12 Best Cycling Pedals for Smooth, Customized Rides

Shimano's Ultegra R8000 SPD-SL pedals are our top pick for road rides

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Best Cycling Pedals

Verywell Fit / Chloe Jeong

Your bike probably came with a set of built-in pedals. But since bikes are highly customizable, it may be worth it to swap out those pedals with a more personalized pair. “When buying a new set of cycling pedals, I would recommend thinking about what your main use/purpose is for them,” Mindy Sartori, CycleBar XPRO for Xponential+, says.

Reviewed & Approved

Our top pick for road cycling are the lightweight but durable Shimano Ultegra R8000 SPD-SL Road Pedals. If you're a mountain biker, we recommend OneUp Components’ Composite Pedals, which are specifically designed to withstand wear and tear and grippy enough to maintain control on tough rides.

Start by considering your go-to cycling style: Are you a road cyclist, a mountain biker, an indoor cyclist, a commuter, or a recreational cyclist? Road cyclists may want clipless pedals that maximize their power and efficiency. Mountain bikers may prefer platform pedals that are flexible, durable, and designed to shed mud. Indoor cyclists may want long-lasting pedals that are compatible with their exercise bike, commuters may want grippy pedals that enhance their visibility, and recreational cyclists may want pedals that are versatile and easy to get started with. 

Sifting through all those features may sound intimidating. But luckily, there’s a pair of pedals out there that caters to you—no matter how and when you ride. To find the best cycling pedals, we interviewed two cycling experts and prioritized quality pedals at fair price points. 

According to our research, here are the best cycling pedals on the market.

Our Top Picks
Best Budget Pedals for Road Cycling:
Venzo Road Bike Clipless Pedals at Amazon
Best Hybrid Pedals for Road Cycling:
Shimano PD-T421 Click'R SPD Pedals at Amazon
Best Budget Pedals for Mountain Biking:
Fooker MTB Mountain Bike Pedals at Amazon
Best Clipless Pedals for Mountain Biking:
Crankbrothers 2 Pedals at Amazon
Best Pedals for Indoor Cycling:
BV SPD Pedals with Toe Clips at Amazon
Best Budget Pedals for Indoor Cycling:
Ybeki Exercise Bike Pedals at Amazon

Best Pedals for Road Cycling: Shimano Ultegra R8000 SPD-SL Road Pedals

4.6
Shimano Ultegra R8000 SPD-SL Road Pedals

Courtesy of Amazon

Pros
  • Adjustable tension settings

  • Lightweight but durable

  • Extra-wide surface

Cons
  • Expensive

  • Clipping in and out may be tough

We picked Shimano’s Ultegra R8000 SPD-SL Road Pedals as our best overall pick for road cycling because they're classic, clipless pedals that promise pro-level performance. The pedals are lightweight—a mere 248 grams—so your strides shouldn’t feel slow or heavy. But rest assured knowing light doesn't mean flimsy. The pedals have a carbon composite body and a stainless steel body plate, so they should be strong enough to withstand your most intense rides.

Though road pedals come in a variety of sizes, this pair is designed to be extra-wide. We love the additional surface area because it should make it easier to balance your feet on the pedals. And it should also ensure that your weight is evenly distributed over each one.

Pedal Style: Clipless | Cycling Style: Road | Material: Chromoly steel, carbon composite | Weight: 248 grams (8.7 ounces) | Cleat Compatibility: 3 bolts

Good to Know

Road cyclists typically prefer clipless pedals, which, contrary to what you might think by reading their name, are pedals you clip into with the cleats of your shoe. When your feet are clipped into your pedals, you don’t have to do as much work to maintain your position—the stiff sole of cycling shoes supports your feet so you're not wobbly with each pedal stroke. That stability makes each stride more powerful, thanks to the proper use of all your muscles.

Best Budget Pedals for Road Cycling: Venzo Road Bike Clipless Pedals

Venzo Road Bike Clipless Pedals

Courtesy of Amazon

Pros
  • Adjustable tension settings

  • Lightweight but sturdy

  • Compatible cleats included

Cons
  • Sticky bearings

  • Lower-quality spindles

It can be difficult to find clipless pedals at a reasonable price point, especially if you’re shopping with quality in mind. That’s why we recommend Venzo’s Clipless Road Bike Pedals, which are both affordable and well-made. The pedals are crafted from reinforced thermoplastic, resulting in a lightweight feel and impressive durability.

