Ever cruised on your road bike and felt your foot slipping a bit too much? It’s likely the pedals. So, which ones will give you that perfect grip?
To ensure your feet stay firmly in place, I’ve hit the tarmac, tested several pedals, and chatted with fellow cyclists. Together, we’ve sussed out the best flat pedals for road bikes. No more skidding or wobbling for you!
Want to skip straight to the winner? My go-to is the OneUp Components Composite Pedals. Why are they turning heads in the cycling community? You’re about to find out!
Find out more about the old, humble flat pedal. 🚴🚴♀️👟
Summary of the Best Flat Pedals for Road Bikes
Detailed Reviews of the Best Flat Pedals for Road Bikes
If you’re looking for a flat pedal that offers excellent grip, is lightweight, and won’t break the bank, then the OneUp Components Composite Pedal is a perfect choice.
The body of these OneUp Components pedals is nylon composite, and the axle is black chromoly steel, so they’re cheaper to produce, durable, and long-lasting.
The shape of these pedals is convex, so it naturally fits in the arch of your shoe. There’s a better, firmer grip between your foot and pedal. You’ll notice this with shoes that aren’t rigid.
Additionally, its sharp and well-placed pins do an excellent job of mitigating foot slip and improving grip.
These guys are pretty thin, so hitting the ground is unlikely. Though they’re designed for mountain bike usage, they’re ideal for road bikes, too. The thin (0.52 inches) design gives you maximum clearance to reduce pedal strikes from obstacles on the road.
Out of the box, you might hear a squeaking sound while pedaling, but it was easily fixed with lubricant.
Compared to the others in this roundup, like the Crankbrothers Stamp 3 or Look Geocity pedals, the OneUp is more affordable while still providing excellent performance. They come in various colors, and they’re relatively lightweight at 13 ounces.
The Look Geo City Grip One Size pedals are a great choice for commuters and urban cyclists who want to upgrade their plastic pedals.
These pedals have a broader base, and Vibram makes the non-slip rubber platform. Yes, the renowned manufacturer of rubber outsoles for footwear. The rubber is on both sides of the pedal. This provides loads of grip and comfort compared to standard flat pedals.
What’s cool here is that you can switch the rubber platforms for different colors. This is purely for style and lets you blend the color with your bike or go for a flashy contrast. However, it’s not a cheap exercise to swap them out.
For safety, these pedals have reflectors right in the base. There’s a more expensive model that has actual lights built into the pedal.
Additionally, the tread resembles a tire tread and has a firm grip, especially in wet situations. It can also serve as a water drainer.
One thing I don’t like about these pedals is that these pedals are pretty heavy, weighing 530g. This might not be a big deal for some riders, but it could affect your performance and efficiency if you’re used to lighter pedals.
The Alston Pedals offer a budget, durable, easy-to-install pedal that provides a smooth and comfortable ride for road cyclists of all levels.
It has a CNC-machined aluminum body that is corrosion-resistant and can withstand harsh weather conditions. The pedal also features a sealed bearing system that reduces friction and noise.
They have a big platform shape, which makes them suitable for long rides and pedaling efficiency. The other advantage of these pedals is the anti-skid surface, which has a powerful grasp force.
The main thing I don’t like about this pedal is that it doesn’t have a reflector or a light for night visibility. This might be a problem for cyclists riding in low-light conditions or traffic.
However, this can be easily solved by adding reflective tape or stickers to the pedal or additional lights to your bike.
Additionally, some riders found these pedals broke easily. Others have said they had to tighten the cap at the end of the pedal. They worked perfectly fine after this.
As the most expensive pedals in this roundup, the Crankbrothers pedals deliver a high-quality, durable, lightweight pedal. These are made of magnesium alloy, which means these pedals will last, and the manufacturer offers a five-year warranty.
These pedals are designed to provide excellent grip and stability, making them ideal for road cycling enthusiasts who want to take their riding to the next level.
One of the key benefits of these pedals is their size-specific design, which ensures that you get the optimal shoe-to-pedal interface for your specific needs. This means you can enjoy a more comfortable and efficient ride with less fatigue and better performance.
The weight for the small is 12 ounces, and the large is 13.5 ounces, both of which are relatively lightweight. This also results in a thinner flat pedal, so the profile is minimal at only 0.63 Inches.
However, one downside of these pedals is that they don’t have enough concave, making it challenging to maintain your grip on them in wet or slippery conditions. Additionally, some riders may find that the pins can be hard to adjust or remove.
With a solid chromoly spindle and sealed bearings, these pedals offer incredible stiffness and excellent coverage over the pedal surface. Even though they’re plastic, they’re durable, and various riders have confirmed they’re solid.
Because they’re plastic, they only weigh 12 ounces for the pair. This makes for a lightweight design that won’t affect your balance while you ride.
These pedals come with ten sharp plastic pins per side. Some riders found they broke off easily, but they did grip well while they lasted! In general, the best shoes for these flat pedals are soft rubber soles, which will help ensure a very secure clamp.
