How to choose pedals for a mountain bike

Contact pedals

This system allows you to get in and out of the pedal by means of special cleats that are built into the special cycling shoe. One of the main advantages of such pedals is the increased maneuverability due to constant grip of the legs with the pedals, as well as the maximum transfer of muscle power. If on “treadmills” you are limited only by pressure on the pedal forward, then in the contact pedals a phase of pulling the pedal up is added, which makes pedaling more efficient.

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To switch to such a system, you will need the pedals themselves, a set of spikes for your chosen model, as well as a set of special shoes, which will have to be selected for the selected system.

Contact pedals are gaining great popularity not only among professional athletes, but also among amateurs. It’s simple. in such a bundle, control over the bike increases, less resources are spent on bike control, faster acceleration and increased productivity.

One of the main requirements for using clipless pedals is bicycle shoes that have cleats built into them. It will not work to attach spikes to ordinary shoes due to the design features of the cycling shoes themselves, since they use a special rigid sole. Studs, as a rule, are usually made of either metal or plastic, while they are supplied with pedals or purchased separately. It is important to remember that the cleats fit both pedals and shoes.

There are 2 types of studs most common. for mountain bikes and for highways. The first ones are made of metal, fit the SPD system and have a 2-bolt mount. The second ones are most often made of plastic, fit the LOOK system and have a 3-bolt mount.


The pedal assembly is one of the most stressed, so it is advisable to check the condition of the bearings every season. Both without load and under load, rotation should be light. Under load. no backlash along and across the axis, no crunch and squeak. Full service boils down to the following:

  • disassembling the unit, cleaning the pedals from old grease and dirt;
  • changing bearings and filling places with bearing grease;
  • lubrication of units.

it should be said that the engineering thought does not stand still, and to increase the efficiency of the bicycle and increase the speed, a prototype bike has been developed that uses hand power, that is, it has ordinary pedals and hand levers.

The picture shows a prototype of a bicycle using the power of a foot and hand drive for movement, created by the Dutch specialists of TSG Essempio. As they say, even in such a simple topic as bicycle pedals, there is no limit to perfection.

Platform pedals

Most people are familiar with the usual platform pedals, which in the common people are also called “stompboxes”. Despite their structural simplicity and similarity, they are designed in different ways and are suitable for different sports disciplines. For ordinary recreational riding on the market there are budget models made entirely of plastic with two reflective reflectors. They use cheap materials and simple bulk bearings without proper protection from dirt and water. With increased constant use of such pedals, the plastic may not withstand and the pedal will break, if moisture or sand gets into the bearings, they can easily jam.

For sports disciplines, special metal pedals with spikes are made, which withstand hits on stones, and also reliably keep the foot on the pedal due to the spikes. The upper rulers of such pedals are made of reliable and at the same time lightweight materials; industrial bearings are used in their design, which are reliably protected from water and dirt getting inside.

The main advantage of such pedals is that they fit absolutely any shoe, be it sneakers or boots. It is convenient to get on a bicycle, ride and dismount on them. It is for this that novice cyclists, simple riders and people for whom a bicycle is a means of transportation love them. They also work for a mountain bike. a wide platform and cleats keep your foot firmly on the pedal, and also give more confidence and maneuverability when you need to quickly remove your foot from the pedal to prevent falls.

How pedals work

This mechanism is quite simple. There is nothing complicated about it. The most important part of the pedal is the axle. It is screwed into the connecting rod. The body itself is attached to it. It can be made of plastic, rubber or some kind of metal. The design of different types of pedals is also different. The body itself can rotate around its axis for the convenience of the cyclist.

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.

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.

How to change the pedals on a bike to new ones

Choosing good treadmills, especially for a beginner, is very important. Often, amateurs wonder how to change the pedals on a bicycle. In fact, there is nothing complicated here. This requires only a wrench and new “treadmills”. In order not to spoil the fastening of the bicycle pedals (thread), you need to know one rule. To unscrew the right pedal, turn it counterclockwise, and the left pedal clockwise. This is done to prevent the pedals from unscrewing due to constant movement. It is also important to put each element in its place. The right pedal should attach to the right crank arm, and the left pedal, respectively, to the left. This is very important because otherwise these things will fall off very often.

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What are pedals

Bicycle pedals are a mechanism that is associated with a crank arm. They play an extremely important role. There are several types of pedals, which differ in structure and purpose.

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.

Clips Vs Flats. Which Pedals Should You Choose For Mountain Biking?

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

High-quality 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.

