Decisions Decisions


Us mountain bikers like to talk. We have established that and some of us like to talk more than others. Some also have very strong opinions and thoughts on various types of bike technology from tyres to brakes, and wheel size to gear ratios. I have few opinions – mainly because I am so indecisive. Maybe it’s a Welsh thing, we tend to be passionate about Rugby and Tom Jones, not much else. No matter what your musical preference, all Welsh people like a bit of Delilah.

So I have few opinions in terms of mountain biking technologies, brands and equipment probably nothing to do with my nationality but more my limited experience and exposure. I have two bikes and I like them both for their designed purposes. A full suspension trail bike and a hard tail 29er XC bike.

But there is one thing I would like to make a decision on but just can’t and that is the choice between flats vs SPDs…

Maybe they both have a place on my bikes?


9 thoughts on “Decisions Decisions

    1. We have probably discussed this before, I agree with you Rafe. My dilemma, I wasn’t clear on this, is really for my Alps trip in June. 5 days of riding not necessarily lifts and DH runs but a mix everyday.

      The flats will probably make me more comfortable on the technical single track and descents but the SPDs should provide some extra pedalling efficiency on the XC.

      I think an experiment is order.

  1. I switched to SPDs on my MTB and haven’t looked back. I use them on my old Purple Monster (which is now a tourer) and my hardtail 29er. Even in adventure racing, I find the ability to pull round a full pedal cycle worth the nuisance of switching to running shoes for trek / kayak legs. But perhaps if you’re doing tricks and stuff, then flats might be better. I’m not sure because I don’t do jumps or tricks.

    Having said that, my background is as a road cyclist so cleats come more naturally than flats

    1. I like your faith in me “jumps or tricks”! I do prefer the technical riding over roots and drops etc and the ability to get off quickly is an advantage. But i told its just a matter of time before you get used to SPDs in this situation too…

  2. I made the switch not so long ago and I wouldn’t go back to flats from SPDs for the xc type of riding I do now. If I was trying to do lots of crazy jumps/tricks (not going to happen) I can see the help of an easy bail out mid flight.

    A fair few downhill riders run SPDs now too due to the extra control it gives you over the bike.

  3. I’ve been riding SPD’s exclusively on MTB and road for about 14 years now. I can’t imagine a situation on a bike where I wouldn’t want my SPDs. But let me qualify that by saying I don’t do …tail whips…or…supermans…or whatever that arial stuff is where you take your feet off the pedals.

    I ride some pretty technical stuff, and find I get in a lot more trouble if my feet come off the pedals when I’m not intending it than I do if they stay on the pedals when I’d like to take them off. The trick is to put the pedals on and ride a lot. Start with a semi-loose tension on the clips, and if you feel like it’s too hard to get your feet loose, loosen it up, if you feel like they come out when you’d rather they stay put, tighten it up some. Mess around with it enough, and soon it becomes second nature to clip out when you feel something “unrecoverable” happening. I can only think of one time that my pedals caused me a problem when I’d like to have gotten my feet out quicker, but it wouldn’t have saved anything even if I could, the reality was, I’d simply way over extended my skills credit in my current maneuver, and it was never going to end well. Fortunately it only came to a few good scrapes.

    Honestly, the biggest problem I have with SPD’s is finding a shoe that fits me well. Usually my shoes last me so long that the model I’m wearing has been discontinued by the time I go looking for shoes again.

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