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namagomi
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tommyrod74 said:
You do know that flat pedals have existed for a lot longer than clipless, right? If flats were better, and they were here first, then why would everyone make the switch?

Here's an idea... Do what you have to do to upgrade to Cat 1 (yes, it might take a while, we'll wait) and then make the podium... all on flats. Hell, do it in a Cat 2 race with a decent field. Report back and let us know he that goes.

Or if you can't do it, just convince a Cat 1 to do an XC race that matters on flats. Surely your impeccable logic will sway them! Be sure to reference "the emperor's new clothes", that one's a winner.

I mean, it should be easy... right?
Haha, I figured you had no real answer other than monkey see monkey do - Thanks for confirming.
 

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electrik said:
Haha, I figured you had no real answer other than monkey see monkey do - Thanks for confirming.
And thanks for confirming my suspicions - that you have very little experience with
XC racing, and thus zero credibility. Also confirming, of course, that your whole viewpoint on this derives from your desire to avoid "groupthink". An admirable trait in some ways, but it's rather vital to know that sometimes, when every serious XC racer shares the same opinion, born of shared experience, it's not sheeplike... it's common sense.

As you made my XC racing experience a relevant topic, how about yours? Results? Category? Frequency? I raced 43 times last year, between XC, road, and cyclocross. Don't try that last one if you find XC racing on dry trails and fat, sticky tires to be "technical".

Some of us (myself included) have been riding MTB since before clipless became de rigeur. We have ridden both. And surprisingly, we didn't have to adapt much to reap the benefits of clipless pedals. It's really not the huge deal you make it out to be.

"Monkey see, monkey do", indeed. Too bad all the monkeys are right, huh?
 

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namagomi
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tommyrod74 said:
And thanks for confirming my suspicions - that you have very little experience with
XC racing, and thus zero credibility. Also confirming, of course, that your whole viewpoint on this derives from your desire to avoid "groupthink". An admirable trait in some ways, but it's rather vital to know that sometimes, when every serious XC racer shares the same opinion, born of shared experience, it's not sheeplike... it's common sense.

As you made my XC racing experience a relevant topic, how about yours? Results? Category? Frequency? I raced 43 times last year, between XC, road, and cyclocross. Don't try that last one if you find XC racing on dry trails and fat, sticky tires to be "technical".

Some of us (myself included) have been riding MTB since before clipless became de rigeur. We have ridden both. And surprisingly, we didn't have to adapt much to reap the benefits of clipless pedals. It's really not the huge deal you make it out to be.

"Monkey see, monkey do", indeed. Too bad all the monkeys are right, huh?
"Monkey see, monkey do" won't cut it if you want to be right - and you are a far ways away from any sort of solid position like that. :thumbsup:

Go ahead and post some sort of data(anything please) to justify your extraordinary claim that clipless pedals make everybody go significantly faster.

I'll check back a while later to see if you're still trying to have a pissing match about which one of us is better or if you actually smartened up and posted something with substance!
 

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Pedaler of dirt
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electrik said:
Go ahead and post some sort of data(anything please) to justify your extraordinary claim that clipless pedals make everybody go significantly faster.
I think you'll find it's you who's making the extraordinary request for request for data as EVERY ride who has ever made the switch form flat to clipless and become accustomed to them has been able to ride faster and more efficiently.

It is though tough to find actual data on this on the web as tests would have been done when toeclips (and hence clipless) were first introduced to the tdf back in 1919. You're just about 100 years behind on this argument.
 

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Discussion Starter · #87 ·
The efficiency argument about clipless pedals is getting a bit tired out. How about y'all answer these questions to further discussion:

What effect does the switch to clipless pedals from flats have on the competitive effectiveness of XC racers? In other words, is there a noticeable difference on how well you can do in an XC race based on the type of pedal you ride? Are you placed at a severe disadvantage by going against the grain and riding platforms? Please support your assertions with examples and/or statistical data.
 

