Disclosure: When you buy through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission, but this never influences our opinion.

12 Best Clipless Pedals for Beginners (Reviewed Sep, 2020)

As a starter, riding with clipless pedals can be challenging. Many people occasionally start riding with these types of pedals and after a certain period of time, don’t want to use them anymore. So why do they want to ride with such types of pedals when it can be difficult? Because clipless pedals are best when it comes to efficient pedaling and performance. These pedals are designed based on specific riding intents. Unlike flat or platform pedals, these pedals always have the upper edges for providing ultimate performance, and sometimes it is more comfortable when you master riding with such pedals.

Most people lose the motivation to cycle with these types of paddles because of their miscalculations. Most of the time the reason behind not cycling with these pedals is the wrong selection of pedals. There are plenty of clipless pedals in the market and each of them is built for specific usage. Therefore, choosing the right set of pedals can be really tricky. And before starting cycling with these pedals, you should study about how they actually work. Then, you should research the best clipless pedals that suit your budget and fulfill your demands.

That is why we will introduce you to some of the best clipless pedals in this article so that your work becomes a bit easier and you can get a better guideline. Each of these pedals is simply best according to their own aspects and they will handle the job quite well for various users’ intents. Among all the products we really think the SHIMANO Ultegra PD-R8000 pedals beat all of them as you can use these pedals not just only for a particular intent but also for all types of cycling. So, we have entitled it as our “Overall Best Choice”.

SHIMANO Ultegra PD-R8000

Lightweight Pedals for Triathlon | Overall Best Choice

The SHIMANO Ultegra PD-R8000 pedals are the choices of the winners. These pedals deny compromising performance even for a bit. Shimano has leveraged them to a great extent to produce something useful for the professional and advanced cyclists. These lightweight carbon pedals have all the features that you will ever want. With the SPD-SL cleats, you can enjoy a better movement of your feet with a 6° float where most Shimano pedals only offer 4° of float. Moreover, with 33° road clearance; traction will be better than ever. This will provide more control for cornering and give you confidence for predictable steering. They also offer 4mm longer axles (come separately) to increase the Q-factor. In order to match the new 6811-speed group, they have been updated aesthetically.

  • Type: Clipless (SPD-SL)
  • Platform Dimension: 8.7” x 4.7” x 2.4”
  • Weight: 0.55 lbs (Pair)
  • Spindle Diameter: 9/16”
  • Body Material: Carbon Composite
  • Included Cleat: SM-SH11
  • Optional Cleat: SM-SH10, SM-SH12
  • Cleat Mount: 3-bolt
  • Axle Material: Chromoly Steel
  • Bearing Type: 3 Sealed Cartridge

 

In the following table, we’ve listed the best clipless pedals for the beginner cyclists:

Pedal NameBest for
SHIMANO PD-M530Best clipless pedals for beginner road riders
SHIMANO PD-EH500Great hybrid pedals with multi-release cleats
SHIMANO PD-RS500SPD-SL clipless pedals to beginner racers
SHIMANO Dura-Ace PD-9000Excellent selection to start with SPD-SL
SHIMANO Ultegra PD-R8000Lightweight pedals for triathlon beginners
SHIMANO PD-M520Good choice for MTB riders
SHIMANO XT PD-M8120Features excellent shoe-to-pedal contact
SHIMANO XTR PD-M9120Clipless bike pedal for XC riders
Crankbrothers Candy 2Customizable Float with Premium Bearings
Crankbrothers Mallet DHAppreciated by Many for Down-Hill
SHIMANO Saint PD-M820The Best Pair of Pedals for All-mountain and Enduro
Crankbrothers Doubleshot 1Outstanding Hybrid Pedals, Liked by Most People

12 best clipless pedals you can buy today for beginners

We have sketched out a comparison table so that you can easily compare all the products. This chart is specially made for those who are very busy with their work and where time is very crucial for them. But as usual, we highly suggest you read the full article to have in-depth details of all the products.

PedalPreviewTypeWeight (Pair)DimensionRelease AngleCleat MountBody Material
SHIMANO PD-M530SHIMANO PD-M530 Mountain PedalsClipless (dual entry)1 lbs0.6” x 0.6” x 0.4”-2-boltAluminum
SHIMANO PD-EH500SHIMANO PD-EH500; SPD Bike Pedals; Cleat Set Included; Dual Sided PlatformClipless (SPD)0.84 lbs7” x 6” x 3”-2-boltAluminum
SHIMANO PD-RS500SHIMANO Unisex – Adult's PD-RS500 SPD-SL Road Bike Pedal BlackClipless (SPD-SL) 0.7 lbs6.7” x 6.3” x 2”30°3-boltComposite (Resin)
SHIMANO Dura-Ace PD-9000SHIMANO Dura-Ace PD-9000 Carbon Road Pedal (Black/Grey)Clipless (SPD-SL)0.55 lbs7.9” x 3.2” x 1.6”35°3-boltCarbon
SHIMANO Ultegra PD-R8000Shimano Ultegra R8000 SPD-SL Carbon Road PedalsClipless (SPD-SL) 0.55 lbs8.7” x 4.7” x 2.4”33°3-boltCarbon Composite
SHIMANO PD-M520SHIMANO SPD Pedal Clipless PedalsClipless (dual entry)0.84 lbs4.6” x 4.1” x 3.9”-2-boltAlloy
SHIMANO XT PD-M8120SHIMANO DEORE XT PD-M8120 SPD Pedal, Without Reflector, Includes Cleat, Black, One SizeClipless (SPD)0.96 lbs9” x 5” x 3”-2-boltAluminum
SHIMANO XTR PD-M9120SHIMANO PD-M9120; XTR; SPD Flat Bike Pedal; Cleat Set IncludedClipless (dual entry)0.87 lbs8.3” x 4.3” x 2.4”-2-boltAnodized Aluminum
Crankbrothers Candy 2Candy 2 Charcoal / Black SpringClipless0.78 lbs3.4” x 2.7” x 0.6”15°-20°2-bolt6061-T6 Aluminum
Crankbrothers Mallet DHMallet DH Bike Pedal Pair, BlackClipless1.06 lbs8” x 8” x 8”15°-20°2-bolt6061-T6 Aluminum
SHIMANO Saint PD-M820SHIMANO Saint PD-M820 SPD Pedals Black; One SizeClipless (dual entry)1.25 lbs6” x 5” x 3”-2-boltAlloy
Crankbrothers Doubleshot 1Doubleshot 1 Black / Black SpringHybrid0.73 lbs7” x 5” x 3”10°2-boltComposite Nylon

Even if you are a beginner, you may want to concentrate on a specific style of cycling. As clipless pedals can be used for multiple types of cycling, we thought it would be better to categorize our selection into different parts. Therefore, all of the products from our list are the benchmarks for different types of cycling. So, take a look at the pedals that we have selected for various classification.

