Do I want flat pedals?

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lune ranger
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Do I want flat pedals?

Post by lune ranger » Sat May 04, 2019 10:12 pm

I had something of a pedal related disaster today on the B150. One of my venerable first generation Crank Bros Candy pedals puked out the bearings, then the body/spring assembly fell into an assortment of parts.
Whilst I was limping home on the axle I was thinking if I should swap to flat pedals for bikepacking duties?
Who’s riding flats? Should I make the change? Why bother?

jam bo
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Re: Do I want flat pedals?

Post by jam bo » Sat May 04, 2019 10:20 pm

Not crank bros would be better choice.

lune ranger
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Re: Do I want flat pedals?

Post by lune ranger » Sat May 04, 2019 10:34 pm

I don’t think 12 years is bad for pedals just a shame they collapsed mid ITT

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Pirahna
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Re: Do I want flat pedals?

Post by Pirahna » Sun May 05, 2019 12:36 am

Crank Bros pedals did have a reputation for being a bit "high maintenance", I'm impressed you got 12 years out of them. I've got a pair of the new Crank Bros flats and they are a big leap forward from the early stuff, I must have been through half a dozen sets of Egg Beaters.

Do you need flats? Here's my experience. I bought my first SPD's in the early 90's, prior to that I'd been using flats, flats with toeclips and straps and then flats with Power Grips, I'd been road racing for years before that, first with clips and straps then with the early versions of clipless. In my opinion, for racing, clipless every time. Then long comes the new generation of flat pedals, they're wide and grippy and generally nice to ride. With a flat pedal matched with a decent shoe they're pretty good, when you stop or need to walk they're brilliant. Put your foot on the pedal and you'd be surprised how high you can lift if to start pedalling again. When I started using flats again I liked them enough to buy a dedicated flat pedal shoe. I rode a lot of miles on flats and kept using them, I desperately wanted to like them because of the convenience they offer. In the end I gave up and went back to clipless. My pedal of choice is the XT SPD. I've one pair of XRT's which fell to pieces quite quickly and I can't recommend them. The early SPD's had no float on the cleat which has been fixed a lot of years ago, I've used Time and Crank Bros but found the Shimano best suited to me.

If you do decide to try flats, the Nuke Proof stuff is cheap and highly rated. I found normal trainers OK, Vans are brilliant and the Five Tens I bought were outstanding. A lot seems to depend on the shoe tread which can make it difficult to position your foot where you want it. After a summer of flats they're now on the bike I ride to go shopping/pub, for anything else I use clipless. I'd rather carry the weight penalty of spare shoes than use flats. Other people will have a different opinion.

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ScotRoutes
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Re: Do I want flat pedals?

Post by ScotRoutes » Sun May 05, 2019 2:01 am

I converted to flats for bikepacking about 18 months ago. I was already using flats on the fatbike, for the better choice of warm, grippy, waterproof boots, so it was an easy conversion. I'm using Nukeproof Neutron Evo pedals. I like plastic as they suck less heat out of your feet when it's very cold. I use some lightweight Salomon walking boots with them. Grip hasn't been an issue and I can't say I notice any power difference.

Like you, I'm a big fan of Candys. The small platform makes them much more comfy than standard SPDs and they don't clog/ice as badly as Shimano SPDs either. I still use them on my touring/gravel bike. They've come on a long way since reliability (or lack of it) gave them a bad name, it's just that it's become a bit of a meme.

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ootini
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Re: Do I want flat pedals?

Post by ootini » Sun May 05, 2019 9:40 am

I used cheapo Shimano 520 SPDs on my CX bike with a pair of Shimano shoes and enjoy the (sensation of?) Extra power, being able to push down on a pedal, and at the same time pull up on the other side. However, I never liked being clipped in on muddy terrain, so when I switched to the MTB went for flats. I use Salomon trail running shoes which give tons of grip on the pedal, and are great off the bike. Whereas my old Vans had great grip on the pedal but sod all grip when walking on anything other than a bone dry surface.
To, sort of, answer your question, if I had the confidence in my own ability, I'd be using SPDs all the time. I use flats because I don't have that confidence that I could unclip fast enough in the event of things going sideways.

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Bearbonesnorm
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Re: Do I want flat pedals?

Post by Bearbonesnorm » Sun May 05, 2019 9:49 am

I've always used flats regardless of bike or terrain. I don't believe there's any (real) benefits with regard to power when clipped in, so I don't see any downside to using flats.
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lune ranger
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Re: Do I want flat pedals?

Post by lune ranger » Sun May 05, 2019 9:58 am

My worry is the opposite to ootini. I worry that my handling skills are too poor for flats. For example I can just about manage a puny bunny hop by yanking the bike up with my feet. Also I don’t fancy loosing my shins by slipping off the pedals when the going gets rough.
I am however drawn to switching to flats for all the on bike off bike situations you get into when travelling a lot of miles cross country.

