Anyone who mountain bikes can tell you what an amazing sport it is. Not only does it offer a great workout and challenge the body, but it also lets the rider get out into nature and experience quality time outdoors. Those who ride know first hand the intoxicating adrenaline rush you get after a fast race or an obstacle-filled trail ride.
However, as amazing as mountain biking is, it does come with some upfront costs, including pedals. Especially if you are looking to improve your race times or up your performance. A good pair of mountain biking pedals allow riders of all skill levels to ride more efficiently on rough, uneven terrain, roads, and downhill trails.
I tested a range of bike pedals and found the HT Components T1 Clipless pedals to be the best overall option on the market. It is the best choice for easy entry and exit. They also have a superior grip, an incredibly smooth spin, and are moderately priced.
This clipless pedal uses durable aluminum and is lightweight, making it the ideal choice for trail riding, downhill racing, or climbing. Their larger platform allows for more support than traditional cross-country pedal options, and they come in a variety of attractive color options.
Keep reading to get a breakdown of the best mountain bike pedals on the market, including their performance and efficiency, their overall design, and how each will fit into your budget. I’ll also discuss some basic tips you should consider when purchasing a new pair of bike pedals.
The Best Mountain Bike Pedals
- HT Components T1 Clipless Pedal (Best Overall)
- RockBros MTB Pedal (Best for All Weather)
- Imrider Lite (Best for Budgets)
- Bontrager Line Elite MTB Platform Pedals (Best for Durability)
- Ethirteen Base Pedals (Best for Beginners)
- Shimano PD-M9100 (Best for Racing)
- Crank Brothers Candy 7 (Best for Mud)
- Crank Brothers Egg Beater 3 (Best for Cross Country)
- Shimano M8120 Trail (Best for Speed)
- Crank Brothers Mallet DH (Best for Downhill)
- Race Face Chester Pedals (Best Nylon-Composite)
- OneUp Aluminum Pedals (Best Aluminum Pedals)
- Spank Spoon DC Pedals (Best Overall Value)
- Shimano PD-M324 (Best Hybrid Pedal)
- Ritchey Comp XC (Best Minimalist Design)
Mountain Bike Pedal Reviews
There are hundreds of mountain bike pedals on the market, and with their varying designs and features, it can be challenging to know which will be the best option for you and your riding style. Let’s jump into my reviews of the fifteen best pedals available.
HT Components T1 Clipless Pedals – Best Overall
The best overall mountain bike pedal we had the opportunity to test is, hands down, the HT Components T1 Clipless Pedal. It is lightweight, slender, and affordable and can withstand a wide variety of trails, terrains, and unexpected obstacles.
The pedals come with two sets of cleats for up to 8 degrees of lateral float. They are easy to enter and exit and even produce an audible click when you release the cleat from the pedal, making it clear if you are still engaged or not.
The HT T1 is incredibly flexible and easy to adjust, in part because of their three different accompanying cleats that allow riders to hone their float and release angles effortlessly.
Of all the pedals we tested, we found the HT T1’s ability to shed mud to be the best of the lot. Their wide-open design doesn’t allow for mud, dirt, or grime to get stuck inside the pedal components either.
At only 372 grams for the pair, they are a light mid-cage pedal that still provides plenty of surface area for your foot. As a bonus, these pedals come in fourteen bright colors.
If you’re looking for a durable, well-designed mountain bike pedal that is easy to clip in and out of, is also comfortable, and performs well in various terrains, this is the pedal for you.
RockBros MTB Pedal – Best for All Weather
Perfect for riding in all types of weather, the RockBros MTB Pedal is a sturdy, shock-proof pedal made of nylon. It is resistant to abrasion and corrosion, as well as mud and grit from trail and mountain path riding.
The 10 anti-skid nails on either side of the pedal hold your feet in place regardless of water or mud. The bearings are sealed, which keeps rain, snow, sand, and dirt out of the spindles as well.
