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Types of Bike Pedals

bike pedals

Pedals are one of the most important parts of the bicycle. It is up to them to provide comfortable cadence and rider’s stability on the bicycle. Many cyclists have no clue that pedals are a sophisticated and complicated mechanism that includes numerous moving parts and play a huge role in a bike’s performance.

For example, you won’t be able to achieve great results in bike road racing if you will use the wrong type of pedals, and if you will use road biking pedals during cross-country races or city rides, you can fall off your bike or create an accident.

It is impossible to run a bike without pedals because pedals give you the opportunity to transform your physical efforts into cadence speed. Pedals are attached to the crank arm, serving as intermediates between your legs and bottom bracket cartridge which moves the chain around the crankset.

We don’t pay attention to pedals when we’re buying a bicycle, we only check if they’re rotating. But such an approach is wrong because pedals are something that ensures effective and productive cycling.

There are a lot of bike pedal types and you need to easily navigate among them and understand their construction to choose the right ones for your bike and yourself. Pedal type shouldn’t be defined by the purpose of your rides, because you can ride a cross-country bike both in the forest on the promenade. Your bike’s type is something that defines which bike pedals you need and should install on your bike.

Platform pedals

platform pedals

You can see those pedals everywhere. Cross-country bikes, road and city bikes, fat bikes, and many others include platform pedals. This pedal type is the most widespread. Its simplicity and usability make platform pedals suitable for any bike. Platform pedals are plain and accustomed to anyone.

We are used to them from childhood because children’s bicycles and baby tricycles feature especially this bike pedal type. Platform pedals are often installed by manufacturers because of their usability and affordability. The starting price goes for five dollars.

Platform pedals are made of plastic mostly but more expensive and advanced variants include metal and combined parts. Original factory pedals should be replaced from the start because pedals tolerate huge loads during cycling.

Just imagine: you press on these tiny plastic pieces with your legs forcing your bike to move forward or uphill, putting heavy physical loads on them. Pedals are thin and are connected to the crank arm only with narrow cranks. Pedals’ bases are made of plastic and since plastic is a brittle and wrinkle-free material, low-quality pedals could break eventually and perhaps in a short time under continuous usage.

You can buy and install good platform pedals for ten dollars or more and choose them in accordance with your desires and aesthetical preferences.

Platform pedals were used for decades since the first bicycles came into existence. Not a surprise, that they’re used for the assembly of numerous bike types. Originally, platform pedals were designed for city bikes because their structure allows easy and fast dismounting and doesn’t damage footwear.

But classical platform pedals are unsuitable for extreme cycling styles such as cross-country, downhill, or road racing. That’s because they’re slippery and don’t imply feet fixation.

Combined platform pedals include metal parts and are designed for intense and long-term exploitation. These can serve for decades. Also, such platform combined pedals were commonly used for retro bikes assembling. They are wholly made of metal and serve as the everlasting standard of pedals.

Extreme biking pedals

types of bike pedals

Those pedals are similar to platform pedals but are made and designed for extreme cycling disciplines such as cross-country, downhill, freeride, trail, and mountain biking.

Those pedals are made of extremely tough alloys and are aimed at heavy and harsh physical pressures. Extreme biking pedals are stress-resistant and can withstand negative impacts like fallings, hits, and breaks.

They’re characterized by a wide and spiked surface that provides a strong clutch with feet and rider’s stability. Metal or plastic spikes keep the contact between shoes and pedals, preventing slithering and accidental falls. Those pedals have a long exploitation time even though they’re exposed to serious stress and physical damage.


toe clips

Those pedals are the most sophisticated among all pedal types. They’re characterized by a characteristic stirrup that roughly fixes the rider’s feet to pedals. Such fixation ensures foot stability and stillness during cycling which is useful during road bike racing or long cycling races.

Since cyclist’s feet are fixed, those pedals require careful exploitation. That’s because a cyclist won’t be able to quickly release his legs in the case of an accident or unexpected fall.

Clipless pedals

clipless bicycle pedal

Those pedals have the same application just as toe-clips. But they’re more useful and handy because they don’t imply total feet’s immobility and fixation. A cyclist is able to release his feet at any moment while saving all the performance benefits of toe-clip pedals. Clipless pedals require specialized footwear and cycling skills.

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