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Best Flat Pedals for Mountain Biking of 2022

We tested mountain bike flat pedals head to head to find the best, with models from OneUp Components, Race Face, Deity, and more
Best Flat Pedals for Mountain Biking of 2022
Credit: Tara Reddinger-Adams
Wednesday May 18, 2022
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Are you looking for the best mountain bike flat pedals for your riding style? We spent weeks researching nearly every flat pedal on the market before buying 16 pairs for this comparative analysis. Our testing team includes five riders, plus a couple of friends, who come from various riding backgrounds and live in different locations. We tested these pedals for weeks on end. Our testing included hot, dusty rides in Sedona and Prescott, Arizona, to flow trails around Lake Tahoe and wet and muddy days in the jankiest of rock gardens. After each ride, we took notes and then analyzed each pedal on a set of predetermined performance metrics. Our recommendations are based on our real-world testing, with real-world measurements with the goal of helping you find the very best mountain bike flat pedal for your needs, budget, and riding style.

Pedals are just one piece of this important connection to your bike, so it may be worth looking into our comprehensive reviews of flat pedal shoes for men and flat pedal shoes for women. Prefer to be clipped in? We've also done complete testing of clipless pedals as well as complete bikes and accessories including helmets, tires, and a ton more MTB gear categories.

Editors Note: This review was updated on May 18, 2022, to include the Chromag Dagga, DMR Vault, PNW Loam, and redesigned Race Face Atlas.

Top 16 Product Ratings

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Awards  Best Buy Award   Editors' Choice Award 
Price $37 List
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Overall Score
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86
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Pros Inexpensive, functional, lightweightTremendous amount of grip, reasonable price tag, easy to service, versatile, large platformSlim profile, slick styling, grub screw pins, strong stubby axle, lightweight, lots of available colorsHuge platform, easy to service, concave designGreat grip, easy to service, large platform, quality construction, smooth rotation
Cons Questionable durability, not the grippiestLimited foot mobility, almost too much grip, convex shape may not be for everyoneFairly expensive, axle can be felt underfoot, concavity achieved with pins not platformModerate levels of grip, expensiveExpensive
Bottom Line An inexpensive but functional pedal for those on a tight budgetA versatile flat pedal that delivers outstanding on-trail performance at a competitive priceA modern, slim profile, flat pedal with top-notch performance in a strikingly beautiful packageAn above-average pedal with a huge platform that is great for riders with large feetThis top-performing pedal has great grip, a well-rounded performance, and is a great choice for a variety of terrain
Rating Categories RockBros Nylon Fiber OneUp Components Al... Deity Bladerunner CrankBrothers Stamp 7 Race Face Atlas Pedal
Grip and Traction (25%)
5.0
9.0
8.0
8.0
9.0
Platform (25%)
7.0
8.0
8.0
8.0
9.0
Mobility (20%)
5.0
8.0
7.0
7.0
9.0
Servicing (15%)
8.0
8.0
8.0
7.0
8.0
Weight (15%) Sort Icon
8.0
8.0
7.0
7.0
7.0
Specs RockBros Nylon Fiber OneUp Components Al... Deity Bladerunner CrankBrothers Stamp 7 Race Face Atlas Pedal
Measured Weight per pair (g) 367 g 370 g 380 g 380 g 383 g
Traction Pins (per side) 10, 2.5 head bottom loading 10, 3 mm hex head bottom loading 10, 2.5 mm hex head bottom loading 10, 2.5 mm hex head top loading 10, bottom loading, adjustable height
Platform Dimensions (mm) 99 mm x 99 mm 114 mm x 104 mm 100 mm x 103 mm 115 mm x 112 mm 111 mm x 107 mm
Platform Profile (mm) - not including pins 16.25 mm at leading edge, 14 mm at axle 8.8 mm leading and trailing edges, 12.1 mm at axle 11mm leading and trailing adges, 14mm at axle. 13.6 mm leading and trailing edges, 11.6 mm at axles 14.8mm leading and trailing edges, 12.8mm at axle
Concavity 2.25 mm difference from effective edges to axle slight convexity 3 mm difference from effective edges to center of axle 2 mm difference from effective edges to center axle 1mm from edges to axle
Q Factor / Distance from cranks to furthest pin 103 mm 107.6 mm 111 mm 108 mm 117mm
Bearings "High-Speed Bearings" 4 double-sealed cartridge bearings Multi micro triple sealed bearings and Deity DU bushing internals Igus LL-glide bearing 6802 sealed cartridge bearing
Body Material Nylon + Molybdenum Steel Forged 6061-T6 aluminum Extruded 6061-T6 aluminum Forged 6061-T6 aluminum 6061 Aluminum
Pedal Wrench Type 15 mm pedal spanner, 6 mm hex 8 mm hex 15mm pedal spanner, 8mm hex 8 mm hex 8mm


