Getting out on the trail in new gear can be both exciting and intimidating. For rider freedom and versatility when the trail gets sketchy, flat pedals are hard to beat. But while they have a lot to offer for certain types of riding, they can certainly take some getting used to.
Whether your focus is on value, overall performance, or weight, our testers put everything into consideration as we ripped up and down our local trails.
If you’re unsure where to start with flats versus clipless mountain bike riding, check out our buyers guide and FAQ section, and be sure to look at our comparison chart when it’s decision time. Otherwise, read on to see our staff’s list of the best MTB flat pedals for any and all types of riders.
Also, if you’re more interested in a certain category, you can jump to it right here:
- Best Overall
- Best Budget
- Most Versatile
- Most Durable
- Best Lightweight Pedals
- Best of the Rest
The Best Mountain Bike Flat Pedals of 2022
Best Overall: Race Face Chester
This could be the only pedal you’ll ever need. And better yet, you can actually afford it. The Race Face Chester ($39) has everything you need in a flat pedal, and a wallet-friendly price that you rarely see at the top of year-end lists.
Make no mistake, though: This pedal is truly a mountain biker’s dream. The price is just the icing on the cake.
Where the Chester really makes strides is in its weight-to-durability ratio. For a pedal to be this light and this tough is noteworthy. Rarely do composite pedals have such a perfect harmony between these two all-important features.
After a full season of riding, our testers’ pedals looked almost brand new. Given the eye-catching colors, it’s a true testament to their durability.
The only drawback our testers could find was that during truly aggressive riding, the grip on these pedals sometimes wasn’t where they wanted it to be. But given the price, the weight, and the bulletproof durability, we had no problem naming them the best mountain bike flat pedals for the price.
- Weight (pair): 360 g (12.7 oz.)
- Material: Nylon
- Great price
- Cool colors
Check Price at REICheck Price at Amazon
Runner-Up: RockBros MTB Pedal
A well-rounded pedal that won’t even come close to breaking the bank, these RockBros ($30) have all the stuff we want and none of the stuff we don’t. The anti-skid replaceable pins keep our feet nice and secure, even when that early-season mud is caking our shoes.
The corrosion-resistant hardware and sealed bearings add to wet-weather security, while shock-proofing and abrasion resistance give us some added assurance for any rough rides ahead.
The size of these pedals was just right for our testers, but some might find them a bit small. If size is your top priority, you might look elsewhere. But we think these are well-suited for the average rider.
In fact, if there’s anything negative our reviewers had to say about these pedals, it’s that they didn’t really stand out in any one category.
Considering how easy it is to swing and miss, that’s an accomplishment in and of itself. So if you’re looking for a well-rounded pedal that’s as cheap as the dirt on your bike, this is a solid option.
- Weight (pair): 365 g (12.9 oz.)
- Material: Nylon
- All-weather performance
Cons:Check Price at Amazon
Best Budget: Imrider Lite
Mountain biking can be a pretty expensive hobby. Our testers are always trying to save money where they can. That’s why we love these Imrider Lite pedals ($19). Not only can we save a bit of extra cash for our next big trip, but we’ve also got a grippy pedal that performs in any conditions our trip might throw at us.
An anti-skid surface, sealed bearings, and a corrosion-resistant spindle contribute to the all-around performance. When you’re caught in some unwanted rain, you won’t have to panic.
Add in a traction-friendly concave shape, a larger platform, and replaceable pins, and you’ll be surprised just how far your dollar goes with these pedals.
Our testers’ only concern was that after a season of tough riding, they showed more wear than other options. This makes them more suited for a casual rider than a dedicated everyday mountain biker. Still, they’re easily the best cheap mountain bike flat pedals you can buy.
- Weight (per pair): 358 g (12.6 oz.)
- Material: Nylon
- Larger platform
- Good traction
- Durability concerns
Most Versatile: Funn Mamba Clipless/Flat Pedal Set
What’s more versatile than getting two pedals in one? If you’re a rider who might not want to fully commit to a flat pedal setup, this dual-sided option ($115) allows you to easily switch between mountain bike flats and clipless pedals.
When riding flat, simply use the flat side of the pedal, and vice versa when going clipless. It’s that easy. And it may make the transition to flat riding that much more painless.
