Road Bike Pedals

Arguably the most important direct connection between rider and bike, road pedals help transmit your energy into the drivetrain where it is converted to propulsion down — or up — the road.

The vast majority of modern road pedals are clipless, meaning instead of using toe clips and straps, your shoe is secured to the pedal via a binding mechanism where a cleat affixed to the sole of your shoe clips into the pedal not unlike how an alpine ski boot interfaces with a ski binding. And in fact the first widely used clipless road pedals were made by the French company Look, which had previously manufactured skiing bindings. Today, Look remains one of the most popular road pedals brands, along with the likes of Shimano, Speedplay, and Time.

The beauty of clipless road pedals is that because your cycling shoe is literally clipped into the pedal, rider energy is efficiently transmitted during the downstroke and upstroke. When it’s time to unclip and put a foot down, simply twist your heel and the cleat will disengage from the pedal.

Most road pedals (except for Speedplay) are single sided, which helps keep weight low. Some higher end pedals also incorporate carbon fiber or titanium to help further reduce weight. Other key considerations when choosing road pedals include amount of float, which is the degree of side-to-side angular rotation a pedal allows. This can sometimes be adjusted via choosing from various cleat options that increase or lessen float. Level of engagement is another key factor to consider, as some road pedals hold the cleat more firmly than others, while some also have adjustable tension via a screw on the pedal body.

Lastly, it’s important to remember that most road pedals come with cleats, but that all road pedals cleats do not work with all road pedals. For example you can’t use Look cleats with Shimano road pedals. So make sure to check this when looking for new pedals or cleats.

If you have any questions about road pedals, or are simply looking for advice as to which brand and model best suits your needs, feel free to call one of our JensonUSA Gear Advisors a call at 888-880-3811. They can help steer you in the right direction.