Pedal choice is one of the most important spec decisions you can make when it comes to mountain biking.
The demands of the sport and the nature of the terrain mean you’re inevitably going to be thrown around on your bike far more than a flat tarmac trundle.
If you’re looking to buy mountain bike pedals, it’s vital to find a set-up that ensures you stay connected to your bike – both for safe and controlled riding, and for efficient power transfer from your legs to the drive train.
Clipless pedals might be the way to go if you’re willing to spend some time getting used to them.
They’re a bit of a misnomer as they use a spring mechanism that allows you to clip into them using shoes fitted with special cleats, creating a semi-fixed link between you and your bike. It means there’s less chance of getting thrown off the pedals when you hit the rough stuff, and you can cheat at bunny-hopping over obstacles by ‘lifting’ the bike with your feet.
Clip mechanisms vary from manufacturer to manufacturer, and each requires a specific cleat which comes with the purchase of new pedals. By far the most popular is Shimano’s SPD system.
Whichever system you go for, a quick twist of the heel is all that’s required to clip out of the pedals. The downside is, clipping in and out does require some practice, and it takes a while before unclipping in emergency situations becomes second nature – in the interim, you’re almost guaranteed a few bumps and bruises!
What Mountain Bike Magazine carried out a comprehensive test of clipless mountain bike pedals – we stock three that impressed the writers, including the mag’s two top picks.
What Mountain Bike’s Shimano XTR M985 (£100) review praised their ‘superb all-round capability’ and writers branded them the test winner. A supportive cage surrounding the clip mechanism gives some extra support as well as a bit of leeway in hairy trail moments on technical terrain when you might struggle to clip back in.
Shimano’s more wallet-friendly and time-tested M540 Race pedals (£45) lose the cage. The mag gave them four stars, and noted: ‘it’s easy to see how these classics have stood the test of time.’
The Crank Brothers’ Mallet pedal also won four stars, with the mag praising their ‘easy-in, easy-out mechanism – perhaps the easiest to clip into on the market.’ The set up features a wide, supportive platform fitted with adjustable pins for extra grip.
We stock all three of these clipless mountain bike pedals. Get in touch on [email protected] or call by the shop to discuss a purchase.