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Recommendations for clip less shoes and pedals

EqualTomato

Chimp
Apr 20, 2020
1
0
St. Louis
I've ridden flats my whole life, and want to try riding clipped in. My terrain is pretty chunky, trail/XC stuff, and I think that riding clip less would keep my feet in place when plowing through chunky descents. The pedals however, need to be able to ride without clipping in just for messing around in the street(like the crank brothers double shots). Any advice is very much appreciated!
 

canadmos

Cake Tease
May 29, 2011
13,041
9,769
Canaderp
I think you'll eventually find that a pedal that does both, will suck.

I have Crankbrother Mallets on all my bikes and they've been good over the years. Not the lightest, but are easy to rebuild and they do work.

They have a big enough platform, where if I need to, wearing regular shoes works, but feeling the clip mechanism under your feet sucks and can lead to you rolling off the pedals in the wrong situation (the pins do help with this a little).

I think the biggest benefit to a platform type clipless pedal, is that they severely reduce the pucker factor if you screw up and can't get clipped back in before a tech section of trail.

Otherwise, get a decent set of pedals for both shoes and swap them out as needed.
 

Jm_

sled dog's bollocks
Jan 14, 2002
12,207
4,163
AK
I've ridden flats my whole life, and want to try riding clipped in. My terrain is pretty chunky, trail/XC stuff, and I think that riding clip less would keep my feet in place when plowing through chunky descents. The pedals however, need to be able to ride without clipping in just for messing around in the street(like the crank brothers double shots). Any advice is very much appreciated!
This has traditionally always been a bad idea. Pedals that do both compromise both situations. Just little things that you don't think about, like the mechanism protruding up. Clipless DH/enduro type pedals are not intended to be ridden unclipped, the cage is intended to give you better lateral support and easier clip-in when it comes time to do that, the most challenging situations are usually on the tech uphills.

I'm an experienced clipless user, to the point where I have no issues taking the big jump lines, DH races, etc. Every once in a blue moon, I ride flats, like at Trestle, but I used my clipless at Keystone, which is more gnar. I don't even give it a second thought. I'm finally getting better at wheelie-ing, but an interesting aside is all the videos I watched said "do it with flats, cuz it's 'easier'". I tried that for a few rides and I've found this to not be the case, my assumption is that these riders are not clipless riders and are not experienced/comfortable in them. For most everything you do, it comes down to what you are comfortable and experienced on. Starting on clipless will move you out of your comfort zone. Some important things to think about is that unclipping before tech sections is a very bad idea and almost guarantees a crash, it's like starting a technical chute with a partially engaged ski-binding or some other ridiculous idea. The key is to have enough speed for stability.

So back to the pedals, you don't want a clipless pedal that is only one sided, that is the dumbest idea ever, you need double sided for being able to get back in when the pedal flips, and it will flip. Second, if you are going to ride flats, you need good spikey screws/pins and a decent concave shape to help keep you in. Third, with clipless, you want to be unclipping and clipping back in sometimes, like in some turns or for dabs, etc. That means the mechanism needs to be fairly exposed, like up front and in your face, not buried in the platform. So that tends to make them suck for riding without being clipped in.

So traditionally, these tend to compromise some of the most important functions of both. There are some new products out there, but I would recommend to pass and learn clipless the right way with pedals that will make riding fun and increase performance. If you can find some 646s or 636, those are golden. I'm not a big fan of the newer "trail" pedals, I feel these compromise the platform and make clipping back in harder (than the 646/636/545/434 mechanism).
 
I rode 646s for years, still have them on my road bike just because. Have now gone to DXs. I'm probably going to go to flats at least for a while simply because putting on a special pair of shoes just to go for a ride is a PITA.

Edit: Both the Shimano 646s and the DXs can be ridden without clips, but they're not comfortable and foot wants to slide off.
 

Sandwich

Pig my fish!
Staff member
May 23, 2002
17,530
1,813
01776
big fan of clipless and not a big fan of the trail style pedals. I have ridden with regular spuds for my entire life and like them well enough. They are simple and robust and yeah you can't ride without the right shoes, but just fucking deal with it. I have a set of 636s but they don't seem to offer more support, just a little more comfort if you don't get your foot in before things get scary.

so, XT regular pedals.