# For beginner road cyclists

[1]. SHIMANO PD-M530: Great Set of Pedals for Road

SHIMANO PD-M530

  • Type: Clipless (dual entry)
  • Platform Dimension: 0.6” x 0.6” x 0.4” 
  • Weight: 1 lbs (Pair) 
  • Spindle Diameter: 9/16”
  • Body Material: Aluminum
  • Included Cleat: SM-SH51 
  • Optional Cleat: SM-SH56
  • Cleat Mount: 2-bolt
  • Axle Material: Chrome-moly Steel
  • Bearing Type: Sealed Cartridge

Features & Considerations
  • Dual-sided Entry: Feature dual-sided entry that means these pedals can either be used as clipless pedals or used as platform pedals.
  • Large Platform Area: They are built with large surfaces so that load can be distributed to every corner for efficient pedaling.
  • Integrated Cage: Ride with confidence and stability while pedaling as you will get enough support for their integrated cages even when you are not clipped in.
  • Adjustable Tension System: Allow individual customization of the spring tension system for each pedal to get easy entry and exit.
  • SPD cleats: 2-bolt SPD cleats come with these pedals that support most SPD-style shoes.
  • Robust Retention Claws: The open binding mechanism is protected by the large cages and it is equipped with robust retention claws.
  • Build Quality: In order to make them highly resistant against any impact, these pedals are made of strong and durable Aluminum and come with chrome-moly Steel spindle axles.
  • Mud-shedding Design: These pedals are formulated with an open binding mud-shedding design to ensure a better mud-clearance.
  • Low Maintenance: A little maintenance is required for the stout spindle axles and they offer long-lasting service.
  • Available Reflector: In order to upgrade the visibility, an additional reflector part SM-PD60 can be found in the market.
  • Color: These pedals give you an option to choose from either Black or White color.
  • Warranty: You will probably be rewarded with a 2-year warranty depending on the retailer.

Some Weaknesses
  • These pedals are ok for the beginners but they can be heavy for some professional riders.
  • Their bearings may wear out before you expect them, which may indicate poor construction quality.
  • The cages of these paddles may not be as good as the other models in the series.
  • After a few days of use, these pedals may start clicking.

The PD-M530 pedals from Shimano are some of the budget-friendly models in their series. Yet these pedals are brilliant inventions for those who enjoy riding without much support from the cages. You can change your track from trails to tarmac whenever you like as these pedals offer more stability and control for their large surface areas. You will notice there is almost no mud or debris sticking on these pedals when you step in for their innovative mud-shedding design. Moreover, the adjustable spring tension allows riding with confidence and restrain you from not getting stuck on rocks or bristly surfaces.

We have found almost zero SPD compatible shoes that don’t match with these pedals. So, these pedals will work perfectly with any SPD shoes. Although the SM-SH51 cleats are included in the package, you can also use SM-SH56 cleats if you ever want to try out a different set of cleats. The make sure a minimum loss of power for stress-free pedaling. Their rigid structure has made an excellent choice for enduro, terrain, and all-mountain type cycling. These pedals won’t let your anticipated acceleration and speed down when you move to different terrain.

 

SHIMANO PD-M530 Mountain Pedals

SHIMANO PD-M530 Mountain Pedals

[2]. SHIMANO PD-EH500: Great Hybrid Pedals with Multi Release Cleats

SHIMANO PD-EH500

  • Type: Clipless (SPD)
  • Platform Dimension: 7” x 6” x 3” 
  • Weight: 0.84 lbs (Pair)
  • Spindle Diameter: 9/16”
  • Body Material: Aluminum
  • Included Cleat: SM-SH56
  • Optional Cleat: SM-SH51
  • Cleat Mount: 2-bolt
  • Axle Material: Chrome-moly Steel
  • Bearing Type: Sealed Cartridge

Features & Considerations
  • Dual-sided Design: These pedals have dual-sided platforms where one side can be used as a traditional platform and the other side features an SPD step-in design. 
  • Multipurpose: These are some of the versatile pedals that are convenient for road, touring, commuting, mountain, and urban cycling. 
  • Better Grip: When you are using the flat side of these pedals, you will enjoy better control for the improved grip.
  • Adjustable Tension System: With the spring tension system, you can adjust the entry and release tension. 
  • Light Action Binding Mechanism: Frequent clipping-in and out will be easier than ever with the light action open binding mechanism.
  • Low Maintenance: The sealed cartridge axle units don’t need much maintenance.
  • Included Multi-release Cleats: Instead of SM-SH51 cleats, these pedals are equipped with multi-release SM-SH56 cleats.
  • Compatible Shoes: These pedals are best suited for MT and CT shoes.
  • Available Reflector: An optional reflector part SM-PD68 needs to be bought separately in order to enhance visibility.
  • Build Quality: The build quality of these pedals consists of strong pedal bodies made of Aluminum and Steel chrome-moly axle units.
  • Warranty: A 2-year warranty will be offered with these pedals against any defects in workmanship and materials.

Some Weaknesses
  • The sides of the platforms maybe a little too narrow when you are not riding with the clipless side on the downhill.
  • The threads may strip out from the pedals as a result of applying a minimum amount of force when installing them.  
  • The spring tension may seem to be quite weak even in its utmost settings.

The SHIMANO PD-EH500 pedals were designed for multipurpose performance and allow you to either clip into them for SPD style cycling or flip them over to crank on their wide platforms. These pedals cannot ignore performance as well as ease while cycling whether they are clipped-in or not. So, these can be great choices for those who don’t like always riding with SPD compatible shoes.

These grey colored pedals offer relatively faster getting in and out for their light action open binding mechanism. And the flat side can offer an excellent grip for better control even in wet conditions. Instead of the SM-SH51 standard cleats, they come with multi-release SM-SH56 cleats that can be mounted with 2-bolt SPD compatible shoes. Hence these pedals are best suited with Shimano CT and MT shoe models.

