Best Mountain Bike Pedals

When it comes to mountain biking, there are a number of essentials that you need to enjoy this sport to the fullest potential.  First, you’re going to need a helmet for protection, and second, you’re going to need a quality mountain bike.  Once you’ve got those two taken care of, the next step is to choose a pair of the best mountain bike pedals that you can find.  Not sure about which pedal is right for you?  Don’t worry; we’re sharing a few of our favorites on the market today.

Race Face Chester
  • Race Face Chester
  • 5 out of 5
    Our rating
  • Lightweight
  • Removable steel pins
  • Price: See Here
Eggbeater 3
  • Eggbeater 3
  • 4.9 out of 5
    Our rating
  • Easy grip
  • Durable construction
  • Price: See Here
Shimano Deore XT
  • Shimano Deore XT
  • 4.8 out of 5
    Our rating
  • Engaging system
  • Wide platform
  • Price: See Here

10 Best Mountain Bike Pedals

 

 

Race Face Chester

Race Face Chester
Whether you’re a beginner or a seasoned veteran at mountain biking, a good pair of platform pedals is a great tool to help you enjoy the sport that much more. These pedals from Race Face offer both the stability of a platform pedal and the grip and performance of a clipless pedal all rolled into one.
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Grip

These mountain bike pedals feature a series of eight removable steel pins that can easily grip into any shoe, but still allow for easy release if necessary. Whether you have to step off to take a rest, regain your balance, or avoid smashing your toes against some sharp rocks, these pedals allow you the freedom to move your feet around, or have them secure as you see fit.

Protection from Impact

These pedals from Race Face offer a relatively wide pedal base, which offers a fair amount of protection from an impact on the trail or during an uphill climb. While it isn’t perfect, it certainly helps.

Pedal Thickness

These pedals are relatively lightweight, and have an overall thickness of about two inches, making them some of the easiest pedals to use that we’ve found.

Clipless vs. Platform vs. Combo

The Chester Pedal from Race Face falls into the platform category of pedals, which makes it a great choice for a beginner, or for someone who is tackling a more technical trail, where quick foot movement is essential.

Durability

Featuring a nylon composite body, removable steel grip pins, and a chrome-steel axis, this pedal is not only very lightweight, but also durable. In addition, both the bearing and brushing system are fully serviceable, so an experienced biker or technical can perform the necessary maintenance quickly and easily. However, it should be noted that there have been some reports of pins and screws becoming damaged during rides in very rocky terrains.

Summary

When it comes right down to it, the Chester Pedal from Race Face offers the most for both the beginner and an advanced mountain biker. The pedals are lightweight, yet durable, and offer the ability to firmly grip the pedal or release as you see fit.
Pros
  • Lightweight, easy to use
  • Removable steel pins
  • Large platform area for added impact protection
Cons
  • May show increased signs of wear and tear more quickly in rough terrain
 

Crank Brothers Eggbeater 3

Crank Brothers Eggbeater 3
If you’re looking for a great pair of clipless mountain bike pedals that offer the ability to quickly release at a moment’s notice, then the Eggbeater 3 Pedals from Crank Brothers certainly should be on your list.
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Grip

While these pedals don’t feature removable steel pins, the overall design of the pedal makes them easy to grip with the proper mountain biking shoes, and even easier to release when it becomes necessary to do so. These pedals feature a customizable release angle, and a four sided entry, so getting back into the game after a muddy spill won’t be that much of a problem.

Protection from Impact

Like most clipless mountain bike pedals, these from Crank Brothers don’t really have too large a platform, so they offer limited protection from impact.

Pedal Thickness

At their thickest point, these pedals measure approximately two inches in thickness, most of which is used to maintain a superior grip between the pedal and the rider himself.

Clipless vs. Platform vs. Combo

These pedals fall into the clipless category of mountain bike pedals, so they are really more suited for more advanced bikers than beginners.

Durability

These pedals are created from cast stainless steel and feature both a spring steel spindle for added strength, and a protective aluminum end cap.

Summary

The Eggbeater 3 from Crank Brothers offers a great choice for those more advanced bikers who want to be able to use their mountain bikes more efficiently.
Pros
  • Easy grip and release system
  • Small and relatively light weight
  • Very durable construction
Cons
  • Not suited for beginner mountain cyclists.
 

