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I did some really light XC stuff in June '13 but didn't start riding real "mountain biking" trails until August '13 and road biking for a few months before that. I went clipless immediately for both. This was no problem on the road bike but I feel like it hampered my progress on the mountain bike, because I was scared to try anything I wasn't at least 95% sure I could clear.

I just went to flat pedals a few weeks ago and I'm immediately way more confident and I'm not seeing any difference in climbing ability. The only thing I miss is being better connected to the bike and not being able to bounce off the pedals, which will go away with technique. Clipless is nice for road biking and XC, but for "all mountain" and technical terrain it can make a slight loss of control into something that'll put you on the ground if you aren't able to clip out in time.

Has anyone else gone through the same thing?
 

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I went clipless right away, 15 years ago. Went through the short learning curve on clipping out...which requires a few falls, then never looked back. Clipping out became second nature faster than I can recall.

That said, I kinda wish I had learned to use flats too. I say if you’re more comfortable on flats, stay with it. At this point in the technology game, the pros and cons of each are pretty equal, especially where all around trail riding is concerned.
 

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I just started riding XC but have done a lot of road/tri riding. I went clipless just because it seems second nature for me on the road. There is definitely a learning curve for clipless offroad...several falls confirmed that. However, I feel that I can power out of some loose or sandy corners when clipped in whereas I may have had the tendency to drop a foot if I wasn't.
 

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Yes. I had the same experience. After a few endos and washouts where I couldn't unclip fast enough, I made the switch to platforms when riding rocky and technical trails (especially with exposure!). If I know the trail is more XC oriented, I'll go the clipless route. But for techy, rocky, and/or exposed singletrack, I'll use platforms.
 

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The White Jeff W
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Yes. I had the same experience. After a few endos and washouts where I couldn't unclip fast enough, I made the switch to platforms when riding rocky and technical trails (especially with exposure!). If I know the trail is more XC oriented, I'll go the clipless route. But for techy, rocky, and/or exposed singletrack, I'll use platforms.
That's me, too. I ride tech terrain tentatively in clipless pedals. Its a mental thing I can't get past
 

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Started out on clipless, switched to flats for a couple years then switched back to clipless. I run time platform style pedals with the tension turned down to help with quick exits on the tech stuff. Still have some flats laying around just in case though.
 

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I'll ride clipless for any terrain, but it's a long learning curve. Stick with platforms for now, you'll develop better skills. Everyone should learn to ride both.
 

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Everyone should learn to ride both.
I can agree with this completely. I rode flats until just recently and worked on pedaling technique in general. When I first clipped in it was kinda wonky and it felt like I forgot everything I had ever worked on, but then I worked it out. It's nice on trails (lighter, flowy kinda singletrack) to be clipped in for me because I can really power through things I may have dropped a foot or bailed on.

Clipping out just takes practice. I did for a bit and then the first time I fell (slipped on some ice) it felt like I just fell out of the bike naturally. Pretty sweet, but maybe that was luck...Best to just not force yourself to do anything you really absolutely don't want to do.
 

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I started immediately and am now considering flats for a while. Am getting used to em but am finding things happen really fast and I am falling a lot! Do enjoy them for climbing though!
 

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I went very quickly to clipless pedals, rode them for around 12 years then started to introduce flat pedals to riding at Ray's then at the lift served stuff. Today I ride flats almost exclusively. It's not a skill issue as I am very proficient clipping out, it's that flats add a je ne sais quoi to the riding experience that is very enjoyable. I keep telling myself that I'll put the clipless on the trail bike one of these days to see what it's like, but I really don't see a reason why and never end up doing it. The clipless pedals are relegated to bouncing between my single speed (I need any minuscule advantage I can get on that thing) and my cross bike (where it is used mostly as a road bike that I can abuse).
 

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Being primarily a roadie when I first started biking, I started off mountain biking going clipless. It just felt more natural to me and it was second nature for me to clip in and out. But I purchased a pair of flats to just cruise around the city with friends since we also do some walking as well. So I decided to leave my flats on for a ride at a place that is pretty technical (Skeggs Point) and I just fell in love with the flats. But on strictly XC rides with lots of climbs and nothing technical, I swap out for clipless.
 

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Back in the day, the clipless bias was even stronger than it is now and I didn't know there were better flats than just taking the toe clips off a set of traditional caged pedals. Which suck without toe clips. So I went clipless as soon as I knew they were an option.

I didn't think anything of it until 2009 or so. I realized that next to other Sport Class racers, I have pretty questionable technique. I also figured out that all the distinct technical skills - manuals, bunny hops, wheelies - are doable with flats, but only if done well. So I stuck some cheap flats on my bike for a while and worked on that stuff.

I'm back on clipless now but I think I'm smoother. So money well spent. Only about $60 total anyway - Redline Alloy pedals for about $18 and some shin guards.

I think there's a threshold where clipless pedals go from being a distraction to being helpful. Probably when riders go from dealing with a trail an obstacle at a time to mostly flowing.
 
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