This month, we look to answer all your questions regarding pedals. Should you be riding flats? How about clip-ins? If clips, which brand should you go with? With so many options, purchasing a pair of pedals can be confusing, and if you’re new to riding, you’ll likely need to make your decision quickly. If you’ve been feeling the pedal blues, then there’s no need to fret, because we have you covered with all the pedal knowledge you’ll need. Follow these tips and you’ll be thinking less about the pedals you’re riding and more about riding the pedals you have.
THE FIRST DILEMMA
Regardless of the style of pedals you choose, it’s important to purchase a pedal with quality construction, especially if you plan to keep the pedals long-term, which we hope you do. It’s usually best to avoid pedals made with any plastic parts, as these pedals will likely fall apart sooner than ones made from aluminum or steel.
Plastic pedals, however, tend to be less expensive and are light-weight. Next, make sure your pedals use sealed bearings, which will help keep water out and prolong your pedals’ lifespan. Spindle material will also cause the price of a pedal to fluctuate. High-end pedals use titanium spindles that are lighter weight but add cost. Most other pedals use chromoly steel spindles for strength, affordability and durability.
There are a few companies out there that offer pedals with different spindle lengths to ensure a perfect fit. Flat pedals tend to vary in width as well for similar reasons. If you have problems with your heels rubbing your seatstays or chainstays, then you can try using pedals with a longer spindle length to help space out your feet. This wider stance, however, may change the angle of your pedal stroke, putting pressure on your knees. Proceed with caution and seek out a professional bike fitter if necessary.
Eggbeater pedals are favored by riders who often ride in mud, due to their open design that easily sheds dirt and grime. These pedals also tend to provide more float (the amount of side-to-side play your cleat will pivot on before releasing). More float can help relieve pressure on your knees and better keep your feet attached over rough terrain. Some of our testers have also had good luck with pedals from HT Components. HT offers a line of clip-in pedals for everything from cross-country to downhill using its exclusive cleat design.
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