SPD or Flats ?

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  • SPD or Flats ?
  • cynic-al
    Member

    Both because they’re different.

    i agree entirely cynic-al.
    however, i’ve trashed the axle on a pair of flatboys, so the SPD’s are back on the HT for the time being.
    also, for Glentress Black, I’ll keep ’em on as it’s a long [aching] stomp on flats.

    Premier Icon DezB
    Subscriber

    SPDs – cos that’s what I used when I started mtbing.
    Occasionally use flats and like them, better on full-sus than ht.

    billybob
    Member

    depends on what you’re riding…

    cynic-al
    Member

    I’ve not done any long rides on flats – how/why does it ache?

    PeterPoddy
    Member

    If you’re no good – Flats
    If you think you’re good – SPD
    If you really ARE good – Both

    Spongebob
    Member

    Flats in the Alps on long steep downhill stuff. SPD’s pretty much everywhere else bar mountains.

    Maybe flats to ride to the pub! ๐Ÿ˜‰

    Premier Icon househusband
    Subscriber

    Both at times, but with current preference for longer rides – ATAC’s. But flats for the (short) commute to work.

    GNARGNAR
    Member

    PeterPoddy
    If you’re no good – Flats
    If you think you’re good – SPD
    If you really ARE good – Both

    Lol. How about……

    If you can corner and jump or want to learn – Flats
    If you can’t corner or jump and don’t want to learn – SPD

    JxL
    Member

    I used flats for everything, but recently I got persuaded to get SPD’s – love them! I ride mostly XC and trails, so its perfect for hard climbs (put a lot more power down), and keeps feet on pedals on rough muddy sections.

    Premier Icon Mr Agreeable
    Subscriber

    I’ve happily done GT Black on flats, and a fair few 30-40 mile rides. I think acheyness depends on your choice of pedal and shoe, as much as anything else.

    I like flats because I just don’t feel the need to be clipped in. More efficient? I don’t notice this, and I don’t struggle to keep up with the people I ride with. Better over technical sections? I’d much rather be able to dab easily. If my feet are flying off the pedals I know I’m riding craply, or that I should slow down, or pick better lines. I can see it being an advantage if it’s wet and there is limited traction, but then when it’s slippery it helps to be able to bail easily too.

    poly
    Member

    I ride SPDs because:

    – I find they are more efficient for uphills
    – I find on rough downhill they keep me on the bike/pedals better (hardtail)
    – On technical stuff “commitment” is an issue for me, and its too easy to stop halfway through a feature with flats. SPDs force me to be more committed.
    – On technical stuff if in need that extra burst of power I seem to be able to deliver it better with SPDs, especially if I’m not in the best gear.

    I fully accept though that better riders wearing flats can get up the same hills without the struggle, stay on the pedals going down, and hit obstacles in the right gear with 100% commitment every time. But SPDs work for me. Perhaps I should say its very unusual for both my wheels to be be off the ground at the same time.

    Premier Icon convert
    Subscriber

    Timely post for me.

    I’ve a roadie background so I came to mtbing again in 04 thinking flats were the work of the devil. I bought a Scott Strike Pro which whilst full suss is very race/XC orientated. Having just sold the Scott and bought a ti456 I went the whole hog and put flats on it to complement the bigger tyre, longer fork, wider (710mm) bars, shorter stem get up. Suddenly I’m track standing for 15 secs a time as I hop up through rock gardens, taking silly lines for the hell of it, riding off things I’d not have dreamed of before and generally not focussing on going places where going fast is the only order of the day. No idea if it’s the flat pedals, the bike setup or a combination of both. Too much changed at once to tell.

    I’ve decided that the bike and I will have twin personalities though. In proper mountains and trail centres, Tiggy (the bike- see what i did there!) will be a flat pedalled, wide bared/tyred, short stemmed hitter but she’ll wind her forks down, lengthen her stem, carry less rubber and narrow her bars AND USE CANDYS for mincing around the local stuff where to be honest my cyclocross bike is just as appropriate and it’s more about miles than smiles. Candys might also reappear when there is lots of up hill pedalling to be done even if it’s followed by nice downhills but I haven’t done that in flats yet so not sure if that’s just my preconceived roadie roots coming through again.

