All mountain bike pedals require a good platform to work from. While clipless pedals are the most common on the market, flat pedals can also be used for rough terrain. The flat pedal was designed for mountain biking, and it’s a very convenient option for everyday use. Today we’ll test three clipless and three flat pedals.
From entry level pedals to top of the line titanium or carbon, there are many great options out there. But, which is best for you? Here is a list of the best mountain bike pedals out there and their individual pluses and minuses.
Mountain biking has been part of the fitness scene for decades, but in recent years it has surged in popularity and participants have increased significantly. In the last decade, there has been a big shift from the single pedal mountain bike to the hybrid bike, with the two types of bike being linked together. The mountain bike pedal is one of those key components of any bike, and it’s important to look after it.. Read more about best mountain bike flat pedals 2023 and let us know what you think.
Pedals have a tough task ahead of them. For starters, they’re one of the three points of contact between your body and your bike, so they need to offer a user-friendly interface as well as some control.
They’re also how you transfer the power from your legs to your bike’s transmission, which propels you down the path.
They’re an important component of every bicycle, but they come in a variety of forms, sizes, and designs. When it comes to mountain bike pedals, the most crucial choice you’ll have to make is whether you want flats or clipless. Our selection of the finest mountain bike pedals can assist you in making your decision.
If you’re not sure where to begin, read our detailed tutorial on how to remove and replace pedals.
Do you prefer flat or clipless pedals?
Our picks for the finest flat and clipless mountain bike pedals are included in this buyer’s guide. To go to the section you’re looking for, click on the buttons below.
To view the finest flat mountain bike pedals, go here.
To view the finest clipless mountain bike pedals, go here.
Mountain bike pedals that are flat
Flat pedals are little more than a platform for your feet. They’re double-sided, so it doesn’t matter which side is up, and strategically placed pins generally offer some additional grip.
The larger the face or platform of the pedal, the more space you have to place your foot and the more touch you have with your bike.
Flat pedals allow you to move your feet around freely, which is why some riders prefer them on difficult terrain.
For mountain bikers, there are even more buyer’s guides.
Mountain bike pedals with no clips
Clipless or SPD pedals, on the other hand, are a misnomer since they attach to specific cleats on the bottoms of your shoes.
The term misunderstanding stems from the fact that when this kind of pedal first debuted, its major selling point was that it allowed riders to get away of the unpleasant toeclips and straps they’d been using up to that point.
Unlike road-specific clipless pedals, clipless mountain bike pedals are likewise double-sided, and since they depend on a mechanical connection rather than the surface area and pins to keep the rider and bike linked, they’re usually much smaller than flats.
Clipless pedals are preferred by certain riders because to their increased pedaling efficiency and security.
But don’t worry if you can’t make up your mind; ‘trail’ pedals are a good compromise between clipless and platform pedals. For a ‘best of both worlds’ solution, they combine a mechanical cleat-attachment mechanism with a big pedal body.
In 2023, the finest mountain bike pedals will be
Our experienced testers have chosen the best flat MTB pedals.
- £35 (about $69 USD) HT PA03A
- Horizon Pro Sam Hill Enduro by Nukeproof: £89.99
- £110 Burgtec Penthouse Flat MK5
- £110 Brendog Ice DMR Vault
- £40 Burgtec MK4 Composite
- TMAC Deity: $168.99
- S2 Gusset: £80
- £79.99 for the HT Supreme ANS10 HT Supreme ANS10 HT Supreme ANS10.
- Catalyst by Pedaling Innovations: £79.99
- £49.99 for the Nano-x EVO Superstar
You don’t have to choose between strong, light, and affordable. Immediate Media / Russell Burton
- £35 / $69
- a large platform with a lot of traction
- Nylon bodies are light and flexible.
- A fantastic value for money
These enigmatically titled pedals are among the finest we’ve ever tried.
Contrary to common belief, they are really light, inexpensive, and durable. They’re only a smidgeon smaller than some of the biggest flat pedal designs on the market, but they’re just 349g each pair.
The unusually flat pedal bodies are constructed of nylon rather than metal and have plenty of cut-outs to keep muck out. We experienced no grip problems with ten forceful pins each side, independent of shoe choice or weather conditions.
The only major criticism we have is that they tend to become scuffed up before other pedals – but that’s just being fussy.
Horizon Pro Sam Hill Enduro Nukeproof
The newest Nukeproof Horizon Pro Sam Hill Enduro pedals have been tweaked and tuned to make them the finest trail and enduro pedals available. Immediate Media / Andy Lloyd
- Excellent condition
- Flats that won the Enduro World Series
- 10 pins each side provide excellent grip.
Under the boots of chief test pilot and three-time Enduro World Series champion Sam Hill, these pedals and their predecessors have triumphed at the top level.
