Round up: Best flat pedals

Best tech and innovation in new flat pedals

Pedals
Loaded pedals in different colors

Loaded pedals in different colors

Update: September 12, 2017

Flat pedals are more popular than ever. The mountain bike has evolved from its road cycling roots to evolve into bikes and components suitable for the task at hand. So while clipless pedals still have a stronghold on racing where every second counts, flat pedals are taking over the fun, technical and leisure categories of mountain biking.

Its appeal seems to be two-fold. First is that the rider can release from the bike instantly. Since the rider is not locked on to the bike, the rider can put a foot down or jump away from the bike when needed. It is quick and consistent with no training needed. But the other more intriguing appeal is that riding flat pedals train the rider to ride in harmony with the bike instead of yanking on it and fighting it. Since the rider is not locked on to the bike, he’s forced to use proper weighting and loading/unloading techniques to maintain contact and pressure on the bike. These tools allow the rider to handle the bike more fluidly and safely.

What to look for

With all this attention, there is a growing trend now on pedal weight, grip and pedal thickness. Thin pedals are all the rage these days as the the rider is able to get lower on the bike, yet minimize pedal strikes on the ground. The pedal stroke is more efficient as well, placed as close to the axis of rotation as possible. And finally, the traditional factors of platform size, stiffness and pedal durability all still apply.

The Contenders
A plastic body not only delivers good value but also good shock absorption and durability against rock blows.

A plastic body not only delivers good value but also good shock absorption and durability against rock blows.

Race Face Chester

Race Face surprised us with their Chester pedal. They were quite proud of it and that was refreshing since it was a nylon $55 pedal. It is a nylon pedal with 8 traction pins per side that’s fairly thin and fairly wide. And it was surprisingly light at 340 grams. Was it good enough to survive and thrive in rough and diverse conditions? We took it to many road trips to find out.

Weight: 340 grams
Platform size: 110 x 101mm
Thickness: 18.4mm
Price: $55
More info: Race Face

Canfield Crampons are thinner at the edges.

Canfield Crampons are thinner at the edges.

Canfield Crampon

It’s a massive pedal at 106x112mm and is constructed like a fine piece of jewelry. With careful shaping and beveling and leading/trailing edges that are only 6mm thick, it seeks to steer clear of trail rocks and other pedal eating debris.

Weight is 397 grams for these thin, wide pedals.

Weight is 397 grams for these thin, wide pedals.

The first thing we realized was that there were so many positions allowed by the large pedal while always delivering incredible grip. Close to the crank, angle the feet, ball of the foot, further back, heel down were all handled with ease.

The next thing we realized is how well the Crampon pedaled. It seemed that the convex shape allowed us to push the pedal further at the 12 o’clock position and pull a little earlier at the bottom of the stroke. The angle of the pedal seems to help the grip with shoe at these extreme positions. These are subtle differences of course but the effect is noticeable over a long climb.

As far as getting additional grip, there is an optional insert for a center pin near the axle that the user can install. Also, the pins are are double sided so they can be threaded out either way in case they get mangled.

Weight: 400 grams
Platform size: 112 x 106mm
Thickness: 10mm at axle and 6mm at the edges
Price: $150
More info: Canfield Brothers

The OneUp Composite pedal is extremely grippy and durable offering tremendous value.

The OneUp Composite pedal is extremely grippy and durable offering tremendous value.

OneUp Composite pedal

OneUp Components introduced two pedals recently, an aluminum one for $125 and this composite model available at $48 a pair. We’ve been fascinated with this composite pedal not only because of its low price but also because of our experience with composite pedals absorbing rock blows without jarring the rider and without showing much damage to the pedal.

The best thing about them is the grip. Heel down, heel up or pedaling out of saddle, the pedals always provided reliable and predictable grip. They felt very natural with FiveTen Freerider Pro shoes. These shoes don’t have the stickiest sole available but they were a perfect match with the OneUp shoes providing pedaling efficiency and grip.

