Top Rated Mountain Bike Pedals

The type of bike pedal you use on your mountain bike is a fairly important decision. After all, this is the main point of power transfer between you and the bike. You need a platform that is sturdy, efficient and has good traction.

There are quite a few mountain bike pedals available, designed for different types of riding. This guide will explain what the main types of mountain bike pedals are before sharing a few of the top rated mountain bike pedals!

  • Shimano PD-M324 SPD Dual Platform Pedal
  • Rating: 4.6/5
  • Weight: 1.17 lbs
  • Material Type: stainless steel, aluminum
  • Price: $
  • RockBros MTB Mountain Bike Pedals Flat Aluminum Alloy Platform Sealed Bearing Axle 9/16″
  • Rating: 4.5/5
  • Weight: 0.89 lbs
  • Material Type: Aluminum Alloy
  • Price: $
  • Crank Brothers Mallet 3 Mountain Bike Pedals
  • Rating: 4.6/5
  • Weight: 0.97 lbs
  • Material Type: Composite
  • Price: $$
  • TIME MX4 Pedal Black, One Size
  • Rating: 4.7/5
  • Weight: 0.22 lbs
  • Material Type: Composite
  • Price: $$
  • Shimano XTR PD-M9000 Race Pedal
  • Rating: 4.9/5
  • Weight: 0.62 lbs
  • Material Type: Aluminum, chromoly steel
  • Price: $$$
Shimano PD-M324 SPD Dual Platform PedalRockBros MTB Mountain Bike Pedals Flat Aluminum Alloy Platform Sealed Bearing Axle 9/16″Crank Brothers Mallet 3 Mountain Bike PedalsTIME MX4 Pedal Black, One SizeShimano XTR PD-M9000 Race Pedal
Rating: 4.6/5Rating: 4.5/5Rating: 4.6/5Rating: 4.7/5Rating: 4.9/5
Weight: 1.17 lbsWeight: 0.89 lbsWeight: 0.97 lbsWeight: 0.22 lbsWeight: 0.62 lbs
Material Type: stainless steel, aluminumMaterial Type: Aluminum AlloyMaterial Type: CompositeMaterial Type: CompositeMaterial Type: Aluminum, chromoly steel
Price: $Price: $Price: $$Price: $$Price: $$$

Different Types of Mountain Bike Pedals

There are two main types of mountain bike pedals:

Platform Pedals

These are the most common types of pedals which are often found on downhill bikes, children’s bikes and BMX bikes. They are flat, wide and have a rough surface for providing additional traction. They may be made of plastic, metal or a combination of the two. Some downhill riders prefer platform pedals for certain trails and they are popular with casual riders.

Toe clips (toe cages) can be attached to platform pedals to increase pedaling efficiency. They help the rider keep their feet in the best position for pedaling and the straps ensure their feet stay on the pedals.

Clipless Pedals

These pedals require special cycling shoes with a cleat fitted on them.  The cleat locks into a mechanism on the pedal — allowing the rider to push more energy into the drivetrain.  Not only is the rider pushing energy into the crank on the downstroke, they can add energy on the upstroke. They are called clipless because they do not use toe clips.

There are a number of different designs for clipless pedals, each with a slightly different locking mechanism.  In most cases, the rider removes their foot from the mechanism by twisting their ankle to the side.  Clipless pedals fall into one of two categories:

  • Road pedals (Shimano SPD-L, Look, or Time Pedals)
    These are usually a bit wider, to distribute the power of the pedaling action across a large area.  They are usually designed with aerodynamics in mind and are quite thin.  These kinds of pedals usually require very large cleats on the shoes, so walking around with them on is a little difficult.
  • Off-road pedals (Shimano SPD, Crankbrothers, or Time Pedals)
    The cleats used by these pedals are smaller than road cleats.  They are usually recessed into the shoe which makes walking easier compared to road shoes.  Having a smaller cleat if useful if you are forced to walk a part of  the trail or you are combining your riding with other activities like hiking.  Typically, off-road pedals are double-sided so you can quickly disengage then re-engage even if the pedal has flipped.

The Pros/Cons of Clipless Pedals
To help you decide between platform pedals and clipless pedals, here are some of the pros/cons of clipless pedals.

Benefits of clipless pedals:

  • More efficient pedaling and better power transfer
    Because you can transfer power over the entire rotating of the crank shaft with both feet, you will be working more efficiently.  You will also be able to quickly add more power to the crankshaft.
  • Your feet stay on the pedals over rough terrain
    If you are riding a rocky trail with a lot of bumps, clipless pedals will help you retain contact with your pedals.  You feet won’t slip off and you can continue to push power to the cranks.  You can also stay on your bike!  A sudden and unexpected bump won’t push you off your mountain bike because you are attached to it through the pedals.
  • It is easier to control the bike
    Clipless pedals make it easier to perform tricks and control your bike.  You can bunny hop over curbs and obstacles on the trail more easily.