Each set of pedals ships with a pair of pedals and a pair of compatible KEO cleats. (These pedals are not compatible with SPD or Look Delta cleats.) Just slip into your cleats and clip into your pedals. And if you want to customize your fit, simply adjust the screws on the sides of your pedals until you can clip in and out as easily as you want.

Pedal Style: Clipless | Cycling Style: Road cycling | Material: Fiberglass-reinforced thermoplastic | Weight: 255 grams (8.9 ounces) | Cleat Compatibility: 3 bolts

Best Hybrid Pedals for Road Cycling: Shimano PD-T421 Click'R SPD Pedals

Shimano PD-T421 Click'R SPD Pedals

Backcountry

Pros
  • Flexible hybrid design

  • Pop-up cage for easy clipping in

  • Light-action spring for easy clipping out

Cons
  • Prone to clicking or squeaking

  • May not be durable

If you want a pair of road pedals you can use with or without cleats, we recommend Shimano’s PD-T421 Click'R SPD Pedals. The hybrid pedals boast a dual-sided design. On the clip-in side of each pedal, you’ll find a pop-up cage designed for easy clipping in and a light-action spring designed for easy clipping out. And on the platform side, you’ll find a wide surface that’s textured to give you plenty of grip.

The pedals themselves are made from lightweight but sturdy aluminum. And since they weigh just 14 ounces, the pedals should durably support you without slowing you down.

Pedal Style: Hybrid | Cycling Style: Road cycling, cyclo-cross | Material: Chromoly steel, aluminum | Weight: 396 grams (14 ounces) | Cleat Compatibility: 2 bolts

Best Pedals for Mountain Biking: OneUp Components Composite Pedal

OneUp Components Composite Pedal

Backcountry

Pros
  • Contoured, extra-wide surface

  • Lined with removable pins for grip

  • Open tread for shedding debris

Cons
  • Prone to squeaking

  • May not shed snow

Durable, lightweight, and grippy, OneUp Components’ Composite Pedals are our top choice for mountain biking. The platform pedals are made from nylon composite—a sturdy material that should hold up to your toughest trails. And since the pedals weigh just 12.5 ounces, you shouldn’t have to worry about that durability slowing you down.

We love that each pedal is 4.13 inches wide, giving you a large surface to steady yourself on as you ride. And in addition to being textured for traction, the pedals are lined with a series of removable pins that will give you even more grip and control.

Pedal Style: Platform | Cycling Style: Mountain biking | Material: Nylon composite, chromoly steel | Weight: 355 grams (12.5 ounces) | Cleat Compatibility: None

Expert Tip

Many mountain bikers like to use platform pedals (pedals you don’t clip into) because they make it easier to mount and dismount your bike—an important detail when you’re traversing textured terrain. While clipless pedals might be great on a flat road, it can feel unnerving to be clipped into your bike when riding downhill alongside tons of trees and rocks. “Platform pedals are also quite popular with new cyclists, since not being clipped directly into the pedal is less intimidating,” Ben Sachs, avid cyclist and Race Director at UNBOUND Gravel, says.

Best Budget Pedals for Mountain Biking: Fooker MTB Mountain Bike Pedals

Fooker MTB Mountain Bike Pedals

Courtesy of Amazon

Pros
  • Extra-wide surface

  • Lined with anti-skid nails

  • Open tread for shedding debris

Cons
  • Prone to clicking

  • Not durable

We recommend Fooker’s MTB Mountain Bike Pedals to cyclists who want the durability of mountain bike pedals at a reasonable price point. The pedals are made of high-strength nylon fibers. And they should hold up to branches, leaves, and most everything else you’ll find in the great outdoors, thanks to their abrasion- and corrosion resistance.

Each pedal boasts a large open tread, which sheds dirt, small rocks, and leaves, and still gives you plenty of room to secure your feet. And the anti-skid nails lining the outside of the pedals should help you keep your feet in place as you ride, even in slick or muddy conditions.

