Besides seat and handlebar, pedals are the only points of contact between cyclist and bicycle. Therefore, it is very important to choose the right pedals for the right purposes. The number of pedal designs has grown significantly. Apart from the classic bear trap design, there are also platform pedals for mountain bikes and trekking bikes available. Step-in pedals or click pedals are useful for racing cyclists and performance-oriented mountain bikers. Generally speaking: High-quality pedals are equipped with durable industrial bearings with resilient bearings. Pedals are mounted to the crank arms with a left-hand thread, which prevents them from coming loose during the ride. When mounting the pedals, special bike tools and a generous portion of grease is indispensable.
Flat pedals for trekking and mountain biking
There are different types of so-called platform pedals. Bear trap pedals or rubberized designs are perfect for everyday use and relaxed cycle touring. They don't require specific footwear and are a great solution for occasional users.
In contrast, flat pedals are designed for downhill mountain biking. Some models are milled or cast in lightweight aluminium, and include high-quality industrial ball bearings. Their sharp pins provide you with maximum grip. When it comes to freeride, downhill, dirt, or BMX, many cyclists want to be able to jump off the pedal quickly and therefore choose platform pedals. Mountain bikers often wear special shoes with particularly soft and grippy soles that will stick to the pedals. Manufacturers like Crankbrothers and Shimano offer platform pedals for both moderate and sophisticated use.
Click pedals for ambitious cyclists
Click pedals are step-in pedals, which means they require special click shoes particularly designed for the respective set of pedals. With click pedals your feet are tightly connected with your bike. Therefore, you can push the pedals down and even pull them up again, which allows you to generate additional propulsion. In order to prevent your shoes from slipping out, click pedals have an adjustable release mechanism. The SPD system by Shimano is often used for mountain biking and trekking. Many other manufacturers offer SPD-compatible shoes with so-called SPD cleats on their soles, which are mounted to the pedals. The company Crankbrothers produces lightweight pedals for mountain bikes. However, these pedals are not compatible with the Shimano system and thus require extra cleats.
Mountain bike shoes are often equipped with spikes and grippy soles for many trails force you to push your mountain bike. The manufacturer Look specializes in click systems for road bikes. These pedal-shoe combinations are of a particularly stiff design in order to achieve the highest possible power transmission.
Be clear about the requirements
A bicycle's area of application determines the required pedals. However, as a cyclist you still enjoy a great deal of freedom to make a sensible choice and adapt your set of pedals to your personal preferences and budget. Think about your desired pedal material, which bearing should be integrated in the pedal axle, and last but not least which color suits your bike.