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Best Bike Pedals of 2021 (MTB, Road & Gravel)

Jeff Balton

Best Pedals

Here are our top picks of best bike pedals for road cycling, mountain biking, and gravel riding. Clipless and flat models for different applications!

Choosing the right type of pedals for your bike and your style of riding is incredibly important. After all, your pedals are one of the three most important contact points on the bike—the bars and saddle being the other two.

Note: If you’re new to the cycling world, make sure to read about cycling shoes to learn about how they work, different types, and what to look out for.

With the right bike pedals, you’ll improve power transfer, reduce the chance of injuries, as well as increase confidence and comfort.

So without further ado, here are the best bike pedals for mountain biking, road cycling, and gravel riding that offer the most bang for the buck!

 

Mountain | Road | Gravel

 

Best Mountain Bike Pedals


1. Race Face Chester

The Best Mountain Bike Platform Pedals

Chester pedals

  • Replaceable steel pins
  • Serviceable internals
  • Tough pedal body
  • Seven colors

 

Race Face Chester is one of the best mountain bike platform pedals that don’t cost much. They’re built around a slim and lightweight concave platform that provides excellent grip and support when pedaling.

Related: Best Cycling Shoes

The pedal body is made from a nylon composite, which is a tough and light material, so the pedals weigh just 12 ounces. They can handle a lot of bashing and trashing on rocks and roots before you’ll see any serious wear.

However, what made us include the Race Face Chester pedals is the 8 replaceable hex traction pins per side. These are made from steel, so they’re super durable and provide all the traction you need even in muddy conditions.

Perhaps most importantly, the Chromoly steel axle is sealed and the internals (cartridge bearings and DU bushings) are easily serviceable. Therefore, if you take good care of them, these mountain bike pedals can last you for years.

 

2. Shimano XTR PD-M9100

Best Clipless Mountain Bike Pedals

Shimano XTR

  • Lightweight aluminum body
  • 2 axle length options
  • Best for XC and trail riding

 

Shimano XTR pedals have been the go-to choice of MTB racers for years. The reason is simple—they’re the pinnacle of SPD engineering and the best clipless mountain bike pedals around.

The XTR M9100’s body is made from aluminum and has a wider contact area for better power transfer. The design sheds mud better than ever before and offers better support when pedaling.

To ensure the best possible fit, you can choose from two-axle length options, with a three-millimeter difference in length.

Other notable features include adjustable tension, serviceable bearings, and a bulletproof body. The PD-M9100 pedals weigh just 310g, so they’ll not weigh you down while grinding your way up toward a KOM.

Shimano XTR pedals are slightly up there with the pricing. However, they’ll give you unmatched pedaling efficiency, especially if you’re a racer or a serious amateur.

 

3. OneUp Components Aluminum Pedal

Durable Mountain Bike Pedals

OneUp pedals

  • Aluminum body in three colors
  • 10 removable pins
  • Sealed cartridge bearings
  • Weigh 355g

 

OneUp Components Aluminum Pedal is a durable, grippy, and streamlined mid-tier choice. As the name tells you, these pedals are made from aluminum, which makes them lightweight yet resistant to hard daily trail abuse.

These OneUp pedals are very grippy thanks to 10 removable hexagonal pins on each side. That makes them a great choice for rowdy trail rides and enduro events.

Another reason why we like them is the sealed cartridge bearings that deliver smooth performance. They keep the water and gunk out, so you’ll need to service your pedals less often than usual.

OneUp pedals are all about comfort, confidence, and grip, so they feature a subtle convex profile that rests perfectly underfoot and prevents slippage.

Buy them if you want some of the best bike pedals for mountain bikes at a reasonable price.

 

4. Shimano PD-M520

Budget-Friendly Mountain Bike Pedals

Shimano PD M520

  • Budget-friendly
  • Low-maintenance design
  • Great mud-shedding properties

 

Shimano PD-M520 is a pair of versatile budget SPDs ideal for all-around MTB riding. These are classic Shimano SPD pedals that are the go-to choice for beginners and budget-minded riders.

The M520s have been introduced years ago but are still the best mountain bike pedals in 2021. Their open design is exceptionally good at shedding mud and bringing the weight down.

Of course, they’re also quite easy to maintain and service thanks to the sealed bearing cartridge axle. It keeps everything dry and clean inside and it’s easy to take apart and rebuild.

What we like the most about these pedals is how economical the design is. The body is small and the cleat mechanism is crisp, precise, and secure, despite the price.

Related: Shimano M530 SPD Pedals Test & Review

Get Shimano M520s if you’re a beginner and you need a dependable pair of SPD pedals that won’t break your bank.

 

5. Shimano PD-M8140, Deore XT Pedals

Heavy-Duty Aluminum Pedals

Shimano - PD-M8140, Deore XT Pedals

  • Cast and machined aluminum body
  • 10 pins per side
  • Sealed bearings
  • 505g

 

If you hate doing research and nitpicking at all the different details, just choose the Shimano Deore XT pedals. You can’t go wrong with them as they’re strong, reliable, and perform really well.

