The Best Mountain Bike Pedals For Increased Comfort
This article is dedicated to a component of the bike that is often forgotten but that should be considered one of the most important, the bike pedal. In fact, together with the handlebar and saddle, this is one of the points of contact between the cyclist and his bike. If you want to jump directly to our top mountain bike pedals selection, click on the links in the table below.
In the world of the mountain bikes, there is a constant competition between the SPD and flat pedal lovers. But which is the best? We aim to offer a comprehensive overview of the various types of mountain bike pedals available, explaining technologies, how they work, their advantages and disadvantages. We also made a selection of the most popular models available on the market to help you choose the best pedals for your bike.
So, let’s see what are the best mountain bike pedals.
Structure Of The Pedals
A pedal consists of a pin with a threaded end, which is screwed on the crank of the bike. On the pin, also named axle, it is inserted the body of the pedal, the structure that forms the base on which we put the foot. Thanks to the addition of bearings, the pedal’s body can rotate freely on the axle, characteristic that helps the pedal maintain its parallelism with the ground at every point that is described by the circumference of the pedaling.
The axle of the pedal is usually made of steel, although lighter versions that are made of aluminum or titanium are also available for the high-end products. Regarding the body of the pedal, it can be made either of plastic or resin or painted steel. The most advanced models, usually the ones used by the pros, are made of carbon fiber or Ergal, materials chosen for their absolute lightness.
The right and left pedals are apparently identical but the threads differ between the two. The right pedal mounted on the crankshaft side and identified with the letter R has a right-hand thread that is screwed in a clockwise manner. The left side pedal, identified with the letter L, has a counterclockwise thread. This difference ensures that both pedals are kept tight during use.
Types Of Mountain Bike Pedals
The flat pedals, which literally mean that they are flat, are the most renowned and popular type of pedals. These pedals consist of a pin on which it is mounted a flat body that offers no possibility of hooking the footwear. Thanks to this anatomy, the flat pedals allow the foot to move and lift as it pleases and for this reason, many cyclists prefer these pedals over other types.
Flat pedals are made of different materials, the simplest and cheapest being made of plastic. These pedals, usually black and with reflective strips on the edges, are typically found on the low-range bikes.
The models of higher quality are usually made of coated steel. These pedals offer a better support and they have small pins on their surface that serve to provide a good grip to the shoe. These pedals are usually preferred by those practicing freestyle sports such as BMX, Freeride, or Enduro.
Advantages of the flat pedals
- Freedom of movement: you will be able to lift your foot off the pedal at any moment. This aspect is extremely important for most freestyle disciplines, including Enduro and Freeride.
- Larger support surface: flat pedals offer a larger support surface that allows the foot to slide freely.
- Safer: because the foot can be moved freely, the cyclists will be able to have quick reactions in critical situations.
- Easy to maintain: the flat pedals require minimal maintenance that, in many cases, is reduced to a few mere washings to remove the dirt and mud.
Downsides of the flat pedals
- Low contact maintenance under difficult conditions: without hooks that keep the foot in place, it is very easy to lose contact with the pedal when riding on slippery terrains or disjointed tracks.
- Pedal rotation: flat pedals usually rotate around the pin and for this reason, cyclists might not always find the body of the pedal parallel with the ground.
- More difficult to use: because there is no attachment that keeps the foot in place, long cycling might lead to heel inflammation and loss of the transmitted power.
SPD is an acronym for Shimano Pedaling Dynamic, this type of pedals being launched on the market by the Japanese company Shimano in 1990. The particularity of these pedals is that through the use of special footwear on which can be mounted a cleat, the shoes hook on the pedal, keeping the foot firmly anchored.
In fact, the pedal’s body consists of two forks that are held in position by two springs fixed on the axle. These springs keep the forks in place and make sure that they remain attached to the cleat that is fastened to the sole of the shoe.
When positioning the cleat on the pedal, the springs allow the forks to open, letting the cleat pass, after which they return to the original position, fastening the upper part of the cleat to the pedal. The cleat can be released by turning the heel on the outer edge of the pedal. For this reason, instead of SPD, many cyclists refer to these pedals as “quick release”.