Best Overal Flat Pedals


Race Face Atlas Pedal


86
OVERALL
SCORE
  • Grip and Traction 9.0
  • Platform 9.0
  • Mobility 9.0
  • Servicing 8.0
  • Weight 7.0
Weight per pair: 383-grams | Traction pins: 10 per side
REASONS TO BUY
Large, supportive platform
Excellent grip
Simple to service
Quality construction and components
REASONS TO AVOID
Expensive

The Race Face Atlas is designed as a gravity pedal, but these pedals also make a great trail pedal. The Atlas performs well in metrics for grip, platform, mobility, and servicing. Race Face redesigned the Atlas and increased the platform size, made the pedal body thinner, and made the pedal pins longer and adjustable. The redesigned pins grip really well yet allow for mobility on the pedal, the Atlas is one of the few pedals that successfully strikes this delicate balance. On the bike, the concave platform is supportive and stable. The chamfered edges do really well in rocky terrain and get hung up less than other pedals. On the crank, the pedal has a smooth, predictable rotation and the bearing no longer interferes with crank booties. Accessing the axle and bearing is super simple and just involves removing the cap with a socket or Knipex pliers.

All of this goodness comes at a cost, and unfortunately, that means the Atlas has a high price tag which we feel is worth it if you plan on using your pedals for years. The Atlas performs really well, has great grip, and is super easy to service, regreasing the axle only takes a few minutes, which we feel is worth the higher price.

Read review: Race Face Atlas

Best Overall Composite Pedal


OneUp Components Composite


78
OVERALL
SCORE
  • Grip and Traction 7.0
  • Platform 8.0
  • Mobility 8.0
  • Servicing 8.0
  • Weight 8.0
Weight per pair: 359-grams | Traction pins: 10 per side
REASONS TO BUY
Excellent value
Well-rounded performance
Easy to rebuild
Lightweight
REASONS TO AVOID
Not the grippiest
A little thicker than aluminum options

The OneUp Components Composite is 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 relatively 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 lightweight. 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 Mountain Bike Flat Pedal


OneUp Components Aluminum


83
OVERALL
SCORE
  • Grip and Traction 9.0
  • Platform 8.0
  • Mobility 8.0
  • Servicing 8.0
  • Weight 8.0
Weight per pair: 370-grams | Traction pins: 10 per side
REASONS TO BUY
Excellent grip
Sleek and thin platform
Good value
REASONS TO AVOID
Almost too much grip
Long pins can be hazardous to shins

We feel the OneUp Components Aluminum is a great pedal that should work for most people and riding styles. 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 (compared to other high-performing models) 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 some of the best we tested.

Read review: OneUp Components Aluminum

Best Burly Flat Pedal


Deity Components TMAC


85
OVERALL
SCORE
  • Grip and Traction 10.0
  • Platform 9.0
  • Mobility 8.0
  • Servicing 9.0
  • Weight 5.0
Weight per pair: 440-grams | Traction pins: 14 per side
REASONS TO BUY
Large concave platform
Serious grip
28 grub screws per pedal (14 per side)
REASONS TO AVOID
A little spendy
Thick platform prone to pedal strikes
Heavier weight

The Deity TMAC is a 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 great pedals.