SHIMANO PD-EH500

SHIMANO PD-EH500

# For beginner road racing

[3]. SHIMANO PD-RS500: Great SPD-SL pedals to Start Racing

SHIMANO PD-RS500 Pedals

  • Type: Clipless (SPD-SL) 
  • Platform Dimension: 6.7” x 6.3” x 2” 
  • Weight: 0.7 lbs (Pair)
  • Spindle Diameter: 9/16″
  • Body Material: Composite (Resin)
  • Included Cleat: SM-SH11
  • Optional Cleat: SM-SH10, SM-SH12
  • Cleat Mount: 3-bolt
  • Axle Material: Chrome-moly Steel
  • Bearing Type: Sealed Cartridge

Features & Considerations
  • Extra-wide Platform: These pedals have super wide platforms in order to make sure you can easily step in and step out.
  • Adjustable Spring System: These pedals confirm gentle entry and exit of your feet with their lighter spring tension adjustment, which is optimized for the novice.
  • Greater Entry Target: Your feet will have better engagement and contact with the pedals for larger entry targets. 
  • Cascaded Feature: These pedals tend to have cascade features from top-level systems.
  • Power Transmission: Due to their extra-wide platforms, they can offer excellent transmission of power with optimum pedaling for greater efficiency.
  • Compatibility: These pedals are compatible with Shimano SPD-SL shoes and can be used with multiple SPD-SL cleats.
  • Low Maintenance: Come with low maintenance sealed cartridge bearings and axle units. 
  • Build Quality: The inner part of the pedal body is made of stainless steel that makes them very resilient and their outer synthetic resin body makes them torsion-resistant and wear-resistant. 
  • Binding Mechanism: These pedals feature an open binding mechanism on a single side of their platforms.
  • Available Reflector: Use an optional reflector part SM-PD58 for enhanced visibility and it is sold separately.
  • Warranty: Shimano will warrant this product for 2 years against any defect in material and workmanship.

Some Weaknesses
  • These pedals can not flush out mud or debris like the other decent pedals from Shimano.
  • Some users have reported they have found the cleats not very authentic.

The SHIMANO PD-RS500 SPD-SL pedals are optimized for the novice riders and make them ready to conquer almost any type of ride. Make frequent entry and exit on these pedals easily for the lighter spring tension adjustment. These pedals have some of the essential features that are needed for any entry-level riders, especially those who are new to clipless pedals. In addition, these pedals provide larger entry targets for their extra-wide platforms. This will make a better engagement of your feet with the pedals meaning you can comfortably clip-in before riding and quickly clip-out at traffic or rest-stops.

The PD-RS500 pedals won’t disappoint you on any type of cycling. Either you are racing or hauling with a group, these pedals are just perfect for both. Stainless steel is inserted in the pedal body and covered with composite resin materials that make these pedals highly resilient. Get a 6° float with the included SM-SH11 cleats and you can switch the angle of float either 0° or 2° by using the SM-SH10 and SM-SH12 cleats correspondingly. The 30° release angle will always provide you better traction for racing.

SHIMANO PD-RS500 Pedals

SHIMANO PD-RS500 Pedals

[4]. SHIMANO Dura-Ace PD-9000: Excellent Selection to Start with SPD-SL

SHIMANO Dura-Ace PD-9000 SPD

  • Type: Clipless (SPD-SL) 
  • Platform Dimension: 7.9” x 3.2” x 1.6”
  • Weight: 0.55 lbs (Pair)
  • Spindle Diameter: 9/16”
  • Body Material: Carbon
  • Included Cleat: SM-SH12
  • Optional Cleat: SM-SH11, SM-SH10
  • Cleat Mount: 3-bolt
  • Axle Material: Chromoly Steel
  • Bearing Type: 2 (Ball) + 1 (Roller)

Features & Considerations
  • 3-bearing Axle: These pedals feature a 3-bearing axle that is equipped with 2 ball bearings and a roller bearing for spinning the crank axle fluently.
  • Extra-wide Platform: The platforms are super wide that ensure the load pressure will apply not only in the center of the pedal but also on every corner equally.   
  • Sufficient Power Transit: These extra-wide surfaces enable efficient power transfer that offers stress-free pedaling for covering long distances.
  • SPD-SL Cleat: Blue SPD-SL cleats from Shimano will be offered with these pedals that are 3-bolt mount for easy entry and release.
  • Steel Plate: There are replaceable stainless Steel protector plates covering the surfaces of these pedals to improve their longevity.
  • Adjustable Tension System: Determine the right amount of force for entering and releasing your feet from the pedals by adjusting the tension system.
  • Build Quality: These pedals were built to last long as they were injection-molded with Carbon composites and the spindle axles were made of chrome-moly steel.  
  • Longer Axle Unit: A 4mm longer axle is available that enables a wide Q-factor while cycling. 
  • Available Reflector: Get better visibility by purchasing an optional reflector part SM-PD63. 
  • Package: All mounting hardware and a pair of cleats will come along with this pair of pedals.
  • Color: There are two colors available for these pedals, one is Black and another one is Grey.
  • Warranty: Shimano will cover these pedals with a 3-year warranty.

Some Weaknesses
  • Sealed bearings should have been used in such quality pedals instead of open cage bearings.
  • Servicing these open cage bearings can be a bit of a nightmare.
  • Despite having a carbon composite body, these pedals are not that light.

The Shimano Dura-Ace PD 9000 pedals have the ultimate carbon-infused power transfer platforms. When you are looking for nothing but absolute performance for road cycling, these are top-of-the-line pedals that you can find in the market. If you are wondering what made these pedals exceptional, then you will actually notice plenty of changes. For instance, these pedals are now equipped with new cleats and they have wider surfaces in order to have positioning adjustability. As a whole, these pedals can provide efficient power transfer and superior comfort simultaneously while pedaling.

The wider surfaces also offer better engagement and disengagement between your shoe and the pedal as you don’t have to look down to locate the pedals. This gives you more confidence while riding. These are SPD-SL LS road pedals that actually means “Long Spindle” for LS. As a result, these pedals can be used with 4mm longer axles than the standard ones. This was made for those who enjoy a wider Q-factor while riding. These pedals provide better traction and cornering with 35° road clearance and adjust the float to ±1° to limit toe movement between the pedal and cleat.