Advantages of the SPD pedals
- Improved pedaling: because of the foot hooking to the pedal, the entire circumference described during pedaling is linear and the movement is more comfortable for the cyclist.
- Reduces the risk of inflammation: because the feet are securely fastened to the pedal the muscle fatigue is reduced and so is the risk of inflammation.
- Better power transmission: the SPD pedals allow for better performance with minimal energy dissipation, and are a standard for disciplines such as XC or XC Marathon.
- Always ready for engagement: because SPD pedals rotate less than the flat ones, they are always ready for engagement.
Downsides of SPD pedals
- Require special footwear: you won’t be able to use SPD pedals with your regular sneakers. For this reason, if you love riding your mountain bike for leisure, SPD pedals might just not be for you.
- Need special maintenance: apart from working well only with dedicated shoes, the SPD pedals are sensitive to mud. In fact, mud might cause the hooking system to jam, and it can make hooking and unhooking difficult.
Apart from these two types of mountain bike pedals, on the market, there are also hybrid flat and SPD pedals that combine the best characteristics of both types. Nevertheless, they don’t enjoy a huge success.
Because many cyclists prefer using their bike for leisure purposes, and also because they are more versatile, we concentrated our selection of best mountain bike pedals on the flat type. Here is our top.
Best Mountain Bike Pedals
1. Rock Bros Mountain Bike Pedals Flat
Some of the most popular mountain bike pedals on the market are manufactured by Rock Bros. These pedals are made of lightweight aluminum alloy and are suitable for bicycles between 9 and 16 inches.
The pedals are painted in different colors and can match any color of the bike. Specifically designed for mountain bikes, the flat pedals boast boasts fixed on both surfaces that help to keep the foot in place regardless of what footwear you plan on wearing.
In fact, the pedals perform exceptionally well both on road and off road and keep the foot in place in both wet and dry conditions.
Another impressive thing is the wide platform that provides a great foot rest, while the bearings are really tight.
Things We Liked
- Beautiful design: the pedals can enhance or ruin the design of your bike, and these ones will definitely add some value.
- Wide color selection: these pedals come in 13 different colors. The design of the platform varies slightly too, but the overall performances are the same.
- Suitable for various types of bikes: although the manufacturer sells them as mountain bike pedals, they are actually suitable for BMX, city bikes, cruiser bikes and more.
- Suitable for various sizes of bikes: from kids to adults, these pedals fit well on any size of the bike, as long as they have a 9/16 inches thread.
Things We Didn't Like
- The pedals tend to become bent after a short period of time if used intensely. However, they can be easily flattened back to their original shape with ease.
2. Rock Bros Mountain Bike Pedals
Another popular mountain bike pedal from Rock Bros is the MTB BMX DH platform. These pedals are characterized by a flat surface that is nice and smooth, designed specifically for DH riding. Nevertheless, these pedals are more suitable for light riding, such as leisure riding.
For DH riders that constantly pedal on rugged terrain, these pedals might not be resistant enough.
Apart from this consideration, these pedals are still excellent. The manufacturer proposes a wide variety of colors, they have a wide platform and are sturdy enough to resist well to almost all challenges.
Things We Liked
- Good grip: although the surface of the pedals is flat and smooth, these pedals offer an exceptional grip and are able to keep the foot in place with ease.
- Suitable for various bike sizes: these pedals are suitable for both women and men’s bikes and for junior bikes as well, being compatible with bikes with thread sizes of 9/16 inches.
- Perfect for leisure riding: if you are occasional cyclists who enjoy riding on the tracks every now and then, these pedals will not disappoint.
- Wide platform: designed for both mountain bikes and BMXs, these pedals have wide platforms.
Things We Didn't Like
- The pedals have rather sharp edges and can easily injure your skin. For this reason, it is advisable to pay extra attention while riding.
3. Sumgott Mountain Bicycles Pedals Flat
If you are looking for a pair of heavy duty pedals for your freeriding bike, then these flat mountain bike pedals from Sumgott might be the ones you are looking for.
Made of durable aluminum alloy and boasting a sealed bearing axle, these mountain bike pedals can bear more than 150 kg. Despite this, they are ultra-lightweight and present a dual sided non-slip surface fitted with bolts designed to keep the foot in place.