    Premier Icon igm
    Subscriber

    [/quote]PeterPoddy
    If you’re no good – Flats
    If you think you’re good – SPD
    If you really ARE good – Both [/unquote]

    Naaahh – I use both and there’s no way you could put me down on the “really are good” list.

    and why ๐Ÿ™‚

    fwiw, I ride Flats 90% of the time.

    Premier Icon nickc
    Subscriber

    If you’re confident and competent on SPDs then flats offer no advantages.

    hugh_b
    Member

    Having always dirt jumped then ridden trials for 7-8 years i have always ridden flats, i then started more trail type riding and rode with spd’s for about a year. Had loads of confidence with them on but found technique lacked with spd’s, just got some more flats and love them, riding harder on the downhills now and have got used to spinning away on the up hills. My technique is definitely better and i’d say i’ve got smoother for it.

    A friend has always used spd’s…he can’t bunny hop without them so again i think technique on flats is always going to be better.

    I have kept my spd’s and may try them again at some point. Pro’s run them because they don’t have to worry about slipping off the pedals then, and lets be honest, their technique is normally pretty dialed!

    For your average rider though i think a mixture of both is good ๐Ÿ˜€

    Just switched to flats after 5+ years on SPD’s. Trying to build technique on hops drops and jumps and push myself on difficult technical sections. Have no delusions about my abilities and flats are giving me more confidence. As I by product I reckon I am learning to pedal better on technical climbs because you get bounced off the pedals if you’re not doing it right

    Both here, and I’m DEFINITELY not in the “good” camp. I do find spuds good for longer rides, especially less techy ones, but on anything that points down I find myself having more fun on the flats, and that’s what it’s all about surely? I can also bunny hop on either, not too good at the cornering though…

    crikey
    Member

    They’re just different foot-pedal interfaces, not major world religions…

    james
    Member

    “SPD’s pretty much everywhere else bar mountains”
    Any reason?

    “I went the whole hog and put flats on it to complement the bigger tyre, longer fork, wider (710mm) bars, shorter stem”
    Why does that in any way complement them?

    “an’t bunny hop without them so again i think technique on flats is always going to be better”
    Why does this matter though?

    I ride SPDs offroad after getting them and getting used to them. I like not having to think about keeping my feet on the pedals in pretty much any situation. For now I’m not too bothered about having honed skills if I can get on/by with riding what I want

    dirtbiker100
    Member

    flats if you’re no good? sam hill?
    i go flats because i prefer that downhill technical stuff. if i did xc racing i’d try spds but the type of riding i do i just stay on flats. (trail centre/dh/jumps)

    interesting.
    i prefer flats, [generally], but most people i know either struggle to ride flats OR struggle to ride SPD’s.
    neither camp are what you’d call poor riders however !

    steve_b77
    Member

    I ride SPD’s on my HT and flats on my full suss.

    To be honest I really don’t ind it an issue keeping my feet on flats through rough stuff or while air-borne.

    Saying that I’ve just gone from a 160/150mm 32lb AM Full Sus to a 130mm travel 27.5lb full suss so the flats might go and be swapped for caged SPD’s

    But then again you never know ๐Ÿ˜†

    Premier Icon convert
    Subscriber

    “I went the whole hog and put flats on it to complement the bigger tyre, longer fork, wider (710mm) bars, shorter stem”
    Why does that in any way complement them?

    Not sure really. The whole longer fork, wider bar step up tends to be the preserve of more adventurous riding, as do flats. Top XC racers use shorter travel, narrower bars, longer stems, narrower tyres, clipless pedals and ride relatively easy terrain- Top DH racers use wide bars, fat tyres, short stems, flats and ride steaper and more technical terrain . I’m assuming they know more than I do so it’s worth an experiment.

    It’s all riding a bike – it’s all good.

    mentalalex
    Member

    Use Both, XC Egg beaters A

    mentalalex
    Member

    Use Both, XC Egg beaters And DH i ride flats.

    Do i get prize cus’ i is cool and use both ??

    james
    Member

    Lots of interesting stuff said in here

    “be swapped for caged SPD’s”
    Why not normal ones?

