At Mtbr, we spend a healthy amount of time on both flat pedals and clips. We love flats because they’re fun to goof around on and we don’t have to worry about accidentally forgetting our shoes at home. That said, we also love riding in clips because they feel a bit more efficient for long rides and they allow us to throw the bike around more easily.
What camp do you fall into and why?
One thing the video didn’t cover is flats have the ability to teach the rider how to stay connected to the bike without being attached to the pedals. Using physics, timing and and heel positioning are key skills gained by flat pedal users.
As a result, riders who ride clip-in pedals exclusively feel naked when they’re not clipped in. Or if they inadvertently clip out of their pedals, separation anxiety occurs. It is a good idea to stay on flats as long as possible and revisit skills to jump and stay connected to the bike without being locked in.
On the other hand, look around in a cross country race and the flat pedal users are few and far between. Clips have an advantage and even a 1% difference accounts for 1 minute in a 100 minute race.
The good news is riders have a choice and they can take either path as they graduate to intermediate and advanced levels. Riders who can use both systems expertly have a distinct advantage in today’s vast array of riding options.