The design of these pedals is pretty fantastic. They have an ergonomic design that is comfortable for larger feet and DU bearings that allow for faster, more comfortable rides and increased pedaling efficiency. In addition, these pedals are made from Nylon Fiber and come in black, red, orange, and green.
The RockBros MTB pedals are perfect for the bicyclist that braves all terrains in all types of weather.
Imrider Lite – Best for Budgets
Mountain biking can be an expensive hobby. If you’re looking for a more budget-friendly mountain bike pedal option, the Imrider Lite is an excellent, high-quality option that will allow you to apply your funds to other areas.
Imrider pedals are flat pedals that allow for a strong connection between cleat and pedal. They have a broad surface area for your foot to rest on and are incredibly light, weighing only 179 grams per pedal. We found these pedals allowed for a smooth and comfortable ride.
They are made from a waterproof polyamide material that is resistant to abrasion and corrosion, making them an excellent choice for riders who ride hard and put their bike to the test. The pedal bearings can withstand mud and sand as well, meaning mountain bikers, cross country riders, and trail riders will get good use out of them.
The Imrider Lite pedals also come with 16 metal studs you have to screw in manually. They provide excellent grip but are easy to detach from in an emergency. Each pin has standard 9/16” threads, which allow them to be used safely and securely on almost every type of bike.
The pedals come in various fun colors, including black, turquoise, yellow, orange, and red.
Ultimately, these inexpensive pedals are strong, durable, and can take a beating. They are great for beginners or those simply looking for a place to save a few bucks.
Bontrager Line Elite MTB Platform Pedals – Best for Durability
Nothing says durability quite like a Bontrager Line Elite MTB bike pedal. These flat pedals are made from sturdy nylon resin and have a solid, wide platform that will satisfy the needs of trail riders, downhillers, or enduro riders. Even climbers will find these pedals to be worth their while.
The grip on these pedals is outstanding. Bontrager Line Elite pedals have 10 traction pins that help keep your feet in place regardless of the type of biking you’re doing. They also have a wide surface area for a more comfortable ride and a diamond-textured pattern imprinted on the platform of each pedal that helps increase sticking power.
Part of these pedals’ exceptional durability is thanks to how the axle spins on sealed cartridge bearings. Additionally, these pedals are slightly cheaper than comparable varieties and perform better for longer.
From the superior traction of these pedals to the impressive way they can take a beating, Bontrager Line Elite MTB Platform pedals are a great investment for your biking adventures.
ethirteen Base Pedals – Best for Beginners
If you’re new to mountain biking and looking for pedals that provide stability, traction, and durability in an affordable package, ethirteen base pedals are a great starter option.
These pedals have a flat 10x11cm platform. They consist of a thick, nylon-injected composite material that provides good foot support throughout your entire ride.
Each pedal has 11 steel pins that not only ensure traction but allow you to feel confident in your foot placement. The pins are only 3mm long, making it easy to move and reposition your feet while riding. This is particularly useful if you’re just starting and unused to clipping in and out of pedals.
Although the short pins and foot position flexibility are great for beginners, they aren’t the best options for tough terrain. These pedals are better suited for easy-to-moderate trail riding.
Shimano XTR PD-M9100 – Best for Racing
If you don’t mind forking over a little extra cash for your pedals, the Shimano XTR PD-M9100s are an outstanding option that is particularly great for high-speed rides and bike racing.
They are made from aluminum with a steel spindle and have a wide bearing placement that helps with load distribution.
These pedals are advertised as off-road pedals, and their impressive traction control combined with their intuitive design makes them perfect for those with a need for speed. They also shed mud and dirt effectively.
These pedals have a cylindrical platform that is incredibly easy to clip in and out of. If you race, you know how alarming it can be to be moving at 20+ miles per hour and encountering a situation where you need to step out fast. These pedals allow you to do so rapidly and with confidence every time.
