AJ sliding through loose Californian corner on the Maxxis Assegai
Editorial

Max Flat Pedal Grip vs Some Slip – What Are Riders After?

Words AJ Barlas
Photos As Noted. Title image by Forrest Arakawa
Date Feb 17, 2021
Reading time

Two decades ago, when I started riding mountain bikes off-road, flat pedal riders didn’t have much say about how our feet connected with the pedals. For me, the journey began with an older pair of skate shoes and a second-hand pair of forged alloy pedals, which lacked grip even when new. Replaceable pins hadn't yet come into the equation.

Around this time DMR began building a presence with their classic V12 flat pedal. For those lucky enough to get a pair and experience the replaceable screw-in pins, grip improved but was still less than ideal, particularly in a race run. The discovery of the Vans Rowley XLT shoes helped again but staying on the pedals remained a challenge.

Shortly after I started riding, Intense began having FiveTen make a shoe for their team rider, Chris Kovarik. Two other well-known Australian downhillers, Nathan Rennie and young ripper Sam Hill, were able to get them too but for us mortals, gawking at them when the guys were at State or National races was as close as we got. Those early shoes were shrouded in mystery but we knew the idea came from Intense's Jeff Steber. Unfortunately it was another five years before FiveTen released what was essentially the same shoe to the public.

wellgo-flat-pedal.jpg

The Wellgo LU-313. This pedal design has been around forever and started as an imitation of the original Shimano DX flat pedal from the '80s. Photo: Wellgo

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The original DMR V12 that many of us flat pedal riders in Australia lusted after around the late '90s. It was based on the open mold of the Wellgo but DMR improved it with better bearings and replaceable pins. Photo: DMR

Grip Like Stink To Shit

When I arrived in Canada I was pressing a pair of Etnies Vallely 2s into the Primos on my BMX and eventually the stock Kona Jackshit pedals on the Kona Stuff. Keeping my feet firmly positioned on that little alloy hardtail while riding the Whistler Bike Park was a challenge but without knowing better, I made do.

The following summer an upgrade to a Giant Faith and a pedal I had dreamt of owning for years, changed things drastically – the Easton Fatboy. To be honest, my dream pedal was the Easton Cully – a classic and Cully is also a hero of mine – but they were no longer in production or available new in 2005/06. The Fatboys were the next best thing.

Hold improved significantly with dual suspension and more-so with the grippy Easton Fatboys, despite still using skate shoes. But as equipment evolved, so did my riding and I again found myself having to brace into the bike as much as on the hardtail. The effort required to keep my feet planted in challenging terrain was tiring, especially early in the season. But that same season the FiveTen Impact became available and the combination of Fatboy pedal with Stealth rubber grip was everything I'd been looking for.

All of those years spent fighting for grip with skate shoes and okay pedals limited the ability to push and place the bike. With my feet now firmly held in place, I established new habits, increasing my speed and improving technique. I never realized how my evolution had impacted my riding until after moving to clips, and again returning to flats.

Moving to clips, I found my feet were always moving a little, more than with flat pedals and I wasn’t a fan of the float or the interface. Having less pedal feel took some getting used to but the biggest problem was cornering. I found my outside foot regularly unclipping and flapping in the breeze around corners early in the learning process, and there were a couple of instances where both feet blew out.

Aj riding the 2018 Specialized Stumpjumper ST 29 in Spain

Heels down and having a blast. I'm a glutton for a good time in rough terrain and the FiveTens keep my feet in place. They also support my twisting into the pedals when steering the bike. Without that grip, my feet shake loose too much. Photo: Harookz

After years of trying to remain fully planted to shitty flat pedals with skate shoes, I relied heavily on the grip provided between the pins and rubber to manoeuvre the bike. The ultra-grippy Stealth rubber allowed me to relax and stand lighter on the pedal. I was now twisting my foot aggressively into the pedal while steering through corners but less firmly. On clipless pedals, that connection was gone and the twisting motion disconnected my foot from the pedal.

I’d also become quite picky wearing FiveTens, and if my feet weren't placed perfectly on the pedal, I'd lose concentration. Zero movement from the shoes became my preference, while my feet, ankles, knees and hips twisted to steer the bike. I became so attuned to getting my foot perfectly positioned on the pedals that it wasn’t any quicker than friends clipping in. This is still one of only two things I'm quite fond of with clips; your foot never moves (unless you blow out) and it's quick to get perfectly into your happy place.

While some riders don’t mind their feet moving on the pedal a little, I've spent heaps of time making sure they don’t move and my technique has developed around it. Learning how to adjust on the fly if I do get knocked and increased comfort with the occasional slightly missplaced foot has improved. But if my foot doesn’t move, why worry about being able to adjust it? Less bulky options from FiveTen have also helped.

This glued to the bike feeling is largely what FiveTen has built their success on – they’re renowned for it and are the benchmark to this day. But they too have realized not everyone wants to feel clipped in, without actually clipping in.

Shimano GR9's Michelin Sole

Some riders prefer to feel a bit less stuck to the pedal. Unlike years ago when it was FiveTen Stealth stick or (virtually) nothing, there are heaps of options to appease various preferences. Shimano's GR9 with Michelin sole is one solid option for less grip while still providing a sturdy shoe. Photo – A.J. Barlas

Other Grip Preferences

I'm not even sure I knew anyone that wanted less grip when FiveTen became a household name among mountain bikers. While plenty of riders are keen on being glued to their pedals, many wish for the ability to move and reposition more easily mid-trail. Examples include freeriders or dirt jumpers but there is a mix of preferences between those and the max grip crowd.

NSMB’s own Cam McRae is a rider who enjoys the ability to maneuver the foot more freely. Chatting with Cam about his preference, it’s clear he’s not keen on a dirt jumper loose connection, but he’d rather not be glued to the pedals either. Below, Cam and two other NSMB colleagues, Pete and Deniz share details on their ideal flat pedal grip.

DSC02944_denizmerdanotrekslash.jpg

Cam's gone from max grip guy to someone in between that and dirt jumper manoeuvrability. Photo: Deniz Merdano

Cam’s Flat Pedal Grip Preference

I began riding mountain bikes long before SPDs and I started on crappy Suntour XC Pro pedals and whatever shoes were around. I soon switched to toe clips and shoes made for that interface and was vastly happier. It sounds awful if you’ve never ridden in toe clips but it was much better than the flats available at the time. When SPDs came along I was all in and went along like that happily until Trevor Hansen convinced me to try flat pedals again. At the time I was riding a lot of elevated stuff and drops to flat and after one ride on the Crazy Carpenter out at the Woodlot, I was sold. Eventually, this led me to FiveTen Impacts, the original high top version. Nothing else had enough grip for me; even other FiveTen shoes were inadequate.