While we loved these pedals for their incredible grip, we admit that they 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

Best for Gravity Riding


Chromag Dagga


79
OVERALL
SCORE
  • Grip and Traction 10.0
  • Platform 9.0
  • Mobility 8.0
  • Servicing 7.0
  • Weight 3.0
Weight per pair: 494-grams | Traction pins: 12 per side
REASONS TO BUY
Outstanding Grip
Smooth rotation
Large, stable platform
Quality construction
REASONS TO AVOID
Expensive
Heavier weight

The Chromag Dagga is our pick for gravity riding and scored well in our performance metrics. With 12 “super grip” replaceable pins per side, these pedals stick to your shoes and inspire confidence on rowdy terrain. Unlike some pedals where your feet bounce as you land a drop, the Dagga grips the shoe's sole keeping it planted. The large 6061 aluminum platform has chamfered edges and measures 111mm x 116mm with a 15.75mm profile at the leading edge. Despite the large platform, our testers with a range of foot sizes (size EU 39 to EU 45) were able to find a good placement on the pedal with the pins all securely contacting their soles. These pedals have a great rotation, not too much and not too little, and are buttery smooth. The bearings sit inside the pedal's axle and don’t bulge at the inboard side, alleviating any possible interference with the rider's foot. Accessing the axle for servicing is relatively straightforward, but does require a socket and hex and just takes a few moments to open up the pedal body to extract the axle.

The Dagga does have its downsides, one of which is weight. The Dagga is a DH pedal and is designed to be Chromag’s largest pedal with the longest and largest amount of pins, things which add weight. The other downside of the Dagga is its price tag. Aside from being the heaviest pedal in our review, it's also one of the most expensive. The pedal is quality construction which can be seen in the machining and finishing, is burly, and made to withstand high impact riding. The Dagga’s grip and support for gravity applications can’t be beaten, and in our metrics for grip and platform, it really shines.

Read review: Chromag Dagga

Another Great Value


Race Face Chester


74
OVERALL
SCORE
  • Grip and Traction 7.0
  • Platform 7.0
  • Mobility 8.0
  • Servicing 7.0
  • Weight 8.0
Weight per pair: 358-grams | Traction pins: 8 per side
REASONS TO BUY
Affordable
Tough and durable
Nice mid-size platform
REASONS TO AVOID
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 relatively good grip with proper 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 moderately-sized platform also may not be ideal for those with larger feet. Beyond that, we feel they are a good option for people who value a little foot mobility and riders on a budget.

Read review: Race Face Chester

Best for Riders on a Shoestring Budget


RockBros Nylon Fiber


64
OVERALL
SCORE
  • Grip and Traction 5.0
  • Platform 7.0
  • Mobility 5.0
  • Servicing 8.0
  • Weight 8.0
Weight per pair: 367-grams | Traction pins: 10 per side
REASONS TO BUY
Very affordable
Functional
REASONS TO AVOID
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 a 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 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 and don't require a super high-performance pedal, however, these pedals will get you on your bike at a fraction of the cost of the high-end competition.