Suitable for a wide variety of bikes, these pedals are perfect for mountain bikes and urban bikes with thread sizes of 9/16 inches.
Things We Liked
- Lightweight construction: made of aluminum alloy, these pedals are extremely lightweight although they are resistant and durable.
- Dual sided pedals: the pedals can be used regardless of their position, both sides being equipped with non-slip bolts.
- Aggressive design: the black pedals can enhance the look of any mountain bike thanks to the straight, aggressive lines and cured details.
- Great price: although of high-quality, these pedals come at a more than affordable price and are judged as great value for the money.
Things We Didn't Like
- There are no reported flaws, and after trying them ourselves we are happy to say that they are absolutely great.
4. Imrider Lightweight Polyamide Bike Pedals
If you are looking for a set of lightweight mountain bike pedals perfect for medium and heavy use, then these polyamide pedals from Imrider could be a perfect choice. The pedals boast a wide nailed surface designed for strong grip regardless of the weather.
Apart from this, the shape of the platform is perfect for long riding comfort.
The high-quality polyamide presents an excellent abrasion resistance and also great resistance to corrosion, the pedals being extremely durable.
In addition to this, the pedals are suitable for a wide range of bikes, from cruiser and BMX to road bikes, mountain bikes, and city bikes. To match with any color of the bike, the pedals are manufactured in various colors.
Things We Liked
- Fit bikes of various sizes: manufactured for bikes with thread sizes of 9/16 inches, these pedals are perfect for junior, women and men’s bikes.
- Perform well in all atmospheric conditions: the pedals provide a good grip on both dry and wet weather and they work excellently even when they are full of mud.
- Easy to clean: thanks to the simple shape, the pedals are easy to clean with a garden hose.
- Easy to mount: there is nothing complicated in putting these pedals on. Just pay attention to the screwing direction of the right and left side pedal.
Things We Didn't Like
- The only downside of these pedals is that the manufacturer didn’t provide bolts for the grip feature but screws that are really sharp and can easily cut through the skin.
5. Eagle Riding Nylon Composite Mountain Bike Pedals
A pair of mountain bike pedals that will certainly make your bike stand out come from Eagle Riding and are made of nylon composite. Coming in different colors, it will be really easy to match them to the color of your bike.
A characteristic of the nylon composite is that it is a waterproof material that provides a great grip even in the wettest conditions. Apart from this, the pedals are dustproof and anti-skidding.
The pedals come with a chrome bearing axle that is surprisingly stable and has a long service life. In addition, the pedals’ surface is wide, accommodating any size of the foot with incredible ease.
The Eagle Riding pedals come with a limited 3 years warranty against manufacturing defects and are suitable for most types of bikes, including mountain bike and BMXs.
Things We Liked
- Suitable for almost all bikes: with a spindle diameter or 9/16 inches, these pedals are perfect for junior, women and men’s bikes.
- Ultra lightweight: each pedal weighs only 0,39 lb., maintaining your bike as light as possible.
- Wide platform: the platform can easily accommodate any size of the foot, allowing you to step safely and to use less power while pedaling.
- Different colors: available in green, blue and orange, these pedals will certainly make you stand out.
Things We Didn't Like
- Although of high quality, these pedals just don’t seem sturdy enough for heavy use and are more suitable for light cycling.
Conclusion & Final Pick
According to us, the best mountain bike pedals on the market are the Sumgott Mountain Bicycles Pedals Flat.
We love these pedals because they are lightweight yet durable, they have an aggressive design and come at a fabulous price. Apart from us, all the other users seem to love them and nobody reported not even a flaw.
The Sumgott pedals are ideal for freeriding and have exceptional performances even when used intensely. To give them their strength is the lightweight aluminum alloy and the sealed bearing axle that can bear up to 150 kg.
Furthermore, the non-slip surface and the fitted bolts provide a great grip and your shoes won’t slip off even on the rainiest days.
Apart from all this, these pedals are perfect for a wide range of bikes, including mountain bikes, urban bikes, and even road bikes. In our opinion, you should really give them a chance.