There is a style of mountain bike pedal that assists roadkill jumping. But even that has its limitations. You’ll see…
Before we get to the jumping issue, let’s discuss the three main problems that the mountain bicycle pedal should overcome. They’re mud evacuation, platform stability, and weight. I’ll add some extra features to keep you on your toes.
There Are Basically 3 Types Of Mountain Bicycle Pedals…But Forget About Type #1, The Cage Pedal
We’ll forget about the cage pedals since they come on Wal-Mart Exploda-bikes and I’m confident that any cyclist who’s evolved enough to be reading this brilliant article is looking for a quality pedal. Or at least a pseudo-quality pedal.
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Type #2, Mountain Bike Platform Pedals
Certainly this group excels in platform stability.
It’s a style that a lot of freestylers and downhillers like. Obviously, downhillers aren’t doing a lot of uphilling so they don’t need the extra power and efficiency that a clipless pedal provides to the pedal stroke. If anything, they resent pedaling. They’d probably prefer pegs instead of pedals if they could get away with it.
How about weight? Now that I think about it, downhillers may prefer pedals made of reinforced lead. That way they could get their forty pound bikes up to forty six pounds. Oh, the inertia!
For the rest of us who have to go uphill a lot of the time, the platform pedal sacrifices efficiency. You can get platform pedals that weigh in the low 400 gram range, but weight is relative. I’m used to seeing road pedals in the 200 gram range.
Do platform pedals shed mud easily? If you buy mountain bike pedals with an open design like on the Flybikes Ruben Flat Pedals, you won’t be dragging a lot of mud home.
You don’t have to wear special shoes when riding with platform pedals, which is an advantage for casual rides around town.
I’ve written about my river crossing mishaps in other articles. Suffice it to say, I’d have welcomed the ability to step off some platform pedals in the middle of the creeks when all forward progress had ceased. Instead, I found myself frantically trying to clip out just before I tipped over with a splash. I was steamin’.
Type #3…Gimme Dem Mountain Bike Clipless Pedals
If you make the right choice, you can get some clipless pedals that solve the three mountain bike pedal problems admirably. You remember- mud evacuation, platform stability, and weight.
Weight’s the easiest. There are a lot of clipless mountain bike pedals in the 250 gram range. As a point of reference, 250 grams is 8.81 ounces.
Shimano is a big player in the clipless world. Their cleat system is called SPD, which stands for Shimano Pedaling Dynamics. As an aside, if you get nothing else out of this article, you may win a Trivial Pursuit game.
The Eggbeater Clipless Mountain Bike Pedal
Platform stability is a mixed bag. If you go with a strict Crank Brothers eggbeater there is no platform, so I suppose they don’t enter into this one-sided discussion. However, Crank Brothers makes several clipless models with platforms.
Mud evacuation is very good with the Crank Brothers system due to the open design. Even if there’s mud, it’s less of a problem because you’re clipping into a four-sided ‘pedal’ rather than the two-sided option you’d typically associate with any other style.
Another Important Mountain Bicycle Pedal Feature…Bunny Hopping Roadkill!
Being clipped into your bike enables the rider to have a lot more control, both in going uphill and downhill. Certainly you can appreciate the advantage of being able to pull up with your massive thighs on the upstroke.
But it’s also helpful to be able to pull the whole back-end of the bike up when you’re bunny hopping your rear wheel over a log in the trail. Or an animal on the road.
Another aside- one of the road cyclists I was training with bunnyhops over all roadkill on his road bike. He actually aims for roadkill. So the answer to the original question is…
Clipless pedals help you jump over roadkill.
He told me that he met his match when he didn’t successfully clear a small elk. He lives in Oregon, so those kinds of things happen. It didn’t even make the nightly newscast.
And Don’t Forget To Lubricate Your Mountain Bike Pedals
It’s important that your pedals have a way for you to lubricate the bearings and spindle. My cheap set seized up and then stripped out the threads on the crank arm. If I’d had any brains I’d have realized what was happening and quit stomping on the pedals before the stripping. Foolishness is expensive. Crank Brothers touts an external port for easy lubrication.
I’m waiting to get my replacement crank arm from the local bike shop so that I can try out my new hybrid style pedals. They have a platform as big as any pedal out there and they have an eggbeater clipless system that’ll lock me into my bike like a tick on a not-yet-dead elk.