Riding gravel bikes is increasingly popular, especially among more adventurous cyclists. Riding gravel bikes offers a chance to experience nature and the wild at its best while cruising on road and trail tracks. This type of riding exists between a mountain terrain and a professional tarmac road experience.
Riding on gravel tracks comes with its own set of considerations. When going trail riding, you may have to take a walk in certain parts due to a bad road. You might also encounter muddy places in your adventure. There are a few things you need to put in place to obtain the top equipment for your gravel bike.
What makes up the best pedals for gravel bike? There are several things to pay attention to when purchasing a gravel pedal, including mud clearance, platform surface, engagement, and release. Do you go for clip-in pedals or platform pedals? Well, we got that covered. Read on.
List of 14 Best Gravel Bike Pedals
We have a selection for you that will empower you to make an informed decision when buying your first gravel bike pedals, or if you are looking to replace your old ones. Here is a short list about best pedals for gravel bike..
- Crankbrothers Mallet Enduro – Shimano SPDs but also have flats
- SHIMANO M520 – Best gravel bike clipless pedal
- SHIMANO PD-EH500 – Cleats and Clipless pedals
- Crankbrothers Candy – Budget Friendly clipless pedals for gravel bike
- SHIMANO PD-M530 Mountain Pedals – Moderately Cheap Price clipless pedal
- Time ATAC XC8 MTB – Bike pedals for gravel
- SHIMANO PD-M540 SPD Clipless Pedals – Best Value For Your Bucks
- Crankbrothers Eggbeater Clip-In Pedals – Best For Muddy Gravel Riding
- SHIMANO Deore XT M8020 – Best SPD Clipless Gravel Bike Pedals
- Time ATAC MX 2 – Perfect combo of Clipless and Platform
- Spank Spike – Flat Gravel Bike Pedal
- VP-Vice Pedals – Ideal Flat pedal for Riders who value durability
- Crankbrothers Stamp – Flat Platform BMX/MTB/Gravel Bike Pedal
- FOOKER MTB/Gravel Pedals – Non-Slip Lightweight Flat/Spiked Pedals
Let’s see the full review on every product.
1. Crankbrothers Mallet Enduro – Good Quality but a Bit Expensive.
The Mallet E is one of the leading hybrid combo pedals in the market manufactured by the Crankbrothers. This pedal is very adaptable and can be used by both professional riders and recreational riders. For bicycle riding enthusiasts who want to transit into clipless riding, this is the top pedal to start with.
Mallet E has a wide contact surface that offers additional support and stability to the rider. More than that, it is a hybrid pedal, which means the rider can decide to clip in and out at whatever stage of the journey and be comfortable while riding.
The Mallet E features modifiable traction pins that are great for maintaining grip when riding. This pedal comes with additional hex wrenches to assist with the installation process and any repairs that might be done. The Mallet El has a four-sided entry feature that makes clipping in and out a breeze. It also features a double seal system to keep contaminants and water away. This pedal’s endurance and durability are unquestioned because it is constructed with an aluminum body that ensures it can handle any terrain and weather. Mallet E successfully stands the test of time.
- They are ultra-durable.
- Smooth performance.
- Secure clip in .
- Additional traction pins for extra grip and stability.
- Have an installation and repair kit..
- Wide platform that offers extra support.
- Interchangeable traction pins and traction pads.
- No Cons
2.SHIMANO M520 – Best gravel bike clipless pedals
The Shimano M520’s are some of the top clip-in pedals in the market right now. They offer value for your buck and come in at an affordable price of $50.25. They are well made clipless pedals that are used on a vast range of bicycles because of their high functionality.
The Shimano M520’s have some amazing features like a double-sided entry mechanism that allows one to clip in quickly without having to look at their shoes. The M520 clipless pedals are also very excellent in handling muddy tracks, given that they shed mud quickly.
Another distinguishable feature about the M520’s is their durability. A lot of people have had them for a long time, and they do not consider upgrades given how well the Shimano M520’s have served them.