These pedals also have a large platform that’s both wider and longer than many competitors. Our testers were split on this. Some thought the larger size increased control and foot comfort. But others thought that the size often made the clip-in function tougher and was sometimes a problem, depending on what shoes you wore.
These problems may require some getting used to or some adjusting of the removable pins. But for those who may still be clinging to clipless, these pedals are a great option.
- Weight (per pair): 450 g (15.9 oz.)
- Material: Aluminum
- Allows for both flat and clipless riding
- Large platform
Cons:Check Price at Amazon
Most Durable: Bontrager Line Elite MTB Platform Pedals
For those who are no strangers to pedal strikes and daily falls, this tough, sturdy platform pedal ($52) may be the best mountain bike flat pedal for you.
The durable axle, sealed cartridge bearings, and nylon pedal body all add up to one reliable pedal that doesn’t mind taking a beating. Reviewers also love the high-performance grip it offers, thanks in large part to the replaceable steel pins.
Super-tough and ultra-grippy, these pedals might be the ones to choose for long rides on tough terrain. They are a bit small, however, so they may not work well for riders with large feet.
- Weight (per pair): 350 g (12.3 oz.)
- Material: Nylon
Cons:Check Price at REI
Best Lightweight Pedals: Crank Brothers Stamp 1 Flats
Anyone looking for a thin profile, generous platform size, and low weight in their mountain bike flat won’t be disappointed by the Stamp 1 ($40-50).
The thin construction and low weight add up to a lightweight feel that’s barely there. And the larger surface offers a surprising amount of assurance when the wheels are spinning and you’re searching for them.
The small version of this well-rounded pedal is so light that it slips just under 300 g, at 299 g. Our reviewers didn’t notice any significant hits to durability or performance to achieve this weight. If you’re looking to shed some weight and achieve a lighter, freer feel, these could be the best mountain bike flat pedals for your ride.
- Weight (per pair): Small 299 g (10.5 oz.); large 329 g (11.6 oz.)
- Material: Composite
- Larger platform
Check Price at BackcountryCheck Price at Amazon
Best of the Rest
Deity Deftrap Pedals
The new Deftrap ($55) from Deity is the ideal choice for riders looking for high performance at a reasonable price. As a leader in the nylon pedal category, the Deftrap is both lightweight and super durable.
An injection-molded composite material makes these pedals significantly stronger against impacts than other similarly priced options.
From downhill to slopestyle, the Deftrap is up to the task. Their simple geometry and open channeling help prevent mud, gunk, and snow from building up, and they can be used in all four seasons.
Ten hardy pins, comprised of eight replaceable steel and two nylon pins, add traction across the entire perimeter of the pedal.
Though the strength of alloy pedals is difficult to match with nylon, the Deftrap proves that nylon can still offer high-end durability. For all kinds of riders, these are some of the best pedals in their price range.
- Weight (per pair): 391 g (13.8 oz.)
- Material: Nylon
- Very strong for nylon pedals
Check Price at BackcountryCheck Price at evo
Mountain Bike Flat Pedal Comparison Chart
|Flat Pedal||Price||Weight (per pair)||Material|
|Race Face Chester||$39||360 g. 12.7 oz.||Nylon|
|RockBros MTB Pedal||$30||365 g (12.9 oz.)||Nylon|
|Imrider Lite||$19||358 g (12.6 oz.)||Nylon|
|Funn Mamba Clipless/Flat Pedal Set||$115||450 g (15.9 oz.)||Aluminum|
|Bontrager Line Elite MTB Platform Pedals||$52||350 g (12.3 oz.)||Nylon|
|Crank Brothers Stamp 1 Flats||$40-50||299 g (10.5 oz.), 329 g (11.6 oz.)||Composite|
|Deity Deftrap Pedals||$55||391 g (13.8 oz.)||Nylon|
Buyers Guide: How to Choose Mountain Bike Flat Pedals
Platform Size & Shape
Not all flats are created equal, and there’s still a lot to think about once you’ve decided to roll with flat pedals on your mountain bike.
It’s a pretty good rule of thumb that a larger pedal will mean a more even distribution of force and a more comfortable ride. So, you need to make sure your pedal size matches up with your shoe size and the shoes you’ll be riding with.
If the pedal is bigger than your shoes, you may not be able to engage the pins in the right way, and your traction will suffer. Be sure to maximize size with caution.