Read review: RockBros Nylon Fiber

Compare Products

select up to 5 products to compare
Score Product Price Our Take
86
$180
Editors' Choice Award
A great performing, quality made pedal, with excellent grip that suits a variety of terrain and riding styles
85
$180
Top Pick Award
If you're searching for maximum grip, look no further
83
$140
Best Buy Award
These pedals offer unrivaled performance paired with a spectacular price tag
79
$197
Top Pick Award
This pedal is made to charge the downhills fast and hard with its confidence-inspiring grip and burly design
78
$60
Editors' Choice Award
A quality composite pedal at an outstanding price point
78
$75
All-star pedal with a durable machined finish, offering exceptional grip and performance on your downhill rig
77
$150
The best of today's pedal technology in a slim, sleek package
77
$159
Designed to be light, low profile, and good looking
76
$119
Without tons of grip, these cool-looking pedals are a solid freeride option
75
$170
A quality pedal that delivers solid on-trail performance and a huge platform
74
$60
Best Buy Award
Less-expensive flat pedal option for those who like to put their equipment to the test
73
$140
This popular pedal will get the job done, but it does not stand out in any of our test metrics
71
$115
Thin pedals that do their job admirably, but don't stand out from the competition
70
$70
Playful pedals with a solid feel, great for beginners and airbound riders alike. Keep them out of the rock gardens to make them last
66
$99
They've got cool looks and a fair price, but they don't stand out from the competition
64
$37
A very inexpensive flat pedal that won't break the bank and delivers serviceable performance

mountain bike flat pedals - testing the raceface atlas flat pedals
Testing the RaceFace Atlas Flat Pedals
Credit: Al Morrison

Why You Should Trust Us


Our test team comes from a wide range of riding backgrounds, from back-flipping freeriders to enduro-riders, trail-thrashers, and former cross country racers. Using testers from a variety of riding disciplines helps 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 and Tara Reddinger-Adams with input from Tasha Thomas, Al Morrison, Pat Donahue, and Annie Clark.

After researching the best and most highly regarded models on the market, we purchased 16 sets of pedals for testing. Our testing process starts with measuring each pedal's platform dimensions and thickness and weighing them on our trusty scale before mounting them up and taking them out on rides in every terrain and condition imaginable. While riding, our testers focus on each pedal's grip, platform size, and foot mobility, often riding pedals back to back or side by side for direct comparison. Servicing flat pedals is also an important consideration, so we pull each model apart ourselves to examine the process. When our testing is wrapped up, we score each pedal across our rating metrics to determine our award winners.

Testing flat pedals on the pump track.
Testing flat pedals on the pump track.

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, most popular, and most anticipated models available. Our expert team tested each pedal on a variety of terrain and conditions in Arizona, California, and Nevada and in various disciplines including dirt jumping, trail, enduro, and cross country riding. Our riders installed, serviced, and removed the pedals countless times on different bikes to gain a full perspective of ability. Sometimes we even rode with a different pedal on each crank to better discern differences in grip and mobility. After riding, we examined each pedal for damage to the pedal body and pins to see how well they were holding up. We scored our findings and experiences in five performance metrics, which, weighted appropriately, combined to give the overall score.

Related: How to Choose the Right Flat Pedals for Mountain Biking

Value


Mountain biking can be an expensive sport, especially with new components and accessories coming out each week. But, there are some parts, like pedals that are something we need to ride our bike, and deciding which pedals are the best can be challenging with so many different designs on the market. 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 across a wide range of prices. 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 most expensive pedal in our review, the Chromag Dagga impressed us with its outstanding grip and platform that are made for gravity riding but might be more pedal than one needs for general trail riding.


mountain bike flat pedals - the shape of the pedal's platform and its pins all affect its grip...
The shape of the pedal's platform and its pins all affect its grip and performance.
Credit: Tara Reddinger-Adams

Grip/Traction


A flat pedal needs to have good traction between the pedal's platform and pins and your shoe’s sole. If not you’ll find your feet slipping and sliding on your pedals which can lead to a loss of control, crashing, or sharp pins to the shin or calf. Each brand uses a different type, numbers, layout, and height of traction pins that combine to make each mountain bike flat pedal feel unique. Brands try to maximize their pins for different riding disciplines because what is good for dirt jumping might not be ideal 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 while the PNW Loam uses a convex shape for the pedal platform with a concave shape for the pedal pins to increase traction. 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. The shoe also plays a role in how well the pins grip the shoe's sole and depending on what 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.