Shimano deore XT M8020 SPD

Shimano deore XT M8020 SPD
Sometimes a combination of the best from a clipless pedal and a platform pedal is what you need to get the job done. The Shimano Deore XT M8020 SPD Trail Pedal offers a great balance between ease of use and overall performance that is hard to match.
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Grip

This pedal features the ability to anchor in from either side of the pedal, allowing for a quick and stable entry of the mountain biking shoe after a release. They also feature superior float integration, and the use of two-bolt SPD cleats for added control. In addition, the slightly wider platform allows the pedal to be found easier without looking, so the cyclist can concentrate on the task of cycling instead of pedaling.

Protection from Impact

The slightly wider base does offer a bit more protection from impact than more traditional clipless pedals, although they can become a bit of a hindrance when operating in tighter places.

Pedal Thickness

At the thickest point, these pedals measure just over 1.5 inches in size, making them fairly small. However, because of materials used in the construction of the pedals, they are a bit heavier than their size would dictate overall.

Clipless vs. Platform vs. Combo

This is one case where the idea of combining more than one style into a third worked out beautifully. This mountain bike pedal from Shimano offers a great combination between the ease of use of a platform pedal, and the security and grip overall of a clipless one.

Durability

This pedal features cro-moly construction and sealed cartridge bearings, which helps to prevent undue wear and tear on the pedal itself. In addition, the cleat and pedal interface is designed specifically to reduce the chance of dirt, mud or debris from getting into the gearing of pedal, adding to the overall longevity of the pedal.

Summary

Ounce for ounce, this pedal is a great choice that provides a balance between overall ease of use and durability. While it is a little heavier than we would like, overall it is a solid choice for both a novice and advanced cyclist.
Pros
  • Easy to engage system
  • Wider platform than other clipless pedals
  • Solid and durable construction
Cons
  • A bit heavier than we would like.
 

Crank Brothers large stamp

Crank Brothers large stamp
This mountain bike pedal from Crank Brothers offers a professional level platform that provides a great shoe to pedal interface and a grip that can rival even the best clipless pedals on the market today.
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Grip

This pedal features ten pins on each side of the pedal that are fully adjustable so that you can easily control the level of grip that you experience with each pedal stroke. In addition, the concave shape of the platform means that it’s easy to have a secure foothold, no matter the terrain.

Protection from Impact

The wider platform of this pedal provides not only a great foot to pedal ratio, but also offers a fair amount of protection from debris and rocks that might fly up during the ride. The larger footprint however, makes these pedals somewhat unfavorable when it comes to tighter places, so that should be a consideration when deciding where to travel.

Pedal Thickness

When it comes to platform mountain bike pedals, this entry from the Crank Brothers is one of the thinnest and lightest on the market today. At the thinnest, this pedal measures about eleven millimeters in thickness.

Clipless vs. Platform vs. Combo

This pedal falls squarely into the platform camp when it comes to mountain bike pedals, making it a great choice for beginners or for those who prefer the responsiveness of the platform versus the other options.

Durability

Overall, these pedals proved to be fairly durable, with the only significant problems being the bearings themselves. A number of customers found that the bearings and the pedal did not spin easily after just a few cycles or uses.

Summary

If you have larger feet, or demand a platform mountain bike pedal that can truly go the distance; you can’t go wrong with this entry from the Crank Brothers. They are designed to have the maximum amount of surface area for your foot to grip, and their overall lightness makes them relatively easy to use. The only real complaint that some customers had was that the bearings wore through relatively fast.
Pros
  • Larger size, great for larger feet
  • Easy to use
  • Great overall grip for a platform
Cons
  • Bearings are known to wear away quickly

Shimano XTR PD-M9000 Race

Shimano XTR PD-M9000 Race
If you enjoy speeding down the hills like there is no tomorrow, you’ll need a pedal that can not only keep up with you, but also provide the support and responsiveness that you’ll need. The XTR PD-M9000 Race Pedal from Shimano can do all that, and more.
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Grip

This clipless pedal is designed with an easy and adjustable grip release mechanism, so you not only have the security of a firm grip when the cleats are engaged, but you can also very easily disengage if necessary during your bike ride.