SHIMANO Dura-Ace PD-9000 SPD

SHIMANO Dura-Ace PD-9000 SPD

# For beginner triathlon riders

[5] SHIMANO Ultegra PD-R8000: Lightweight Pedals for Triathlon | Overall Best Choice

SHIMANO Ultegra PD-R8000 Pedals

  • Type: Clipless (SPD-SL) 
  • Platform Dimension: 8.7” x 4.7” x 2.4”
  • Weight: 0.55 lbs (Pair)
  • Spindle Diameter: 9/16”
  • Body Material: Carbon Composite
  • Included Cleat: SM-SH11
  • Optional Cleat: SM-SH10, SM-SH12
  • Cleat Mount: 3-bolt
  • Axle Material: Chromoly Steel
  • Bearing Type: 3 Sealed Cartridge

Features & Considerations
  • Extra-wide Platform: Stroke harder on the extra-wide platforms of these pedals for more power transfer and efficient pedaling.
  • Wide Bearing: Although they come with 3 sealed cartridge bearings, you can replace them with wide bearings for better handling and control that will lead to smooth pedaling. 
  • Adjustable Tension System: With this adjustable tension setting, you can dial the appropriate feel when entering and exiting the pedals.
  • SPD-SL Cleat: Cleats are 3-hole designed and compatible with 3-bolt design SPD-SL shoes.
  • Steel Wear Plate: Stainless Steel wear plates are covering the Carbon body to protect them from any direct abrasion from the cleats and these plates are replaceable.
  • Longer Axle Unit: Longer 4mm axle units are available for these pedals if you like to ride with a wider Q-factor.
  • Low Profile Design: They have a sleek and low profile design to provide better cornering clearance.
  • Easy Installation: A 8mm wrench mount installation process of these pedals is quite easy.
  • Build Quality: These pedals are light yet rigid for their Carbon composite construction that is injection-molded.
  • Lightweight: The carbon-composite construction of these pedals has made them extremely light. 
  • Available Reflector: These pedals are compatible with an optional reflector part SM-PD63. 
  • Warranty: You should probably get a 2-year manufacturer warranty for these pedals.

Some Weaknesses
  • These pedals work much better when you are trying to cover long road distances rather than short distances.
  • If you do aggressive cycling with these pedals, you may have to tighten the cleats again and again.

 

The Shimano Ultegra PD R8000 is the role model of high-quality pedals. With all the necessary features, these pedals don’t compromise anything for ultimate performance. Hence their aesthetic has been updated to a great extent in order to match the new 6811-speed group. These pedals ensure a 10mm height from the center of the axle to the cleat. These pedals were leveraged by Shimano to provide something worthy for the professional cyclists. This video shows an awesome overview of these pedals and their installation process – 

Enjoy better traction than before for their 33° road clearance and the SPD-SL cleats allow you to adjust the float to 6°. This will help you to move your feet freely on the pedals while you are clipped in. Again, this also makes an improved engagement and disengagement of your feet with the pedals. The SM-SH11 cleats will be given with these pedals and as alternatives, you can either use SM-SH10 or SM-SH12 cleats. All in all, these pedals really prove to be the true successor of the Shimano Dura-Ace PD-9100 flagship model.

SHIMANO Ultegra PD-R8000 Pedals

SHIMANO Ultegra PD-R8000 Pedals

# For beginner mountain/gravel/trail riders

[6] SHIMANO PD-M520: Good Choice for MTB

SHIMANO PD-M520

  • Type: Clipless (dual entry)
  • Platform Dimension: 4.6” x 4.1” x 3.9” 
  • Weight: 0.84 lbs (Pair) 
  • Spindle Diameter: 9/16”
  • Body Material: Alloy
  • Included Cleat: SM-SH51 
  • Optional Cleat: SM-SH56
  • Cleat Mount: 2-bolt
  • Axle Material: Chrome-moly Steel
  • Bearing Type: Sealed Cartridge

Features & Considerations
  • Compact Body: These pedals were designed in a compact shape with open binding to access them easily.  
  • SPD System: They come with recessed SPD style cleats that will make efficient pedaling and work just perfectly with a handful of shoes.   
  • Open Binding: For easy entry and release, these pedals feature fluorine-coated binding claws and the open binding design will allow a smooth adjustment of your feet. 
  • Adjustable Tension System: No matter which side of the pedal you are using, the dual-sided spring tension adjustment will allow feasible pedaling. 
  • Mud-shedding Design: These pedals offer a superior open pattern design that works better for shedding mud and debris than other models in their class.
  • Build Quality: Preserving Shimano’s standard, these pedals are made of strong Aluminum with Steel chrome-moly spindle axles.  
  • Available Reflector: Buy the optional reflector part SM-PD22 to improve visibility at night. 
  • Low Maintenance: Cartridge axles are sealed and they require very low maintenance.
  • Easy Installation: Like most other models in the series, the assembly of these pedals is very easy and an 8mm Allen wrench is mandatory. 
  • Color: Lets you the option to choose between Black or White color.
  • Warranty: According to policy, you should get a 2-year manufacturer’s warranty with these pedals.

Some Weaknesses
  • The cleats are relatively short and you may have to deal with bruises if you haven’t adjusted 
  • The bearings may wear out quickly and they may leak grease. 
  • After using for a short period of time, the bearings may start clicking

The Shimano PD-M520 pedals were perfected for road and MTB cyclists and these pedals offer classic SPD performance and reliability. These pedals will come within your budget. As a result, when someone wants to start riding with clipless pedals; he can grab these affordable pedals. Again, these pedals can be considered some of the best pedals for seasoned veterans. These pedals are the proud members of the DEORE M6000 series.

When you compare these pedals with some of the expensive models such as Shimano XT or XTR brethren, you can notice these pedals use the same entry and release control mechanism as them. These are reasonable with their weights and for their faux bear trap alloy cage, they can offer extra support for mountain, gravel and road cycling. When you purchase them, you will get a pair of SM-SH51 cleats that offer ±4° float. But the SM-SH56 cleats can be also used with these pedals. 

