Road bike vs. Mountain bike pedals


A very important chapter when it comes to bicycle components is represented by the pedals that you use. If in the first days of bike riding you probably used normal, platform pedals, as cycling got in your bones you may have already or are thinking of swapping them with a pair of clipless automatic pedals. The advantages of blocking your feet in the pedals are described in this article, so hereby we will tackle the issue of best choice. So, which type suits you better: road bike pedals or mountain bike ones?

At first glance, the answer is quite simple, each type of pedals being designed for a certain type of cycling. Even so, many road cycling enthusiats use mountain bike pedals though they hardly get on any off-road trail and the reversed situation is even more unlikely. In any case, we thought that some additional information about the two pedal types might come in handy.

As far as locking mechanism are concerned, in both cases the principle is the same: a spring is tensioning a mobile part that keeps locked the cleat mounted on the cycling shoe’s sole. This is were the difference occurs, more exactly, in the size of the cleat attached to the sole. While mountain bike pedals go with very small cleats which are easier to unlock from the pedal, road bike pedals go with larger ones, that increase the contact surface between the sole and pedal.

Maybe it might not seem important, but actually the surface of the contact area is the one that generates the differences between the two pedals. In the case of longer rides, road pedals are much more comfortable than mountain bike pedals because the pressure that is applied by the pedal when pedalling on the sole of your foot is more evenly spread. Thus, numbness or other such sensations are less likely to occur. Of course, there is also the cycling shoe issue to be taken into consideration. The higher the shoe is placed in the producer’s range, the stiffer its sole is, so pressure is yet again spread evenly.

When it comes to practicality, mountain bike pedals and shoes get the better of their counterparts. This is because the cleat doesn’t exceed the height of the crampons and due to the larger flexibility of the sole of mountain bike shoes. So, walking in this shoes is a more achievable feat than it would be wearing road cycling shoes, which by the way, make walking a nightmare. Another thing about mountain bike pedals would be the less tight grip with which they hold the shoes, which may be an advantage or disadvantage according to your riding preferences.

Though weight might seem as an affair undoubtedly dominated by mountain bike pedals, things are not quite so. Both road bike and mountain bike pedals have ultra-light or modestly-performing models, and both top end products tip the balance at about the same value.