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bike pedal types

Bike Pedal Types: How to Choose Bike Pedals

Choosing the right bike pedals can be difficult. With so many different types available on the market, it can be hard to know which ones are right for you.

This blog post will discuss the different types of bike pedals available and how to choose the right ones for your needs. So, whether you’re a casual cyclist or a serious racer, keep reading to learn more about bike pedals!

Common Pedal Types: Flat Vs. Clipless Vs. Clip

Flat pedals, also called platform pedals, are the simplest type of pedal, and beginner cyclists often use them. They provide good grip and stability, but they can be difficult to keep your feet on during longer rides.

Clipless pedals are more advanced, and they allow you to “clip in” to the pedal with a special shoe. This provides better pedaling efficiency and power transfer, but it can take some time to get used to.

Clip pedals are a combination of flat and clipless pedals. They have a flat surface like a flat pedal, but they also have a toe clip or cage that you can “clip in” to. This provides some of the pedaling efficiency of a clipless pedal, but it is easier to get used to than a full clipless pedal.

So, which type of bike pedal is right for you? It depends on your riding style and goals. If you’re just starting, flat pedals may be the best option. If you’re looking to improve your pedaling efficiency, clipless or clip pedals may be better.

Why choose a clipless pedal?

clipless bike pedal
clipless bike pedal

Clipless pedals offer many advantages over flat pedals. First, they allow you to “clip in” to the pedal with a special shoe. This provides better pedaling efficiency and power transfer, allowing you to ride faster and longer.

Second, clipless pedals provide greater stability and control. This is especially important when riding on rough terrain or in wet conditions.

Finally, clipless pedals can help prevent foot pain and injuries. Because your feet are clipped in, they can’t slip off the pedals and become injured.

So, if you’re looking for the best performance and safety, clipless pedals are the way to go.

Why choose a flat pedal?

flat pedal
flat pedal

Flat pedals are the simplest type of pedal, and beginner cyclists often use them. They provide good grip and stability, but they can be difficult to keep your feet on during longer rides.

However, flat pedals have some advantages over clipless pedals. First, they are easier to get in and out of. This can be helpful if you’re new to cycling or stopped at a traffic light.

Second, flat pedals don’t require special shoes. This means you can wear any type of shoe, which can be helpful in a pinch.

Finally, flat pedals are often less expensive than clipless pedals. Downhill, BMX, or bike park riders often prefer flat pedals because they’re easier to bail out on if you need to.

Why choose a clip pedal?

Clip pedals have a toe clip or cage to which you can “clip in”. You don’t need a cycling-specific shoe, but you’ll get some of the pedaling efficiency of a clipless pedal.

Clip pedals are often used by bike commuters or even triathletes who need the pedaling efficiency of a clipless pedal but don’t want to deal with the learning curve.

Pedal Types According to Ride Type

Road Clipless Pedals

Road clipless pedals are the most popular type of pedal for road cycling. They offer good pedaling efficiency and power transfer, and they allow you to “clip in” to the pedal with a special shoe.

Road clipless pedals usually have a 3-bolt cleat. The larger cleat helps distribute the force being applied to the pedal over a larger surface area.

It also reduces strain on the connection points and ensures a solid connection while pedaling a road bike.

Mountain Bike Clipless Pedals

Mountain bike clipless pedals are similar to road pedals, but they are designed for use on rough terrain. They often have a wider platform for better stability, and they may have a different cleat system that is easier to engage and release.

They often feature a 2-bolt cleat, which is smaller and easier to release than a 3-bolt cleat. This provides maximum comfort and engagement ease with the pedal.

Mountain Bike Flat Pedals

Mountain bike flat pedals are designed for use on rough terrain. They have a wide platform for better stability, and they often have spikes or pins for added grip.

BMX Pedals

BMX pedals are designed for use on BMX bikes. They are often made of durable metal, and they have a wide platform for better stability. Some BMX pedals even have built-in straps that you can “clip in” to.

Bike Commuter Pedals

Bike commuter pedals are designed for use on bike commuter bikes. They often have a wide platform for better stability, and they may have a toe clip or cage that you can “clip in” to.

This provides some of the pedaling efficiency of a clipless pedal, but it is easier to get used to than a full clipless pedal.

Pedal Features

Pedal float

Pedal float is the degree to which your foot can move before it disengages from the pedal. This is important because it allows your foot to move slightly during pedaling, which can help prevent knee pain and injuries.

Multi-release cleats

Multi-release cleats are designed to release from the pedal in multiple directions. This can be helpful if you’re new to clipless pedals, as it allows you to release from the pedal in a variety of ways. 

Pedal Materials: Aluminum vs. Steel vs. Carbon

Aluminum pedals are the most common type, and they offer a good balance of weight and durability.

Steel pedals are heavier but more durable, while carbon fiber pedals are lighter but can break more easily.

Final Thoughts

When choosing bike pedals, it’s important to consider the type of riding you’ll do. Road cyclists will want clipless pedals for maximum pedaling efficiency, while mountain bikers may prefer flat pedals for easier bail-outs.

Always make sure to choose a pedal compatible with your bike and shoes.


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