Eventually, I went back to SPDs for about five years or so, and I was happy as can be. Then last winter I put some flats on for some snow rides and loved it. Once the snow was gone I went back to clipping in but wasn’t having as much fun, and slowly I returned to being a flat pedal only guy. I tried a bunch of different shoes and pedals and discovered that I preferred a little less grip this time around. I couldn’t bear being stuck in the wrong spot and sitting down or putting one pedal at the bottom of the stroke to adjust placement is unnerving when you’re about to tip into a slippery rock face.

Clipping in seems to have made me reliant on perfect foot placement at all times, whereas previously I may have been less fussy. I like ample grip, but I dislike bad placement more than I rely on high grip to keep my feet on the pedals. I can do both high and low grip but there’s a happy medium that feels best for me. I also think the coaching I received from Blueprint Athlete Development has reduced the amount of pedal slip I experience because my heels are lower and my weight is more balanced. All this puts my needs below the maximum grip threshold, but this continues to evolve. – Cam McRae

deniz-merdano-riding-flats.jpg

Deniz riding flats. He prefers to ride clipless and has an interesting view on how he arrived at his preferred setup. But when on clips, he enjoys some lateral movement rather than being glued to the pedal.

Deniz's Flat Pedal Grip Preference

I visualize the relationship between the soles of my shoes and the pedals to be multi-dimensional. No acid tripping here but the feeling of hovering above my pedals always puts me at unease. I don't mind a little lateral slip for repositioning, and I actually encourage it.

I like to ride actively and pump the bike through the terrain finding speed on the backs of rocks and roots. Unweighting the bike is a serious chore if I'm not connected to my pedals firmly. If the bike is plush and has plenty of planted suspension travel, I will happily ride on my Shimano flats and sticky-soled shoes. Otherwise, you will find me on Time pedals which give me that vertical retention and lateral float and freedom.

But…

Imagine me on a steep B.C. hike-a-bike, where I can't decide if I should just push my bike up or sling it over my back for the next 45 minutes. The hill is steep, the ground soft, and it's slippery. I don't have long legs so I have to walk right next to my bike. This means more than once I will come in contact with the rock-sculpted and oddly enough 'not much duller than when they were new' pedal pins. My shins will tell you the story and it's primarily why I switched to clipless riding. – Deniz Merdano

2021 Transition Sentinel Deniz Merdano - Blackbird Works16.jpg

Pete has come from clips to flats on more than one occasion. He's keen to keep his comfort level high on each platform, but when on flats enjoys a more 'locked-in feeling.' – Photo: Deniz Merdano

Pete's Flat Pedal Grip Story

I bought aftermarket pedals for the first time in about 1992 when SPDs were considered a significant performance upgrade, and I was all SPDs all the time until 1999 or 2000.

As I got into riding skinnies, it just took a few ‘barely unclipped in time’ moments from head height above the deck to convince me to try flats. It was probably about '07 when I got my first FiveTens, but I moved back to B.C. after four years as a roadie in Switzerland, and shortly thereafter began experimenting with clipless pedals again. That transition back was fairly easy, but I wasn’t riding skinnies much and had lost whatever skill I ever had in terms of jumping, so I was pretty happy to get back to that clipped in feeling.

Riding in the snow one winter convinced me to try flats again, and I was eager to be able to comfortably switch back and forth. In 2019 I switched to flats almost full-time, thanks to riding more steeps than ever and appreciating the ability to eject as fast as possible. To be honest, I have far more memories of awkward falls where I couldn’t unclip on tech uphills than downhills over the years, but in technical steep lines, the psychological edge of flats has been valuable for me in the last year and a half. I’m committed to staying current on both, but other than for long rides or training for and racing B.C.B.R, I expect I’ll stick with flats for half my trail riding and most DH.

When I’m on flats, I prefer a locked-in feeling, so I gravitate towards sticky soles like FiveTen’s Stealth rubber. I find I’m able to get my foot in the right place pretty consistently and don’t tend to have an overly active style in terms of foot movements. All that said, I was happy with the amount of grip on OWN’s FR-01s as well as Shimano’s GR9s. I prefer a fairly aggressive pedal (Chromag Scarab, OneUp) and haven’t yet tried the Dagga, but plan to do so this year.

ride-concepts-powerline-shoe-13.jpg

Ride Concepts are one alternative to FiveTen. Cam's found them to suit his needs, I'm yet to find a model in their line that meet mine.

More Options to Serve More Riders

FiveTen has tried providing options for less stick with different rubber compounds over the years but for many, their shoes are primarily about grip. And every other shoe is pitted against Stealth rubber, in many cases the original S1 compound for this comparison. That may be unfair because as illustrated above, not all riders care for the sticky grip FiveTen can provide. There's also a market for shoes that aren’t as bulky or have a different look to FiveTen but in my experience, most riders not in FiveTen, and happy, aren’t after the same traction as the diehard FiveTen crowd.

Ride Concepts are one of the newer brands to offer various rubber compounds, appeasing the different preferences of flat pedal riders. I'm yet to try one of their shoes with matching grip to Stealth rubber but again, maybe they don't need it. To get the stickiest compounds from a shoe manufacturer can require moving to their bulkier shoe models, which also isn't something all riders are keen on. And we can't forget the large impact that the tread pattern and flex of the sole have, which can improve or hinder grip as much as the rubber compound alone.

But for those that prefer to move the foot about, options from shoe companies like Ride Concepts, or the Michelin clad soles of Shimano and Etnies models, as well as many others, help keep every rider serviced and happy. There are now many options and ways to achieve a desired feel. For some riders, pedals are an adequate way of dialling in the fit between the shoe and the bike and we have an insane amount to select from today. Less aggressive pins, platform size and different profiles each affect the interface with a shoe, even if it has the grippiest rubber known to man.

fiveten-freerider-contact-pins-holes-040221-ajbarlas-4417.jpg

An old set of my FiveTen Freerider Contact shoes with pinholes from my two favourite pedals of the time; the Deity Tmac (four pins across) and the Nukeproof Horizon (three pins across). I actually enjoy it when the pinholes start, as they provide a firm and positive hold. Ben Cathro has also shared that his flat pedal shoes end up looking like this. Photo – A.J. Barlas

What Do You Prefer?

Considering your progression through the sport, and your style of riding, what are your preferences. All the grip, or a bit of slip?

AJ_Barlas
AJ Barlas

Age: 39
Height: 191cm/6’3"
Weight: 73kg/160lbs
Ape Index: 1.037
Inseam: 32”
Trail on Repeat: Changes as often as my mood.
Current Regular: Every test product spends time on Entrail

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Comments

papa44
+2 Chad K Pete Roggeman
papa44  - Feb. 16, 2021, 11:19 p.m.