- They are durable.
- They are cheaper in comparison to other models.
- They increase the pedaling efficiency.
- They are secure and keep you locked in.
- They have a good platform.
- They are adjustable.
- They have a dual-sided entry.
- They shed mud quickly.
- They are a little heavy.
3.SHIMANO PD-EH500– Best For Beginner Biker
The Shimano PD EH500’s come with a large pedal bed and adjustable set screws. When going on long rides, the pedals lock securely with your cycling shoes because of the existing SPD mechanism. They are very convenient for use since you do not have to use your clips when going for shorter rides. You can easily use your regular street shoes.
One interesting feature of the Shimano PD EH500’s is how durable and light the pedals are. The lightweight of the pedals helps shed unnecessary weight and keeps your ride enjoyable. The PD-EH500 is constructed with an Aluminium body and possesses a fastened cartridge axle unit, which makes it ultra-durable.
- Convenient for all types of riding- urban, road, and trail riding.
- An adaptable dual-sided pedal that allows you to ride in flats or clips.
- Contain a cleat retention adjuster, which is useful in tuning release tension.
- One side light-action SPD for easy clipping in and out.
- The EH500’s are durable and offer longevity.
- Includes multiple release cleats.
- They have eight traction pins that offer extra hold in wet conditions.
4.Crankbrothers Candy – Best clipless pedals for gravel bike
The candy 1’s are the cheapest in the candy line by the Crankbrothers. They are excellent for beginners who would like to get the hang of the Crankbrothers pedal mechanism. Unlike the eggbeater, they have a small enlarged platform that provides extra support and protection when riding.
The candy 1 has a light, composite body in comparison to other pedals. The Candy pedals possess a very easy entry mechanism to clip in and out of and do not particularly need extra effort. These gravel bicycle pedals do well in different terrain and outdo themselves in muddy ground. This gravel bicycle pedal has a customizable release angle and comes with a double-sided entry system for easier clip-ins.
The light action makes the Candy 1 the leading pedals for gravel bicycle riders who want to try out entry-level clipless pedals and advance to more complicated systems.
- They offer flawless performance.
- They are light.
- They are versatile and fit all types of bikes.
- Effortless clip in and clip out.
- Creaking when climbing.
- Non-modifiable spring tension.
5.SHIMANO PD-M530 Mountain Pedals– Moderately Cheap Price
The PD- M530 pedals have a mechanism that works for everyone. They have wide cleats which ensure easy clip in and clip out. Not to forget, you can use these pedals with almost every type of shoe. An outstanding feature of Shimano PD-M530 pedals is the range of adjustable tension that they possess. It is impressive.
The Shimano M530 pedals have a well-built bearing system that is very easy to maintain and service. They also have an excellent mud-shedding capability that should allow you to clean mud off after riding in a muddy track.
The M530 pedals have a small contact surface around the cleat mechanism. It is designed to offer extra stability and security to the cleat system. The contact surface might not be the best to provide additional support when cycling, but it does help locate the cleat faster when resting your foot on the pedal. The Shimano M530 pedals offer exceptional performance in any terrain and are an excellent buy for a biker on a budget. They are performance worthy pedals which do not break the bank.
- Easy clip in and out.
- Have a small platform that doesn’t offer a lot of support.
6. Time ATAC XC8 MTB – Best bike pedals for gravel
Time XC8 pedals have impressive features that make them a favorite. They have a snappy engagement feature. When clipping in, they make a click sound, which eliminates any doubt of being clipped in. They are also very light and offer a good amount of float. Float is amazing because it allows your legs and knees to rest in a natural position, thereby eliminating any joint pain.
Time ATAC xc8 MTB pedals have a modifiable tension release feature. They also have a perfect mud-shedding capability that allows you to ride in muddy areas with ease. Without forgetting, They possess a simple design, and this makes them very easy to install. In comparison to other pedals, they are light and have very affordable prices.
