How to choose mountain bike pedals

choose, mountain, bike, pedals

Here are the most popular clip-on pedal specifications:

MTB pedals Road pedals Platform pedals
Sole Smooth With protector Flat with protector
Boot top Hard Hard Soft
Thorn position Outside outsole Recessed into the sole Recessed into the sole

After buying a bike, the important question is the choice of pedals.

When choosing bike pedals, first think about the direction of riding you will be doing. Will it be road bikes or MTB bikes? You need power and efficiency contact pedals (where the cleats on the bottom of the shoe keep your feet locked on the pedals) or the lightness and agility you get with flat platform pedals? Perhaps you want the benefits of both.

If you choose to use clipless pedals, make sure your pedals, cleats and shoes are compatible. Cleats can be sold with pedals or separately.

In this article, we’ll go over the main points to consider when choosing bicycle pedals:

  • Decide if you want clip-on pedals or platforms: Clip-on pedals give you more efficiency and control. When the shoe is connected to the pedals, you transmit power throughout the entire spin. Flat pedals are generally convenient for downhill or city driving.
  • What is your riding style? Are you looking for sports bike pedals for maximum power transfer? Or are you an amateur cyclist who needs flat pedals to roll to work?
  • Decide on the type of shoe. Sometimes your shoe preference can dictate the type of pedals you purchase. If you ride a bike and want to wear shoes not only while riding, but also walking, flat pedals or pedals for a mountain bike of a touring direction are suitable for you. Because you can wear recessed spikes or regular outdoor shoes. To learn more about choosing cycling shoes, read our article How to choose cycling shoes.
  • Features of clipless pedals:

    Boot mobility: when stepping into the pedal, the boot has a certain angle of rotation. At the same time, some manufacturers produce models of studs with a given angle of rotation.

    Multi-directional cleats: Many cleats are released by turning the heel outward. Multiple-release cleats have an increased release radius and upward release. Usually such cleats are squeezed separately from the pedals as an additional option.

    As a rule, there are 2 types of pedals: contact and platform.

    What are clipless pedals? These pedals work by placing a small plastic or metal plate (called a “cleat”) on the outsole of your shoe, which usually snaps a clip onto the pedal. The spikes are attached to the boots with three or two screws.

    Why buy clipless pedals? The contacts provide a high level of control when driving fast. such as jumping on curbs. Your feet will not bounce off the pedals when riding over bumps. It can take practice to release from the pedals. But once you master it, you will fully experience the benefits of contacts.

    What are platform (flat) pedals? The booters look like a wide platform and can be used with just about any shoe. They are not designed to be used with spike shoes.

    Why Choose Flat Pedals? Many mountain bikers prefer this type of pedal in combination with specially designed shoes with a grippy outsole or tread. This combination provides sufficient boot traction and control, while the foot can be removed from the pedal more quickly in the event of an accident.

    choose, mountain, bike, pedals

    Cyclists often prefer flat pedals to wear more comfortable shoes that are easier to walk in.

    Road bike pedals: Most cyclists prefer contacts because a secure connection between shoe and pedal gives more power and efficiency. Road bike pedals often have 3-hole cleats. Typically, Look (at the pioneering company in Honor) and Shimano’s SPD-SL pedals have this standard. These cleats are larger, made of plastic, and protrude from the sole of the shoe, making walking in road cycling shoes difficult.

    The advantage of the 3-hole design is that the larger cleat can distribute the force applied to the pedal over a wider area. This reduces pressure on the connection points and provides a secure connection under the high pedaling loads of the road bike.

    Road cleats have virtually no play and require careful tuning. Otherwise, you can injure your knees from improper positioning of the boot on the pedal.

    These pedals are equipped with double-hole spikes and are recessed into the sole for a more comfortable walking experience. The spike is fixed with two screws in a special platform inside the shoe sole. This allows you to move the cleat forward and backward slightly to achieve the desired angle and position for maximum comfort.

