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Thoughts?

I've been riding clipless pedals forever and never considered anything else. That necessarily changed when I started getting into winter fat biking since snow and ice are a big problem for clipless.  I got aluminum flats with good long pins and rode them with my winter hiking boots.  Last year when spring came I switched the flats out for clipless. This spring I was lazy on the first few rides so I just left the flats on. And I'm kinda digging it!  I still haven't switched back.  And now I'm seeing more and more MTB riders moving towards flats. 

On the other hand, I just had my first significant experience of coming off my pedal and taking some nasty aluminum pins to my bare shin!!  It's like a medieval torture device! Kind of wanting my clipless back. 

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I use both and decide on per ride basis which pedals to use. Generally I prefer to ride with clips because I like to be able to push and pull the pedals rather than just push. But if I expect a ride to have a lot of technical experimentation I'll use the flats. I find that kind of riding so much less stressful without clip anxiety. I have yet to mash my shins on my flat pedal pins but I have banged toes on rocks pretty hard. I Need to get sturdier flat pedal shoes. Pay attention to seat height when switching pedals. Clip system usually have more stack height than flat pedals.

 

Edit. Oh and flat pedals are a great training tool for descending and jumping since they force you to be planted (" heavy") on the pedals. Also it's very difficult to cheat on bunny hopping (pulling up with the pedals) on platforms.

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It is really a matter of preference.  I don't think I would like flats on trails or cross country.  I get shins cut up enough without the pedals helping.  Downhill is another story though, I will go clipless for the first time but that may change after.

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Can't argue against the increased efficiency of the clipless. Some don't like it because they can't unclip at times, but I never have a problem getting out.  Still, I do have flats I switch to for very technical terrain.

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One thing I've definitely learned is that trying to compromise doesn't work. I have a set of Crank Bros Doubleshot pedals that are a hybrid platform pedal with a clipless center. They perform poorly at both options. I'd much rather just take 5 min to switch out for good versions of either flats or clipless.

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Another pro for clipless: In technical terrain its great to be able to lift the rear end of the bike with your legs rather than having to use the handlebar/shift weight forward method.

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