Flat pedals for enduro racing?

Hey Lee!

What do you think about using flat pedals for high level XC and Enduro DH racing? I have been a clipless guy for years but have recently made the switch back and have found that I prefer flats, mostly because they are just more fun. It seems like everyone (literally) racing expert level Enduro is on clips. Do you think it’s possible to be competitive on flats?

Thanks. -Markus

Hey Markus,

Maybe it’s possible to compete in high-level Enduro on flat pedals, but you’ll be making a hard event even harder.

Mark Weir says:

I’m not a pro XC or Enduro racer, so I asked international badass Mark Weir about riding flats for Enduro. He said:

• All of the top guys are clipped in.

• While some courses are so gnar he wishes for flat pedals, it’s more important to be able to lay down big power run after run. That’s a lot easier clipped in.

• The top guys — Nico, Jerome, Fabien — all have a super smooth, feet-up style. Flat pedals would give them no advantage.

I think:

• If you’re racing pro, you better be just as skilled and even more powerful than the other guys. Curtis Keene has been running at the front of some big endurance downhills — battling with another flat pedaler Chris Kovarik — but both of those guys are more skilled and powerful than us.

• If you’re racing expert, and you are a great bike handler and pedaler, you might be able to get by.

• Forget about running flats for high level XC, unless you are a total monster. No, forget that too, because all those guys are monsters.

• According to my tests, I’m making the same power on the road and trainer with flats as I did with clips. The real advantage comes on rough terrain. Clips give me a greater degree of control, and they help me hammer the pedals while the bike is bouncing around. Also: Clips help me stay connected when I’m tired.

• Even though I ride flats all the time — even for road — I usually clip in for racing. When I’m fully pinned, I don’t want to be thinking about my feet. I was clipped in for 20 years, and clipping in still helps me focus less on dainty smoothness and more on angry violence.

• I tend to be too analytical and careful. Anything that helps me get out of my head makes me faster. In some situations, that means clips. In others, it means flats.

Bottom line:

If you are happy and confident on flats, rock ’em. For many skilled/fit non-pro riders, confidence is the limiting factor.

Ideally you’ll feel great on all pedals, then pick the best tool for the job.

Rip it!


Planning to clip in at Sea Otter DS — on a 29er!

Know more. Have more fun!

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