I signed up purely to say I still ride Easton Cully pedals and Vans skate shoes. I think I just realised my choices need updating. Although I sure got my money’s worth out of those cully pedals.

Reply

AJ_Barlas
+1 Pete Roggeman
AJ Barlas  - Feb. 17, 2021, 8:30 a.m.

Jealous of the Cully pedals! I still have a few pairs of the Fatboy pedals kickin' around and they're still super good with a sticky shoe. They're just a bit small compared to what's out there now. But for smaller feet, the Cully's/Fatboy's would still be plenty adequate. Maybe update shoes first?

Oh, and welcome!

Reply

andrewbikeguide
0
AndrewR  - Feb. 19, 2021, 10:46 a.m.

Loved my Cully pedals. I sold them when I was offered silly money for them by someone having an attack of nostalgia.

Reply

will_mac
0
Will McBeath  - Feb. 17, 2021, 2:10 a.m.

This comment has been removed.

jason
+5 Vik Banerjee Sandy James Oates Allen Lloyd Pete Roggeman Cam McRae
jason  - Feb. 17, 2021, 4:29 a.m.

I have experience like Cam.  I started riding MTB with “straps”.  When spd came around I moved in that direction for 10 years.  But an ugly fall off a high skinny sent me to flats.  Vans with crappy pedals until I got Cullies.  Then five ten happened.  Impact low! Heavy as shit but no more pedal slip.  Heaven.  

I tried to go back to spd around 5 years ago and hated it.  I am slow going up anyway so don’t see much benefit of spd there.  For downs I like the heel down and ejectability of flats.

I am on 5:10 impact with one up and Scarab pedals ( diff bikes).  I have a pedal re-adjust move where if I roll over a steep bump I lean a touch forward which allows me feet to un weight enough to move my feet over the pedals.  I seem to get the feet back in the perfect place with this move.  But even if they are not in the right place, I know my feet will work because of the great grip. I can’t see going to anything else.

Reply

AJ_Barlas
+1 Pete Roggeman
AJ Barlas  - Feb. 17, 2021, 8:33 a.m.

I spent some time with death traps, aka "straps" on my first MTB, but that was well before I knew anything about riding offroad. It only went to the beach and commuted around town. I remember almost eating it a few times when not clipped in and pedalling around a corner. I quickly learnt my lesson, ha!

Heavy as shit is right with the first Impacts, but man we're they good compared to what we were used to. Even the multiple-day dry time was acceptable!

Reply

andrewbikeguide
0
AndrewR  - Feb. 19, 2021, 10:50 a.m.

Ha toe straps. I remember them from the very early days. My first race (1993) involved seven crashes per lap for five laps (the same seven tech obstacles) and 15 stitches in my right forearm (first lap of course), 90 minutes of bleeding all over the place, third place in Novice and a life time addiction to mountain biking. Luckily Shimano offered the spd about then and I only use flat pedals (One Up Composites) in winter (fat bike) and on the pump track bike in order to attempt to maintain those non clip bike handling skills.

Reply

Vikb
+8 4Runner1 Chad K mrbrett Sandy James Oates Velocipedestrian jaydubmah Pete Roggeman Dogl0rd
Vik Banerjee  - Feb. 17, 2021, 4:44 a.m.

Give me 5.10's and aggressive pedals. I can re-position my feet when I am pedaling since my weight is on my saddle to some degree. When I am standing I don't want my feet moving and I have put them where I want them by that point. I suppose there are occasional situations where I re-mount the bike mid-gnar and have to ride out standing with sub-optimal foot placement. Seems like a reasonable price to pay.

The thing with sticky rubber and removeable pin pedals is that if I were to feel my feet were too hard to re-position I could just remove pins until I got the right level of stickiness. Then those spare pins could be used to replace damaged/worn pins later on. If soles are not sticky enough and I am already on an aggressive pedal with a full compliment of pins I can't do anything to make 'em stick more. So I'd rather start out with max traction.

All that said I don't want those smooth 5.10 soles where any wetness makes walking treacherous. Give me the dot pattern soles please so I can hike-a-bike confidently as needed.

Reply

neologisticzand
0
Chad K  - Feb. 17, 2021, 7:37 a.m.

I also feel the same way. My go-to pedal combo is freerider pro shoes and DMR Vault pedals. It may be because I actually ride clipped in a lot more than on flats, but I really don't like my feet moving on the pedals. All the grip/stick for me.

Reply

AJ_Barlas
+1 Pete Roggeman
AJ Barlas  - Feb. 17, 2021, 8:36 a.m.

I'm surprised that the first comments are all max-grip riders like myself and Pete. Do you reckon it has something to do with starting out on FiveTen's when nothing else other than a skate shoe was available? 

And I agree about the pedal pin removal, Vik. I often remove at least the two by the axle/crank but some pedals don't provide enough grip with those gone. It's also fun to remove pins to see how many can be taken and not negatively impact the interface.

Reply

neologisticzand
+1 AJ Barlas
Chad K  - Feb. 17, 2021, 12:46 p.m.

In my case, I've only been riding since Feb of 2015, so I always had more options than just 5.10.

Reply

Mojo16rider
+1 Cam McRae
Jakub Gábriš  - Feb. 17, 2021, 12:03 p.m.

One would say removing pins more often than not adds grip, at least to a point.

Reply

AJ_Barlas
0
AJ Barlas  - Feb. 17, 2021, 5:33 p.m.

"…at least to a point" 

I would also add that it depends on the pedal and the type of pins used, in addition to the tread on the shoe, but yes, there are situations where some pins being removed help apply some hold. Too many pins, particularly if they're of a larger diameter, can hold the shoe up off the pedal, rather than letting the shoe sink onto them.

Reply

will_mac
0
Will McBeath  - Feb. 17, 2021, 5:03 a.m.

This comment has been removed.

cooperquinn
0
Cooper Quinn  - Feb. 17, 2021, 8:04 a.m.

Feet gotta be able to move. I'm probably 80/20 clips/flats, but 5.10s are waaaay to sticky for me on basically any pedal.

Reply

AJ_Barlas
0
AJ Barlas  - Feb. 17, 2021, 8:38 a.m.

What flat shoes have you found to work for you, Cooper? Are you similar to Cam or do you prefer your foot to be quite free?

Reply

cooperquinn
+1 Andy Eunson
Cooper Quinn  - Feb. 17, 2021, 9:19 a.m.

Recently have been running some Giros on either OneUp composites, or Chromag Contacts (which are a bit large for my liking). 

Like you, I went from skate shoes, to 5.10s on Jackshits (and the original Wah-Wah!), but made the transition back to shoes that were less sticky maybe.... 6 years ago? 

