SPDs or flats?

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Max Effort
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SPDs or flats?

Post by Max Effort » Sun Sep 01, 2019 12:03 am

I’ve continuously used SPD pedals since the early ‘90s but fancied a change.
Just wondering what your preferred weapon if choice is and what’s your favourite shoe/pedal combo.
Cheers! 🙂👍

middleagedmadness
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Re: SPDs or flats?

Post by middleagedmadness » Sun Sep 01, 2019 7:34 am

I switch between the 2 ,90% of the year Shimano pedals and shoes autumn lake boots and winter nukeproof electrons on some mammut B2 mountaineering boots ( plenty of warmth and a stiff sole) plus the plastic pedals don't suck the heat out of your feet

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Jurassic
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Re: SPDs or flats?

Post by Jurassic » Sun Sep 01, 2019 8:02 am

I swap between both as well. I run SPDs on my gravel bike and bike packing bike but flats on my full sus and fat bike. Shoes are Shimano lace up type for bike backing (can't remember the model but MT3 predecessor) and ratchety/velcro ones for pseudo road riding.
My flats are Nukeproof Neutron/Electron because they're cheap, super grippy, light and durable (previously used DMR Mag V12s with ti axles which cost loads, gripped less and weighed more). Flat shoes are Five ten Impact Pro but they're used for trail riding not bike packing as a rule.

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ScotRoutes
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Re: SPDs or flats?

Post by ScotRoutes » Sun Sep 01, 2019 9:07 am

Flats.

I always used SPDs(Crank Bros Candys) until I got my fatbike. The necessity of rapid disconnects and snowed/iced up cleats converted me to flats on that. Then I discovered that plastic pedals also keep your feet warmer.

I slowly moved to flats on the other bikes too. All have Nukeoroof plastic pedals now.

For "normal" riding I use Shimano GR700 shoes. For bikepacking it's currently an old pair of Salomon approach boots (though yesterdays ride might have done for them). Winter boots are Bontrager Old Man Winters. They are designed to take a cleat but work fine with the little replacement cover in place.

Road bike and #gradventourer still have Candys and I have a selection of suitable shoes and boots, including a previous version of the MW7 Shimano.

Choice is good, right?

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Bearbonesnorm
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Re: SPDs or flats?

Post by Bearbonesnorm » Sun Sep 01, 2019 9:18 am

I've always ridden with flats and have never felt any need to be clipped in. Some people who switch from clips to flats will talk about losing their foot placement or skinning their shins - this can happen but 95% of the time it isn't due to the pedals or shoes but to technique ... the very short version is: when on flats move your foot a little further forward so the ball of your foot is forward of the pedal axle and not above it.
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In Reverse
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Re: SPDs or flats?

Post by In Reverse » Sun Sep 01, 2019 9:28 am

Probably same story as a few others:

SPDs for road/"adventure"/bikepacking/XC (anything with a bit of distance involved). Pedals are the Shimano CLICK'R which can be set for a much looser engagement than the standard SPD and have a plastic platform. A variety of shoes, all Shimano iirc.

Flats on the full sus. Pedals are Superstar Nano-x EVO in a fetching lime green. New shoes are Adidas Terrex after seeing so many people on here wax lyircal about them.

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In Reverse
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Re: SPDs or flats?

Post by In Reverse » Sun Sep 01, 2019 9:30 am

In Reverse wrote:
Sun Sep 01, 2019 9:28 am
road/"adventure"/bikepacking/XC
ScotRoutes wrote:
Sun Sep 01, 2019 9:07 am
#gradventourer
That's the word I was looking for. :-bd

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composite
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Re: SPDs or flats?

Post by composite » Sun Sep 01, 2019 9:31 am

I have SPDs on all my bikes (full sus, hardtail/ridgid, road, cx) and have 4 pairs of shoes that I use depending upon which totally arbitry decision I make on any given day.

On the very rare occasion I ride a bike with flats it just feels wrong to me. I like the feeling of being connected to the bike with SPDs.

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BigdummySteve
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Re: SPDs or flats?

Post by BigdummySteve » Sun Sep 01, 2019 9:41 am

Always ridden with clips, my youth was spent blasting around the downs with feet firmly attached via old fashioned clips and straps! It was a bit of an art, flip pedal, insert foot and catch the strap to tighten in the next upstroke.
The only time I’ve ridden without clips was on the dummy, carrying my young lad on the back I couldn’t risk not being able to unclip.
Currently running crank brothers Ti candy which are stupidly light and also clear mud much better than SPD’s
‘ it’s good to be lost, I don’t want to be found’ -HMHB

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Richard G
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Re: SPDs or flats?

