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Mountain vs. Road Clipless Pedals


When you want to up your cycling game by clipping into your pedals, it's time to decide between Mountain or Road pedals. They both offer advantages along with disadvantages, but after reading this we hope that you are one step closer to finding the pedal to meet your cycling needs.

Road Pedal


As with most cycling decisions, a pedal choice will be greatly determined by your riding style along with your terrain. If you are going to be riding exclusively off road then your only real choice is a mountain bike style pedal. The real decision comes if you are spending the majority of your time on the pavement of light trails. This opens up the options to choose based on what features fit your needs best.


When you think mountain pedal we are talking about a clipless pedal that offers a recessed cleat on a walkable lugged sole. The shoes go from sneaker like to more aggressive in design. The main benefits of these are that it does get you clipped into the pedal and offers a walkable solution.


The majority of the mountain pedals offer double sided entry and some sort of mud clearing ability. They all offer increased power transfer over a simple flat pedal which is the main goal of being clipped in. 

Mountain Pedal

Many commuters choose mountain pedals because of the double sided entry and the fact that they can walk more easily in the mountain shoes. The mud clearing ability is also quite useful when commuting in poor weather conditions.


The other option would be a road pedal. These require a road shoe and with the exception of Speedplay, offer single sided entry. The mud or dirt shedding ability is much less than with a mountain pedal but the connection is more solid and gives you better power transfer. If you compare a road to a mountain connection you will see that the mountain pedal has more play built into the system which helps with the mud shedding ability but also causes some loss of power.


The road cleat tends to stick out on the bottom of the stiff road shoe so walking around is more difficult. Road shoes also tend to offer a snugger fit which helps with the increased power transfer. 

Mountain Pedal

Some gravel racers will also opt for a road solution when they know they will not encounter mud for the sheer fact that it gives them better power and a more positive connection to the bike. A road solution is generally not recommended if you are going to be walking much which is why you see CX racers using mountain pedals.


Once you choose the type of pedal the decision on brand is easier. If you have questions give us a call and we would be happy to point you in the correct direction.

Clipless Pedal Guide