You’ve heard of bike pegs or seen the peculiar metal extensions attached to passing bikes. If you’ve wondered what you’re looking at and what they’re used for, don’t feel bad. Bicycles are most often used as a means of transportation, exercise, and exploration. However, bike pegs add to the list of capabilities and activities.
What are bike pegs used for? Metal pegs attached to bicycle axles can be used for various purposes. Typically, you’ll notice pegs on BMX-like bikes.
In short, the pegs are there for the rider to place their feet on for added stability when performing stunts or tricks. That said, they can also be used for things such as helping the rider mount the seat or carrying a passenger.
In the article below, we’ll go deeper into answering the question of what bike pegs are used for as well as delving into related topics such as the different kinds of bike pegs available, which styles of bikes pegs are best for, common tricks, and stunts performed, and if bike pegs are a good option for you.
What Are Bike Pegs?
Bicycle pegs are metal pieces that attach to the front, rear, or both wheels, typically shaped as small cylindrical bars.
Different designs and features include free-spinning pegs and fixed pegs that attach to the wheel’s axle. While pegs are primarily cylindrical and constructed from metal, some feature rubber and flat surfaces for added grip. Dimensions vary and are typically chosen based on the rider’s use of the pegs.
Bike pegs originally came about for added support in various ways. For example, those who want an added place to step to help them get on the seat might attach bike pegs.
However, most bike pegs are added to allow the rider to perform various tricks and stunts.
Conversely, misusing bike pegs, such as letting passengers stand on them, commonly leads to injuries. In addition, bicycle spokes are dangerous to get one’s foot or toes caught in.
Additionally, tricks and stunts come with their own risks of serious injury.
Traditionally, BMX-style bikes were constructed to allow bike pegs to be attached. Now, many different styles of bikes are compatible with bike pegs. However, a lot of riders choose not to add pegs because they do not add aerodynamic benefits. In short, bike pegs can slow you down and increase the overall bulk of your bike’s shape.
What Are Different Kinds of Bike Pegs Used For?
Different bike pegs offer distinct advantages and capabilities. In addition, the type of bike matters. Not all bikes support all styles of pegs.
Bike pegs come in different dimensions. They can be long, short, slim, or broad in diameter. The surface, as we mentioned earlier, varies as well. Therefore, no bike peg should be chosen before deciding what precisely they are meant to aid the rider to accomplish.
Generally, bike pegs are made of metal such as different types of steel like Chromoly steel or aluminum alloys. Pegs that are composed of 100% of metal are considered to be the most durable and long-lasting.
Smooth plastic may be added to the surface of the peg to reduce friction, or rubber may be employed to create better traction.
Street and stunt bikes typically come equipped with a 14-millimeter axle, which is what most bike pegs are designed to fit. Bicycles built for speed normally offer a different size axle that measures three-eighths of an inch. These, too, can support bike pegs. However, some adjustments are required.
The pegs themselves have a range of sizes that include 35 to 38.5 millimeters and four inches to four and a half inches in length. While the diameter has more to do with fitting the peg to the axle, length affects bike performance. Lighter weight pegs are better for speed. Longer, heavier pegs add more stunt and trick capability, such as grinding.
Can You Put Bike Pegs on a Mountain Bike?
Yes, many mountain bikes have the axle necessary to attach pegs. However, the better question is should you put bike pegs on a mountain bike.
While pegs may give your off-road bicycle trick and stunt capabilities, there are several issues you may experience.
First is the axle and skewer design. Most mountain bikes come equipped with quick-release or through-axle skewers. These generally conflict with attaching a peg. Installation becomes an issue and results in limitations like the inability to tighten your pegs properly.
Additionally, many of the axles on mountain bikes are not designed to bear the weight of standing on them. As a result, mountain bikers who want to add pegs may have to attach the pegs to their bike’s fender or rack mounts. Overall, pegs are likely to damage your mountain bike’s frame.
Very often, bike pegs are added to be able to give passengers something to stand on. However, since mountain bikes are usually not designed for passengers, this means they have stricter weight limits. In this scenario, the result of adding pegs is an increased frequency of flat tires.
To recap, mountain bikes are not the optimal choice for adding bike pegs. You are likely to run into a host of installation, structural, and safety issues. If you are determined to add pegs to your MTB, you’ll want to do your research and search for bike pegs specially designed with the correct axle size, weight capacity and that are advertised as suitable for MTBs.
Can You Stand on Bike Pegs?
Once you’ve adequately ascertained specifications like axle diameter and weight capacities, and you’ve correctly installed your bike pegs, yes, you can stand on them.
Bike pegs are designed to be stood on to perform stunts, tricks, or support your weight for a relatively short amount of time. Good pegs will hold up, and properly applied, they will not hurt your bike.
Additionally, standing on the pegs can mean that each foot is on a different peg or both feet are on the same peg. Different foot placement constitutes setting yourself up for other tricks and maneuvers.
To explain these further, we’ll cover the world of bike tricks and vocabulary in the next session.
Bike Pegs Tricks
By far, the most popular and well-known stunt that employs pegs is grinding. This maneuver refers to when a rider uses a surface such as a handrail that accompanies a descending outdoor staircase to slide down while being supported only by the pegs. During this feat, the wheels are not touching the ground, hence not supporting either the rider or the bike’s weight.
Grinding takes considerable practice and skill to master. It involves a series of mental and physical steps:
- Identifying a surface to grind
- Anticipating the length of the grind
- Calculating when to commence dismounting
- Dismounting the surface by hopping your peg off the surface
- Landing while keeping the bike in motion to maintain balance and momentum
Another common trick is balancing both feet on one peg, which involves first balancing one foot, then swinging the other over and around the seat to land on the same peg while the bike is in motion. For added complexity, difficulty, and flair, combine this trick with a wheelie to perform what’s called a manual.
New tricks, stunts, and variations are constantly being discovered and recorded through social media platforms like YouTube and Instagram. So if you’re interested in learning, not only will you find a wealth of instructional and entertaining content, but an entire microcosm of bike-trick enthusiasts.
Riding As a Passenger on Bike Pegs
When discussing bike pegs, inevitably, one mentions tricks and stunts. That’s what bike pegs are primarily added for. However, just because you may remember seeing people standing on pegs as a passenger, it’s essential to understand that this is not pegs’ intended purpose.
Bike store owners often mention that pegs are not for carrying passengers. Not only is the added burden harmful to your bike’s frame and tires, but it’s not safe for the passenger.
Bike spokes, especially at higher speeds, can inflict severe damage to one’s feet and toes. Road rash, sprains, breaks, and even missing digits are potential hazards.
In terms of harming your bike, remember that both your bike and the pegs have their respective weight limits. Adding another person at best pushes these weight limits to their capacity, and at its worst, exceeds this limit and causes an accident.
Suppose you’re planning on adding a passenger, a couple of recommended options over standing on the pegs. First, the extra rider can sit on the handlebars or somewhere on the bike’s frame. While this is still not typically recommended for safety, it poses a better option than stressing the pegs for extended periods.
Should I Get Pegs?
Knowing whether pegs are suitable for you depends on the intended use of your bike. If you’re interested in performing tricks or stunts, especially in urban areas, then pegs are going to help open you to a new world of fun.
However, there are a few lesser-known reasons why you should gain bike pegs.
One is for added safety on speed bikes. The pegs themselves add weight to your bike, which doesn’t help your speed, but the added weight is minimal if you choose shorter thinner pegs. The advantage is that you have a place to rest your feet when reaching high speed instead of letting them dangle free.
Another benefit is for rear-seat passengers. A child, for example, sitting on the frame of the bike, is given a place to put their feet for added stability and safety.
Alternatively, road bike pegs are often used for supporting an attached pump or other pieces of equipment.
Installing Bike Pegs
The installation process of installing bike pegs varies by the pegs, the bike in question, and the size of the axles.
However, some steps are more or less the same in most installations.
First, gather your parts, including the pegs themselves and all the accompanying parts, such as adapter washers and anti-roll pins.
Next, you’ll need a few tools. A ratch, socket extension, deep-well sockets, and an Allen wrench are commonly used for installing pegs. Millimeter sizes and diameters will vary based on your chosen pegs and the nuts on your bike’s axle.
You’ll need to use your ratchet with deep-well sockets to loosen and remove each axle nut. Remove and save any washers employed as well.
Most pegs will require some axle adapter washer. Add this on next by sliding it over the axle. The peg will then slide over the adapter.
Include anti-roll pins if you want your pegs to remain fixed when grinding. Tighten using your Allen wrench until it’s snug. If you sense any vibration when using your pegs, it’s likely because your anti-roll pins are not tight enough.
Last, slide your pegs onto the ends of the axles. Adjust as needed for the anti-roll pins. Thread the axle nut back on but keep it loose. Test out the cranks to ensure the chain is functioning correctly. Once it is, you can finish tightening the nut.
Where to Find Bike Pegs
If you’re sold on the idea of bike pegs and are ready to look at products, you’ll want to start considering different brands, materials, and your budget.
Big box stores like Walmart or Costco will likely have some basic bike pegs to choose from.
However, if you’re looking for a higher grade or professional bike pegs, you’ll do well to search online or in specialty stores.
If you don’t want to wait to have them shipped, sporting goods stores such as Dicks Sporting Goods often carry BMX bike equipment and add-ons.
The Bottom Line
What are bike pegs used for? The short answer is tricks and stunts. Discerning the history and purpose of bike pegs poses no easy task, but the reason for their popularity is apparent enough.
Hopefully, this article has answered all the questions you have surrounding bike pegs. Additionally, we hope that we’ve illuminated reasons to equip or not to fit your bike with pegs due to the numerous risks.
Keep in mind that if you’re planning to add bike pegs, make sure that you’ve chosen the correct diameter for the axle, the weight capacity that the bike can comfortably support, and the design for your intended use. Bike pegs are never a suitable solution for adding passengers.
If turning your bike into a stunt or trick bike is your aim, then you’ll get plenty of use and fun out of adding bicycle pegs.