Best Road Bike Pedal Reviews

Shimano PD-M520 SPD Clipless MTB Bike Pedals - Black
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Shimano PD-M520 Pedal

The Shimano PD-520 bike pedals are by far one of the most popular road bike pedals you will see everyone using and for good reason. They use the spd cleat style which goes along with the most common type of cleat that shoes come in and bike sandals.

Features:

  • Double Sided so it's easy to clip in
  • easy to adjust the tension to make it easy to get out of them.
  • SPD Cleat system
  • In the mid price range

After getting a bike, it is advisable to buy a pair of cycling shoes and pedals. There are various types of bike pedals, but the most important ones are the clipless pedal and the flat pedal. Deciding which road pedals to buy can be burdensome since there are a lot of options available.

Pedals, particularly the relationship between your road bike pedals and shoes play a vital role in how much power gets transferred from your muscles to the wheels. When cycling developed from a form of transport to a sport, it was soon realized that a pedal holding the shoe creates a more powerful pedal stroke. Your pedals will have a big influence on performance, comfort and fatigue.

A pair of flat pedals such as found on “normal” bicycles is not an efficient pedaling platform because your foot is not held in place. Clipless pedals will make a huge difference in your road bike experience. Not just quality, but also fit and function determine which are the best road bike pedals for you

It is important for you to fully understand the features of clipless road bike pedals types before making your purchase decision.

Factors to Consider Before Buying A Bicycle Pedal

Before you decide to invest your money buying a bicycle pedal, there are some factors you should consider. Here are some things to look out for before purchasing a pedal:

The stack height is the distance between your foot and the pedal. The lower your stack height, the more efficient your power transfer is, as there is less getting between the source of your power and where it is being applied.

Best Road Bike Pedals For 2019 Reviewed

Shimano PD-M520 SPD Clipless MTB Bike Pedals - Black
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1. Shimano PD-M520

This actually is a mountain bicycle pedal but it can also serve as a road pedal as well, most especially if you are a newbie to clipless pedals. It has a very simple and durable design. The body is made from aluminium alloy while the mechanism and axle are steel. It has an adjustable tension and has four degrees of float. In the event that the bearings wear out, you can have them replaced easily with the help of a cheap locking tool.

They are not particularly light, but they come at a reasonably low cost. Despite the low price, the road pedals are well constructed and are very durable, weighing about 374g.

The Shimano PD-M520 is a simple, super-durable design and for this reason, it is highly recommended as the best clipless pedal for beginners.

Look Cycle Keo 2 Max Carbon Road Pedals Black, One Size
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2. Look Keo 2 Max Blade 12

This particular model is a hybrid of two previous LOOK pedal designs. The Max Blade 12 has a glass fibre composite blade in contrast with the carbon spring blade used in more expensive models.

There is no provision for adjusting the tension once the blade is installed but you can choose between two blades of either 8Nm or 12Nm torque. The cleats have 4.5 degrees of float and you can purchase zero degree or 9-degree cleats if you desire.

It has a wide platform that surrounds a chromoly axle, which implies that more power is transferred over a wider area and evenly distributes the load over your foot. The platform itself is covered with a stainless-steel plate to extend the life of the pedals. Once this wears out, you will need to buy new pedals, but it will take a long time for that to happen.

The bearings cannot be serviced so it is feasible that the bearings will be wear out before you get the need to replace the plate anyway.

SHIMANO ULTEGRA PD-R8000 SPD-SL Pedal, 4mm Longer axle, Without Reflector, Includes Cleat, Black, One Size
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3. Shimano Ultegra SPD-SL R8000

The SPD-SL Shimano road pedals have been tested over time and found to be very reliable. This model has always been favoured as a pedal that needs little maintenance and the R8000 version makes some improvements over the old design. The R8000 version has a carbon body and a stainless-steel spindle and has a slightly longer axle to prevent heel rub. The stack height has also been reduced slightly in comparison to older models.