SHIMANO PD-M520

SHIMANO PD-M520

[7] SHIMANO XT PD-M8120: Features Excellent Shoe-to-pedal Contact

SHIMANO XT PD-M8120

  • Type: Clipless (SPD)
  • Platform Dimension: 9” x 5” x 3” 
  • Weight: 0.96 lbs (Pair) 
  • Spindle Diameter: 9/16”
  • Body Material: Aluminum 
  • Included Cleat: SM-SH51 
  • Optional Cleat: SM-SH56
  • Cleat Mount: 2-bolt
  • Axle Material: Chrome-moly Steel
  • Bearing Type: Sealed Cartridge

Features & Considerations
  • Wide Pedal Surface: Experience maximum shoe-to-pedal contact while riding for the wide surfaces of these pedals.
  • Integrated Cage: Protecting the binding mechanism from any kind of impact, these pedals are integrated with large cages for providing better stability and control even when you are not clipped-in.
  • Robust Retention Claws: The robust retention claws allow pleasant engagement and disengagement of your feet with these pedals.
  • Low Stack Height: The sleek platform design leads to a lower stack height for the cleat that keeps your foot adjusted with the pedal for fierce cycling.
  • Adjustable Tension System: For flexible entry and release, these pedals allow you to tune the tension system according to your preference.
  • Included Cleat Spacer: The package includes 1mm tuned spacers to accommodate various shoe designs as they have different outsoles and lug heights. 
  • Compatible Shoes: These pedals are compatible with most AM and ME series off-road shoes.
  • Build Quality: These pedals are remarkably strong and viable for their durable Aluminum construction and they have chrome-moly Steel cartridge axles.
  • Easy Installation: Promote easy 8mm hex wrench mount installation.
  • Available Reflector: An optional reflector part SM-PD60 sells separately in order to enhance visibility.
  • Warranty: Hopefully, Shimano will offer a 2-year warranty for this product depending on the condition.

Some Weaknesses
  • Unlike other SPD pedals, these pedals are poor for shedding mud and debris.
  • Careful, you cannot expect these pedals to work with all types of shoe-models.
  • Some users have found them unnecessarily heavy for mountain biking.

The Shimano XT PD-M8120 pedals extend the contact zones for their wide platform surfaces and allow you to gain control over aggressive cycling. Those who like to get the support of wider cages should definitely choose these pedals. These integrated wider cages grant maximum power flow for efficient pedaling and protect the binding mechanism acting like shields. They are also helpful for letting you engage and release the pedals very easily.

These pedals come with the standard SM-SH51 cleats and as an option, allow you to use the SM-SH56 cleats. These pedals are the part of DEORE XT M8100 series and all of the pedals from this series have proved to be very well-suited for enduro, trail and all-mountain type cycling. All the pedals from this series have gone through some extensive tests on trails and the venerable XT group gets updated every year. For serious mountain bikers, the legacy of the XT pedals seems very important. The XT PD-M8120 pedals are less heavy than their previous M8120 model and offer ±4° float.

SHIMANO XT PD-M8120

SHIMANO XT PD-M8120

# For beginner XC riders

[8] SHIMANO XTR PD-M9120: Bike Pedal for XC

SHIMANO XTR PD-M9120

  • Type: Clipless (dual entry)
  • Platform Dimension: 8.3” x 4.3” x 2.4”
  • Weight: 0.87 lbs (Pair)
  • Spindle Diameter: 9/16”
  • Body Material: Anodized Aluminum
  • Included Cleat: SM-SH51
  • Optional Cleat: SM-SH56
  • Cleat Mount: 2-bolt
  • Axle Material: Chrome-moly Steel
  • Bearing Type: Sealed Cartridge

Features & Considerations
  • Large Shoe-to-pedal Contact Area: Wider and longer platforms for edge-to-edge contact reinforcing strong shoe-to-pedal interface.
  • Increased Stability and Control: Wider platforms increase control for efficient pedaling through constant power transfer. 
  • Wide Bearing Placement: Maintains rigidity for spinning the crankset as the bearings are placed in wider spaces for a uniform distribution of load.
  • Mud-shedding Design: These pedals are innovative for their mud-shedding design that will make sure better mud clearance when you step in. 
  • Binding Mechanism: The integrated cages facilitate not only clear access but also protect the dual-sided binding mechanism from impacts.
  • Slim Axle: The axle housing of these paddles is very slim, which works well for removing mud and debris.
  • Compatible Shoes: These pedals are tuned in an appropriate way to remain fully functional with AM, ME, and Enduro shoes. 
  • Build Quality: These pedals are the product of strong anodized Aluminum and the Chrome-moly Steel construction has made the axles more durable.
  • Included Cleat Spacer: To adjust the stack height, a pair of 1.0mm cleat spacers will be provided with these pedals. 
  • Available Reflector: If you want to make these pedals more visible while riding, then you have to purchase the additional SM-PD60 reflector part.
  • Easy Installation: Installation is fair and effortless and an 8mm hex wrench is needed.
  • Warranty: These pedals are covered with a 3-year manufacturer’s warranty.

Some Weaknesses
  • The seals of the bearings may last for a ride or two and then, they might come out.
  • They are pretty similar to the XT models, there is not much difference except for the 1mm reduction in thickness.

Get a maximum edge-to-edge contact for feasible pedaling as the wide and long platforms on the Shimano XTR PD-M9120 pedals will stabilize shoe-to-pedal interference. These SPD style pedals work flawlessly with most sneakers that have flat outsoles like AM and ME shoes. Then again, a pair of 1.0mm rider-tuned cleat spacers will be included to accommodate various shoe designs with random outsoles and lug heights. These pedals belong to the XTR M9100 series, which is the weapon of choice for the World Cycling champions as all of the pedals from this series can offer traction control and predictable steering for any kind of cycling.    

These pedals offer outstanding performance for enduro, gravel, trail and all-mountain type cycling. Even if you are not clipped, the wider platforms will ensure maximum efficiency for optimum pedaling by transmitting power and improving control. The SM-SH51 standard cleats are included with these pedals and these pedals give you the option to use the SM-SH56 multi-release cleats. Small or medium size shoes ranging from 36 to 43 and medium or large size shoes ranging from 43 to 48 can adjust with these pedals and they should be compatible with the SPD mechanism.

