How to Select Bicycle Pedals
How to Choose Bike Pedals complete Guidelines. When looking for pedals for your bike, the first thing you should consider is the kind of riding you’ll be performing. Which kind of bike do you plan to do, mountain biking or road biking? Do you like the pedaling power and efficiency that clipless pedals provide (in which cleats on the bottom of your shoes connect your feet to the pedals), or do you prefer the ease and mobility that comes with using flat platform pedals? It’s possible that you desire the advantages of both.
If you want to use clipless pedals, you need to be sure that your shoes, cleats, and pedals are all compatible with one another. You may start shopping for either the shoes or the pedals first; but, while making your choice, keep shoe-pedal compatibility in mind. Cleats may be purchased in conjunction with the pedals or alone.
In this post, we’ll walk you through the primary aspects that should go into selecting bike pedals, including the following:
Choose between clipless and flat bicycle pedals. If you want greater efficiency and control, clipless pedals are the way to go. With your shoes linked to your pedals, you can transmit power as you pull up and push down on the pedals. Flat pedals, on the other hand, don’t need any attachments. If you need to be able to remove your feet from the pedals quickly or if you want to have comfort when walking in shoes that do not have cleats, you should use flat pedals.
Think on the kind of riding you do: do you want road cycling pedals with a cleat that has three holes for the maximum amount of power transfer? Or are you a leisure rider looking for pedals that are simple to mount and dismount, such as flat pedals?
Make a decision on the shoes you wish to wear: the sort of pedals you receive may sometimes be determined by the shoes you wear. If you are a commuter who rides a bike and wishes to wear the same shoes on and off the bike, flat pedals or mountain bike pedals are ideal options for you since they allow you to use conventional street shoes in addition to shoes with recessed cleats. Check out our post on “How to Choose Bike Shoes” for more information on what to look for when purchasing cycling footwear.
There are two popular types of pedals: flat pedals and clipless pedals.
You should consider if you like to have your feet free or to have them securely fastened to the pedals. Flat pedals and clipless pedals are the two most popular styles of pedals. Depending on the style of riding you do and your particular tastes, you’ll have to decide.
Clipless pedals: what are they? Since you really “clip in” to the pedal’s cleats, much like you would with ski bindings, the term “clipless” is undoubtedly perplexing. (They were originally given the moniker “clipless” to set them apart from another kind of pedals at the time, dubbed “toe clips”) With clipless pedals, you attach a tiny plastic or metal cleat to the bottom of your shoe, which often snaps into a series of spring-loaded “clips” on the pedal’s face. The 3-hole or 2-hole cleats on clipless pedals are available.
Why choose for clipless pedals? When riding quickly or doing tricks like leaping up onto curbs or over logs, clipless pedals provide a great degree of control. When you exert force or ride over obstacles, your feet won’t sporadically leave the pedals. At first, clipless pedals may be challenging to get into and out of, but with a little practice, they’ll feel natural.
What exactly are platform pedals? Your first bike most likely came with these “flat pedals.” They work with practically any shoe and provide a large, sturdy surface to support your feet on both sides. They’re not meant to be worn with clipless shoes.
Why go with flat pedals? This kind of pedal is preferred by many downhill mountain cyclists, especially when used with a pair of shoes with sticky bottoms or tread. The simplest to get off of in the case of an accident, this combination offers enough control and grip. Platform pedals could also boost your confidence and help you prevent a collision.
For a more comfortable shoe that makes walking easier, recreational cyclists, commuters or riders who often get on and off their bikes may choose flat pedals.
Think About the Kind of Riding You Do
Benefits of road cycling pedals: The majority of road cyclists use clipless pedals because the tight fit between the shoe and pedal results in a powerful and effective pedal stroke. Cleats with a 3-hole pattern are often seen on road bike pedals. This is often referred to as the SPD-SL system or a “Look” type cleat (after the business that invented its usage). Compared to a similar 2-hole design, these cleats are bigger, made of plastic, and protrude farther from the shoe’s sole.
A three-hole design has the benefit of allowing the bigger cleat to disperse the force being delivered to the pedal across a broader surface. This relieves strain on the connecting points and enables a secure connection even when a road bike is subjected to severe stress levels.
