Posted by: fartymarty
Vik - the only reason I bought up clips is they're easier to climb with. But I get the #FLATSforLIFE - i'm getting there myself. I guess part of riding a HT is accepting that it's not as good as a FS bike on some things and being happy with that.
I've tried both for extended periods [more than a decade clipped in] and have not found I climb faster clipped in. Where I've been able to do enough back to back testing on the same machine equipped both ways it's been a draw on performance.
For my GF she is not the most confident rider so adding clips to steep techy climbs is going to degrade her climbing abilities even if there was some theoretical potential benefit to unlock. Knowing she can step off the bike without a second thought means she'll keep fighting up a gnarly climb. If she had to also unclip she'd just stop early to make that happen. I'm sure the same would be true of myself as I got to the limit of techy climbs I'd try.
We ride with people that use clipless pedals, those that use flats as well as those that go back and forth. Over the years I haven't noticed anything that would lead me to believe the folks I ride with are unlocking anything extra when they use clipless vs. flats. Our relative pace and likelihood to clean tough climbs seems pretty pedal agnostic. If there is a change it's below the noise level of the many factors that influence performance in recreational mountain bikers.
All that said it's just my experience so I'm not going to argue about pedals. If someone thinks clipless is their jam I won't try and convert them to the one true path of flats.