The platform is big at 115×110 without being too big as it extends the pedaling surface close to the crank where the axle meets it. 10 long, removable pins are placed at the outer edges and on the middle of the pedal.

The platform is fairly open so although untested in our road trip, we can see that this pedal will shed mud well. Edges are chamfered as well to deflect obstacles and rock hits.

Weight: 355 grams
Platform size: 115 x 105mm
Thickness: 18.5mm (13.3 at the leading edge)
Price: $48
More info: OneUp Components

Published: May 19, 2015
Gamut Podium Pedal  is one of the thinnest around

Gamut Podium Pedal is one of the thinnest around

Gamut USA Podium

Gamut USA purchased Point One Racing to improve the quality and production of the the Podium pedal. They saw this design as the best of breed but Gamut found opportunities in quality, manufacturing processes and customer service for the Podium. Gamut went back to the drawing board and they’re proud to present the Podium pedal which is more durable, better looking and less expensive as well.

Four sealed cartridge bearings are used per pedal to allow a two piece axle system that allows durability without having a thick ridge along the axle that interfere’s with the rider’s shoe contact point.

This pedal is thin and light at 8mm and flaring out to 10mm at the ends. Shaping is very well conceived with scalloped surfaces for traction and beveled and angled edges for impact deflection. The inboard bearing size too is minimized to reduce interference with the shoe. And most important, the pedal body is now forged for strength instead of CNC’d. And it is hard anodized to give it a durable coating.

Weight: 295 grams
Platform size: 100 x 100mm
Thickness: 8mm and concave shape to 10mm
Price: $170
More info: Gamut USA

The Xpedo pedals are incredibly light at 260 grams

The Xpedo pedals are incredibly light at 260 grams

Xpedo Spry

The Xpedo Spry has all the right moves with a 260 gram weight, 11mm thickness and a $79 price tag. The platform has a nice shape to it too and is right in the sweet spot with a big 106 x 110 area. There’s some reports on the forums that the pins and the body get damaged badly with repeated rock hits due to the softer magnesium material used. We’ll report back when we get a set to test soon.

Weight: 260 grams
Platform size: 106 x 110mm
Thickness: 11mm
Price: $79
More info: www.xpedo.com

DMR Vault MG Close-Up

DMR Vault MG Ti

The DMR Vault is not thin, nor is it new but it is beloved by downhillers across the globe and new versions of the pedal keep coming out. At 17mm, it is far from the thinnest but it has a platform shape that is concave for better fit with the shoe sole. And the edges of of the pedal are angled nicely to bounce off rocks and other trail obstacles. There is an affordable Vault and a lighter Vault MG (magnesium) version. Our particular test version is the MG Ti for a steep price and a stunning 290 grams of weight.

Weight: 290 grams
Platform size: 105 x 105mm
Thickness: 17mm with concave footbed
Price: $330 and the Vault MG is $170
More info: www.dmrbikes.com

Spank Oozy Trail

Spank Oozy Trail

The Spank Oozy Trail pedal is indeed thin with a 12mm pedal height not including the pins. At the same time, strength is not be compromised as this kind of pedal will be subject to a severe beating throughout its lifespan. The body itself is cold-forged for strength. Cold forging has proven itself over the years as the best way to mold metal into a shape that flexes the least and exhibits the most durability. The pedal body is beveled and polished toward the edges to give a nice look and to provide a finish that will survive the countless rock hits that it will encounter. Just like the Spank Spike, the Oozy Trail features an identical 110 x 110 platform for a secure interface with the shoe. It is 12mm thick throughout and all the edges are beveled and shaped to glance off rocks and other debris.

With the titanium axle upgrade from Spank ($75), the weight of the pedals can be dropped to 300 grams.

Weight: 360 grams
Platform size: 110 x 110mm
Thickness: 12mm
Price: $150
More info: spank-ind.com

Spank Oozy Trail and Spike

Spank Spike

The Spank Spike pedals (shown below the Oozy Trail in the image above) are the older, beefier brother of the Spank Oozy Trail. Introduced a few years ago, it led the charge towards thin, strong and large platform pedals. Everything we said about the Oozy trail applies, but this weighs 60 grams more at a cost of $25 less. It can also take a more severe beating.

