Mountain Bike Reviews Forum banner
1 - 6 of 6 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
109 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Does anyone use flat pedals for XC or Gravel racing? I have done XC in the past and now do gravel races with SPD pedals on my MTB. I, recently, tried flat pedals and really like it. I see online that flats were found to be as efficient as clipless except for sprinting, but no one seems to use them...why? Has anyone tried them with gravel racing?
 

·
since 4/10/2009
Joined
·
37,069 Posts
I use platform pedals for better than 95% of my riding. but I put clipless on for racing and for big distances. why? it really does help when you don't have to think about your foot position all the time and you can devote that extra effort into just turning the pedals.

use what you like, but this is where I see clipless as being unequivocally better.
 

·
CEO Product Failure
Joined
·
2,403 Posts
Flats for gravel racing...gravel riding is really closer to road riding than it is to mtb'ing. I typically do not encounter drops and rock gardens in gravel races. Mtb'ing, yes. Lots of technical and you should ride what you are most comfortable with.

IMO, using clipless pedals provides more power transfer than flats. If you're racing, every/any advantage is always better.

Personally, I am running TIME Especiale 8 pedals on my gravel bike. They have pins like typical flats and use TIME's engagement / clipless system (which I love). I have also ridden the pedals in street shoes without issue.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,859 Posts
I don’t experience any difference in power transfer between flats and clipless. To me, that is a myth, and I’ve been riding both ways for close to 30 years and have timed the same segments both ways repeatedly. No significant, repeatable difference.

That said, there are certain conditions where I can get faster times using clipless. And again, not because of any increase in perceived power. Certainly not on climbs. Where they help is in very rocky descents— because they are smaller and less likely to strike them. In other words, I can get away with more pedal strokes for a given trail segment. Additionally, I can stand up a bit higher using clipless because they allow me to be a little lazier on the descents. With flats, your attack position must be a little lower/heavier feet so that bumps don’t throw you off the pedals. It is more fatiguing, and also harder to efficiently pedal while doing so. On really steep tech it is a moot point, since very little pedaling is necessary.

On smooth trails or gravel/road riding, I think the differences are negligible. To be frank, I see very little similarity between “gravel” riding/racing and mountain biking. Gravel riding, to me, is just road biking.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,062 Posts
On steep, prolong 45 minutes plus climb such as Kennedy or Mission Peak here in Norcal, clipless has an advantage. Doesn’t matter 5% or 1% gain, on these climbs any help is help. Most time you wish to just die instead of keep pushing those pedals. Same idea for racing, even 1% gain is worth while in a sufferfest.

Flat everywhere else, especially jumpy trails.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
383 Posts
Another factor for me is that the little bit of float with clipless really saves my knees vs grippy flats, especially when it's a trail/road that requires more constant power output than fine bike control.

For XC/gravel/road I would say clipless every time. Maybe studies can prove it's all in my head, but as other mentioned I find a very noticeable difference in power transfer and efficiency over the long haul.

I also like my clipless shoes better, they just seem so much more purpose-built, streamlined and good at what they do than any flats MTB shoe I've found.
 
1 - 6 of 6 Posts
This is an older thread, you may not receive a response, and could be reviving an old thread. Please consider creating a new thread.
Top