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Are you in the market for some new mountain bike flat pedals? Our team spent weeks reviewing and researching the latest and most popular flat pedals before buying 17 pairs for testing. Our team includes four riders and friends from various riding backgrounds who live in different locations. We tested these pedals for weeks, from dusty rides in Sedona and Prescott, Arizona, to flow trails around Lake Tahoe and on wet and muddy days in the jankiest rock gardens. After each ride, we took notes and analyzed each pedal in our five metrics. Our recommendations are based on our real-world testing and real-world measurements. We aim to help you find the best mountain bike flat pedal for your needs, budget, and riding style.
Weight per pair: 373-grams | Traction Pins: 11 per side
REASONS TO BUY
Supportive, natural feeling platform
REASONS TO AVOID
Wolf Tooth entered the crowded mountain bike flat pedal market this year with the Waveform and knocked it out of the park. The dual concave platform creates an incredibly natural feeling underfoot, and as our testers noted, "it just feels right." These pedals performed exceptionally well in our grip, traction, platform, mobility, and weight metrics. The Waveform features 11 bottom load traction pins that provide great grip with various shoes and hold your feet firmly in place on chunky climbs and descents alike. The Waveform is made in two sizes, small and large, so that you can dial in the right size for your foot. Repositioning the foot is easy, even with sticky rubber soles. The three low-friction, fully sealed cartridge bearings spin smoothly and predictably, and your pedal will not spin away from you when you lift your foot off. Rock strikes are kept to a minimum thanks to tapered edges and a slightly smaller width, which we appreciate on rocky trails. Servicing the pedals is easy and takes about 10 minutes, but it requires three different-sized allen keys. However, unlike many pedals, the bearings can be replaced without special tools.
The Waveform's biggest drawback is the price tag. However, the pedals are fully rebuildable, meaning replacement parts are available through Wolf Tooth's website. They call it the "Right to Repair." The Waveform is a great pick if you're looking for a pedal to take you from cross-country laps to the bike park and everything in between.
Weight per pair: 358-grams | Traction pins: 8 per side
REASONS TO BUY
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 scored admirably across all our rating metrics. This lightweight model tips the scales at 358-grams and has a rugged nylon composite platform. The platform is moderate in size at 101 mm x 110 mm with a 14 mm profile and sloped leading edges that help reduce pedal strikes. 16 replaceable pins per pedal (eight per side) provide a relatively good grip with proper foot placement. Servicing the internals is straightforward, and removing and replacing pins couldn't be easier. They also have a timeless style and are offered in many different colors.
The Chester's are great, but they aren't perfect. With only eight pins per side and none along the axle, they do not 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, they are a good option for those who value a little foot mobility and riders on a budget.
Weight per pair: 359-grams | Traction pins: 10 per side
REASONS TO BUY
Easy to rebuild
REASONS TO AVOID
Not the grippiest
A little thicker than aluminum options
The OneUp Components Composite is a solid product at an impressive price. OneUp delivered a quality composite (plastic) pedal with features synonymous with high-end aluminum models. At first glance, they look almost exactly like their aluminum sibling, with a relatively large platform and ten bottom-loading traction pins. The Composite is highly functional on the trail and performs solidly across our performance metrics. These pedals offer a relatively lightweight design that blends a solid grip with some foot mobility. If you are looking for a composite pedal that does its job well and won't blow your budget, the Composite might be the ticket.
However, don't be fooled. These are still budget-oriented pedals, and the grip and traction can't match the same levels as some of the high-end performers in our review. Yes, they offer sufficient levels of grip, but there is no confusion with some of our review's best options and are a fabulous option for the rider with a spending limit.
Weight per pair: 440-grams | Traction pins: 14 per side
REASONS TO BUY
Large concave platform
28 grub screws per pedal (14 per side)
REASONS TO AVOID
A little spendy
Thick platform prone to pedal strikes
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 sport's most talented downhill and free riders. These pedals beautifully blend thoughtful engineering and exquisite looks. The symmetrically designed pedals are 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 two-and-one-half millimeter 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 should not go unnoticed.
While we loved these pedals for their incredible grip, we admit 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, the TMAC is a fantastic choice.
