Buyers Guide to the Best Mountain Bike Flat Pedals

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We’re not going to try and explain why you should ride flat pedals. You’re clearly already sold on the concept. That’s why you’re reading this in the first place. Flat pedals are simply more joyous than clips.

This guide is for flat pedal trail riders. Not jibbers. Not jumpers. Trail riders alongers. With that in mind we’re going to prioritise grip first and foremost. Closely followed by the ever elusive factor know as ‘feel’ (essentially being able to tell what’s happening under your feet and respond accordingly).

Grip-wise. We recommend going for the grippiest peal you can. You can always make a pedal less grippy if you feel the need to. You can lower/remove/install pins. You can run shoes with firmer compound sole rubber. What you can’t do is make a mediocre-grip pedal any grippier.

Go for the grippiest flat pedal you can afford. Buy some shin pads if you’re worried about your poor little shins!

661 Veggie Wraps

Platform size

There is an argument out there for getting the smallest platform you can get away with (to avoid pedal strikes presumably). It’s not an argument we hold much truck with. Flat pedals should be as broad and long (fore-aft) as you dare. One of the whole points of going to flat pedals is the larger platform. Easier, comfier, grippier, betterer. Embrace the platform. If you’re concerned about pedal strikes, well, read the next bit about ‘Thickness’.

Crikey that’s thin

Thickness

Although it is possible for flat pedals to be too thin, it’s very rare for that to be the case. We recommend avoiding any flat peal that’s thicker than 17mm (in the middle). What’s wrong with going very thin (sub 15mm)? The pedals start to lose feel (and grip) through lack of concavity. They have no dip in the middle for your foot to sit into. Thin pedals also tend to wear out their bearing/bushings much faster than thicker pedals.

Trigger’s pedals?

Spares availability

Speaking of which. It’s a good idea to go for abrand/model of pedal that offers decent rebuild-ability. Spar bushings, spare bearings, axle nuts, axles themselves, pins etc etc. It’s not unknown for well-treasured pedals to end up being the mountain bike equivalent of Trigger’s Broom; every part has been replaced over the years as it’s worn out leaving no trace of anything original yet it’s still the ‘same’ pedal (the brilliant DMR Vaults are the classic example of this phenomenon).

Pin it!

Pin design

Again, there is some guff talked about pins. Sure, we’d probably go for a pedal that has pins that load from underneath but there is actually a point to top-loading pins. They aren’t just used to annoy you or to be deliberately difficult to replace! Top loading pins, usually with a 2mm Allen key hole in them, are grippier than bottom-loading pins with no holes in them. Why? Two words. Core sampling. Top-loading pins stick into the bottom of your shoe just like a handlebar without a bar-plug sticks into a thigh (ouch!)

For ultimate grip, a pedal with top-loading ‘core sampling’ pins combined with a sticky sole shoe is unbeatable.

We do like placky peggles

Plastic or metal

There’s not a lot in it. But we’d probably go plastic. Plastic is usually lighter. Plastic pedals don’t seem to be any more fragile than metal pedals (I’ve bent more aluminium pedals that I have damaged plastic ones). Plastic pedals do seem to glance off rocks and roots better than metal pedals. But plastic is not very ecologically sound is it? And metal pedals look cooler. Hey ho.

Best Mountain Bike Flat Pedals

HT PA-03

HT PA-03

Price: £39.99

Overall: “The worst named flat pedal of all time just happens to be the best plastic – sorry, composite! – flat pedal of all time too. Good platform size. Sensible thickness. Great feel. Tough as old boots. Impressive bearing life. Loads of colours (although they all get disappointingly tatty very quickly to be honest). Just great pedals. Can be hard to find though.”