Time ATAC xc8 has a solid axle and bearing that weather any terrain and handles rocks graciously. The amazing thing about these particular pedals is that they are high ranking in the Atac series and provide serious value for money.
- Have superior mud-shedding capabilities.
- Time series is simplistic and minimal.
- They are quick to install.
- A strong body that offers shielding.
- Lack of adjustable tension readings.
7. SHIMANO PD-M540 SPD – Best pedals for a gravel bike
The Shimano M540 is a high-performance clip-in pedal for gravel bikes. The Shimano brand and tradition continues in this pedal model. It is characterized by high durability irrespective of how rough you ride with your bike. They have a high-quality build, and what’s more is they are rebuildable.
The Shimano M540 is a great bicycle pedal that has a snappy entry and predictable release system. These are easy to clip in even when your shoe is covered in mud or ice. M540’s are great pedals for novices who want to try their hand in clipless pedals. It is an all-round pedal that has adjustable traction.
It is an excellent clipless option that offers good mud clearance since it has a double-sided entry. It is very simple to install, given its simplistic design. You only require an 8mm Allen wrench to install your new Shimano M540 pedals.
- Easy entry and release.
- They have sealed bearings which improve durability.
- Have a smooth performance.
- Have sealed bearing cartridge axles that are easy to maintain.
- Dual-sided for easy entry.
- Firm open cleat design.
- Good mud clearance.
- Small contact surface.
8. Crankbrothers Eggbeater Clip-In Pedals– Best For Muddy Gravel Riding
The crank brothers eggbeater are clipless gravel bicycle pedals that have raked a lot of popularity since they were first introduced into the market. The eggbeater is one of the bestselling pedals and for the right reasons.
These clipless pedals lack an extensive platform common in other pedal designs, and this gives them a simple design. The simple design gives them a far-reaching appeal across the cyclist demographic. Lack of an extensive pedal platform means that you can easily lock your foot into the pedal from any side without hassle. You need not fret whether the pedal is facing the right direction.
The eggbeaters are easy to clean up and have superior shedding ability due to their four-sided entry. The eggbeater pedals are quite durable, given that they are made of stainless steel, which means you will not encounter any case of rust. You can efficiently service the bearings using a 6/8mm wrench, which is fantastic. The eggbeaters have a modifiable float and release angle, which allows bikers to ride anytime, anywhere.
- Are minimalistic.
- They are light.
- They have top rated mud-shedding ability.
- They contain a double seal system.
- It only has one level of spring tension, which is non adjustable.
9. SHIMANO Deore XT M8020 – For Muddy Gravel Riding
Shimano Deore pedals are incredibly versatile and appeal to both serious riders and hobbyists since the pedals area hybrid combo. These pedals are made for the off-road rider and the mountain rider. They are ultra-durable and do not break no matter how rough you ride.
The axle is made up of hardened steel and so the modifiable bearing system. The XT M8020 has a smooth external profile, which helps deflect rock strikes better compared to previous models. The extensive width on the pedal platform is also essential in preventing foot roll when maneuvering corners.
The Shimano Deore XT M8020 pedals have a curved alloy platform surrounding the SPD mechanism, which helps to direct your foot into the pedal. Important to also note about these pedals is that clipping in and out is very consistent.
- They offer consistent performance.
- Short clipping time.
- It possesses an extensive platform that provides extra comfort.
- Smooth pedal flow.
- Quick clip in.
- Suitable for mountain rides and short distances.
- They are ultra-durable.
- Pedals require effort when installing them.
- Poor mud-shedding in comparison to other options.
10. Time ATAC MX 2 Pedals– Lightweight Gravel Bike Pedals
The Time MX 2 pedals are designed to meet the needs of every biker. They have an extensive platform that is very functional. The broad platform helps offer additional support to riders. This way, you can concentrate on the ride rather than shifting your position on the pedal endlessly, trying to find the optimal position.
