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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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