The 10 Best Mountain Bike Flat Pedals with Buying Guide
Flat mountain bike pedals might seem like an old-school design especially in this era where almost everyone is going for clipless pedal biking. However, for mountain biking beginners who want to learn a trick or two about mountain biking plus those who understand that mountain biking requires a lot of leg freedom will most certainly prefer a flat bike pedal. They provide a lot of flexibility to the rider which is very crucial. These pedals have advanced over the years and evolved to become high tech hardware that is designed to enhance pedaling performance in the toughest possible conditions. Here’s the quick answer for you, Top 10 Best Mountain Bike Flat Pedals;
- Race Face Atlas Bike Pedals
- Spank Spike Bike Pedals
- Race Face Chester Bike Pedals
- BC Wide Platform Bike Pedals
- Azonic Iron Bike Pedals
- Shimano Concave Bike Pedals
- Imrider Flat Bike Pedals
- BC Lightweight Thermoplastic Concave Bike Pedals
- RockBros Flat Bike Pedals
- VP Components Flat Bike Pedals
- 1 Why you should buy Flat Mountain Bike Pedals
- 2 Best Mountain Bike Pedals Review in Detail
- 2.1 Race Face Atlas Bike Pedals
- 2.2 Spank Spike Bike Pedals
- 2.3 Race Face Chester Bike Pedals
- 2.4 BC Wide Platform Bike Pedals
- 2.5 Azonic Iron Bike Pedals
- 2.6 Shimano Concave Bike Pedals
- 2.7 Imrider Flat Bike Pedals
- 2.8 BC Lightweight Thermoplastic Concave Bike Pedals
- 2.9 RockBros Flat Bike Pedals
- 2.10 VP Components Flat Bike Pedals
- 3 Things you need to know about Flat Mountain Bike Pedals before you buy
Why you should buy Flat Mountain Bike Pedals
These pedals are good for mountain biking because they give you:
They have either threaded or non-threaded pins which bite into shoe soles when you step on them. Their purpose is to hold onto your foot so that you do not slide off the pedal and hurt yourself. This gripping is important in mountain biking because most of the terrain is rough consisting of wet, muddy, snowy and rocky surfaces. Loose pedal grip on such conditions could be fatal.
These pedals are designed to provide extreme performance. They are built using high-quality materials that are designed to perform well in tough conditions. These include strong axles, strong bodies and strong gripping pins which can withstand a heavy beating without breaking off.
Your feet are not as tightly gripped on flat pedals as they are on clipless pedals. This freedom is quite important in mountain biking because you may need to bail out on your bike to escape a fatal accident or you may want to swing out your feet for better cornering or for balanced riding through rough terrain.
A cheaper option
As compared to clip less pedals where you need specific pedaling shoes, you do not need any additional item to begin riding using flat pedals. You just need mountain biking attire then you are good to go. Flat pedals are also much cheaper than clip less pedals and hence you can save a lot from choosing to buy them.
Best Mountain Bike Pedals Review in Detail
Race Face Atlas Bike Pedals
This bike pedal features a big bearing which is strong enough to withstand rough handling in wet and muddy conditions. The pedal’s bearing is well hidden and does not eat up foot space. This leaves maximum space for applying foot pressure when biking.
It has 20 traction pins (10 on each side of the pedal) which bite into your shoe sole to provide grip. These pins are slightly angled with the fore ones facing the back ones. This prevents the shoe from sliding forwards or backward making it safer, stable and grip even better giving you better performance across all mountain biking conditions. Additionally, these pins are easily removable and replaceable. This makes the pedal very easy to maintain. It is super thin cross section wise with a 12 mm thickness in middle axle part and a 14 mm thickness on the side sections. This gives it a concave design which means the foot sinks into it. This gives it a comfortable and stable feeling when riding. It has a hidden grease port which does not interfere with the foot space. This grease port enables the pedal to be easily lubricated for smooth performance.
- It is lightweight. Its body is made of lightweight aluminum.
- The bike is thin. This gives it a low profile look which is aesthetically pleasing to the eye.
- It is safe. Its pins grip and hold the shoe sole preventing slipping.
- It’s made of aluminum and has a steel axle which makes it strong.
- This bike comes in many colors (black, blue, purple, green, orange and red).
- It is expensive
- Its bearings tend to wear off quickly.