Post by Richard G » Sun Sep 01, 2019 10:06 am

Flats. Better for your knees and your Achilles.

Once you have a proper pedalstroke there's basically next to no difference in efficiency with MTB spd (tested it out quite a bit on my turbo trainer).

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NorwayCalling
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Re: SPDs or flats?

Post by NorwayCalling » Sun Sep 01, 2019 10:30 am

Flats for everything now... was a confirmed SPD user until the fatbike changed that, about 5 years ago - only exceptions are the road bike and the #gradventourer
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Landslide
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Re: SPDs or flats?

Post by Landslide » Sun Sep 01, 2019 10:55 am

Flats for everything, including the #gradventourer

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Pirahna
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Re: SPDs or flats?

Post by Pirahna » Sun Sep 01, 2019 2:31 pm

The things people don't tell you about flat pedals:

The pins on modern flats make the shoe stick like sub standard to blanket, but it has to be the right shoe. The wrong shoe will not locate to your liking, that's why many people use flat soled stuff like FiveTens. Get the shoe right for you and they're great.

If you've used SPD's since the early 90's you'll remember the fuss about float on the cleat. Get the cleat position wrong and knee pain ensues, same goes if your foot moves during the pedal stroke. No shoe float with flat pedals.

Dedicated flat shoes seem to be aimed squarely at the trail riding market. They're heavy and un-vented. A very hot and sweaty experience a world away from nice XC footwear.

When you take your foot off the pedal, no nice clip in like an SPD. It can take several attempts to get your foot in the right place again, made more difficult because the pedal is usually at the top of the stroke while you're trying to do it.

I'll think of some more negatives to flats later (just off out). Having said all this they're a great addition to my pub bike, I just don't like riding any distance using them.

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gairym
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Re: SPDs or flats?

Post by gairym » Sun Sep 01, 2019 2:40 pm

I have flats on all my bikes (full sus, hardtail, road/gravel, monster cross, 29+, fat, pub) and have 2-3 pairs of shoes that I use depending upon which totally arbitry decision I make on any given day.

On the very rare occasion I ride a bike with SPDs it just feels wrong to me. I like the feeling of being connected to the bike with flats but with the freedom to get a foot off when I like.

(Apologies Neil for the plagiarism :-bd )

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Charliecres
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Re: SPDs or flats?

Post by Charliecres » Sun Sep 01, 2019 6:47 pm

I mix it up. Must confess I’m put off flats for bikepacking because of the thought of being savaged by sharp pins when pushing or carrying. Please tell me it never happens

Max Effort
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Re: SPDs or flats?

Post by Max Effort » Sun Sep 01, 2019 8:25 pm

I seemed to have sparked a bit of a debate!
Thanks for all the replies.
My only concerns, when I’ve used flats in the past, is sliding off or being bounced off the pedals! But that’s probably poor footwear or technique?
(Any tips gratefully received).
I think I’ll give them another go and see what happens. 🙂👍

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Bearbonesnorm
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Re: SPDs or flats?

Post by Bearbonesnorm » Sun Sep 01, 2019 8:30 pm

Please tell me it never happens
Never happens Charles .... actually, that's true in my experience.
(Any tips gratefully received).
I've covered that bit. :wink:
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Pirahna
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Re: SPDs or flats?

Post by Pirahna » Sun Sep 01, 2019 9:26 pm

To add to my earlier post, one thing I missed is lifting your foot off the pedal on the upstroke, then spending time trying to get it in the right place on the downstroke. I don't find this an issue other than for seated efforts, climbing for example.

I'm not a serious Strava user but it has it's uses. Using flat pedals I was slower on all my regular routes, on the hillier routes, if there is such a thing in north east Herts, the difference is significant.

lune ranger
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Re: SPDs or flats?

Post by lune ranger » Sun Sep 01, 2019 11:07 pm

SPD type pedals all the time on all bikes. A combination of Time Atac and Crank Bros.
Have just sold a pair of DMR flatties that i gave a half hearted try out. They just felt wrong and I quickly decided I didn’t want to go the effort of making them feel right.
I’ve been riding bikes with my feet attached to them one way or another since the year dot. I have comfy shoes with good soles for hike a bike. I don’t have any problems with clipping in on rough sections of after gates etc.
I was a little flat pedal curious for a while but have confirmed recently that I like the feeling of riding clipped and definitely don’t want to change.

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PaulB2
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Re: SPDs or flats?

Post by PaulB2 » Mon Sep 02, 2019 3:56 am

I’ve used SPDs on the road for 15 years but it varies off-road. I prefer flats for technical terrain cos I tend to put a foot down a lot and i normally use flats for bikepacking so that I can use a wider range of my existing footwear

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