Bike Pedals – Rider/Bike Interface For Dummies

You only really interface with your bike in three places. Bike pedals, saddle (bike-sitting torture device), and handlebars.

So…the bicycle pedal is worthy of consideration. On the other hand, the saddle is often worthy of disdain.

The subject of pedals is so broad that I’ll write this overview page and then link to my other pages on each of the different types of bicycle pedals at the bottom of this page.

Primitive Bike Pedals

These pedals are an insult to the feet of just about anyone who’d care enough about cycling to bother reading about bikes (that’s you). These cheappedalspedals may be metal, they may be plastic, or they may be an organic derivative you don’t want to know anything about.

They are simple.

However, when I wanted to get one of these simple pairs for temporary replacement duties, I screwed up by getting a spindle that was ½” instead of 9/16”. The industry standard for adult bikes is 9/16 x 20 threading. The simple pedals stumped this simple-minded cyclist.


* They’re so simple that even I could make a mistake in buying them.
* They don’t need special cycling shoes.
* You can get off your bike quickly instead of tipping over trying to get out of ‘real pedals’.


* There’s no ability to ‘pull up’ on the pedal stroke.
* Your feet slip off the pedals too easily.

Why Can’t You Afford Enough
Cycling Gear?
I can get twice as much because I keep my eyes
open for deep discounts on Road Bike Pedals and
and Mountain Bike Pedals at Amazon.


Advanced Platform Bike Pedals

metalplatformpedalsThese are called platform pedals and are favored by downhillers, a lot of mountain bikers, and casual riders. I just bought a hybrid platform/clipless pedal for my mountain bike.

Here’s why:

Besides a pretty nasty fall this spring on my road bike, almost all of my bike wrecks have been from my mountain bike when I’m barely moving.

This occurs in situations like when I’m trying to ride across little rivers that I should really WALK my bike through. My momentum starts to suffer when I’m halfway through the water and then I lose the struggle to unclip myself from the pedals. Splash and Curse.

With my new platform/clipless pedals, I plan to unclip before a water hazard. Because they still have a decent platform for my foot, unlike my former eggbeater pedals, I should be in good shape.


* Still simple.
* Don’t need special ‘geek shoes’.
* Have more dangerous teeth on them to grip your shoe (and damage your shins).


* Can’t pull up during pedal stroke.
* Have more dangerous teeth on them to (grip your shoe and) damage your shins.

Toe Clip Bike Pedals

These still confuse me because my clipless pedals making a clipping sound when I get in or out of them and toe clip pedals don’t make any clipping sound whatsoever.

These were the original attempts to attach the rider to the bike. Word on the street, and at numerous biker bars, has it that these bike pedals first appeared in the 1800’s, before the Model T. toeclippedalsThey’re still around and have their place in the modern bike world.


* Can get a full pedal stroke instead of only ‘pedal stomping’.
* Don’t need fancy, over-priced cycling shoes.


* Not as efficient as clipless pedals (or is that clip pedals?)
* I’ve yanked on the straps to tighten this type of pedal and then REALLY can’t get out of them at a stoplight unless I first reach down and release them.

Clipless Bicycle Pedals

Here’s where the big money comes in. Can you say $455.99 for a pair (yes, timeticarbonpedalyou get two pedals in this deal) of Time Ti Carbon Clipless Mountain Bike pedals? Of course that’s the extreme, but high quality road pedals do cost a couple hundred bucks.

shimanopedalsOn the road, I’ve always used the Shimano style pedal. Once you decide on a style, you’re tied into if you’re using several bikes and several shoes. It’s too inconvenient to change out the unique cleats and pedals with each ride.

The speedplay pedal system is popular with a lot of riders. It’s easy to get speedplaypedalsinto and out of

There is a lot of ‘twist play’ between the pedals and the cleat. In the eyes of some cyclists, there is too much play.

eggbeaterpedalsEggbeater pedals are popular with mountain bikers, as are the SPD Shimano system. These cleats are recessed into the shoe so the rider can walk around without too much trouble.

Advantages of Clipless Pedals

* The rider is ‘one with the bike’.
* Pedaling efficiency is greatly improved.


* These pedals are costly and the shoes that go with them are high priced too.
* There is a learning curve to getting into and out of these pedals.

So that’s a short rundown on bike pedals. Everything from cheap Walmart pedals, with half inch spindles that don’t fit, to $450 pedals.

In between, you’ll find a lot to choose from. I regularly see some pedals for good discounts at Amazon.

Go to Road Bike Pedals.

Go to Mountain Bike Pedals.

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