DMR Vault

DMR Vault

Price: £120.00

Overall: “Excellent grip and superb finish. You might discern an ever so slight clue as to what kind of riders these are aimed at by the fact they don’t have a Nino Schurter special edition, but there are Brendog and Lacondeguy ones. With such aggressive grip and a weight over 400 grams, these are great for those who live for the descents. Rebuild-able too.” Read our review

Race Face Atlas

Race Face Atlas

Price: £159.95

Overall: “Total traction monsters. Borderline too grippy (although it’s perfectly straightforward tio de-tune them with the supplied pin washers etc. The bearing bulge in the axle may bother some old-skool riders who pedal with the ball of the foot over the axle (such a bad idea for control by the way) but we don’t mind it. An excellent choice for heavy ebikes that require utmost pick-up grip. Try to find the 2022 version if possible.”

Nukeproof Horizon

Nukeproof Horizon

Price: £99.99

Overall: “Cheap to run, durable all weather flats. They’re not the lightest, nor the cheapest, nor the fanciest on test, but the Horizons are a decidedly good flat pedal. In terms of good, solid all rounders, they’re definitely a contender. Avoid the plastic versions (pins can rip out a bit too easily)” Read our review.

Burgtec MK5 Penthouse

Burgtec MK5 Penthouse

Price: £119.99

Overall: “This is a high-quality pedal with ample mud clearance and exceptional grip. We’ve not run them long enough to comment on durability but from our experience using other Burgtec products we have no concerns in this department either.” Read our review.

Deity TMAC

Deity TMAC

Price: £140.00

Overall: “If you’re in the market for a pedal that takes its job as a contact point with your bike very seriously, but you aren’t wanting to clip in, I’d put these high on your list. Showing little sign of wear after 6 months of daily use and seeming to suit most flat pedal shoes, they’re pricier than the likes of a DMR Vault but once pointing downhill you can, in my opinion, justify that extra cash.”

Crank Brothers Stamp 7

Crank Brothers Stamp 7

Price: £149.99

Overall: “While these pedals might not be optimal for tight tracks where you need that bit of extra clearance, unless super tight bike width tracks are all you ride, this pedal won’t really hold you back. I found them perfectly manageable when it does get a bit tighter, but someone with smaller feet may disagree.” Read our review.

Gusset S2

Gusset S2

Price: £89.99

Overall: “Modest in platform size (100 x 100mm) but tenacious in grip thanks to the pin design and layout. Double bush axle system. Extruded 6061 alloy body. Chromoly axle. Sealed bearings with DU bushings. 1.25mm body concave which creates 2.3mm concave at the pins. The best option if you want/need smaller platform size pedal.”

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Viewing 26 posts - 1 through 26 (of 26 total)
  • Buyers Guide to the Best Mountain Bike Flat Pedals
  • danieljohnreynolds
    Full Member

    Still running my NS Radiance pedals bought after the last time you ran the pedals test (2017? They were one of the winners) and they are bullet-proof. Scratched and scuffed and not as pretty but still un-erring – winter and summer use. I tried clipless a few times in the interim but jsut never got comfortable enough so kept going back to flats. I picked up a spare set of bearings from the NS website a few years back when I thought they were squeaking but it was BB so still have them to use when needed. Fortunately I don’t need to invest in a replacement yet.

    weeksy
    Full Member

    Nukeproof Neutrons on 5 different bikes here… if they die after a year, it’s £23 for a new pair…

    work well, grippy, effective.

    Blackflag
    Free Member

    Ive found the Burgtec composites far more comfy and grippy than the Nukeproof ones.

    noeffsgiven
    Free Member

    I’m getting weird deja vu from this.

    didnthurt
    Full Member

    Aren’t ones with multiple pin solutions the best?

    I’ve been running a couple of pairs of Welgo b143 for 10+ years and can’t kill them. Can’t see the point of fancy looking expensive pedals unless they’re purely for show. They’d soon look tatty after a few rock strikes.

    keefezza
    Free Member

    One of those crank brothers links looks quite false.