    “the preserve of more adventurous riding, as do flats”
    “Top DH racers use .. flats and ride steaper and more technical terrain”
    But many(/most?) of them use SPDs though?

    GNARGNAR
    Member

    james
    But many(/most?) of them use SPDs though?

    Of the current crop of WC superstar DH racers a small majority do run spds but I can say with a fairly high level of certainty that they chop and change according to the demands of a given track. They also run shimano dx or similar ie spds with a large platform as opposed to egg beaters.

    On the local dh race scene the overwhelming majority run flats. Also when you look at what could loosely be described as “freeride” the massive majority of riders run flats, be they video superstars or just wannabes tearing down goats gully. So I think it would be fair to say flat pedals are the preserve of more adventurous riding as garbled as that sounds.

    bassspine
    Member

    Flats.

    I’ve tried SPDs, eggbeaters and times: my knees HATE being clipped in. I did try many adjustments – I work in a bike shop, FFS, I had plenty of resources. I had bad knee pain for about a year, as soon as I went flats, my knees got better.

    Ewan
    Member

    Flats for me, can’t be bothered with even a chance of wrecking my knees.

    Anyway, when I’m last up the hills I can always say ‘well you had spuds, I had to try harder’… ๐Ÿ˜†

    james
    Member

    ” I work in a bike shop, FFS, I had plenty of resources”

    But did that shop stock specialized (shoes)?

    Premier Icon swavis
    Subscriber

    Both, flats on the full sus and ATACS on the hardtail. Definitley prefer the flats on the techy stuff.

    Just gone from a million years riding flats to trying CB Mallets – I’m liking being clipped in for most of the time, but find on technical uphills I’m thinking more about how to put my foot down and not concentrating enough on cleaning the section, and on the rough downs, I’m still a bit tentative being attached to the bike.

    I’m sure it will come with time though.

    grumm
    Member

    Went from riding flats on a hardtail, to getting a full suss with SPDs and using that for a while – just tried out flats on the full suss for the last couple of rides. Observations:

    – Climbing, especially techy stuff is a bit harder.
    – Powering through boggy wet stuff is a bit harder
    – I had a tendency to just jump and lift the bike with the pedals going off drops etc – can’t do that any more.
    – I felt much more confident going down steep, technical stuff – wasn’t expecting this one as I thought I would be worrying about my feet coming off as I used to on the hardtail. (This was with some old skate shoes, I dunno whether it’s worth the extra for 5.10s? Is no-one else making cheaper versions with similar rubber?)

    My mate who I ride with who races DH and normally canes me on descents commented I was miles faster downhill almost straight away on the flats.

    I think for longer rides on less technical stuff the SPDs might win, but I most enjoy going fast down hills so I think the flats will win overall. Wanted to try and get used to them again for a trip to the alps and I’m pretty sure I will use them there.

    thepodge
    Member

    oldschool DX SPDs that double as flats on the mountain bike

    flats with rat traps on the pub bike

    flats on the BMX

    Flats on all bikes.

    Tried SPDS, hated it. Ached on long rides in my feet and knees no matter how i adjusted them, hurt when i fell over and couldn’t unclip. Advantages seemed minimal to me.

    yeah – i have similar set-up issues with SPD’s and my knees, now i’m getting a bit older.
    my knees are certainly less tolerable of SPD’s than they were.

    Premier Icon doug_basqueMTB.com
    Subscriber

    FUnny, I find that on flats I feel my knees more because you don’t have the float. I ride both but my flats have been on my bike for quite a few months now. I never have a problem with my foot coming off the pedals on the downs, the only time I find my foot flying off is when I’m trying to muscle up a tricky uphill.

    jonb
    Member

    Spds on my road bike and commuter, flats on my mountain bike. Used to ride with spds but find flats so much nicer and more confidence inspiring if I’m pushing myself or just playing around. Don’t notice any loss of power or efficiency. I like a choice of footwear too. Take a couple of pairs of trainers if it’s going to be wet or something more sturdy if you know you’ll be pushing to the top of a big mountain (my weekend ride in the lake, torrential rain and nigh on impossible to ride up boulder strewn path).

    Try both, they both work for different people in different situations.

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