You love mountain biking, and you know that it is important to have all of the proper equipment when you are out there riding on the trails. You want the best grip, a low weight, and a good feel for your shoes and feet. Having anything less than the best could mean the difference between having a great time or suffering an accident and needing to carry your busted bike down off the trails. Always take the time to ensure that you have only the very best equipment for the bike, including the best mountain bike pedals.
If you have stock pedals on your bike, they are not likely going to be good enough for your needs. The best thing you can do is upgrade them. Let’s look at some of the best options on the market today, such as Shimano, and then we will delve into some of the different elements you will want to consider when you are choosing the best mountain bike pedals from the platform to the pins.
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Best MTB Pedals
SHIMANO XT PD-M8040 Pedals
These Shimano are very popular for those who love mountain biking, and who are looking for quality pedals that are easy to use and comfortable while riding. This is a flat pedal system, which is a quality platform when navigating along the trails, and for removing yourself from the bike just in case things do not go according to plan and you need to bail off.
They Shimano has flat pedal model options that can work with a range of shoe sizes, so be sure to choose the right Shimano pedal for your shoe size. The Shimano pedals have 10 replaceable traction pins that are offered in low and high heights. The high-quality replacement pins are a nice feature. These Shimano pedals feature a concave design, which allows for a better overall grip. As you know, the grip can be quite important when you are out on the trails. These are high-quality Shimano pedals that are still affordable. These Shimano pedals are available in black and have an attractive overall design. The Shimano pedals should work quite nicely for many different bikes and are some of the best mountain bike pedal options available.
RaceFace Chester Mountain Bike Pedal
These are another quality model that you might want to consider. They are also very cost effective, and you will find that there is a lot to love about the nylon composite and chromoly steel pedals. They are lightweight, which means they do not add extra weight to the bike, which tends to be a bad idea for mountain biking.
The flat pedals have a large platform and an 8 hex pin system that will help with the traction and grip. This pin system with the platform ensures you feel confident that your feet will not slip when you are riding. Never underestimate the importance of a quality pin system.
You will also be able to choose from a range of different colors with these. They are available in black, yellow, purple, red, blue, green, orange, and turquoise. It should be possible to find a color that is going to work for just about any aesthetic style you might have.
Crank Brothers Doubleshot Hybrid Bike Pedal
These are a fantastic choice for those who are looking not only for pedals that can work well for a mountain bike, but pedals that could also work well for a commuter bike. These are essentially hybrid pedals that are meant to give you the best of both worlds no matter where you might be riding. If you are someone who has to use their bike in the city and on the trails, they could be the best pedal to choose.
They offer premium bearings and seals including Igus LL-Glide bearings and Enduro Cartridge Bearings, along with Double Seals. The pedals are lightweight and strong, as well as durable. The diamond plate pads are great for traction and grip, and you will find that they can help to shed mud easily, which is ideal for those who get out on the trails when the conditions might be a bit wet.
These reliable pedals with the Enduro bearings are available in a range of colors, as well.
SHIMANO PD-M530 Mountain Pedals
These Shimano pedals feature an integrated cage, along with a sealed cartridge bearing spindle, and adjustable entry and release tension settings. The Shimano pedals are durable and reliable, and they can work well for cyclocross and mountain biking, and even for commuting during the winter months.
These Shimano pedals, available in black, are somewhat heavier than other options on the market, but their durability and affordability still help to make them a very popular choice. One of the other benefits of the Shimano pedals is that they will have cleats included with them. The Shimano Pedals have great grip, are easy to use, low-maintenance pedals.
Race Face Aeffect Pedal
This pedal has a thin platform with a concave aluminum body. The pins load from the bottom, and the fact that this has a shorter spindle design helps to save on the weight. This is one of the features that makes it a good choice for a trail bike. They are very durable, and they can be a very good choice for your pedal upgrade. The platform ensures the pedals are smooth and long-wearing thanks to the cartridge bearings and the DU bushings. They also also have a nice grip. You can choose from three colors with this pedal – black, blue, and red. They are some of the best mountain bike pedals available.