Spank Spike Bike Pedals
This pedal is very slim, having about a 12 mm thickness. This thin profile maximizes pedal clearance enabling you to corner comfortably without worrying about the pedal touching the ground. Despite this thin body, it is very strong. Its body is made of a forged alloy which enables the pedal to withstand hits and rough handling.
This forged alloy is lightweight, making the pedals weigh a mere 420 grams a pair. This makes it easier to turn the pedal around axle when riding. It has 20 threaded traction pins (10 on each side of the pedal) to bite into your shoe sole and give you additional grip in muddy, snowy or any other slippery condition. It has a big bearing which gives it better performance in rough mountain biking conditions. The pedal has leading edges and chamfered sides which further increases pedal clearance to give you a comfortable ride. These also deflect impact forces giving them a longer lifespan and hence they serve you for a longer time.
- Its slim body places your foot close to the axle making it more stable.
- The threaded traction pins grip onto your shoe preventing slipping.
- Its leading edges and chamfered sides make it aesthetically pleasing to the eye.
- It has a cold forged steel axle and a forged allow body which are extremely strong.
- Comes in many colors (black, green, blue, silver, orange and red).
- It is thin.
- It is expensive
- Its bearing breaks down easily.
- It requires regular greasing.
Race Face Chester Bike Pedals
This is a plastic made bike pedal with 16 traction pins (8 on each side) for gripping the shoe sole. This gives you good performance when mountain biking. However, it has a thick axle body around its middle part which will lift your shoe sole and this might reduce the depth in which the pins dip into your sole and hence reduce grip.
A soft shoe sole would compress well around this thick body and hence it is better off than a hard shoe sole. Apart from this, this pedal is probably one of the best mountain bike flat pedals under $50. This is because, despite its plastic build, it can withstand regular hits and rough handling because the plastic is actually a tough nylon composite which is quite durable. It has a chromoly steel axle which makes it even more durable and hence it gives you long service time. Its bearing, bushing and axle are completely sealed and therefore can survive exposure to dust, mud, water or any other element.
- It is light. Its nylon build makes it very light. A pair weighs only 340 grams.
- Thets nylon material and steel axle are very strong and withstand rough handling.
- It is affordable.
- It looks good. Its leading edges and a general rounded look give it a good appearance.
- Comes in many colors (black, blue, green, orange, purple, red, turquoise and yellow).
- Not very safe. The raised body around the axle reduces grip.
- Plastic material does not feel as good as metallic material.
BC Wide Platform Bike Pedals
This mountain bike pedal has a wide 110 mm by 108 mm surface which gives you a larger surface area to grip your shoe. This wide surface is fitted with 10 traction pins that bite into your shoe sole to give you more grip and stability on the pedal. These pins are 20 in total (10 on each side) and are easily removable meaning that maintaining them is quite easy.
The pedal’s body is made from machined aluminum which is highly durable and lightweight. The pair weighs only 358 grams making them more durable. Its bearing is completely sealed and this makes it last longer because the elements cannot penetrate it and cause damages. Its axle is made of a chromium alloy which is strong and solid and this makes it even more durable. It has a low profile design which gives it more pedal clearance. This gives it a longer lifespan because it does not keep getting hit.
- It is highly durable. The pedal’s build quality is top notch making it very sturdy.
- Has a lightweight aluminum body.
- Its traction pins stick into your sole preventing slipping.
- It is relatively affordable.
- The wide platform gives you a wide surface area for more grip.
- It comes in a variety of colors (black with purple, pink or red traction pins, ti with blue, pink, purple or red pins and white with blue or red pins).
- Its bearing and axle housing are big enough to reduce grip.
Azonic Iron Bike Pedals
This pedal has a minimalistic design that gives it a lot of pedal clearance. It has a 10 mm thin body and a smaller platform which make it ideal for cycling through rocky ground. This low profile design brings the rider’s foot closer to the axle, giving a better feel of control over the cycling process.
It has a chromoly axle inserted on its aluminum body which gives it a strong and lightweight combination. This enables the pedal to withstand hits and rough handling giving it a longer lifespan. It has a big bearing which is strong enough to handle the rider’s weight and pressure when stepping on the platform. This makes it even more durable. It has 9 replaceable traction pins on each side of the pedal which bite into the foot sole to give you more grip. The pedal comes with 40 replaceable pins of different sizes (fat and thin) that give you the option to fit in the pins of your choice depending on your liking.
- It is durable. It is made of high-quality materials.
