What You Need to Know About Different Bike Pedal Types

At ASO Mammoth we know how important it is to have the right outdoors sports gear, and as a result we know how much damage the wrong gear can do.

The different types of bike pedals available to road and mountain bikers is a great example, as the right pedals will allow you to ride faster and farther, while the wrong kind can result in falls. Whether you’re just curious about why anyone would want to clip their feet to their bike pedals or are looking to buy new pedals but need to know more, the ASO Mammoth team has a quick guide to the different bike pedal types for you. Check it out below, and if you walk away with more questions than answers stop by ASO Mammoth and see these pedals in person!

Platform Pedals

For most people, platform pedals (also known as flat pedals) are what they see when they think of bike pedals. Although these pedals are often covered with something to help your shoe grip them, the rider’s feet are not connected to the pedal at all. The result is a stable but easily maneuverable ride. Unlike when you’re riding clipless or toe clip pedals, with platform pedals you can easily stop your bike and balance yourself at a moment’s notice. You can also start riding much easier than with clipless and toe clip pedals when riding platform pedals.

As a result, platform pedals are the first and only choice for many riders throughout their lifetime. However, platform pedals also come with disadvantages. Without being clipped in it is easy for the foot to be separated from the pedal, especially when riding over bumpy terrain. Even worse, once the foot is separated from the pedal it’s possible for the pedal to keep spinning and collide with the rider’s leg resulting in a bruise or even a cut.

Clipless Pedals

Despite the name, clipless pedals are actually what many people would think of as clip pedals because the rider’s foot is attached to the pedal. We will get to why that is incorrect later, but what you need to know about clipless pedals is that you need specially designed shoes that slide and lock into the pedals to ride them. You may think that having your foot attached to the pedal would provide more power, but that’s not the reason to ride clipless pedals. Clipless pedals allow riders to be more efficient by giving them the ability to control their pedal through the entire stroke, mainly by allowing them to push all the way through the top and bottom of the stroke.

There are two types of clipless pedals, 2-hole and 3-hole. 2-hole pedals are preferred by mountain bikers and casual riders because they allow you to be more efficient while also being relatively easy to disengage from quickly. 2-hole shoes are also easier to walk in than 3-hole, which makes a big difference when you’re pushing your bike up a hill or walking into a coffee shop. Road bikers may prefer the 3-hole design because they can evenly spread out the force on their pedals better and ride more efficiently.

While clipless pedals may be intimidating at first, once you’ve practiced engaging and disengaging them in a safe spot the action will become second nature.

Toe Clip Pedals

Toe clip pedals are pedals with a small cage or frame around the toes and are the reason why clipless pedals are referred to as clipless. The “clip” that surrounds the toe gives the extra control of clipless pedals with some of the mobility of platform pedals.

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