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namagomi
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marzjennings said:
I think you'll find it's you who's making the extraordinary request for request for data as EVERY ride who has ever made the switch form flat to clipless and become accustomed to them has been able to ride faster and more efficiently.

It is though tough to find actual data on this on the web as tests would have been done when toeclips (and hence clipless) were first introduced to the tdf back in 1919. You're just about 100 years behind on this argument.
I don't get it, if it is SO obvious then i'm sure you can EASILY support your opinions... if you guys want to say i like clipless because they feel better or i like clipless because i fit in and the pros all have it, go ahead. I have an issue to swallow the fact platforms are what is holding me back from being a winner. Keep trying to ram that "fact" down people's throat if you want - your business - but did you ever stop to think maybe you could be just a bit dishonest in doing so? Maybe you shouldn't offer up clipless as performance enhancing to people without some actual quantitative results.

One more thing, don't think I am trying to make people on the TDF wear platforms. TDF/Road racing is different than XC racing, for one where are our aero helmets?! :skep:
 

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Flat Pedals and Choosing the Most Appropriate Shoes
It's worth considering how a flat pedal works. Without a binding or strap your foot is held in place on the pedal by downwards force only. Flat pedals are usually made of metal or plastic and the soles of most shoes are made from rubber. Friction between the shoe and pedal helps stops your foot from sliding off the pedal.

Friction
"In physics, friction is the resistive force, the physical deformation and the heat buildup that occurs when two surfaces travel along each other whilst forced together.
The friction-force is a function of the force pressing the surfaces together and the friction coefficient of the material interface."


http://encyclopedia.kids.net.au/page/fr/Friction

Flat Pedals
In order to maximise grip (friction) flat pedals often have a large surface area and use metal pins which dig into the sole of the shoe to help keep your foot in place. The picture below is of a Point One Podium flat pedal. Pedals of this design are currently more popular than "beartrap" pedals.

http://www.singletrackworld.com/reviews/online-grouptest-flat-pedals/

Sole Design for flat pedals
Most MTB shoes which are designed for clipless pedals are completely useless with flat pedals. The tread design, stiff curved sole and hard compound of the shoe tread mean you have zero grip riding on them with pinned flat pedals.

The most effective sole for use with a pinned flat pedal, such as the Point One Podium, is a completely smooth lightly treaded design in a soft rubber compound. This maximises the contact area between the shoe and pedal. Standard shoe soles don't perform as well with flat pedals because the sole is often sculpted with a cut away instep or has an aggressive tread pattern. They also tend to use harder rubber compounds which are too hard for the pins in the flat pedal to dig into.

A typical pair of Nike or Reebok trainers, running shoes or hiking boots will perform poorly with flat pedals for these reasons. The shoes pictured below are Nike Zoom Equalon 4+ running shoes. When compared to a shoe such as the Five Tens or Vans they offer a dramatically worse experience when riding, particularly in the wet.

Shoes designed for use with flat pedals have a flat sole made of soft rubber in order to maximise contact and friction betweeen the shoe sole and pedal. The soft rubber of the sole also allows the metal pins of the pedal to dig in deeply, helping the foot to stay in position on the pedal whilst riding. The picture below is of a Five Ten Impact 2 Low MTB shoe. The Five Ten Impact 2 Low MTB shoe is a popular choice for use with flat pedals which is why I'm using it as a specific example here.

http://fiveten.com/products/footwear-detail/28-impact-low

It features what Five Ten call a "stealth rubber" sole which was originally used for climbing shoes.

http://www.stealthrubber.com/lab.php

The strengths of a combination such as this are that a large pinned flat pedal combined with a soft grippy rubber shoe sole can produce quite a lot of friction. So long as there's some downwards force on the flat pedal the shoe is going to stay in place, especially in the dry. When you start adding outside factors the amount of grip (friction) can be reduced dramatically however.

