That’s how some would have you believe, that the only pedals to sport are flats.
And while there are some interesting arguments about foot positioning, flats vs cleats and getting the best overall control from your pedaling, there are always going to be different schools of thought.
But before you wave the flats only flag, or jump on the cleat only soapbox, one of the better ways to discover what works for you is to experiment, test and try. You might find that certain riding calls for different equipment.
The enduro racers and all mountain riders have ridden in both cleat and flats, which can come down to something as simple as personal preference.
See this article on flat pedals versus clipless from James Wilson, who has presented some interesting points and has received many comments with varying points of view around the subject.
The below video is also helpful to consider moving from clips to flats to see if that improves your riding.
So what do you look for when choosing the best mtb pedals for All Mountain and trail riders:
– Cleat system – Shimano SPD, Crank Bros, Time are some of the main operators offering different cleat systems.
– Durability – Can the pedals and bearings stand up to multiple years of riding? Can the pedals be easily serviced if required?
– Platform – Does the pedal give me adequate purchase and power transfer to the pedal with a wider platform versus an XC orientated pedal
– Weight – A balance of lightweight yet durable materials. Nobody wants a boat anchor.
– Mud/dirt Clearing – Ease of getting in and out of the pedal when the weather turns to shit. (Difficult to test in-store or online, but a well informed bike shop should be able to give you the heads up)
For flats there is less of a dominant brand, with many component manufacturers having a couple of options to choose.
What to consider when choosing the best flat pedals for Enduro and All Mountain riding?
– Traction/Grip: How well your feet stay connected to the pedal will come down to the placement of the pins on the pedal and the pins design to maintain grip and contact with the shoe when the rider is pedaling. Sounds straight forward, but as with most things there is a range competency.
– Durability: Your pedals are going to cop a lot of hits from rocks, tress, roots, logs so your are looking for pedals and materials that are know for their durable properties (think steel, chro-mo and titanium). Servicing also comes into play where the option to replace pins or a service kit to update bearings is easily accessible and straight forward to do.
– Weight: Weight is also a consideration, again with a balance of lightweight materials, yet durable enough that they are not going to disintegrate on the first rock or be overly expensive. Outside of some super cheap models, the majority of manufacturers have this dialed.
MTB Pedals Best for Trail/AM/Enduro – Cleats
Try out these all mountain pedals – with a wide platform for climbing and decending control.
Tried, tested and trusted – Shimano have been banging out precision components for many years and their expertise has been proven rom the higest level of competition through to the novice. Some say that the XT’s are ideal and whilst slightly heavier that the top end XTR version – the rest of the pedal performs as its XTR cousin, albeit at a more affordable pricepoint.
Filtering down the design to an value packed proposition, the M530 provide the perfect entry level trail pedal – utilising Shimanos techincal and engineering brillance with a very affordable price tag.
You like design, you like sporting something a little different? Then the Candy’s are an excellent choice to reinforce your in-the-know cred. The Candy 3’s are Crank Bros, third incarnation of their cnady series with all metal construction and a striaght forward service kit avaible to prolong the life of your pedals.
The time pedals may not be the first choice on your list, but the performance and reviews that the ATAC series has been getting, has been very well received. With years of engineering expertise from their roadie counterparts, the ATAC series is a french designed and manufactured product with 5 different models at varying price points. With Enduro racing having its roots in France, the ATAC series is at the heart of AM and Enduro riding.
MTB Pedals Best for Trail/AM/Enduro – Flats
The SCOTT rider has been known for visualy impressive riding style and has proven his worth on multiple world cup courses. His signature Vault pedals from DMR are 400g, 11 pins and a 6061 Aluminimum body. The vaults are DH favourites from a company with many years in the game.
Custom pins (1mm, 4mm & 7mm), spin control and dual material body (Plastic & aluminum) makes for a very well though out, flat pedal construction. These are a DH pedal, but with the tweaking of the pins, they may be a viable option for those sold on flats. At 468g they are not the lightest, but have excellent features to consider.
The Proton’s come in at 430g which is a significant shaving of weight compared to the Saints. As the brand name would suggest, these pedals can take a beating and have been rated very high on the durability scale. Topping it off is a reasonable price tag, making the Nukeproof Protons a great flat pedal choice.
The Saint MX80’s have been well received since their launch into the market a couple of years ago and their popularity continues to rise, notably for their understated design, ease of use tweaking the pins and proven performance. While the pedals are pushing close to 500g for weight, they are not the lightest flat pedal out there, but they make up for it in affordability and durability.
Got any pedal suggestions? Feel free to comment below.