    Riders will choose MTB contacts if they want more efficiency or better control of their bikes. Also, the contacts give a greater increase in power during lifting.

    How to choose bicycle pedals?

    How to use the clipless pedals.

    Learning to use pedals without clamps can be tricky. At the very beginning, there is a chance of falling. This movement is easy to learn, but it takes practice to develop muscle memory and confidence. During training, you may fall once or twice, so choose a clearing or soft ground for training. If you wish, you can practice at home by asking a friend to hold the wheel.

    The main thing is to unbuckle the leg until it stops completely. At the same time, fold the body towards the unbuttoned leg.

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      How to clip into the clip-on pedals:

    • Apply the rear brake before starting to engage to prevent the bike from rolling forward.
    • Insert the first leg and start rolling on the bike. As soon as you feel the balance, fasten the second.
    • The main thing is to fasten on a flat surface or at an angle. It may be difficult to get up the hill.
    • How to release from the clipless pedals:

    • Before stopping, over 30 meters, release one pedal by turning the heel outward. You will hear a characteristic click.
    • Begin to roll the body towards the unbuttoned leg.
    • After reaching the stopping point, apply the brake and put your free foot on the ground.

    Try to bring your leg movement to a reflex during quilting. Work this moment with each leg for 20-30 reps. This will be done on autopilot in the future.

    How to choose pedals for a bike?

    How to choose bicycle pedals?

    At first glance, it seems that the choice of a specific pair of pedals for your beloved is a great thing to do. It seems that there is nothing dodgy. what you liked came up at a cost. then take it. But this is far from the case. Modern global production, which takes into account the smallest details of compatibility for each existing type of bike, the diameter of the thread of the connecting rods, age categories, purposes of use, offers a huge variety of models, materials of execution, device, principle of operation and other practically innumerable parameters that you can easily get lost.

    And a seemingly simple question: how to choose bicycle pedals?. in fact it turns out to be quite difficult. Let’s try to figure it out ourselves, because one way or another, everything works according to the laws of reason. Let’s start in order, from simple to complex.

    All pedals can be roughly divided into subsets according to their distinctive features, thanks to which they are suitable for use in certain types of bicycles and the corresponding riding style:

    • Children’s pedals. These are the simplest products, small in size, without aggressive spikes and embossed linings. Usually made of plastic, which gives them lightness and safety in contact with the child’s foot, as well as a low level of injury in unforeseen situations.
    • City bike pedals, also referred to as walking pedals. The most common models for entry to mid-range bikes. They are made mainly of plastic, but they are also found with metal elements. They have toothed, embossed inserts or convex platform elements for a relatively stable fixation of the sole of the shoe, but are not designed for prolonged loads, but rather for quiet movement without extreme pressure.
    • Road pedals are a higher level and require a sturdier design and a greater margin of safety, as they are used not only in urban conditions, but also on rough terrain. Often these are aluminum pedals with embossed notches and rubber strips.
    • Mountain bike pedals are powerful, good quality products that are called treadmills in bicycle slang. Because of this, they have a wide platform for trampling in different parts of it, as well as replaceable or cast spikes, aggressive embossed inserts for a strong fixation of the rider’s legs. They are made mainly of aluminum alloys, composite, durable materials and have a significant motor resource.
    • Pedals for a road bike, due to their specific operation, are of a special design. As a rule, these are professional contact pedals equipped with a system of rigid fixation of the racer’s shoe with a latch mechanism. Contacts, as they are also called in the world of the bicycle industry, are the highest quality, high-tech and popular designs that increase power, dynamics, and ride comfort by an order of magnitude. Available in different brands with original clutch engineering solutions: SPD-SL for road cyclists and SPD for extreme road conditions. They are characterized by the strongest steel joints, as well as the use of special cycling shoes, in the sole of which a snap element is integrated.
    • Tuklix pedals have wide straps to tighten the shoe to the platform and are a cross between conventional stompers and contacts. Such a transitional option from simple pleasure skiing to more serious long journeys. It was widely used earlier on touring bicycles, but today it has somewhat lost its position to contacts, but it still has its fans.