Furthermore, the edge-to-edge contact these slim pedals provide allows riders to improve their power transfer and control their bikes with increased stability.
Ultimately, these high-quality pedals are great for hard rides and long distances.
Crank Brothers Candy 7 – Best for Mud-Shedding
For a mountain bike pedal that is durable, lightweight, and sheds mud quickly and easily, the Crank Brothers Candy 7 is an excellent option. Whether you’re a cross-country or trail biker or you prefer all-mountain terrain, these reliable mountain bike pedals can do it all.
Together these pedals weigh 320g, which puts them on the lighter end. But that doesn’t mean they can’t take a beating.
The body of these pedals uses aluminum with durable steel wings. They have a relatively minimalist design and hexagonal shape but come in various bright colors, including electric blue, red, and black for ultimate personalization.
This model has a two-sided platform and a four-sided entry. Their superior mud-shedding abilities allow them to avoid clogging with mud and dirt, making it easy to clip in and out of them at a moment’s notice. If you frequently find yourself riding through muddy trails in various weather conditions, this is the pedal for you.
Crank Brothers Egg Beater 3 – Best for Cross Country
Long rides require lightweight pedals that have excellent traction and allow the rider to feel confident in any terrain or weather condition. The Crank Brothers Egg Beater 3 pedals are a fantastic option if you’re a cross-country rider.
The unique design of these pedals means that, although they are incredibly light and won’t tire you out on a long, cross-country ride, they offer less support. Instead of the traditional pedal platform, these open pedals have a four-sided entry with wings that allow the rider to step down on the pedal instead of clip into them.
This design is also great for riding in all types of weather and muck. There just aren’t any places on these pedals for mud to clog.
Technically speaking, these pedals are made from stainless steel and feature a spindle forged scm435 made from Chromoly steel. Both the body and the wings riders step down into are cast steel. But at only 280 grams for the pair, these pedals are pretty lightweight.
Shimano M8120 Trail Pedals – Best for Speed
Speed demons will love the Shimano M8120 trail pedals. They allow for hard and heavy trail riding, are tough enough to withstand rough terrain, and can help overcome obstacles with ease.
These clipless pedals are wider than your average trail pedal, and they allow for superb contact between cleat and platform. Thanks to the large platform, riders experience stability and create more power output, leading to faster speeds.
We were also impressed with how easy it was to step in and out of these pedals. Each pedal has a cage that guides your foot when stepping in and protects the bindings from hard impacts. As a bonus, these pedals are double-sided, so it doesn’t matter which side of the pedal you try to connect to.
Finally, if you’re already a Shimano fan, these pedals work with both ME and AM-series off-road shoes.
All in all, the speed, versatility, and stability these pedals provide are one-of-a-kind.
Crank Brothers Mallet DH – Best for Downhill
When you’re racing against the clock, either in an endurance or gravity-oriented downhill event, you need a bike pedal that offers control, flexibility, and provides a smooth ride. The Crank Brothers Mallet DH is the best pedal we’ve come across for downhill biking.
For starters, these pedals have a concave shape to their platform. This design choice allows for your shoe to remain connected to the pedal, whether you’re barreling downhill or jumping over boulders. The Mallet DH also has 8 adjustable pins on each side and a ribbed body that help provide stability and offer a firm grip.
This pedal is made of red or black aluminum with a forged 435 Chromoly steel spindle and cast stainless steel wings. It comes with LL Igus bushing inner bearings and Enduro Max outer bearings. They are on the heavier side at 479 grams for the pair.
The Mallet DH pedals also come with a 5-year warranty.
Race Face Chester Pedals – Best Nylon-Composite
Nylon-composite pedals offer amazing grip and traction. The Race Face Chester mountain bike pedals consists of a lightweight nylon composite that is as tough and durable as alloy pedals but a fraction of the cost. They also have a serviceable bushing and bearing system, so you never have to worry about them falling apart.
