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Best Mountain Biking Flat Pedals | Tested and Reviewed

The Best Mountain Biking Flat Pedals | Tested and Reviewed

Pedals are the primary point of contact between the rider and the bike and one of the most key parts for retaining confidence both in the air and over gnarly sections. Different bikes have varying pedals for different uses, here we’ll focus on the pedals most suited to hard trail, downhill and enduro.

There are generally two different types of pedals: flats and cleats/clip ins.

The primary advantage of cleats is you can power the bike on the upwards movement of the leg as well as the downwards movement, allowing your legs to go for longer without tiring (due to more muscles being used) and giving faster acceleration as a result. They also offer more firm control of the bike due to more even application of power (no bouncing).

The primary advantage of flats is that they allow you to put a foot down if things get sketchy and give confidence as you can remove your feet in the event of a crash. This means that the confidence inspiring flats are often better for the novice rider as well as the more gravity focussed and give more scope for tricks. From the perspective of a notice they also will force a better riding technique – whereas clips give more of a potential to build up bad habits.

Mountain Biking Flat Pedals
Mountain Biking Flat Pedals

There are a number of considerations you need to make when buying pedals, we’ve summarized the ones we took into account here:

Weight – For the racers or more cross country orientated riders.

Durability – Key on the trail and is the main advantage of metal pedals over super light plastic compounds.

Maintenance – How much you need to do to prevent them from falling apart.

Platform Size – Will should match your shoe size for an optimal fit and so reduce the chance that they will strike the ground during a turn, larger platforms are not necessarily grippier – this is more down to the pins.

Pins – The main factor determining the grip of the pedals – also the most likely pieces to be lost as a result of being smashed out.

If you are looking to buy a new set of flat pedals here are our top picks.

#1 Chromag Scarab Platform Pedal

Image result for Chromag Scarab Platform Pedal

Grip – The pins of these pedals can be altered in height, allowing for a fully personalized setup, as the choice pedals of Brandon Semenuk it’s safe to assume the chromag scarabs will deliver all the grip and support you could want. The pins have also been designed with undercuts to give better grip than their counterparts.

Weight – 430 grams per pair.

Durability – These pedals are known for being able to withstand serious abuse and are shipped with 12 additional pins both for customization and replacement should any be lost. The frame has a slim design bearing in mind the large platform size which definitely makes it a better choice for people with larger feet.

Read more reviews, or buy this mountain biking flat pedal here:

#2 RaceFace Atlas MTB Bike Pedal

Image result for race face atlas pedals

Grip – the pins are shorter than those on some of the other pedals on this list, however this is compensated for with the superb and widely appreciated design of the concave platform, which also seems to clear of mud miraculously quickly. The pins are screwed in from the underside and are easy to add and remove as needed, with the only point of care being sourcing the exact pins themselves (these cannot be replaced with regular machine screws). Overall though the pins are a positive point for these pedals as if they are damaged you won’t need new pedals and new pins are cheaply available.

Weight – 365g

Durability – Some people seem to complain about the sealed bearings wearing quite fast, meaning lateral play in the pedals could develop sooner than you might expect – which would result in a less controlled, less stiff and ultimately less efficient ride.

This is not a huge issue as 1) the play that develops should not be noticeable and 2) RaceFace offer a great warranty system so spares or replacements will always be at your fingertips. Be sure to keep the bearings topped up with grease if you want to try and avoid this.

Read more reviews, or buy this mountain biking flat pedal here:

Discount code: Spend and Save on Autumn Essentials (Parts, Accessories & Clothing excluding Bikes, Garmin, GPS and Cameras) – Coupon: SAVE30 (enter at checkout)

#3 Swank Spoon [Enduro/DH/Slopestyle] Pedal

Image result for spank spoon pedals

Grip – The slim, concave body of the swank spoon has 10 replaceable pins on each side. Longer 14mm pins at the front and back of the pedal with the four 12mm ones in the middle.

Durability – No complaints here from us or anyone else it seems, these pedals are reliable enough to withstand a full season of aggressive riding with no maintenance whatsoever.

Weight – 420 grams

Even at the highest level you can expect pedals to come in one shoe size, which, if you are lucky will broadly match your shoe. Spank have created the Spoon in three sizes to eliminate the luck involved and allow you to get a pedal better suited to you.

At an intermediate weight of 420 grams and a very reasonable price, the Spoons are one of the cheaper metal frame flat pedals available, which was quite surprising considering the overall quality. We would suggest the Swank Spoon’s are the best flat MTB pedal you can get for under $100 and an excellent choice for someone getting into the sport – the price making the customization with the size even more surprising.

Read more reviews, or buy this mountain biking flat pedal here:

#4 DMR Vault Platform Pedals

Image result for dmr vault pedals

DMR have been making pedals since 1999, and their experience in the industry is clearly shown in the pedals they are producing to this day. Reliable, top end performance machines that have never been critically flawed (or indeed flawed to much of an extent at all) and would have made this list had it been written one, three or four years ago.

Durability – Their latest DMR Vault has made the rear of the platform slightly narrower than the front. The chamfered ends deflect impacts and allow the pedal to more easily slide between narrow gaps. As with the other entries on this list – you can expect these pedals not to attract or retain mud. There have been some complaints about the durability in terms of the anodizing on the pins and a couple of more serious localized issues (we’re taking about 1/100 at most) – however this is all covered by warranty so there is nothing to worry about there. In terms of the pins that is really not an issue to us (unless you really do care about blue pins) as this wear was always going to happen and is only noticeable due to the color.

Grip – The combination of a broad platform with concentrated pins means the pedal will grip your foot well even if you don’t get it perfectly on first time. The body is concave in shape, (in a similar way to the spank spoon) so you’ll have maximum grip and contact with your shoe. The Vault uses 11 pins, 7 of which are reversible, with one end a few millimeters longer than the other. The idea here being that you adjust the aggression of the grip in accordance with your shoes. This does seem to have contributed to one of the flaws of this pedal – being that the addition of this means that pins are more likely to become loose and be lost.

Weight – 420g (less with the titanium axels and magnesium body)

Read more reviews, or buy this mountain biking flat pedal here:

Discount code: Spend and Save on Autumn Essentials (Parts, Accessories & Clothing excluding Bikes, Garmin, GPS and Cameras) – Coupon: SAVE30 (enter at checkout)

#5 Hope F20 Platform Pedal

Image result for hope f20 pedals

Hope design, test and build their pedals in the wild, wet and muddy north of England, which creates an almost unique set of worst case conditions for parts like the pedals – which need to be as reliable and resistant to the weather as possible. Through this Hope have created some of the most reliable parts in the industry that for many users will never be tested to their real limits of durability.

Grip – This has been the biggest gripe most people seem to have with these pedals, the question you may find yourself asking would be whether the strongest, best looking grips are worth this shortfall. It can be increased by using the central pins at the expense of a less concave platform.

Durability – The grim northern conditions are counteracted by sealed cartridge bearings that should keep spinning smoothly for many years. The body is beautifully designed and has the slightly concave shape that you can expect from a top end pedal in this day and age. The F20s are certainly a great looking pair of pedals that seem to go especially well with bikes that have more ‘matt’ frames.

Weight – 416g

If you want to enjoy reliable class leading grip and performance for tame to aggressive trail riding at a fair price then these pedals are the place to go – as one of their class leaders that not only excel at their function but look good while doing it.

Read more reviews, or buy this mountain biking flat pedal here:

Written by Nathaniel Fried

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