I’d call this pedal thin, at only 0.59 inches, so you shouldn’t hit the ground very often.
Like the Alston’s, these also don’t have a reflector or a light on the pedal.
How To Choose Flat Road Bike Pedals
So, you’re thinking about replacing your bike pedals?
Riding a road bike doesn’t always mean committing to clipless pedals and special cycling shoes (cycling shoes are worth it, though!).
Many riders find that flat pedals provide a sense of freedom, simplicity, and flexibility, particularly for city commutes or casual rides.
If you’re in the market for the best flat pedals for your road bike, this guide is here to help you make an informed choice.
First off, you need to be clear on why you’re buying flat pedals.
- Commuting: If you’re using your road bike for commuting, you’ll likely prefer a pedal that provides a good grip and allows you to wear any type of shoe easily.
- Leisure Rides: For those who enjoy casual weekend rides, comfort and versatility might be more important.
- Training: Some road cyclists use flat pedals for specific training purposes, like improving pedal stroke. In this case, you’ll want a lightweight and durable pedal.
As far as the pedal goes, we’re looking at metal or plastic.
- Plastic/Nylon: Generally lighter and less expensive but may be less durable or provide less grip.
- Alloy/Metal: More durable and may provide a better grip, but can be heavier and more expensive.
The King Of Pins
Pins on your pedal are the tiny things that help your shoe stay on your pedal. Some pins are metal, others are plastic molded ridges, and some use high-friction materials. Some are even replaceable!
So, how do you know which pins are for you?
It depends on your shoe type and the weather you mostly ride in.
Let’s talk first about a dry summer shoe. Your shoe will likely get sticky in the heat and will work best with high-friction materials.
Rainy-day riders will benefit more with small pins or molded ridges. These work best with a shoe that doesn’t have a lot of treads.
Heavily tread shoes, like snow boots, require a higher pin to grab on even through all the tread.
Don’t just get the flat pedal with the highest pin. It can cause hotspots on your foot, which can lead to pain! Get the right pedal for your shoe and typical climate.
The Pedal Size
Mainly, we’re looking here at a simple decision between small and big.
If you’re using your bike on rougher terrain and the road, you should go for a larger flat pedal. With more foot-to-pedal contact, you have better stability on your bike.
The only downside is you may have more pedal strikes. A pedal strike is when your pedal hits the ground. This can be anything from a minor annoyance to a flip-over-your-handlebars situation!
Many road bikers opt for a smaller flat pedal. Of course, there’s a downside here as well. A smaller flat pedal means it’s a bit trickier to find that shoe-to-pedal sweet spot.
In the end, it comes down to personal preference.
The weight of your new flat pedal may or may not have a bearing on your choice.
If you are using a heavier bike, then a few extra ounces won’t make a difference. If you worry about weight and have an expensive, lighter bike, look for a more lightweight pedal!
For a lighter pedal, look for about 11 ounces. Heavier pedals are over 14 ounces.
How thick your pedal is affects how frequently your pedal will hit the pavement if there is an obstacle on the road. Sometimes, this can cause an accident; other times, it’s annoying.
A thin pedal would be below 0.6 inches. Moving thicker than 0.6 inches, and you’re looking at a pedal that’s more likely to strike the ground.
Being seen in the dark at sunrise or after sunset is extremely important. There are many guidelines for helping you stay safe while riding in the dark.
Look for reflectors included on the pedals. Some pedals come equipped with rechargeable lights built right into the pedal.
How to Remove Bike Pedals
Check out this video if you need some help changing your bike pedals:
Frequently Asked Questions
What are the advantages of using flat road bike pedals?
Flat road bike pedals, often called platform pedals, provide a wider surface area for support, allow quick foot placement adjustments, and are more accommodating for different types of shoes.
They’re especially great for casual cyclists and commuters prioritizing comfort and flexibility over maximum pedaling efficiency.
Are platform pedals for road bikes suitable for long-distance riding?
Yes, platform pedals for road bikes can be suitable for long-distance riding.
While some professional riders and weekend warriors may opt for clipless pedals for increased efficiency, many recreational riders find flat bike pedals more comfortable and convenient for extended periods, especially when frequent stops or walking are involved.
Can I easily switch between flat and clipless pedals on my road bike?
Yes, you can easily switch between flat and clipless pedals on most road bikes. Both types typically use a standard threading size, so it’s mostly a matter of unscrewing one set and screwing in the other.
Ensure you have the right tools and the pedals are tightened securely to prevent accidents.
Which Pedal Gets The Medal?
I really like the OneUp Components Composite Pedal. I’m partial to a metal pedal for durability, and I like the option to replace pins.
As far as size goes, I like a large base so my big foot can easily find a resting place. These pedals are big but thin, which helps reduce the number of strikes. The price point is also reasonable, which is always a bonus!
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