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Mariner
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Re: Do I want flat pedals?

Post by Mariner » Sun May 05, 2019 10:00 am

I don't see any downside to using flats.
Ditto apart from the savaging I get from all those little spikes when I walk too close to a pedal. :roll:
They also allow me to wear an 'approach style' shoe which work both on and off the bike.

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Bearbonesnorm
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Re: Do I want flat pedals?

Post by Bearbonesnorm » Sun May 05, 2019 10:13 am

Also I don’t fancy loosing my shins by slipping off the pedals when the going gets rough.
That's largely down to your foot postion on the pedal. Move your foot slightly forward to where it would be if you were clipped in. No need when climbing or gentle terrain but will make a bike difference when descending or riding rougher / rockier things.
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Alpinum
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Re: Do I want flat pedals?

Post by Alpinum » Sun May 05, 2019 11:02 am

lune ranger wrote:
Sun May 05, 2019 9:58 am
For example I can just about manage a puny bunny hop by yanking the bike up with my feet.
That's a piggy hop then.

Flat pedal fan here, but ride ssp, fatbike and short travel trail bike clipped in. So, despite thinking flats are the way to go, most of my riding is clipped in. Mainly because I'm a lazy bugger.
When the terrain is tricky or when I want to go fast downhill or just ride proper Alpine mountains - only flats. Yes, you need a little bit more body language to engage properly with your bike, but just as with riding clipped in - you get the hang of it quickly. And then you engage by body language - right positioning, posture etc. rather than just engaging through a mechanical device (that's tge lazy part). So riding flats - done properly - will help with your riding skills.

My absolute favourite shoes are Adidas Terrex Trail Cross SL. 5.10 rubber, bike and hike-a-bike friendly sole. It's design is the best balance I've so far came across.

I've tried all sorts of flat pedals and can't really name one that stood out. Bearings are all a bit weak imo. Grip wise VP Harrier are amazing. Better than RaceFace Chester, var. Nukeproofs.

Yes, shins will look sub standard if you mess it up, as do var. parts of your body when you crash clipped in.

Always interesting to read random comments about longevity.
The most rubbish clip pedals I ever had were Candy's - in multiple cases they failed after rather little use, mostly catastrophically. Yet I always got them replaced. After what must have been 5 or 6 Candy incidents I got fed up and went with XT and XTR (trail versions) and they both have and still are held/ holding up really well. Despite seeing more use, XTRs have developed less play than XTs. Apparently CB have gotten rid of their problems. But then do they still have the silly soft cleat? Shame, as I preferred the CB engagement over the Shimano. Yet again. Only details we easily can get used to.

redefined_cycles
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Re: Do I want flat pedals?

Post by redefined_cycles » Sun May 05, 2019 11:16 am

I started off with flats on Stan (the Sonder) but due to (probably because of substandard shoes as my five10s weren't available and the flats didnt have too big spikes) my feet jumping off on some bouncy bits due to being on fully rigid setup, I went back to spd breifly as its the cheaper option.

Will be going back to flats when can afford some more decent five10s or adidas terrex and possible better pedals (or if I put suspension up front).

As to spd being difficult to ride due to nasty terrain and having to step down... It does seem daunting at first but Ive done it for a number of years and even most of thw trailquests (by dark and White in the Peaks) were done previously on fully rigid and spds and there wasn't really any problem of not managing to touch foot down in time.

Not sure if thats gone off topic... I suppise what I'm saying is, if you go flats then make sure you got some sticky shoes and decent pedals (the v12 and v8 used to work well for me but obviously their dated so my daftness needed something new and shiny)...

Lazarus
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Re: Do I want flat pedals?

Post by Lazarus » Sun May 05, 2019 3:34 pm

I don't believe there's any (real) benefits with regard to power when clipped in
Do any pro cyclists compete not clipped in? i thought even the Downhill people were clipped in. Why are track cyclists strapped to the pedal then if a flat would do just as well?

i think you have more control over the bike when clipped in [ think of it like gripping your handlebar or placing your hand on the bar ] so i always ride clipped in and have done for about 20 years or thereabouts.

That said either set up is clearly perfectly adequate for our need so use whatever you prefer as its just personal choice.
the only real advantage i can see is easier bailing with flats and you might get away with a proper walking shoe for hike a bike [ no idea if the later is true as I own no flats]

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jay91
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Re: Do I want flat pedals?

Post by jay91 » Sun May 05, 2019 4:14 pm

There's a few who ride flats in DH/enduro Sam hill, brook McDonald
There on a didn't level thought :lol:
Trying to ride bikes.

ianpv
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Re: Do I want flat pedals?

