The Right Pedal Ergonomics: More Power and No More Knee Pain
Just pedal and go? What sounds so easy is actually quite complicated. Here’s what to keep in mind when considering the body’s interaction with the pedals.
Pedals are one of your contact points on the bike. They give you support – but also transfer your power. For these two reasons, it is important that you use the right pedals. Whether you are looking for platform pedals for your mountain bike, MTB clipless pedals for your gravel bike, new clipless pedals for your road bike or want to give your everyday or travel bike an update – here you will find the most important tips to help you choose and navigate through our shop filters. You can try it out, because pedal threads are a real standard and the same for all cranks. However, they have left-hand and right-hand threads depending on the side. So before you reach for the tools, check out our blog post on how to install bike pedals correctly. Read further and discover more.
MTB pedals probably offer the greatest variety, as flat pedals and clipless pedals are common here. Flat pedal users swear by the ease of installation and removal, especially when things get tricky. You will find particularly good grip on pedals with many pins and as large a surface as possible. These "paw" pedals should be used with the right shoes – normal trainers do not provide enough support for the feet and wear out quickly. There are usually replacements for the pins if they break. Popular manufacturers of platform pedals include DMR, OneUp, crankbrothers and Hope. Fans of clipless pedals, on the other hand, like the constant position of the foot on the pedal and the firm connection with the bike. But the mechanics also need some care, especially in dirt and snow, and you have to replace the cleats from time to time. The market leader in MTB clipless pedals is Shimano with the SPD system; under this category, there are also compatible pedals from Ritchey, Xpedo, Look and HT. However, clipless systems from crankbrothers, time and Hope are also very popular. MTB clipless pedals are available with and without a cage – the larger contact surface affords the foot even more stability and helps you if you accidentally disengage your pedals.
On a road bike, clipless pedals are absolutely essential – it's how you become one with the machine! The perfect transfer of your leg power to the rear wheel is the be-all and end-all here, which is why road bike cleats are significantly larger than those on MTBs. They are installed with three screws and usually offer little or no movement. Walking with these shoes and cleats is less important than with mountain biking, which is why the shoes usually have no tread at all. The perfect adjustment of the pedals is crucial for optimal ergonomics, which concerns the position, but also the angle and force when clipping out, which can usually be adjusted. The inventor of clipless pedals is the manufacturer Look, whose Keo system is still at the forefront today; the Shimano SPD-SL system and time are also common. Road pedals without clipless systems, for cage and belt, can be found from MKS and KCNC.
Performance measurement is a must in professional sports, and is becoming more and more common in amateur sports. Precise recording of concrete values allows athletes to train optimally. You can record your data via the crank or chainrings – or via the pedals. All these components communicate with your bike computer. Pedals with power meters have the advantage that they are often somewhat cheaper, can be easily used on different bikes and sometimes even offer bilateral measurement of leg power. You can find power meter pedals from Garmin (for Keo, SPD-SL and SPD), Wahoo/Speedplay, Favero and SRM.
Gravel bikes are a cross between a road bike and a mountain bike and allow you to shoot across forest and field paths. Because of their versatility, mountain bike clipless pedals and slimmer MTB shoes from the cross-country range are particularly popular for gravel biking. These days, there are also dedicated gravel shoes on the market.
Everyday bikes should work well especially with normal shoes. That is why their tread surface is either a cage made of profiled metal or covered with a non-slip rubber layer. Some variants are also equipped with grip tape, as known from skateboards. You can find suitable pedals here, for example from MKS, Shimano, XLC and SQlab. If you want to keep the option of using (MTB) clipless shoes on your everyday or touring bike, take a look at our combination pedals (also called hybrid pedals)! They offer a normal platform on one side, but a clipless mechanism on the other, either for systems from Shimano, crankbrothers or time.