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Out spokin'
In cog? Neato!
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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited by Moderator)
Y'all, I'm about to make a leap that I never expected to make.
I've been riding SPD clip-in pedals since Shimano introduced them in 1990.
Well, for whatever reason, I've allowed myself to be talked into trying platform pedals.
(My GF can be very persuasive. :))

So I bought some of these:
OneUp Components Composite Pedals
as well as a pair of these:
Five Ten Trailcross Gore-Tex Mountain Bike Shoes
and just fitted the pedals to my winter bike.

Now comes the hard part.
Learning to leave the ground with the belief that my feet will still be on the pedals when I come back down to earth.
Got any tips / suggestions for this ol' dog?
Thanks in advance.
=sParty
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I did this 7 years ago when I moved to the PNW. Up until that point if I was on my mountain bike I had some format of clipless pedals from the venerable M737 I got in the early nineties to crankbros lollipops to various clipped platforms like mallets and shimano 636's. When I moved here i just decided to grab an old pair of wellgo pedals I had from supergo and my vans and give it a go.

Ultimately I found that most of my riding was fairly simple transition. Drops, bumps, climbing and descending, you are pretty much just pushing down anyways. It was the jumps and the super steep technical climbs where I found the most difficulty. Climbs was just learning to not pull up as much and jumping it was just learning to actually jump without using the crutch of the clipless. I always had a hard time jumping with clipless and transitioning to flats made me actually learn to jump and now I can actually jump and I feel like after decades of riding I actually have all the skills I need to be a mountain biker.

They are fun and the first time you smash your shin on them you will remember why you used clipless.
 

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Unless you previously smashed your legs up with clipless pedals and have the 20yr old scars to prove it.
I always feel like clips smashes were like blunt force damage. The pin hit on flats though, even from just walking your bike across the parking lot, makes you pretty alert. Probably only the biggest drawback to the flats.

I have a mark up my leg where I slipped off clipless pedals because I was using sidi shoes and their plastic soles weren't great for balancing on eggbeaters if you unclipped but kept riding. All your weight and it slips off your pedal and that pedal just drives up your calf.
 

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Out spokin'
In cog? Neato!
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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Thanks, guys.
My GF wears leg protection on both front (shin) & rear (calf.)
Do you guys recommend that I do the same?

As for leaping, when I first learned to leave the ground, I bunnyhopped off the ends of drops cuz I didn't know any other way to keep the front end of my bike up.
Rectified that error long ago -- now I just ride off.
But I think that sometimes I may "boost" into the air just a little because with clips, I know the bike will come with me.
I guess I'll have to quit doing that.

@Harold, I found Leech's coaching site and will consider investing in that. Thanks.
=sParty
 

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since 4/10/2009
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I always feel like clips smashes were like blunt force damage
sortof. my incident (on my knee) peeled back a decent flap of skin from the hooked part of the spd pedals that gripped the cleat.

yeah, pretty much all of my scratches from pinned platforms are super gentle walking the bike type stuff where my leg just brushes against the pins. which tend to sharpen up a bit as they wear from use. none have been from the pedal slamming into my shin like people are always afraid of in discussions like this.

I like the pump track suggestion. I think it's really important to dial back the difficulty level of the stuff you're riding while you learn to get comfortable with new pedals. You're asking for trouble if you just throw platforms on after 30+yrs of clipless pedal riding, and then go ride the same way you always have.

For me, I first used platforms for commuting because I didn't want to change shoes. My first use of them for mtb riding was in the wintertime, so I could wear hiking boots in the cold, instead of spending hundreds on winter cycling shoes that I might wear half a dozen times a season. After a winter of that, I decided to leave them on because I liked them. So by then, I'd become fairly comfortable with riding on platform pedals in some pretty low consequence stuff before taking them trail riding. There was still a little bit of an adjustment period after that, but it wasn't too bad.
 

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@Harold, I found Leech's coaching site and will consider investing in that. Thanks.
=sParty
I've never found the leg protection necessary for the pedals. Now, if you want it for protection from crashes, that's a bit different.

Nice thing about those courses is that you don't have to buy a full subscription. You can just pay for whichever course you want and work through it at whatever pace works for you.
 

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Out spokin'
In cog? Neato!
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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
sortof. my incident (on my knee) peeled back a decent flap of skin from the hooked part of the spd pedals that gripped the cleat.

yeah, pretty much all of my scratches from pinned platforms are super gentle walking the bike type stuff where my leg just brushes against the pins. which tend to sharpen up a bit as they wear from use. none have been from the pedal slamming into my shin like people are always afraid of in discussions like this.

I like the pump track suggestion. I think it's really important to dial back the difficulty level of the stuff you're riding while you learn to get comfortable with new pedals. You're asking for trouble if you just throw platforms on after 30+yrs of clipless pedal riding, and then go ride the same way you always have.

For me, I first used platforms for commuting because I didn't want to change shoes. My first use of them for mtb riding was in the wintertime, so I could wear hiking boots in the cold, instead of spending hundreds on winter cycling shoes that I might wear half a dozen times a season. After a winter of that, I decided to leave them on because I liked them. So by then, I'd become fairly comfortable with riding on platform pedals in some pretty low consequence stuff before taking them trail riding. There was still a little bit of an adjustment period after that, but it wasn't too bad.
I think there's a local pump track -- will check for sure and then visit to practice.

Harold, your final paragraph above helps explain at least one reason why I chose right now (November) to switch from clips to flats. Wintertime riding around here is comparatively mellower than summertime riding. I hope to be familiar enough with platform pedals come next spring / summer that I'll be ready to move into more aggressive riding without making habitual clipped-in moves.
=sParty
 

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I rode clipless while commuting for 4 years, and for the first few months while I started riding mountain bikes.