SHIMANO XTR PD-M9120

SHIMANO XTR PD-M9120

[9] Crankbrothers Candy 2: Customizable Float with Premium Bearings

Crankbrothers Candy 2

  • Type: Clipless
  • Platform Dimension: 3.4” x 2.7” x 0.6” 
  • Weight: 0.78 lbs (Pair)
  • Spindle Diameter: 9/16”
  • Body Material: 6061-T6 Aluminum 
  • Included Cleat: Premium Brass Cleat
  • Optional Cleat: Easy Cleat, Standard Cleat
  • Cleat Mount: 2-bolt
  • Axle Material: Steel (SCM 435 CrMo)
  • Bearing Type: Igus LL-glide (inner), Enduro cartridge (outer)

Features & Considerations
  • Composite Body: The body of each pedal is ribbed to make them compact in shape for having better contact between the pedal and your toe.
  • Four-sided Entry: These pedals offer you to enter them with 4 sides and make the entry relatively quicker than any pedals. 
  • Snap-on Traction Pad Technology: If you want to customize the interface between the shoe and the pedal, these pedals support snap-on traction interchangeable pads that need to be bought separately. 
  • Wings: They offer Steel stamped wings to increase rigidity. 
  • Bearings: Premium bearings are equipped with these pedals and they are double sealed. 
  • Stack Height: For better ground clearance, these pedals feature slim stack heights when you clipped-in.
  • Superior Mud-shedding Design: Their superior mud-shedding design lets you have reliable and feasible entry even when you are gunked up with mud.
  • Customizable Float: They offer you to gently customize the float to ±6°.
  • Customizable Release Angle: With these pedals, you can customize the release angle from 15° to 20°.
  • Q-factor: These pedals are fantastic for the people who love riding with pleasant Q-factor as they offer 52mm of Q-factor. 
  • Build Quality: Built maintaining quality and standard with 6061-T6 Aluminum where SCM 435 Chromoly forged Steel was used to make the spindle. So, you don’t have to worry about breaking them.   
  • Spring Material: The newly designed spring of the pedal is made of 300 series stainless steel that makes them protective from fatigue.
  • Lightweight: The airtight internal parts of these pedals make them light as feathers. 
  • Color: Charcoal and Green are the two official colors of these pedals but you can also find them in other fancy colors depending on the retailer.
  • Warranty: You will get a 5-year warranty with this product, which is awesome.

Some Weaknesses
  • You may need to pay a hefty sum of money for their maintenance and upgrade.
  • Many users have complained that traction pins of these pedals became loose on their first ride.
  • These are quite similar to the Candy 1 pedals, except they are lighter.

The Crankbrothers Candy 2 pedals are from the ‘Candy’ series and they have proved to be some of the versatile pedals for cross-country, trail, gravel, and cyclocross type cycling. The ‘Candy’ series includes the following pedals – Candy 1, Candy 2, Candy 3, Candy 7, and Candy 11. Among all the pedals of this series, we found the Candy 2 pedals promote all the important features within a pretty affordable price. Hence they are not cheaper than the Candy 1 pedals and the high-end Candy 11 pedals have Titanium wings and spindle axles.

You can easily customize the float and release angle for these pedals and unlike the Candy 1 pedals, a pair of premium brass cleats are included with them with shims to get you the appropriate height when you clipped in. They are excellent for shedding mud and debris and for their fancy colors, they will certainly look cool on any bike. Their four-sided entry allows you to clip in easily and quickly as you don’t have to look down and locate the pedals. These pedals are some great choice for trail riders and gravel grinders who are seeking something durable and easy to use.

Crankbrothers Candy 2

Crankbrothers Candy 2

# For beginner Down-Hill riders

[10] Crankbrothers Mallet DH: Appreciated by Many for Down-Hill 

Crankbrothers Mallet MTB Bike Pedal

  • Type: Clipless 
  • Platform Dimension: 8” x 8” x 8” 
  • Weight: 1.06 lbs (Pair)
  • Spindle Diameter: 9/16”
  • Body Material: 6061-T6 Aluminum 
  • Included Cleat: Premium Brass Cleat
  • Optional Cleat: Easy Cleat, Standard Cleat
  • Cleat Mount: 2-bolt
  • Axle Material: Steel (SCM 435 CrMo) 
  • Bearing Type: Igus LL-glide (inner), Enduro cartridge (outer)

Features & Considerations
  • Concave Design: Concave shaped platforms with a textured finish in order to hold your feet securely. 
  • Four-sided Entry: Feature 4-sided entry for ease of entry and makes it relatively quicker than most pedals.
  • Better Traction: The ribbed body of these pedals provide excellent traction even when you are unclipped.
  • Traction Pad Technology: Now you will be able to customize the interface conveniently as these pedals support interchangeable traction pads.
  • Adjustable Pins: These paddles have 8 fully adjustable pins on each side so that you can get a better grip during cycling and the textured frame takes it to another level.
  • Wings: Wings have become stronger for their 17-4PH Stainless Steel construction.
  • Bearings: These pedals have inboard Igus LL-glide bearings and outboard Enduro cartridge bearings that are premium and double sealed.  
  • Chamfered Edges: Traction improves even better for the chamfered edges that are very effective for limiting rock strikes.
  • Customizable Float: Unlike Shimano pedals where you can only have a ±4° float, these pedals allow you customize the float to ±6°.
  • Customizable Release Angle: These pedals let you customize the release angle from 15° up to 20°.  
  • Q-factor: The distance from the center of the pedal to the crank arm is almost 57mm which means you can ride comfortably with decent Q-factor. 
  • Superior Mud-shedding Design: The 4-sided entry plays a vital role in providing these pedals a superior mud-shedding design. 
  • Build Quality: They have a stiff yet lightweight body for their 6061-T6 Aluminum construction and the SCM 435 Chromoly Steel spindles reduce flex and pedal body wear. Spring
  • Material: 300-series stainless Steel is used to make the engagement springs.
  • Durable End Cap: The durability of these pedals increase to another level for their hex alloy end cap.
  • Color: Black and Red color pedals officially produced from the company and you can find different eye-catching colors by searching into various shops. 
  • Warranty: Crank Brothers offer a 5-year warranty with these pedals, which is great.

Some Weaknesses
  • Compared to the other high-end pedals, you have to deal with difficulties in order to release your feet from these pedals.
  • Sadly, these pedals don’t offer an adjustable release tension.
  • If the pedals get muddy, then it will be difficult to adjust the traction pins.
  • You have to spend a considerable amount of money to buy these pedals.