They have a large platform with 8 traction pins that deliver super glue-like traction. Rain, snow, and mud have no chance against the Race Face Chester pedals, either.
If customizing your mountain bike with colorful pedals is essential, these pedals come in 7 bright colors that won’t chip or scratch with heavy use.
OneUp Aluminum Pedals – Best Aluminum Pedals
One-Up Aluminum pedals are the best choice for any trail rider who prefers that their mountain bike pedals be made of 6061-T6 aluminum.
The platform on these pedals is a whopping 115x105mm, providing maximum coverage and support. The edges are only 8mm thin, making these an ultra-thin aluminum option that reduces the number of pedal strikes that cause scratches and dings.
They are lightweight, at only 365g for the pair, meaning racing and climbing are a breeze.
They offer outstanding grip as well. Each pedal has 10 rear-loading hexagonal pins in addition to a slightly concave design which helps your feet stay connected throughout your ride.
We love the color options this aluminum pedal offers as well. You can choose from traditional black and grey pedals. However, they also have red, green, electric blue, orange, and light purple. Our personal favorite is the oil-slick rainbow color option.
Spank Spoon DC Pedals – Best Overall Value
Spank Spoon DC Pedals are alloy pedals that have the durability and quality of a high-priced pedal at the comfortable price point of a composite pedal, making them a great value option for the price-conscious rider.
These pedals are a singular piece of alloy with a forged steel axle and industrial bearings and bushings. Not only does this make them strong and resistant to impact with obstacles, but their superior construction also means they will also last an incredibly long time.
Each pedal has a large, slightly concave platform that helps with grip and overall traction while riding. Despite their largeness, they are lightweight at only 395 grams for the pair.
They also come in various bright colors, including red, orange, green, and blue. All pedals have a unique grunge finish that gives them a tough but aesthetically pleasing look.
Shimano PD-M324 – Best Hybrid Pedal
Some riders require a more versatile bike pedal that allows them to choose how they use their bike. Hybrid pedals allow riders to commute to work one day in their regular sneakers and hit the trails the next. With a hybrid pedal, you get the best of both worlds.
The Shimano PD-M324 is the best hybrid pedal on the market. It has an SPD clipless pedal on one side and a caged platform on the other reminiscent of traditional bear trap style pedals. The platform side has gripping teeth that have superb grip and make it ideal for heavy trail and downhill riding.
The Shimano PD-M324 pedals use aluminum and stainless steel. They are on the heavier side at 568 grams for the pair. Finally, they come with a 2-year warranty and are easy to use.
Ritchey Comp XC – Best Minimalist Design
If lightweight pedals with an artfully minimalist design are your preference, you’ll be pleased with the Ritchey Comp XC.
This pedal is preferred by racers and cross country riders thanks to its low-support, cold-forged body with a bolted-on front catch. They are easy to enter and exit and were designed with mud and gravel shedding features. The pair weighs 331 grams.
These pedals come in an attractive, dark red color or solid black and are made of cast alloy. They come with their cleats but are also compatible with Shimano SPD cleats.
The bike pedal you choose and how it performs for you will depend on a variety of factors. You’ll want to ask yourself a couple of questions before you buy your pedals.
- What kind of terrain do you plan to ride your bike on? Are you aiming to switch back and forth from the road to trails, or are you focusing on a specific type of terrain?
- Do you want to be able to secure your feet to the pedals by clipping them in, or do you want to keep your feet free for maximum pedaling power?
- How much money are you looking to spend?
- What size shoes do you wear? How wide is your stance?
Perhaps the most critical factor you need to consider when buying mountain bike pedals is the type of riding you plan on tackling.
Downhill riders are not only concerned with speed. They also have obstacles to contend with. For this type of mountain biking, large, wide pedals with significant traction are ideal. Clipless pedals are pretty much the norm.
Cross country and trail riders tend to prefer clipless pedals as well because they allow them to lock their feet in, while racers and enduro riders tend to gravitate towards flat pedals.