Having the right mountain bike flat pedals is imperative for a good ride. Since 2016, we've tested over 34 flat pedals to help you find the best pedal for your riding style and budget. We review the latest pedals yearly, including updated models of past award winners. We then narrow our search and purchase the best models for our testing. Our expert testers then put each pair of pedals through rigorous testing in each of our five test metrics, determining the grip of each pedal, platform stability, mobility, ease of servicing, and weight. First, we weigh each pair of pedals on a scale in grams. We then look at pin placement and design and test each pair of pedals to determine the grip and traction. Each platform is measured and evaluated for how much support and stability it provides. We also evaluate how well the pedal spins on the axle. Lastly, we disassemble each pair of pedals, determine how easy they are to service by the home mechanic, and take notes on the necessary tools. Each pair of pedals is tested with at least three different brands of shoes and two different shoe sizes. Each pair of pedals is ridden for at least 30 hours in conditions ranging from desert dust to slick and wet.
Our scoring of mountain bike flat pedals is divided across five rating metrics including:
Grip and Traction (25% of total score weighting)
Platform (25% weighting)
Mobility (20% weighting)
Servicing (15% weighting)
Weight (15% weighting)
Our test team comes from various riding backgrounds, from back-flipping free riders to enduro riders, trail riders, and former racers. Having testers from various riding disciplines helps ensure that these pedals are tested in any possible scenario. Our review team has decades of experience in the industry with backgrounds in racing, gear testing, and even shop ownership. The crew was led by Tara Reddinger-Adams, spent over 11 years working in a bike shop, owns North Star Mountain Bike Guides, and who coached for VIDA MTB Series for five years. Sean Cronin is another lead tester who grew up racing BMX and has a passion for two-wheeled adventures. Professional enduro and downhill racer Tasha Thomas, Al Morrison, former bike shop owner Pat Donahue, Annie Clark, and Byron Adams also provided input for this review.
Analysis and Test Results
We bought the best-rated, most popular, and most anticipated models to find the best-performing mountain bike flat pedals. Our expert team tested each mountain bike flat pedal on various terrain and conditions in Arizona, California, and Nevada to help you find the best pedal for your needs. We used each dirt jumping, riding trails, navigating enduro routes, and going cross-country. Our team 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 arm 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.
With so many mountain bike flat pedals on the market, which do you buy? Our team has tested pedals at various prices, from entry-level to high-end models, to gauge the mountain bike flat pedal market better and find the best options. We used and abused each pedal to test its durability and ensure that consumers get a good value when they purchase. While the most expensive models are often the highest performing, some reasonably priced options also score well for their performance.
A few key standouts are the Wolf Tooth Waveform, whose unique dual concave platform cradles the foot providing superb grip, traction, and stability. While these are some of the most expensive pedals in our review, they also carry a five-year warranty and are fully rebuildable, meaning you can replace any individual part, no matter how small. The HT Components ANS10 Supreme offers good traction and grip on technical terrain and a supportive platform. While its grip and support are not quite as balanced as the Waveform, they are close and cost considerably less, making them a good value. The OneUp Composite is a great value for those looking for a high-performing nylon or composite pedal. With a large platform and good traction, these pedals are offered at a fraction of the cost of most aluminum body pedals. Additionally, the Race Face Chester is also a budget-friendly model that offers good traction and mobility in a slightly smaller platform than the OneUp, making it a great choice for riders with a smaller shoe size.
Grip and Traction
A mountain bike flat pedal must 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, leading to losing control, crashing, or sharp pins to the shin or calf. We test the grip of each pair of pedals by riding them with at least three different brands of shoes to help alleviate any grip and traction issues related to the shoe's outsole. Our test team rides various trails and terrain, ranging from cross-country to enduro, to determine how well the pedal pins grip and provide traction while pushing into corners, climbing and descending technical terrain, and landing high-impact drops and jumps.
Most pedals on the market have a concave or convex profile to help increase traction. The Wolf Tooth Waveform uses a unique dual concave design, meaning the pedal has a cup shape side to side and front to back. Our testers immediately noticed how natural this design felt underfoot and how well it cradled our feet, providing optimal traction and an incredibly balanced grip with 11 pins per side. The Waveform is great for daily riding and even lining up for an enduro race.
The Deity TMAC has a high degree of concavity at two-and-one-half millimeters with 14 pins per side for ultimate traction and grip. This design increases contact between the shoe and pedal, improving grip on all terrain. However, with 14 pins per side, the TMAC does not have the best mobility and is most at home on high-speed descents, making them a great pick for gravity-fueled riding.
The platform of a mountain bike flat pedal 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. It should provide a solid foundation for you to push against, weight in turns, pump terrain features without slipping off the edge of the pedal, and provide a solid landing zone for your feet to return to.
We test a pedal's platform by first measuring its size with digital calipers, measuring the depth of leading and trail edges and axle, and measuring the length and width of the platform. We then closely examine the pedal's shape. Is it concave, convex, or flat? Some pedals have a flat profile to the pedal body and use the pin height to create a concave or convex shape. Each pedal is ridden by riders with two very different-sized feet to see how well the platform supports smaller and larger feet. During our testing, we compare the support and balance the pedal provides our foot from front to back and side to side. We also note if the pedal's platform gets hung up on rocks and how frequently we strike rocks, which the pedal's width or depth can cause.
