Flat Pedals

How to choose mountain bike flat pedals: No matter how dedicated to racing and efficiency you are, a good set of flat pedals is an essential part of every mountain biker's arsenal. Once a rider has found a flat pedal that works for them, they will likely stick with them for a long time. Flat pedals last a long time if they don't fall victim to an impromptu meeting with a rock. Furthermore, flat pedals are extremely simple components that all follow the same recipe: there is the body where you rest your foot, within the body are the bearings that allow it to spin, and the bearings are fastened to a spindle that is threaded into the crank. Pedals are an easy and affordable way to add a personal touch and some colorful flair to your ride. A fresh set of pedals can also give new life to an old ride and possibly pull stagnant riding out of a rut.

Flat Pedals

Types

Flat pedals can be classified according to the protruding studs that keep your feet in place: set screws, replaceable pins, or non-replaceable pins. The shape of the pedal body also affects the feel and grip. Some models have a more concave shape, with the front and rear edges raised to allow the shoe to "sit" more securely on the platform. Flat pedals can also have replaceable bodies, sleeves, axles, bearings and some even have sections of the body can be replaced.

Materials

Flat pedal bodies and spindles come in a combination of materials. Bodies are available in plastic, aluminum or magnesium. Spindles are either chromoly or titanium. Loose bearings, sealed bearings or bushings allow the two parts to spin smoothly.

Sizes

The beautiful thing about pedals is that the spindle size is standard on all bikes. With the exception of children's bikes, which use 1/2-inch spindles, every pedal in the world should have a 9/16-inch threaded spindle. This makes them easy to swap and replace. Of course, pedals do come with bodies in all shapes and sizes, so in the end the choice is a personal one.

Things To Look For

The simplicity in design of flat pedals make choosing a new set a very personal choice. Generally, they are not tailored to specific riding styles. Instead flat pedal are differentiated by the manufacturer's vision of the perfect pedal. Companies offer platform pedals unique to their pedal philosophy.

There are some basic things to look for to help in the selection process. First is the thickness of the pedal platform. Recently, pedals have become increasingly thin to allow superior ground clearance while minimizing weight. Thicker designs remain common and offer added strength at a minor weight penalty. The next thing is the surface area of the pedal. Riders with larger feet may benefit from a bigger platform; conversely, smaller footed riders could benefit from more control thanks to a smaller flat pedal. There are also the matters of grip, weight and material.

A good pair of flat pedal mountain bike shoes will help get the most out of your pedals.

How Much To Spend

Flat pedals range in price from $15 to $250.

Products in the $15-$40 price point are entry level platform pedals that offer superior grip and stability compared to traditional cage style mountain bike pedals. They have either plastic or aluminum bodies, may have replaceable pins and they all spin on loose ball bearings.

Moving up to the $50-$125 range, pedals are equipped with either sealed bearings or bushings, use magnesium or aluminum bodies and have set screws or removable pins. These pedals offer all of the grip and strength of the more expensive models, but are slightly heavier due to the use of chromoly spindles.

Pedals in the $130-$250 range are top of the line components that incorporate all of the available technology to provide competition level performance. At this price point, titanium spindles become an option, as do superior machining techniques that can greatly reduce the total weight.

Product Reviews

Before buying, be sure to do your research and read product reviews. Reviews are a great way to find out specifics about a particular model, user impressions, and things to watch out for. After you've purchased a product and had enough time to thoroughly test it, we encourage you to leave a review for other people to see when they are researching bikes and parts on the web.

We hope you've found this information to be helpful. If you have a question that isn't answered in this guide, our mountain bike forums are a great place to get advice from knowledgeable riders. Your local bike shop is also a great resource.

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