mountain bike flat pedals - sometimes it's hard to tell the difference in grip between two...
Sometimes it's hard to tell the difference in grip between two pedals, so in these circumstances, we rode with a different pedal on each crank arm.
Credit: Tara Reddinger-Adams

A couple of standouts in the grip department are the Chromag Dagga and the Deity TMAC. The Dagga has 12 adjustable height pins per side which create a super grippy bond with the shoe's sole and a truly locked-in feel that keeps the feet glued to the pedals over super rough terrain, drops, and jumps. Likewise, the TMAC has a whopping 14 pins per side and boasts incredibly high levels of grip no matter the terrain. Neither pedal offers the best foot mobility, a tradeoff for their tenacious grip. We think Either of these pedals is the ticket for maximum grip and we would recommend them primarily for hard-hitting gravity riding.

mountain bike flat pedals - pins that are adjustable like these on the chromag dagga allow the...
Pins that are adjustable like these on the Chromag Dagga allow the rider to dial in the grip to their individual preference.
Credit: Tara Reddinger-Adams

More pins generally means more grip, but that isn't always the case. A couple of our favorites, the OneUp Aluminum and Race Face Atlas, feature 10 bottom loading pins per side, yet still provide a very solid but balanced grip. Your feet still feel very securely attached to the pedals when you want them to be, but unlike the Dagga and the TMAC, it's a bit easier to reposition them. We feel that this balanced grip performance makes them highly versatile, and just as good for everyday trail riding as they are for tackling an enduro racecourse.

mountain bike flat pedals - the large size stamp 7 pedals have one of the largest platforms of...
The large size Stamp 7 pedals have one of the largest platforms of all the models we tested.

Platform


The pedal's platform should fully support your foot without feeling like it's sinking into the void between the perimeter and the axle or falling off the side of the pedal. Nor should the platform be considerably larger than the width of the sole of your shoe. Pedals come in a variety of sizes with some being better for smaller feet and others being better for larger feet. A pedal’s platform should provide 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 comes in two sizes, and the large version we tested stood out for its gigantic platform. The concave and relatively thin platform made it exceptionally easy to find after a dab or a dropped foot. We feel the Stamp is an excellent option for large-footed riders. The RaceFace Atlas features an impressive amount of grip on top of a well-balanced surface area that works well for a huge range of foot sizes, 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.

mountain bike flat pedals - each pedal was measured with digital calipers. measurements include...
Each pedal was measured with digital calipers. Measurements include the pedals length, width, and thickness.
Credit: Tara Reddinger-Adams

The PNW Loam also has a large platform measuring 115mm x 113mm and has a convex shape. The pedal's size and outboard pint placement did not work well for some of our testers with smaller feet, though it may work well for those with larger feet. OneUp Components Aluminum Pedal has a large 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 feel very supportive under the foot. In addition, these pedals have one of the thinnest profiles in our review, which is excellent for those who find themselves on technical trails frequently.

mountain bike flat pedals - the tmacs platform is super supportive and the pins provide...
The TMACs platform is super supportive and the pins provide outstanding grip.
Credit: Byron Adams

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 on the pedals.

mountain bike flat pedals - the extremely thin ht aeo3 flat pedals did well in muddy conditions...
The extremely thin HT AEO3 flat pedals did well in muddy conditions but longer pins would greatly increase grip
Credit: Al Morrison

Pedal Mobility


Pedal mobility refers 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 want 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 controlled 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.

mountain bike flat pedals - with no pins along the axle, these pedals allow the foot to be moved...
With no pins along the axle, these pedals allow the foot to be moved more easily than most.
Credit: Al Morrison

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 PNW Loam spins a little more freely than we'd like, making it difficult to remount quickly and a poor choice for freestyle riding. The least expensive model we tested, the Rockbros Nylon Fiber also spins more freely than more expensive and refined competitors.

mountain bike flat pedals - once the cap is removed the axle of the atlas pulls away from the...
Once the cap is removed the axle of the Atlas pulls away from the body.
Credit: Tara Reddinger-Adams

Servicing


Mountain bike pedals are fairly simple and should not require much servicing and should be a task most riders should be able to tackle at home. When your pedal starts to squeak or chirp, it could be that it needs to be regreased. Luckily, most pedals are made so that you can easily access the axle for service. The redesigned Race Face Atlas only requires a 30mm socket and wrench or Knipex pliers to service. The bearing and axle are all behind a large cap on the inboard side of the pedal making it the easiest pedal to service if you have the right tools.

