Reviews

Best Flat Pedals: Put Some Power In Your Bike Ride

Seamlessly switch between tarmac and rocky trails with a set of the best flat pedals

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BY Alice Musyoka , Daniel Rika , Linsay Thomas / LAST UPDATED ON March 17, 2021

If you like to keep fit, you can get on your bike and explore the outdoors. But to get the most out of your bike, it must be in tip-top condition and include a proper pair of pedals for the type of riding you do. If you love mountain biking, flat bike pedals can enhance the experience. This guide reviews three of the best flat pedals on the market.

Best Overall
SHIMANO SPD Flat Bike Pedal
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Summary
Summary

A great pair of flat bike pedals designed to work on all types of bikes. It doubles as a clip-on and flat pedal making it more versatile.

Pros
Pros
  • Pedal is smooth, yet grippy, and holds onto your foot.
  • Pedals are stylish and look great 
  • They have a wide surface
Cons
Cons
  • Pedals are expensive
  • They may also not be the most comfortable after long rides 
Best Overall
SHIMANO SPD Flat Bike Pedal
Best Value
Crankbrothers Stamp Flat BMX/MTB Bike Pedal
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Summary
Summary

This pedal was specifically designed for the avid cyclist who likes to tackle easy to medium-hard trails. Its slim profile and wide platform give you a great stepping range for smooth rides. 

Pros
Pros
  • Sports a concave design to give you a secure foothold, even on rough ground
  • Because your foot stays where it’s supposed to, you’ll find it easy to turn and tackle technical areas
  •  Ten adjustable pins on each side enhance the grip
Cons
Cons
  • Pins are short for extreme riders who apply more grip on landings 
  • Concave shape could use a redesign⁠ to add more curvature to it
  • Compared to other top flat pedals, it doesn’t offer a superior grip
Best Value
Crankbrothers Stamp Flat BMX/MTB Bike Pedal
Honorable Mention
ROCK BROS Mountain Bike Pedals
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Summary
Summary

Made from aluminum alloy, these pedals are lightweight and provide good performance. They have contrasting colors, which work well with mountain bikes. They are also durable. 

Pros
Pros
  • Pedals are equipped with anti-skid studs to keep your shoes from slipping 
  • Easy to install, even for a new user
  • Come pre-greased to withstand wear and tear
  • Extra screws are provided just in case you need to replace them
Cons
Cons
  • Because of the way they are constructed, they might easily get damaged, especially if you cycle off-road regularly
  • Their inner bearings might become noisy after a few impacts 
Honorable Mention
ROCK BROS Mountain Bike Pedals

Why Trust Us


Our reviews are driven by a combination of hands-on testing, expert input, “wisdom of the crowd” assessments from actual buyers, and our own expertise. We always aim to offer genuine, accurate guides to help you find the best picks.

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Benefits of Flat Pedals 

  • Enhanced grip. Almost all flat pedals on the market are designed with some pins threaded on the surface. The pins help you to maintain the best grip by keeping your foot firmly fixed on the pedal. 
  • Build your confidence on the trail. Flat pedals are comfortable and stable. Therefore, they give you more confidence when training, and you can try out new riding styles, try high-risk maneuvers, or venture into different terrains. 
  • Correctly perform lifting maneuvers. Lifting maneuvers like bunny hops, rear wheel lifts, and dirt jumps are best performed with flat pedals, since using them is the best way to learn the trick. Doing it while clipped to a pedal is almost cheating, and you require more energy to get your bike off the ground. 
  • Ride more relaxed. It’s easy to take your foot off or place it on a flat pedal. That helps you tackle technical trails with ease, since you can put your foot down to control the bike or avoid severe crashes. Also, knowing that your foot is not clipped in puts you in your comfort zone, and you can ride more relaxed. 
  • Correct your riding technique. Flat pedals are the best for correcting or improving your riding posture. For instance, if you notice that your feet bounce around the pedals, you can take steps to correct your riding posture by shifting your weight to your arms and legs rather than relying on the bike’s suspension to balance you. 
  • Gain feedback about the condition of your bike. Flat pedals allow you to feel what’s off about your bike, so that you can adjust it accordingly. By placing your feet on the pedals at the 12 o’clock position, you can tell if the bike is well balanced in terms of alignment of the wheels, the position of the handlebars, and the height of the seat post. 

Top Brands 

Shimano 

Shimano is a Japanese manufacturer of cycling, fishing, and rowing equipment. The company was started in 1921, and its products have a legion of followers in the United States, Europe, and Asia. It’s famous for manufacturing some of the best drivetrain, brake, wheel, and pedal components for mountain, road, and hybrid bikes. Some of its best pedals are the SHIMANO SPD Dual Platform Bike Pedal and the SHIMANO Multi-Use Flat Mountain Bike Pedals.

