LAST UPDATED: November 5, 2019
Best Mountain Bike Pedals: Never Lose Grip in the Woods
Great pedals will keep you comfortable on long rides
The Review Team
How We Decided
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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.
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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 2020
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.
Pedals are the main point of contact between your body and your bike and transfer the power in your legs to the bike's drivetrain to move you along the trail. If you're looking for mountain bike pedals that are affordable, strong, and lightweight, give these a try. They do a great job of keeping your feet in place thanks to their anti-skid pins with aluminium cages.
These pedals strike a balance between size, support, and grip. Their large platforms make them susceptible to strikes from rocks, but they are tough enough to ward off damage. They are made of aluminium alloy for durability and their hard spindles make for a strong grip.
These are some of the most affordable mountain bike platform pedals on the market and are worth getting for the performance they offer. However, it seems like Lumintrail forgot to make them tough enough to withstand the rigors of mountain biking. They also produce an unpleasant screeching noise.
These are the best-selling mountain bike pedals in their price bracket and are designed by a U.S.-based sports specialist. They have a tough nylon fiber surface and are resistant to corrosion, abrasion, and shock. The pedals feature anti-skid nails that hold your feet in place. And even when they are covered with mud, they will still grip your feet tightly.
The 4.1-inch platforms improve your pedalling efficiency. The pedals only weigh 0.8 pound and feature an ergonomic design for long-riding comfort. They are very easy to install, as they come with identification marks (CR-L and CR-R). They are also ideal for a variety of bikes, from mountain bikes to cyclocross bikes. They are available in a variety of colors and feature Cr-Mo spindles that deliver the ultimate in performance and strength. The pedals are capable of tackling competition-level trails of different shapes and lengths.
However, these ROCKBROS pedals are not designed with endurance riding in mind and will quickly break if you use them every day. They are also not ideal for winter biking and may develop an annoying creak after a while.
- 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 Lumintrail MTB BMX Road Mountain Bike Pedals.