Size and Shape
If you buy the wrong size pedal for your feet and stance, you may find yourself unable to connect properly to the traction pins and may end up slipping off entirely. This can pose certain safety hazards for you and the people you’re sharing the road with.
Small, flat pedals are ideal for riders with smaller feet. Pedal strike isn’t as big of a deal with smaller pedals, and they provide plenty of traction and control.
On the other hand, people with big feet may find the large, wide platform of bigger pedals to be more comfortable thanks to the increased support. They also provide greater traction for their foot needs and give them greater control of their speed and efficiency when riding.
Of course, you must find shoes that are the appropriate size for your foot as well. There’s no sense in cramming your foot into a shoe that’s a size too big or too small just because it lines up with the traction pins on your bike pedals.
The pedals you choose should also work together with your footwear preference. Although technically any shoe can be worn mountain biking, proper shoes designed for traction and grip are best for efficiency and safety.
For example, if you prefer maximum efficiency and energy transfer, you may want to consider clip pedals that work with your mountain bike shoes.
On the other hand, flat shoes with stiff rubber soles that the traction pins can attach to are also an option if you’re not ready to purchase expensive bike shoes. Skate shoes are a good alternative.
Most bike pedals come with cleats that fit in the unique model of the pedal.
Flat or Clipless Pedals
Whether you choose a flat or clipless bike pedal will ultimately depend on the type of terrain you want to tackle and the type of riding you want to do.
Most people learn how to ride a bike on flat pedals. When it comes to mountain biking, they allow for greater flexibility in foot placement and can be easily removed from the pedals. Many riders find their range of motion is better when using flat pedals.
Clip-in pedals are great for increasing your strength and speed. They require a special clip-in shoe that attaches to the pedal via a spring mechanism. They force you to push through the first half of the stroke with your quadricep muscles and then lift it through the second half of the stroke with the hamstrings, meaning greater speed and power.
They provide better rhythm and more efficient riding overall. Many find clipless pedals allow for a more comfortable and accurate ride than flat pedals, particularly when climbing or riding for long periods, which is why most riders choose them.
Stainless steel. Aluminum. Composite. Nylon. Pedals these days are made from a variety of materials that can be confusing if you’re not sure what you’re looking for. Most pedals are made from a composite material or aluminum, and it can be helpful when buying to know the pros and cons of each.
Premium composite pedals are typically made of high-quality plastic or nylon composite. They are solid, lightweight pedals and generally much more affordable than pedals made of stainless steel or aluminum.
Keep in mind that there are less than desirable composite pedals out there. Composite pedals made from all plastic with unsealed bearings are cheap, but they are extremely low-quality and won’t withstand the rigors of mountain biking for very long.
From an aesthetic standpoint, composite pedals come in solid colors that won’t chip or scratch. However, they can have a clunky, thick appearance that many riders don’t enjoy. They also tend to strike rocks or the ground because of how thick they are.
Most riders use aluminum pedals. They are more versatile and generally thin, which means fewer pedal strikes. They are also much more durable and require less maintenance and replacement over time.
Modern models have adjustable, interchangeable, and replaceable traction pins that have better traction than composite models as well.
Although the color on aluminum pedals will chip or scratch off more easily than a composite pedal, the overall design of aluminum pedals is more aesthetically pleasing.
Which material is best?
The simple answer is neither. Both composite and aluminum pedal materials are great options for mountain bikers of all skill levels. What you choose ultimately depends on your personal preference and the style of riding you participate in.
Of all the pedals we had the opportunity to test, our favorite is still the HT Components T1 Clipless pedal for its overall durability, usability, and effective power transfer capabilities.
If you aren’t a fan of the HT T1 clipless pedal, there are dozens of pedals out there to choose from. As a general rule of thumb, you should always look for a well-constructed bike pedal, has a size that works with your foot size and has adjustable pins.