Unless you’re using one of the best balance bikes, you won’t be going anywhere without the best bike pedals for road, mountain, or clipless riding. Choosing the best bike pedals means thinking about the style of riding you prefer. Road biking requires a different pedaling efficiency than mountain biking. The best clipless pedals give you more potential maneuverability, as long as your shoes or cleats work with your pedaling system.
|Bonmixc Bike Pedals with Sealed Bearings|| 4.8 || $$$ |
|Schwinn Universal Pedal|| 4.2 || $$ |
|Bell Kicks 350 Universal Nylon Pedal|| 4.1 || $ |
|Rock Brothers Mountain/Cycling Bike Pedals|| 4.4 || $$$ |
|Shimano PD-M324 SPD Dual Platform Pedal|| 4.7 || $$$$ |
|Meetlocks Bike Pedals|| 4.5 || $$$ |
|Lumintrail PD-895B Big Foot BMX Pedals|| 4.6 || $$ |
|Diamondback 9/16-Inch Spindle Bicycle Pedal|| 4.6 || $ |
|Imrider Lightweight Polyamide Bike Pedals|| 4.4 || $$$ |
|OZUZ BMX/Mountain Bike Pedals|| 4.5 || $$$ |
What Types of Bike Pedals Are There?
Most people are familiar with the flat pedals that are on most bicycles. These are called “platform pedals” and are standard because they provide a stable surface of support for your feet. They work with virtually any shoe. Some cyclists even like to ride barefoot with platform pedals, though that isn’t really recommended.
Here are the other types of bike pedals that are available to you today so you can match your riding style to your pedaling needs.
- Clipless pedals. This type of bicycle pedal is designed to work with a specific type of shoe. This gives the rider more control while on the saddle because the feet are much less likely to slip off the pedal while maneuvering. You can apply more power because your feet are in a binding, much like a ski boot is to a ski.
- Toe Clip Pedals. This is another form of binding that is used on clipless pedals. Instead of the shoe connected to the pedal through the sole, it connects through the toe to provide more stability.
- Mountain Bike Pedals. This pedal design can be clipless or platform. The clipless option gives your cleat some movement on the pedals that isn’t always found on road-style pedals. They feature an SPD design that gives you angle and placement in a consistent manner.
There are also hybrid pedals available which feature both platform and clipless design options. This type of pedal is a good transitional pedal to use if you’re curious about clipless systems, but aren’t sure about how you’ll perform as a cyclist while using them. Don’t be fooled by the idea that you have to go with one style of pedal or the other. Hybrids are a meaningful alternative when cycling shoes aren’t always available… or wanted.
What Features Do the Best Bike Pedals Have?
There are two basic features that you’ll find in the average bike pedal. This is where the best bike pedal reviews come into play. The quality of these features helps to determine the quality of your overall cycling experience. You do not want to settle for sub-par quality when examining these components of a road, mountain, or clipless pedal.
- Cleat/Shoe Release. Most cycling cleats work with clipless pedals to release in a lateral motion. This is especially true with toe-clip pedals. Some pedals offer a multiple release feature that gives you more angles to release the shoe or cleat from the pedal. More release options give you a subtle, but improved riding experience.
- Pedal Float. When you are using a clipless or hybrid pedal for your road or mountain bike, the cleat or shoe will lock into the mechanism of the pedal and then stay there. The measurement of pedal float is the amount of angular rotation that is given to the foot when pedaling. The best systems allow for custom pedal float ranges. Others only allow a fixed angle.
Platform bike pedals are self-explanatory. Put your foot on the pedal and push. Using clipless pedals is a different story. Not only does it take practice to engage the pedal with your shoe or cleat, you’ve got to learn how to twist your foot to disengage the pedal as well. It is common to fall when first learning a clipless system, which is another reason why hybrid pedals for your road or mountain bike may be a better option.
Common Problems with Bike Pedals and How to Solve Them
Damage is the most common issue seen with bike pedals. Once a pedal is damaged for some reason, it must be replaced. Continuing to use a damaged bike pedal, even one that has only been dented or cracked, can lead to dangerous cycling conditions. Follow your manufacturer’s directions in replacing the damaged item.
For clipless pedals, the main issue they face is dirt and debris contamination. Most riders will first notice this issue when it becomes difficult to engage the shoe or cleat or disengage it. You’ll need to clean and then lubricate the pedal mechanisms to restore it to proper conditioning. Look for damage to the pedal while cleaning it and replace if necessary.
Some clipless and hybrid systems are dual-sided, but not every cyclist remembers this. If you have a dual-sided pedal, you’ll need to add lubrication to both sides of it. Otherwise you’re going to still have engagement problems.
Platform and toe-clip pedals are virtually maintenance free. Toe clips might need some lubrication at the strap buckle.
When pedals feel loose, it is because the mounting nuts have become less tight. Check on these every 100-200 miles you ride just to make sure they’re not working their way free.
The best bike pedals for road and mountain biking, including clipless systems, are generally priced between $25-$50. At the lower end of the price range are platform pedals that are similar to the stock pedals which come with most bikes. At the upper end are the clipless systems that give you a more stable ride.
Premium pedals that meet specific touring, downhill, or specialty cycling needs may be priced in the $100-$200 range.
Here’s Our Reviews:
These titanium pedals are dual-sided and offer a non-slip platform that works for both road and mountain bikes. The sealed bearings offer stable lubrication with four separate housings, while the aluminum alloy exterior gives you a lightweight, but very durable and consistent, pedal stroke. They look incredible on your bicycle, are wide for good stability, and they can withstand an impact or two without a problem. If you’re looking for the best bike pedals, these are strong contenders.
This universal pedal is the type you’ll see coming as a stock option on most bikes. They get the basics right. The platform offers some grip so your feet can remain stable on the pedal. Reflective components allow for better visibility. The 9/16-inch pedal adaptor fits virtually all types of bicycle cranks. We’d recommend using these pedals on the best kids bikes or having them on-hand as a spare because they are so affordable. As an added bonus, the composite body will not rust out on you.
This is another highly affordable universal option that is perfect for almost any time of bike. The single pedal works with all common sizes and features a durable Nylon resin body that is strong and won’t wear out prematurely on you. Maybe they’re not the best option for one of the best cruiser bikes or a vintage restoration project, but put them onto a mountain bike or a hybrid and you’ve got an inexpensive way to reach your destination.
These aluminum allow pedals offer an 80×90 millimeter platform that has the feel of a clipless pedal, but works with most shoes or boots. They hold tight to the pedals and have a lot of durability. We feel that they are better served as a road pedal more than a BMX or mountain pedal, but the performance is right in the mid-range where it should be. Aggressive riders may be disappointed in their impact resistance, but overall, we found these to be a good value purchase in this category.
If you want clip and clipless pedals for multipurpose riding, then these are the best bike pedals for you. They offer a fully-featured SPD clip interface on one side of the pedal and then the other is a standard platform option that works with most shoes or boots. We appreciated the clean finish on the aluminum body, the ease of use the cleat retention adjuster offers, and the lightweight performance offered by these bicycle pedals. Give these a try and you may never go back to a standard platform pedal ever again.
The best bike pedals offer more than just stability and power. They contribute to the look and feel of your riding experience. Find the right style, shape, and size today and you’ll be able to have more control over every pedal stroke you take.