Flat pedals on the big bike?

Hi Lee

I’m reluctant to give up the extra climbing power of clipless pedals for flats but it seems like all the freeriders use flat pedals so they can bail. What are you using on your freeride bike? I’m using crank brothers mallet pedals on my SX trail right now. If you ever get the time, I’m sure people would be interested in seeing how your bikes are speced out.

Thanks and happy new year

PS thanks to your book and advice I’ve slowly worked my up to 7 foot drops and improved my technique.

Curtis Keene rides flats. Chris Herndon clips in. They both do OK. The dynamic duo rails A-Line in Whistler, fall 2005.

Hey Kevin,

Flats vs. clip-ins. That’s a question of style. Lots of riders have strong preferences both ways.

I ride almost every day on flat pedals. It’s fun, it refines my technique, and it helps me demonstrate in clinics. But when I want to go fast/big/rough/long, I clip in. I always race clipped in. (But I started as a road/triathlon/XC weenie.)

Clip-in pedals give me much more power and control. I feel more connected to the bike, and I don’t use mental bandwidth wondering where my feet are. As long as my Shimanos aren’t stuffed with mud or ice, I can clip out whenever I need to.

If you like your Mallets I see no rush to change. That said, learning to ride with flats will make you a better rider.

Check out:

Benefits of flat pedals
Drops: Staying on flat pedals
Rocking the flats
Flat pedals for a beginner

Here’s my usual rundown of bikes and pedals:

P.3 – play Specialized Lo Pro Mag, race Shimano DH clip-in
SX – play Specialized Lo Pro Mag, race Shimano DH clip-in
Enduro SL – Shimano XC clip-in, Shimano DH clip-in for special-happy days
Demo 8 – Shimano DH clip-in
Allez Pro – Shimano road clip-in

The doctor prescribes:

Run flats over the winter and see where you end up.


— Lee

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