    Anybody tried the massive pedalling innovations pedals?

    zerocool
    Full Member

    I’ve just replaced my MK1 Burgtec Penthouse Flats with a new pair of MK5s, hopefully they’ll last a similar amount of time.

    Also run Gusset SlimJims and Superstar Nano pedals with no complaints.

    I think my Burgtec and Easton Cully’s have been my overall favourites though.

    ampthill
    Full Member

    I have to say that these articles undermine my faith in the whole review process

    I own 2 sets of DMR vaults. The pins are easily pulled out. Eventually this process will destroy the thread. Inside a soft nylon bushing isn’t sealed from outside dirt. The pedal doesn’t spin smoothly until suddenly the bushings are loose. Yes they can be rebuilt but I’d like to think a pedal that cost £80 won’ wouldn’t need rebuilding quite so often

    These shot coming after mentioned in many user reviews but no professional reviews

    sanername
    Full Member

    I have the massive pedalling innovations one. I really like them, but would think they’d probably be better if the were a little concave.

    davosaurusrex
    Full Member

    Interested in the Pedalling Innovations ones as I have size 12s but the lack of concavivity (yes that is a word, maybe) and the cost puts me off. Shame no mention of the UK made Unites in this article

    MrAgreeable
    Full Member
    chakaping
    Free Member

    Interesting theory about hollow pins, but my “core samples” are all full of dried mud within a couple of rides, so I’m sceptical.

    Also run Gusset SlimJims and Superstar Nano pedals with no complaints.

    The old sealed bearing Slim Jims that needed zero maintenance? If they could make a modern-shaped pair that reliable I’d bite their arm off.

    Taiwan-made Nanos used to be almost as reliable (and a better shape), but the UK-made ones go through bushings like nobody’s business.

    Onzadog
    Free Member

    There was two versions of the massive pedalling innovations. The catalyst and the catalyst Evo. The evo addressed the grumbles about the first version.

    The evo was made in the UK by Superstar. The wife has a set and I really rate them. Unfortunately, it seems like covid killed them off. My fingers are crossed that they come back but I believe superstar have no plans to do so.

    ebennett
    Full Member

    I have to say that these articles undermine my faith in the whole review process

    I own 2 sets of DMR vaults. The pins are easily pulled out. Eventually this process will destroy the thread. Inside a soft nylon bushing isn’t sealed from outside dirt. The pedal doesn’t spin smoothly until suddenly the bushings are loose. Yes they can be rebuilt but I’d like to think a pedal that cost £80 won’ wouldn’t need rebuilding quite so often

    These shot coming after mentioned in many user reviews but no professional reviews

    +1

    I’ve had 2 pairs of Vaults and both went loose and rattly within a year or two. Switched to Nukeproof Horizons 2 years ago and haven’t had any issues.

    chakaping
    Free Member

    The evo was made in the UK by Superstar. The wife has a set and I really rate them. Unfortunately, it seems like covid killed them off. My fingers are crossed that they come back but I believe superstar have no plans to do so.

    Didn’t know about this, were Superstar doing a knock-off or in partnership with the inventor?

    I wonder if Superstar are finding it more profitable to use their CNC machines to make non-bike stuff, because they seem a bit slow at restocking a lot of items and at picking up on new standards and products.

    turnip
    Free Member

    Ignore

    superstarcomponents
    Free Member

    I thought i would jump in here to explain the several questions raised about Superstar in the discussion above
    The PI pedals we manufactured to their design for European sales, but the UK arm (supplied Europe) of the business closed its doors.

    As a subcontract manufacturer we dont really have anything to do with them other than manufacturing parts for them. I think the USA guy is still going but not heard from them for a long time.