- This bike is lightweight. It is aluminum built (385 grams per pair).
- The traction pins of tires prevent the slipping.
- It is stable. Its thin body gives you a better feel of control and stability.
- It gives you better maneuverability because of its small size.
- It is expensive.
Shimano Concave Bike Pedals
This is one of the heaviest bike pedals weighing in at close to 500 grams. Shimano has however focused on robustness and reliability instead of weight and this has made this pedal one of the most reliable. It has a low maintenance loose ball bearing which gives a long stress-free life.
This bearing is big in size and is able to handle the weight of the rider comfortably, making it last longer. It has a chrome alloy axle which is strong and durable for extreme performance and long life. It has a wide platform, measuring 90mm by 95mm which is wide enough to support a big portion of the foot. This gives you stability. This platform is concave with the axle area being 15mm thick and the leading edge 19mm thick. This 4mm difference gives you better control and stability when riding especially on the hilly and muddy ground where you require more power. It comes with 9 replaceable pins on each side of the pedal which bite into the sole to provide more grip. This further adds onto its stability.
- It is stable. It has a wide platform for foot placement.
- This bike is quite affordable.
- It is made of high-end pedal materials.
- It is safe. Its traction pins prevent the soles from sliding off.
- Has a rounded look that looks good to the eye.
- It is heavy. This might make it wear off quickly.
- It produces clicking noises around the bearing after some time in use.
Imrider Flat Bike Pedals
This pedal has a plastic (polyamide) body which makes it lightweight. It has a big, hard spindle that attaches to the bicycle firmly to prevent sudden breakages which might be catastrophic. This spindle adds to its weight balancing it out at 408 grams which is neither too heavy nor too light.
Its polyamide body is corrosion and abrasion resistant and this gives it a long lifespan. It has an anti-skid surface with 8 traction pins on both sides that grab the sole giving you grip, stability and pedaling efficiency. They are easily replaceable making their maintenance easy. These pins are especially important because flat surfaced bike pedals are easy to slide off. It has a large platform which measures 125mm by 108mm. This gives you a large foot area which provides better grip and pedaling efficiency. It has a big bearing designed for extreme performance. These features definitely classify it as one of the best mountain bike flat pedals under $50.
- It is affordable.
- It has a strong spindle and polyamide body.
- The strong spindle attaches it firmly to the bicycle.
- It has a wide platform that gives it a large grip area.
- It comes in a variety of colors (black, blue, orange, red).
- Its spindle is not threaded properly.
- Replacement kits are not easily available.
BC Lightweight Thermoplastic Concave Bike Pedals
This pedal has a slight concave dip around the axle. However, the axle body rises to the height of the pedal sides so the concave dip is not continuous. This concave surface combined with its 10 replaceable traction pins are meant to provide grip but this might not be as effective because the pins close to the axle do not bite fully into the shoe sole.
Despite this, the pedal has a big platform measuring 110mm by 105mm which provides a large area for additional grip. The pedal has a thermoplastic body which is lightweight and durable. It has a low profile design, giving it a good ground clearance which is ideal for mountain bike riding. It has a chromium alloy axle which is strong and durable enough to handle rough handling. The pedal has a sealed bearing which is designed to keep the elements out hence elongating the bearing’s lifespan because it remains as good as new.
- This bike is light. Its thermoplastic body weighs only 175 grams.
- It is built using high-quality materials.
- It is affordable.
- Has traction pins for keeping the feet from slipping.
- It is stable. It has a wide platform which provides a large foot area.
- The axle body protrudes towards the platform, affecting grip.
RockBros Flat Bike Pedals
Based on looks, this pair of pedals is arguably one of the best. It has a graffiti-like design which stands out from quite a distance. It has an aluminum body which is durable and lightweight. Coupled with a strong spindle and axle, this pedal is able to withstand rough handling when mountain biking. It features a sealed bearing which is durable because it is not affected by the elements.
It has 12 hexagonal traction pins on each side of the pedal for providing grip. This makes it possible to ride comfortably across wet, muddy and snowy conditions without slipping. It has a wide platform which is suitable for people with big feet. For people with small feet, this large foot area provides a larger gripping area, therefore, giving pedaling efficiency. The pedal’s body is designed with large spaces in between which make it easier for cleaning. This body is made up of separate pieces joined together by the traction pins. These pins are easily removable which means it can be easily dismantled for thorough cleaning.
- It is affordable.
- It is aesthetically pleasing to the eyes.
