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Hi everyone,
I would like your preference between clipless pedals and flat pedals for XC.

I'm quite new to mountain biking and many people told me that I must use clipless pedals as soon as possible.

I also would like to know when would be the best time to switch to clipless pedals. Is it as soon as possible ? Or is it when I'll have more experience doing mountain bike.

How did you switch from flat to clipless pedals ? It kind of scares me knowing that I'm tied to my bike.

Thank you very much for your help
--Samus535
 

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It's too late to say this, but this topic has been unfortunately argued TO DEATH. Pedals are one of those topics like politics and religion where people pick a side and then become evangelistic, uncompromising assholes about it.This thread will turn into a fight after 5-6 responses. It might be fruitful for you, but you can save yourself the headache and just read a little bit of all that's already been written on the topic.
 

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Oh, what the hell, I'll jump in. If you want to use and enjoy flat pedals, you should do is with some good quality, grippy pedals with a decent size flatform and some grippy flat-soled shoes that were designed for mountain biking or at least skateboarding. Most people will get a lousy experience in flexy running sneakers and dinky pedals with molded traction bumps.
 

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If you are uncomfortable with clipless pedals, go flat. But, as mack_turtle says, make sure you get some good shoes to use with a set of pedals. There is no reason to go clipless "as soon as possible". Many longtime riders are on flats. Once you gain comfort on your mountain bike, then move to clipless should you decide to do so.
 

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I use both, but primarily use clipless. For me, transitioning from flats to clipless is easier than going from clipless to flats. If you are comfortable with flats, stay with them. If at some point, you want to go clipless because you find you are somehow limited, I think the transition is pretty easy.
 

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They both have advantages. It's such a big and repeating topic that I suggest some searching. As one who does it both ways I'll point out clipped in can help me do some climbs without rolling my foot on the pedal. Learning to pump and jump with flats was a key or spark to building other skills. Late middle or early old age finds good flat pedals and shoes to be most friendly to my body. A problematic knee is happier. Not getting hurt as often with crashes.

I see a lot of people learning. I'm a director at a ski area with hundreds of kids and adults in lessons or learning. No matter how you want to do you long or fast or trail rides, over and over I see the learning progress aided by low seats and flat pedals. Many who ride clips in summer are on our fat bike trails with flats.

In actual use, the clip/cleat setup is use most for easy fast riding and my off road drop bar bike. My trail riding is usually modern thin flats with Five Ten shoes.

Read and listen to what others say but try both.
 

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Well as a beginner myself, I asked my LBS when I was buying the bike the same question and it was his opinion that I would have enough things to think about while learning to ride and that going clipless too soon might just frustrate me. HE recommended a good set of shoes and better pedals. I bought some OneUp flat pedals and 5-10 shoes and it made a huge difference. At this point I see no need for clipless, but maybe down the road.
 

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IMO get a good set of flats and MTB shoes for at least the first year.
After a year you will have a better idea of what kind if riding you enjoy most.
Personally I ride flats on everything except my gravel bike and on long XC rides.

Have fun and heals down!
 

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I might be wrong but it seems easier for people to switch to clipless down the road than learn on clipless then go to flats. My buddy has always rode clipless and says he can't ride flats because he can't keep his feet on the pedals. I do think that learning on flats forces you to learn some basic riding mechanics that you might not pick up on clipless.
 

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When i first started mountain biking in 1993 (13 years old) i ran flats. Of course, flats were plastic junk pedals or BMX style. After a short while, I started using Power Grips. They were a nice mix. Only a few months later, i got a set of PD-M747 pedals. The transition was smooth and seamless.
Mind you, i had ridden clipless road, so it was not a completely foreign thing to be clipped into the bike.

My dad, who had just broken is arm, and the first ride back decided to go straight to clipless, got a set of Ritchey pedals. He had a horrible time transitioning. Crashed multiple times, couldn't clip in, and just thought clipless on the mountain bike was a joke. Then he tried my 747s, and he had no problems.

Point is - when or if you do decide to run clipless, get good ones. I have run different pedals, and certain ones i severely dislike. We are in relatively technical terrain. (Slow speed, rocky, rooty, stuff that does require a good but of bike handling finesse as opposed to just raw speed carrying you through things).