The MX 2 is a fantastic alternative for gravel riders who are used to platform pedals and would like to transition into using clipless pedals. It offers float and adjustable traction, which are essential for a comfortable ride. These clipless pedals are inexpensive yet well built to handle the demands of different terrain, including gravel riding.
This clipless pedal for gravel bikes has an excellent entry mechanism and gives a reassuring click once you are clipped in. As is consistent with the time atac series, it has good mud clearance abilities. This fantastic set of pedals has no trouble working in ice and mud-covered areas. It is a lightweight pedal that is easy to navigate with.
- Have an extensive platform for support.
- Simple engagement and release.
- Good debris removal.
- Has a cleat.
- No cons
11. Spank Spike – Flat Gravel Bike Pedal
Get the ultimate gravel bike riding experience with Spank Spike Bike Pedals! This 12mm ultra-slim race and free ride pedal give you an optimized pedaling clearance at 420g for each set. Its beautiful construction comprises of a strong, shot-peened, and anodized construction enhances durability. The forged hollow taper chromo-steel axles of this pedal offer the best and unmatched strength for a reliable pedaling.
- Lighter and durable construction
- It provides an excellent grip and stability
- Allows for customizable riding style
- The elegant design makes it fashionable
- Great shape and flat design reduces contact with the ground
- Seal bearings quickly wear out
12. VP-Vice Pedals – Ideal Flat pedal for Riders who value durability
These pedals boast an excellent construction engineered for a smooth pedaling performance. It’s beautifully and sturdily crafted with a full length forged and heat treated Chromoly axles for lasting performance. It features a large surface area with 12-pins on each side combined with a lightweight design. This provides a perfect grip for a better riding experience. If you are tired of frequently replacing destroyed pedals, the VP-Vice pedals tend to be the best solution.
- Designed to last longer
- Easy to install with easy to follow instruction
- Larger surface area and lightweight design offer ultimate control
- Serviceable parts make it reliable
- Stable and comfortable grip
- The pedals may easily fall off if not well installed
13. Crankbrothers Stamp – Flat Platform BMX/MTB/Gravel Bike Pedal
If you are looking for the best pedals for gravel riding with a pro-level concave pedal platform, this would be the best pick. It gives you a maximum shoe to pedal interface. The premium bearings and seal mechanism guarantees a perfect grip for excellent control and riding. With forged Chromoly steel spindle material construction, this unit will last you much longer. They have the best and reliable quality with a five year warranty back up in case of any product defaults.
- The large surface area offers an excellent pedaling performance
- Robust construction ensures maximum durability
- Hex-pattern traction pins provide excellent grip
- Provides the best value for the price
- It’s quite expensive
14. FOOKER MTB/Gravel Pedals – Non-Slip Lightweight Flat/Spiked Pedals
The FOOKER MTB Pedals comes as a classic and high performing pedals for gravel riding. Its overall shell is elegantly made of super-strong nylon materials that can withstand high pressure and last longer without cracking or breaking. The pedals have a perfect size that fits well with most shoe sol sizes; hence, there is no worry about them being too tiny or large. Therefore, you should expect to obtain a comfortable and safe riding experience.
- Rugged nylon fiber surface offers durability and resists shock
- Effortless to install on your bike
- Anti-skid pins provide a more secure grip and stability
- Hex-head threaded traction pins can be conveniently replaced
- Low-quality cartridges
What kind of pedals for gravel bike?
Types of Gravel Bike Pedals:
Gravel bicycle pedals exist in three forms. They are classified according to their mechanism and purpose.
Clipless gravel bike pedals – Also referred to as clip-in pedals. They are geared towards the more professional and serious cyclists. They are called clipless pedals because they possess a mechanism that requires a rider to clip into the pedals. Clip-in gravel bicycle pedals need one to have cycling shoes.
Flat gravel bike pedals – These are the opposite of clip-in pedals. Flat pedals are also referred to as platform pedals. They serve an ordinary cyclist who is not too invested in their cycling. In other words, you do not require special cycling shoes to ride these pedals.