- This bike is lightweight. It weighs only 358 grams.
- It is stable. Its wide platform gives the rider some form of stability when riding.
- The gripping pins prevent the feet from slipping.
- It comes in multiple colors (black blue, black green, black silver, all blue, all grey, all black and all silver).
- It breaks down easily, especially when handled roughly.
VP Components Flat Bike Pedals
This pedal is designed with two types of traction pins; threaded and non-threaded pins. Threaded pins bite and hold onto shoe soles because of the grooves in their threads. Non-threaded pins only bite so these combinations hold the feet strongly enough to give grip as well as give some flexibility.
It has a wide platform (105mm by 105mm) which provides a large surface area for gripping. This large surface area coupled with the traction pins make it more stable and give it pedaling efficiency. It has an extruded aluminum body which is durable and lightweight. This gives it a long lifespan. It has a chromium alloy axle which is highly durable and this further increases the pedal’s lifespan. It has a thin body (17mm) and this gives it a low profile characteristic. This low profile is ideal for rough terrain because it has a bigger pedal clearance. This pedal can be fully dismantled and rebuilt and hence it is very easy to maintain.
- It is affordable.
- It has a relatively wide platform and gripping pins which make it stable.
- Has a strong aluminum body and chromium alloy axle.
- The gripping pins make it anti-slip which is safe for the rider.
- Its axle protrudes towards the platform, reducing grip.
Things you need to know about Flat Mountain Bike Pedals before you buy
When selecting flat bike pedals, first, you need to know what they are. This is best understood by differentiating between the two types of mountain bike pedals (flat pedals and clip less pedals).
Flat (Platform) pedals
These are the most common types of bicycle pedals and are found on almost all new mountain bikes. They have a flat platform on which you place your foot. These have several advantages:
- You do not need special shoes to use them.
- You can easily disconnect from them when either bailing from an incoming accident or freeing your feet when cornering.
- They are cheaper than clip less pedals.
Clip less Pedals
These pedals have a special cleat where you attach a mountain bike shoe. Clip less pedals have several advantages which include:
- They give improved pedal efficiency.
- They are small in size.
In this case, we are focused on flat pedals so after differentiating between the two, it is important to differentiate between the individual features that determine which one is best for you. These are:
Size matters when you are choosing a mountain bike pedal. A standard flat pedal should have a platform of at least 100mm in width so that you can have enough room for grip. There are also bigger pedals to cater for people with big feet so it is important to follow the guidelines given by the pedal manufacturer in selecting the right sized pedal. Alternatively, you can measure your foot size and compare with the pedal dimensions before buying.
Flat pedals have different platform shapes. The most common ones are flat and concave. Concavely shaped pedals have a sunken middle which allows your foot to sit in the pedal. Flat pedals have a flat platform and the foot rests on it uniformly. Selecting the best one is up to personal preference. You should find the most comfortable shape that allows you to easily grip as well as easily get your foot off the pedal when you want to swing it out around corners.
Generally, threaded pins are mostly preferred because they grip better than non-threaded pins. The choice between the two is also down to personal preference. However, it is better to have a pedal with adjustable and removable pins. Adjustable pins allow you to adjust them depending on your shoe sole’s thickness while removable pins allow for easy replacement in case they break off.
4) Build quality
This is the most confusing part. There are mountain bike pedals made of plastic materials which are described to be as strong their metallic counterparts. The metallic pedals, on the other hand, are described as solid and strong enough to handle any kind of rough terrain. Bottom line is that they can all break off if handled extremely roughly. There is no unbreakable mountain bike pedal and hence the best thing to do is to read some reviews of the actual pedal owners. Weigh the critical reviews vs the positive ones, determine which ones suit your biking needs based on the type of terrain you plan on riding on. The last thing, after narrowing down your list, consider your budget because some pedals are too expensive, yet they offer nothing extra.
According to this review, the best mountain bike pedals should be considered based on personal preference. In terms of size, it would be wise to order a pedal with an additional 10mm on both sides from your foot size. Personally, I prefer the concave shaped pedal but the choice between that or the flat shaped platform is down to personal preference and comfort. This pedal should have threaded pins which grip better than non-threaded pins and it should be built using a metal or metallic alloy. Plastic pedals might be good, but they do not feel as good as metallic ones. However, this is still down to personal preference and whichever one you choose, order it as soon as possible so that you can proceed to mountaineer.