ALL of my bikes currently have PD-M8000 pedals.
I found Crank Brothers pedals to be horrible for cleat retention. It is ridiculously easy to pedal strike here, and if you do on Crank Brothers pedals, the cleat is released from the impact. In heavy mud, Shimano pedals can clog up.

You do not ever need to go clipless, but I personally will always be clipless.
 

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Hi everyone,
I would like your preference between clipless pedals and flat pedals for XC.

I'm quite new to mountain biking and many people told me that I must use clipless pedals as soon as possible.

I also would like to know when would be the best time to switch to clipless pedals. Is it as soon as possible ? Or is it when I'll have more experience doing mountain bike.

How did you switch from flat to clipless pedals ? It kind of scares me knowing that I'm tied to my bike.

Thank you very much for your help
--Samus535
Decision is EASY!
Choose the one that doesn't cause arguments. haha
If you ride with friends, what do they ride with. You should match them or they will make fun of you.

Kidding -since you're new here you don't understand how wrong one pedal is from the other.

The pedal choice I make is the right one (not the other style) Solved...
 

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...My buddy has always ridden clipless and says he can't ride flats because he can't keep his feet on the pedals. I do think that learning on flats forces you to learn some basic riding mechanics that you might not pick up on clipless.
Totally. I rode elusively clipless for 20 years before switching to flats. It was a steep long painful learning curve. Sure I could pedal around the block on flats, but learning to keep my feet on the pedals on technical climbs over edges and with the rear wheel slipping/spinning, hopping, jumping, etc. took a lot of practice and time...and gouged shins.
 

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Seeing you are new, just start with flats. You learn a lot with flat pedals. If you want to dabble with clipless, find yourself a set of Shimano SPD pedals. They are usually on sale for pretty cheap. I use the SPD M520 pedals on both of my road bikes. I used to use them on my mountain bike but I prefer to use Crank Brothers instead.

There really is no specific time when to make the jump. Just do it when you are ready. About a year ago, I made the choice to go clipless full time because I was so indecisive on my foot positioning while using flats. To me, my Mallet DH pedals feel more like flats than my Shimano SPD pedals. It makes me feel way more confident to ride clipless using my Mallets. I also bought the Crank Brothers Easy Release cleats which lets me unclip easier and faster. The only drawback is that I sometimes unclip on accident which isn't a big deal to me. It doesn't happen often. Those cleats make me feel better when I need to unclip and put my foot down.
 

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I think in general, the way people look at clipless is backwards.

I can climb just as well in flats vs clipless. Its a total wash, makes no difference at all. Its *downhill* that clipless shines! I never pop off when it gets rough, I never hit my shin, I never have to worry about bouncing off and losing control.

People worry about being tied to the bike, but thats honestly the main, maybe only benefit. Go clipless when you're ready to charge downhill, fully committed.

Or just stay with flats. Nothing wrong with flats either, and they're often more fun.
 

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The used bike I purchased came with the Wellgo (flat) pedals that look like a bear trap.

They loop pretty scary. I think I hit my shins with them once, I think really hard.

I have Chester's now. I did hit my shin super hard couple months ago.
That was due to my own stupidity. I was about to head on....sat on the bike, spun the crank backwards so my proper foot was forward. I was zoned out and forgot to think....the pedal came around and smacked my shin because I didn't think to catch it. It didn't feel pleasant.

I hardly call that a 'riding incident' though, so twice in about 9 years have I smacked a shin. Not sure that's worth threatening to stay away from flat pedals.

I rode clips when I had a road bike. It was fine. Don't think it made me a superior rider. I did enjoy the security at 45mph down a hill though but I only ride 30 downhill on MTB. And I'm usually standing up and maneuvering through the conditions rather than staying seated with an unweighted foot. Maybe I'm doing something wrong. LOL

Both are good. Whatever a person is comfortable with is all that matters.
I'd feel scared to ride clips on MTB because I do silly stuff all the time. Wheelies when I shouldn't, last minute decision to pop off a water bar, whatever. With my careless riding style I feel like I'm constantly dabbing -which would likely turn into crashing if I were clipped (at least until I could unclip more quickly than remove a foot from a flat). And to me, not goofing off the way I do would take 40% of the fun away.
A friend that prints shirts was going to make a jersery for me with a squirrel on it to mimic my character and silliness on a bike.
 
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