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Five Best Mountain Bike Pedals

Updated on April 7, 2016

Choosing the right Mtn bike pedal.

In this article I will be looking at the best mountain bike pedals. I am already assuming that you have a pair of mountain bike shoes already and are wearing them. You may well be asking yourself why does a rider need to have different pedals, the short answer is that when a mountain biker is going as fast as he possibly can, pedalling out of the saddle up a hill in a racing competition against the clock, the biker needs to have confidence in his/her equipment that they are not going to slip off their pedals and loose time or speed. One slip basically can rule you out the competition. For this reason always choose the best mountain bike pedals you can buy.

Choose the best pedal you can afford, quality counts and your pedals will probably last much longer. Choose a good brand that you know, If your not sure of how to fit them or change them, they have a left and right hand thread ask a bike shop to do it for you. They should be tightened up to the manufacturers instructions.

Consider a rider going 40 mph downhill at the Nevis Range competition track in Fort William Scotland, hurtling downhill holding his mountain bike bar ends like his life depended on it and he slips off the pedals. The difference between a pair of the best mountain bike pedals and a lesser priced pair can be finishing the race in good time or ending up off the track and being hurt.

If you watch cyclists in the Tour DE France or in any mountain biking competition you will notice that the cyclists hardly ever stop pedalling. They may on downhill sections ease up occasionally but they know time is ticking by and the more they pedal the shorter their finishing time will be. This is the name of the game at the top level. The mountain bike pedals and shoes combination can make all the difference between being on the podium or finishing well down the field.

There are 3 basic types of mountain bike pedals, Clipless, Platform and Cage. If you haven't used the clipless of ttoe before you will need to practice with them before going out onto the road. There is a technique to clipping in and clipping out of the pedals that once mastered becomes second nature but it must be practised beforehan.

The article on the best mountain bike pedals concentrates on the clip-less type but I have included one platform type as these have some merit over the caged type. The cage or toe clip type are really what cheap bike manufactures put on their bikes to try and sell them. They do help you put pressure on the pedal on the lift as well as on the down stroke but they can be awkward to access and sometimes dangerous to get your foot out of in an emergency fall.

Shimano mountain bike Pedal

Shimano PD M785 XT Pedal
Shimano PD M785 XT Pedal

Shimano PD-M785 XT SPD Mountain Bike Pedals

Shimano, a name we are all familiar with is a world wide company that makes excellent bike components. SPD mountain bike pedals ( Shimano Pedalling Dynamics) are one of the best. The pedal and shoe lock together and this makes for better cycling efficiency.

There is a cleat in the bottom of the shoe that fits exactly on to the pedal. All the rider has to do to remove their foot is twist the heel outwards to release one from the other. The second impressive feature of this type is that your shoe fits on both sides of the pedal, so you don't have to mess around finding the right side. On the M785 XT you can adjust the tension of the cleat to release more or less easily. The bearings are all internally sealed on the pedals and mud is easily dispersed by the open construction of the pedal.

Best mountain bike Pedal

Shimano PD - M540 SPD Pedal
Shimano PD - M540 SPD Pedal

Shimano PD-M540 SPD Pedal

Another Shimano this time it's the M540. This model superseded the M520 and since its arrival cyclists have been giving it rave reviews. Slightly lighter than its predecessor and it also a little smaller.

Made from alloy steel,these pedals have sealed bearing for smooth operation and have adjustable cleat tensioning. The open frame stops these pedals from getting caked in mud and the total weight for the pair is only 352 gms.

The riders ability to clip straight into the pedal is a bonus in both speed and power.  It also makes the rider more efficient because you are using the the riders momentum of up motion of your legs as well as the down. These pedals will no compromise your performance and the price is excellent.  I strongly recommend these pedals for the price, minimum weight and there functionality.

Shimano PD M530 mountain bike Pedal

Shimano PD M530 Pedal shown in white.
Shimano PD M530 Pedal shown in white.

Shimano M530 Mountain Bike Pedals

The M530 mountain bike pedal is one I have included as it has a large platform area for new cyclists, is easy to set up and adjust. This is the type I have on my mountain bike, so it must be good.

This type of pedal is popular with mountain bikers because they can utilise the pedal using their shoes and the cleat for when they go uphill or on the level. This enables the rider to put there foot down on each twist as they decent should they need to. These pedals are very comfortable so if your looking for your first pair to ride on trails or easy tracks I can recommend this pedal at this price has it represents excellent value for the mountain biker.

Best mountain bike Pedals

Crank Brothers Candy C mountain bike pedals.
Crank Brothers Candy C mountain bike pedals.

Crank Brothers Candy C Mountain Bike Pedals - Grey - K1600103

One of the top companies in mountain biking components, and one of the top pedals available. If you tell you're mates your thinking of buying some new clip-less pedals, it will take them 30 seconds to ask you if your going to buy mountain bike pedals with Candy C egg beater spindles attached.

Once again these are two sided pedals so there is no need to look down to get the right side of the pedal. These have a four way option for releasing them which makes it even simpler to take your foot out of the cleat. Move your foot 15° one way or 20° the other to escape the cleat.

There is one pair of standard egg beater cleats included. The kick plates are made from stainless steel and the platform is made from fiber composite. On the Candy C model you get a platform to rest your foot on as opposed to some eggbeater models you just get the spindle.

The weight of these is second to none at 154gms per pedal.

A very secure and basic mountain bike Pedal

Diamond back Sound Pedal
Diamond back Sound Pedal

Diamondback Sound Pedal (Black Alloy, 1/2 - Inch)

I said in the introduction that I would only include one pair of platform pedals and these are the best platform mountain bikes pedals available. When you choose the pedals you want for your bike, you have to make a certain amount of assumptions. But if your a bit of an all rounder and don't get too deeply involved on major courses then choosing a flat or platform pedal may suit you and has plenty to recommend it

They offer a quick and uninterrupted way to put your foot down on the ground. They are ideal for beginners and for people who want to be stopping regularly. Platform mountain bike pedal prices are way below that of the clip-less and this may sway you in your decision.

The Diamondback Sound pedal has a slightly concave platform for resting your foot on. Additionally there are small moulded pins (lugs) to keep your foot from slipping. Made from steel alloy these are a really strong and robust pair of pedals, ideal for down hill mountain biking or even BMX biking.


There is everything to gain from having a pair of the best mountain bike pedals and when your safety is involved nothing is too good. Keeping your foot attached at all times is imperative to increase your speed and the clip-less types offer that. Traditionally flat or platform types have always been sold with bikes and they still have a place in today's market. Buy any from this review with confidence.


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    • mikespec profile image

      mikespec 6 years ago from NJ

      What no Time Pedals the Time Z-Control and ATAC are great pedals and shed mud like nothing else

    • BRIAN SLATER profile image

      Brian Slater 6 years ago from Nottingham Uk

      hi mike spec sorry the Time z control are a bit pricey and most of the one here all shed mud as good as any others- its horses for courses mate, but each to their own lol.

    • profile image

      Brock 6 years ago

      I second the PD-M770s...those things are amazing. Little more expensive but totally worth it IMO.

    • CyclingFitness profile image

      Liam Hallam 6 years ago from Nottingham UK

      What would you recommend for cyclo cross use? I have time atacs at present and like their mud shedding ability altho the bearings are badly worn

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