The Horizons feature an ideal body size that achieves an unmistakable mix of grip, support, and size.
The pedals are a top performer, with 10 pins per side and a concave design. By removing the provided shims with a 2.5mm Allen key, the pins may be changed from 5mm to 6mm.
The pedals are kept spinning by two sealed bearings and two DU bushes, which, although not the most lasting option, are inexpensive and simple to repair.
When the time comes, Nukeproof offers all of the replacement parts you’ll need to repair them.
Sam Hill’s Nukeproof Horizon Pro is now on sale.
Mk5 Burgtec Penthouse Flat
The Penthouse Flat MK5 mountain bike pedals from Burgtec are the product of 17 years of development. Immediate Media / Andy Lloyd
- Designed to last
- Platform is slim and concave.
- There are many color choices available.
Burgtec’s first Penthouse Flat pedals were released 17 years ago. Since then, the British-made components have progressed with the sport. The Mk5 is the newest iteration, and it’s very close to becoming the ideal flat mountain bike pedal.
The huge platform isn’t big enough to be a major danger in rock gardens, but the substantial concavity and eight 4.5mm tall detachable pins provide plenty of traction. They’re available in a variety of colors to complement or contrast with your bike.
Steel axle pedals weigh 382g, which is quite light for alloy pedals.
DMR Vault Brendog Ice
The ‘Moto’ pins on Brendog’s signature Vaults are larger. Steve Behr/MBUK
- Pin removal is simple because to the offset platform.
- Ground impacts are deflected by chamfered edges.
- 11 strategically placed pins
The Vault is a BikeRadar staff favorite because of its completely concave platform and 11 strategically positioned pegs that hold your foot in place.
The pins may be replaced or removed from the bottom of the pedal, preventing damage and allowing the pedals to deflect over pebbles and ruts.
The Brendog version has Moto pins, which are sharper than the regular pins, although they aren’t as gripping as DMR’s usual offering.
There’s also a halo version with a super-lightweight body, but at £220, it’s rather pricey.
The DMR Vault Brendog Ice is now on sale.
Flat Burgtec MK4 Composite Burgtec MK4 Composite Burgtec MK4 Composite Burgtec MK4 Composite
The composite pedals worked nicely with rock strikes. MBUK/Andy Lloyd
- Platform is in good condition.
- Pins that can be removed
The nylon/fibreglass body is concave and has the same pin configuration as the Penthouse MK4 pedals, although the pins aren’t nearly as long.
They’re 71 grams lighter than the metal counterparts, and we believe the composite body means they’re more likely to brush up against objects if they hit the ground.
These are the trademark pedals of freeride superstar Tyler McCaul. Steve Behr/MBUK
- a large platform for pedaling
- 14 pins for the pedals
- Sturdy structure
Tyler McCaul’s trademark pedals include a wide platform area, 14 pins across the pedal’s perimeter, and three bearings combined with a DU bush to keep them spinning smoothly.
They’re vulnerable to rock hits due to their huge platform, but they’re tough enough to avoid any harm.
Because the pins are screwed in from the pedal’s platform, you’ll need to find another method to remove them from the pedal body if you’ve struck them and damaged them.
These are among of the most expensive pedals on the market right now, but they’re worth it for the performance they provide.
Flat Gusset S2 pedals
The body of the Gusset S2 pedals is very big. MBUK/Andy Lloyd
- Profile is concave.
- Excellent grip
- 10mm pins that can be removed
The S2 is a high-performance pedal that was developed with the assistance of Red Bull athlete Matt Jones. The curved edges of the big metal platform aid in avoiding rock impacts. Although the pedals are very deep, they are also quite concave.
The mud-filled Allen heads may be a nuisance to replace, but the detachable 10mm pins provide plenty of traction. The axles are built using DU bushings and bearings, so they should last a long time.
HT Supreme ANS10
To avoid rock impacts, the HTs are heavily chamfered. Steve Behr/MBUK
- Platform with a concave shape
- Pins that can be removed and adjusted
- At 376g each pair, they are very light.
The edges of these pedals are highly slanted, and the form is visibly concave.
The hexagonal shape makes it easy to brush off rock and floor hits while keeping your foot firmly planted in rocky terrain. The pointed pins add to the gripping nature of them.
The pins’ length may be adjusted by 1mm from 5mm to 6mm, and the 12mm axle length positions your feet pleasantly wide. These pedals are among the lightest on the market, weighing just 376 grams.
The HT Supreme ANS10 is now on sale.
Catalyst for Pedaling Innovations
It’s no surprise that they were a team favorite since they were the largest and most radical-looking platform available. Steve Behr/MBUK
- The largest rectangular platform in the world
- 30-day money-back guarantee
- Although not polished, this is a decent performance.