Crank Brothers Eggbeater 3 Pedals
This company offers a range of great and innovative pedals, and the Eggbeater 3 pair of pedals are no exception. These are strong and durable pedals that are going to last. They have a unique design, which helps them to be more reliable when you are out on the trails. Your feet are simply not going to miss the pedals thanks to the quality and grip, which ensures that you will have more control over your bike.
One of the other advantages, that mountain bikers like, is the fact that they are so lightweight compared with others on the market.
RockBros MTB Mountain Bike Pedals Flat Aluminum Allow Platform Sealed Bearing Axle (9/16”)
These pedals could be a very good option for those who are in need of quality, upgraded mountain bike pedals. However, you will find that they could work quite well for many other types of bikes, as well, including cruisers, single speed bikes, road bikes, BMX, and more. They are very versatile, and they are quite reliable. They have a large platform where you can rest your feet, and your feet are not likely to slip off of them.
They have an aluminum alloy body, sealed bearings, and you can find them in a range of colors. Choose from black, black and green, black and red, black and silver, blue, gray, and red. There should be something that should match any rider’s bike.
SHIMANO PD-M424 SPD Pedal
This is a two-sided clipless Shimano SPD pedal that will easily clip into the system and provide the rider with a substantial amount of stability. The Shimano SPD pedal is easy to operate, and you will find that it can work well for mountain bikes whether you are out on the trails, or whether you are riding around the city. This is a dependable Shimano SPD pedal system that is durable and that even comes with a pair of bolt cleats. The addition of the cleats is a nice touch on these Shimano pedals.
Crank Brothers Stamp
The Crank Brothers Stamp pedals could be a good option for many on the hunt for new pedals for their mountain bikes. They have a 114mm by 111mm platform footprint, and there are 10 adjustable pins on each side, which can help to add more grip, as needed. These feature Igus LL-glide bearings and enduro cartridge bearings, which can provide a nice and smooth pedal rotation.
Riders can choose from quite a few different color and style options. There is gray, black, red, blue, raw (without any color), and the USA limited edition, which is red with blue accents. From the Enduro bearings to the price, there are quality options.
XLC PD-S01 Pedals
These pedals are also quite popular, and with good reason. These are dual sided, and they are clipless pedals and very easy to use. They have a clipless version on one side and a cage on the other, so you get the best of both worlds. You will also find that these pedals tend to be quite durable, and they can last for many hundreds of miles without worry.
They are going to provide you with an ample amount of stability and security when you are riding, making them a nice solution for those who are on their mountain bikes.
Make Sure You Are Choosing the Right Pedals for Your Needs
As you can see from the sampling above of some of the best pedals that are currently available, there are many options from Shimano to Crank Bothers, from which you can choose. Of course, with all of the options and all of the different features, materials, and types of pedals available, it can be difficult to know exactly which pedals will be right for you. Will it be one of the above options? Will it be something else? How do you understand the different features?
It can certainly seem intimidating when you are just starting out with a mountain bike and you do not know much about your options or which is best. You don’t know the difference between clipless pedals and flat pedals, and you aren’t sure if platform pedals are the same thing as flat pedals or not.
Do the pedals have removable pins or molded in pins? Are the pins made from metal or are the pins plastic? Some pins are hollow while other pins are rounded. While pins might not be the most important part of your pedal choice, you should still consider them. Choose the pins and pedals that are right for you. Will they have a quality grip and work with different types of shoes? It is always important to make sure that you have shoes of the right size and that the pedals will work with the shoes when you are out riding.
You want to make sure you are spending your money wisely, of course, so that means you are going to want to take a little bit of time to research and think about the types of pedals that are likely going to be the best solution for you. The price is important, but two of the most important things to consider include the performance and the way they act in the real world.