I just *HATE* the feeling of stepping onto the bike at the top of something nasty and rolling in with your foot not right where you want it. And, if you're running 5.10, any adjustment is impossible.

Reply

AJ_Barlas
+1 Cooper Quinn
AJ Barlas  - Feb. 17, 2021, 11:06 a.m.

"Any adjustment is impossible" clearly isn't the case for everyone. I still am able to make some macro adjustments and Jason above seems to have a technique to adjust, although it does rely on finding an opportunity as he described. But each to their own, and it's what I find so interesting as flat pedal footwear has evolved. 

Did something happen to cause the change back to a less sticky shoe?

Reply

MattyB
0
MattyB  - Feb. 17, 2021, 8:38 a.m.

I rode clipped in for the first couple years until one day I went to my local bike park with the intention of trying flats out. I brought clipless shoes and pedals with me, but forgot a pedal wrench and I haven't really ridden clipped in since. I really like the direct connection feeling of flats through corners and clipless has always given me anxiety of clipping out unexpectedly ever since.

Reply

AJ_Barlas
0
AJ Barlas  - Feb. 17, 2021, 11:03 a.m.

Whoa! That's one way to commit, even if accidental. The connection through corners is what I enjoy most as well but I did really enjoy clips in rough terrain. It allowed the bike to hover across some gnarly stuff while remaining light on the bike. But yeah, flats still won me over long term.

Reply

andyf
0
andyf  - Feb. 17, 2021, 8:43 a.m.

5.10 Freerider Pros and Deity TMACs here but it's not like I've tried a ton of options. I had a pair of the v1 Specialized 2FOs that gave me a hot spot on my right foot and used the Impact Pro in the past. I'm comfortable/happy with my current setup other than disliking laces. Must be all of the years I spent wearing Sidi Dominators.

Reply

AJ_Barlas
0
AJ Barlas  - Feb. 17, 2021, 11:08 a.m.

Years in a non-lace shoe will certainly influence you! I've enjoyed the same setup as you as well, if you like grip and plenty of room for your foot, you can't go wrong with that combination.

Reply

agleck7
+1 Cam McRae
Agleck7  - Feb. 17, 2021, 8:58 a.m.

My preference has evolved to be based around a sticky enough sole, but with more importance being on having a good amount of sole flexibility and having a really direct pedal feel (ie, not much 'stack' between the pedal and my foot) of course with a nicely concave pedal. If I have all those things, the rubber doesn't need to be super sticky because those lock me in. That said, the only shoe I've tried that is flexible/thin enough is the OG freerider. I used to LOVE the Freerider Pro, but now find them too tall and stiff (ironically after I started wearing an old pair of Freeriders I had for dirt jumping more on my trail bike in order to preserve the sole on my FR Pros because they wear out so fast).  I totally do the same technique of torqueing the pedals as AJ described and the flexibility and thin-ness of the sole with a concave pedal really allow that more comfortably without having to rely just on pins and rubber.  My ideal shoe would be a waffle sole like the Leatts with decently sticky rubber, but with the flexibility and thinness of the Freeriders. That would last longer and allow a little bit more room for error on re-positioning and give me the stability I need.  Or if Vans made a slightly more robust shoe for mtb (i've heard amazing things about the Gravel, but never got a chance to ride them).

Reply

AJ_Barlas
0
AJ Barlas  - Feb. 17, 2021, 11:13 a.m.

Good points Agleck. Your preference reminds me of the Vans Gravel. The rubber wasn't the stickiest but the sole thickness, flex and waffle tread made them my favourite shoe for a while. Then they stopped making them. Rather than toss the shoes I held onto them so I could look at them every now and then, haha.

I ride in the Freerider EPS High in the winter. The sole is the same as the OG Freerider and it's fine, but these days I'd like a bit more support underfoot. Do you find that with the flex, the rubber on those is a bit too grippy for you?

Reply

agleck7
+1 AJ Barlas
Agleck7  - Feb. 17, 2021, 11:20 a.m.

We can always hope for a comeback! haha #FreetheGravel

Yeah, I ride those in the winter too :)  In a perfect world I'd like a tiny bit less sticky for the reasons Cam brings up: I hate having my foot in the wrong position. I think a waffle sole gives you more room for error there. But more than that, I'd trade less pure rubber grip for durability. Since my foot is usually in almost the same exact place and I twist my foot like you say, I wear deep holes through the soles of my 510s way too often.

Reply

AJ_Barlas
0
AJ Barlas  - Feb. 18, 2021, 12:05 p.m.

Start the #FreetheGravel campaign! Haha.

Reply

Dude@
0
Dude@  - Feb. 17, 2021, 10:16 a.m.

I prefer flat pedals, as I like the flow that occurs between you and the bike. It is a symbiotic relationship, that forces you to be one with the bike and not overly control it by being clipped in. I watch some of my friends clipped do moves that you can't do with flats. I am envious at times, but I feel my riding is better with flats.

I tend to use 5.10 sam hills, and they are bit more comfortable from the start. Unlike the moon boats of the normal 5.10s. Many times, I break the shoes in before riding as i don't like the overly stiff initially feeling.

I feel most pedals are too grippy these days. I have the T-MACs, when the focus is downhill. For general riding, I prefer more foot movement. Even the T-MACs for DHing are too much at times.

I am overly picky when it comes to pedals. I thought original Point Ones were perfect, the newer ones were too grippy. RF pedals are pretty good though expensive and expensive for how quickly the bearings need replacing. I like the original Tenet pedals and the new ones are too similar to the T-MACs. I find some of the plastic pedals provide the right balance of grip. Some overly grippy pedals, I have gone and purchased small washers to reduce the claw length.

Reply

AJ_Barlas
0
AJ Barlas  - Feb. 17, 2021, 11:18 a.m.

Hey Dude@! I'm with you on the break-in and often do a couple of small, 60-minute hikes or wear them around the house to break shoes in, bike or casual. Some shoes are perfect from day zip on the bike but in my experience, those shoes didn't last long.

Have you tried removing a bunch of pins completely to fine-tune the grip? I'm assuming you enjoy the platform shape and profile of the pedals you mention and the amount, plus the type of pins make them too much in those situations?

Reply

IslandLife
+1 Cam McRae
IslandLife  - Feb. 17, 2021, 10:34 a.m.

Used to be a flat pedal only rider... then I started enduro racing, So I switched to clips. I hated them and switched back almost immediately and was all like "Pfft flat pedals win medals bro!"  But later realized I didn't give them enough time or really get my shoe/pedal interface dialed in.  So I gave it another shot about a year later and committed to the switch until I was comfortable.

