The world's most in-depth and scientific reviews of gear

Best Flat Pedals for Mountain Biking

Grippy aluminum and nylon composite flat pedals.
Tuesday July 21, 2020
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Are you looking for the best mountain bike flat pedals? We spent weeks researching nearly every flat pedal on the market before buying 14 pairs for this comparative analysis. Four testers with various riding styles and backgrounds rode these pedals for weeks on end. We rode these pedals in all conditions from hot, dusty summer days on flow trails to wet and muddy days on the jankiest of rock gardens. After that, we sat down and analyzed each pedal on a set of predetermined performance metrics. Our recommendations are based on our real-world testing, with the goal of helping you find the very best mountain bike flat pedal for your needs, budget, and riding style.

Related: Best Mountain Bike Flat Pedal Shoes
Related: Best Mountain Bike Pedals

Top 14 Product Ratings

Displaying 1 - 5 of 14
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Best Overall Mountain Bike Flat Pedal


OneUp Components Aluminum


Editors' Choice Award

$125.00
at Competitive Cyclist
See It

90
OVERALL
SCORE
  • Grip and Traction - 25% 10
  • Platform - 25% 9
  • Mobility - 20% 9
  • Servicing - 15% 8
  • Weight - 15% 8
Weight per pair: 370-grams | Traction pins: 10 per side
Excellent grip
Sleek and thin platform
Good value
Almost too much grip
Long pins can be hazardous to shins

The OneUp Components Aluminum are the best of the best. They rose to the top of a crowded field of competitors thanks to their well-rounded performance and impressive levels of grip. These alloy pedals use ten well-placed bottom loading traction pins per side with a slightly convex shape and a large platform. Whether you're grinding up an ultra-technical climb or bombing down the gnar, your feet stay in position, and these pedals are confidence-inspiring. The low-profile design helps keep the pedals from smashing rocks and obstacles, making them a great option for everyday trail riding. OneUp makes service instructions and replacement parts readily available from their website, and the rebuild procedure is quite simple. They also offer an unrivaled value thanks to the reasonable price paired with excellent performance.

While we found a lot to love about the Aluminum, we still found some nits to pick. Due to the high level of grip, testers agreed that the ability to move or reposition the foot is somewhat limited. We think it sounds a little silly to call these pedals "too grippy," but if foot mobility is a priority, you may want to look elsewhere. The bearing bulge on the inboard side of the platform on the spindle may also present some issues for some riders. Beyond that, we feel these sleek, lightweight, and grippy pedals are the best we tested.

Read review: OneUp Components Aluminum

Best Overall Composite Pedal


OneUp Components Composite


Editors' Choice Award

$49.00
at Competitive Cyclist
See It

80
OVERALL
SCORE
  • Grip and Traction - 25% 8
  • Platform - 25% 8
  • Mobility - 20% 8
  • Servicing - 15% 8
  • Weight - 15% 8
Weight per pair: 359-grams | Traction pins: 10 per side
Excellent value
Well-rounded performance
Easy to rebuild
Lightweight
Not the grippiest
A little thicker than aluminum options

The OneUp Components Composite are a rock-solid product at a very impressive price. OneUp delivered a quality composite (plastic) pedal loaded with features that come in at less than ⅓ of the cost of some high-end aluminum models. They look almost exactly like their aluminum sibling at first glance, with a large platform and ten bottom loading traction pins. On the trail, the Composite were highly functional even if they didn't blow our minds in any single performance metric. These pedals offer an excellent blend of solid grip and foot mobility at a relatively light weight. If you are on a budget and looking for a killer pedal that does its job, the Composite might be the ticket.

Don't be fooled. These are still budget-oriented pedals, and the grip/traction can't match the same levels as some of the high-end performers in the review. Yes, they offer sufficient levels of grip, but there is no confusing them with some of the best options in our review. That said, we feel they are a fabulous option for the rider with a spending limit.

Read review: OneUp Components Composite

Best Bang for Your Buck


Race Face Chester


76
OVERALL
SCORE
  • Grip and Traction - 25% 8
  • Platform - 25% 7
  • Mobility - 20% 8
  • Servicing - 15% 7
  • Weight - 15% 8
Weight per pair: 358-grams | Traction pins: 8 per side
Affordable
Tough and durable
Nice mid-sie platform
No traction pins along the axle
Only 8 pins per side

The Race Face Chester is an affordable flat pedal with an excellent price to performance ratio. It is one of the least expensive models we tested, yet it still scored admirably across all of our rating metrics. This lightweight model tips the scales at a svelte 358-grams and has a rugged nylon composite platform. The platform is moderate in size at 101 x 110mm with a 14mm profile and sloped leading edges that help reduce pedal strikes. There are 16 replaceable pins per pedal (8 per side) that provide excellent grip with good foot placement. Servicing the internals is straightforward, and removing/replacing pins couldn't be easier. They also have a timeless style and are offered in loads of different colors.