Protection from Impact

While the smaller size doesn’t provide that much protection from impact to your feet, it does help to keep you clear of sharp rocks and get you through tighter spaces easier.

Pedal Thickness

Although they are by no means the thinnest or smallest clipless pedals on the market today, these pedals still can hold their own. At their widest, they measure about two inches. However, because of the solid construction, these pedals may feel a bit heavy for some cyclist.

Clipless vs. Platform vs. Combo

These pedals are of the clipless variety, and come with a pair of cleats to ensure a proper fit each time.

Durability

While the metal construction makes for a very solid and durable pedal overall. The only item that did see a bit of undue wear according to customer complaints was the bolts were sometimes easily damaged.

Summary

If you feel the need for speed when biking through the mountains, then having the right pedal is important. Not only is the Shimano XTR PD-M9000 Race pedal an easy to use clipless performance pedal that is easy to use, but it is also quite durable as well.
Pros
  • Relatively easy to use
  • Small cross section, easier to fit into tight spaces
Cons
  • Relatively heavy
  • Bolts wear through more quickly than most.

Eagle Riding extra wide

Eagle Riding extra wide
The sixth spot on our list is occupied by another wide platform mountain bike pedal. This pedal from Eagle Riding is a great choice for beginners or people who want an extra wide pedal. These pedals are not only comfortable, but fairly durable as well.
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Grip

These extra wide pedals feature an anti-skid design with studs for an easy way to grip the pedals when needed and an easy release when necessary. If you have extra wide feet, or have trouble finding the smaller clipless pedals with your feet after disengagement, this pedal may be just what you need.

Protection from Impact

While these pedals are certainly wide enough to protect your feet and ankles from impact debris, their relative large size does make fitting into tighter areas more problematic.

Pedal Thickness

Despite the size, these pedals are actually on the thinner side, measuring just 0.87 inches in thickness. They weigh approximately 0.4 lbs each, making them fairly lightweight, especially compared with some of the more hefty pedals on this list.

Clipless vs. Platform vs. Combo

These pedals fall firmly into the platform camp. They are a great choice for beginners, or bikes that are shared by multiple people.

Durability

All in all, these pedals are some of the toughest we’ve seen in a long time. The spindle is fashioned from 435 Cro-Mo steel, and the pedal itself is made from 6061 Aluminum, and features sealed bearings and the entire pedal is sealed with CNC technology for increased durability and longevity.

Summary

Whether your feet are too big for normal pedals, or you simply like the comfort that an extra-wide platform pedal can provide, these mountain bike pedals from Eagle Riding area a great overall choice. While they may be a bit big for tighter areas or smaller feet, these pedals are some of the sturdiest and most easy to use pedals we’ve found so far.
Pros
  • Relatively lightweight
  • Very durable
  • Affordable
Cons
  • May be too big or wide for some feet
  • May become a hindrance in tight spaces

HT components AEO 3 EVO

HT components AEO 3 EVO
If you’ve been searching for a platform mountain bike pedal that is just as responsive as a clipless one, your search may be over with this particular entry. The HT Components AEO3 Evo pedals are not only very sturdy and responsive, but lightweight and easy to use as well.
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Grip

These pedals have proven to be great at keeping the feet on the pedals where they belong. There are numerous lightweight and sharp studs on each side that firmly grip the bottom of the shoe, making it near impossible for slippage to occur. The truth is the only way your feet are coming off these pedals is if you want them to.

Protection from Impact

While these platform mountain bike pedals do offer a moderate amount of protection from impact for your feet and legs, it’s not as much as some of the others on this list.

Pedal Thickness

When it comes to platform or flat pedals to use with your mountain bike, these are some of the lightest and thinnest quality examples that we’ve seen in a long time. Measuring just 11 millimeters or 0.43 inches in thickness, quite a few customers have marveled at the overall lightness of these pedals. It may be possible to even forget that they are there.

Clipless vs. Platform vs. Combo

These mountain bike pedals are designed to be some of the most responsive and grip-friendly platform pedals on the market today. In some cases, they even rival the responsiveness of some of our favorite clipless pedals presented on this list.

