What different kinds of pedals are available for you bike? What issues do you need to consider when choosing which pedals are right for you?
Pedals come in three basic varieties: platform pedals, pedals with toe clips, and clipless pedals.
The Speedplay X/1 Titanium road bike pedal
Clipless pedals for mountain biking come with cleats that attach to the shoes with two bolts each. The cleat is recessed into the tread of the shoe. The treads on the shoes have a surface sometimes like that of a running shoe, or a more aggressive tread like a hiking boot. Either way, the tread gives you traction for times when you need to dismount and run or walk your bike on the mountain bike trail. For this reason, many people use mountain bike pedals and shoes on their road bikes, because this makes it much easier to walk around during lunch stops and other breaks during long road rides.
The most common type of mountain bike pedals use the SPD mechanism manufactured by Shimano (the "SPD" stands for Shimano Pedaling Dynamics). This is the type of pedal found on the indoor trainer bicycles used in many spinning classes. Most SPD pedals have the click-in mechanism on both sides, to make it easy to click your foot in place no matter how the pedal happens to be sitting when you get going. Shimano makes a version of this pedal (the PD-M324) that has the SPD mechanism on one side, and a regular platform on the other, so that you can use the same pedals with your cycling-specific shoes, but also wear regular sneakers once and a while if you want to hop on the same bike for a quick errand. The downside of these particular pedals is that you have fiddle with your feet a bit to spin them to the proper posi
tion when you get going.
The Shimano PD-M324 pedal
Several other manufacturers make mountain bike pedals that have become pretty popular. They tout features such as lighter weight and designs that supposedly to not get clogged up with mud in messy off-road conditions. The cleats that come with these pedals are specific to the pedals, and do not work with SPD pedals. However, these pedals are still compatible with any shoes that are SPD-compatible. Once such model is the Egg Beater pedals made by Crank Brothers, which is distinguished by its four-sided cleat mechanism, making click-in even more easy and mindless. Speedplay makes a mountain bike pedal called the Frog that features the same almost limitless float as their road bike pedals.
The Crank Brothers Egg Beater 4Ti mountain bike pedal
The Speedplay Frog Ti mountain bike pedal
Pedals range in price from $10 for a basic set of platform pedals, to several hundred dollars for the latest lightweight racing pedals. The least expensive are made mostly of plastic, and as you go up in price, you get increasing sophisticated combinations of plastic, chromoly steel, stainless steel, aluminum, titanium, and carbon fiber. Another feature of higher-priced pedals is the quality of the bushings and ball bearings in the rotating spindle.
Century Cycles carries a variety of road bike and mountain bike pedals, and shoes for both men and women for use with clipless pedals and spin classes. Stop by one of our stores and let our experienced staff help you select the combination that's right for you!