There’s also shape to think about. While some pedals are truly flat, many have slightly convex or concave shapes that offer different pros and cons while riding.
A concave platform allows your foot to sink into the center of the pedal, maximizing your grip as you ride. Meanwhile, a pedal with a slightly convex shape allows your foot a bit more freedom to adjust and move around. When looking at the shape of your pedals, ask yourself if you’re focusing on security or a more playful experience.
It’s no secret that a lightweight pedal will make for an easier and more comfortable ride. But as you shop around, make sure your pedal isn’t sacrificing durability for a lower weight.
You want to find that sweet spot where you won’t feel weighed down by your pedals, but where you’ll also feel confident in their ability to withstand some brush-ups with roots and rocks.
Average riders should feel comfortable leaving the insanely lightweight pedals to competition riders and focus on searching for the best strength-to-weight ratios they can find.
With pins, it’s simple — the more pins you have, the more grip you’ll get. It’s up to you to decide how many pins you want on your pedals. Most pedals have 10-12 pins, but it’s certainly not uncommon to see more or fewer depending on what the pedals specialize in (grip versus freedom).
One important thing to consider is whether the pins are replaceable. Removable pins allow you to swap in newer hardware when your pedals have taken a beating over time. And they also allow you to customize your pin placement, giving yourself a looser or grippier setup for the terrain and ride ahead.
As with most gear, you may have to pay a little extra for an option with replaceable pins, but the benefits are usually worth it.
When trying to maximize value with your mountain bike’s flat pedals, it’s important to think of your own values as a rider. Newer riders might need to look for a pedal that emphasizes security and durability, while a more experienced rider might feel more comfortable paying a bit extra to bring down weight.
Take stock of where you are as a rider and what you’re looking for, and then move those values higher up on your list of essentials. When it comes time to possibly make trade-offs, you’ll have an easier time deciding the best mountain bike flat pedals for your needs.
Flat Pedals vs. Clipless: Which is better?
As with most comparisons in the world of outdoor sports, the answer to this question isn’t a matter of better or worse, but which one works for you. There are pros and cons to both options.
If you choose to go for flat pedals over clipless pedals, for example, you might be sacrificing the control and smooth power transfer that clipless pedals deliver on the climb. This consistency of foot placement and connectedness to the bike helps clipless riders feel powerful and in control, both on the climb and the descent.
The trade-off is that, unlike with flat pedals, there’s now a piece of gear connecting you with your bike. Whether you need to bail quickly or readjust your footing on a scrambly summit section, some riders prefer the adjustability and freedom that flat pedals offer, especially in variable terrain.
By the same token, however, clipless riders might approach those same tough sections with more confidence knowing that their feet won’t slip out. Different things work for different riders.
One important factor to consider is whether you feel that flat pedals may improve your riding ability. Many people switch to flat pedals to avoid the inherent safety net that clipless pedals provide, which can lead to riders developing bad habits.
From bunny hops to rear wheel lifts, the only way to learn with flat pedals is by doing. There are no shortcuts, and getting comfortable on flats can lead to that same in-control feeling that clipless pedals deliver, only now in a more natural sense.
Are mountain bike pedals universal?
Yes, mountain bike pedals are essentially universal. Technically, there are two types of pedals: half-inch in diameter and 9/16-inch in diameter.
Because half-inch pedals are usually only used in older or low-cost bikes, you should feel comfortable buying 9/16-inch pedals for almost any modern mountain bike.
Are plastic MTB pedals any good?
We think so, considering we’ve put so many on this list! While composite and nylon pedals come with a cheaper price tag, that doesn’t necessarily mean they’re a significant step down from pedals made with metal alloys.
Pedals made with metal alloys are more durable and are usually thinner. This can result in fewer rock strikes and less damage to the pedal when strikes do occur.
However, composite pedals absorb the shock better than alloy pedals. And although they may become more damaged than their metal counterparts, the experience for the rider will be smoother and potentially safer.
With all the technology in the outdoor industry that’s being put toward creating sturdy and lightweight polymers, plastic pedals are lighter and stronger than ever.
While they may not always hold up to those made with alloys, they’re certainly nothing to shy away from — especially given their agreeable price points.
Have a favorite flat pedal? Let us know in the comments, and we’ll check it out for future updates to this article.