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Best Mountain Bike Pedals

last updated May 26, 2019

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 quality pair of mountain bike pedals that work best for you. This comprehensive list will get you pedaling in the right direction.

In a Hurry? The test winner after 8 hrs of research

icon
Race Face Chester
97.3/100 our score
Features
98
Size
99
Durability
95
Race Face Chester
Why is it better?

Lightweight, easy to use

Removable steel pins

Large platform area for added impact protection

In a Hurry? Editors choice:
Race Face Chester
Test Winner: Race Face Chester
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Researched Sources
13
Researched Sources
Reviews Considered
1,213
Reviews Considered
Hours Researching
8
Hours Researching
Products Evaluated
10
Products Evaluated
Last Updated:
Sami Kritz
By Sami Kritz:

Tackle (almost) any trail with one of these top-rated mountain bike pedals. Our newest additions to this list are the Spank Spoon and the Shimano XTR PD-M9020. From clipless, to platform, to hybrids, we have included something for everyone. With our new interactive format, you can vote on which criterion is most important to you and then re-order the list accordingly!

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Rank
PictureProduct
Name
Rating
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#1
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
97.3
Features
98 %
Size
99 %
Durability
95 %
Price Comparison Last Updated (22.08.19)
Amazon Link
$49.98
Backcountry Link
$49.99
See Deal
#2
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
96.7
Features
97 %
Size
98 %
Durability
95 %
Price Comparison Last Updated (22.08.19)
Amazon Link
$39.98
Backcountry Link
$78.00
See Deal
#3
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
92.7
Features
96 %
Size
98 %
Durability
84 %
Price Comparison Last Updated (22.08.19)
#4
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
92.3
Features
92 %
Size
91 %
Durability
94 %
Price Comparison Last Updated (22.08.19)
Amazon Link
$168.08
#5
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
91.7
Features
90 %
Size
91 %
Durability
94 %
Price Comparison Last Updated (22.08.19)
Amazon Link
$178.99
#6
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
90.3
Features
88 %
Size
91 %
Durability
92 %
Price Comparison Last Updated (22.08.19)
#7
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
89.7
Features
85 %
Size
90 %
Durability
94 %
Price Comparison Last Updated (22.08.19)
#8
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
89.3
Features
90 %
Size
85 %
Durability
93 %
Price Comparison Last Updated (22.08.19)
#9
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
88.3
Features
89 %
Size
90 %
Durability
86 %
Price Comparison Last Updated (22.08.19)
Amazon Link
$89.95
#10
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
82.3
Features
83 %
Size
74 %
Durability
90 %
Price Comparison Last Updated (22.08.19)
Amazon Link
$169.95

Top 10 Picks

1. Race Face Chester

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
97.3
Race Face Chester
Amazon Link
Features
98
Size
99
Durability
95
best offer for today
more shops
Amazon Link
$49.98
Backcountry Link
$49.99
See Deal
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

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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Features
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.

These pedals 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.

Additionally, these pedals fall 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.

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.

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.

2. VP Components Vice Platform

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
96.7
VP Components Vice Platform
Amazon Link
Features
97
Size
98
Durability
95
best offer for today
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Amazon Link
$39.98
Backcountry Link
$78.00
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Pros:

Easy to install with hex keys

Durable aluminum body

Solid grip, even when wet

Fully rebuildable

Cons:

Scuffed easily by repeated rock strikes

No indication of L/R orientation

This pedal features extra pins for extra grip, regardless of weather conditions or terrain, a wide body to ensure a stable feel, and a price point ideal both the beginners and the budget-conscious.

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Features
This pedal features twelve pins per side to ensure proper grip with any kind of shoe. They also feature a nice wide and low-profile body to ensure a stable feel, even in wet conditions.

The wider platform of this pedal is not only ideal for stability but offers a good amount of protection from rocks and roots underneath you, as well as potential debris. The wider body can make tighter places somewhat unfavorable, however, so keep that in consideration as well.

These are platform pedals, making them ideal for beginners or those who like the additional responsiveness they provide.

Pedal Thickness
Measuring at 14mm (excluding pins), the VP Components Vice Pedal is a good mixture of thinness and durability.

Durability
These have proven to be quite durable, though may get scuffed up from repeated rock strikes.

Summary
If you're just starting out, or want a good quality platform pedal on a budget, you'd do well with the VP Components Vice. They're designed for durability and strong grip while being lightweight and easy to install. The pedal studs are adjustable to accommodate for most any shoes, and the widebody will help protect your feet from potential debris kicked up during your adventures.

3. Crank Brothers Large Stamp

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
92.7
Crank Brothers Large Stamp
Amazon Link
Features
96
Size
98
Durability
84
best offer for today
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Pros:

Larger size, great for larger feet

Easy to use

Great overall grip for a platform

Cons:

Bearings are known to wear away quickly

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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Features
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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

4. DMR VAULT

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
92.3
DMR VAULT
Amazon Link
Features
92
Size
91
Durability
94
best offer for today
Amazon Link
$168.08
Pros:

Fairly lightweight

Good responsiveness

Extremely grippy

Great color options

Cons:

Can provide too much grip for some

The DMR Vault 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. Each pedal features 11 pins, 7 of which can be adjusted to fit long or short, depending on your preference.