    Execution materials and their appropriateness

    Plastic pedals are great for all beginner cyclists. They are lightweight, shock-resistant enough, moderately wear-resistant and have a low cost. Available to the widest range of consumers and fully justify themselves in a relaxed manner of riding.

    Polycarbonate pedals have a striking transparent design and a variety of colors, which makes them very popular with young people. Sufficiently strong, lightweight structures are mainly used for BMX and MTV because of their safe qualities in extreme situations, for example, the threat of injury.

    Rubberized pedals are a comfortable option for city travel and beyond. They have good adhesion properties, additional strength and protection against negative environmental influences. Suitable for walks, trips to the country and other casual purposes of use.

    Pedals made of metal and its various compounds, aluminum alloys, composite materials are used mainly for special purposes: road cycling, extreme cross-country racing, mountainous landscapes, in a word, where driving conditions are atypical and do not occur in everyday life, which requires special durability and reliability in work.

    Varieties of thread on pedals

    Another important point is that all pedals have their own standard for the diameter of the axle thread and are suitable only for the corresponding standard of the connecting rod thread. To begin with, the right pedal has a right-hand thread, and the left pedal has a left-hand thread and is only screwed into the connecting rods in this way, which allows them not to twist out during rotation. This is indicated by a special icon, which should be on the labeling of each product.

    Now let’s touch on the alignment standards. The first is the so-called American 1/2 inch (12.7 mm) type. It is not widespread, but it has a place to be on the market. It is produced for children’s bicycles and BMX bikes, which are similar in parameters to children’s bicycles, but are used for jumps and tricks. The second is the most common modern standard 9/16 ” (14.3 mm) fits most bicycles nowadays.

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    It must be said about the French standard with a thread of 14 mm / 1.25 mm, which was widely used by the Soviet cycling industry. Now it is outdated and has become history, but if someone wants to breathe life into the miraculously preserved attribute of a happy childhood, then you need to know about this and look for appropriate solutions.

    Features of the device

    Cycling fans know for sure that pedals should perform well under the most intense use. Various environmental conditions are also used: rain, dirt, dust, wind, and other negative influences. All this does not pass without a trace and cannot but affect the coefficients of the well-coordinated operation of the bearing mechanism. This is taken into account by all manufacturers of pedal products, because the resistance to side effects and the service life directly depend on the design of the bearings.

    If you have the opportunity, it is better to opt for products with industrial bearings. They are closed type, placed in a special, monolithic cartridge and require virtually no maintenance. Their protective functions are top notch, as well as their performance, which has gained a lot of popularity among experienced riders.

    Well, mechanisms with conventional bulk bearings, which are simply put on the axle, are more vulnerable and subject to fairly rapid wear. In some cases, this may be justified by their budgetary cost and infrequent riding, for example, children’s bicycles.

    How to properly remove and replace pedals

    In order to remove the pedals, in contrast to the carriage assembly, various tools can be used: an adjustable wrench, a regular 15 mm open-end wrench, a special pedal wrench. When using an adjustable wrench, pay attention to its thickness: the distance between the pedal mount and it is the smallest.

    How to choose the best MTB flat pedals | MBR

    Rules to know when changing pedals:

    • You need to change so that the wheels touch the ground. If the bike is on the bottom, you can confuse how to name the pedals: right (from the side of the asterisks), left. on the other side.
    • Which way to unscrew? The right one. unscrew as a regular thread. counterclockwise, and the left. on the contrary, you need to unscrew it clockwise.
    • It is necessary to screw in the pedals, keeping in mind the different threading. The left pedal is screwed counterclockwise.