The Chester pedals are great, but they aren't perfect. With only 8 pins per side and none along the axle, they don't have the strongest grip and can feel a little slippery in wet conditions. The platform is also moderate in size, and may not be ideal for those with larger feet. Beyond that, we liked everything about these tough, lightweight, and affordable pedals.

Read review: Race Face Chester

Best for Enduro Racing


Race Face Atlas


Race Face Atlas
Top Pick Award

$150.98
(16% off)
at Amazon
See It

85
OVERALL
SCORE
  • Grip and Traction - 25% 9
  • Platform - 25% 9
  • Mobility - 20% 8
  • Servicing - 15% 7
  • Weight - 15% 9
Weight per pair: 347-grams | Traction pins: 10 per side
Hardcore gripping power
Large and lightweight
Double concave
Grease port tucked away
Super pricey and lack versatility
Not compatible with all cranks

The Race Face Atlas took all the things we liked about various other mountain bike pedals and put them together into an awesome Franken-pedal. Don't be mislead. This is not a slammed together, mish-mash of random pieces, and the R&D team seemingly stopped at nothing shy of creating a masterpiece. Not only were these one of the biggest pedals in the test, but also just grams away from being the lightest. We feel this featherweight, large platform pedal is a great option for enduro and aggressive trail riders. The thin profile will let you pedal instead of coast as it floats over rocks and stumps, while the double-concave platform and angled pins keep your feet attached from start to finish. If enduro courses don't cram enough technical gnar down your seat tube, these versatile pedals make an excellent choice for downhill racing or laps at the bike park.

While we were impressed by their tenacious grip, it does limit their versatility somewhat as we found them a little too grippy for dirt jumping and riding where you want a little foot mobility. They are also one of the most expensive models we've tested. If you can justify the expense, we feel these are one of the best pedals money can buy.

Read review: Race Face Atlas

Best for Riders with Big Feet


CrankBrothers Stamp 7


Top Pick Award

$159.00
at Amazon
See It

75
OVERALL
SCORE
  • Grip and Traction - 25% 9
  • Platform - 25% 7
  • Mobility - 20% 7
  • Servicing - 15% 7
  • Weight - 15% 7
Weight per pair: 380-grams | Traction pins: 10 per side
Gigantic platform
Solid levels of grip
Reasonable weight
Expensive
Climbing traction

If you wear a size 11 or larger shoe, you might prioritize a large platform. The CrankBrothers Stamp 7 comes in two sizes, and we tested the large version of the Stamp 7. The platform is the largest in our review, especially with their 112mm width. Those with larger feet will find well balanced support in all directions. It is quite easy to get your foot back in place after dabbing on a tough climb or getting sideways in a corner. On-trail performance was solid with above-average levels of grip, solid mobility, and a straightforward service process.

These pedals aren't quite perfect. They are among the most expensive in our test class and only offer decent levels of traction. Unless you have huge feet, it is difficult to recommend these pedals over some of the competition that cost considerably less. That said, if you're tired of your feet hanging off the side of your pedals, these may be the perfect solution.

Read review: CrankBrothers Stamp 7

Best Burly Flat Pedal


Deity Components TMAC


Diety Components TMAC
Top Pick Award

$169 List
List Price
See It

85
OVERALL
SCORE
  • Grip and Traction - 25% 10
  • Platform - 25% 9
  • Mobility - 20% 8
  • Servicing - 15% 9
  • Weight - 15% 5
Weight per pair: 437-grams | Traction pins: 14 per side
Large concave platform
Serious grip
28 grub screws per pedal (14 per side)
A little spendy
Thick platform prone to pedal strikes
Heavier weight

The Deity TMAC is rugged pedal built for burly descents and hard riding. The TMAC was designed and tested to meet the demands of Tyler McCaul, one of the most talented downhill and free riders in the sport. These pedals beautifully blend thoughtful engineering and exquisite looks. The symmetrically designed pedals are extruded and machined from T6 Aluminum for strength and durability. They offer excellent balance, a large platform, and loads of grip with 14 pins per side. Their 2.5mm concave depth enhances grip and foot comfort while climbing and descending. The symmetrical shape of the pedals delivers a balanced feel and helps distribute weight evenly across the platform. Riders will find that these pedals work great across many forms of riding and their versatility is what makes them such a great pedal.