Coefficient Of Friction
"The force required to move two sliding surfaces over each other, divided by the force holding them together. It is reduced once the motion has started"

http://www.thefreedictionary.com/coefficient+of+friction

Factors affecting the friction between surfaces

"Dry surfaces
1.For low surface pressures the friction is directly proportional to the pressure between the surfaces. As the pressure rises the friction factor rises slightly. At very high pressure the friction factor then quickly increases to seizing
2.For low surface pressures the coefficient of friction is independent of surface area.
3.At low velocities the friction is independent of the relative surface velocity. At higher velocities the coefficent of friction decreases.

Well lubricated surfaces
1.The friction resistance is almost independent of the specific pressure between the surfaces.
2.At low pressures the friction varies directly as the relative surface speed
3.At high pressures the friction is high at low velocities falling as the velocity increases to a minimum at about 0,6m/s. The friction then rises in proportion the velocity 2.
4.The friction is not so dependent of the surface materials
5.The friction is related to the temperature which affects the viscosity of the lubricant"


http://www.roymech.co.uk/Useful_Tables/Tribology/co_of_frict.htm

Flat Pedals in the Wet
Whilst mountain biking (in the UK anyway) you can expect water and mud to regularly be splashed onto the sole of the shoe and pedal. This water and mud acts as a lubricant between the two surfaces. This can dramatically reduce the amount of grip (friction) produced between the shoe sole and pedal, making it easier for the shoe to slide off the pedal in wet conditions if you're not careful. This effect is more pronounced when you have lower levels of grip (friction) to begin with, such as when riding in normal trainers instead of Five Ten shoes.

The connection of a cycling shoe that is securely clipped into a clipless pedal in contrast will be unaffected by wet conditions. You can continue pedalling normally without the worry of your feet slipping off the pedals whilst clipped in. Clipless pedals do have the weakness that the cleats can clog in very muddy conditions or in deep packed snow however.

Sole Design whilst walking
Although a flat smooth sole, as featured on the Five Ten shoes, is preferable for pedalling with flat pedals it can have disadvantages if you have to dismount and walk offroad. A smooth soled shoe in muddy conditions offers very little grip. Trying to push your bike up a steep muddy bank in smooth soled shoes for example is very challenging. Sometimes it's almost impossible.:eekster:

Because MTB cycling shoes don't have the same requirements to provide a large contact area between the sole and pedal (you're clipped in when pedalling so shoe sole / pedal friction isn't as important) the soles can be designed to perform better when offroad in mud. The sole of an MTB cycling shoe can be designed so that it resembles a football boot with a spiked tread. They often have a set of toe studs mounted on the toe also to maximise traction. A shoe such as this offers more grip and a significant advantage if you do have to get off and push in muddy conditions.:)

Pictured below: Point One Podium Flat Pedal is a typical design consisting of a large pedal body and metal pins which dig into the shoe sole

Five Ten Impact Low 2/ Nike Zoom Equalon+ 4 Running Shoe/ Specialized BG Expert sole comparison
 

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electrik said:
I don't get it, if it is SO obvious then i'm sure you can EASILY support your opinions... if you guys want to say i like clipless because they feel better or i like clipless because i fit in and the pros all have it, go ahead. I have an issue to swallow the fact platforms are what is holding me back from being a winner. Keep trying to ram that "fact" down people's throat if you want - your business - but did you ever stop to think maybe you could be just a bit dishonest in doing so? Maybe you shouldn't offer up clipless as performance enhancing to people without some actual quantitative results.

One more thing, don't think I am trying to make people on the TDF wear platforms. TDF/Road racing is different than XC racing, for one where are our aero helmets?! :skep:
i have raced DH and XC. have raced DH with both flats and clipless.

although my data is anecdotal, i always picked clipless pedals for DH courses like Fontana where there is a long sprint. same sprint just wasn't as fast on flats due most likely to poor form when fatigued (couldn't use the crutch that my foot was attached). before you rail me, i was running extra long studs with 510's and they gripped well, but not enough to make up for fatigue and bumps in the terrain during a sprint.

i would never choose to race XC with flats. just no reason to run heavier shoe and pedal combos. clipless is way better for this application. there are no XC courses that i have ever ridden where flats would be an advantage.
 

