The choice over which type of bike pedals to use can depend on a number of factors including the intended use of the bike and, in many cases, personal preference can play a very big part. Some cyclists feel that they have to endure the pedals that came with the bike but changing them is very straightforward and there is a vast range of pedals on the market today to suit a multitude of tastes and requirements.
Some cyclists still prefer to use traditional flat, or platform pedals and although these are considered by many to be solely the domain of pleasure riders, some BMX cyclists and mountain bikers still prefer these types of pedals.
These platform pedals can also be enhanced by the simple addition of a toe clip. This is a semi circular piece which wraps around the top of the foot, holding it in place. It can be adjusted for a tight or loose fit depending on preference and can have the advantage of preventing your foot from slipping which can be useful on long road journeys where tiredness can become a factor.
Many mountain bikers find that they have a preference for the clip in pedal. These types of pedal work by attaching to the bottom of the riders shoe and then clipping in to the bike with a spring mechanism. The cyclist then dismounts by twisting their heel at the end of their ride. These can be tricky to use at first and can be difficult if you find that you need to dismount quickly. Having mastered the technique however, many mountain bikers find the clip in style to be preferable as their feet are attached at all times to the pedal.
Another advantage to this type of pedal is that the rider can put maximum energy into the pedal at all times. There is virtually no slip because your feet are constantly attached. Therefore you can trust your foot hold and put complete effort into your ride at all times.
Road racers, particularly those involved in longer distance events need to pace their ride and don’t have the need to sprint at all times. Therefore, the clip in type of pedal isn’t so popular with these riders who tend to go more for the platform style.
No matter what type of pedal you ultimately choose, there is a good range of accessories on the market and you can pick up additional cleats, straps and clips very easily.
Although there are different types of pedals that are intended for the specific type of use that you are putting your bike to, personal preference can also play a big part in your decision.
Whether you are road racing or mountain biking, many cyclists don’t use the strap around the foot as they find it restrictive while others like to have this as a means of security. Meanwhile some road racers like the clip in type of pedal to ensure that there is no risk of slipping at any stage.
Whatever your decision, there is a vast range out there and if you are still unsure, there is a wealth of help and advice to call upon while you decide.
My personal favourites are my DMR V12 Magnesium Pedals, used with mountain bikes.