While we loved these pedals for their incredible grip, we admit that it may be too grippy for some riders. Those who like a little foot mobility should probably look elsewhere. Additionally, we found the large symmetrical pedal body and thicker profile of these pedals to make them slightly more prone to pedal strikes. That said, for riders who want a burly pedal with high levels of grip, durability, and style, we think the TMAC is a fantastic choice.

Read review: Deity TMAC

Outstanding Value for Riders on a Shoestring Budget


RockBros Nylon Fiber


Best Buy Award

$29.99
(19% off)
at Amazon
See It

73
OVERALL
SCORE
  • Grip and Traction - 25% 6
  • Platform - 25% 7
  • Mobility - 20% 8
  • Servicing - 15% 8
  • Weight - 15% 8
Weight per pair: 367-grams | Traction pins: 10 per side
Very affordable
Functional
Traction levels are sub-par
Long term durability is a little suspect

There is no doubt mountain biking is an expensive sport. There are some manufacturers, however, making very affordable flat pedals that get the job done. Riders looking for a straightforward pedal at a very low price should check out the RockBros Nylon Fiber pedals. These inexpensive pedals take no-frills approach, yet they are trail-ready. The RockBros pedals get the job done, plain and simple. No, they may not have the most sophisticated design, but they will get you out on the trail with a serviceable performance.

The RockBros Nylon Fiber pedals were designed to be an inexpensive and attainable pedal. They were never meant to be a high-end or high-performance product. These pedals offer respectable and functional levels of grip, but they do allow a fair amount more foot mobility than our top rated models. If you are on the tightest of budgets, however, these pedals will get you on your bike at a fraction of the cost.

Read review: RockBros Nylon Fiber


Testing the RaceFace Atlas Flat Pedals
Testing the RaceFace Atlas Flat Pedals

Why You Should Trust Us


Our team of testers come from a wide range of riding backgrounds. They range from back-flipping freeriders to enduro-riders to trail-thrashers. Using testers from a variety of riding disciplines works to ensure that these pedals are tested in any possible scenario. Our review team has many decades of experience in the industry with backgrounds in racing, gear testing, and even shop ownership. The crew was led by Sean Cronin with input from Tasha Thomas, Al Morrison, Pat Donahue, and Annie Clark.

We smashed these flat pedals through the elements for months and then evaluated each carefully. We considered vital metrics including grip and traction, platform, mobility, serviceability, and weight. Which pedals are best for enduro racing? What pedal is the best bang for your buck? Overall, we were consistently impressed by the control and power transfer offered by these flat pedals.

Our testers took it to these pedals with hundreds of miles of real-world riding.
Testing flat pedals on the pump track.
We weigh the pedals we test for consistency and comparison to manufacturer's claims.

Related: How We Tested MTB Flat Pedals

Analysis and Test Results


To find the top performers in the market of mountain bike flat pedals, we bought the best-rated and most popular models around. We tested these pedals over multiple seasons on the diverse trails of California and Nevada, our expert testers pushed each pedal to its limit across a variety of mountain biking disciplines in riding conditions. Our riders installed, serviced, and removed the pedals countless times on different bikes to gain a full perspective of ability. On top of charging downhill, park jumping, enduro racing, and trail riding, we carefully inspected each model at our workbench. We scored our findings and experiences in five performance metrics, which, weighted appropriately, combined to give the overall score.

Related: Buying Advice for MTB Flat Pedals

Value


It's easy to get sucked into spending a whole lot of money on your bike and all its accessories. We tried our best to test high-end and entry-level models to better gauge the mountain bike flat pedal market and find the best options available. We used and abused each pedal to test their durability and ensure that consumers are getting a good value when they make a purchase. While the most expensive models are often the highest performing, some reasonably priced options also score well for their performance.

A couple of key standouts were both products from OneUp Components. The OneUp Composite has an awesome blend of solid and reliable performance matched with an amazingly low price tag. Likewise, the OneUp Components Aluminum was a top-rated product at a competitive price.


The number  length  type  and layout of a pedal's pins plays a major role in the grip and traction it provides.
The number, length, type, and layout of a pedal's pins plays a major role in the grip and traction it provides.

