lose the abilty to ride in flats when you want to.
    Personally I wish I had learned to bunnyhop, manual, and wheelie before using clips.

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