Durability

These pedals feature an extruded, CNC machined aluminum pedal and dual DU bearings help to keep things spinning merrily along. Quite a few customers report that these pedals have lasted them for two or more years, making them very long lasting in the cycling world.

Summary

When it comes to platform pedals with a responsive and lightweight feel, these pedals from HT are hard to beat. Their lightweight yet solid construction features a number of grip points and thinner profile that makes riding relatively easy overall.
Pros
  • Very lightweight
  • Easy to grip and responsive
  • Thinner profile
Cons
  • Doesn’t offer as much protection from impact

Xpedo GFX DH clipless platform pedals

Xpedo GFX DH clipless platform pedals
The eighth position on our list is taken up by a great combo mountain bike pedal by the Xpedo brand. These pedals offer the responsiveness of a clipless and the relative sturdiness of a platform all in one.
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Grip

These mountain bike pedals from Xpedo have proven to be relatively easy to grip or release as needed. The engagement points can float as needed, so re-entry into the pedal while on the go is a fairly simple process.

Protection from Impact

While these pedals do have a platform component, they offer very little when it comes to overall impact protection compared to some of the others on this list.

Pedal Thickness

These pedals are some of the thicker ones on our top ten list, measuring just about 3 inches in thickness and weighing about 1.5 pounds overall. These pedals will certainly be felt, especially during and after a significant ride.

Clipless vs. Platform vs. Combo

These pedals clearly fall into the combo area of mountain biking, and offer quite a few of the benefits that the clipless and platform pedals bring to the table. Unfortunately, they also have brought some of the disadvantages as well. These include extra weight overall and a tighter fit in areas of low clearance.

Durability

These pedals are constructed well, featuring chromoly steel spindles with an aluminum pedal body. There is no reason why these pedals shouldn’t last for quite a few seasons with proper care.

Summary

While they are certainly not our first choice when it comes to the best mountain bike pedals on the market, this entry from Xpedo offers a fairly decent combo mountain bike pedal that features great characteristics from both the platform and clipless varieties of pedals.
Pros
  • Sturdy construction
  • Relatively easy engagement
Cons
  • Heavier than most pedals we’ve seen
  • Doesn’t offer much impact protection.

Deity components TMAC

Deity components TMAC
If a great platform pedal is more your speed as you shred along some of the mountain trails in your area, one pedal that you should consider is the Deity Components TMAC pedal. It’s lightweight, yet durable, and offers more gripping capability than even some clipless models on the market today.
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Grip

The concave shape and replaceable grip studs on these pedals provide it with superior gripping action, even in less than favorable cycling conditions.

Protection from Impact

Overall these pedals offer a moderate amount of protection from impact, and feature slightly thicker areas at the ends of the pedals that are designed to withstand extra bombardment.

Pedal Thickness

These pedals feature a variation in the overall thickness of the pedals, starting at about 14 millimeters at the center, and becoming slightly thicker at the ends. Thankfully, the concave shape allows for the shoe to fit comfortably in the pedals and reduces the need for a uniform thickness overall.

Clipless vs. Platform vs. Combo

These mountain bike pedals are platform in nature and design, making them a great choice for beginner cyclists.

Durability

These pedals feature a relatively lightweight aluminum body, but were found to be not as durable as some of the others on this list. While the bearings have proven to be relatively free of problems, the grip points have been known to wear down remarkably fast with frequent use.

Summary

If you’re looking for a great platform pedal that offers great overall comfort and grip, this pedal is a hard one to match. Although we would have liked to see a bit thinner profile and better durability of the grip pins, for the price this is a solid choice overall.
Pros
  • Overall size and shape makes it easy to grip
  • Great protection from impact
Cons
  • Grip pins wear through quicker than most.
  • Overall profile is not very thin.

Time Atac CX 8 Carbon

Time Atac CX 8 Carbon
This last entry on our list is by no means the least of the pedals on the market today. The Time Atac XC 8 Carbon pedals offer an extremely lightweight clipless pedal that is strong enough to withstand nearly everything that you can throw at it, and light enough to keep coming back for more.
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Grip

When it comes to grip, these pedals from the Time brand feature one of the best in the clipless class overall. The design is relatively simple, which means that there is little room, or chance for mud interference, and clipping into them is a relative breeze.