Grip/Traction


This rating metric relates to the interface between the soles of your shoes and the pins and platforms of the pedals. Different types, numbers, layout, and height of traction pins all combine to make each mountain bike flat pedal feel unique. What felt good for dirt jumping could be terrifying on a rocky downhill trail. Some pedals like the Deity TMAC are designed to have high concavity, or a "cupped" like shape to increase grip. Other pedals like the HT AEO3 used a flatter design to improve foot mobility or achieve a better feel while pedaling. There are multiple factors critical for proper grip and desired feel when using flat pedals. We've dissected all the pedals to determine the best grip available.


In general, we found grub screw traction pins like those found on the Deity Bladerunner to offer good traction in addition to mobility and feel. It's not that simple though, as the flat pedals with those types of pins were not necessarily the grippiest. The OneUp Components Aluminum pedals posted an excllent score in this metric due to their super-long traction pins paired with a convex shape. These pedals hooked up beautifully over the chunkiest trails and really stood out on tough climbs.

Long pins  like those on the Nukeproof Horizon  provide loads of grip on your soles.
Long pins, like those on the Nukeproof Horizon, provide loads of grip on your soles.

The angled pins and concave platform of the Race Face Atlas combined for maximum grip factor, along with the long pins of the Nukeproof Horizon and TMAC pedals. Depending on the type of shoe we used, some pedals felt grippier with certain rubber soles over others. This is due to the softness of the rubber compound on your shoe.

The large size Stamp 7 pedals have the largest platform of all the models we tested.
The large size Stamp 7 pedals have the largest platform of all the models we tested.

Platform


Good pedals must be supportive but not overbearing. When your foot comes off a pedal, how easy is it to regain its composure? A large platform provides a solid foundation for riders to push against, weight the bike in turns, and pump terrain features without slipping off the edge of the pedal. It also gives the rider a solid landing zone for their feet to return to. There's a limit though. Go too large and clearance quickly becomes an issue, as does leaning the bike deep into turns. Rocks, roots, and stumps all seem bigger as you continually smash your pedals into them. A thinner pedal can alleviate some of the risks by offering increased clearance. By thinning out the profile of a pedal, however, the platform shape may lose its concavity, thereby altering its grip factor.


The CrankBrothers Stamp 7 stood out for its gigantic platform. The concave and relatively thin platfom made it exceptionally easy to find after a dab or a dropped foot. The RaceFace Atlas features an impressive amount of grip on top of a well-balanced surface area all while having a relatively thin profile, along with design features like chamfered edges and tapered sides. The chamfered edges allowed the pedal to brush off impacts that would bring other pedals to a halt.

The OneUp Components Aluminum Pedal has a large but to excessive platform that uses a convex shape that is thicker near the axle and thinner at the leading and trailing edges. This allows your shoe to drape over the pedal and felt very supportive under the foot. In addition, these pedals have one of the thinnest platforms in our review which is excellent for those who find themselves on technical trails frequently.

Measuring the platform of the Race Face Chester pedals.
Measuring the platform of the Race Face Chester pedals.

The Deity TMAC and Deity Bladerunner both have large square platform shapes. Shaving millimeters from the pedal profile was the preferred method for avoiding pedal strikes, and it proved to be capable enough for us. The Bladerunner has a thinner profile but delivers less grip and more mobility. The TMAC is an all-out grip monster with a thicker profile. Bigger is not always better. Some riders enjoy how a smaller platform never gets in the way of their feet when performing tricks that require you to remove and then replace your feet onto the pedals.

The extremely thin HT AEO3 flat pedals did well in muddy conditions but longer pins would greatly increase grip
The extremely thin HT AEO3 flat pedals did well in muddy conditions but longer pins would greatly increase grip

Pedal Mobility


When we say pedal mobility we are referring to how easy it is to move your foot around on the pedal as well as the rate and quality by which the pedal spins around its axle. Being able to make small adjustments to your foot's position while riding is critical for many riders. Some riders wnat their feet to feel like they are glued to the platform, while others value the ability to shift their foot on the fly. Likewise, a smooth spinning pedal lets you concentrate on having fun instead of having to worry about the pedal's orientation when you put your foot back onto it. Don't be confused into thinking that pedals that spin the easiest are the best in this category. Many cheaper pedals that come stock on bikes feel very loose and spin too freely on the axle. Cheap bearings and bushings and poorly machined materials that don't mate together perfectly will do little to increase your confidence while riding.