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whybotherme said:
i have raced DH and XC. have raced DH with both flats and clipless.

although my data is anecdotal, i always picked clipless pedals for DH courses like Fontana where there is a long sprint. same sprint just wasn't as fast on flats due most likely to poor form when fatigued (couldn't use the crutch that my foot was attached). before you rail me, i was running extra long studs with 510's and they gripped well, but not enough to make up for fatigue and bumps in the terrain during a sprint.

i would never choose to race XC with flats. just no reason to run heavier shoe and pedal combos. clipless is way better for this application. there are no XC courses that i have ever ridden where flats would be an advantage.
Another top Cat 1 (whose wife happens to be a top pro racer) and you get the same answer. Imagine that.
 

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namagomi
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whybotherme said:
i have raced DH and XC. have raced DH with both flats and clipless.

although my data is anecdotal, i always picked clipless pedals for DH courses like Fontana where there is a long sprint. same sprint just wasn't as fast on flats due most likely to poor form when fatigued (couldn't use the crutch that my foot was attached). before you rail me, i was running extra long studs with 510's and they gripped well, but not enough to make up for fatigue and bumps in the terrain during a sprint.

i would never choose to race XC with flats. just no reason to run heavier shoe and pedal combos. clipless is way better for this application. there are no XC courses that i have ever ridden where flats would be an advantage.
I'm not out to rail people's experience or deride them as amateurs.

All I want is some good old fashioned facts, you know, not a bunch of parking-lot talk. Yes platforms are usually several grams heavier than clips, but 29r wheels are heavier than 26" wheels, yet apparently result in faster times, the world is a strange place where "common sense" doesn't always add up. I'm not sure which courses you mention, but would running flats on those xc races be a distinct disadvantage? Personally I have found, what seem to be, bad biomechanical habits develop with clipless shoes, like pulling up and pushing forward. This is immediately punished on flats which is frustrating if you switch types.
 

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namagomi
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WR304 said:
There are a few studies comparing clipless pedals to toe clips and flat pedals linked in this long thread:

http://www.bentrideronline.com/messageboard/showthread.php?t=52152

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The effect of clip-less pedals on mechanical characteristics measured during sprinting on a non-isokinetic cycle ergometer

"Summary

Purpose.
The purpose of this study was to compare the mechanical parameters measured on a non-isokinetic cycle ergometer equiped with or without toe-clip pedals during sprinting.

Methods.
Two groups of subjects (international-national and regional cyclists) performed four sprints of 8 seconds with two different friction forces applied to the belt (0.5 or 1.1 N.kg−1). A variance analysis with repeated measures (shoe-pedal linkages and groups) has been performed.

Results.
The results show a significant increase of the maximal values of force, velocity and power output when clip-less pedals were used, whatever the friction force applied.

Conclusions.
This improvement of maximal power could be attributed to a significant increase in optimal velocity, which was observed for both considerable and minimal friction force. In fact, clipless pedals allowed a greater muscular activity, a greater efficiency index, and better muscular coordination."
F. Hintzy, A. Belli, F. Grappe and J.D. Rouillon

http://www.sciencedirect.com/scienc...ef86eeb4d8b2e38644c064fb8f33c2a4&searchtype=a

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Electromyography in cycling: difference between clipless pedal and toe clip pedal
"The purpose of this study was to verify if there is electromyographic difference in biceps femoris (long portion), semitendinous, semimembranous and gastrocnemius (lateralis and medialis) muscles, using clipless pedal and toe clip pedal.

