How to choose mountain bike pedals

Bicycle pedals. Classification, characteristics, advantages. How to choose?

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How to choose the best MTB flat pedals | MBR

No bike is complete without such an important component as pedals. Whether it’s cool milled treadmills, pins, or just stock plastic platforms. Let’s talk today about the types of pedals and try to fully disclose this vast topic.

So, it is simply impossible to imagine a bicycle without pedals. The pedals are attached to the crank arms and transmit the force from the foot to the bike‘s drivetrain. The quality of the pedals affects both the percentage of transmitted effort and pedaling efficiency, as well as your safety, controllability and control of the bike as a whole.

What types of bicycle pedals are there?

Conventionally, all pedals can be divided into three types of construction:

Consider the most common pedals. treadmills (platforms).

Most bicycles are equipped with these pedals. This type of design can be found on almost any bike. kids, city, comfort bikes, as well as on most MTB models, touring bikes and even entry-level road bikes.

The principle of such pedals is very simple. the element consists of an axle, bearings and a platform. The platform of the pedals rotates on the axle, due to which it is always in the same plane with the shoes and does not rotate with the cranks. It is easy to twist such pedals. when the pedal is in the upper position, you press on it with one foot, scrolling it in a circle to the lower position (its dead center), and start pressing on the second pedal, which has risen up during this time. These movements are done alternately, stomping on one or the other pedal. This is where the name “treadmill” came from.

The material and shape of the pedals of the treadmills (platforms) can be completely different, depending on the purpose, price and type of bike on which they are used.

Children. platforms have a reduced size especially for a child’s foot. In 99% of cases, they have a plastic platform without pronounced spikes and simple bulk ball bearings. Non-traumatic and great for kids use. Unrepairable. Bearings often wedge due to their simple and cheap design. In this case, just buy new ones, since they are inexpensive. When replacing pedals, pay attention to the thread standard, there are two types of axles in children’s pedals. 9/16 inches or 1/2.

City (walking, comfortable). these pedals are equipped with most budget, walking, comfortable models of bicycles at the manufacturer. Often they are inexpensive, platforms are fully or partially plastic with a metal axis and frame. These pedals are not very durable and reliable, but they are great for beginners. For those who bought their first bike or for those who rarely ride. It should also be noted that these pedals have a small surface area and are not equipped with aggressive relief or spikes for better grip on the sole of the shoe. Therefore, these pedals can be safely recommended for a comfortable ride for girls. Some species have special rubber pads. These pedals are less traumatic and will not leave scratches and abrasions on your feet. Most of these pedals have a 9/16 inch thread and will fit almost any bike. They have a simple design and are not very reliable and durable.

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Folding platform pedals. this type is used on folding bicycles and can significantly save space when storing or transporting a bicycle. The pedals have an additional hinge that allows them to fold vertically on the crank arm. With a slight movement of your hand, you can return them to the “working” position. They are similar in design to city pedals and are suitable for a leisurely, comfortable ride where energetic pedaling is not required.

Mountain (downhill, freeride, Trail, enduro, cross-country). pedal-treadmills of a higher class and quality. Provides good grip of the foot with the sole of the shoe, thanks to the wide and grippy platform. For better grip, they have pronounced spikes that can be removable. The quality of the axles and bearings is one head higher than in city pedals. Cone-type bulk bearings and industrial-type bearings and chrome-molybdenum axles are used. They also have a well thought-out boot system that protects the bearings well from dirt and water. Such products can serve a cyclist for several years or more. They can drive thousands or even tens of thousands of kilometers. The pedal platform itself can be made from aluminum, magnesium, thermoplastic or carbon fiber. Today, treadmills made of milled aluminum with industrial bearings are considered a cool solution. They are lightweight and highly resistant to mechanical damage. These pedals are used in extreme and stunt disciplines as well as by amateurs for more aggressive riding and better control over the bike. Will be a good replacement for stock pedals. Recommended!

Stunt (dirt, B MX, trial). in these disciplines, complete freedom of position of the foot on the pedal is important, as well as good stability. It is important to feel the bike and be able to quickly remove your foot from the pedal and quickly return it back. Therefore, the platform design is the widest and has a good safety margin. Stunt stompers are made of expensive and high-quality materials, because they very often suffer from mechanical damage. Reliability, durability and high price are the main characteristics of such pedals.

Toe-clips (from the English toe. toe and clip. clip). platform pedals with an additional stirrup for the toe and a fixing strap. A very ancient invention. Came to the masses from the cycle track. Our grandfathers also rode with toe clips. This locking system increases pedaling efficiency by reducing dead zones. You get the option of circular pedaling. The pedal can be pulled up with the toes. They are distinguished by their low cost, easy installation on almost any treadmill, and the ability to use with any shoe. and more rarely, there are models in the factory version, where the pedal and toe clips are a single whole. In some factory versions, it was possible to adjust the depth of the foot insertion. But now it is almost impossible to find such options in retail.

It is impossible not to mention such a standard as PowerGrips. some people mistakenly call them toklips. They differ from toe-clips in the way of fixation. In toe clips, the leg is fixed in the stirrup with a strap, in PowerGrips only a strap that connects the pedal corners diagonally. These pedals often use fixers and find them very comfortable.

The disadvantages of all toeclips include their inconvenience to use. The pedal is always turned upside down and you need to have the skill to get into the toe clips and tighten the straps on the go) We also note their trauma. It will not be possible to quickly release the leg in an emergency. Possible serious injury from falling. Therefore, such pedals are dying out as a class and are being replaced by contact pedals. Read in this article “link”.

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To replace the pedals yourself, in most cases, you will need a 15 open-end wrench. In some cases, you need an 8 or 10 hexagon, depending on the design of the pedal.

During operation, the pedals stick to the connecting rods and it is rather difficult to remove them. Therefore, it is better to use a special pedal key with a wide and long handle. All pedals have a right-hand and left-hand thread! Unscrew the pedals in the following sequence: right. counterclockwise, and left. clockwise. Accordingly, during installation, new pedals must be twisted in this way: right-hand clockwise, left-counterclockwise. The pedals are always labeled for setting “R” and “L”.

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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 spikes 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.

How to choose bicycle pedals?

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.

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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 case of an accident.

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 this is the standard for “Look” pedals (in Honor of the company pioneering their use) and Shimano’s SPD-SL. These cleats are larger, made of plastic, and protrude from the sole of the shoe, making it difficult to walk in road cycling shoes.

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 the pressure on the connection points and ensures 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 slide the cleat forward and backward slightly to achieve the desired angle and position for maximum comfort.

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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.

Here are the most popular characteristics of clipless pedals:

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 when riding, but also on foot, 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 “.
  • 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 comes to a complete stop. At the same time, fold the body towards the unbuttoned leg.

      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.