Best Mountain Bike Pedals: Never Lose Grip in the Woods
Great pedals will keep you comfortable on long rides
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PUBLISHED ON November 5, 2019
The right pedals on your mountain bike are critical to enjoying your ride. The best pedals are comfortable and durable enough to survive on the trail or on the road. They also repel mud and feature a good grip that keeps your feet firmly planted. This guide features three of the best pedals available today.
- Best OverallShimano Deore XTSummarySummaryThese clipless pedals are durable and have customized entry and release tension settings to suit different riders.ProsProsThey have a large platform for added comfort and a mud-shedding design to get rid of debris while on the move.ConsConsThe price is a bit high compared to some rivals. The pedals also require an 8mm hex wrench for installation.
- Best ValueRockBros Mountain Bike PedalsSummarySummaryThese platform pedals offer a large, comfortable surface and lightweight aluminum alloy construction at a budget-friendly price.ProsProsThe pins are just the right length to offer fantastic grip, and they come in a wide range of eye-catching colors to suit any bike.ConsConsThe thin aluminum isn’t made to withstand the harshest conditions. They are also known to damage the crank threads if not installed correctly.
- Honorable MentionShimano XT PD PedalsSummarySummaryThese lightweight aluminum pedals have a concave design for comfort and a large platform with 10 pins for extra grip.ProsProsThe pedals are very durable and have a two-year warranty. They come in a couple of different sizes to suit riders and include two sets of pins.ConsConsThe longer pins can wear out shoes at a fast rate. If the pedals aren’t cleaned and lubed regularly they get a bit stiff.
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Benefits of Mountain Bike Pedals
- Security. This may be one of the main reasons why it’s important to have the best pedals for your mountain ride. It could be very dangerous if you start riding a bike without the proper pedals. You could slip, fall, and cause many cuts and damage to your body. That’s why it's crucial that you use the right mountain bike pedals.
- Confidence. When you’re riding on the trail, it is important to have confidence in order to master all the movements on the bike. When you’re confident, it means that you feel comfortable with the pedals, and they’re secure.
- Work smoothly on bumpy roads. One of the reasons why users tend to choose specific mountain bike pedals is because they’re designed to work on bumpy roads. Most of these pedals come with an ergonomic design that provides you more security and power when it comes to rough roads.
- Less tight grip. This could be an advantage or a disadvantage, depending on how you feel more comfortable. A not-so-tight grip can give you more freedom when it comes to your movements. You’ll be able to develop new techniques and skills when using the best bike mountain pedals.
Types of Mountain Bike Pedals
There are two common options on the market: platform and clipless. Platform pedals are flat bike pedals that come on most types of mountain bikes. They provide more freedom when it comes to motion. They’re made out of either plastic or metal. One of the great advantages of these pedals is that you don’t need special shoes to use them.
They’re also less expensive than clipless bike pedals. Besides, it’s really easy to bail off the bike with them, which is great for beginners. They have been on the market for so many years, so designers have designed amazing changes that make the experience better for mountain bike riders.
Clipless bike pedals come with a cleat that is attached to a bike-specific shoe. The good thing about this is that the rider has a good connection with the bike pedals, and this provides more security and confidence. To use these types of pedals, you just need to clip your shoe onto the clipless pedal and twist the heel to the side if you want to release it. Clipless pedals are great to maintain control when riding on a bumpy road.
Combo pedals are a combination of platform and clipless pedals. They come with a wide platform and a clipping system. These types of mountain bike pedals are excellent for people who use their bikes for different types of movements. They’re ideal for riders who want versatility. They decide when they want to be clipped in versus have the freedom to jump whenever they want. However, some people say that it’s harder to manage clips with the combo pedals.
SCHWINN has been one of the top mountain bike manufacturers in America since 1985. It manufactures pedals, wheels, accessories, and almost any bike-related products. It’s famous for its quality universal mountain bike pedals like the Schwinn SW76173-4 universal pedal.
SHIMANO is an established bicycle manufacturer founded in Japan. It’s been producing bicycle-related items since 1921. It manufactures bicycle components, rowing equipment, and fishing tackle. SHIMANO won the World’s Most Innovative Company award in 2017, and it’s best known for creating durable bicycle equipment like its BV bike pedals with toe clips.
Crank Brothers is also one of the top leading companies for bicycle equipment. Founded in 1997, it focuses on a wide variety of bicycle components. Some of the products it manufactures are pumps, wheels, pedals, tools, and accessories. However, its most popular products are mountain bike pedals like the Crank Brothers in-clip bike pedals.
Mountain Bike Pedals Pricing
- Less than $30: This is the low-end price range. These types of mountain bike pedals are usually made out of aluminium alloy, which isn’t the most durable material but can still work for a mountain ride. They have a mud-shedding design, and they’re usually very comfortable.
- Over $80: At this price point are high-end mountain bike pedals. Their higher price is due to their durability and overall quality. They’re strong and adjustable, and most of them have robust retention claws. These claws provide smooth engagement and release.