The body is made from cast and machined aluminum, so these pedals are as durable as they can be. Perhaps the only drawback is that they come in one color only (black), but that’s a minor concern.

Each side features 10 heavy-duty removable pins that will lock your foot in place while pedaling or descending. That’s what makes them one of the best mountain bike pedals on this list.

Even though maintenance is simple, there won’t be much of it due to completely sealed bearings and a Chromoly steel axle. You’ll find little if no gunk inside after months of having fun on the trails.

Buy them if you race, ride more seriously, or just want the best possible trail experience.

 

Best Road Bike Pedals


1. Shimano Ultegra PD-R8000

Best Clipless Road Bike Pedals

Shimano Ultegra PD R8000

  • Carbon-composite body
  • Extra-wide platform for better power transfer
  • Durable construction and reliable mechanism

 

Ultegra is a word that stands for reliability and performance in the cycling world. The Ultegra R8000 SPD-SL road pedals are just as renowned as the many’s favorite groupsets of the same name.

They’re made from a lightweight carbon composite body that makes them very stiff and brings the weight down to just 248 grams.

These pedals are a popular choice because they provide pro-level performance at a price point that’s not out of reach for the average road rider.

Ultegra R8000 pedals also feature an adjustable tension clip-in mechanism so they’re suitable for different types of riders. That makes them the best clipless pedals for road bikes across the board

Their durable stainless-steel body plates keep the construction stiff and the wide bearing placement improves power transfer.

See why Shimano Ultegra road pedals are the go-to choice for so many road riders out there!

 

2. Shimano PD-EH500 Dual-Sided

Best Clipless Pedals For Beginners

Shimano PD EH500

  • Dual-sided road bike pedals
  • Compatible with SPD cycling shoes
  • Weigh 383 grams per pair

 

If you’ve never ridden clipless pedals on your road bike before, making the transition can be daunting. Even the best bike pedals will make you feel insecure at first.

That’s why we recommend the dual-sided Shimano PD-EH500 model. You get the characteristics of the best flat pedals for road bikes on one side and a clipless mechanism on the other side.

This combo, therefore, allows you to ride in your SPD clipless shoes or your casual shoes. You can use them for serious training and fitness riding or for commuting and leisure riding.

You can easily adjust the entry and release tension settings using a hex key, whereas the flat side has 8 removable pins for improved grip.

In short, you should get the Shimano PD-EH500 pedals if you want the best of both worlds—flat and clipless.

 

3. Look Classic 3

Lightweight Clipless Pedals

Look Classic 3

  • Affordable price
  • Three colors available
  • Lightweight composite material

 

The Look Classic 3 road bike pedals are a fantastic inexpensive option that will give you all the benefits you’re looking to get from clipless pedals.

The body is made from a durable and lightweight composite material that’s available in three colors—black, white, and red. The axle, however, is made from Chromoly steel, which ensures reliability and durability.

These SPD-SL pedals are suitable for both beginner and advanced riders, so they are one of the best road bike pedals in this price range for a variety of riders.

Look Classic 3 pedals are a popular choice among roadies because they have a wide contact surface but weigh only 348g for the pair. That will give you an excellent power transfer.

These are the best bike pedals for you if you want to do serious training or enter amateur races!

 

4. Look Cycle GeoTrekking Vision

The Most Versatile Road Bike Pedals

Look Cycle - GeoTrekking Vision Pedals

  • Dual-sided pedals
  • Adjustable tension
  • Reflective elements

 

If you have just one bike that you use to commute to work, go to the grocery shop, and do fitness rides, then Look Cycle GeoTrekking Vision are the best bike pedals for you.

These are dual-sided pedals that allow you to ride in slippers, running shoes, or SPD cycling shoes. One side is flat, whereas the other one is clipless.

The upside of these Look pedals is variety, but the downside is the weight. A pair weighs around 435g, which puts them on the heavier side, but that won’t make a big difference unless you ride seriously.

Look Cycle GeoTrekking Vision pedals are also great for beginners who are making a transition from flat to clipless riding. However, they are also a popular choice among bike tourers and bikepackers.

Related: How to Prepare For a Bike Trip

Get them if you’re looking for freedom of choice, a low price, and durable materials.

 

5. Garmin Rally RS200 Power Meter Pedal

Best Power Meter Pedals

Garmin - Rally RS200 Power Meter Pedal

  • Dual-sided power reading
  • +/- 1% accuracy
  • Power phase measuring

 

If you want to become the best cyclist that you can be, you have to do structured training. However, you can’t do that without knowing your power. That’s where the Garmin Rally RS200 Power Meter pedals fit in.