    Yes as Chapaking has said we have been hellishly busy. We manufacture alot of parts outside of the cycle industry and for other bike brands, these normally get higher priority than making more bits for Superstar. We have been making medical parts for 4-5 years now and when Covid hit its been non-stop since then with insane volumes of 5 axis parts for DNA analysis machines. We have been running machines literally 24/7 to keep up and the maintinence time to keep ontop of making sure they run accurately and reliably round the clock ate all our man hours. I spent the first 12 weeks of Covid working 6 days a week staying in a caravan at the factory to make sure the Covid testing machine parts were made ASAP…

    Next issue is materials have been a nightmare. We had quotes of 2 years payment up front for several lines which made making some products physically impossible. This is what caused the wheelbuilding side of the business to be sold, as I got an offer i couldnt refuse at the right time and it allowed us to focus on other projects. We are still manufacturing hubs and spare parts, but if you cant get spokes in 2 years you cant build wheels which made the huge capital investment impossible to justify.

    Things are settling down finally and lots of the overdue jobs are getting back. The good news is…. Nanos are finally back in production and i expect to ship the backlog in the next 2-3 weeks depending on how fast the anodisers process the next batch. We have several other ranges of pedals in the works im hoping to get on sale by christmas if all goes well.

    any questions let me know, Neil (Superstar Components)

    chakaping
    Free Member

    Well it’s nice to be busy, that was my motto when I ran my own business.

    If you’re taking requests, please get Shimano DM narrow-wide chainrings and Shimano GRX-compatible narrow-wide rings in the queue.

    🙂

    davosaurusrex
    Full Member

    Looking to move back to flats from clips as my knees are packing up, I want something big and supportive for my size 12s, found my feet wanting to roll off the outside of my vaults last ride. Was looking at the Unites but think I want something bigger. Not that keen on the PIs for a few reasons, think I have found the ideal pedal in the Chromag Daggas but bloody hell, how much!?

    walleater
    Full Member

    ^ I’ve had my Chromag Daggas for over two years now and they still spin like new and only lost one pin. I don’t know what’d they’d cost retail over there and I spec’ed them with my bike but they are great pedals if you don’t mind getting your legs ripped apart from time to time 😀

    intheborders
    Free Member

    I’ve the HT’s, they’re a lot like the plastic Nukeproof Horizon’s I use to have but they stopped production so I’ve flipped to the HT’s – very happy with them.

    superstarcomponents
    Free Member

    WOWSER, i didn’t realise how much stuff like pedals had gone up in price in the last few years. Im just pricing up the business case for about 6 pedal designs i have had on my computer for the last 3-7 years…

    Question for the big feet people, is length or width more important? whats your sweet spot for dimensions on your dream pedal?

    Neil (superstarcomponents)

    desperatebicycle
    Free Member

    Pedals went up about a year ago – there were plastics for £60-70 at one point! Seem to have come down a bit from that now, which is good. I’ve got Nanos and they’re the perfect size for my size 10s.
    That said, I do find pedals much of a muchness, I’ve got/had DMR, Bergtec, Superstar, FWE, Carboncycles, Shimano, Funn, can’t say they are that much of a difference once you get the right size platform. You can get flat pedals for £5 on Amazon, probably got shite bearings, but some of the “branded” prices are just silly.

    davosaurusrex
    Full Member

    Size 12s here, both dimensions for me. The Chromags look ideal, wider q factor as well but only seem to be a few pairs available on the continent for about 190 euro….
    On the Vaults I have now I want more length to give support to my dodgy knees and more width as my feet are overhanging the edge by a good 10mm plus
    Any idea how long it is likely to take to bring the new pedals to market, Neil?

    ampthill
    Full Member

    In size 12. I prefer stiff shoes. Vaults are fine size wise. Bigger would just mean more person strikes. I just want more sealed bearing at that thickness. Maybe it’s not possible

    veedubdave
    Full Member

    Had loads of different pedals. Currently running Superstars Nanos on two bikes, I like the width of the platform with my size 10 Five Tens and Ride Concept shoes.

Viewing 26 posts - 1 through 26 (of 26 total)

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