Hybrid combo gravel bicycle pedals – Hybrid pedals are also known as dual-platform pedals. Hybrid combo pedals are transitory between the clip-in pedals and the platform pedals. They possess a double mechanism meaning you can ride with regular shoes and avoid the constraints of cycling shoes.
Consideration for Best Gravel Bike Pedals
What type of pedals should you get? This is a very vital question given the role pedals play in a bicycle. Pedals are an important contact point when riding a bike. Your bicycle pedals will ultimately determine:
- How comfortable you are when cycling.
- How fast you will be able to ride.
- How secure you are when riding.
- How much energy you will exert when riding your bicycle.
Ultimately, choosing best pedals for gravel bike will have an impact on your riding. Here are a few considerations you should make when choosing the good pedals for your bicycle.
1.What is your budget?
It is paramount to put your budget into perspective as you choose the pedal you want. This will help you know what to splurge on. It will give you guidance on what the most important qualities are in a bicycle pedal.
All pedals do not cost the same; they have different features. That being said, you can get an excellent bicycle pedal at $40. If you want more premium pedals, they are also available though you have to part with an upwards of $400.
2.The type of riding you engage in.
It is crucial to identify what type of rider you are. Are you a recreational rider or a professional rider? For more expert riders, the clip in pedals might be the way to go since they offer more power, speed, and efficiency. For a recreational rider, your highest priority might be the comfort, and flat pedals provide precisely that.
3.Platform pedals vs. clip-in pedals.
Platform(flat) pedals for gravel bicycles are more suited to recreational bikers and commuters who prioritize comfort and functionality. A daily commuter might prefer platform pedals over clipless pedals because they can use regular shoes to ride to work.
Clip-in pedals for bikes are geared towards more professional cyclists who want to optimize their efficiency, cycling power, and control. Clip-in pedals require you to wear cycling shoes, and they are not comfortable to walk around in.
Cycling in different terrains presents its own set of challenges when it comes to the durability of pedals. One day you could be cycling in the mountains and the other on the ice. Ideally, you want a pedal that is going to withstand every form of abuse, be it stones, falls, ice, or mud.
Mud clearance is essential to be able to navigate muddy ground. Once your pedal becomes clogged with mud, it should clean easily and quickly.
Choosing Clipless Pedals for Gravel Bike
Despite the name clipless, these pedals work through a clip-in mechanism. Funny, right? The mechanism works by fixing cleats to the sole of your cycling shoe. The cleats then clip into a spring on the front of the pedal. Clipping in makes sure that your footwear is well attached to the pedal. In other words, you and your bike become one.
The direct attachment between you and your bike means you are able to harness more speed, power, and effective control as you ride the bike. There’s a direct transfer of kinetic energy during the upstroke and the downstroke of the pedal compared to platform pedals, which only transfer energy during the downstroke.
Clipless pedals give you more control over the bike and increase speed. That’s why professional cyclists prefer them compared to flat pedals. Few things to put into consideration when purchasing clip-in pedals for your bicycle:
Float is the degree to which you can adjust your foot placement on the foot pedal with regard to different angles. Some systems have a fixed pedal float, while others have adjustable float angles. This boils down to personal preference.
This is regarding the release angle as you disengage your foot from the cleat. Some pedals come with fixed cleat release positions, while others come with numerous cleat release positions. This is also down to personal preference.
Clip-in pedals can take a while getting used to, but once you get the groove, you will be ready to ride away. The most popular manufacturers in the clipless pedal niche are Shimano, Time, and Crankbrothers.
Consideration on Flat Pedals for Gravel Bike
Flat pedals are very common in the market. They are used to train first-time riders, and you may have used them when you began riding, or you are still using them.