When it comes to ultimate DownHill cycling, the Crankbrothers Mallet DH pedals are undoubtedly the best selections. Crank Brothers has produced various types of Mallet pedals and the DH variants are simply the best for DownHill type cycling. That is why these pedals are highly recommended by many professionals and they are the choice of the DH World champions. Greg Minnaar, 3 times DH World champion finds these pedals truly deserving to be the best for DownHill. This following video from Crank Brothers shows his perspectives about these pedals – 

 

With that being said, these pedals come with premium brass cleats with shims so that you can adjust a suitable interface between your foot and the pedal. Where Shimano cleats only offer a ±4° float, these cleats are able to adjust the float angle to ±6°. And the customizable release angle gives you better clearance while you are speeding up on DownHill. The traction has increased to a whole new level for their concave shape, textured finish, and rigid body. And they also support a technology where you can change the traction pads. 

However, there is also a special edition of these pedals in the contribution of 4 times DH World champion Loic Bruni. These are called the Mallet DH Super Bruni Edition and they are quite different from the normal ones. Featuring many similar facilities as the normal Mallet DH pedals, they have 5mm longer axles that increase the durability up to 50% and they are decorated with asymmetrical double-anodized red and blue color.

Crankbrothers Mallet MTB Bike Pedal

Crankbrothers Mallet MTB Bike Pedal

# For beginner Enduro riding

[11] SHIMANO Saint PD-M820: The Best Pair of Pedals for All-mountain and Enduro

SHIMANO Saint PD-M820 SPD Pedals

  • Type: Clipless (dual entry)
  • Platform Dimension: 6” x 5” x 3”
  • Weight: 1.25 lbs (Pair)  
  • Spindle Diameter: 9/16”
  • Body Material: Alloy
  • Included Cleat: SM-SH51 
  • Optional Cleat: SM-SH56
  • Cleat Mount: 2-bolt
  • Axle Material: Chrome-moly Steel
  • Bearing Type: Sealed Cartridge (Angular Contact)

Features & Considerations
  • Wider Contact Area: These pedals offer large platforms for getting maximum contact area and they are suitable with a variety of AM shoes. 
  • Height Adjustable Pins: There are 4 adjustable pins on each platform so that you can adjust your preferable height when your foot is not clipped into the pedal.
  • Binding Mechanism: Robust retention claws will level the engagement and release of your feet with the pedals smoothly and the large pedal body will protect the binding mechanism.
  • Adjustable Tension System: With the help of an adjustable spring tension system, you can dial in the right feel of entry and exit of your feet with the pedals. 
  • Thinner Body: These pedals have a thin design that helps them avoid obstacles and helps to get a lower stack height when you are using cleats.
  • Included Cleat Spacer: To accommodate various types of shoes, these pedals come with two 1.0mm cleat spacers that also helps you to get the preferable height when you are using cleats.
  • Mud-shedding Design: The open binding mud-shedding design of these pedals helps to flush out mud and debris at the time you step in.
  • Build Quality: These pedals feature a strong and rigid non-pop-up Alloy body that makes them simple where chrome-moly Steel was used to make the spindle axles.
  • Easy Installation: These pedals propose simple installation and as usual, the process requires an 8mm hex wrench mount.
  • Available Reflector: To enhance the visibility these pedals are coherent with an additional SM-PD60 reflector part, which needs to be bought separately.  
  • Warranty: This product should probably be backed up by a 2-year warranty.

Some Weaknesses
  • While entering, your feet might get interfered by the traction pins and the platform at the back of these pedals.
  • Some people have accused these paddles of being heavier than other SPD models.

You will find the Shimano M820 Saint SPD pedals cogent straight out of their boxes. These are some of the hefty pedals available in the market that are slim yet have wider surfaces measuring 19mm from the center to the edge of the platform. Surprisingly, you can adjust your foot height conveniently with 4 adjustable traction pins. Two of these pins are located at the front and two are at the back on each side of the platform. These pedals may offer similar engagement and disengagement as the Shimano XT M8120 model.

These pedals are some of the reliable products constructed with Aluminum that is tuned by machine and the axle units are made of chrome-moly Steel containing dual cup and cone bearings. They will look elegant on your bike for their gold anodized lock bushes. These pedals come with the standard SM-SH51 cleats and you can use the SM-SH56 cleats as an option. And like most of the SPD pedals, these cleats offer ±4° float adjustment.

SHIMANO Saint PD-M820 SPD Pedals

SHIMANO Saint PD-M820 SPD Pedals

# For beginner commuters

[12] Crankbrothers Doubleshot 1: Outstanding Hybrid Pedals, Liked by Most People

Crankbrothers Doubleshot Hybrid Bike Pedal

  • Type: Hybrid 
  • Platform Dimension: 7” x 5” x 3”
  • Weight: 0.73 lbs (Pair)
  • Spindle Diameter: 9/16”
  • Body Material: Composite Nylon
  • Included Cleat: Easy Cleat (10° Release)
  • Optional Cleat: Standard Cleat (15° Release)
  • Cleat Mount: 2-bolt
  • Axle Material: Steel (SCM 435 CrMo)
  • Bearing Type: Igus LL-glide (inner), Enduro cartridge (outer)

Features & Considerations
  • Hybrid Design: Enjoy the benefit of both flat and clipless cycling with these hybrid-pedals and this feature makes these pedals great for adapting various riding conditions.  
  • Better Traction: Having diamond-plate pads will allow you to feel better traction while increasing speed and acceleration.
  • Enhanced Grip: Even when you are speeding up, your feet will have a better grip for the molded ribs and pins.
  • Bearing: The bearings of these paddles are premium in quality and remain durable for their double seal system.
  • 10° Release Angle: These pedals come with the Easy cleats and you can get a 10° release angle on them.
  • Mud-Shedding Design: These pedals have a superior mud-shedding design with concave platforms for better mud-clearance.
  • Build Quality: These pedals are made from the composites of Nylon and their spindle axles are made of forged SCM 435 Chromoly Steel. 
  • Color: Matching your bike’s color, you will be able to buy these pedals in Black, Blue, or Red color.
  • Warranty: A 5-year industry-leading warranty will be offered with these pedals.