Driving style and workmanship

Pedal categories are divided into varieties that can be both amateur and professional, and made from high quality materials:

  • Standard walking ones. all parts are made of plastic, do not differ in strength, they are installed on budget models of bicycles. If performed poorly or the expiration date is coming to an end, they may fall apart while driving. They are distinguished by the constant sliding of the cyclist’s feet from the platforms;
  • Common ones. a little higher in class than walking ones, combine a metal base and plastic joints, low spikes protrude on the surface. Convenient to use for beginners who have not decided on the type of riding;
  • Toeclips. These are bicycle pedals with special straps along the upper part of the foot, due to such fixation, the leg does not slip and the application of efforts is constant. Due to this, the leg can become numb and in the absence of experience, in the event of a fall, it is fraught with injuries for the cyclist. Cycle riders of the past generation or when using on touring bikes often choose these;
  • Folding. they look like ordinary ones, but if necessary, they can be bent, forming the same plane with the bicycle. Convenient for frequent travel.
  • Cross-country type. contact, lightweight, imply the use of special shoes by the owner when riding. Most professional cyclists choose them because of the ride comfort and increased pedaling efficiency. Made of aluminum, complete with special spikes that allow you to fasten or unfasten the leg;
  • Road. also have a contact system of fastening the feet, with the most rigid fixation. They feature one-sided placement of the foot to reduce the mass of the pedal;
  • For extreme driving. most of these “treadmills” have a massive look, made of aluminum alloy. Common among cyclists as “stompboxes”. The wide platform has cleats, which is good for traction regardless of the type of aggressive riding. They can also be made contact, with the presence of an additional contactless platform on the other side. Made of aluminum alloy, they have a wide, sturdy platform. At the beginning of use, you need to get used to quickly find the required side of the bike pedal.

Pedal types

Bicycle pedals can be divided into the following types:

How to choose bicycle pedals

A bicycle is a structure that, when properly assembled, is activated by the pedaling of the cyclist. The main task of bicycle pedals is to transfer energy when mechanically applied to them. They act as a support for the bike rider, and due to the rotational movements they set the entire bike in motion. For some reason, many people forget about the importance of bike pedals when replacing old ones or choosing a new two-wheeled horse. And for someone, the question of how to choose pedals for a bicycle can pose a difficult choice at the sight of a considerable variety of such.

Pedal assignment

The pedals are one part of the system that is set in motion by the force of the rider’s legs. As a result, the crank shaft begins to rotate and through the transmission forces the rear wheel of the bicycle to move.

They consist of several parts, but the base is an axis on which there is a thread on both sides. On the inside, it is attached to the bicycle crank. On the left side, the bicycle pedal is screwed on with the left thread. unscrewed clockwise. For the right side, respectively, right-hand thread. unscrewing occurs counterclockwise. Due to this attachment, the pedals will not spin while driving or, on the contrary, will not be tightly tightened.

The outer part of the axle also has a thread onto which cones are screwed to adjust the bearings. There is a groove along the axis on the external thread for fixing the washer bar. The latter is placed between the edge of the cone and the lock nut.

The outer parts of the bike pedals are chrome-plated and the cone and cups are hardened for increased endurance.

Manufacturing principle

There are three categories of bicycle pedals, the choice of which will depend on the ride comfort:

Bicycle pedals in the form of a platform, used regardless of the type of shoe;

Contact. used in conjunction with special shoes;

Combined. combine the first and second category.


It is necessary to check the bicycle pedals once a season, but if a characteristic crunch or crackle appears, it is worthwhile to carry out extraordinary maintenance. For this, the main part of the pedal is removed and the lubrication and condition of the bearings are checked.

If desired, the bearings can be filled with wax to reduce the likelihood of dust and dirt getting into the bearings. At the end, they check the reliability of the entire structure, carefully tighten, but do not overtighten the nuts on the axle.

Choosing the right pedals is just as important as choosing other bike parts. The type and quality of bike pedals you choose will determine the comfort of pedaling and the efficiency of the applied effort in your riding style. The variety of bike pedals is quite large, but if you have a clear idea of ​​the use and method of riding, then even a beginner will not be difficult to make a choice. Bicycle pedals, like any part of the bike, must be kept in good condition, otherwise, after several rides, defects may appear due to improper use or irregular maintenance.

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.
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Ordinary walking

The name “walking” is not entirely correct. Rather, by analogy with the “Auchan-bikes” they should be called “Auchan-pedals”. 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 “temporary house”.

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 standing “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 a thoughtful grip and attachment system, reliable bearings that can and should be changed, a shock-resistant platform and balanced weight. For example, the Burgtec Penthouse MK4 pictured below is a masterpiece).

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 is difficult to find good folding pedals with aggressive “protectors”. Therefore, it is easier to use them while walking.


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.

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.

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.


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.

CrankBrothers 5050 3

  • Price: 77
  • Positive properties: a large platform with a firmly fixed handle overcomes lumps of dirt well; Crank Brothers warranty. 5 years.

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.

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 you peace of mind.

Crank Brothers Mallet E

  • Price: 130
  • Positive properties: excellent dirt rejection; wide clip provides great support; traction pads fine-tune contact with the foot.

And although outwardly they resemble a smaller version of Mallet DH pedals, the CrankBrothers Mallet E still have the same bearing width as 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 that are integrated in a fairly comfortable way and the girth provides decent support for a flexible shoe.

One of the most 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.


  • Price: 120
  • Positive properties: incredibly low weight; large platforms with a secure grip, lightweight yet strong.

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 leg holds on firmly, but does not freeze like a claw, so you can adjust the position.

Nukeproof Horizon Pro

  • Price: 75
  • Positive properties: an abundance of fixing pins; wide platforms provide reliable support, small structures provide decent ground clearance.