Post by ianpv » Sun May 05, 2019 8:09 pm

I wondered what happened to you! I ride both - this weekend I was on clips, but I did the HT550 and lakeland loop on flats with a dropper because they have more HAB and more (and longer) technical descents.

The efficiency is true, but I so rarely try to really put any power down when bikepacking that I think that is moot. I'd never race XC or on the road clipped in, but for the long steady efforts where I'm conserving energy I don't think it makes that much difference.

I wouldn't ever ride flats with a drop bar though, and to get the best out of them I have to be able to drop my saddle as I have to ride softer (i.e. properly :wink: ) in the knees to stay on them.

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Alpinum
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Re: Do I want flat pedals?

Post by Alpinum » Mon May 06, 2019 9:30 am

jay91 wrote:
Sun May 05, 2019 4:14 pm
There's a few who ride flats in DH/enduro Sam hill, brook McDonald
There on a didn't level thought :lol:
Brook's on SPDs I thought. Only one (of the fastest 20 - 30 riders) left to ride flats is Connor Fearon.
Sam Hill has been riding on SPD during the EWS on a few occasions...
Lazarus wrote:
Sun May 05, 2019 3:34 pm
i thought even the Downhill people were clipped in
Going bonkers fast on those really, really rough DH WC courses it's proper tough to stay connected - same goes for the EWS tracks - I've ridden a few and what you see on var. channels doesn't to justice to how rough that stuff is.. Add pedalling over very rough ground - ground likely most mtb riders wouldn't even ride - and there's your big reason for why gravity fed riders go clipped in. They are just humans too and clipped in means less stress, so they can go all over the place with balance and positioning with out having to focus too much on what the feet are doing. And then of course there's the sprints. It's horrenduous what the pro's put down sprinting. I remember Nathan Rennie nearly trashing the bike at the Aussie inst. of sport putting in the highest ever recorded wattage at the Institute. Some pulling on the upstroke must be involved, despite the fact, that an upstroke is very unnatural unless it's to lift the legs weight for Walking and thus the related muscles are minuscule compared to those used on the down stroke.
ianpv wrote:
Sun May 05, 2019 8:09 pm
I wondered what happened to you! I ride both - this weekend I was on clips, but I did the HT550 and lakeland loop on flats with a dropper because they have more HAB and more (and longer) technical descents.
Funny, I only started riding clipped in because of the Highland Trail. I thought that lazy riding, bad posture when tired etc. was easier when clipped in. Felt happy to do so and would do it again (which I actually did).

But then again - all over, flat pedal are more fun, less complicated. Not all want to compare their riding to that of pro's...

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Charliecres
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Re: Do I want flat pedals?

Post by Charliecres » Mon May 06, 2019 5:52 pm

I ride both. Flats for more techy riding and spds for singlespeeding, bikepacking and road/gravel.

Clips somehow feel more natural on the road, and there’s a real benefit (for me) SSing, as I have occasionally rolled a foot off the pedals when mashing hard uphill on flats. I only use clips for bikepacking because a) that’s what’s on the bike and b) I don’t like the idea of ripping myself to shreds on pedal pins when pushing/carrying/manhandling the bike.

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whitestone
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Re: Do I want flat pedals?

Post by whitestone » Mon May 06, 2019 7:00 pm

I ride both.

The fat bike is exclusively flats, currently got some Nukeproof composite pedals on it.

The full suss is exclusively SPD.

The Solaris swaps between the two depending on how I feel. This weekend it had flats on for example. There's no rhyme or reason as to when I'll use one and when the other.

All three bikes get used for the same mix of leisure rides; bikepacking and technical rides.

@Lazarus - the reason track cyclists use clips/straps is that they do pull up with the legs but not to apply upward pressure on the pedal but so that the muscle mass of the rising leg isn't working against the other leg as it applies downward pressure. I.e. it's trying to make the downward force as efficient as possible. The cadences in track cycling are very high so it would be difficult to keep the upward foot in contact with the pedal if they used flats and having a wayward foot with other sprinters in close proximity is probably not a good idea.
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BigdummySteve
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Re: Do I want flat pedals?

Post by BigdummySteve » Tue May 07, 2019 1:35 am

Clipless for me, I like the float of my candy’s so put up with the maintenance. If you like the interface shimano anything SPD are fairly bombproof.
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Lazarus
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Re: Do I want flat pedals?

Post by Lazarus » Wed May 08, 2019 5:36 pm

time pedals also have float and seem indestructible and are very reliable

ssnowman
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Re: Do I want flat pedals?

Post by ssnowman » Wed May 08, 2019 6:04 pm

Candy’s for me most of the time, but flats occasionally, although I still find myself trying to unclip when I stop!
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TheBrownDog
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Re: Do I want flat pedals?

Post by TheBrownDog » Wed May 08, 2019 6:38 pm

I ride flats. Just find them more comfortable and easy to get on with. Sometimes though ......

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