Road Bike Pedals 101: Learn About the Different Types of Pedals

Road bike pedals come in various types, each offering different features and benefits. Here are some common types of road bike pedals:

1. Platform Pedals:

Platform pedals, also known as flat pedals, are the most basic type of pedals commonly found on recreational and commuter bikes. They provide a large flat surface for the rider’s feet to rest on without any special attachment mechanism. Platform pedals are easy to use and allow riders to wear any type of shoes, making them suitable for casual cycling.

2. Toe Clip Pedals:

Toe clip pedals, also known as toe cage pedals, feature a metal or plastic cage attached to the pedal. The rider’s feet slide into the cage and a strap secures them in place. Toe clip pedals offer better foot retention compared to platform pedals, allowing for increased pedaling efficiency and power transfer.

3. Clipless Pedals:

Clipless pedals are a popular choice among road cyclists as they offer optimal power transfer and efficiency. Despite the name, clipless pedals actually require special cycling shoes with compatible cleats that clip into the pedal mechanism. There are two main types of clipless pedals:

Road Clipless Pedals (Three-Bolt Cleats):

Road clipless pedals use a three-bolt cleat system, which is characterized by a larger cleat and a triangular pattern of attachment points. These pedals are designed specifically for road cycling and offer a secure connection between the shoe and pedal, providing efficient power transfer and a firm pedaling platform.

Mountain Bike Clipless Pedals (Two-Bolt Cleats):

Mountain bike clipless pedals, also known as SPD (Shimano Pedaling Dynamics) pedals, use a two-bolt cleat system. These pedals are commonly used in off-road cycling disciplines but can also be suitable for road cycling. They provide a smaller cleat and a recessed design, allowing for easier walking and off-bike maneuverability.

Clipless pedals require a learning curve to clip in and out of the pedals, but once mastered, they offer better control, efficiency, and pedaling dynamics.

It’s important to note that pedal compatibility depends on the type of shoe you have, as different shoes have different cleat patterns. It’s recommended to choose pedals and shoes that are compatible with each other for optimal performance and safety.