The wide platform provides a solid connection with the three bolt cleats. As standard, the pedals come with adjustable cleats of +/- 3 degrees. There are other cleats available that have zero float or 1 degree. It has a very low stack height. Overall the pedals are slim so you do not need to worry about clearance.

If you use these pedals a great deal, the steel contact plate can be replaced but you will need to use them for a whole lot of rides before this happens.

The one drawback is that there is a relatively long break-in time. You will need to use them for a quite a few rides before the rear drops down by itself to allow easy entry.

For intermediate road riding and racing, the SPD-Sl R8000 pedals are perfect.

Time XPRESSO 15 Pedals
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4. Time Xpresso 15

If it is lightweight and fast pedals for racing you want, take a look at the Time Xpresso 15. They weigh just 140g (the pair) thanks to the carbon body and hollow titanium axle. They are even help you ride faster thanks to the ceramic bearings, although you are unlikely to actually notice this, and the gain is definitely marginal.

The design of the mechanism allows you to clip in very easily as it remains partially open until the cleat arrives. Once you push the cleat into it, the mechanism closes and holds on solidly by means of a carbon strip (as opposed to a metal spring found in other pedals). The strength of the mechanism means that it is impossible to accidentally pull your foot out but when you do want to release, just a small twist to the side will open the mechanism.

The resistance of the strip can be adjusted using a screwdriver and the pedals have a fixed 5 degrees of float. A nice feature of the Xpresso 15 pedals is that you can customise the Q Factor (distance between your feet, or the distance between the crank and cleat) by swapping the cleats around. The cleats themselves do tend to wear out quite fast so try to avoid walking around too much in them.

Ceramic bearings are apparently much more durable than others and the Xpresso 15 bearings are technically serviceable but if you attempt this yourself, you will void the two-year warranty.

Lightweight, durable and easy to click into, the Xpresso 15 pedals are a pricy but good value pedal for serious riding or racing.

SpeedPlay Zero_Stainless Pedals Walkable (Blue)
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5. Speedplay Zero

Speedplay turned the clipless idea literally upside down by integrating the mechanism into the part that screws into the shoe. As a result the pedal is dual-sided like SPD pedals.

You do have to be careful where you tread when off the bike though, as the mechanism can easily get clogged up with mud or dirt. If this happens, you will have to remove it before being able to clip in. For usual racing conditions it is unlikely that you will have a problem.

Speedplay have managed to keep the stack height lower than most other pedals. 3mm is added if you have a three-bolt shoe and need to use the adapter (Speedplay Zero pedals use four bolts) but even with this adapter the stack height remains low.

The whole pedal has a low profile for maximum cornering clearance. The float is adjustable between zero and a huge 15 degrees. For this reason, the Zeros are popular among cyclists with knee problems, as the massive float available can relieve a lot of pressure.

While such a big amount of float might help your knees, it does feel a bit disconnected when sprinting as your foot can flop around a bit. Adjusting the float is achieved by tightening or loosening two screws found on the cleat.

Each screw controls the float on the “heel in” or “heel out” side. The crosshead screws are tiny and are not particularly easy to turn. On top of that they are prone to picking up lots of road grime and will seize up if you do not keep them clean and greased.

Engagement and release is on the stronger side compared to other pedals, especially during the first few rides as they break in. Once you are in, you are staying there until you deliberately want to unclip, which is great for racing.

In terms of maintenance, you will need to regrease the bearings occasionally as grease gets forced out of them during use. Speedplay Zero is a sophisticated, verstatile system, and as such may not be the best road bike pedals for beginners.

There are a few different models of the Speedplay Zero pedal available, which come at different weight and price points due to the materials used.

The chromoly version is the cheapest and heaviest, followed by the stainless-steel version.

If you like spending lots of money to get the lightest version of an already light pedal, then there is a titanium version for you.

