How to choose your MTB pedals
When mountain biking is practiced regularly and on medium to long excursions, the choice of pedals becomes essential. The MTB pedals will transmit your pedaling power to set the crankset into motion, then the chain and finally the rear wheel of the bike. It's thus fundamental to choose the pedals that will best suit you.
Choose your pedals according to your practice
For a casual practitioner of punctual trips in the city, on country roads or on large forest paths, the cheapest pedals will suffice to satisfy his needs. However, pedaling will inevitably be less effective than with other, more sophisticated pedals.
More demanding practitioners will therefore have to turn to flat pedals, clipless or semi-automatic pedals.
These much lighter pedals optimise the pilot's power output which is then used to activate the crankset.
Cross-country lovers will prefer more compact and lightweight pedals than practitioners engaging on more uneven terrains.
There are various types of clipless pedals whose prices mark a huge discrepancy. It's thus necessary to understand what differentiates each type of pedal and choose the most suitable one.
MTB flat pedals
Flat pedals are very easy to use, the foot is free so the driver has no constraints. The latter can move freely and try tricks without fear of falling.
To benefit from an optimized pedaling performance, removable steel toe clips are sure to provide better grip to the driver.
Clipless MTB pedals
Clipless pedals benefit the powerful pedaling enthusiasts. They are much appreciated by cross-country lovers.
The pedal is connected to the shoe by a wedge which keeps them in contact. The driver can manage their effort more easily and pedal effectively using both traction and pressure. In the event of a fall, the pedal system will automatically detach itself from the shoe.
Clipless MTB cage pedals
Cage pedals offer a compromise between flat pedals and clipless pedals. Very popular with downhill and freeride enthusiasts, they give the rider a greater surface area between the foot and the pedal, enabling them to detach their shoe in technical phases without wasting time on the relaunch (e.g steep turns).
The cage pedal therefore brings together in one single pedal the advantages of both flat and clipless pedals.
To choose your flat pedals, go for the lightest pedals possible, which include as many toe clips as possible so that your foot doesn't move, or only a little.
There are semi-automatic pedals that come in two sides. One side shares the same system as the clipless pedal and another side is like a flat pedal.
Depending on the models of clipless, semi-automatic or cage pedals, the spring resistance that unites the pedal and the shoe can be adjusted in order to precisely define the boundary between the comfort zone of the unclipping zone, but this isn't the case for all pedals (e.g Crankbrothers pedals).
Each brand uses a different shoe locking and unlocking technology, although they're often similar when taken as a whole.
Each brand offers specially designed wedges for its pedals.