Clip-ins to Flats to improve skills?

AaronJ

Likes Dirt
Hi all,

Born again newby advise needed.

I have only ever ridden hard tails, XC/trail and with clip-ing (SPD, eggbeater, etc).

I'm now on a Ripley, loving the squooshiness and keen to try and learn more/improve my trail skills. By that I mean leaning to manual, wheelie, drop, jumps, ect. Mostly what all of you do a standard these days ;-)

What are the general thoughts or experiences? I love my XTR SPDs but I know I have some bad habits to break and pushing the limits clicked in (despite my confidence) scares me a bit. So was thinking it might be time to get some flats.

Thoughts?
 

Oddjob

Eats Squid
Hi all,

Born again newby advise needed.

I have only ever ridden hard tails, XC/trail and with clip-ing (SPD, eggbeater, etc).

I'm now on a Ripley, loving the squooshiness and keen to try and learn more/improve my trail skills. By that I mean leaning to manual, wheelie, drop, jumps, ect. Mostly what all of you do a standard these days ;-)

What are the general thoughts or experiences? I love my XTR SPDs but I know I have some bad habits to break and pushing the limits clicked in (despite my confidence) scares me a bit. So was thinking it might be time to get some flats.

Thoughts?
Get a dirtjumper...


Sent from my SM-G900I using Tapatalk
 

BB1

Likes Dirt
Prepare for war...

I'll fire first shots. Go flats. Call me a sucker, but I did the Ryan Leech flat pedal challenge and never looked back. I still need to constantly work on my bunny hops, but I'm a far more confident rider. My cornering has improved out of sight.

I always used clips as a crutch to cover my general crapness. I'm still crap, but at least now there is a thin veneer of skill over the top!

As a final benefit, I find I get a lot less ankle and knee pain.

Try it and see, but stick with it for a bit or follow a program of some sort. It'll definitely feel weird on the first few rides.
 

hellmansam

Likes Dirt
Defo get some flats and flat specific shoes. You can always go back if you decide all those cool tricks are not your cup of tea
 

AaronJ

Likes Dirt
BB1 and helmansam,
Thanks for that input. That's the sense I guess I was digging for.

Oddjob,
Funny... I actually did have that in my thinking. However, the pedals are a smaller investment to find out.

Oh... and I'm not looking for cool tricks as such...rather, seems having some of those trick skills helps with better more enjoyable riding. Just want to feel I'm half decent, for me.
 

Lazmo

Old and hopeless
I ride both, mainly clips tho... but get way more knee pain with flats. In fact if it wasn’t such a painful thing I’d ride flats more often. But my knees are ancient (I’m in my 60’s) and I’ve had a full right knee reco and only have half a patella in that one. But I find with flats I have to be very careful where I place my foot on the pedals and it doesn’t have to be far wrong to cause inconsistent knee rotation, and then the pain starts. With clips, in she goes, the same every time, consistent rotation... no knee pain. I have flats on my cotic as it is my tooling around bike, and I’ll do crappy half arsed wheelies and manuals on flats. Crappy but good fun.

Here’s an analogy... flats v clips sort of brings to mind synchro mesh gearboxes. I grew up a long time ago on a farm driving cars, trucks and tractors with crash boxes, no synchro, you had to double de clutch, both going up and down gears. Then came synchro. The art and skill of double clutch disappeared. Every one got soft. But why learn the skill if you don’t need it.

What is wrong with using clips to jump, if you use clips when you ride. I’m sure a heap of flats riders could not double de clutch a car to save their lives, but who gives a toss, their cars have synchro or are even softer... fully auto. No one is going back to basics to learn something they don’t need.

Crash box = flats ... synchro = clips.

Flame suit, etc.

Regardless, flats are good fun tho.
 

teK--

Eats Squid
I ride both, mainly clips tho... but get way more knee pain with flats. In fact if it wasn’t such a painful thing I’d ride flats more often. But my knees are ancient (I’m in my 60’s) and I’ve had a full right knee reco and only have half a patella in that one. But I find with flats I have to be very careful where I place my foot on the pedals and it doesn’t have to be far wrong to cause inconsistent knee rotation, and then the pain starts. With clips, in she goes, the same every time, consistent rotation... no knee pain. I have flats on my cotic as it is my tooling around bike, and I’ll do crappy half arsed wheelies and manuals on flats. Crappy but good fun.

Here’s an analogy... flats v clips sort of brings to mind synchro mesh gearboxes. I grew up a long time ago on a farm driving cars, trucks and tractors with crash boxes, no synchro, you had to double de clutch, both going up and down gears. Then came synchro. The art and skill of double clutch disappeared. Every one got soft. But why learn the skill if you don’t need it.

What is wrong with using clips to jump, if you use clips when you ride. I’m sure a heap of flats riders could not double de clutch a car to save their lives, but who gives a toss, their cars have synchro or are even softer... fully auto. No one is going back to basics to learn something they don’t need.

Crash box = flats ... synchro = clips.

Flame suit, etc.

Regardless, flats are good fun tho.
Good analogy , kinda...

With a synchro box , double clutching saves wear on the mesh and you can do way more smooth downshifts whilst keeping revs high.