When it comes to pedals, there isn’t a one size fits all. Platform pedals exist to serve a different target market from clipless pedals. The platform pedals are preferred mostly because they offer extra stability and support when riding a bicycle. They provide excellent maneuverability for cyclists who need to perform stunts or even ditch the bicycle when headed for a fall.
Platform pedals are especially an excellent choice for commuters because they can wear any type of footwear while riding, and they are not limited to clipless shoes. Platform pedals are also a fantastic option for cyclists who enjoy dirt rides, free riding, and stunts. They are commonly found in BMX models.
Flat pedals for gravel bikes are made with pointed rubber pins on the face of the pedal to increase the grip of the shoe. Some manufacturers go out of their way and make titanium pins for the front of the pedals for increased stability. If you are a recreational cyclist/commuter, you can never go wrong with platform pedals. You might consider giving them a try.
1. How much ground clearance should a gravel bicycle pedal have?
The ground clearance is too low if you hit the ground while pedaling. When making any adjustments to your bike’s ground clearance, make sure that the stump jumper is weighted to avoid extra sagging when you get on.
2. What is the difference between a gravel bike and a road bike?
A gravel bike is a combination of a cyclocross bike and a road bike. It is built to handle terrain that a road bike cannot. It also has bigger tires compared to the road bike.
3. Should I get flat pedals for my gravel bike?
That would largely depend on the type of rider you are. If you are more of a recreational rider or a commuter, it would be advisable to get flat pedals since you can use any kind of shoes.
4. What clip-in pedals would you recommend for first-timers?
The best pedals for a first-timer would be hybrid pedals that allow you to ride using cleats while at the same time offering extra support with the body platform. You can also try using entry-level clipless models to determine if they are for you.
5. What type of pedals should I get that do not cause my joints to ache?
Consider getting pedals with a great float. Pedals with considerable float allow your legs to maintain a natural position when riding, thereby reducing and preventing joint pains in the knees.
6. Should I get hybrid bicycle pedals?
Yes. If you are looking for a sweet spot between platform pedals and clipless pedals. If you are interested in the versatility they offer, go for it. Hybrid pedals are excellent for hobbyists who want to take their cycling to the next level.
7. Do cycling shoes make a difference?
Yes. Cycling shoes are constructed with light materials that are designed to keep your feet comfortable. They have a mechanism that allows air to circulate inside the shoe, thereby keeping your feet cool at all times.
8. What difference do light cycling shoes make?
The weight of cycling shoes shouldn’t be a priority, especially if you are not a CAT 2. Lighter shoes will only make a difference in the amount of money left in your pocket. But light shoes help in scaling mountains faster.
9. Any commuter shoes with cleats?
Get an extra pair of shoes to leave at work. Simple! Wearing cleated shoes is uncomfortable. Furthermore, walking in cycling shoes grinds the cleats, making them wear out faster.
10.Should I spend a lot of money on my first gravel bike pedals?
Ideally, no. If you do not know what you want? Keep your cost as low as possible, and start with a platform or hybrid pedal. Once you figure out what type of pedal you want, then you can spend as much as you would like.
Choosing the best pedals for gravel bike might seem very daunting, given the many alternatives that are available at your disposal. Some pointers to help you narrow down to a pedal that suits your riding needs:
Have a checklist of features that are essential to you in a bicycle pedal. What are the conditions a pedal must meet in terms of mud clearance ability, traction, clipping, and release?
Have a budget for the pedal you would like to purchase. Clip-in pedals, in particular, will require you to buy shoes and cleats. This will necessitate that you add the extra cost to your budget. It is also okay to start with entry-level pedals and upgrade later when you have the money. Do not feel any pressure to spend a lot of money on your first pedal.
Be aware of the kind of rider you are and the purpose you intend the pedal to serve. Awareness of use will help you distinguish between clip in, flat and dual-platform bicycle pedals.
In case you still can’t decide what pedal to buy, don’t hesitate to go back to our recommendations above. It is a great starting point. The suggestions will give you information on the top gravel bike pedals. Happy pedal hunting!
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