Crankbrothers 

Headquartered in Laguna Beach, Calif., Crankbrothers make some of the best mountain bike parts and accessories. It’s a subsidiary company of Selle Royal and was founded in 1991. Some of its products include pedals, wheels, pumps, and cycling gear. Some of its best-rated platform pedals are the Crankbrothers Stamp Flat BMX/MTB Bike Pedal and the Crankbrothers Doubleshot Hybrid Bike Pedal.

RockBros

RockBros is a Czech-based manufacturer and designer of cycling accessories for all ages and riding conditions. Some of its products include bike phone mounts, saddlebags, handlebar bags, sports sunglasses, bike racks, and pedals. Try out the ROCK BROS Mountain Bike Pedals, which is one of its best mountain bike flat pedals. 

Race Face 

Race Face is a Vancouver-based manufacturing company with over 20 years of experience in making high-quality cycling components and apparel. The company designs seat posts, crank arms, handlebars, grips, bike saddles, pedals, and cycling gear. Check out the RaceFace Chester Composite Bike Pedals, which are large platform pedals from the company. 

Flat Pedals Pricing 

  • Under $50: Most pedals within this price point are plastic pedals that tend to crack with frequent use. They are typically lightweight and have large platform profiles that can accommodate any foot size. We recommend them for beginners or road cyclists who don’t exert too much pressure when pedaling.  
  • $50 and up: Budget this much for a metal flat pedal that can help you perform expert stunts and improve off-road performance. Most of the pedals are made of high-end aluminum, which is designed to last a long time and can take a beating. 

Key Features 

Material 

Most flat pedals are either made of plastic, steel, aluminum, titanium, or metal alloys. Plastic is cheap and suitable for entry-level riders, but steel is heavier, more durable, and therefore better suited for mountain biking. However, steel experiences more wind resistance and may slow you down. Aluminum and titanium are the lightest and most durable options. Metal alloys may have steel-designed bearings and spindle and an aluminum alloy making up the pedal frames. 

Platform Size 

The pedal platform is the area that’s in contact with your foot. The larger it is, the better the riding experience, since it’s more comfortable and offers adequate foot support. It gives you more confidence to tackle rugged sections of the trail. 

Pedal Thickness 

A thinner pedal is more efficient, since it puts your foot closer to the axle for efficient pedal strokes. It’s also less likely to roll over and hurt you compared to a thick pedal. However, pedals need a degree of thickness to allow for comfort and integration of additional features that increase grip and the stability of the structure. 

Pin Layout 

The pins on flat pedals are designed to dig into the bottom of your shoe. They should be long, chunky, and well spread out throughout the pedal to limit foot movement when descending or ascending a steep hill. 

Other Considerations 

  • Adjustment Freedom. The pedal should allow you to move your foot easily without compromising on grip. Too much traction on a pedal can be a problem if you want to quickly reposition your foot when pedaling. That’s why some flat pedals have conical metal protrusions that allow free foot movement and offer sufficient traction when you rest your foot on the pedal. 
  • Mud-Shedding Qualities. For road or dry summer riding, this feature is irrelevant, but for wet season off-road cycling, it’s a must-have quality. If your pedals clog with mud, even the chunkiest pins won’t prevent the pedals from slipping.   

Best Flat Pedals Reviews & Recommendations 2021

Best Overall
SHIMANO SPD Flat Bike Pedal

Shimano is notoriously famous for its pedals, and its SPD Flat Bike Pedal is an excellent choice for any rider. As a premium bicycle pedal, the PD-M9120 model is sleek and modern-looking. One of its best features is that it can be used as both a flat pedal and a clip-on pedal, both of which give you a much stronger and firmer grip while powering through difficult off-road terrain or city roads.


The pedal’s surface is smooth, yet grippy. It is designed to improve efficiency, power, and speed for both professional riders and those just beginning their journey. They also look great once mounted to any bike and pair well with professional cleats or normal everyday shoes. They provide a large surface for you to step on, too.


As you may have noticed, however, the bike pedals are rather expensive, but with Shimano you know you’re getting a high-quality set. They may not be all that comfortable if riding with regular shoes.

Best Value
ROCK BROS Mountain Bike Pedals

The ROCK BROS Mountain Bike Pedals have a colorful and aggressive design that appeals to most mountain bikers. As for the design of the pedal body, the frames have an aluminum structure with 12 aluminum, anti-skid nails that prevent your feet from slipping when riding downhill or in wet conditions. The pedals also have a strong chromoly steel spindle that can bear the impact of aggressive riding. Moreover, the frames have a hollow design to reduce wind resistance when riding. 