For the same reason it is good to be able to ride with both even if one type of pedal is preferred or used most of the time.
 

Ultra Lord

Beanie Fitment Specialist
I double clutch shift all the time in my golf? (Ayooooo DSG jokes)

Flats are fun. Clips are also fun. Riding clips only for so long though, flats are gonna feel pretty bad for the first couple of rides. Give it a crack and get back to us on how it goes.
 

Halo1

Likes Dirt
I went flats to learn how to manual and bunny hop better. I used both flats and clips for a while and now I only use flats. I have a pretty good bunny hop going but still can’t manual well.
The biggest difference for me is moving my foot around the pedal. I am so use to it now that I can’t ride being locked into the same position.
If you go flats be prepared for a pedal strike in the calf and the shin. It will happen one day and it will hurt like hell. it took me a few years but I forgot my 510s on a ride with my kids and slipped on the pedals showing off my mad skills.
 

Plankosaurus

Hydraulic Jack specialist
another flat convert here.
rode clipped in for years, starting with commuting to work then when i took up MTB i just figured i'd keep using them. at one point i read that flats were better for your skills, helps you ride less 'lazy'. So I gave it a shot, and was terrible at it, and gave it up in very short order. I had used some cheap basic flats and my trusty old runners, they were never going to be any match for my clipless setup.

Fast Forward a few years (like 2017) and it started to irk me that there was something so simple that i couldn't do. and i was expecting my kids to ride in flats but couldnt give them a single bit of advice on how to keep your feet on them. This time i bought some decent blackspire flats with big fuck off sharp pins that cut your shin if you look at them wrong, and i got a decent set of 5 tens, and i set out to learn how to ride again. took a little bit to re-learn how to ride (seriously) and get confident enough to tackle the same things i would clipped in, but i got there. and tackling steeper/techier stuff is muuuch less daunting on flats than clipped in.

Now the flats are on my fun bikes, i ride in flats 80% of the time. I start getting cramps a solid hour or so earlier on long rides though so the clipless remains on the XC bikes, i dont notice any power difference but I must be working harder on flats.

Its more versatile, more fun, and in the end will give you more confidence and teaches you to not ride lazy. you'll see the difference if you change it up from time to time, especially if you're into long rides you'll start to fall back into lazy techniques and really see the difference.
 

AaronJ

Likes Dirt
Thanks all for what I thought was a reasonable Q but seemed to raise a 'fight or flight' response for some. I even searched the topic and saw no sign of conflict on the topic.

Everyone make great points and all have been taken on board. Will give them a go, with caution.

Plankosaurus,
Interesting point about relearning/riding the same thing/etc with the flat... this new bike is my first bike with a dropper. The very first time I tried it dropped I nearly came off, because I realised I was used to gripping the seat with my thighs. Was quiet a daunting feeling with the seat not up were I was used to. Now for a few rides, I've dropped on some techy flat trails just to get used to the feeling.
I suspect my first few flats rides are going to be much the same as yours, after all I first rode MTB in 1989 and have been strapped in ever since (remember the old toe straps that you could NOT get out of)!
 

Cardy George

Is not in gaol
Don't worry about the flight or fight stuff. It's all part of the show :D

I can't, and have no desire to learn flats, so I'm out
 

Plankosaurus

Hydraulic Jack specialist
Thanks all for what I thought was a reasonable Q but seemed to raise a 'fight or flight' response for some. I even searched the topic and saw no sign of conflict on the topic.

Everyone make great points and all have been taken on board. Will give them a go, with caution.

Plankosaurus,
Interesting point about relearning/riding the same thing/etc with the flat... this new bike is my first bike with a dropper. The very first time I tried it dropped I nearly came off, because I realised I was used to gripping the seat with my thighs. Was quiet a daunting feeling with the seat not up were I was used to. Now for a few rides, I've dropped on some techy flat trails just to get used to the feeling.
I suspect my first few flats rides are going to be much the same as yours, after all I first rode MTB in 1989 and have been strapped in ever since (remember the old toe straps that you could NOT get out of)!
Yep, it really is a re-learning. hard to put properly into words how something so familiar can be so strange. dropper was a similar experience for me too, and i laugh (nostalgicaly) every time i see someone else going through the same thing. Almost cant ride without them now.

Get good pedals and shoes, this cant be overstated, it will make ALL the difference. they'll stick together better and make the transition much easier until you have the technique. blackspire sub420 and fiveten karvers were my combo, cant rate them highly enough.

Get some shin protection if the look of the pedals gives you the heebie jeebies. it wont help your feet stick to the pedals any better but it will help your headspace in trying to get it right.

"Follow the bike" was what i had to keep telling myself. clipped in i always had this mindset that the bike will just go where i go, its nowhere near the same using flats. you'll be riding stiff legged and jumping all kinds of wrong, start loosening up and try to follow where the bike goes at first. once you're used to that you'll start to be able to tell it who's boss again, but you're a passenger for a bit there :p
 

Daniel Hale

Likes Dirt
I tried it -going to flats -cos my jumping is shite. -hurt my shins, couldn't keep festoon pedals- bought some shinguards- hating riding in them so gave up all too soon - jumping is still shite....heels down...heels down...heels down...fly over the bars
 
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