It's been two (or three?) years now... I am definitely faster in a race on clips.  I can trust that my feet will always be where I need them no matter how tired I am or if I've had a "moment" and unclipped and now clipping back in.  I hate flats in a race for that reason... even though I need to have a locked in flats feeling to be able to race hard, if I'm racing on flats I tend to take a foot off more and then sometimes won't get it back exactly where I want it yet I need to keep hammering to not waste time.  But the weird position means I'm compromised and slower, and need to wait for a break in pedaling or terrain to adjust properly... or I slow down and take a second to adjust... which also makes me slower.  Clips win here.  Also because enduro races almost never have the kind of gnar that I prefer flats on.

But, when I'm not racing I'm generally searching out gnarly lines... and even after 2 or 3 years on clips and even using worn out easy release cleats, I'm still not as comfortable on clips as I am on flats on really technical gnar.  I guess a lot of it is psychological for me.. but I miss having the option to either, without a moments notice, fully bail out of a line in anyway I choose, even if that means jumping forward over my handlebars... haha, or eject and toss the bike aside.  Admittedly these situations probably don't or won't happen as much (or at all) as they did back in say, 2008.  But it seems my mind is truly stuck in 2008 and I at least need to have those option in order to be as confident as I possibly can be.  I still almost never ride flats, but the other day I realized I need to try them again because I've started unclipping and using my clips like flats for some really gnarly lines, ha!  Which probably just makes things worse over all.

Also, I've never really gotten over the sacrifices the locked in cleat position has forced upon me.  Even though I run my cleats all the way back in my Giro Chamber II's, I'd like an even further back true mid-foot position for proper descending.  But, at the same time, I also like to be closer to the ball of my foot for pedaling/climbing than my current position.  The really nice thing about flats is that you can have a truly infinite range of foot positions depending on the terrain.

Hmm, think I just decided to put my flats back on my bike.... and then depending on how things go would probably put the clips back on for racing. (If or when racing happens again?)

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AJ_Barlas
+1 IslandLife
AJ Barlas  - Feb. 17, 2021, 6 p.m.

My move to clips was also because of racing. It worked in some cases and others I don't think it did making it much of a muchness. I've heard guys like Minnaar say 'run what you're used to' at races where everyone is freaking out about track conditions and looking to change to flats. I feel his point is a good one but there are likely limits. 

Sam Hill seems to be the only rider good enough to consistently win races in flats. Even Connor Fearon tried clipping in one season a while back but for him, it didn't work. He hasn't hit the same pace as he did when fighting for the top step a bunch of years ago though. Maybe it's the pedals?

I believe I saw some shoes recently with the cleat housing further back again. Maybe someone can jog our memories but they may be a solution for you.

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strawberryletterno.23
+1 AJ Barlas
Luminous Fractal  - Feb. 17, 2021, 10:45 a.m.

i find it curious how many riders suffer with grip.  honestly not since the molded 90's pedals in wet weather have i had an issue there..not with my nikes or any other running shoe.

preference for most of my years has been trainers for the city and lightweight hiking boots for the hills (how you people walk around mountains with flat soles (or ankle support/protection) is beyond me)  one thing that works wonders though is getting vibram soles (they just dont wear out from the pins..ever) its just finding a good tread pattern to match the pedals or adjusting the pins to fit nice. and with the hiking boots with the deep treads you certainly get the locked in effect (also protected ankles and the ability to walk up a muddy or slick mountain.

totally remember the strap in pedals and how often you'd see people falling sideways when stationary and stuck in.

i may have done it once or twice lol

Reply

rwalters
+2 jaydubmah Karl Fitzpatrick
Ryan Walters  - Feb. 17, 2021, 11:02 a.m.

Really interesting to read the comments and opinions on this. I ride flats 100% because I'm just able to have more fun that way. I have used clips in the past, and my take is that if I were racing regularly, I'd probably be using clips for that. For me, being clipped in is one less thing to worry about when your body is tired and your brain is overwhelmed with inputs, trying to lay down a fast race run.

I also believe that riding flats has forced me to become more intimately aware of my suspension setup. With clips, you can sorta cheat and get your suspension "good enough". If you want to consistently ride really fast on rough terrain with flats, you need to have your suspension dialled.

I'm currently running 5.10 Freeriders with OneUp alloy pedals. I'm all about the 5.10 soles, but I find the Freeriders a bit too thin and with far too little support and protection. I'll be looking for Impacts for my next shoe.

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AJ_Barlas
0
AJ Barlas  - Feb. 17, 2021, 6:04 p.m.

As a flat pedal rider, we definitely feel the effects of suspension setup differently; how the bike performs under braking and the axle path seem quite noticeable to me when on flats. Clipped-in riders notice it too but because they're attached, it can be less of a tug-of-war. Some bikes feel like they're trying to buck your feet from the pedals any time something larger than a stone is run over or when braking in choppy terrain but clipped in, it can be worked with more, or kinda 'good enough' as you say.

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will_mac
+1 Cam McRae
Will McBeath  - Feb. 17, 2021, 11:32 a.m.

I am a fan of enough grip when I drop my heels but enough freedom to adjust my foot if it’s not placed in the right spot. Years of road riding has made me particular about where my foot is and I particularly dislike not being able to shuffle my foot to where it needs to be. I tried 5-10’s and felt they were too grippy. I couldn’t adjust unless I sat down. I’ve settled on ride concepts powerlines and nukeproof horizon pedals. I like that they allow me reposition when needed and are locked in when I drop my heels. I also like riding spd’s rather than egg beaters so I’m definitely in the camp of when I want my foot to stay in place, I want it to. I just feel 5-10’s are too tacky with zero pressure also so I can’t adjust

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lkubica
0
lkubica  - Feb. 17, 2021, 11:56 a.m.

I ride 5.10's with Horizon pedals and you only need to remove two pins near the spindle, just like Sam does. This makes it possible to reposition your foot and gives loads of fore-aft grip.

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AJ_Barlas
0
AJ Barlas  - Feb. 17, 2021, 5:36 p.m.

Exactly how I ran the Nukeproof Horizon's as well. Feels great.

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Hollytron
0
Hollytron  - Feb. 17, 2021, 11:40 a.m.

Like many here I started riding in the cages era, switched to clipless pedals forever and moved to flat pedals in the last five years. I have been using the shimano shoes for the last two years and have worn through GR9 and GR7 pairs (sometimes my shoes don't wear out but become "permanently corrupted" and are relegated to dig days). I have a fresh pair of gr7 shoes for the warmer weather, and use some freerider EPS shoes for the cold and slop. For pedals I really like the Kona Wahwah2 and have used the scarab as well but I find the Kona has better grip. Im in the "tons of grip pedal" with "pretty grippy shoe" camp, the Wah wah and the shimano sole are great for this. I like the freerider but the sole is too thin for my old man feet, the feel is insane but not rides over 3 hours with those. 

