Everyone learns to ride a bike with flat pedals. They’re actually preferred by most off-roaders. But nowadays, many people are switching to clipless pedals for cycling. Learn the differences between these pedal types right here. Then you can decide what’s right for your own mountain, gravel, or road bike.

With Flat, It’s All About Grip

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

If you’re riding with flat, you can easily dismount or put your foot down to slow down to stop. It’s also easier to learn new tricks. There’s no incorrect position for your foot, either. So you can find what’s most comfortable for you and adjust it as needed. Lastly, you can wear any kind of shoes with these pedals.

Don’t Be Fooled by “Clipless”

The “clipless” name is misleading because you actually have to clip your feet to the pedals. You can only do this with cycling cleats attached 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 you don’t have to drop your heels to maintain traction between your shoes and the pedals. You have more control over the rear wheel. And you feel more attached to the bike. Just make sure you set them up correctly. Otherwise you could get seriously 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

You can compare flat and clipless bike pedals at Airpark Bike Co in Scottsdale, AZ. We’ll help you decide what’s best for your travels. Then set you up with the perfect set for your specific model. And we’ll install them for you! We sell full bikes from over 20 top brands if you’re in the market. Including Yeti, Diamondback, Niner, and Santa Cruz. See for yourself today!