Investing in a new mountain bike? One of the biggest choices you’ll be faced with is whether your bike should have clip pedals or flat pedals. There are dozens of conflicting opinions over which option is the safest, easiest to use, and the most affordable. Even worse, when you’re getting advice from fellow riders, it’s often difficult to get a truly objective opinion. To help you make the best choice for you, we’ve given some guidelines for clip and flat pedals, based on each one’s pros and cons.


Are you starting out or do you know your way around a bike?


To put it simply, clip pedals secure your foot on the pedal and flat pedals don’t. If you haven’t ridden in a while, or are new to cycling, you might find that flat pedals offer a safer ride. They make it easier for you to stop and start, as well as get on and off your bike. Having your legs free to stabilise your balance is reassuring if you aren’t confident in your ability to ride, mount, and dismount. A downside is that your feet are more likely to slip from the pedals. However, if you’re still getting used to biking it’s unlikely you’ll be travelling at speeds high enough to cause serious harm.


Where will you be riding your bike?


When it comes to more challenging biking activities, such as terrain and mountain biking, clip pedals can make a world of difference. When your foot is secured into a clip pedal, you’re automatically held in place. If you’re riding through rough mountainous areas that might require you to hop over or veer around various plant and rock obstacles, you’ll find it easier if you’re moving as one with your bike. Clip pedals have another advantage here, as they allow you to pedal in a more efficient way, using an even force of distribution. If your biking requires accurate timing, as well as being able to react quickly, this is the better option for you.


This is just a general guideline on what options suit which type of riders best and there are no rigid rules to what pedals a person should use. Ultimately, you’ll need to try both to make the final decision. Many people find that their choice of footwear makes as much of a difference here, so we recommend exploring the full range of clipless mountain bike shoes versus flat pedal shoes on offer while choosing a bike.


If you need more help with your choice of pedals, feel free to get in contact with our friendly staff today!

August 31, 2021 — Thomas Mercier