Although the big rectangular 95 x 128mm platform may raise some eyes, Pedaling Innovations says that it will support your whole foot, assisting with control and pedaling force input.
The pedals’ excellent levels of grip and stability removed any concerns we had about the design, allowing us to feel confident on the path.
The pedal includes room for 14 pins, which may be arranged in a variety of long and short configurations to meet your requirements. Unfortunately, the pins can only be tightened from the platform side, making them difficult to repair if they get broken.
If you don’t like the design, Pedaling Innovations will refund your money within 30 days.
Superstar Nano-x EVO
The Superstars are excellent value for money, since they are made and developed in the United Kingdom. Steve Behr/MBUK
- Designed and manufactured in the United Kingdom
- Reasonably priced
- It’s simple to change pins.
These pedals provide excellent value for money and are made in the UK, with a reasonably wide platform and lots of replacement pins included in the package.
The surface of the pedal offers excellent grip and works best with smaller pins rather than the 7mm monsters.
The pins may be easily replaced with a 3mm Allen key from beneath the pedal platform due to the offset construction. The angled edges are very effective in deflecting pebbles.
Our professional testers have chosen the best clipless MTB pedals.
- £115 for Ripper Funn
- £36.99 (about $34.90) PD-M520 Shimano
- £149.99 Mallet E LS by Crankbrothers
- £39.99 / $39.99 / £39.99 / $39.99 / £39.99 PD-M530 Shimano
- Shimano XT M8020 Trail Shimano XT M8020 Trail Shimano XT M: AU$120 (£90) / $120 (UK) $158.95 Shimano XT M8020 Trail: £90 / $120 / AU$158.95 Shimano XT M
- £100 Shimano XT M8120 Trail
- £129.99 V-Twin DMR
- Horizon CS Nukeproof: £100
- ATAC XC 6 time: £90
By name and by nature, Ripper is a ripper. MBUK/Immediate Media/MBUK/Immediate Media/MBUK/Immedi
- Platform that is very large
- Clipping in is simple.
- Axles that run smoothly
These were an immediate success with our testers because to its broad base and flat-pedal-like design. The four pins on each corner of the pedal provide enough of anti-twist grip, but they don’t bite in so tight that clipping out becomes impossible.
They work nicely with downhill shoes because of the concave platform. The tension-adjustable clip system works with Shimano’s SPD system, and the bush and bearing spinning axles have proved to be durable.
Pedals from Shimano, model PD-M520. Immediate Media Co. / Oliver Woodman
- £36.99 / $34.90
- Excellent price/quality ratio
- Adjustability that is simple
- dependable and easy to maintain
Because of their simplicity and dependability, they are one of the most popular mountain bike pedals.
They’re popular with commuters and mountain cyclists alike because of its easy-to-use double-sided entrance.
While the RRP is about £36.99, they can often be purchased online for as little as £20 – not a bad deal!
The PD-M520 is based on the same mechanism as the more costly XT and XTR models, but with a reduced price tag. They are, however, difficult to discern from any of the more expensive models on the trail provided they are properly maintained and oiled.
Maintenance is simple and fast using simple cup and cone bearings.
The Shimano PD-M520 is now on sale.
Crankbrothers Mallet E LS
Mallet E LS clipless pedal by Crankbrothers. Andy McCandlish is a British actor.
- DH-style shoes work best.
- Low-profile, concave cage
- Adjustable fit
The Mallet is a fantastic choice if money isn’t an issue and you’re searching for a high-performing trail, enduro, or downhill pedal, particularly when paired with DH-style shoes.
The concave low-profile cage ensures secure contact between the shoes and the six pins on the pedal’s body.
You can fine-tune the fit to suit various kinds of shoe with interchangeable traction pads and cleat shims.
The pedal’s body provides flat pedal support on the trail, with the additional security of being clipped in, so you can concentrate on riding quickly.
The Crankbrothers Mallet E LS is now on sale.
The Shimano PD-M530 is a good choice for people who need a little additional help. Immediate Media / BikeRadar
- £39.99 / $39.99
- There’s a reason why it’s so popular.
- Simple to keep up with
- Construction is tough and long-lasting.
If you like SPDs with a cage, Shimano’s M530s are worth considering – in fact, we’d call them a contemporary classic. Although the cage doesn’t provide as much support as other rivals, it still provides adequate side support for most trail shoes.
They’re also inexpensive and will endure for years due to their basic cup and cone bearings. You’ll be able to simply service them at home when they finally get weary.
If weight is an issue (they weigh 446g for a pair), the XTs shown below may be a better fit, but most trail riders will be quite satisfied with the M530.