Protection from Impact

Based on their overall size, these mountain bike pedals really don’t offer much in the way of impact protection. However, because of their smaller size, you don’t have to worry about clearance issues while riding.

Pedal Thickness

These pedals have an overall thickness of two inches, and together weigh about 1.4 pounds, or 0.7 pounds each, making them extremely lightweight indeed.

Clipless vs. Platform vs. Combo

These pedals from the Time brand clearly fall into the clipless category, making them a great choice for a more advanced mountain biker, or for those more technical trails where clearance issues may be a factor to consider.

Durability

While these pedals are a great choice when it comes to overall grip and responsiveness, they have been shown to be somewhat lacking in the durability department. There have been quite a few reports from customers of failure of the pedal mechanisms after only a few rides, including bending of the clip bar, and breakage of the pedals plastic molding. It should be noted, however, that the breakages were seen after some extreme riding, so if most of your cycling is on the milder side of the sport, these clipless pedals should work just fine.

Summary

If you’re looking for a mountain bike pedal that is fairly responsive and lightweight, and you’re not too worried about putting it through the wringer, these pedals from the Time brand are a great choice overall.
Pros
  • Fairly lightweight
  • Smaller profile
  • Good responsiveness
Cons
  • Issues with durability

Criteria Used For The Evaluation

Grip

When it comes to the best mountain bike pedals, grip can be a bit of a double edge sword.  The grip of a pedal is its ability to be held firmly by the biker during pedaling.  If a pedal doesn’t have enough grip, the cyclist may have trouble controlling the pedals and the bike overall.  However, if the grip is too tight, releasing the pedal in times of an emergency may become difficult.

The mountain bike pedals presented here offer a very good balance between the ability to grip firmly and the need to release quickly as the situation warrants.  Platform style pedals offer a bit easier of release, since you just have to lift your foot.  However, they also offer less responsiveness when it comes to pedaling than the clipless variety.  The clipless style of pedal, however, such as the Crank Brothers Eggbeater 3 offers superior gripping power and control, but require that the cyclist remove their foot at a particular angle for releasing the grip.  While more advanced cyclists can do this with ease, a beginner may have a bit of trouble with the process at first.

Protection from Impact

Believe it or not, a mountain bike pedal can be your first line of defense against injury while on the mountain trail.  Rocks, mud and other debris can easily be thrown up into the air around your feet and ankles, leading to scrapes scratches and even things being embedded into the skin.

In addition to allowing you to move the bicycle forward, the best mountain bike pedals also offer a bit of shielding for your feet while you’re moving.  Simply put, the larger the pedal is, the more surface area is available for rocks and debris to hit.  This means that the pedal can be used to deflect dangerous debris away from your feet and ankles as you ride.

Pedal Thickness

Another thing to consider when finding the best mountain bike pedals for your use is their overall thickness.  A thicker pedal usually means that more material is being used, which means a heavier pedal.  A heavy pedal isn’t something that you want.

Think of it this way; each time your foot pushes down or lifts up while you are pedaling, you’re either pushing down or lifting up the pedal itself.  While it’s true that the rotational force does add some extra power, your feet and legs are doing most of the work.  That’s part of what makes mountain biking such great exercise.  However, if the pedal itself is on the heavier side, which usually happens when it’s, thicker overall, it can put some unnecessary strain on your body.

Thankfully, modern mountain bike pedals are often made with a more lightweight material and feature a much thinner, more compact design overall.  The list presented here provides quite a few examples of where thinner, yet stronger materials made it possible to make a lighter and easier to use a pedal that was still durable enough to withstand the rigors of mountain biking.

Clipless vs. Platform vs. Combo

There are essentially three different types of mountain bike pedals available on the market today.  The first is what is called platform pedals, and they’re most akin to the square or rectangle pedals that are often seen on children’s bikes.  You simply place your foot on the pedal, push down and repeat once it comes into position again.  They’re simple, straightforward and easy to use.

Clipless pedals get their name from the fact that unlike older styles of mountain biking pedals, which “clipped” onto the shoe, these pedals actually fit into specialized mountain biking shoes in a tongue and groove manner of speaking.  They offer much better grip and control than platform pedals, but removing or lifting the feet quickly off the pedal can take a bit of practice, especially for a beginner.