This winter I finally got myself a hardtail for sloppy riding and initially I thought that I would go back to my old clipless set up to avoid getting bounced off. One ride cured me of this delusion. I guess I turn with my feet a bunch because I kept on twisting out of the pedals in tight corners and the stance was super tight. It felt scary. I have only ridden the HT with my super sticky 5.10 shoes on the kona pedals and they instantly felt right at home I imagine the shimano shoes will be good to go for warm/dry hardtailing. 

If only those EPS shoes had a lace cover though, every puddle goes right to the toes.

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AJ_Barlas
0
AJ Barlas  - Feb. 17, 2021, 5:41 p.m.

The GR9 has such a nice feeling sole, hey. Almost as thin as the Freerider but stiffer for more support. I didn't get along with the grip as much as you, though they are a good shoe. 

I too would like to see a cover or something on the Freerider EPS (or its potential replacement). I also find them to draw dirt and rocks in like there's a vacuum inside them, at least the high tops do. Don't you find the gusset on either side of the tongue helps prevent water ingress lower in the shoe? I find, with the high tops at least, that I need to hit some deep water and have it splash high enough up the ankle to get in.

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Hollytron
0
Hollytron  - Feb. 18, 2021, 10:57 a.m.

Ive made a duct tape and cardboard version of a lace cover and it works awesome. Hella ugly tho. I have a picture in my profile but I can never figure out how to post on this site.

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AJ_Barlas
0
AJ Barlas  - Feb. 18, 2021, 12:12 p.m.

Haha. Those look awesome! Way to go Macgyver'in shit. :)

Image URL: (I'll look into what we're doing wrong, but I can't get them to show here either). 

https://nsmb.com/photos/view/20239/

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Hollytron
0
Hollytron  - Feb. 19, 2021, 9:28 a.m.

Ive got a a bunch of cordura and truck tarp and will make some cool ones soon. The ugly ones do the job though!

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rigidjunkie
+1 AJ Barlas
Allen Lloyd  - Feb. 17, 2021, 12:03 p.m.

I rode clips for years then Time pedals for over a decade.  Then 4 years ago I tried flats and 5 Tens and doubt I will ever stray (might try different shoes this year).  I have never had trouble lifting the bike and adding the ability to move my feet during a ride is perfect.  I found that my knees and hips feel better if my feet move on the pedals during a ride.  Most of my pain came from repetitive movement and just a slight foot move greatly reduces it.

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Andeh
0
Andeh  - Feb. 17, 2021, 1:23 p.m.

I'm on team "max grip."  The last couple years I've been riding Impact Pros, which are both super grippy, protective, and fit my flat feet well.  Current pedals are Tenet Occults (6 months use), which are even grippier than the OneUps I was on before that.  I don't race, and don't consider myself especially coordinated, so clips are never going to happen.  But I am very particular about my foot position on the pedal, which is the biggest downside to "max grip."  However, what I've found is that even if the position feels funny, with the "max grip" setup I can have my foot in pretty poor position and trust that I'm not going to come off in the bumps.

I'm sure I'm jinxing myself, but I haven't had so much as a scratch from pedal pins in the last couple years.  I frequently got those as a beginner, but as I got better about dropping my heels and switched to the Impact Pros, it stopped happening.

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AJ_Barlas
+1 chachmonkey
AJ Barlas  - Feb. 17, 2021, 5:45 p.m.

I find most of my shin hacks and calf punctures since FiveTen shoes have all been while hiking up the trail with the bike. It's also usually what kills most of my kneepads…

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Andeh
+1 Andy Eunson
Andeh  - Feb. 17, 2021, 7:06 p.m.

Yup, my kneepad tears are all from pedals catching while hike-a-biking.  I'm convinced it's a conspiracy by kneepad makers to make you buy replacements by making the backside out of something normally found in ladies' underwear drawer.

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AJ_Barlas
0
AJ Barlas  - Feb. 18, 2021, 12:13 p.m.

"something normally found in ladies' underwear drawer" 

Hahaha. Is there a breathable option that isn't suitable for the missus' underwear drawer?

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ShawMac
0
ShawMac  - Feb. 17, 2021, 1:50 p.m.

I love my Five-tens. Got them used for cheap when I decided to switch back to flats for a winter. Last year I never went back to clipless.

Unfortunately two weeks ago I ripped the top lace eye out of one. Anyone have a recommended shoe repair place in Sea to Sky/North Shore who works with climbing and riding shoes?

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AJ_Barlas
0
AJ Barlas  - Feb. 17, 2021, 5:47 p.m.

What shoe are they, ShawMac? It wasn't uncommon to see eyelets rip out of the previous but I haven't noticed it with the more recent models.

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ShawMac
+1 chachmonkey
ShawMac  - Feb. 18, 2021, 8:49 a.m.

They are the Freerider Contacts. I got them used a few years ago so they are probably older models. Most people would say "its time for new shoes" but I am one to drag those relationships out.

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AJ_Barlas
0
AJ Barlas  - Feb. 18, 2021, 12:13 p.m.

Drag them out! If it ain't broke, don't fix it, haha.

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cam@nsmb.com
+1 AJ Barlas
Cam McRae  - Feb. 18, 2021, 11:58 p.m.

Go to Modern Shoe Renew on Lonsdale. The gentleman there is incredible and the shop has been there - as a shoe store - since the 50s or something. He hardly charges anything either.

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a.funks
+1 AJ Barlas
a.funks  - Feb. 17, 2021, 2:54 p.m.

I started riding in the toecage and straps era, got taken away by rock n roll, and returned in 2009 and flats just made more sense to me than the clips that most were riding locally. Nowadays most are on clips!

Did DMR V12’s but broke them having a left hand thread servicing fail and needed some pedals for a race that day, so got some of the new Vaults. Still have them, and another two pairs.

They just feel like home! Big platform with plenty of width, really concave, decent pins. Replaced the moto pins on my Brendog set with normal pins because the standard pins grip better and chew up my soles slower!

Had Shimano AM9’s, then Teva Links and then a succession of Freeriders. Wear an older pair of normal ones for commuting and work, have ELC for filthy conditions and Pro for nicer conditions.

They are almost too grippy but not quite - riding rocky trails on my 150mm alloy hardtail with a 27.5x2.3 rear tyre I need my feet to stay stuck!

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AJ_Barlas
0
AJ Barlas  - Feb. 17, 2021, 5:55 p.m.