Disadvantages of clipless pedals:

  • It can be more difficult to get your feet off the pedals in a crash
    If you are in a situation where a crash is about to happen, you may need to quickly get your feet off the pedals (or get off the bike entirely).  If you panic, you may find yourself stuck on the bike, leading to a worse crash.
  • Not always suitable for downhill riding
    If you are performing downhill riding over tricky terrain or performing jumps, you may be better off having freedom of movement.  You can put your feet to the side to help get around objects or to shift your balance.

Some of the Top Rated Mountain Bike Pedals

Here are a few of the top rated mountain bike pedals.  They are all tried-and-tested pedals that are durable, well-built and safe.

Shimano PD-M324 SPD Dual Platform Pedal

Shimano-PD-M324-SPD-Dual-Platform-PedalPrice: $43.55

Type: Platform and Clipless Pedal Combination

Manufacturer: Shimano

Material: Stainless steel and aluminum

Weight: 568 grams (pair)

If you are having trouble deciding between platform pedals and clipless pedals, this might be a great compromise.  The Shimano PD-M324 SPD pedals are a caged platform pedal on one side and an SPD pedal on the other.

These pedals are ideal for riders who use their bike for multiple purposes.  You can use the flat side when you are ducking down to the shops to buy a loaf of bread, then equip SPD shoes for long trail rides.  The PD-M324 pedals have an aluminum body with stainless steel platforms.  They come with a pair of 2-bolt cleats.

RockBros Mountain Bike Platform Pedals — Aluminum Alloy

RockBros-Mountain-Bike-Platform-Pedals-—-Aluminum-AlloyPrice: $29.99

Type: Platform Pedals

Manufacturer: Rockbros

Material: Aluminum Alloy

Weight: 404 grams (pair)

These pedals are an outstanding choice for casual trail riding, downhill riding or commuter riding.  The pedal uses a very wide platform with 12 metal pins to provide traction for your feet.  If you wear shoes with a rubber sole, this surface does an excellent job of keeping your foot on the pedal.  These pedals are rugged while remaining very lightweight.  They are a great choice for casual rider who is looking for pedals that are durable and effective.

Crank Brothers Mallet 3 Mountain Bike Pedals

Crank-Brothers-Mallet-3-Mountain-Bike-PedalsPrice: $69.99

Type: Platform and Clipless Pedal Combination

Manufacturer: Crank Brothers

Material: Aluminum and Nylon Carbon Reinforced

Weight: 435 grams (pair)

The Crank Brothers Mallet 3 mountain bike pedals have been designed for aggressive trail riding, cross country and downhill riding.  The platform body is fairly wide and features 6 pins, which are effective when using standard shoes.  The 4-sided entry system makes clipping in and out very easy.

This pedal has a great deal of space around the clip-in mechanism which allows debris like mud to fall through the pedal.  If you often ride in wet or muddy conditions, this mechanism will be very useful.  The needle and cartridge bearings are smooth, helping to make the pedals a pleasure to use.  They are a great choice for riders who use their bike for many different purposes or who ride in muddy conditions.

Time MX4 Pedal Black

Time-MX4-Pedal-BlackPrice: $73.94

Type: Platform and Clipless Pedal Combination

Manufacturer: Crank Brothers

Material: Hollow chrome/steel axle with composite aluminum body

Weight: 192 grams (pair)

Time make outstanding mountain bike pedals, which are designed to clear out mud and debris with a unique self-cleaning technique. When you step into the pedal, the cleat pushes out any mud or debris that has built up during the ride.

These pedals are very light and have a low profile similar to that of road pedals.  They have a large surface area to distribute weight and they use the ATAC pedal engagement system. This system allows for rapid engagement and disengagement — perfect for trail riding.  These pedals also incorporate an over-sized axle, which helps with power transfer to the bike’s cranks.

Shimano XTR PD-M9000 Race Pedal

Shimano-PD-M324-SPD-Dual-Platform-PedalPrice: $103.97

Type: Clipless Pedal

Manufacturer: Shimano

Material: Aluminum body with chromoly steel axle

Weight: 310 grams (pair)

If you are starting to get more serious about your mountain biking, you can’t go wrong with Shimano XTR pedals.  Shimano’s XTR PD-M9000 pedals are rugged and lightweight — perfect for cross country, trail and all-mountain riding.

They are a full 100 grams lighter than other pedals of the same build quality, which is important if you are starting to compete in races or you simply want to beat your friends on the trail!  These are high-quality pedals that will give you years of solid performance.