Combo pedals, or sometimes called hybrid pedals are pedals that feature characteristics of both the platform and clipless pedals.  They often feature a much wider platform than clipless pedals, but most often have the gripping features of a clipless pedal, although to a lesser extent.

Durability

Everything that is manufactured will eventually break.  It’s just the nature of the beast.  However, the durability of the best mountain bike pedals will often play a factor into how soon or how often a pedal needs to be repaired or replaced.  Durability, in turn, is often dictated by the overall workmanship, materials used, and by overall design.

For the most part, the pedals on this list are well made, and have every ability to last through many seasons depending on the frequency and severity of the mountain biking.  These pedals were shown to use quality materials, and feature quite a few design characteristics that help to prevent significant damage during use.

More to think about when choosing your next pair of mountain bike pedals

What terrain will you be riding on?

While you can’t predict every single type of area that you’ll ride through on your mountain bike, sometimes having a general idea will make choosing a bike pedal to be a bit easier.  If you expect to be traveling over rougher terrain, where things such as bunny hopping between rocks or places where sharp turns and changes in position are needed, a clipless bike pedal might be more beneficial.  The reason is that the clipless bike pedal offers greater overall control, and a smaller overall footprint than platform or even combo pedals.  Since you don’t have to concentrate on keeping your feet on the pedals, you can concentrate on things such as balance, use of your bodyweight, and the relationship between shifting, turning, and pedaling to get the job done.

However, if the trails you like to follow consist mainly of wider paths with more loose debris and gravel, and areas of steep descent followed by flat areas, a pedal that allows you to quickly release if necessary may be a better choice overall.  A platform or combo type of pedal would probably be your best bet in those types of situations.

What is your mountain biking skill level?

Another thing to consider when purchasing a new set of mountain bike pedals is your overall experience when it comes to mountain biking.  While using a pedal on a bike might seem simple enough, both clipless and combo pedals are a bit more complicated to use than platform pedals.

Unlike platform pedals, which allow you to simply lift your foot off the pedal when necessary, both clipless and combo pedals only allow the foot to be released with certain motions, such as tilt or turn of the ankle, or a lifting of the toe area.  This allows the specially designed shoes to release the part of the pedal that they are gripping.  While it’s not exactly hard to do while you’re pedaling like mad, it does take a bit of practice and experience to do it well.

FAQs

Q:   How often should I replace my mountain bike pedals?

There really isn’t anyone answer to this question such as “after three years, buy a new set”.  Rather, when you replace your mountain bike pedals depends on a number of factors.  First, consider the overall wear and tear on the pedals themselves.  Can they still turn freely?  Do the retention mechanisms on the clipless pedals still work?   Is the plastic on the platform still able to provide a grip?  Are the bearings in good condition?

If any of the answers to those questions is a “no” or “I’m not sure” it is probably time to consider replacing the pedals on your mountain bike.

Q:   What type of other equipment do I need?

When it comes to mountain bike riding, there are a few essential things to have, a few nice things to have, and a few luxuries that make the whole thing easier.  First, you’ll need a good mountain bike, and a helmet.  Those are the essentials.  Next, it’s nice to have a pair of gloves to help you grip the handlebars well when you get sweaty, a pair of sunglasses with protective lenses to protect your eyes from debris, a water bottle or hydration pack, a small first aid pack, and repair items such as a pump, spare tube or patch kit, and a cycling multi-tool to change out your pedals, tires, and gears as needed.

After those items are present and accounted for, most avid cyclists also consider clothing and shoes that are specifically designed for mountain biking.  The clothes are often lightweight and relatively form fitting, and made from moisture wicking materials.  Shoes, depending on whether you use clipless or platform pedals may also be specifically designed for gripping purposes.  And of course, depending on when you’re riding, things such as a detachable headlight, taillight, and an emergency whistle might be beneficial as well.

Final thoughts

If you think about it carefully, the pedals on your mountain bike are where the magic truly happens.  They help you to quickly respond to the needs of the trail ride, and keep things moving along even when times get difficult.  Having the best mountain bike pedal for your needs is truly an essential part of a great ride.