|The Redshift Sports flat pedals w/lights installed.
Before Shimano introduced the PD-M737 clipless pedals in the early 1990's, "flat" pedals are what all mountain bikers were riding. Well, those pedals weren't the flat pedals of today, but they were not clipless pedals either. No, mostly we were using caged pedals with toe straps.Uggh! Those were truly awful.
At least they were for MTB, which required a lot of get-offs and remounts. Toe straps were just an impediment to doing what you had to do. 'True' flat pedals existed then, but weren't used widely, at least not around here. I say that because trends were a lot more regionally driven then than they are today.
Nowadays I am seeing more flat pedals being made and more introductions of shoes for flat pedal mountain biking. Seeing as how mountain biking has an influence on gravel riding, I am wondering if flat pedal usage is going to be a thing in gravel riding. Could it become a trend in gravel much as it seems to be doing in MTB?
|New flat pedal shoes from Unparalleled Sports. (Image from their site)
The title for today's post asks if this sort of flat pedal set up is "good for gravel". Well, of course it is! I've already proven that for myself, and in my mind there is no question that for every gravel pursuit outside of Pro/Semi-Pro gravel racing, flat pedals definitely have a space in the gravel riding niche.
But..... There is always a "but"! This probably won't really take off as a trend for gravel until the shoes are made for it. The current MTB specific shoes just don't quite have "it".
And right now, I'm not sure what "it" is. But I do know that MTB specific flat shoes are a bit too "heavy duty" and not as thin and breathable as I would want to wear. But I'm also not a shoe designer. Maybe I'll know it when I see it, but for now, I'm just going to say that the MTB flat shoes are not what I'd be looking for.
I have done 100 miles of gravel on flat pedals wearing.........Vans! Yes those traditional skate/fashion sneakers that are canvas and rubber. They were fairly light, which was good, breathable, which was good, but they let in a lot of tiny bits of gravel and the soles were less than stiff for pedaling. So, not those shoes, but I am thinking whatever comes out, if anything comes out, will be closer to Vans than these MTB flat pedal shoes.
And maybe this will never happen. I hope that it does, because I think a lot of people would ride more if their gravel bikes had flat pedals and shoes to go with that.