Weight: 420 grams
Platform size: 110 x 110mm
Thickness: 12mm
Price: $125
More info: spank-ind.com

Race_Face_Atlas-Pedals

Race Face Atlas

The Race Face Atlas is an interesting contender indeed. It is 12mm thin at the axle and flares out to 14.5mm to the edges to form a concave footbed. It is light at 355 grams but it is long at 114 mm for maximum fore and aft surface area. But it is not too wide at 101mm to give it better side clearance on rocks, roots and other debris. The pins on the front are angled towards the back to give it better bite on the shoe. And with its BC roots, a fully sealed bearing and grease port design are designed in.

Weight: 355 grams
Platform size: 101 x 114mm
Thickness: 12mm with concave footbed
Price: $180
More info: raceface.com

Continue to Page 2 for more flat pedals and full photo gallery »
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About the author: Francis Cebedo

The founder of mtbr and roadbikereview, Francis Cebedo believes that every cyclist has a lot to teach and a lot to learn. "Our websites are communal hubs for sharing cycling experiences, trading adventure stories, and passing along product information and opinions." Francis' favorite bike is the last bike he rode, whether it's a dirt jumper, singlespeed, trail bike, lugged commuter or ultralight carbon road steed. Indeed, Francis loves cycling in all its forms and is happiest when infecting others with that same passion. Francis also believes that IPA will save America.


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  • Aleks Ellis says:

    Are you sure about that weight for the Boomslang? I read somewhere that they were a much heavier 500g or so. Pic on scale would be great.

    • Francis Cebedo says:

      >>Are you sure about that weight for the Boomslang? I read somewhere that they were a much heavier 500g or so. Pic on scale would be great.

      We corrected to 440 grams. We’ll put on a gram scale tonight.

  • Aesop says:

    “These systems haven’t changed much in the last decade.”

    Perhaps that is because they work…?

  • itmightbepizza says:

    150-300 bucks for flat pedals? who cares.

    • Mark says:

      Rich people who don’t ride hard and want bling, or a racer that gets them kicked for either testing or sponsorship.

      I bent my 2013 Spank Spikes hitting jumps on the trail. I’ve also bent NP neutrons and protons hitting jumps on trail. I bent a Wellgo B150 on a rock. For now I’ve gone back to NP Electrons. I’ve been jumping on them for two months now and have smashed several rocks, and the pedals are still true.

      To add, this is all within two years. During this time I’ve found that the NP series takes a beating better than the Spikes did. One bad foot placement with the spikes and the left axle bent.

      At least for now the NP’s feel like the better middle ground when comparing weight to strength.

      I had the B150′s for about four months, hit them on several rocks and lots of jumping. The Wellgo’s I’d have to say are the stronger of the pedals I’ve had so far, but they were heavier than anything else.

    • Ramslam says:

      I care but then again I made the right decisions in life so I can drop 300.00 for a set of pedals without even blinking an eye!

  • Kurt Kurtz says:

    RSP slimlines, $40- 65 365 grams, several flavours. RSP SLIMLINE CNC MTB ALLOY PLATFORM PEDALS PURPLE 9/16. Using them for the past 6 months and they work very well.

  • Mark Adamson says:

    Point1 podium??
    Had these for three years had to service bearings/seals
    But still going strong, recommend them to anyone.

  • Mike says:

    Thanks for the looks. I’m surprised there’s no coverage of HT and Canfield Bros offerings.

  • Jim says:

    How about the Moove Components (out of Ireland) Torque Thru-Pins, inexpensive…$64.00 shipped to US, decent weight…470g with thru pins and fully rebuild-able.

  • Gully says:

    +1 Canfield Crampons. Low weight, low profile, low maintenance.