The Shimano PD-M530 is now on sale.
Shimano XT M8020 Trail
For the weight-conscious and aggressive trail rider, Shimano’s XT M8020 Trail is a superior option.
- £90 / $120 / AU$158.95
- Excellent all-arounder
- Cleat and clip mechanism are secure and familiar.
- A little increase in your foot’s contact area
Shimano’s XT Trail pedal encases the SPD mechanism inside an aluminum base, making it ideal for trail, all-mountain, and enduro riders.
The new M8020 is 3.3mm wider than its predecessor, resulting in an increase in contact surface of 11.7 percent. Additionally, the pedal body has been reduced by 0.5mm, bringing you closer to the axle.
The pedals measured 402 grams on our scales (408 grams advertised), and Shimano’s conventional steel cleat and clip system ensures consistent engagement and disengagement (spring tension is easily adjusted with a 3mm Allen key).
The Trails have a little increase in pedal-to-shoe contact area, but the increased width helps to minimize foot roll while leaning the bike into bends.
The Shimano XT M8020 Trail is now on sale.
Shimano XT M8210 Trail Shimano XT M8210 Trail Shimano XT M
Trail clipless pedals from Shimano XT M8120. Andy McCandlish is a British actor.
- Exceptional stability
- Mud clearance is excellent.
- Some shoes may be incompatible with this.
The Shimano XT M8120 pedals are genuine fit-and-forget performers, needing little to no maintenance and providing excellent resistance to difficult, muddy conditions due to a wide platform and simple yet precise placement.
Cleat engagement was always quick, and the cage offered enough of support, only getting in the way of the bulkiest of XC shoes.
Clipless DMR V-Twin pedal. Andy McCandlish is a British actor.
- Support in the form of a flat pedal and lateral grip
- Pins with a lot of grip
- Simple to clip into
The V-Twins come with a number of pins that may be used to fine-tune the pedal’s feel.
When fitted up with all of the additional pins, the pedals offered enough of traction and stability when used with skate-style DH shoes.
Clipping in is simple because to the SPD mechanism, however getting unclipped may be more difficult due to the high degrees of grip available. But isn’t it a wonderful issue to have?
The most recent DMR V-Twin deals
Horizon CS Nukeproof
Horizon clipless pedal by Nukeproof. Andy McCandlish is a British actor.
- Four pins that may be removed
- SPD-friendly mechanism
- Exceptionally grippy
The Horizon is an extremely gripping pedal, with four detachable pins per side that extend up to 4mm over the broad platform.
The pins may be lengthened with washers if necessary, although the overall sensation is similar to that of a flat pedal.
You may clip in forwards, backwards, or from above thanks to the SPD-compatible technology. They come with 4-degree float cleats as standard, but an 8-degree float cleat is also available. Nukeproof’s CL version may be suitable if you need a larger platform.
The Nukeproof Horizon CS is now on sale.
ATAC XC 6 time
ATAC XC 6 clipless pedal from Time. Andy McCandlish is a British actor.
- There is a lot of float
- Simple to use
- Clipping in may be difficult.
The ATAC XC 6 pedals offer lots of float thanks to Time’s cleat design, which may help alleviate knee discomfort and enhance bike control. The amount of movement may be unsettling at first if you’re accustomed to Shimano’s SPD system.
In severe weather, they hold up well, and we never had any trouble clipping in or out when they were coated in muck or even snow and ice. Because of its cageless construction, the pedal may slide forward if you’re not cautious while clipping in.
If this is a concern, the Time Speciale version with a cage may be a better option.
During our testing period, they proved to be very dependable, surviving hits and continuous usage in inclement weather.
New mountain bike pedals have really come of age, especially over the last 10 years or so. Back in the early 2000s, the only options for top-end mountain bike pedals were plastic SPDs or clipless pedals, with the best dukoralikes in between. While these still rule the mountain bike pedal world, they’re starting to feel a little dated. These days, you can get clipless pedals that work like SPDs and flat pedals that correspond to clipless cleats that fit any shoe, or flip-flops that work in the same way.. Read more about best flat mountain bike pedals 2023 and let us know what you think.
Frequently Asked Questions
What type of pedals are best for mountain biking?
The most important thing to consider when purchasing pedals for mountain biking is the type of terrain you will be riding on. If you are riding on a lot of rough, rocky terrain, then you would want to purchase pedals with a wide platform that can absorb shock from the ground. If you are riding on mostly smooth trails, then you would want to purchase pedals with a smaller platform that allows more control over your bike.
What are the lightest MTB flat pedals?
The lightest MTB flat pedals are the Shimano M324.
Do pedals make a difference MTB?
Pedals make a difference in mountain biking. They allow you to go faster and easier, but they are not necessary for riding.
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