Further, if you're performing freestyle tricks that involve taking your feet off the pedals, you want to be able to move your foot with relative ease, and it's challenging to re-engage your feet onto pedals that spin too freely when not weighted. Coming down on a pedal that is oriented vertically can be extremely dangerous. In essence, we preferred pedals that have smooth motion and spin at a moderate rate; ones where unweighting the pedal doesn't send them into a spinning frenzy. Knowing that your pedals are correctly oriented when your foot wants to find its home on the platform is reassuring and much safer.

With no pins along the axle  these pedals allow the foot to be moved more easily than most.
With no pins along the axle, these pedals allow the foot to be moved more easily than most.

Most pedals in the test had similar rotation speeds, falling under the desirable "not too fast or not too slow" description. Regarding smoothness, the very high quality Race Face Atlas rarely had problems with slipping off the pedal, as it was very grippy and the platform was massive. We also didn't find it to be an exceptional bike park or freestyle oriented pedal, so mobility wasn't as much of a factor for these. The least expensive model we tested, the Rockbros Nylon Fiber spun more freely than more expensive and more refined competitors.

Servicing


For the most part, mountain bike flat pedals are one of the few pieces of bicycle componentry that you shouldn't have to mess with too much. The biggest issue facing flat pedals is usually a lack of grease on the pedal shafts. We found the Nukeproof Horizon axle to be a little dry on grease when servicing but after a quick lube the pedal was back in business. Cheaper pedals often have weaker seals which allow dirt and water to penetrate the internals of the pedal.


Another servicing factor to keep in mind is replacing worn out or missing pins. Fast downhills and rocky sections can rattle pins out and wreak havoc with pedal strikes. When replacing pins, we prefer pins that are bottom mounted instead of from the top. Pins that insert from the top can become damaged, and the Allen head can become mangled or packed full of dirt from repeated ground strikes. Some pedals come with a choice of different pin height and thicknesses or use washers to dial in desired grip and performance.

TMAC disassemble and servicing process
TMAC disassemble and servicing process

The hidden grease port feature on the top choice Race Face Atlas performed well, although it did require a long-hosed grease gun which you may have to go hunt down at a hardware store — rebuild kits are available to remove the large inboard bearing. Rebuild kits are available for most of the models we tested and typically include new bearings, bushings, and sometimes pins. Some pedals come with extra traction pins, and you can typically find replacements online.

The Editor's favorite OneUp Components Aluminum was quite easy to service with detailed instructions easily accessible on the manufacturer website. This is a quick job that only requires a couple of tools to pull the axle/bearings from the pedal body.

This pedal was light on grease when we disassembled but with easy serviceability we had it running smooth in no time
This pedal was light on grease when we disassembled but with easy serviceability we had it running smooth in no time

Weight


A lot of the guys crushing enduro races are coming from a more downhill oriented background. Forced to pedal uphill now, they are looking for ways to shave grams. Material choice plays a factor in weight, as well as the strength and design of each pedal. We tested a mix of composite and aluminum pedals with about 100 grams separating the heaviest from the lightest.


The lightest pedals in our review were the two pairs of HT pedals coming in at 345-grams per set. The RaceFace Atlas comes in at an impressive 347-grams followed by the composite RaceFace Chester at 358-grams. We would not recommend becoming to hyper-focuesed on pedal weight as there are only marginal performance gains.

This is a top-performing flat pedal that can shave precious grams from your enduro race bike.
This is a top-performing flat pedal that can shave precious grams from your enduro race bike.

The Deity Bladerunner is still only 380 grams per pair and has a thin 12 mm profile, making it an excellent choice as an enduro or freeride pedal. The Raceface Chester (composite-based) weighed in below the middle of the pack at 358 grams, making it a competitive pedal for not only its weight but its price. As light and cost-effective as the composite based pedals like the Chester and HT PAO3 can be, the sacrifice is added thickness to maintain strength and durability. The ability to machine aluminum at small tolerances and still maintain strength allows flat pedals to be constructed thinner and lighter at the same time. In the case of the latter, the trade-off is higher manufacturing costs.

Conclusion


Sometimes flat pedal riders give little regard to their pedal selection when in fact it should be a component worthy of much more consideration. As one of three contact areas with the bike, handling can be greatly diminished or improved depending on your pedal choice. When it comes to choosing the best flat pedal, every pedal we tested met our demands for performance and quality. We hope the information presented here helps you find the right set of flat pedals to meet your needs and budget.

Sean Cronin, Pat Donahue, Al Morrison