Most other pedals require a combination of hexes and sockets to remove the axle from the pedal body. Some companies such as Chromag even sell socket tools and bushing tools at a relatively low price to help you do your own bearing replacement at home. 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.

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.


Another servicing factor to keep in mind is replacing worn-out, bent, or missing pins. Rocky terrain can quickly take its toll on pedal pins leaving them deformed, sheared off, or causing them to fall out. Pins with a bottom mount are easier to replace than their top mount cousins and the pedal body generally provides some additional protection for the head of the pin. 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 heights and thicknesses or use washers to dial in desired grip and performance.

mountain bike flat pedals - tmac disassemble and servicing process
TMAC disassemble and servicing process
Credit: Al Morrison

Most pedals in our test use pins that are removed from the platform body by rotating the hex in a counterclockwise direction. However, the PNW Loam pedal pins are removed by twisting the hex in a clockwise direction. This small difference meant we stripped the head of a pin trying to remove it from the pedal body. Our testers also prefer a 2.5mm or 3mm pin head compared to a 2mm pin head which is easier to strip because it is so small.

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

mountain bike flat pedals - replacing bent pins is an easy task and only requires a hex wrench.
Replacing bent pins is an easy task and only requires a hex wrench.
Credit: Tara Reddinger-Adams

Weight


The average flat pedal rider is generally not too concerned about saving grams, but there is nearly a 150-gram weight difference in the pedals in our review which is a third of a pound. Some riders, especially those who are racing, may opt to find the best performing, lightweight flat pedal available. The materials used in the construction of the pedal body, pins, axles, and bearings all affect the pedal's weight, strength, and durability. Pedals designed for downhill and gravity applications tend to weigh more than all-purpose trail pedals.


The lightest pedals in our review were the two pairs of HT pedals coming in at 345-grams per set, followed by the composite RaceFace Chester at 358-grams. The Chromag Dagga by comparison topped the scale at 494-grams and is a much beefier pedal. When considering what pedals to purchase we recommend not focusing too much on weight and instead focusing more on factors such as grip and the pedal’s platform which will affect your performance more than saving a few grams.

mountain bike flat pedals - this is a top-performing flat pedal that can shave precious grams...
This is a top-performing flat pedal that can shave precious grams from your enduro race bike.
Credit: Sean Cronin

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 Race Face Atlas comes in at 383-grams and is only slightly thicker and is a great pick for a trail or enduro pedal. In general, the composite-bodied pedals are slightly lighter weight, but 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


Your pedals are one of three contact areas with the bike and your handling can be greatly diminished or improved depending on your pedal choice. It’s easy to get sucked into buying the pedal that best matches your bike or the one that your friends are riding without consideration for your riding needs and foot size. With a range of platform sizes and grip characteristics, it’s important to find a pedal that both fits your foot and meets the demands of your riding style. We encourage you to think about your shoe size, how much grip you want if you want to be able to move your foot on the pedal, and lastly think about if you’re someone who will service your pedals or leave it to your local mechanic. When it comes to choosing the best flat pedal, we considered each of our metrics, and those who performed best earned our top awards. We hope our testing helps you find your next flat pedal.

mountain bike flat pedals - testing the dmr vault on rocky trails in arizona.
Testing the DMR Vault on rocky trails in Arizona.
Credit: Tara Reddinger-Adams

Sean Cronin, Pat Donahue, Al Morrison, Tara Reddinger-Adams


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