Compare this type of information with the type of riding that you plan to do. While all of the pedals that are mentioned above are going to work well as mountain bike pedals that you can take off road and onto the trails, you will find that some of them can work quite well in the city and for commuting, as well. If you are going to be using your bike for multiple purposes, these could be the ones that you might want to consider. It will all depend on how and where in the world you plan to use your bike.
Clipless, Flat, and Combination – What’s the Difference?
This is one of the first things that you will need to learn when you are choosing pedals. There are basically three types of pedals from which you can choose. Each of the three options have different strengths and weaknesses.
Flat pedals, which are also called platform pedals, are a very common option. In fact, you will find that when you buy mountain bikes from the store or online, they are going to come with these types of pedals as the standard. One of the biggest benefits of these types of platform pedals is the fact that they are so easy to use. You will just be able to get on the bike and go because you will not need to have any type of special shoes to use with them. As long as the shoe itself has a flat bottom, you should have no trouble.
Another one of the reasons that these might be a good option for those who are brand new to riding is the fact that they make it easier to bail off the bike if needed. Those who are just beginning with mountain bikes will find that it can sometimes be more difficult to bail with clipless pedals. These can is often the best option. They can still be stable, and most riders feel that they are about as stable as the clipless pedals. They also tend to be quite affordable, which is another reason they are popular.
Clipless pedals are another option, and these tend to be very popular with mountain bikers. The clipless pedals will usually come with cleats, which you will attach to the shoes that you use for mountain biking. These are going to clip into the pedals, which is going to provide you with a much better grip, so you will not have to worry about your feet slipping off the pedals when you are going over particularly rough patches on the trails. Never underestimate how important grip can be.
For those who are just starting out, clipless pedals can be tricky to become accustomed to, but you should not have any problems after a few rides. If you are going to choose this option, and you have never used them before, consider going on some short rides at first to get used to how they work and how to “unclip” your shoe quickly for when you are stopping or when you need to ditch the bike.
They have some nice advantages to them, as they tend to provide you with more overall efficiency as a rider. They also tend to be smaller and lighter, which will help to reduce the weight of the bike and can mean that they are not going to scrape on obstacles on the trail.
Of course, there is also the option of the combination pedals. These pedals are going to provide you with both clipless pedals and flat pedal options. One has a clip that is included with the flat or platform pedal on both sides, and the other has a clip on one side and a flat pedal or platform on the other side.
These are good for those who may be riding in different sorts of terrain and who want to have the best of both worlds. The pedals are generally larger than other types of pedals, and they will be heavier. If you use the bike for multiple purposes, and not just on the trail, these could be a good solution.
Now that you have a better idea of the different basic “types” of pedals, you will want to consider some of the other factors that will go into making your decision.
How Durable Will the Pedal Be?
One of the questions that you will want to answer is how long the pedal is likely to last. Ideally, you will have a pedal that is made from strong, quality materials and that will be able to stand up to the trails and contact with mud and dirt for many years and thousands of miles to come. Of course, the way you treat and care for the pedals is going to play a role in how long they will ultimately last. When they are durable, the pedals and/or the pins will not have to be replaced as often.
Good durability in the pedals will mean that they can withstand coming into contact with all of the hazards that you encounter out there on the trails. This might include rocks, bushes, and debris. Whether a platform pedal or another pedal, always choose those that are durable.
Repair of the Pedal
Are you going to be able to maintain the pedal on your own? Some of the pedals available are going to feature removable parts. This means that if one of the parts becomes damaged and needs to be removed, you can replace just that part without needing an entire new pedal. Other pedals will require that you replace the entire unit. This can be true whether they are platform pedals, combination pedals, etc. When it comes to contact with elements in the world like mud or debris, you need to know how to care for them.
Even though it could take longer to work on your own pedals, you may find that you can get more life out of the pedal when you replace parts on them rather than the entire pedal. This can ultimately mean lower expenditures, as well. Of course, it will depend on how much time you have and whether you want convenience rather than the affordability of doing your own repairs.