These platform pedals come with lubricated and sealed bearings to help them spin smoothly and are noise free. A large, 4-inch platform offers maximum support and comfort to your feet when pedaling. The pedals are ideal for mountain bikes, road bikes, and stationary exercise bikes. What’s more, all the great features come at an affordable price. 


A downside of these platform pedals is that the frame is not strong enough to withstand frequent off-road cycling. Also, the inner bearings may get noisy if not lubricated often or if the bike suffers an impact that affects the pedals. 

Honorable Mention
Crankbrothers Stamp Flat BMX/MTB Bike Pedal

The Crankbrothers Stamp Flat BMX/MTB Bike Pedal has an impressively thin profile and a large platform for enhanced pedaling control. The pedal has a 4-inch by 4-inch platform. It’s about 0.5 inches thick and uses 10 replaceable traction pins on each side. It also has a slightly concave shape to cup your foot for a secure hold. 


When it comes to the construction, the pedal has an aluminum body and a forged chromoly steel spindle. It also has three large cutouts to help with its mud shedding properties. The Crankbrothers Stamp Flat pedal is versatile and can be used for any cycling condition or environment, including cross country, trail, and mountain regions. It’s recommended for shoe sizes 5 to 10. 


A major drawback of the product is that the pins are too short to offer sufficient traction for aggressive mountain biking or off-road riding. Also, the slightly concave shape could be better designed with more curvature for comfort. Lastly, it falls short when it comes to traction in comparison to high-end flat pedals with longer pins.

Most Comfortable
MZYRH Mountain Bike Flat Pedals

The MZYRH Mountain BIke Flat Pedals are unique, colorful, and functional. They resemble the standard-looking pedals you may be familiar with, but are so much more than that. Each one is designed out of a tough and rugged nylon fiber material and built with three bearings for additional strength and torque.


The pedals also include anti-slip nails on either side that provide a secure and firm grip. No matter if you ride through mud, rain, or snow, your feet will hold onto them tightly. One of the other great features of the pedals is they are lightweight. They weigh less than a pound and easily attach to any bike, not just the mountain variety. The flat pedals come in six different colors so you can match the color of your bike. 


There have been complaints that the pedals can be too tight to screw in properly into certain studs. They will also hurt if your foot does slip off the pedal and hit them, as the edges are sharp and pointed.

Most Aggressive
FOOKER Mountain Bike Flat Pedals

The FOOKER Mountain Bike Flat Pedals are built for style, functionality, and performance. Each is developed out of a tough and durable aluminum material, increasing their strength. Best of all, the pedals feature anti-slip nails so your feet stay firmly in place and don’t slide or slip around while you’re racing or just enjoying a day out.


The pedal is also universal and is designed to fit on mountain, road, BMX, hybrid, and commuter bikes. The pedals are available in seven unique colors and two styles. Both styles offer a wide and grippy base for your foot, which gives you more power and control. They are also rather inexpensive.


You may need your own set of tools to install it, as it may not come with an Allen wrench. They also may not be the most comfortable pedals after longer rides. That and the ride comfort and grip depends on the type of shoe you have. Sturdier-soled shoes may ride better on these bike pedals.

Tips

  • Always check your pedals to make sure they are well-greased and that there is no debris accumulating in any critical areas. This will help prolong their lifespan.
  • Before cycling, make sure your bike pedals are well-secured. Loose pedals tend to damage threads, causing you to spend money on replacements and repairs. Loose pedals also increase the likelihood of accidents. 
  • If you are cycling on a rough section and you need to stay on course and in control, flat pedals can be very beneficial. Maintain contact and drop your heel to get more grip. 

FAQs

Q: Are flat pedals safe for beginners?

Flat pedals are designed to help cyclists learn how to maintain contact with pedals. They are recommended for beginners looking to venture into professional cycling or technical trail riding. 

Q: Do shoes determine the type of pedals I can use?

Shoes play an important role in the type of pedals you use. Regular cycling shoes can work with most flat pedals. These pedals provide great flexibility—whether you’re a regular cycle-to-work person or a perennial challenge-the-terrain cyclist. 

Q: Will flat pedals fit my bike?

Most flat pedals can fit the standard threads on most bikes. However, you can verify if the pedals are a good fit for your bike by seeking out the manufacturer’s information. 

Final Thoughts

The SHIMANO SPD Dual Platform Bike Pedal is a favorite among many biking enthusiasts, and it easily clinches our top spot. 

For cyclists who seek value for their money, we recommend the ROCK BROS Mountain Bike Pedals.