Pedal Style: Platform | Cycling Style: Mountain biking | Material: Nylon | Weight: 450 grams (15.8 ounces) | Cleat Compatibility: None

Best Clipless Pedals for Mountain Biking: Crankbrothers 2 Pedals

Crankbrothers 2 Pedals

REI

Pros
  • Flexible design (can be used with cleats or gym shoes)

  • 4-sided entry for easy clipping in

  • Textured, grippy surface

Cons
  • Prone to selling out

  • Quality control issues (cleats may not be included, as promised)

Crankbrothers’ Candy 2 Pedals combine the rugged durability of mountain biking pedals with the power and efficiency of a clipless ride. Made from aluminum and steel, we love that the pedals are both lightweight and durable. And their unique four-sided entry design makes it easy to shed mud and to clip in with ease.

Though the pedals are designed to be paired with cleats, they can also be used as platform pedals. Thanks to their wide design and textured surface, the pedals should offer a comfortable and controlled ride, whether you’re biking in cycling shoes and cleats or wearing standard gym shoes.

Pedal Style: Clipless (but can be used as platform) | Cycling Style: Mountain biking | Material: Aluminum, steel | Weight: 355 grams (12.5 ounces) | Cleat Compatibility: 2 bolts

Best Hybrid Pedals for Mountain Biking: Crankbrothers Doubleshot Hybrid Bike Pedals

Crankbrothers Doubleshot Hybrid Bike Pedals

Courtesy of Amazon

Pros
  • Flexible hybrid design

  • Extra-wide, ribbed surface

  • Open tread for shedding debris

Cons
  • Tension settings not adjustable

  • Clipping out may be tough

Want to be able to switch between clipless and platform pedals on your bike rides? We recommend Crankbrothers’ Doubleshot Hybrid Pedals, which will let you do exactly that. The hybrid pedals are built for mountain biking, so both sides are lined with openings that shed dirt, grass, mud, and anything else you might pick up during your off-road adventures. And since the pedals are made from a durable blend of aluminum and stainless steel, you can rest assured knowing they’re built to last. 

On one side of each pedal, you’ll find a tight spring you can clip into when you want to cycle in cleats. And on the other side, you’ll find a textured plate. This plate is lined with a series of molded pins to increase your traction on days when you don't want to clip into your pedals, keeping you in control—even when it gets slick out.

Pedal Style: Hybrid | Cycling Style: Mountain biking | Material: Aluminum, steel | Weight: 320 grams (11.2 ounces) | Cleat Compatibility: 2 bolts

Best Pedals for Indoor Cycling: BV 9/16'' SPD Pedals with Toe Clips

BV 9/16'' SPD Pedals with Toe Clips

Courtesy of Amazon

Pros
  • Flexible, hybrid design

  • Adjustable tension settings

  • Built-in toe cages and adjustable straps

Cons
  • Quality control issues (included cleats may not fit pedals)

  • Difficult to assemble and install

  • Very heavy

If you’re an avid indoor cycler, you need a quality pair of pedals designed for your exercise bike. And BV’s dual-sided SPD Pedals fit the bill. Flip the pedals one way, and you’ll have a classic pair of clipless pedals, compatible with SPD cleats. Flip them the other way, and you’ll have a pair of platform pedals, equipped with built-in toe clips to keep your feet secure as you ride.

If you’re worried about finding  cleats, BV has you covered—your pedals will ship with a compatible pair. Just attach the cleats to your favorite cycling shoes, and you should be ready to tackle your next cycling class.

Pedal Style: Hybrid | Cycling Style: Indoor cycling, mountain biking | Material: Aluminum, steel | Weight: 88 grams (31 ounces) | Cleat Compatibility: 2 bolts

Best Budget Pedals for Indoor Cycling: Ybeki Exercise Bike Pedals

Ybeki Exercise Bike Pedals

Courtesy of Amazon

Pros
  • Beginner-friendly, no-frills design

  • Lightweight feel

  • Built-in toe cages and adjustable straps

Cons
  • Prone to clicking and wobbling

  • May not be durable

Looking for a budget-friendly way to upgrade your indoor bike? We recommend these Ybeki Exercise Bike Pedals. Thanks to their no-frills design, the pedals are easy to get started with. Simply slide your feet onto the textured pedals. And take advantage of built-in features, like adjustable straps and sturdy toe cages, to keep your feet secure.

