What are the best flat pedals for mountain biking? In recent years, flat pedals have had a resurgence in popularity for MTB, with some riders ditching their clipless pedals altogether. We take a look at the top five.
Why would you choose flat pedals for your mountain bike? There are some great reasons to ride clipped-in and you'll find more info in our comprehensive guide here, but there are just as many arguments for riding with flats.
Aficionados of flat pedals love the confidence of knowing they can bail out more easily when the going gets tough and some will tell you it even helps them to approach trickier trails even faster than they would be attached to the bike.
Flats are also great for instilling the correct technique if you're learning trail skills like bunny hops or manuals - learning with clipless pedals can sometimes lead to bad habits.
Additionally, if you're riding tricky terrain or have a climb to tackle, it's a lot easier to get going on flats where you don't need to think about clipping in first.
Finally, if you think you'll spend some of the ride walking, whether that's to avoid tricky trail features or you're hoping to stop at a pub or cafe along the way, flat mountain bike shoes are so much easier to walk in than stiff MTB shoes. In fact, depending on where you're going you can even get away with your regular trainers.
So, whether you're thinking of ditching the clipless pedals, or you're looking to upgrade the flats you currently have, here are the best ones available right now.
The best flat mountain bike pedals of 2021
These tough aluminium pedals have been developed by mountain bike legend Sam Hill and long-time mechanic Jacy Schumilak so you can be sure you're getting pro-level performance. Sam himself specifically requested the concaved design for additional comfort on the trails.
The forging and CNC-machining construction process mean the pedals are strong but light, weighing in at just over 400g for a pair. Available in six vibrant colours, they're a smart upgrade for any mountain bike.
It's easy to see why these pedals have glowing reviews across the board and have even been named MBR's flat pedal of choice. The low-profile downhill flats use a forged 6061-T6 aluminium body that has been machined for a clean finish. The platform is large enough to offer optimum support and the slight concave keeps the foot in the right position.
It's 37 years since the iconic French cycling brand Look created the first clipless pedals. In 2020 they finally ventured into the world of flats, teaming up with Italian rubber brand Vibram to come up with a pedal solution unlike anything else out there.
The Vibram insert uses a grippy rubber compound with an aggressive tread pattern and the concave surface further enhances grip. Like most MTB flats, the Look Trail Grip also has pins so there's little chance of your foot slipping even in wet conditions but the composite material is much more gentle on your shins than the traditional metal.
A true icon in mountain biking, the popular DMR V12 pedal has been around for over 18 years. This magnesium version weighs in at only 350g per pair making it one of the lightest options available today. Despite the light weight, it still has a generous concave surface area for more grip and more support however rough the terrain gets.
The pins are fully replaceable and tuneable so you can customise your grip depending on your terrain - great for if you use your bike for city and trail and don't fancy risking bloody shins when you're popping to the shops.
A flat nylon pedal that can more than hold its own against premium aluminium models. The popular Nukeproof Proton design has been enhanced for an even more comfortable and grippy platform. Constructed to be tough enough for the gnarliest trails, they're surprisingly light at only 354g for the pair.
Three molded pins on either side of the pedal are accompanied by seven replaceable and adjustable alloy pins, allowing you full control over customising your grip.
Surprisingly for a pedal at this price point, the Nukeproof Neutron has sealed cartridge bearings and rubber lip seals between the axle end and pedal body, keeping moisture and dirt out.
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