Our expert testers put 17 of the top-rated and most anticipated mountain bike flat pedals to the test on trails in Arizona, California, and Nevada. We tested all the pedals on gnarly downhill trails, flowy single tracks, and fun backyard jumps. We wanted to see how each pedal performed on different terrain, including slow-speed tech trails, big jumps, steep climbs and switchbacks, high-speed trails, and adverse weather conditions to provide a detailed analysis of each pedal. We compiled our notes, took measurements, and analyzed each pedal with logging over 350 miles and more climbing than we would like to remember.
To test the grip of each pedal, we rode them on various bikes, trail types, and weather conditions. We examined the type of pins used on the pedal, their placement, length, and design. We used different brands and models of shoes with each pedal to see how the pedal interfaced with the shoe's sole. We also tested each shoe on terrain, including flow trails, chunky descents, jumps, and drops to see how well the pins held on s. We also tested in conditions from dry and dusty to wet and muddy to determine if the pedal's grip was affected. Shoes that offered outstanding grip scored higher in this metric than those with less grip. We also noted how much grip each pedal has in its individual review.
With a digital caliper, we measured each set of pedals to determine their platform dimensions and compare them to the manufacturer's specs. We also measured the pedal's thickness, or profile, to verify its shape. On the trail, we focused on the support and balance of each pedal, both fore and aft, and side to side. We also noticed if the pedal's thickness or width affected cornering and pedal strikes. For this metric, pedals were scored based on their thickness, how it affected our riding, and how supportive the platform is.
Pedal mobility refers to how freely the pedal spins on the axle and how well you can reposition your foot on the pedal. We performed a simple spin test in hand and again when the pedal was mounted to the crankarm to test a pedal's spin. These tests show just how freely each pedal would spin on its axle. To supplement this test, we also paid close attention to the position of the pedals when removing and replacing the foot while riding at the bike park, dirt jumps, and through technical sections of trail. Pedals with a smooth and moderate spin rate and mobility scored higher in this metric.
Each set of pedals was disassembled and reassembled to determine how easy it is to service at home. We extracted the axle from each pedal and noted the required tools. We also removed the pins from each pedal to look more closely at their design and see how easy they are to replace. We also made note of the availability of rebuild kits and other parts like traction pins and spindles. For this metric, we considered the ease of servicing the pedal and the tools required, giving higher scores to those who are both easy to service and don't require special tools.
We weighed each set of mountain bike flat pedals on the same digital scale for consistency and comparison to the manufacturer's claimed weight. While weight may not be a huge consideration for your next flat pedal purchase, there is a considerable difference in how much pedals weigh based on their construction. Pedals weighing less earned higher marks, while those weighing more earned lower marks in this metric. However, weight does not always mean better, and in the case of pedals may mean lower-quality parts were used.
Each pedal in our test went through the same rigorous test process and was put through its paces and show scratches, dents, and bent pins. Rest assured that these pedals have been put through the wringer to provide our expert recommendations for the best mountain bike flat pedals.