    Mountain bike or mountain bike pedals (MTB)

    These pedals are of better quality, can last for many years and can travel thousands and tens of thousands of kilometers if you are not using aggressive riding styles. They are lightweight, based on aluminum alloys. Their second, everyday name is treadmills. And this is the right word: they literally stomp on them, different parts of the sole are loaded without fear. on them while standing, they are screwed into the hill (after all, they are for a mountain bike). They have reliable wavy protectors around the perimeter, sometimes spikes.

    Elite, the best mountain bike pedals must meet the following criteria: have the right shape and thoughtful grip and attachment system, reliable bearings that can and should be changed, an impact-resistant platform and balanced weight. For example, the Burgtec Penthouse MK4 pictured below is a masterpiece).

    Ordinary walking

    The name of the walk is not entirely correct. Rather, they should be called auchan pedals by analogy with auchan-bikes. As a rule, they are included in the package of the cheapest bicycles. Made of 100% plastic. They often split when hitting an obstacle, have a small area, do not have a good aggressive relief or spikes, which is why the foot often slips off. By and large, these are not pedals at all, but a makeshift.

    Components of a bicycle pedal

    Whatever innovations of this node were, the main components remain unchanged:

    • Axis. Attention! The pedals are the only bike assembly that has symmetrical threads, with the help of which the axle is tightly screwed into the connecting rod: the right for the right and the left for the left. If the thread is of the same name, then sooner or later one of the pedals will unscrew by itself and fall. In conventional bikes, the axle is made of plain steel, but better. chrome-molybdenum or chrome vanadium.
    • The body itself, on which the shoe sole rests. It is the body that provides inexhaustible food for designers and allows bicycle pedals to look beautiful and unique.
    • Bearings provide easy rotation of the pedal body around the axis.

    Folding pedals

    It is enough to equip the pedals with a reliable swivel mechanism, and ordinary treadmills turn into folding ones. The purpose of the folding pedals is for ease of transportation and storage of the bike. As you can see in the photo, it’s hard to find good folding pedals with aggressive treads. Therefore, it is easier to use them while walking.


    Finally, there are the compromise semi-contact pedals. On one side on the surface is a contact plate, on the other side is a normal pedal surface.

    Contact pedals

    The popularity of clipless pedals is very high. They have a clip-on mechanism, are lightweight and compact, but they require special cycling shoes. The contacts attach to the shoe in two ways, there are two attachment systems, Look and SPD.

    The contact pedals are needed primarily for the foot to work with great efficiency. With normal pedaling, only when you press the pedal is work done, and lifting to complete a new cycle is done by working with the second leg.

    When riding in contacts, the leg works in both phases; when lifting, it pulls the pedal up, or, which is the same, helps to press the second leg. In addition, the knee is relieved and the bike is secured when jumping in XC.

    The Look attachment system is used by professionals for road racing. The thing is that the leg is very rigidly fixed according to the insert and forget principle, but you can not unfasten it so quickly. If you have a track in front of you without obstacles and oncoming traffic. this system is for you.

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    The SPD attachment system was developed by one of the bicycle leaders, Shimano. The perfect compromise for hybrid, road bike and mountain bike.

    Good contacts should not come unfastened when going uphill, if you are standing on straight legs, but if there is the slightest threat of falling, the feet should be released as quickly as possible.


    Good old toe-clips, that is, straps. Although they lose to contact and semi-contact in fixing, they are better than usual. Their cost is lower than contact ones. They can be used by enthusiasts on both trekking, touring and mountain bikes. The second killer argument comes from cyclists with shoe sizes 49-51. In Russia, and abroad, it is extremely rare to buy cycling shoes with contacts for these sizes.

    Superstar Nano-x

    The Nano’s pedals are designed in the UK from 6082 aluminum. The massive 101x110mm platforms provide plenty of room for even bulky shoes. The whole set weighs 435g.

    On a bike, the wide, concave body provides a stable platform and aims to get your feet back into place automatically after a turn. You will never lose ground, even on uneven road sections. The price is quite reasonable.