Some Weaknesses
  • If you are a cyclist who loves to ride on dicey terrains, then these pedals won’t do much good to you.
  • Although these pedals were built with a unique concept, they are not just good for mountain cycling.
  • While riding, you may notice the flat surfaces are quite slippery.

Eliminating the traditional 4-way engagement, the Crankbrothers Doubleshot series pedals let you enjoy the benefits of both worlds with double-sided engagement where one side of these pedals can be used as a casual flat pedal for recreational cycling and the other side can be used as a clipless for riding aggressively on trails or mountains. These pedals will decorate your bike with an aesthetic appearance and for their variety of fancy colors, you will get the option to choose the right one that matches your bike. These pedals come with the Easy cleats that have a 10° release and allow you to change the release angle to 15° if you use the optional Standard cleats.

“Invent a product that can make the ride better than the last one” – keeping this philosophy, the ‘Crankbrothers’ started their journey back in 1997 and they started in their small garage at Laguna Beach. Today, this company makes world-class bicycle accessories including wheels, tools, droppers, pumps, and pedals. They have achieved reputation globally and general people, as well as world-class athletes; highly praise all of their products.   

Crankbrothers Doubleshot Hybrid Bike Pedal

Crankbrothers Doubleshot Hybrid Bike Pedal


Buying Guide

Everything You Want to Know About Clipless Mechanism

Okay, we all know that the clipless mechanism includes some sort of cleats in order to function. So, what are cleats? Cleats are actually a piece of metal that attaches under the shoe of a compatible shoe to fasten your feet tightly with the pedals all the time when you are cycling.

Tension Release:

In this system, the cleats are connected with the pedals through a spring tension mechanism where you have to turn your feet in order to release them from the pedals. Although the overall function works pretty much the same for all clipless pedals, few significant changes might be seen for different systems. All of the clipless pedals feature some type of release tension feature where you can adjust the tension according to your own preference. Most clipless pedals have this type of feature except for a few Crank Brothers Mallet edition pedals. Beginner level riders prefer to easily get their feet out of the pedals. Therefore, light and flexible tension adjustment is suitable for them. Then again, advanced and professional riders want a firm and rigid attachment of their feet with the pedals as this type of setting does not allow the foot to slip off unintentionally while aggressive cycling.    

Float Adjustment:

Float adjustment measures the flexibility and feelings of your feet when you clip-in and out. The characteristics of the pedal play a significant role in acquiring the float angle while your pedaling style doesn’t have much to do here. How much can you freely rotate your feet while they are on the pedals – that is defined by the float angle. At first, you may think having a small float angle is a benefit as the theory says you can release your feet effortlessly. But in practice, riders have found that having a large float angle is much better because you will be able to turn your feet while cornering and that will make predictable and active steering. Your foot may slip unconditionally while cornering or steering if you have a small float angle.

Different cleats with different float and release angles have been produced by various manufacturers. For example, Crank Brothers cleats offer 6° float; which means you can turn your feet between 0° to 6°. And these pedals have a release angle from 15° to 20°. On the other hand, Shimano cleats offer a 4° float that is 2° less than the Crank Brothers cleats. Remember, having a large float angle is better as it allows your feet to have better free movement. Then again, if the release angle is much larger than the float angle; it can make the entry and release much more difficult.

Contact Area:

Having a larger contact area helps a lot for distributing the power to each section of the platform. This eventually transmits power for efficient pedaling. It also makes you confident enough for clipless pedaling, especially when you are new. Because of having larger platforms, you don’t have to look down and locate the pedals in order to clip-in. Larger platforms ensure you have better edge-to-edge contact while pedaling.

People have a common misconception of the contact area. They think the better contact area can be achieved in those pedals that have long pins and larger cages. But that is not quite true. Pedals are combined with different types of shoes and there lies the difference. When you compare riding with different shoe models, you will notice the pins and cages contact the sole partially. Usually, your shoe floats above the platform. So, don’t think you will get much contact area just by looking at the large platform, it usually depends on reality. Compared to the traditional XC parts, you may experience better contact area with the modern clipless pedals that are suitable for enduro and trail.

Connection Between The Shoe and Pedal:

There are no specific standards for the connection between your shoe and the pedal. Depending on the manufacturer, the depth and the contact area between the pedals and soles varies a lot. With different types of cleats and shoes, you can experience different depths and recess areas. The pedals offered by Shimano, Nukeproof, HT, Sixpack work very well with most shoe types. A small contact area is offered by the pedals in the best possible scenario, the rest is done by the sole. Therefore, it is wise to choose a pair of shoes that have stiff soles.

DMR and Crank Brothers offer some of the pedals with relatively large platform cages. Aside from stiff soles, these pedals work pretty well with soft soles. However, these pedals adjust to various areas of the sole and the adjustment can be more complicated. The distance between the outer-sole and the cleat can be adjusted via shims and cleat spacers. As a result, it doesn’t only rely on the shoe and the pedal. But once everything is perfectly tuned, you will have greater advantages.            

Conclusion

If you have read the whole article taking your time and deeply noticing all the products, we think you should get a basic idea of what type of clipless pedal works best for what type of cycling. We also think you are now prepared to buy good quality clipless pedals after reading this article. We have selected all the products on our list through exclusive research and testing for countless hours. They are obviously some of the best pedals available in the market. So, if you really want to buy a pair of clipless pedals, why are you waiting? Go ahead and buy one of the products from our list and we can guarantee you will not regret even for a bit buying any of the products. Honestly, these pedals are worth every penny and you will surely thank us if you buy one of these pedals. A piece of advice – try to buy a pair of pedals from our list according to the criteria that suit you most. Thank you for reading this article taking your precious time and we really hope you have enjoyed it.

Related Bicycle Pedals

(Visited 212 times, 2 visits today)

Last update on 2020-09-27 at 19:30 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Dion Lewis
My name is Dion Lewis.

I’ve been cycling from my childhood. When I was in high school, I started racing in our local competitions.

At my college life, I took a part time job in a bicycle shop and I learned how to repair and maintain bicycles professionally.

Though I love racing, mountain biking is another thing I do frequently. My friends, neighbors, and colleagues treat me as an avid rider and take my suggestions while they plan for a new bike or a bike gear.

We will be happy to hear your thoughts

      Leave a reply