Some pedals, such as the Wolf Tooth Waveform, come in small and large sizes, meaning you can find the right platform for your shoe size. We tested the Wolf Tooth Waveform in the small size and were impressed by how well the platform supported not only an EU 40 shoe but also an EU 46, despite it being optimally designed for a smaller foot. The dual concave platform supports the foot's natural shape providing excellent support and stability. The tapered edges and narrower width minimize rock strikes, making it a great choice in rocky terrain.
The RaceFace Atlas features an impressive amount of grip on top of a well-balanced surface area that works well for a range of foot sizes and maintains a relatively thin profile, and has chamfered edges and tapered sides that help it brush off impacts that may otherwise bring a pedal to a halt.
Pedal mobility refers to how easy it is to move your foot around the pedal and the rate and quality of the pedal's spins around its axle. Making small adjustments to your foot position while riding is critical for many riders. A smooth spinning pedal lets you concentrate on the trail instead of worrying 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 spin too freely on the axle, making repositioning a pedal after a slip difficult. Cheap bearings and bushings and poorly machined materials that don't mate together perfectly will do little to increase your confidence while riding. To test mobility, we evaluate how easily we can adjust our foot on the pedal and if the pin placement works with various shoes. We also spin the pedal while it is mounted to the crank arm to see how many revolutions it makes and at what speed, watching for drag and observing its smoothness and speed. We also see if the axle design prevents it from freely spinning with crank booties.
Most pedals in the test had similar rotation speeds, falling under the desirable "not too fast or not too slow" description. Repositioning the foot on the Wolf Tooth Waveform only requires a slight unweighting of the pedal, and it spins very smoothly on its axle, with no drag, and is usually in the same or similar place as you left it when you take your foot off. The bearings are inside the axle, meaning no binding to crank boots.
The Race Face Atlas has a large outboard bearing that spins smoothly and is compatible with crank boots, thanks to its new design. The Atlas is one of the easier pedals to reposition your foot on by slightly unweighting the foot. The pin height is also adjustable, allowing you to dial in your foot's mobility on the pedal.
For gravity riders, the Deity TMAC has a tenacious grip and is designed for more gravity-fueled riding, meaning you must intentionally lift your foot off the pedal to make adjustments. Like the Waveform, the bearings sit inside the axle and spin smoothly and predictably.
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. We test servicing by disassembling the pedals to see how easy they are to grease and replace the bearings. We understand that most folks do not have access to a whole bike shop worth of tools, such as blind eye bearing pullers or bearing presses, so we look for pedals that can be serviced using more common tools such as a hex or allen wrench. We also remove and reinstall the pins and make note of replacement pins, bearings, and other parts being available.
The redesigned Race Face Atlas scores very well in this metric and only requires a 30 mm 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.
The Wolf Tooth Waveform is relatively easy to service but requires a pick in addition to a three, six, and eight-millimeter hexes. Wolf Tooth also recommends a torque wrench for the job. Their instructional video is very easy to follow, and each individual part of the pedal, from the aluminum body to the pins, are available as replacement parts.
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 to construct the pedal body, pins, axles, and bearings all affect the pedal's weight, strength, and durability. Pedals designed for downhill and gravity applications typically weigh more than all-purpose trail pedals. To test this metric, we measure the weight of each pair of pedals in grams on a digital scale.
The lightest pedals in our review were the two pairs of HT Components Evo pedals, coming in at 345-grams per set, followed closely by the composite Race Face Chester at 358-grams. When considering what pedals to purchase, we recommend not focusing too much on weight and instead on factors such as grip and the pedal's platform, which will affect your performance more than saving a few grams.
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's color scheme or the one your friends are riding without considering your riding needs and foot size. With a range of platform sizes and grip characteristics, it's important to find a pedal that fits your foot and meets the demands of your riding style. We encourage you to think about your shoe size and how much grip you want. Do you want to be able to move your foot on the pedal? Lastly, think about if you're someone who will service your pedals or who will leave it to your mechanic. When 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 for your riding style and budget.
GearLab is founded on the principle of honest, objective, reviews. Our experts test thousands of products each year using thoughtful test plans that bring out key performance differences between competing products. And, to assure complete independence, we buy all the products we test ourselves. No cherry-picked units sent by manufacturers. No sponsored content. No ads. Just real, honest, side-by-side testing and comparison.