We spent several months testing 11 pairs of mountain bike flat pedals during the winter and spring of 2019. We tested all the pedals on gnarly downhill trails, flowy single tracks, and fun backyard jumps. Testing took place on a variety of terrain ranging from local Tahoe trails, weekend trips to SoCal and over the hill to Nevada to dodge the snow. We wanted to experience high speeds, big jumps, steep switchbacks, and adverse conditions to deliver the best pedal review to date. By the time we finished testing, each tester individually logged over 350 miles and 56,000 feet of climbing on our batch of flat pedals.
We weighed each set of mountain bike flat pedals and compared them to the manufacturer's claimed weight. We measured platform widths and profiles with calipers. We tested each pedal using the shoes we would wear for each discipline of riding. We took traction pins out. We backed out traction pins to make them taller and screwed them in to make them shorter.
Our testers came from very different biking backgrounds. By using riders with different abilities, we hoped to gain insight valuable to all types of riders. For example, we had one test rider, a pro-level enduro racer who tended to prefer a grippier pedal to maintain constant foot position in the roughest of conditions. Another tester loved to ride all disciplines of bikes, from downhill to dirt jumpers, where the freedom of movement in the pedals allowed them to feel comfortable no matter what type of riding they were doing.
Due to the timing of this test, there were multiple occasions when we rode our flats through wet and muddy conditions. We battled snowdrifts, downpours, and overflowing creeks to figure out which flat pedals grip the best. One tester even raced using their favorite pedals from our testing.