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Features
When it comes to grip, these pedals from DMR 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.

These pedals make use of a larger platform which helps immensely to avoid rock strikes. The concave design and grip of the pedals also help to avoid slipping.

These pedals 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.

Pedal Thickness
These pedals have an overall thickness of two and a half inches, and together weigh about 1.2 pounds, or 0.6 pounds each, making them extremely lightweight indeed.

Durability
These pedals are a great choice when it comes to overall grip and responsiveness, and durability is no different. The aluminum material proves to be strong and ready to take on any terrain. The only damage we have seen to these pedals is a pin being knocked out of place on a particularly tricky trail, but overall, these are very durable pedals.

Summary
If you’re looking for a pedal that is fairly responsive and lightweight, extremely grippy, and you’re not too worried about putting it through the wringer, these pedals from DMR are a great choice overall.

5. Shimano XTR PD-M9020

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
91.7
Shimano XTR PD-M9020
Amazon Link
Features
90
Size
91
Durability
94
best offer for today
Amazon Link
$178.99
Pros:

Lightweight

Very large base

Durable

Cons:

Edges can be sharp

The Shimano XTR PD-M9020 has been praised for its durability, lightweight, and wide base. The wide base allows you to disperse the pressure of pedaling more evenly on your foot. If you're looking for a versatile new pedal that will last you for years, this may just be it.

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Features
The entry and exit process with the pedals is fairly simple. The grooves and bearings of the pedal allow for smooth entry without the commitment of clipping in.

These pedals feature wider bearing placement than most, increasing their rigidity. They also feature a large cage, providing an impressive amount of shoe to pedal contact.

At 379-grams total, these hybrid pedals are one of the most lightweight pedals on the market today. The binding system is Teflon coated which helps to shed mud but the pedals can also lose their slickness in the process.

Pedal Thickness
These pedals have a thickness of 8.5mm. They provide a contact area of 585mm squared while maintaining a very low weight. This provides you with more pedaling stability and confidence.

Durability
The axle of these pedals is made from Chromoly steel and the body is made from aluminum. Some reviewers claimed that the edges of the pedals were sharp when they first arrived and they sanded them down a bit. Overall, these are strong pedals that won’t give out on you any time soon.

Summary
Great for trail or adventure, you can count on these pedals. Their most noteworthy features are their wide platform and ultra lightweight. To sweeten the deal, even more, SM-SH51 cleats are included with the pedals.

6. Crank Brothers Eggbeater 3

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
90.3
Crank Brothers Eggbeater 3
Amazon Link
Features
88
Size
91
Durability
92
best offer for today
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Pros:

Easy grip and release system

Small and relatively lightweight

Very durable construction

Cons:

Not suited for beginner mountain cyclists

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 should certainly be on your list.

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Features
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.

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.

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

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.

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.

7. Race Face Aeffect

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
89.7
Race Face Aeffect
Amazon Link
Features
85
Size
90
Durability
94
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Pros:

Reduced spindle length saves weight

Hex threaded for added security

Superior grip

Cons:

Pins can be sharp

If you're looking for a visually stunning pedal with durability to match, the Race Face Aeffect is a good choice. Sporting Chromoly steel axels, a concave platform design, and bottom loading hex pins, these pedals will definitely be able to keep up with you no matter where you go.

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Features
This pedal uses ten bottom-loading hex pins per side to ensure a stable grip while providing extra security in any environment. There have been reports of the pins being sharp, however, so take care when mounting and dismounting.

The platform is just shy of four inches wide, providing average protection from debris. The traction pins are known to be sharp, however, and thus may not provide the best protection from impact.

These are platform pedals, designed for ease of use and quick footwork when necessary.

Pedal Thickness
Measuring 15mm at the thinnest and 16.9mm at the thickest points, these are about the average thickness for aluminum platform pedals, with a slightly concave design, assisting in overall traction.

Durability
The Chromoly steel axels still spin freely even after extended use, with little to no dirt making its way into them, indicating a strong seal once installed. The platforms themselves can withstand any conditions, from trails to thick mud to even slushy snow.

Summary
The Race Face Aeffect pedals are designed to look great while providing strong traction and security, with minimal wobble and debris getting into the seals near the crankarms. The waterproof aluminum design ensures resilience in any number of conditions.

8. Shimano Deore XT M8020 SPD

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
89.3
Shimano Deore XT M8020 SPD
Amazon Link
Features
90
Size
85
Durability
93
best offer for today
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Pros:

Easy to engage the system

Wider platform than other clipless pedals

Solid and durable construction

Cons:

A bit heavier than we would like

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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Features
This pedal features the ability to anchor in from either side of the pedal, allowing for 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.

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.

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.

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.

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 the 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.

