Flat pedals and rim tape (unrelated)

A recent coaching client, an ultra XC racer, just got back from Diablo Mountain Bike Park with his son. He came back with questions:

Hi Lee,

Took my son to Diablo last weekend to race GS. Since we were going to be there all day I decided to ride (07 enduro sl), I was affraid to clip in so I rode flats.

My question is how do you keep your feet on the pedals? If i tried to push off the face of a jump i would come off the pedals and land on the saddle, also trying to pedal through rougher sections my feet would slip on the pedals (kona Jackshit) and have my feet in a wierd position. I can bunny hop on flats, however, that doesn’t seem to translate.

Another question: My son got a set of Azonic Outlaws, they came without rim tape, is there anything special that i need to do? Does the tape just need to cover the holes or does it need to go from wall to wall? Is there a special tape that I should use?

Thanks for the help as always,


Hey man, glad to hear you’re rocking the “big” bike. I ride the same machine for several years. Awesome.

Staying on flat pedals

Very few riders are as flowy (or fast) as Elliott Hoover. He always rocks flats.

To stay on flat pedals, your feet have to move with the bike, which means your feet are moving with the terrain. That’s a great idea with any pedals, and it’s why flat riders tend to be smoother than clipped in riders.

If you lose your feet on jumps, your legs are probably too stiff.

If you lose your feet on rough terrain, your legs are probably too stiff.

Ask yourself: What is the terrain doing? What is my bike doing?

Make sure your feet are doing the same thing.

More on this topic:

Benefits of flat pedals

Drops: Staying on flat pedals

Foot angle on flat pedals

Pedals: Flats vs. clips for goofing off

Flat pedals vs. clips: Looking for data

What is this pedaling circles?

Embracing pedaling as a skill

Rim tape

Ideally, the tape will go from wall to wall. Any edges, ridges or imperfections could eventually wear through the tube.

Rim tape comes in various widths. This isn’t pro, but I typically use a few layers of duct tape, which can be torn in any width.

Have fun out there,

— Lee

Know more. Have more fun!

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8 replies
  1. Daniel says:

    My guess is the rebound on your suspension is too fast which could be contributing to bouncing you off the pedals.

  2. Walt says:

    I just made the switch (for all riding) to flat pedals last year. I wish I had done it a long time ago. But there is a learning curve. It takes a full season of riding to get as good as you were with clipless. So the most important thing is to stay with it and don’t go back to clipless. Secondly, you must have Five Ten shoes and good pedals. (I’ve tried a few and have settled on Azonic 420s, but there are other good ones like Straitline. But stay away from Crank Bros.) No other shoe will grip nearly as good as the Five Tens. And thirdly, realize flat pedal riding is no the same as clipless riding. You can get away with bad skills on clipless but not nearly as much on flats. Flats will make you a better rider. I used to bounce off going up rooty sections at the beginning. But you learn to ride smoother, pick your lines better, and use timing. Now I can ride anything. When I would do 6 to 8 foot drops (about as big as I go at my age – 46), my feet would come off and would I get a racking. But then you become more aware of what your feet are doing. It feels so wierd to me now being locked in and unsafe. I don’t need the clutch of clipless. I haven’t had my feet come off in 6 months now. Plus remember that the best rider on the DH circuit uses flats, Sam Hill, and his feet don’t slip. He could launch over a 100′ if he wanted. He just has really good body awareness and knows what his feet are doing at all times.

  3. leelikesbikes says:

    Walt: Nicely put.

    I switch between clips and flats depending on the ride and my mood. I just finished a two-hour ride clipped in.

    Did I take some corners foot-out? Heck yeah.

    Did I unclip by accident because of too much body English? Heck yeah.

    Did I pull on the pedals? Heck yeah, why run clips if you aren’t gonna use ’em? I pull on the pedals in low-rpm/high-torque situations, and to swing the rear end around tombstone rocks.

  4. Alex says:

    I used to have problems with my feet coming off flat pedals. When I learned how to J-hop on a BMX, that problem kinda magically went away. I guess when you J-hop, you automatically learn to move your feet with the bike so you don’t really have to think about it.

    It worked for me, at least.

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