Despite their budget-friendly price point, the pedals are still a solid buy. Made from aluminum alloy, nylon, and resin, the pedals  should hold up to lots of use—without weighing down your ride.

Pedal Style: Platform | Cycling Style: Indoor cycling | Material: Aluminum alloy, nylon, resin | Weight: 390 grams (13.7 ounces) | Cleat Compatibility: None

Best Pedals for Peloton: Peloton Pedal Set

Peloton Pedal Set

Peloton

Pros
  • Lightweight but durable

  • Designed with Peloton bikes in mind

  • Easy clipping in and out

Cons
  • No specs or reviews provided

  • Should be replaced every year (per Peloton’s recommendation)

In need of a pair of Peloton-compatible pedals? There’s no going wrong with the best-in-class brand’s own Peloton Pedals. The clipless pedals should be compatible with a range of standard cycling shoes. And they should be easy to clip into and out of every time you ride.

Made from aluminum, we love that the pedals are both sturdy and lightweight. And according to Peloton, they should keep you going for about a year—even if you’re tackling intense workouts on your bike.

Pedal Style: Clipless | Cycling Style: Indoor cycling | Material: Aluminum | Weight: Not listed | Cleat Compatibility: 3 bolts

Best Pedals for Commuters: Look Geo City Grip Vision Platform Pedals

Look Geo City Grip Vision Platform Pedals

REI

Pros
  • Extra-wide surface

  • Grippy texture

  • Equipped with visibility-friendly LED lights

Cons
  • Heavy

  • Won’t shed debris

Designed with city cycling in mind, we recommend Look’s Geo City Grip Vision Platform Pedals as our top pick for commuters. The pedals are made from durable composite material and lined with textured vulcanized rubber, so they should give you all the grip you need to stay in control, rain or shine. And since they’re platform pedals, you won’t have to worry about trekking your cycling cleats to and from the office.

What’s more? The pedals come equipped with LED lights, which will increase your visibility in low-light conditions. These lights should last 20 hours between charges, and you can set them to daylight mode, flashing mode, or constant mode (a great pick for night cycling).

Pedal Style: Platform | Cycling Style: City cycling, recreational cycling | Material: Composite, vulcanized rubber | Weight: 580 grams (20.4 ounces) | Cleat Compatibility: None

Best Pedals for Recreational Cycling: Shimano PD-M324 SPD Dual Platform Pedals

Shimano PD-M324 SPD Dual Platform Pedals

REI

Pros
  • Flexible, hybrid design

  • Lightweight but durable

  • Adjustable tension settings

Cons
  • Heavy

  • Won’t shed debris

You don’t have to be an expert cyclist to upgrade your cycling pedals. Shimano’s M324 SPD Pedals are designed for recreational cyclists who want more out of their ride. The hybrid pedals are made with SPD binding on one side and textured platforms on the other, giving you the choice of biking in cleats or gym shoes. And since the clipless side is adjustable, you can customize the tension so it releases when you want it to.

Made from chromoly steel and aluminum alloy, we love that the pedals are both durable and lightweight. And thanks to their versatility, they should make an easy addition to just about any bike ride.

Pedal Style: Hybrid | Cycling Style: Road cycling, recreational cycling | Material: Chromoly steel, aluminum alloy | Weight: 530 grams (18.69 ounces) BV's SPD | Cleat Compatibility: 2 bolts

Final Verdict

Since pedals vary a lot from cycling style to cycling style, it doesn’t make sense to pick a one-size-fits-all favorite. Instead, we focused on recommending a best-in-class pair for each cycling style. If you’re a road cyclist, Shimano’s Ultegra R8000 SPD-SL Road Pedals are our top-of-the-line pick that should give you plenty of power and efficiency. 

If you’re a mountain biker, OneUp Components’ Composite Pedal should be grippy enough to keep you in control and sturdy enough to withstand tough trails. And for indoor cyclists, we recommend BV’s SPD Pedals with Toe Clips, a set of dual-sided pedals that should keep your feet secure and make your rides more efficient.