  • Denny says:

    What about Straitline pedals? At under $110.. I have been wanting a set but would like to hear other opinions…

    • Matt says:

      Straitline flats are excellent. De Facto is beefier and bomb-proof. Amp is lighter with a thinner profile. Both run in the same bushing system (no bearings). Both use the same hex-shaped spikes. Super grippy. All around just works without trouble. My DeFactos have survived many rock strikes with only cosmetic scratches. Company support and service is phenomenal. Best company. I’ve run other flats and keep coming back to Straitline.

    • Matt says:

      Straitness are great. The pedals run on a simple, really well-running set of bushings. DeFacto is bombproof. Amp is a lighter version. Both have the same bushing system (no bearings). Super grippy hex shaped pins. I’ve run DeFactos for years now. Despite a number of rock strikes the pedals and pins show no damage other than cosmetic scratches. The company itself is awesome with outstanding customer service and information. The bushing system is not for everyone; some people complain its stiffer than bearings. It’s not noticeable when you pedal.

    • Will says:

      Don’t bother. Virtually impossible to stop them squeaking and they don’t spin freely due to the bushings.

  • rob says:

    I have the point one podium 2. They come with aluminum pins which shear off easily. You have to buy the steel ones for $20. They give you a lot though. Otherwise great pedal.

  • fatlip says:

    Been riding the Spank Spikes for about a year for trail use. I like them but they need to be taken apart and greased on a regular basis or they start squeaking. Annoying… other than that they are tough as nails and offer a great platform for my feets.

  • jiw71 says:

    why review $100.00+ pedals only? I’m sure they’re good but there are pedals for under $100.00 that are also good. The Xpedo spry is but one example. Check it out.

  • Mark Andrews says:

    WOW Something as seemingly innocent as a pedal shoot-out becomes some serious stuff !I have Truvativ Holzfellas I picked up through MTBRs’ classified for 22.00 including shipping and am very happy!

  • stratosrally says:

    Wellgo B103′s for me, less than $50, 24 replaceable pins, 374g.
    Never lost or broke a pin, love ‘em. Smaller platform than many – 107mmx100mm.

  • Gelati says:

    What about sub-$100 pedals? The Forte Converts are a bit heavy with little-to-no color selection, but they’re really durable, have a nice surface area, are pretty thin and come with replaceable threaded pins. And for about $40 on sale, you can’t go wrong.

  • stw says:

    I have the Xpedo Spry. Terrific. Light. Thin. Not too expensive. I’ve had no problems with damage/durability but I don’t am not doing nasty DH runs. Just normal trails. They offer some different options for pins. I’ve installed some sharper ones to replace the originals just to get a bit more bite. not sure why anyone would pay twice as much to get a heavier pedal…

  • WyoRacer says:

    No Twenty6 Components Predator Ti pedals? Made in Montana USA

  • ron says:

    E13 LG1+??? Big platform, concave shape, and easy to remove pins when they get damaged?

  • Banjo says:

    The fact that you dont have Diety’s Compound pedal makes this entire review irrelevant. A fully rebuildable, strong, light, and grippy pedal for $50… cant beat that.

  • tb says:

    Another vote for the Deity Compund/Nukeproof Electron/Fyxation Mesa MP/Fire Eye Hot Candy, etc. I have several pairs and they have been used and abused with excellent results.

  • JD Dallager says:

    VP Vices. Thin, durable, rebuildable, cost ~$65 on sale.

  • ah says:

    no mention of the Straitlines? weaksauce.

  • Larro says:

    Azonic 420 these can take a beating !

  • BoatMike says:

    Like some other comments, I too use and love my Forte’s.
    The price and quality is great, and talk about sticking to a pedal, what a grip!

  • Nick says:

    The pins on the Diety’s are too weak, and the threads pull out with the pins. Been running Spikes on the rocks here in Grand Junction and they’re awesome!

  • Robert Crevar says:

    Canfield Brothers Cramp Ons +

  • BenH says:

    Chromag Scarabs

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