Thirty seven triathletes answered a questionnaire about their preferred type of pedal, which showed that 5.4% used toe clip pedal and 94.6% used clipless pedal. Four male triathletes (age: 21.75 +/- 2.50 years old; cycling experience: 5.00 +/- 2.45 years; preferred cadence: 83.75 +/- 7.5 rpm) rode their own bicycles on a stationary roller at 100 rpm. The subjects performed one trial with each type of pedal. Bipolar surface electrodes placed on right lower limb picked up the EMG signal during 6 s. A band-pass filter (10-600 Hz) was used.

Two muscles (semitendinous and semimembranous) presented lower activity with clipless pedal for all subjects. Biceps femoris and gastrocnemius lateralis presented lower activity with clipless pedal for three subjects. This led us to conclude that there is less electromyographic activity with the use of clipless pedal." Cruz CF, Bankoff AD 2001

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11441642

Review 2009
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18093842

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Effects of pedal type and pull-up action during cycling.
"The aim of this study was to determine the influence of different shoe-pedal interfaces and of an active pulling-up action during the upstroke phase on the pedalling technique.

Eight elite cyclists (C) and seven non-cyclists (NC) performed three different bouts at 90 rev . min (-1) and 60 % of their maximal aerobic power. They pedalled with single pedals (PED), with clipless pedals (CLIP) and with a pedal force feedback (CLIPFBACK) where subjects were asked to pull up on the pedal during the upstroke.

There was no significant difference for pedalling effectiveness, net mechanical efficiency (NE) and muscular activity between PED and CLIP. When compared to CLIP, CLIPFBACK resulted in a significant increase in pedalling effectiveness during upstroke (86 % for C and 57 % NC, respectively), as well as higher biceps femoris and tibialis anterior muscle activity (p < 0.001). However, NE was significantly reduced (p < 0.008) with 9 % and 3.3 % reduction for C and NC, respectively.

Consequently, shoe-pedal interface (PED vs. CLIP) did not significantly influence cycling technique during submaximal exercise. However, an active pulling-up action on the pedal during upstroke increased the pedalling effectiveness, while reducing net mechanical efficiency."
Mornieux G, Stapelfeldt B, Gollhofer A, Belli A.

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18418807

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Gross cycling efficiency is not altered with and without toe-clips
"The aim of this study was to examine the claim that reductions of 8 - 18% in submaximal oxygen consumption (O2) could be due to changing components on a Monark ergometer, from standard pedals without toe-clips or straps (flat pedals) to racing pedals of that era, which included toe-clips and straps (toe-clip pedals).

This previously untested assertion was evaluated using 11 males (mean age 22.3 years, s = 1.2; height 1.82 m, s = 0.07; body mass 82.6 kg, s = 8.8) who completed four trials in a randomized, counterbalanced order at 60 rev · min-1 on a Monark cycle ergometer. Two trials were completed on flat pedals and two trials on toe-clip pedals. The Douglas bag method was used to assess O2 and gross efficiency during successive 5-min workloads of 60, 120, 180, and 240 W.

The mean O2 was 2.1% higher for toe-clip pedals than flat pedals and there was a 99% probability that toe-clip pedals would not result in an 8% lower O2. These results indicate that toe-clip pedals do not reduce O2."
Authors: Laura M. Ostlera; James A. Bettsa; Christopher J. Gore

http://www.informaworld.com/smpp/content~content=a781709524~db=all~jumptype=rss

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Ok, I can't read the actual first study, but their conclusions seem to contradict the study on electromyography, which said muscular activity on "pulling up" was lower. The results of the first study which state maximal efficiency was improved do not state if this was simply net mechanical efficiency, which was apparently reduced by force feedback clipless use in the 3rd study(by 10% for elite cyclists) linked. The last study states that toe-clips on the test bicycle won't reduce your submaximal o2 levels.

I am also wondering if in the first study if any of the regional and international cyclists used platforms regularly... it seems unlikely(the 3rd study did a better job of isolating this), so i would consider that a bias because pedaling strokes are different - lots of guys like to pedal and trained to pedal in perfect circles and that puts platforms on a lower standing with the same athlete who uses a clipless technique on a platform.

