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Bike pedals lay at the heart of transferring your power into speed. Whether it be Road or Mountain, the proper pedal can play a big role in your riding experience. From World Cup champions to weekend warriors, everyone will have their preference of pedal and style. Here is a breakdown of the most common pedal types.
Platform pedals are the more generic category of your pedal options. These pedals range from low-cost everyday options to CNC machined, laser etched pieces of art. Platform pedals do not require any special type of cycling shoe and are ideal for recreational type riding.
Mountain bike flat pedals come in all sorts of sizes, colors, and price points. Most brands offer an attractive option in both aluminum as well as a lower cost nylon models. Aluminum options will generally be more durable and offer you more options in thickness & platform size than nylon options, while nylon platform pedals are a home run in the price department. There is no right or wrong answer to picking out a pedal, it comes down to your personal need.
Road pedals come in multiple different configurations that all require a cycling specific shoe. These shoes will have a mounted cleat that engages and locks into your road pedal. These types of pedals are ideal for longer distance, less technical riding where comfort, power, and weight are all strong considerations.
Shimano road SPD is the most common type of road pedal and widely used by riders all over the globe. It is a simple cleat configuration that is tunable with different cleat interfaces. Depending on the pedal, the spring tension can be adjusted on the pedal to adjust the pressure needed for engagement/disengagement.
Other companies that offer road pedals include Look and unique design of Speedplay. Both companies offer a complete system that requires the use of their pedal and cleat combo, they do not mix and match.
Mountain bike pedals are a big decision for every rider. The technical aspects of mountain biking demand control and comfort on the bike at all times, your feet being secure on the pedal is highly valued by every rider. Add in the fact that you are pedaling over uneven terrain where pedal strikes are in abundance, and suddenly the correct pedal choice can make or break your ride.
Mountain pedals come in both platform and clipless options. Clipless being an identical design as road clipless pedals, only with a more compact design. Like road pedals, Shimano SPD is the most widely used system for mountain clipless pedals followed by offering from Crank Brothers.
Platform pedals are becoming increasingly popular in many regions as the level of difficulty is increasing on trails. Mountain platform pedals give the rider a freer feeling on the bike with the ability to step off the pedal at any moment with ease. Mountain platform pedals often come with traction pins installed in the body that dig into your shoe providing you the grip needed to stay connected down rough trails. As you’d expect, platform pedals come in all shapes and sizes along with both aluminum and the more budget-friendly nylon option. A few companies that offer ideal platform options for mountain biking are RaceFace, Deity, Chromag, and One Up Components.
Shimano SPD is also commonly used in fitness type applications such as spin bikes. While generally those customers just need the shoe and cleat combo, not the actual pedal, it is important to recognize the different systems to get the proper setup.
If you have any questions or need help selecting the proper bicycle pedal, please contact us to help select the ideal model.