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Combat Wombat
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Lots of good advice and I'll just reemphasize that it is going to take awhile. This subject has been posted before and the key word if you really want to use flats is commitment. Don't be that douche on Youtube that uses them three times and then makes a video about why they suck. I bought my first SPDs in 1994 and always used some type of clipless pedal until about two years ago. I ride with a couple guys that make riding flats look easy, had just built up a new bike, so I figured I would give it a try. It was an interesting, sometimes very frustrating, learning curve and lots of bad habits to overcome. It took me the better part of a year for it to feel natural.
 

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I am surprised at all of the comments saying you don't need to do anything special with your feet, just pump. 100% of the pump comes from the pressure your feet are putting on the pedals. That is the only contact point your legs have. Now, your feet with naturally rotate on a lip but just keeping them flat and letting speed and angles do the work is not going to get you very far or high.

As for the BMX riders bunny hopping I suggest really watching some videos. They most assuredly are doing something with their feet to get the boost they need. It isn't so much scooping and picking up with the feet as it is keeping strong contact while the bike-lever does its thing. Without an angle on the pedals there would be no way to transfer the energy from the legs and body to the bike.
 

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I'm a long time clipless pedal user, and trying to learn how to use flats.I started looking at some information online about how to keep your feet on your pedals when jumping.

Some people say to keep both feet pointed down and more or less keep tension against the handlebar, while others recommend to drop the heel of your front foot and point your toe down for the rear.

Both make sense in theory, but which one is correct? If they both are, is one better than the other?

Thanks!
All you need to do is keep your knees somewhat bent and supple, so you absorb with your legs, not the suspension

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We're talking about in the air.
Ahh, ok that makes more sense. I missed that nuance. I was very confused as to how anyone got off the ground with feet parallel to it. You absolutely need to angle your feet on takeoff if you want any leverage. And you definitely want them flat or slightly toe-down if it is a step transition to prevent ankle-breakers on landing. In the air it is just the transition between the two.
 

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The problem is in the takeoff technique. You don't need to scoop up the pedals or anything. If you get a proper pump off the lip you don't have to worry about coming off the pedals. What's likely happening is you're used to picking the bike up off the takeoff while clipped in by lifting your feet. You can tuck the bike under you with flat pedals by pushing the bars forward and gently scooping the rear up but this isn't necessary usually.
Yes! This.
 

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All you need to do is keep your knees somewhat bent and supple, so you absorb with your legs, not the suspension

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This is what I came to say. I know the thread is specifically about jumping, but you have to learn how to stay on flat pedals on the ground before you’re ready to jump — and then there’s nothing to it.

I really don’t think about or even know what my feet do while in the air. All I know is that they stay on and there are no worries.😉

I think the key to flats is essentially just what you said — keep your knees bent and pretend you don’t have any rear suspension. Ride with your feet and hands “heavy.” Your feet need to stay heavy all the way through the lip of a jump, and then as the bike takes off, you just let it come up with you. There should never be any “pulling” with your feet, but I suppose a little with your hands. Honestly I don’t have to think about it. But it takes a while to develop.
 

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Pedal concave is huge as are pin types. I don't know if its been mentioned but I find flats like Deity Tmacs have so much grip I can't adjust my feet sometimes! I had a pair of speedplay brass knuckles that were the opposite. I slide off them constantly. Overall heels down will help when jumping or riding over rough patches of trail. It doesn't require I ton of angle to make a big difference.
 

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I have about 300 trail miles over the winter on flats after 25 years of clipless riding. I certainly have used them on commuter bikes and such. My personal experience is that when I try to over-think technique or put my feet in a certain way it just makes things harder. Like any equipment, the more you use it the more you adapt to it. You'll get more confidence over bigger features. When I turn off my mind my feet feel glued to the pedals. When I start anticipating or analyzing my set up it never helps. So what you hear about technique or habits is not really what's important. The key is ride time and progression. You wouldn't get a new bike and go out and ride the most technical dangerous routes. You'd do a couple easier rides then advance. Pedals are just like any other equipment. Practice=confidence.
 

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Rippin da fAt
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Pedal concave is huge as are pin types. I don't know if its been mentioned but I find flats like Deity Tmacs have so much grip I can't adjust my feet sometimes! I had a pair of speedplay brass knuckles that were the opposite. I slide off them constantly. Overall heels down will help when jumping or riding over rough patches of trail. It doesn't require I ton of angle to make a big difference.
Avoid the chrome plated pins... The pins that will lacerate you work!
 

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Rabid Lana Fan
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I recently transitioned to flats, and at first I found myself "jumping off" the pedals on jumps. I was used to 12 years of riding clipless and "pulling up" on the pedals. I finally feel like I don't have any feet issues on jumping now (after countless shin atrocities while learning). Can't really say what's different now other than "I got used to it".

Do yourself a favor and get good knee/shin guards while in the transition period from clipless to flats.
 

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Rippin da fAt
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I recently transitioned to flats, and at first I found myself "jumping off" the pedals on jumps. I was used to 12 years of riding clipless and "pulling up" on the pedals. I finally feel like I don't have any feet issues on jumping now (after countless shin atrocities while learning). Can't really say what's different now other than "I got used to it".

Do yourself a favor and get good knee/shin guards while in the transition period from clipless to flats.
Best approach is to get some time in with platform pedals since it will be a progression thing. Platform use is unique and differs from SPD usage. Work your way into it with riding and becoming familiar with how they work and you'll eliminate some lacerations along the way.
 

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Rippin da fAt
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It does take a little time and some miles to get the feel of platforms. Once that sets in and it becomes autonomous, you do not think about where are my feet on these pedals, it just works and you allowed to place your feet as needed or as you desire, something that is rather limited with SPD. Another bonus is use the shoes that make you comfortable and stick to pedal pins, no more bastardized wing tips!
 

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Heel drop and down pressure. Clips do not require down pressure or heel drop so we have to train our brains to create muscle memory, and unlearn muscle memory clips created.

Heel drop is the big one to work on! Dropping your heels allows you to create down pressure in situations you wouldn't otherwise. When learning people slip on the downs because they aren't generating enough down pressure because their feet are too flat. It doesn't matter how sticky your shoes are, or how aggressive your pedals are. Down pressure is how we generate grip, dropping your heels creates down pressure when you can't simply use your body weight standing on the pedals to create down pressure. Heel drop is what you want to focus on. Don't trust me, do some research. 100% of skills coaches will teach heel drop. Watch pros. 100% of them use heel drop. Working angles is part of what makes flats fun.
 

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Shoes make a massive difference. I went back-to-back with some 5-10 Freeriders and then Adidas Ultraboost sneakers with really soft rubber so you would think that they would be sticky. The Adidas were so bad - my feed were popping off every 5 seconds. The 5-10s are money.
 

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Disgruntled Peccary
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In addition to all of the above (especially good quality shoes), moving my foot further forward on the pedal, so that the ball of my foot was ahead of the spindle (with clipless, I normally run the spindle roughly under the ball of my foot), really helped when I went back to platforms. It basically made it a whole lot more natural for me to drop my heels, while my toes will just naturally drop down on hops/jumps/etc. Then it was just time getting used to trusting it.
 
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And keep your knees flexed and absorb with your legs instead of relying on the suspension

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Rippin da fAt
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And keep your knees flexed and absorb with your legs instead of relying on the suspension

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Most don't realize their inherent suspension that came standard from the factory!
 
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