Horizon Pro pedals have 10 pins on each side, a slightly concave platform with a scale of 100 mm and a depth of 12 mm; 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.

Superstar Nano-x

  • Price: 40
  • Positive properties: massive platform that provides traction; low cost.

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.

Shimano XT M8020 Trail

  • Price: 90
  • Positive properties: a wide range of universal purposes; safe and familiar spikes and clamping mechanisms; slight increase in foot contact area.

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).

Flat Pedals. Our Top Picks. Aluminum & Composite: MTB Pedals Buyer’s Guide

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

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 are an important part of any bike and 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 foot. 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 pedal surface, 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.

Specialized boomslang

  • Price: 110
  • Positive properties: among the flat grip pedals, the most affordable, durable design, which allows the pedals to rotate smoothly; expensive, but worth the money.

With a platform width of 100mm, Boomslang offers a decent size of foot insertion surface, although the bearing housing that is embedded next to the connecting rod cuts has little space available.

It is also worth noting that the washer pedal must be used with specific cranks in order to give the Boomslangs the necessary clearance to rotate freely.

Pedals weigh 437g, and concave platforms and 11 prongs on each side provide stunning traction.

What are you paying for? Well, in short, for durability and spare parts. After months of mishandling the bearings / needle bearings, they will still spin just as smoothly without any nicks in any of the pedals, plus there are 4 spare pins for each platform in case you do manage to rip them off.

Take the test of knowledge of traffic rules for a cyclist!

Who has priority when crossing the intersection with the cycle path?

Who should make way?

What goods are allowed to be carried by a cyclist?

  • Only those that do not interfere with cycling.
  • Only those that do not create obstacles to other road users.
  • Only those that do not compromise the stability of the bike.
  • All cargo listed above.
  • Only loads listed in the first two answers.

Are the Rules violated in the situations depicted??



Please write in the comments if you liked the test. Do I need to add such things to the site? What would you like to see on the site?

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Bicycle pedals: how to choose?

What types of pedals are there? In fact, there are not so many of them: walking, MTV or “treadmills”, with a platform and contacts, just with contacts and with toklips.

Modern bicycle pedals

Unfortunately, recently, when buying a mountain bike, you don’t have to count on good pedals and a decent bicycle pump, since in an attempt to make its price more acceptable to the consumer, manufacturing companies put the cheapest pedals on MTBs.

Basically, if your only destiny is to ride around the city, then they will be enough for some time, but if your favorite phrase is “extreme riding”, then the pedals will need to be replaced immediately. But which pedals should you choose? Which is the best fit for your mountain bike? Let’s try to understand this issue.

MTV pedals

MTB pedals or “stompboxes” are most commonly used by XC and BMX enthusiasts. For their manufacture, aluminum alloys are used, which makes them strong enough. The platform of such pedals is much wider than that of walking pedals, and has an aggressive surface, which contributes to better stability of the foot. Often, spikes are additionally screwed into them, which requires additional protection for the legs.

Still, for those who practice XC, pedals with contacts are best suited. Even when cycling downhill, your feet will have a solid footing. Such pedals are more durable than “treadmills”, since carbon is added to aluminum alloys during their manufacture, or only carbon.

The contact pedals are single and double-sided. What do pedals with contacts do? Firstly, it relieves the knee, and secondly, better control over the bike, especially when jumping. When choosing, be sure to pay attention to the angle of free rotation of the foot. If you want to improve comfort for your legs and reduce fatigue. the angle should be as large as possible, if quick and easy release is important to you. the angle should be as small as possible.

When adjusting the contact spring, remember: the pedals should not unfasten when you are standing up a hill (minimum tightening), and should also unfasten without problems in any dirt (maximum tightening).

Pedals for normal riding

Walking pedals or pedals with tour clips are perfect for normal city riding. The first ones are quite economical in price, since they are made of plastic, which can be reinforced with a metal frame (like, in other words, any bicycle seat). You can easily and quickly put your foot on them, but at the same time, the leg slides off them easily. The latter solve the problem of fixing the leg using turklips (straps that fix the leg on the pedal).

In this way, the problem of “dead spots”, leg rally during a trip, is solved. But at the same time, they require a certain skill: it can be quite difficult to insert and pull out a leg the first time, and from the second too. Before the trip, be sure to tighten the straps tight enough along the leg, but do not overdo it. pulling the leg, you will deprive it of good blood circulation.

The other three types of pedals are more expensive, as they are made of more durable materials, and are not suitable for simple walks around the city. Let’s consider them in more detail.

Bicycle pedals how and which to choose

Downhill pedals

If your choice is downhill, then look for pedals with platform and contacts. These pedals are considered professional. The material for their production is aluminum alloys. They are also good for XC, but then carbon must be used in their manufacture. They look very impressive. a wide platform (very comfortable to put your foot on) and a lot of aggressive elements, which not only does not interfere, but also helps to quilting and zipping the foot.

Be sure to remember that for pedals with contacts or with a platform and contacts, special shoes are required.

The text was prepared by Roman Borisov.
Posted May 29, 2020.
Categories: Choice, Microrecords.

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