Is the Pedal Easy to Adjust?
Along the same lines as the maintenance of the pedal, you will want to consider the adjustments that you can make to the pedal and how easy, or difficult, those adjustments might be. Does the pedal have a pin system, and how easy are they to adjust? Can you adjust the pedal tension settings and the float adjustment? What’s the best model for you?
How Will the Pedal Deal With Mud and Debris?
One of the other considerations when you are choosing a pedal is going to be just how well they handle debris and mud, which they are sure to contact. This is generally called the shedding capability of the pedals. You do not want your pedals to become caked with mud or other debris, as this will just cause a problem when you are riding. It could even cause your feet to slip off the pedals. You should choose pedals that have a good reputation for being able to shed mud and other debris. It is going to help make your rides more pleasant.
The Weight of the Pedals
Many mountain bikers want to have a bike that is as light in weight as possible, while still remaining durable. This is because there may be some stretches of trails in the world where they need to carry their bike. Therefore, you are going to need to consider the weight of the pedals to see how much they will be adding to the weight of the bike. However, make sure that you are not sacrificing quality materials just because you want something that is lighter in weight. You need to strike a balance for the best performance when it comes to the weight, as well as the price.
How Much Do the MTB Pedals Cost?
Of course, one of the other factors that a rider will need to consider when it comes the mountain bike pedals you choose is the price of your pair of pedals. Keep in mind that you should also think about the overall quality and reliability of the pedals, and how long they are going to last when you are determining the true price of the pedals. Whether you are choosing platform pedals or clipless pedals, the quality and performance should always be more important than the price.
Tips for Maintaining Your Mountain Bike Pedals
No matter the price of your mountain bike pedals, you want to make sure that they are going to last. This means proper care and maintenance are essential for proper performance. You should make it a habit to clean the pedals off after each ride, particularly when you have had a rough ride and have gone through mud. You will want to remove them from the bike and clean them thoroughly every month or two depending on how often you ride and what you have come into contact with.
When you clean them, this is also a good time to do an inspection. You can check to see if there are any issues with the pedals that could mean you need a repair or a replacement. Keeping an eye on your clipless pedals or platform pedals and adjusting them, and making repairs, as needed, will help to keep them in shape for a longer period. It also ensures that you do not have any unexpected and unpleasant surprises with problematic pedals when you are out on the trails.
Make sure that each side is properly installed and cared for. If you tip over, you might find that one side is damaged and will need repair.
When Should You Replace Your Mountain Bike Pedals?
If you have stock pedals on your bike, you might not feel that you need to replace them quite yet. They might still be working well enough for you or giving you the performance you require. However, many riders tend to want to upgrade after a few months with the stock pedals, and that could be a good idea for you, as well.
For those who have had their pedals for a while, whether they are stock or upgraded, there will come a time when you need to replace them, as well. You will want to consider how well they are performing, whether you have had problems with slippage with your shoes, and whether they are still in good condition. You never want to keep platform or clipless pedals that are going to become a hazard to you when you are out on the trails.
If you are ever in doubt as to the quality and effectiveness of your pedals, it means it is time to change them. They tend to be very fast and easy to change on your own, but you could always take the pair of pedals to a professional if you need some help. Keep in mind that good shoes can make a difference in how the bike feels. Replace your shoes as needed.
By now, riders should have a much better idea of how to choose the best mountain bike pedals that are going to be right for the way you ride. There are some great options out there, such as those platform or clipless pedals listed above that can provide you with the performance you need. Find the perfect choice to upgrade the pedals on your bike, whether you are looking for Shimano or Race Face get out there and start enjoying the trails. Look at the price of a pair of pedals, the grip, the weight and find the perfect option for your shoes and feet.
Brad grabbed up his first bike when he was a kid and never looked back. He is an avid BMX rider and mountain biker.