Ask two different mountain bikers if you should ride Flat or Clipless Pedals and you’ll get two very opinionated answers. One will adamantly tell you that you HAVE to ride Flats while the other will swear on his Mother’s grave that Clipless is the ONLY way to go. Which one is right?
- It’s the easiest way to dismount.
- More importantly, it gives a larger platform for the rider to stand on and relocate themselves, so they can counter weight, shift your position on the bike away from a pedaling position.
- Flats have a slightly lower center of gravity.
- Flats allow you to shift your weight side to side on the pedal.
- Flats force you to load your body weight onto the pedal.
- Flats help you develop really good habits.
- With Clipped in you’ll be able to develop more power throughout the stroke.
- With Clipped in you’ll feel better connected to the bike.
- There are different types of clipped in pedals and shoes that depending on your riding style, can help you get the most out of your bike.
- On an incline you are loading the pedal differently than when on flat ground. With Flats, the upstroke at the end of the pedal rotation there’s a 20% to 30% loss. The steeper the incline the more of a loss of efficiency there is. Generally, it’s the steep inclines where you’ll want the greater efficiency. This is why all Pro racers for XC or Road, everywhere in the world, use only Clip in pedals. For gravity oriented riding it depends more on rider preference and the course layout itself.
- With Clipped in, you have a fixed position you are in, so you cannot relocate your body weight on the side or front of the pedal for balance or weight distribution benefits in corner or braking.
- Clipped in requires slightly more effort to get off the bike.
- Clipped in pedals are slightly heavier than flats.
For skills training and technique I defiantly recommend flats. For speed and efficiency clip ins are superior. No matter what, a better rider is going to be faster on whatever pedal they use. With flats you are forced to develop better habits. If you can’t bunny hop with flat pedals you can’t bunny hop. Also, if your clip in pedals and shoes are more than five years old, new shoes and pedals have performance and comfort benefits.