Benefits of mountain biking pedals: Walking is more pleasant because to the 2-hole cleats that are built into the soles of mountain bike clipless pedals. To attach the cleat to two tracks or slots on the bottom of a shoe that is suitable, screws are inserted through the cleat’s two holes. This enables you to adjust the cleat’s angle and location for optimal comfort and ease of contact with the pedal by gently sliding the cleat back and forth.
If mountain bikers desire higher pedal efficiency, better control of their bikes, more power when climbing, or don’t want to worry about their foot sliding off the pedals, they may choose clipless pedals. Platform pedals may also be preferred by riders who desire the freedom to remove their foot from the pedals at any time, feel less at ease using clipless pedals, or are still learning.
Choosing pedals for recreational riding: It’s simpler to hop on and off the bike with shoes that fit flat pedals or a 2-hole cleat system, so if you’re a more casual rider, you could prefer those options.
Choosing pedals for bike commuting: If you go a long way to work, clipless pedals may be the best option. Consider flat pedals, which go with another pair of shoes, if you walk comfortably or more comfortably or if you can wear them everywhere.
Or think of hybrid bike pedals, which combine the efficiency of a clipless system on one side with the adaptability of platform pedals on the other. For anybody wishing to gradually shift to clipless, this transition pedal is perfect. These give a different option for riders who don’t always ride in bicycle shoes, while most people who consider clipless pedals either go “full in” or not at all.
Pedal Features on Bikes
When you step on a bike pedal with cleats, the cleat locks into the pedal mechanism and is securely held in place. This is known as pedal float. The amount of rotational freedom the foot has when on the pedal is referred to as “float.” You may adjust the cleat to modify the float since various cleat types allow for varying degrees of float. A few systems set the foot’s angle, while others allow a fixed amount of float and a few others allow for adjustable float ranges. As you gain riding expertise, this mostly becomes a matter of personal choice. How to Choose Bike Pedals
Cleats with several releases: The majority of the cleats that come with pedals release laterally. These types and the so-called multiple-release cleat are extremely similar, although the latter releases a little more readily and at somewhat greater angles (your heel can move outward or inward and slightly upward as well). The variations are minute. Overall, they do seem to be a little more forgiving than lateral-release cleats. Normally, multiple-release cleats and pedals are supplied separately. How to Choose Bike Pedals
How to use clipless bike pedals
Clipless pedals can be intimidating to learn how to use. Many cyclists have fallen off their bikes at some point. Be pierced with it. This motion is easy to learn, but takes practice to develop muscle memory and confidence. Find a level, grassy field to practice while learning how to use clipless paddles. You may fall once or twice while learning and soft ground can help prevent injuries. Optionally, you can practice clipping with a bike instructor (or at an indoor cycling class) or by having a friend hold your handlebars.
How to clip on clipless bike pedals:
As you start clipping, apply the front brake to prevent your bike from rolling forward.
Clip into the first shoe and start rolling forward. Once you’ve gained some balance and are moving, clip on the second pedal. How to Choose Bike Pedals
Generally, clipping is easier when on a flat surface or slightly inclined. Trying to clip in when starting up an uphill can be difficult at first.
How to unclip from clipless bike pedals:
When you’re approaching a stopping point like an intersection, think “heel out” and prepare in advance. You’ll want to clip out before you close completely. If you stop for a short time, you only need to clip one pedal.
If you bike or commute on the road, you usually clip on your dominant leg. For mountain biking, it’s good to know how to do both.
Away from the bike, twist your ankle/heel outward. You will hear a click and your foot will release from the pedal. Once your shoes are out of the system, put your feet down.
Tip: Develop proper muscle memory by going in and out 50 to 60 times with each pedal. With this number of repetitions, your legs will begin to train you to do the right thing without thinking about it. You can exercise on an indoor spin bike. How to Choose Bike Pedals
How to Care for Clipless Pedals
If your cleats become difficult to engage or disengage, the pedals may need cleaning and lubrication. Here’s how to clean your clipless pedals:
First look for obvious signs of damage. How to Choose Bike Pedals
If you can’t find any, give the paddle a good scrub with hot water to remove any mud or debris.
Dry the pedals, then lubricate the pedal clips with a drop of mild lubricant. If you have a double-sided system, be sure to lube both sides.
Contact your neighborhood REI bike technician if you’re still experiencing issues.
Tip: If you don’t have a cleaning brush kit, an old toothbrush makes an excellent tool for cleaning paddles.