    Best Mountain Bike Pedals

    Pedals perform a rather complex function. For beginners, this is one of the three contact points where the body and bike come into contact. Therefore, the same attention is paid to a decent appearance as to the control element. But the main function of the pedals is to transfer energy to the entire bike to start moving.

    Pedals. An important part of any bike, they come in a wide variety of shapes, sizes and styles. And since mountain bike pedal choices are often troubling and overwhelming, the most important thing is deciding whether to use flat or clipless pedals.

    Flat pedals are essentially. just a platform for each leg. They are reversible, so it doesn’t matter which side you put your foot on, usually some extra grip is provided by pins dotted around them. The larger the surface of the pedal, the larger the area you have to place your foot on and the more contact between you and the bike.

    The contact pedals are mounted on special rails installed on the soles of the shoes. They are also reversible (as opposed to track pedals) and tend to be less flat.

    If you can’t decide on the choice of pedals, our article will help you with this. Here are the 7 best mountain bike pedals.

    HT ME05

    If you are looking for a lightweight model and are supportive of flat platforms, then once you reach the ME05 XT with a minimum weight of 292 g, look no further.

    Despite the weightlessness, the platforms will confidently support even the largest feet, while 10 pins on each side will keep your feet tight in any extreme situations. The grip is impressive: the foot is held firmly, but does not freeze like a claw, so you can adjust the position.

    Deeply concave platforms hold your feet securely for added traction and confidence even when the trail gets bumpy. And although made from lightweight magnesium, the pedal body is tough enough to handle the daily hassle and bumps.

    Nukeproof Horizon Pro

    The Horizon Pro pedals have 10 pins on each side, a slightly concave platform with a scale. 100 mm and 12 mm deep; reasonable weight. 444 g.

    10 pins combine with the shape of a human foot to create a strong bond between the pedal and the shoe. Add a decent price to that and Nukeproof is our top winner.

    Shimano XT M8020 Trail

    Designed for paths, hills, uneven terrain. The M8020 is 3.3mm wider than its predecessor, resulting in an 11.7% increase in contact area.

    Pedals weigh 408g, and traditional Shimano steel cleats and attach / decouple clamping mechanism maintains regular consistency (spring tension can be easily adjusted using a 3mm hex wrench).

    The contact surface of the pedal to the shoe is thin, but the extra width does help prevent the foot from twisting when the bike is tilted.

    CrankBrothers 5050 3

    Knowing Crank Brothers, it’s safe to say that the 5050 3 pedals will be of the highest quality, so the price matches the quality. The platform is large and has a comfortable, concave shape for excellent grip when combined with 10 pin-type set screws on each side.

    The pedal body sits far enough from the crank so you can actually take up most of the 96x95mm platform, even with bulky boots.

    How To Choose The Best Mountain Bike Pedals For You – All You Need To Know About Flats & Clips

    The pedals run well in mud and allow it to fall through, this method eliminates the need to use a sliding surface against dirt. Crank Brothers’ 5-Year Warranty Also Gives STIHL And Confidence.

    Crank Brothers Mallet E

    And although outwardly they resemble a smaller version of Mallet DH pedals, the CrankBrothers Mallet E still have a similar bearing width to the aforementioned relative. Ensures accurate driving in of the pins and the use of any shoe to ensure sufficient clearance in the crank system.

    The pedals have 6 adjustable pins on each side, which are integrated in a fairly comfortable way and the girth provides decent support for a flexible shoe.

    One of the important is the Clutch Pad function. Small, plastic inserts fit on either side of the spring mechanism to adapt the contact between the pedal and the sole. Despite the fact that they are difficult to remove after use due to the tight fit (you can use a nipple), switching between pads of different fineness (they are included in the kit) really gives a meaningful feeling when inserting and removing them.

    Which cyclist does not break the rules?


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