When you clip your foot to the pedal, the cleat locks it into the pedal, and it’s firmly placed there. Pedal float is the angular rotation that is allowed for your pedal. The amount of pedal float will depend on the type of pedal. Some pedals come with a fixed amount of float, and others allow you to customize the angular rotation. Having a good amount of float rotation is great because you’ll have more versatility and freedom when it comes to movement.
Multiple Release Cleat
These types of cleats are usually sold separately from the pedals. They have an easier release system and have a higher angular rotation. They allow your foot to move inwards, outwards, and upwards. Most users buy these types of cleats because they’re more versatile when it comes to their release system and angular rotation.
One of the best things you can do is find a mountain bike pedal that is strong and solid. Remember that they will be exposed to all kinds of rocks, and sometimes they can be damaged if they’re not made out of a solid material. It is best to opt for a metal pedal.
- Adjustability: This is particularly important if you’re buying a clipless pedal. You need to have one that allows you to have a good float degree rotation and also find one with the proper pedal tension. Flat pedals are a better option when it comes to adjustability.
- Serviceability: Pay particular attention to this feature. The quality of pedals may vary considerably, and you need to think about every aspect because they will need maintenance. So, it’s very important that you choose pedals that don’t require special tools, and if they do, make sure they’re not too expensive or hard to find.
- Type of Riding: This is crucial when choosing the right type of pedals. Do you practice recreational bicycling? Or do you enjoy riding in the mountains? That will determine the type of pedals you need. Flat pedals are better for beginners and they’re more comfortable if you need to get off the pedals quickly.
Best Mountain Bike Pedals Reviews & Recommendations 2019
Best Overall: Shimano Deore XT
These mountain bike pedals are our top pick because of their high quality and efficiency. The Shimano Deore XT pedals are made of strong and durable metal. They have a chrome-moly spindle, which is a great material for mountain bike pedals. They’re resistant and solid. They also have customized entry and personalized release tension options.
One of the best features when it comes to these pedals is their mud-shedding design, which is an excellent factor when you’re riding on a muddy mountain. And while they’re clipless pedals, they’re very easy to clip and release.
However, there are always some drawbacks, even on great products. Clipless pedals are not the greatest choice for beginners, and they’re actually more expensive compared to other mountain bike pedals on the market. These pedals also require an 8mm hex wrench for installation.
Best Value: RockBros Mountain Bike Pedals
RockBros Mountain Bike Pedals are the best option for those who want to buy a good product and don’t want to spend too much money. The RockBros Mountain Bike Pedals are flat, which work best for beginners and people who want to have the freedom to jump and practice new techniques on the trail.
They come in a variety of colors, which is great because they can suit any kind of bike. One advantage of these mountain bike pedals is that they’re easy to clean. Another one of the outstanding features with these mountain bike pedals is that their pins are the right length to provide an amazing grip.
These mountain bike pedals are made out of aluminum alloy, which isn’t the best material for extreme sports. So we don’t recommend using these platform pedals on bumpy roads. Another disadvantage is that the crank threads can be damaged if they’re not properly installed.
Honorable Mention: SHIMANO XT PD M8040 pedals
We couldn't publish this buying guide without mentioning the SHIMANO XT PD pedals. These mountain bike pedals are made of a mix of chrome and aluminum, which are durable and lightweight. These platform pedals are great for someone who wants to try new techniques on the trail yet still be able to separate from the pedals when things get rough.
The SHIMANO XT PD has a large platform, which is excellent for security, and it matches almost every type of foot and bike. These flat pedals don’t need any special shoes. They come in a couple of sizes to suit different riders, and they also have a set of pins included.
However, there is one clear disadvantage with the SHIMANO XT PD pedals: If they’re not regularly cleaned and lubed, they get a bit stiff. They’re also a little bit expensive compared to some rivals.
- It’s worth buying good quality pedals because there’s a high probability that they will get banged against obstacles or operate in harsh elements. Cheap plastic pedals should be avoided.
- Clipless pedals can easily get clogged up with mud, adding extra weight and affecting the mechanism. The best pedals come with some form of mud-shedding design.
- When choosing platform pedals, choose one that can cover as much of your foot without any part of the pedal sticking out. The pins provide a good grip but can scratch if they are too long.
Q: What types of pedals are available for mountain bikes?
A: Flat and clipless mountain bike pedals are the two most common types. Flat pedals are double-sided and act as a platform to rest your foot. Clipless pedals act in a similar fashion but have special attachments that hold onto to cleats on the bottom of the riding shoe.
Q: Why are bike pedals called clipless pedals if they have clips?
A: The name goes back to the era in which riders used straps and toe clips to keep their feet on the bike. When this type of pedal first came out they were called “clipless” because they did away with the old-style clips and straps.
Q: Which type of mountain bike pedal is best?
A: It depends on the rider and the use. Flat pedals make it easier to disconnect the foot in case of a hazard and are more suited to beginners. Clipless pedals allow advanced moves like the bunny hop and give riders a more secure connection to the bike.
Our pick for the best mountain bike pedals goes to the Shimano Deore XT. They are lightweight and durable and offer different tension settings.
For a more budget-friendly option, try the RockBros Mountain Bike Pedals.