It's pretty wild how many riders are committed to clipping in these days. Not 10 years ago it was the other way around in the lift lines, maybe less-so at local trail heads. I get it for people who have ridden forever, ride road bikes too, or race but I'm always surprised to hear intermediate riders with no plans for riding other than having fun, talking about how they need to try clips and get used to them. Why? Each to their own but what's wrong with good flat pedal shoes and pedals as an intermediate weekend warrior?

I still have a pair of the Teva Links. They were really comfortable but I found them horrible on the bike. Maybe on the dirt jumper but the midsole started to delam and I haven't got around to glueing them up. 

The Vaults are a great pedal. It's no wonder they're popular. Unfortunately, I had bad luck and bent a pair when I clipped the ground in the park a bunch of years back. Nothing wild but enough to ruin the trailing face and make removing the pin in that spot impossible.

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Skeen
+1 AJ Barlas
Skeen  - Feb. 17, 2021, 5:57 p.m.

My first MTB in ‘96 came with clips and straps.  I switched to SPD in ‘97 and stuck with them ever since. This has been my go to, to current times for all MTB including dirt jumping. I ride BMX and trials in flats so justified I “could” ride mtb flats if I wanted but found it harder than expected, especially while also adjusting to a hard tail after many years on full suspension. After a few rides I adjusted except not for super tech, slow climbing. Sometimes I find a wheel in between rock chunks with pedals at approx six and noon, and no way to generate power to pedal through as I would be able to with clipless. I am sure with better technique these situations could be avoided but these are already trialsy tech climbs most people walk, so smoothing in flats would be next level. I’ll keep practicing in flats, but suspect SPD will always be my preference for MTB. 

Also, I’m still on DC skate shoes with one up flats. Have a pair of 5-10s on order I am looking forward to trying.

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andy-eunson
+1 AJ Barlas
Andy Eunson  - Feb. 17, 2021, 7:02 p.m.

I started mountain biking in 1983 and the setup to have was Nike Lava Dome shoes with Suntour Beartrap pedals with a toe clip where the loop for the strap was cut off (and nicely filed smooth) with no strap. I think first or second ride a bad bunny hop resulted in crotchal damage. Full clips and straps from then on until about 1991 and it was SPD all the time. There was a short period of Time Atac but I didn’t care for the thud instead of a click and my feet always gravitated to the outside of the lateral float. 

My first attempt at flats was with a pair of Straightline pedals and some shitty shoe. I found the lack of grip frightening. A few years later I bought some 5.10 karver and the grip was enlightening. But in my size 39 they seemed to be as wide as the size 13s and looked like elephant feet. Too wide for my knees. 

A couple seasons ago I went to Race Face Atlas and Shimano shoes. Not as grippy as 5.10 but I was more able to move my feet to a more comfortable place for pedalling but still the grip was lacking. Last fall I got some Freerider Pros on Bontrager plastic pedals for colder weather riding. And Chromag Synth on the hardtail. Great grip and I’m trying harder to get used to them. I believe flats will make me a better rider as the force me to weight and unweighted the feet better. The Bontrager pedals are better. I figure I’ll get better at placing my foot well, moving it while pedalling and being used to a non perfect foot placement. But once it’s warm again I’ll be clipped in again.

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cam@nsmb.com
+1 Andy Eunson
Cam McRae  - Feb. 19, 2021, midnight

I had some of those lavadomes! Although I didn't start until much later, in 1984.

Reply

sanesh-iyer
+1 Cam McRae
Sanesh Iyer  - Feb. 17, 2021, 7:41 p.m.

Pedal shape matters more to me than shoe stick. DMR vaults are my flat of choice. I keep a pair around even though I mostly ride clips. I have a few flat shoes around too, 510 Karvers and a few different Shimano ones. The pedal shape makes the most difference, I'm adaptable to the grip. My main concern is shoe stiffness, I find if my shoes are too soft I end up with foot pain. My flat pedal rides are usually under 3h and don't involve technical climbing, so it's not often an issue. 

I'm mostly in clips these days though, except for winter when I mix it up. I run the clips tight and go through 2 or 3 sets of cleats a year. Really the only downside is tomahawking while attached to the bike (it happens and it sucks).  Even with the added stiffness, which is important to me, I've been munching through a pair of SPD shoes every 12 to 18 months (I use them for road and MTB, so many KM).

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AJ_Barlas
0
AJ Barlas  - Feb. 18, 2021, 12:17 p.m.

Shape absolutely matters and there's a personal preference that comes into that too. And for sure to pedal support. I reckon that's why I've ended up back with the Impact Pros. They're not as bulky as the Impact 2 but provide more support—and protection—than the Freeriders. 

Tomohawking attached to the bike fully sucks, especially in race runs, which was unfortunately when I usually had it happen. :(

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cheapondirt
0
cheapondirt  - Feb. 17, 2021, 8:51 p.m.

I'm in 5.10 freeriders on Oneup comps. I experience plenty of those frustrating moments where I want to reposition but can't. But I also haven't slipped a pedal in a long time, not even in mud or snow, and the memories from when I often did are still strong. I could see stepping one notch down the grip spectrum but not more than that.

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AJ_Barlas
+1 cheapondirt
AJ Barlas  - Feb. 18, 2021, 12:20 p.m.

Have you tried removing any pins from the OneUp pedals to try and hit that grip sweet spot? I rode the OneUps with the center axle-end pin removed (right under the foot) and if I remember right, the centre pin from the back row.

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cheapondirt
0
cheapondirt  - Feb. 21, 2021, 11:57 a.m.

It never occurred to me. Zero cost and minimal time to dial in grip? I'm definitely going to mess with that!

Reply

DemonMike
0
mike  - Feb. 18, 2021, 11:29 a.m.

Started with cheap ass flat pedals that came on my 1992 Giant 660. Added new pedal that allowed toe clips. That last a few rides. Nothing like getting your toe clip caught. And being fired off the trail, or over the bars. Went to a bit bigger BMX style pedal with some Nike ACG shoes. Rode those for a year or so. Then took the plunge and jumped to the 737 SPD,s , then the 747,s . Then onto the 636,s when they debuted . For shoes Shimano clip-less shoes where the go to. Went thru several pairs before switching to the red hi-top DH shoes. Had several pairs of shoes and pedal in the DH and freeride era. 1st real pair of flat pedal . Was some Atomlabs , all billet , bigger platform. They where murder on the legs if one slipped an pedal. That experiment lasted a summer , and back to SPD,s. After taking too many years off from biking. I got back into the sport. And started out with some platform pedals. For shoes some old school vans. They switched to the 5/10 Impacts and some Kona WAHWAH,s . 8yrs later , still committed to flats. Tried one race and a few rides clipped in . But my posture has changed and the knees can't take being clipped in. Today's combo is some OneUp plastic flats , and some GR9,s . I,d like to try the magnet pedals, but have no desire to spend more money LOL.