Anyways, interesting results... feel free to point out anything else.

BTW I bet riding bent with flats is harder, since gravity is pulling your feet off not down onto the pedals.
 

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Pedaler of dirt
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electrik said:
I don't get it, if it is SO obvious then i'm sure you can EASILY support your opinions... if you guys want to say i like clipless because they feel better or i like clipless because i fit in and the pros all have it, go ahead. I have an issue to swallow the fact platforms are what is holding me back from being a winner. Keep trying to ram that "fact" down people's throat if you want - your business - but did you ever stop to think maybe you could be just a bit dishonest in doing so? Maybe you shouldn't offer up clipless as performance enhancing to people without some actual quantitative results.

One more thing, don't think I am trying to make people on the TDF wear platforms. TDF/Road racing is different than XC racing, for one where are our aero helmets?! :skep:
It is easy to support the fact the clipless pedal makes faster riders, because every rider on the podium of every XC race at international, national and local racers will have used clipless pedals, period.

If there was the chance that a rider could win or even position with flats it would have happened.

Yes, it is fact, not riding clipless is holding you back.

When it comes to roadie racing and XC, pedaling is pedaling. Terrain doesn't affect the most efficient pedaling form.
 

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"Will I benefit greatly from clipless riding in the face of the dangers that they pose by being clipped in?"

Use the multi release cleats and set the tension with something you feel comfortable with at first. I have ridden traps, the old burly bear trap looking flats and spd's. When clipless first came out I thought they would be dangerous. I can't imagine ridding without them now. Your foot is securely held to the pedal, but comes off when you need it. For XC you should be pedaling, For super technical riding where you may need to put your foot down alot, while going 2 mph clipless may not be the the ticket. Discounting them for XC is kind of like saying a suspension fork is too inefficient and heavy and will just slow you down. Either everyone else has it wrong, and you are on to something (that has already been tried by tons of people) or you may at least give clipless a try.

"Personally I have found, what seem to be, bad biomechanical habits develop with clipless shoes, like pulling up and pushing forward." Actually this is one of the reasons I prefer clipless. I can not always spin perfect tchnique on mtb. I can use "bad" technique to clear a section or stretch out a muscle group on a flat etc.

You can always switch back if it doesn't work for you.
 

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even Kabush (ex-Canadian DH racer, now a World Cup XC racer) doesn't run flats and would probably laugh if asked to race a World Cup on flats. DH racers that are way faster than i can dream of being like Steve Peat ride clipless. certainly there is no drawback to being connected to the bike, but losing a pedal can cost time, and cause crashes/injury!

studies on pedal mechanics do not include the primary variable that is likely to destroy the argument for flats, bumps!

in all honesty, i say race what you feel fits your comfort level. if you aren't confident enough in your riding to clip in and flats work for you, that is awesome! race the heck out of them!

race and have fun, that is the point right? :)
 

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namagomi
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marzjennings said:
It is easy to support the fact the clipless pedal makes faster riders, because every rider on the podium of every XC race at international, national and local racers will have used clipless pedals, period.

If there was the chance that a rider could win or even position with flats it would have happened.

Yes, it is fact, not riding clipless is holding you back.

When it comes to roadie racing and XC, pedaling is pedaling. Terrain doesn't affect the most efficient pedaling form.
Actually, a study posted by another reveal this pulling up stuff isn't the most mechanically efficient form. What I had read previously somewhere was related to an increased average cadence, but if the mechanics of this aggressive pulling-up hold you back that could negate your benefits of increased cadence... just a thought.

The fact no XC pro uses platforms isn't great evidence to accept clipless are superior for XC. This has todo with the problem that not all XC pro's make superior equipment choices, that the actual role of pedal interfaces in XC victory is unclear and the fact victory by pedal interface choice is often dwarfed by other factors in situ(such as a competitor flatting or crashing)

I am still not sure platforms are holding me back, it is just my stubbornness perhaps ;)
 
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