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Pedal to the Metal: Everything You Need to Know About Pedals 

Fitting into the crank arms of any bike, pedals are not only essential in propelling oneself forward, but with the selection of appropriate pedals ensures an optimally comfortable and efficient ride. While pedal options on the market are seemingly infinite, we will break down the main pedal styles below along with their features to help better guide those who are searching for a new set.

Which pedal style is right for me?

Before we get into the guide,  we will briefly outline the three main pedal styles: I) flat platform pedals; II) road SPD-SL style cleat style pedals (a triangular shaped cleat mounted to the road shoes through a three- bolt system); and III) mountain SPD cleat style pedals (an oval shaped cleat which is affixed to the appropriate shoes with a 2-bolt system). While there are some other cleat styles, for the purposes of this article and clarity, we will be just focusing on these styles.


  •  Flat platform pedals are most ideal for convenient and quick mounting and dismounting from the bike without clipping in— they can be most commonly found on city hybrid bikes, all-mountain bikes, and downhill bikes. 

  • Road bikes are most commonly found with SPD-SL style pedals because they allow for more optimal and efficient power transfer while riding, in comparison to not being clipped in. The main reason why road style cleats are predominantly triangular shaped with the 3-bolt design, is that it allows for more optimal weight and pressure distribution, which is important for being comfortable on longer rides. 

  • Mountain, gravel, and cross' riding styles tend to gravitate towards a two-bolt SPD style cleat. This style of cleat and size is particularly important as it allows for quick dismounting and quick mounting (especially as the cleat is typically recessed within the shoe which protects the cleat from mud, allowing for quick re-mounting).


I like to... ride around the city and run errands

The following options highlighted are ideal for the city commuter and urban cyclist as they are easy to use and versatile. 

49°N's "Resin/ Alloy Urban Pedals"

Offering a classic retro styled look with distinctly modern construction and materials, these pedals are ideal for any rider looking for something simple and unique for everyday riding. 

Kona's "JS2 Pedals - Composite"

These pedals are versatile for any riding style, and are ideal for those who are looking for an easy option which make mounting and dismounting easy without having to worry about being clipped in. 

Shimano's "PD-T421 Pedal"

With a dual-sided platform, one side having a flat rubberized surface and the other having a clipped-in entry. The SPD capacity of these pedals make longer urban rides more comfortable with a more connected engagement to the pedal stroke, which allows for greater energy efficiency. These are ideal for cyclists who want to have the option to ride with SPD compatible shoes or with regular shoes. The compatible SPD cleats are included. 

Shimano's "PD-EH500 Pedals"

These pedals offer both a clipped in and flat platform options, making  them ideal for urban riding. Likewise, this pedal's SPD capacity provides greater versatility and pedal stroke efficiency.. The outer cage around the cleat makes it easy to clip in which ideal for beginner and experienced cyclists alike. The compatible SPD cleats are included. 

I like to... ride my road bike

The following options highlighted offer a variety of versatile options for road cyclists.

Shimano's "RS500 Pedals"

These pedals are not only very light, but have integrated features that include a lighter spring tension and larger entry target which are ideal for beginner riders. The compatible Shimano SPD-SL cleats are included with the pedals.

Shimano's "PD-R7000 105 Pedal"

Offering a carbon fiber reinforced resin body with a wider contact surface area ensures optimal comfort and pressure distribution on long rides while being light and stiff. These pedals include the compatible Shimano SPD-SL cleats. 

Shimano's "Ultegra R8000 Pedals"

Shimano's "Ultegra R8000" pedals are excellent for any cycling enthusiast. Checking off the central features  sought after, which include stiffness from the carbon-composite body and extra-wide platform for optimal power transfer. These pedals include the compatible Shimano SPD-SL cleats. 

Garmin's "Vector 3 Dual-Sensing Power Meter"

Garmin's integrated power meter within their "Vector 3" pedals provides accurate and reliable data which allows riders to train smarter and ride stronger. With a battery life that lasts up to 120 hours and easy smart pairing  through ANT+ and Bluetooth, it is clear why these are a  favorite among many! These pedals include the compatible Look "KEO" cleats. 

I like to... ride my gravel bike and go on adventures

The following options highlighted offer versatile options for gravel and touring rider. 

Kona's "JS2 Pedals - Composite"

These pedals are versatile for any riding style, and are ideal for starting to ride gravel or for those who want something simple that makes dismounting easy. 

Shimano's "PD-T421 Pedal"

Incredibly versatile for a variety of riding styles and preferences, this model makes transitioning from flats' to being clipped in easy with one side being a flat rubberized  surface, and the other having an entry to the SPD clip-in mechanism. The compatible Shimano SPD cleats are included. 

Shimano's "PD-ME700 Trail Pedal"

These pedals are designed to provide riders enhanced stability over rougher terrains. With features which include a dual SPD cleat entry, an integrated exterior cage, and tension adjustability, these pedals are ideal for riders who want to ride with better control when not clipped in, and likewise, want to clip in easily. The compatible Shimano SPD cleats are included. 


Shimano's "PD-M520 Pedals"

Shimano's "PD-M520" pedal , constructed  with chromoly axles and sealed bearings, offers excellent durability. The pedals have a dual SPD clip in platforms which makes it easier to clip in and out while riding. These pedals are accessible to use for both beginner and experienced riders alike. The pedal set includes a set of compatible Shimano SPD cleats. 

I like to... ride my mountain bike 

The following options highlighted offer versatile options for a variety of mountain riding styles and preferences. 

Kona's "JS2 Pedals - Composite"

These pedals are versatile for any riding style, including  XC, all mountain, and downhill riding styles. Lightweight with 20 integrated pins (per pedal), they are ideal for beginner riders and refining technical skill for any rider.

Kona's "Wah Wah II Alloy Pedals"

Built to last, Kona's "Wah Wah II Alloy Pedals" are constructed with a forged CNC alloy body, sealed bearings, and DU bushings. These pedals are ideal for beginner and experienced riders alike! With16 replaceable pins, you can customize exactly how much traction is best for you,  so whether you like to climb or shred down hills, these pedals have you covered. 

Shimano's "PD-M520 Pedals"

Shimano's "PD-M520" Pedals offer not only excellent value,  but are easy to clip in and out and  are built to last. For mountain riding, the outer body of the pedal is designed specifically to avoid the mechanisms from getting clogged with mud. These pedals are ideal for beginner and experienced riders alike. The compatible Shimano SPD cleats are included. 

Crank Brothers' "Candy 2 Pedal"

The "Candy 2" is one of the Crank Brothers' most versatile pedals. With its 4-sided entry, and adjustable float, its clear why this model excels within cyclocross, XC trail, and all mountain riding categories! This model is optimal for beginner and experienced riders alike— the platform around the pedal makes it easy to clip in while riding whether its your first time or hundredth time clipping in! The compatible Crank Brothers cleats are included. 

Links to all of the pedals listed above: