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Bicycle pedals come in a variety of options to suit the cycling you do. With hundreds of options for sale on BikeExchange, be sure to read our guide below to help narrow down your options and find what pedal type is best for you.
Sold as a pair, bicycle pedals thread into the crank arms and are the point of contact used to propel a bike forward. Three major categories of pedals exist - clipless, platform and clip.
Commonly found on BMX, urban and mountain bikes, platform pedals let you simply step on and start riding. These are the easiest type of pedal to use and do not call for any special technique or shoe when it comes to putting the foot on or off the pedal. More expensive platform pedals offer greater strength, better bearings and better traction.
Used in conjunction with cycling shoes which hold the “cleat”, clipless pedals allow you to mechanically attach your foot to the pedal. Clipless pedals are confusingly named as such as they are free from the old-fashioned “toe clips” and are the common choice for road bikes, mountain bikes and higher-end commuter bikes. Due to the attached nature of the system, they involve a learning curve as it’s possible to topple over while still attached to the bike.
Clipless pedals are typically split into two categories: mountain bike pedals and road pedals. Mountain bike clipless pedals use a two-hole cleat, feature two or more sides and are built to clear mud. Due to the smaller cleat, shoes designed for mountain bike pedals are easier to walk in and so make a better choice for commuters and recreational cyclists too.
Road bike pedals typically use a three or four-hole cleat, are often one-sided and built with a larger surface area for greater power transfer. The larger cleat can be awkward to walk in.
For more on bicycle cleats check out our dedicated page.
Combination pedals are convenient for riders who wish to be able to clip in but also ride in normal shoes. These are versatile pedals which have a platform style on one side and clip in on the other. They’re popular for commuting use, but the one-sided clip nature can be frustrating for users that always ride clipped in.
Toe clip pedals attach the foot to the pedal via a cage and strap. Now considered an older and less popular option to clipless pedals, toe clip pedals still allow the foot to be attached to the bike without the need for special [cycling shoes]. Toe clip pedals are considered less safe than clipless versions given that the shoe can become trapped in emergencies. For this, toe clip pedals are not recommended for mountain biking.