Nearly all riders start on flat pedals before migrating to clips as their confidence increases. So, should you be making the switch and if so, when? We'll discuss the two options and the best time to make the switch so you can make the most of your mountain biking.
Why Flat Pedals?
Flats are where we all start when riding a bike and have taken riders all the way to the top of world cup podiums. Paired with good quality mountain bike shoes riders have great grip over the pedals. The biggest single advantage for most riders is the fact that you can easily remove your feet from the pedals when needed. This is great if you need to take your inside foot off on a corner unexpectedly to balance yourself or in the event of a crash. Not an uncommon requirement on the dry and loose Brisbane mountain bike trails we ride. The extra confidence some riders get from being able to throw a foot down with a split seconds notice allows some riders to push harder and ride faster as a result.
Why Clip Pedals?
Now the norm for pro mountain bike riders there is a reason clips are so popular. With your feet securely locked into place you can attack rough terrain knowing that your feet won't bounce off the pedals, staying in control. You can also easily un-weight the rear wheel to make sure you're riding as smoothly as possible and holding greater speed. On the climbs being able to pull on the pedal as well as push creates a more even and efficient pedalling action. You'll be tackling Brisbane's biggest mountain bike climbs with more grace than ever!
All this sounds great but we need to appreciate the draw backs riders can experience with clip pedals. For un-experienced riders the motion of 'un-clipping' isn't natural and failing to do so can lead to some awkward crashes. It's not just getting out that can be a challenge, you'll also need to get in again. Sometimes very quickly and in an awkward situation, the thought of descending the steepest part of your local trail with only one foot secured is a little worrying to say the least.
What Should You Ride?
If you're comfortable on flats and loving life sliding around turns with your foot out then keep on keeping on! There are plenty of Australian MTB riders out there that are stupidly fast on flat pedals, Sam Hill, Connor Fearon, etc. so don't think you can't be! But if you're confident in your bike handling skills and looking for a bit of extra power on the pedals or that control in the rough clips can be a great option. Next week we'll give riders tips who are looking to make the move to clip pedals so they can make the most of the change!
If you're still unsure about what pedals best suit your mountain biking and local Brisbane mountain bike trails stop in for a chat and our friendly staff will happily point you in the right direction.