I’ve always noticed that it’s the cyclists dressed head to toe in cycling gear who are also attached to their pedals with clips? And then I look down at my simple shoes on my flat pedals and wonder if I should make a change.
Likely the answer is no.
For road bikes, the old humble flat pedal is still the way to go. I’ll tell you why and give you some reviews of the best flat pedals for road bikes.
The best flat pedals for road bikes are:
- OneUp Components Composite Pedal – Best Overall
- Look Geo City Grip One Size – Best For Commuting
- Crank Brothers Stamp 3 Platform Pedals – Most Durable
- Fyxation Mesa Platform Pedal
- Alston Road Bicycle Aluminum Strong Pedal – Value For Money
How To Choose A Flat Pedal For Road Bikes
If you’re a road biking enthusiast, you should use road bike platform pedals. Clipless pedals (which actually have clips) keep your foot on your pedal but make it harder to get it off if you’re an inexperienced rider or just getting used to a new bike.
Clipless pedals also require special footwear. As a road cyclist, sometimes I want to get off and on my bike as I go. It’s relatively awkward to walk around with cycling shoes as well.
So if you’re looking for a great flat pedal for road bikes, what should you look for?
As far as the pedal goes, we’re looking at metal or plastic. Both can be quite durable, but metal does have a slight advantage there. The weight of the pedal is likely to be less with plastic, but not always. Rust won’t be an issue with plastic, but most of the medal pedals out there have rust-resistant alloys.
The Kind 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 dry summer shoes. Your shoe will likely get sticky in the heat and will work best with high friction materials. Rainy day riders will benefit more from 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 so they can 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.
Related article – When Should I Replace My Bike Pedals?
The Pedal Size
Mainly we’re looking here at a simple decision between big or small.
If you’re going to be using your bike on rougher terrain as well as the road, then 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 kind of 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 lighter pedal.
For a lighter pedal, look for about 11 ounces. Heavier pedals are over 14 ounces.
How thick your pedal has an effect on 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 merely 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, whether 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.
Check out this video if you need some help changing your bike pedals:
Related article – Best Bike Tool Kit For DIY Maintenance
Reviews Of The Best Flat Pedals For Road Bikes
There are a lot of flat pedals out there, so finding the one that’s best for you is a bit of a task. Don’t worry, I’ve got you covered. Let’s take a look at what I think are the best flat pedals for road bikes out there.
The body of these OneUp Components pedals is nylon composite, and the axle is black Chromoly steel, so they’re 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, stronger grip between your foot and pedal. You’ll really notice this with shoes that aren’t rigid.
These guys are pretty thin, so hitting the ground is pretty unlikely. Though they’re designed for mountain bike usage, they’re ideal for road bikes too. The thin (0.52 inches) leading edge chamfered 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.
As far as the pins go, there are 10 per side, and they’re removable. Some users found that the pins broke off, while others praised the grip and loved the pin placement.
Customers appreciate that it has a large platform for your foot, though there’s no choice in size. They come in a variety of colors, and they’re relatively lightweight at 13 ounces.
These aren’t the inexpensive plastic pedals that come with commuter-style bikes. They have a broader base, and the non-slip rubber platform is made by Vibram – the renowned manufacturer of rubber outsoles for footwear. It’s on both sides of the pedal.
The tread resembles a tire tread and has a firm grip, especially in wet situations. It can also serve as a water drainer.
What’s kind of 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.
For safety, these pedals have reflectors right in the base. There’s a more expensive model that has actual lights built into the pedal.
You won’t feel any discomfort from this flat pedal, even if you like wearing thin-soled shoes or sneakers. They’re also lightweight, at 11.5 ounces.
This is a metal flat pedal that’s made of magnesium alloy. This means these pedals will last, and the manufacturer offers a five-year warranty.
The pins here are metal and adjustable, and there are 10 per side. The number of pins is plenty and will keep your shoe on the pedal. Users have said these pins are amazing.
An excellent feature here is that you can choose the size that fits your shoe. Right now, it’s only small or large, but that’s more choice than other flat pedals!
This is a thinner flat pedal, so the profile is minimal at only 0.63 Inches.
The weight for the small is 12 ounces, and the large is 13.5 ounces, both of which are relatively lightweight.
These are plastic pedals that come with an axle made of chromoly, so you can count on them being rigid. Even though they’re plastic, they’re durable, and users confirm that they’re solid.
Because they’re plastic, they only weigh 11 ounces for the pair. Customers say that they’re very lightweight and don’t affect your balance.
These pedals come with eight sharp plastic pins per side. Some users found that they broke off, while others found they gripped well.
I’d call this pedal thin, at only 0.59 inches, so you shouldn’t hit the ground very often.
The best shoes for these flat pedals are soft rubber soles. It’ll ensure a very secure clamp.
The advantage of these pedals is the anti-skid surface, which has a powerful grasp force. There are seven pins per side.
They have a big platform shape, which makes them good for long rides and pedaling efficiency.
The Alston pedals are made with aluminum and chrome steel material. Some users found they broke easily. Others have said that they had to tighten the cap at the end of the pedal. They worked perfectly fine after this.
As they’re metal, they’re fairly heavy at about 14 ounces. They come in three attractive colors: black, red, and green.
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 removable pins so I can replace them.
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 also thin, so I like that too as it should reduce the number of strikes. The price point is also reasonable, which is always a bonus.
It’s also great to have so many colors available. Cycling is getting more and more style-oriented, so you can have some fun matching or contrasting your pedal to your frame color!
Still keen on wearing cycling shoes? Why not check out our Best Road Bike Cycling Shoes: Reviews And Complete Buying Guide.