MTB Pedal Recommendations

With all that in mind, here are the best mountain bike pedals. as rated by Singletracks members and our editors.

Platform Pedals

  • CrankBrothers 5050 xx: Singletracks members rated these platform pedals the highest for their grip, adjustability, light weight, and ease of maintenance.
  • Twenty6 Predator: These pedals have a huge platform and tons of grip, but you might want leg protection for the sharp pins that provide such great traction.
  • Canfield Brothers Crampon Ultimate: Aaron really liked these. Read his review here!
  • Nukeproof Electron: These things are awesome for the money!
  • Shimano Saint MX 80: A little heavier than some others on this list, but very durable, grippy, and easily serviceable and adjustable.
  • Kore Elite Platform: Very sturdy, very grippy, and great for “aggressive riding of all types,” according to Singletracks users.

LifeLine Shimano XTR-XT-Saint M800-SLX-LX Pads
$5.99    Chain Reaction Cycles (US & CA)   AD 

Clipless Pedals

  • Shimano XT Trail M785: Durable, with decent mud-shedding abilities.
  • Shimano PD-M530: Excellent entry-level clipless pedal that uses the most popular clipless system (SPD).
  • Shimano M780 XT Race: Lighter, smaller version of the Shimano pedal. Durable and easily adjustable.
  • Shimano PD-M520: This pedal has been around forever, and for good reason: great value!
  • Crank Brothers Mallet 3: Best of both worlds! Clipless pedal with a huge platform, so you don’t need to clip in.

    Shimano Trail pedals have a larger platform to allow for slightly greater stability even if you aren't clipped in.

    Shimano Trail pedals have a larger platform to allow for slightly greater stability even if you aren’t clipped in.

Transfil Shimano MTB Cantilever Brake Straddle Wire - Shimano Silver
$1.86    Wiggle US   AD 

To view all the pedals singletracks members have rated, head over to the MTB pedal review pages where you can read detailed reviews, view photos, and even videos. Also, check out these articles about different types of pedals: Fleetwood’s journey from flats to clipless and back to flats, and Greg’s tips on how to transition from flats to clipless.

Also, check out your local bike shop and see if the staff there can offer any insight or recommendations. Some shops even offer demo pedals so that you can try some out before committing.¬†Choosing the best mountain bike pedals isn’t rocket science, it just takes a little research.

Last updated by Helena Kotala on 07/12/2016 at 7:41am MDT.

# Comments

  • dgaddis

    An important note on clipless pedals: Although each different manufacturer uses a different style cleat, the bolt pattern is the same, so any pedal manufacturer’s cleats should fit any mtn bike shoe.

    Does anyone know any exceptions to this rule?

  • trek7k

    Great point! Most cleat receivers have four standard bolt holes, though every cleat I’ve ever seen only used two bolts. On a recent ride I lost one bolt and was really wishing I had some backups so I could get my foot out.

  • GoldenGoose

    Normaly you run into the different bolt pattern when you start using road pedals for mtb riding. I’ve heard of several XC racers going this route in dry conditions for weight savings. As far as mtb specific pedals with the 3 bolt pattern, I couldn’t give you any off the top of my head.

    A little side note about pedals and things to look for when shelling out your hard earned dollars…

    Warranty and rebuilability (did I just make that word up?) are also big factors in my book. It sure is nice to be able to keep your pedals spinning like new with a rebuild kit. Lots higher end pedals have some form of rebuild kit and if a rebuild won’t fix the problem, a good warranty will always get them working again.

  • trek7k

    Word GG. Will have to update the article to add warranty/maintenance as another factor to consider.

  • jrkoenig

    More adjustability is not always better…I think it just means more opportunity for failure.
    Its good to have a rebuildable pedal, just not one that requires it a couple times a year (eggbeater).

  • maddslacker

    I thought the lack of adjustability on eggbeaters would be an issue but I haven’t found it to be so in the year or so I have been riding with them.

  • sionetane

    eggbeaters are adjustable in that if you put the right cleat in the left shoe and vice versa the tension to release both pedals is increased to the higher degree of angle. This adjustment has kept my shoes engaged with the pedals through the rough stuff.

  • trek7k

    To be clear, you can adjust FLOAT by changing the cleats on the eggbeater sl pedals but not release tension.

  • dgaddis

    Right. With Crank Brothers, wwapping cleats left/right changes the release angle, not the tension. I love my Crank Brothers pedals, and the new ones they showed at Sea Otter look even better.

  • mtbgreg1

    @Archangel992, Probably every single person in a cross country mountain bike race will be riding clipless pedals. In fact, most people that are cross country or all mountain riders who aren’t even interested in racing still ride with clipless. If you’re interested in making the switch, be sure to check out the two part series I wrote on the topic: http://www.singletracks.com/blog/mtb-gear/clipless-pedals/ and http://www.singletracks.com/blog/mtb-gear/how-to-switch-to-clipless/

    If you have any questions, just be sure to ask!

  • fatlip11

    I have the Xpedo XMX 13s on my single speed and love them. They are completely rebuildable and come with extra pins and a tool. I have banged them around more than a few times and they are still rock solid. Great pedals!

  • 49637

    You’d think they would have called them “Clip-in” pedals instead of clipless. Doesn’t that make more sense??

  • CorePapaXC

    I am a newbie, but I prefer the platform/clipless. I use Forte Campus. They allow me to clip in, but be able to go “regular” when I have an area where I feel I might need to put my foot down. I may switch once I get more comfortable on my MTB, but for now I reallt like these.

  • Tstrahan87

    How hard is it to clean the shoe and how does the sizing relate to that of regular shoes? Everything I read pretty much talks about the pedals and clips, is there a post about the shoes and what is best for them?

  • onefastfattie

    I ride the exact shimano clipless/platform pedals used in the photo in this article. I have had them for about two seasons now and I have gotten so used to clipping into them on the fly that the whole rotating down thing is second nature to me. I just flip it with my foot and almost in the same motion im clipping in. I have a lot of climbs where I ride so the benefits of clipless pedals are indispensable here.
    And like CorePapaXC stated:” When I come to a section that I might need to put my foot down” I un clip and ride flat. This part is awesome for me because I also ride a ton of street on my MTB. Bunny hops, drops, jumps etc. are all more cozy on a flat pedal to me so being able to ride how I like without having to change the pedals out is great.

  • Litespeeder

    Something not discussed here is ease of clip in which is big. For example Eggbeater is 4 sided while SPD is two and when in a race time spent fumbling around to get clipped in always vexes me. The shoe has a lot to do with this as well so a review of combos would be very worthwhile editors :-)…..

  • finerbiner

    Used eggbeaters when i lived in the midwest and never though I would change. Switched to Shimano xt because of all the pedal striking on the Front Range and both work great in the right application.

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