I switched to platforms almost 3 years ago, because I noticed that I was "cheating" on bunnyhops, and jumps. So I wanted to make sure I learned the correct technique, so I didn't go out and hurt myself. I got some Stamps, and 510's, and I've been working on it ever since.

The biggest advice I can give, is

1) use a more midfoot-ish pedaling position. If I had to guess, I run the pedal axle ~1in behind the ball of my foot most of the time. So kind of on the front part of the arch of my foot.

2) Drop those heels!

3) Pressurize the bike with your feet. Once I started pressurizing/preloading the bike for jumps/etc correctly, I've never even had a problem with my feet lifting off the pedals on jumps/etc.

100% honest here, I haven't slipped a pedal yet, or cut up my shins (knock on wood). When I rode my BMX bike around the neighborhood as a kid... yes (and I have the scars to prove it), but with a good set of shoes and pedals, I wouldn't worry too much about getting cut up.
 

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Y'all, I'm about to make a leap that I never expected to make.
I've been riding SPD clip-in pedals since Shimano introduced them in 1990.
Well, for whatever reason, I've allowed myself to be talked into trying platform pedals.
(My GF can be very persuasive. :))

So I bought some of these:
OneUp Components Composite Pedals
as well as a pair of these:
Five Ten Trailcross Gore-Tex Mountain Bike Shoes
and just fitted the pedals to my winter bike.

Now comes the hard part.
Learning to leave the ground with the belief that my feet will still be on the pedals when I come back down to earth.
Got any tips / suggestions for this ol' dog?
Thanks in advance.
=sParty
Yeah Sparty, I knew you could do it!

Tips:
Practice bunny hopping with flats, side hops, pivot turns, etc...
Wear shin guards
Never give up!
 

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Disgruntled Peccary
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Don't pull up as much (you can a bit with good pedals and shoes, as long as you angle the foot to grip). Drop the heels when you need to. Focus on keeping good pressure on your pedals, thinking about that actually helps, as has been mentioned. Repeat as necessary.

I think, that's it. I haven't put my clipless pedals on any of my (non-road) bikes in a while now.
 
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Heal drop and down pressure. Clips don't require either so you have to create muscle memory counter to all the years of muscle memory you have that will put you in auto pilot if you don't focus on those techniques. It may see simple but I had to think about those things because clipped in muscle memory would sneak in when I got lazy.

Air time is different. You have to use more body english to make sure you're not pulling up on the pedals. I would squash drops and jumps at first to get the feel for staying on the pedals in situations when you're free falling without generating pop that brings the bike up with your feet. When you generate pop you'll likely feel confident. It's those situations when you ride off a flat edge with no pop that can lead to your feet hovering on the pedals rather than being anchored.
 

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What does dropping heels accomplish?
=sParty
it's physics. for one, it helps to lower your center of gravity. you really should be doing it with clipless pedals, too.

the second thing it does is to help you stay attached to the bike when you hit bumps. with your heel(s)* dropped (more on that in a minute), when the bike hits a bump, the forces push it up and back into your feet, keeping you attached to the bike when you need it most. With your feet level, that doesn't happen so much. and if your toes are pointed (a tendency for clipless pedal users, and I was one of them), you can actually get separated from the bike as it pushes the pedals away from your feet.

*really, the magic happens when the FRONT heel is dropped. It's not very common for people to be able to drop BOTH heels. I know that about the best I can get with my trailing foot is to get it level, because my calves just aren't that flexible. if my back heel was dropped, I'd have a ruptured achilles. So when folks above said that you need to think about pressing down into the pedals with your feet, they're absolutely right. THAT is more important than whether you can drop both heels, or only the leading one. additionally, there's a ton of grip that happens when you drop your leading foot and point your trailing toe down. It's called the "bowl technique" and it's one way you can stay attached to your pedals while airborne. when you use the bowl technique, you're pressing down and forward with the leading foot, and down and back with the trailing foot, which will pretty solidly lock you onto the bike.

in the big picture, there's really not any single foot position that you're going to keep all the time. as with most things, it's a dynamic situation and you're doing to adjust and adapt throughout your ride.
 

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Creates down pressure and angles which produce your traction.
This.

Think about it this way Sparticus.

Just riding along flat ground, your pedals are pretty flat, and you have great traction between your feet, and pedals right?

Now imagine you're riding down a 45 degree downslope. From YOUR perspective, your feet are still level with the surface you're riding on, right?

The problem is gravity doesn't agree. In actuality the pedals that you feel like are level, are actually sloped downwards at 45 degrees as well. So you have less traction, and your feet could fly off the front of the pedals. Dropping your heels in this position rotates them, and gets them closer to being perpendicular with the force of gravity again. And also, it gives you something better to push against to keep you from flying over the bars.

It also lowers your center of gravity.

Here is a photo of the master doing it. Mr Sam Hill. See how his heels are dropped... but when you look at them, they're actually relatively flat compared to gravity? In fact, even a bit more in this particular instance, giving him effectively no chance of slipping the pedal.

EDIT: Here is the URL


 

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And here is another photo of Sam, but from the other side.

Notice his rear foot is pretty flat in relation to the wheels of the bike, but in relation to gravity, his foot is definitely pointing down, and its easy to see how a foot could slip like that.

But look at the other side of the bike (its kind of hidden, but still visible enough). Notice how his heal is aggressively dropped, and looks pointing up? Yet at the same time, its actually quite flat to the force of gravity? Thats the trick.

EDIT: Here is the raw link if its not working for you.

 
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