Bicycle Pedals Buying Guide
When we were small, pedals were just a part of our bicycles. There was no choice involved: they were simply flat pieces of metal and plastic for us to push. But adult cyclists know that pedals are the key to efficiently powering the ride. There are different types for different kinds of riding, as well as different types to suit different personal preferences. You'll want to know as much as possible about these small but crucial pieces. Your legs will thank you.
If you are new to cycling, there are some basic terms and mechanical concepts you'll want to know before you shop.
Pedals are made up of three components: spindle, body and cage.
- The spindle is a thin metal rod that threads onto the crank arm and holds the bearings. The inside end of the spindle (the part that threads onto the crank arms) typically has larger, more durable bearings than the outside end. The threading usually has a diameter of 9/16in with 20 threads to the inch; this is considered the industry standard and is often marked BSC (British Standard Cycle thread).
- The body is usually a cast-aluminium housing for the spindle and the bearings.
- The cage, usually made of steel or aluminium, is a thin metal band that toe clips and reflectors bolt onto. The cage is attached to the body via pedal braces.
- Additional standard features on pedals are toe flips, small metal protrusions bent outward that helps rotate the pedal backward when using toe clips.
Pedals begin to diverge at this point as they become more specialised and geared toward specific types of riding. For example, BMX riders will use a variation of the classic platform pedal, but with much wider surface area and spiky grips protruding from the pedal itself. Clipless pedals also vary by discipline: mountain bikes (MTBs) will often use a pedal that houses the clip and very little surface area, while road bikes use a pedal that's slightly larger and lighter. At the same time, downhill MTBs will sometimes use a pedal that resembles those used on BMX bikes . Check the chart below for more detailed information on the different types of pedals.
|Clipless Road Pedals|
Most road bicycles will use clipless pedals , which are slightly different than the clipless mountain bike pedals you'll see below. The cleat area is larger, often covering 1/3 of the shoe. The greater surface area helps distribute downward force as you pedal, allowing for more evenly balanced strokes. This is especially valuable because road bikes often use a bigger gear range, and bigger gears, than mountain bikes.
- Clipless road bike pedals are often one-sided, meaning the clip area is only on one side of the pedal.
- Because a leg bent at the wrong angle could lead to knee injury, check if a pedal allows for lateral movement so you could adjust.
- Make sure you can get out of the pedals easily - if you are a smaller, lighter rider, you may not take the same pedals as a large racer.
- Classic road pedals are made by Look and Shimano .Campagnolo ,Bianchi and Speedplay also makes clipless pedals.
|Mountain Bike Pedals|
Mountain Bike Pedals have a little more range in shapes and sizes than the clipless road bike ones, since there's more terrain variety within the group (excluding the potholes, bad streets and aggro drivers road bikers deal with in their urban environment). Most MTB riders will use a small clip with little surface area -- which makes the pedal look more like just the clip mechanism and nothing else.
- MTB Downhill riders will use a pedal with slightly more surface area, like Crank Brothers Mallet pedals. These are essentially clip-in pedals with a metal or plastic cage around them and they're good if you're constantly clipping in and out of your pedals and gives you more leeway to find the clipping mechanism.
- Some downhill riders will use a BMX-style pedal like the Shimano M545 , or just a straight BMX pedal, for easy exits when they ride into trouble.
- Shimano ,Crank Brothers ,Xpedo ,Bianchi ,Time ,Wellgo and PowerPlay all make high-quality MTB and downhill pedals.