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AJ_Barlas
0
AJ Barlas  - Feb. 18, 2021, 12:22 p.m.

We've tried getting the Magpeds for review but I didn't have appropriate shoes for them (they work with clipless footwear and I only have a set of XC style slippers). More recently our lady tester, Veronika was keen but the email thread went cold after initially hearing from them. Maybe we'll try again, as it would be very interesting.

Reply

DemonMike
0
mike  - Feb. 18, 2021, 11:29 a.m.

Started with cheap ass flat pedals that came on my 1992 Giant 660. Added new pedal that allowed toe clips. That last a few rides. Nothing like getting your toe clip caught. And being fired off the trail, or over the bars. Went to a bit bigger BMX style pedal with some Nike ACG shoes. Rode those for a year or so. Then took the plunge and jumped to the 737 SPD,s , then the 747,s . Then onto the 636,s when they debuted . For shoes Shimano clip-less shoes where the go to. Went thru several pairs before switching to the red hi-top DH shoes. Had several pairs of shoes and pedal in the DH and freeride era. 1st real pair of flat pedal . Was some Atomlabs , all billet , bigger platform. They where murder on the legs if one slipped an pedal. That experiment lasted a summer , and back to SPD,s. After taking too many years off from biking. I got back into the sport. And started out with some platform pedals. For shoes some old school vans. They switched to the 5/10 Impacts and some Kona WAHWAH,s . 8yrs later , still committed to flats. Tried one race and a few rides clipped in . But my posture has changed and the knees can't take being clipped in. Today's combo is some OneUp plastic flats , and some GR9,s . I,d like to try the magnet pedals, but have no desire to spend more money LOL.

Reply

khai
+1 AJ Barlas
khai  - Feb. 18, 2021, 2:28 p.m.

I remember sneakers in rat trap pedals well - and certainly don't miss much about those days. MAXXGRIP for me. 5.10s w/ Chromag Daggas, or 5.10s w/ Saint clipless pedals cranked nearly all the way up.

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AJ_Barlas
0
AJ Barlas  - Feb. 18, 2021, 4:23 p.m.

I'm amused by how many bad labels the old toe straps had, many of which refer to them as 'traps.' They were so deadly!

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Ripmoslow
+1 Cam McRae
Ripmoslow  - Feb. 18, 2021, 5:55 p.m.

I’m still stuck in 1998 and rocking shimano 747s and lake Mx 200s. I got some one up flats for Christmas and will be getting some flat shoes this spring. Wanted flats for the occasion I do some steep trails with high probability of crashing

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cam@nsmb.com
+1 Ripmoslow
Cam McRae  - Feb. 19, 2021, 12:02 a.m.

I still have a set of 747s as well. They are so hard to kill!

Reply

GiveitsomeWelly
+1 AJ Barlas
Karl Fitzpatrick  - Feb. 19, 2021, 3:59 p.m.

After the occasional foray with clips (like others, for racing) I've been a die hard flats (Impact Pros and DMR V12s with longer than stock pins) guy for years, however having recently got on a newer longer, faster hardtail (which is all I ride), my feet have been getting blown off on one really fast chopped up trail in particular.

I've had two rides now on a pair of Time Speciale 8s and am still only really loving them on tech climbs haha...

It's summer here in NZ so I'm trying to make the most of the steep/tech/gnar before winter hits but I'm definitely not as confident with clipping in and out yet and even though I've drilled out my soles for a much more rearward yet not-quite-flats-midfoot position, my calves are definitely feeling the extra tension.

I know I should plug away having spent the money now but I can't help feeling I'll be migrating back to flats before winter.

My riding is first and foremost for fun.

#fwp

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AJ_Barlas
0
AJ Barlas  - Feb. 25, 2021, 4:14 p.m.

You chose an interesting pedal to make the jump to clips with. I've only ever heard good things about the Time interface but what made you pop your clipless cherry with them? It seems most end up dabbling with the more common Shimano or Crankbrothers setups.

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superman_4
+1 AJ Barlas
superman_4  - Feb. 23, 2021, 9:04 a.m.

I've been riding 5.10 Impacts for many years.  Never had any issues with the actual performance of the shoe, but the durability on the last pair was disappointing.  Shoes started to fall apart after only 2 seasons (of light riding).

I've had great success with my Northwave winter commuting shoes, so I decided to try their flat pedal DH shoe - the Northwave Clan (which uses a Michelin rubber sole).  Price is same as Impact so why not.

After a month of riding, I'm pretty impressed.  The 2 major criteria I'm looking for are stiffness and grip.  In terms of stiffness, its roughly on-par with the Impact.  No noticeable difference.

In terms of grip, it's actually quite interesting.  It's a different sensation than the insta-grip of the Impact (which as other's have mentioned, can be annoying when trying to adjust your foot to the right spot).  Let me try to explain it - with the Northwave's when you initially put your foot on the pedal, it feels like it's sliding around all over the place. The initial grip is much less than the Impact. But once you get your foot in place, after a few seconds of pressure the shoe seems to "absorb" the pins, and you feel quite locked-in.  Not quite to the same absolute extent as the Impact, but I'd say roughly 80-90% as locked-in.  I've been riding in the rain/mud a fair bit, and once I get going down the trail I haven't had any issues with my feet coming off.  It took me a couple rides to get used to, but now I quite like it.  If I drag a foot in a corner or something, it's way easier to get my foot back in the sweet spot of the pedal, vs Impacts.

If your a rider who needs 100% maximum grip, I'd say stick with the Impact.  But if you're someone who struggles with the 5.10's inability to allow for micro-adjustments to foot position, and you don't mind sacrificing a tiny bit of outright grip, I'd say the Northwave Clan's might be a good option.  

One note - Northwave's fit is notoriously tight.  Go up to a larger size from what your normally run.  Seriously.

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shrockie
0
Shrockie  - Feb. 23, 2021, 2:28 p.m.

I've been on five ten since I ditched SPDs in 2008.  

My hightop impacts fell apart end of 2019 and they didn't make them any more.. the high trailcross wasn't available.. I tried all the Ride Concepts (kind of a big skate shoe) and landed on Leatt.. but after finally riding the leatt, I'm bummed.. the waffle sole is too firm.. I was moving my feet all day long, on a mellow ride with my kid.. Looks like I'm going back to 510 with the new trailcross mid height version..

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AJ_Barlas
0
AJ Barlas  - Feb. 25, 2021, 4:18 p.m.

I was a dedicated mid/high-top shoe guy too but they're hard to come by now, especially when you narrow down to max grip only options. The Trailcross shoes sound interesting but I haven't spent any time in them yet. I hope to change that in the future. 

I take it you weren't keen on the Ride Concepts?

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