Everyone learns to ride a bike with flat pedals. They’re actually preferred by most off-road riders. But nowadays, many people are switching to clipless pedals for the roads and trails. Learn the differences between flat and clipless. Then you can determine what’s best for your own mountain, gravel, or road bike.

With Flat, It’s All About Grip

Flat pedals are exactly as described – flat. They typically have replaceable pins that help the soles of your shoes grip the pedals. Some sets have a concave shape, which lets you press your foot into the pedals for maximum grip and stability. There are different materials, too. Composite is more lightweight. Metal is heavier, but it lasts longer and has more grip.

With flat pedals, it’s easier to gracefully dismount or put your foot down to slow down or stop. It’s also easier to learn new tricks. If you have to make an emergency stop, no problem. There’s no incorrect position for your foot, either. You can find a natural and comfortable position that works for you. You can also adjust it as you ride. Plus, you can wear any kind of shoes, not just cleats.

Don’t Be Fooled by “Clipless”

“Clipless” is misleading because you have to “clip in” to the pedals so they’re locked to your feet. This requires cycling cleats, an accessory that attaches to your cycling shoes. There are two types of clipless pedals. Single-sided lets you clip in just one pedal. This is the lightest and most common option. Double-sided lets you clip in both pedals.

Riding clipless is great for rough terrain, as don’t have to drop your heels to maintain traction between your shoes and the pedals. You have more control over your rear wheel, and you feel more attached to the bike. Just make sure you set them up correctly, otherwise you’ll get hurt.

What’s Right for Me?

Mountain Biking – Flat pedals are best for local trails and bike parks. Clipless pedals are ideal for bike races with fast corners and high-speed jumps.

Gravel Biking – This is more about endurance and technical skills, so clipless pedals are better.

Road Biking – The main goal is to keep the wheels turning, so clipless pedals are better.

Commuting – If you’re riding in a city with a lot of traffic lights and busy intersections, go with flat. If you’re dealing with a long commute or rough weather, go with clipless.

Flat and Clipless Pedals at Airpark Bike Co

Compare flat and clipless bike pedals at Airpark Bike Co in Scottsdale, AZ. We’ll help you decide what’s right for you, then hook you up with the best set for your ride. Next, we’ll install them, so you can get back on the trails today. In need of a whole new bike? You can shop our collection of builds from over 20 top brands right here at our shop. Check us out today!