Cycling has become a sport driven by data and Garmin Rally RS200 will tell you all you need to know about your performance. They boast an accuracy of +/- 1% and Power Phase measuring that will tell you where you’re producing power in the pedal stroke. You’ll also get readings about the balance between your left/right leg power.

On top of that, the battery lasts 120 hours and the pedals support ANT+ and Bluetooth connectivity. Therefore, you can easily connect them to any device you have and ride for months.

So if you want the best road bike pedals with power data, the choice is simple—we recommend Garmin Rally RS200.

 

Best Pedals For Gravel Bikes


1. Shimano M540 SPD Bike Pedals

The Best Pedals For Gravel Bikes

Shimano M540

  • Great mud-shedding
  • Fluorine-coated binding claws
  • Tested design

 

The Shimano M540 SPD pedals are similar to the M520 model we showed above, but they feature some significant improvements. They’re lighter, sleeker, and easier to get in and out of.

If you ride gravel, it’s really important to be able to clip in and out fast, especially when climbing a rocky section. These pedals have fluorine-coated binding claws that make your cleats slide in and out with more ease.

Shimano M540s are dual-sided SPD pedals, so that will make entry and release easier as well. Thanks to lightweight materials, they weigh 352g for the pair, which is pretty good at this price point.

However, the reason why these are one of the best pedals for gravel bikes is their open design. It lets mud pass through easily without clogging the mechanism.

We recommend buying them if you’re a gravel enthusiast or a beginner looking for a timeless, tried, and true SPD pedal.

 

2. Crank Brothers Candy 1

Lightweight Composite Pedals

Crank Brothers pedals

  • Lightweight
  • Wide platform
  • 4-way-entry

 

If you’re always trying to make your bike slimmer and reduce the weight anywhere you can, you’ll love the Crank Brothers Candy 1 pedals.

They are made from a one-piece lightweight composite body coupled with Crank Brothers’ eggbeater design, which brings the weight down to a mere 294g.

We love that they’re pretty easy to clip in and out of thanks to the 4-way-entry feature and the open design sheds mud exceptionally well.

If you’re picky about pedal float, Candy 1 pedals offer customizable float and release angle, so you can personalize them to fit your style of riding.

Most importantly, the bearings are completely sealed, so don’t be afraid to ride on bad days either.

Simply said, these are the best platform pedals for gravel bikes in this price range, considering the weight and all the available features.

 

3. Garmin Rally XC100 Power Meter Pedals

The Best Power Meter Pedals For Gravel Bikes

Garmin - Rally XC100 Power Meter Pedals

  • One-sided power reading
  • ANT+ and Bluetooth connectivity
  • Aluminum, Cr-Mo, Stainless Steel materials
  • Within 1% accuracy

 

You can get really good at cycling by just pedaling harder. However, to make significant gains, you need to know your power data, even when it comes to gravel riding.

The Garmin Rally XC100 power meter pedals are a foolproof choice for gravel riders as they are reasonably priced but jam-packed with features.

They boast a 120-hour battery life, ANT+, and Bluetooth connectivity, a transferable spindle, and reliable readings with +/- 1% accuracy.

Keep in mind that only the right pedal measures your power and the data is doubled to accurately predict your left-leg performance. If you wish, you can upgrade later to the dual-sensing system.

The Garmin Rally XC100 pedals weigh around 450g for the pair, which is decent for power meter pedals at this price.

If you use them wisely, they can transform your gravel performance and training!

 

 

FAQ

Frequently asked questionsWhat pedals are best for bikes?

The best bike pedals for you depend on the type of bike you ride and your style of riding. If you ride occasionally or you’re not worried about performance, you should stick to flat pedals. If you ride more often and want better power transfer, then clipless pedals are indispensable.

Do bike pedals make a difference?

The right bike pedals can make a huge difference. They improve power transfer from your legs to the drivetrain and make pedaling more stable and more efficient. Choosing the best bike pedals for you will fill you with confidence and motivation to train harder.

Do pedals matter on MTB?

Pedals matter on MTB just as much as on other types of bikes. Choosing the right ones will improve your grip, performance, and stability. Some riders prefer flat pedals for mountain biking, whereas others believe that the best mountain bike pedals are clipless. It’s best to try both.

Are clipless pedals dangerous?

Clipless pedals are not dangerous but can cause you to fall. To prevent this, first practice clipping in and out while leaning against a firm object and then practice riding on the grass. Almost everyone falls at least once because of clipless pedals, but usually, only the pride gets injured.

How do I choose road bike pedals?

To choose the best road bike pedals, first, consider your foot shape and choose the manufacturer based on that. Different manufacturers usually make slightly different shapes of shoes. After that, consider your price range and try to get the best features for your money.

Should I get clip-in pedals for mountain biking?

A lot of riders choose clip-in pedals for mountain biking, but others look for the best mountain bike platform pedals. If your MTB rides involve a lot of pedaling and climbing, it’s best to get clipless pedals. However, if you do a lot of descending, flat pedals will give you more confidence and better support.

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