9. Spank Spoon

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
88.3
Spank Spoon
Amazon Link
Features
89
Size
90
Durability
86
best offer for today
more shops
Amazon Link
$89.95
Pros:

3 different size options

Great protection from impact

4 different color options

Cons:

Heavy

A bit noisy

The Spank Spoon pedal provides us with a strong versatile pedal that is available in three different sizes, to provide a perfect fit for men, women, giants, and shortys. It is available in four different colors and features twenty pins per pedal. This is a strong and affordable option.

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Features
The body of this pedal is concave and features 20 replaceable pins per pedal. At the back and front of the pedal, the pins are 14mm. In the middle of the pedal, the 4 pins measure 10mm.

They are available in three different sizes to provide a near perfect fit for everyone. The 110mm is for people with a size 11 (US) foot or larger, the 100mm is for size 7 (US) to 10, and the 90mm is for size 6 (US) shoe and smaller.

The pins provide a “superglue-like” grip and bearings are smooth.

Pedal Thickness
The width of the platform is 100mm x 105mm. The large platform is great for control and stability but can also increase your chances of knicking a rock or the ground.

The height of the pedals is 16-12mm concave.

Durability
The body of these pedals is made from MGR extruded alloy and the axle is made from cold-forged Chromoly steel. Even after plenty of tumbles, knicks, and scrapes, reviewers say that these pedals stay in great shape. You would have to worry about the pedals hurting you before the pedals being hurt.

Summary
Overall, this is a great concave pedal. The durability and sizing options are admirable and it’s available in black, green, red, or blue. The shape of the pedal, along with the replaceable pins, offer amazing grip and balance.

10. Xpedo GFX DH Clipless Platform Pedals

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
82.3
Xpedo GFX DH Clipless Platform Pedals
Amazon Link
Features
83
Size
74
Durability
90
best offer for today
Amazon Link
$169.95
Pros:

Sturdy construction

Relatively easy engagement

Cons:

Heavier than most pedals we’ve seen

Doesn’t offer much impact protection

This spot 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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Features
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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Criteria Used for Evaluation

Features

Grip
When it comes to the best mountain bike pedals, the 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 for 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.

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.

Size

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 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.

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 in 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 the 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.

Expert Interviews & Opinions

Most Important Criteria (According to our experts opinion)
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#1
ico Features
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#2
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#3
ico Durability
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expert tips icon
Clipless, not clueless

Switching to clipless pedals can feel daunting at first. To avoid looking like a fool, it's best to practice attaching and disengaging from the pedals in a stationary position until you get the hang of it. However, after you figure out how the pedals work, you will be able to improve your speed, efficiency, and comfort.

Exercise

While mountain biking may be your main form of exercise, it is also important to exercise certain muscles off of the bike. Your glutes, for example, are a powerhouse and doing squats or lunges can help to make them stronger and create a stronger stride.

Pins

The more pins that a pedal has, the better grip it will give you. If you intend to bike at high speeds, this is perfect for you. However, one thing to remember is that they can be dangerous if you slip as well. Another thing to look into is if the pins are replaceable. If you ride on rocky terrain, they will eventually be ground down and need to be replaced.

Other Factors to Consider

Terrain

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 a 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 body weight, and the relationship between shifting, turning, and be 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.

Ease of Use

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.

Frequently Asked Questions

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

a:

There really isn’t anyone answers 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?

a:

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.

q: What’s the difference between platform and clipless pedals?

a:

When choosing a pedal, you want to first determine what type is best for you. Most entry-level mountain bikes will have platform pedals. They’re ideal for beginners, as they don’t require special shoes; any sturdy shoes with a flat bottom will work. It’s also easier to get off of the bike if necessary, which is great for beginners, as well as downhill riding and dirt jumping. They’re also typically less expensive than clipless pedals, at least for entry-level models.

Clipless pedals feature a special cleat that is then attached to a shoe specifically designed for mountain biking, providing a true connection between foot and pedal. It can take beginners a bit of time to get used to clipless pedals, but they do come with their advantages. The connection can improve handling on rougher terrain and bumpy descents. They also have a smaller overall size and are typically lighter in weight than similar-quality platform pedals.

q: What do float and tension mean in regards to clipless pedals?

a:

As stated above, clipless pedals use special cleats and shoes to hold your foot in place on the pedal. “Float” refers to how much your foot can move while clipped into the pedal. This is important when it comes to rough terrain and areas where precise footwork is necessary. Float is typically an angle from 0 to 15 degrees, and the exact amount of float will depend on the specific cleat.

Clipless pedals involve specific ways of detaching them, the most common being to pivot on the ball of your foot so you can twist your heel outwards. “Tension” refers to the amount of resistance needed to do this. The angle of release is also important, as it determines on what plane your foot with disengage from the pedal. These are both crucial in regards to how quickly you can unclip your foot from the pedal, so take these factors into consideration as well.

Sources

  1. Marc Lindsay, 6 Beginner's Tips for Clipless Pedals, Article
  2. Peter Drinkell, How to cycle with the technique of a pro, Article
  3. David Streever, BEST MOUNTAIN BIKE PEDALS OF 2019, Outdoor Blog
  4. Singletracks Staff, How to Choose the Best Mountain Bike Pedals, Mountain Biking Site