SHIMANO Dura-Ace 9100 Pedal
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6. Shimano Dura-Ace 9100

Another product from Shimano, the Dura Ace is the benchmark for all other groupsets. There aren’t any dramatic changes over the previous versions, but it builds on the solid performance and foundations of the Dura-Ace 9000, and though there aren’t any major visible improvements, it does provide a much better, smooth and slicker experience, that can only be felt by people who’ve experienced other variants of the brand.

The marginal improvements over the course of various generations of the product go onto prove that we’ve reached the pinnacle of innovation for mechanical groupsets.

The more tangible change can be found in the internal shifting mechanism, making the gear change process incredibly smooth and effortless, adding to the incredible performance that Shimano consistently delivers over the past few decades.

 

Features:

  • The main body of the pedal is carbon composite
  • Weighs 228 grams
  • Top Model in the Shimano brand
  • Has an Extra Wide Platform
  • Screws to adjust tension settings for easy entry and out.
  • Single Sided Pedal
CRANKBROTHERs Crank Brothers Double Shot Pedals, Orange/Black/Orange Spring
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7. Crankbrothers Doubleshot Hybrid Bike Pedal

The doubleshot hybrid is a great choice for commuters and mountain bikers.  You have a nice wide platform to ride with regular shoes on or you can use the other side to clip into.

There are various color options which make it fun to spice up the look of your bike. You have orange, blue and black.

Features:

  • Ride clipped in or on the flat with no cleats
  • 15/20 degree release angle from the cleat
  • Chromoloy steel body
  • High end bearings and seals
  • 5 year warranty
  • Cyclecross, mountain biking, roading biking and commuter friendly.

Best Overall Pedal for Road Bikes

If you buy a road bike everyone will tell you that you need clipless pedals to get a performance advantage, but what happens if you feel comfortable being clipped in? Well, then I would suggest looking at the to road bike flat pedals as an option to try.

If you don’t want to use clipless pedals, then a good set of grippy flat bike pedals will work great!

CRANKBROTHERs Crank Brothers Stamp (Orange - L)
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Crankbrothers Stamp 1

The Crankbrothers Stamp 1 is a big platform pedal. Your feet will never have any issues finding them. One of the factors that make them great for road biking is that they have removable pins.

You can take out pins to fine-tune the level of grip you have, much like the tension adjustment you get in some clipless pedals.

You’ll also find quality bearings and construction on the Stamp 1, which is backed up by Crankbrothers 5-year guarantee. They are also not a lot heavier than some of the clipless pedals and come in at 329g per pair.

TXJ Mountain Bike Pedals Platform Bike Pedals Aluminum Alloy 9/16 CNC Ultra Sealed Bearing Bicycle Bike Pedals
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TXJ Mountain Bike Pedals

So, you will notice the description says mountain bike pedals but don't let that confuse things. They are really nice flat pedals that will work on a road bike.  They are very light, they don't have a ton of grip points on them, they have several colors to choose from and they are really priced well so that anyone can afford them.

Best Overall Pedal for Road Bikes

As you can see, there are a few ways to look at road pedals which make it hard to single out any one pedal as the best overall pedal for road cycling. So, here are the best pedal for different groups of road cyclists.

  • Beginner. The Shimano PD-M520 is the pedal to go for. It is a great mix between a flat pedal and a clipless pedal and breed confidence.
  • Racing. The Garmin Vector 3 is the pedal to go for. It might be the most expensive pedal in the review but it provides you with all the data you need for training properly and sensibly. What makes it super expensive is the built in power meter. So, it's for serious racers.
  • Sportive/Gran Fondo. The Look Keo 2 Max is a great choice and the choice of a great majority of cyclists. Look pretty much rule the road clipless pedal market.
  • Flat. Crankbrothers Stamp 1 is a pedal that just works and lasts. With tuneable grip, you can get the exact level of grip you need regardless of what type of trainers you’re wearing.
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