How We Selected the Best Cycling Pedals

To understand which cycling pedals were worth recommending, we spoke to two cycling experts—an indoor cycling instructor and an outdoor cycling race organizer. And they emphasized that different cyclists have different needs, depending on their go-to cycling style and skill level.

This insight guided our product research: We segmented our research by cycling style (road cycling, mountain biking, indoor cycling, and recreational cycling/commuting) and considered dozens of pedals within each category. We looked for signs of authority and quality. (Were the pedals made by a best-in-class brand, or backed by lots of rave reviews?) We favored options that were durable but lightweight. And we weighed cost against these strengths to determine which options offered the best value at different price points.

What to Look for in a Cycling Pedal

Pedal Style

Pedals tend to come in one of three styles: clipless, platform, and hybrid. Though the name might suggest otherwise, clipless pedals are pedals you clip into with the cleats of your shoes. Platform pedals, also known as flat pedals, are pedals you don’t clip into with shoe cleats. And hybrid pedals are dual-sided pedals that boast a clipless design on one side and a platform design on the other.

Cycling Style

Because a road cyclist has different needs than a mountain biker, road cycling pedals are designed differently than mountain biking pedals. Road cyclists tend to prefer clipless pedals that allow for power and efficiency, whereas mountain bikers tend to prefer platform pedals that allow for easy mounting and dismounting. Mountain bikers also need pedals designed to shed mud and other debris as they ride.

Material and Weight

Pedals can be crafted from a variety of materials, including steel, aluminum, nylon, and plastic. And when it comes to material, you’ll want to consider two things: durability and weight. Pedals made from durable materials, like steel, will likely last longer than pedals made from less durable materials, like plastic. But they may also be heavier, and heavy pedals can make your rides feel slower and more effortful  At higher price points, you can often find durable pedals that won’t weigh you down. But if you’re not ready to splurge, it’s worth weighing durability and weight against each other as you consider different materials.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • What's the difference between lighter and heavier pedals?

    Lighter pedals are easier to push than heavier pedals, making for a more efficient and less effortful ride. “Imagine your pedal stroke as you move the bike forward: Every turn of the legs, you are lifting the weight of one pedal as it comes around the bottom of the rotation, up and over,” Sachs says. “That movement takes energy every time. So a lighter pedal will mean you save that little bit of energy each pedal stroke, and that really adds up over a long day on the bike.” (Given this, lighter pedals are often more expensive than heavier pedals, too.)

  • Which pedal style is right for me?

    To determine which pedal style is right for you, ask yourself a couple questions. First, consider what kind of cycling you like to do. Are you a road cyclist, a mountain biker, a casual cyclist, an indoor cyclist, or a commuter? Then, consider how you like to ride. Do you prefer the flexibility of platform pedals, the efficiency of clipless pedals, or the versatility of hybrid pedals? (If you’re not sure how to answer the second question, consider snagging a pair of hybrid pedals. Since they’re clipless pedals on one side and platform pedals on the other, they’ll give you exposure to both styles of cycling.)

  • How long can I expect my pedals to last?

    If you keep your pedals in good shape, you can expect them to last years—even decades. “If you take care of your cycling pedals, they should last at least five years,” Sartori says. And Sachs agrees. “Good pedals can last decades with proper maintenance,” he says. “You will probably have to replace the bearings every two to three years, but they can keep going a long time.”

  • Which pedals are best for knee pain?

    According to Sachs, some cyclists try to reduce knee pain by choosing flat pedals over clipless pedals. “Flat pedals allow the most freedom of movement, not restricting potential twisting or shifting of the knees,” he says. That said, Sachs recommends going to a professional bike fitter to find a set of pedals that work for you. “An experienced fitter will be able to adapt your bicycle, your pedals, and the cleats on your shoes to best allow your body to move in a way that is not antagonistic to its natural movement,” he says. “I can’t reinforce this enough: You want to adapt your bike to work with your body, not the other way around.”

Why Trust Verywell Fit

As a seasoned health and fitness writer, Lindsey Lanquist understands how vital quality product recommendations can be. She is careful to recommend products that are reliable, comfortable, and genuinely well-reviewed by those who’ve tried them.