The different types of pedals for mountain biking

In 2021, the first improvement that we will suggest to you for your mountain bike will be to invest in pedals for the mountain bike. Even at some level (and price), bikes just come without the pedals. Why? Because each cyclist has their own preferences and is also probably already equipped.

When we say equipped, it is not only the pedals but also the shoes. Indeed, when you get new pedals with a fastening system, you have to buy the shoes that go with them.

Here is our guide to pedals for mountain biking. We present you several types as well as their advantages and disadvantages.

Why use clip pedals for mountain biking?

With standard pedals, you can only push down. So one leg at a time. However, when our foot is attached to the pedal, it is now possible for us to also pull. This allows us to be able to use both legs at the same time but also to use several different muscles. This helps a lot for the endurance side of the bike.

Better traction control

On a cross-country type mountain bike, you are often looking for grip when going uphill. When we can push and pull on the pedals, we distribute the power over a full revolution of the crank. So even if you lack grip on a root, you can still pedal as soon as you pass that obstacle, without having to wait for your crank to come back up.

It’s a detail, but it’s what will make the difference between going up the mountain quickly on your bike or having to walk alongside…

It’s still a matter of taste

PLEASE NOTE, it is not mandatory to have clip-on pedals for mountain biking! There is even a document called “The Flat Pedal Revolution Manifesto” which was made by MTB Strenght training systems et Pedaling Innovation. In this guide, they demonstrate that there is no real benefit to being “clipped” at least for a beginner. They even advise all cyclists to ride paddle pedals a few times a year in order to relearn how to pedal without a clip.

It is truly a personal taste that you will develop after trying both systems.

The type of bike you ride will make a big difference, too. In cross-country and Enduro bikes, most cyclists are “clipped”. Also on the descent you see a lot of people using these systems. However, if you are more on the Freeride side or do a lot of “jumping”, it will be rare to see people using clips. Although it is very easy to detach our foot from a clip-on pedal, when doing high-risk maneuvers like “jumps”, we sometimes feel better on flat pedals. In this situation, we will often go to hybrid pedals.

The different types of pedals for mountain biking

It doesn’t matter if you choose a magnetic or clip-on pedal, you will need to get compatible shoes. If you opt for flat pedals (without clip), we suggest a shoe with a rigid sole. This will allow you to lose less power and it will be more comfortable for your feet.

Our last suggestion is a product that comes from the “Mag Ped” brand. These have targeted the market of people who would like to enjoy the benefits of being on clip-on pedals, but don’t like having their feet set. It is a hybrid model.

Downhill clip pedals

Nukeproof Horizon CL

This type of pedal is used a lot for enduro and downhill cycling. It allows you to be clipped but forgive if you do not have time to reclip perfectly by landing from a jump, for example …

Since it includes both systems (flat pedal and clip), the weight of the pair is a bit high considering the competition is 526g.

Flat pedals

DMR Vault V2

DMR Vault V2 Flat Pedals

The DMR Vault V2 pedals are made of aluminum, which is a super-light material. The pair of pedals weighs only 430g! Thanks to their design extruded in a single block of material, their rigidity is impressive. These are designed specifically for a style of rider doing All Mountain, Enduro or Downhill.

Interchangeable rivets

The pedal has several rivets which are interchangeable if you want more or less aggressive ones. These can also be used in both directions, either the net on your shoe or the head of the screw.

See these pedals on Amazon

Cross-Country Pedals

Crankbrothers Eggbeater

Pédales Crankbrothers Eggbeater
Crankbrothers Eggbeater pedals

In the world of Cross-Country, the Egg Beater pedals from CrankBrothers have made their name for a long time! Why? First, their design is simple and compact, resulting in a weight of only 256g for the pair of pedals. The system is quite simple but very effective. With 4 positions for “clipping” there is little chance of having trouble attaching your foot to it even in an awkward situation. When trying to tie your shoe, the pedal will simply roll on itself until you are in the correct position.

Cross-Country Focus

Given their very minimalist design which does not allow pedaling without being attached to the pedals, this type of pedal is intended for a rider who will not do too big jumps, gaps and other types of stunts.

Once again, if you look at its design, you see a lot of openings and it is not without reason. In fact, in muddy conditions, this helps to evacuate mud, clay and other type of material that can seep into the clip.

A name you can trust

Over the years, Crank Brother has continued to improve this model of pedal which makes them extremely durable. Personally, I bought mine used 6 years ago! The company even offers a 5-year warranty in case you manage to break them. Good luck!

The base option for this pedal is made of steel while the more expensive option uses Titanium.

Check these pedals on Amazon

Hybrid pedals (magnetized)

Mag ped pedals

Pédale aimantées Mag Ped
Mag Ped magnetized pedals

See this product on the website of Mag Ped

Our latest pedal option for mountain biking is actually a mix between a flat pedal and a pedal with clip. This option is perfect for those who are not comfortable with clip-on pedals but would still like to enjoy its goods.

By design, the pedal is a flat pedal type, to which magnets have been attached. The latter therefore attract the shoe to the pedal and especially to the right place. This option is therefore recommended either to holders of clip-on pedals or to those who do a lot of stunts and do not want to have their feet attached.

You will therefore be able to push and pull on the pedal. Be careful, this is not a mechanical clip, so you can’t pull that much. However, if you opt for the “Enduro 200” version the magnets are more powerful, so you will observe better retention. This option weighs 530g while the “Enduro 150” option, with the less powerful magnets, weighs 490g.

Although this is a foot pedal at the base, in order for the magnet to work, you will need a magnet under your shoe as well.

cycling. If you need any help, feel free to visit your local bike shop so their experts can advise you!

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If you have any ideas or suggestions, do not hesitate to write to us.

Have a good bike!