The 4 Best Flat Pedals for Mountain Biking of 2023

Whyte E 180 Rsx Mx Super

Are you in the market for some new mountain bike flat pedals? Our team spent weeks reviewing and researching the latest and most popular flat pedals before buying 17 pairs for testing. Our team includes four riders and friends from various riding backgrounds who live in different locations. We tested these pedals for weeks, from dusty rides in Sedona and Prescott, Arizona, to flow trails around Lake Tahoe and on wet and muddy days in the jankiest rock gardens. After each ride, we took notes and analyzed each pedal in our five metrics. Our recommendations are based on our real-world testing and real-world measurements. We aim to help you find the best mountain bike flat pedal for your needs, budget, and riding style.

Pedals are just one piece of this important connection to your bike, so it may be worth looking into our comprehensive reviews of flat pedal shoes for men and flat pedal shoes for women. We’ve also done complete testing of the best mountain bike pedals if you prefer to be clipped in.

Wolf Tooth entered the crowded mountain bike flat pedal market this year with the Waveform and knocked it out of the park. The dual concave platform creates an incredibly natural feeling underfoot, and as our testers noted, “it just feels right.” These pedals performed exceptionally well in our grip, traction, platform, mobility, and weight metrics. The Waveform features 11 bottom load traction pins that provide great grip with various shoes and hold your feet firmly in place on chunky climbs and descents alike. The Waveform is made in two sizes, small and large, so that you can dial in the right size for your foot. Repositioning the foot is easy, even with sticky rubber soles. The three low-friction, fully sealed cartridge bearings spin smoothly and predictably, and your pedal will not spin away from you when you lift your foot off. Rock strikes are kept to a minimum thanks to tapered edges and a slightly smaller width, which we appreciate on rocky trails. Servicing the pedals is easy and takes about 10 minutes, but it requires three different-sized allen keys. However, unlike many pedals, the bearings can be replaced without special tools.

The Waveform’s biggest drawback is the price tag. However, the pedals are fully rebuildable, meaning replacement parts are available through Wolf Tooth’s website. They call it the “Right to Repair.” The Waveform is a great pick if you’re looking for a pedal to take you from cross-country laps to the bike park and everything in between.

The Race Face Chester is an affordable flat pedal with an excellent price-to-performance ratio. It is one of the least expensive models we tested, yet it scored admirably across all our rating metrics. This lightweight model tips the scales at 358-grams and has a rugged nylon composite platform. The platform is moderate in size at 101 mm x 110 mm with a 14 mm profile and sloped leading edges that help reduce pedal strikes. 16 replaceable pins per pedal (eight per side) provide a relatively good grip with proper foot placement. Servicing the internals is straightforward, and removing and replacing pins couldn’t be easier. They also have a timeless style and are offered in many different colors.

The Chester’s are great, but they aren’t perfect. With only eight pins per side and none along the axle, they do not have the strongest grip and can feel a little slippery in wet conditions. The moderately-sized platform also may not be ideal for those with larger feet. Beyond that, they are a good option for those who value a little foot mobility and riders on a budget.

The OneUp Components Composite is a solid product at an impressive price. OneUp delivered a quality composite (plastic) pedal with features synonymous with high-end aluminum models. At first glance, they look almost exactly like their aluminum sibling, with a relatively large platform and ten bottom-loading traction pins. The Composite is highly functional on the trail and performs solidly across our performance metrics. These pedals offer a relatively lightweight design that blends a solid grip with some foot mobility. If you are looking for a composite pedal that does its job well and won’t blow your budget, the Composite might be the ticket.

However, don’t be fooled. These are still budget-oriented pedals, and the grip and traction can’t match the same levels as some of the high-end performers in our review. Yes, they offer sufficient levels of grip, but there is no confusion with some of our review’s best options and are a fabulous option for the rider with a spending limit.

The Deity TMAC is a rugged pedal built for burly descents and hard riding. The TMAC was designed and tested to meet the demands of Tyler McCaul, one of the sport’s most talented downhill and free riders. These pedals beautifully blend thoughtful engineering and exquisite looks. The symmetrically designed pedals are machined from T6 Aluminum for strength and durability. They offer excellent balance, a large platform, and loads of grip with 14 pins per side. Their two-and-one-half millimeter concave depth enhances grip and foot comfort while climbing and descending. The symmetrical shape of the pedals delivers a balanced feel and helps distribute weight evenly across the platform. Riders will find that these pedals work great across many forms of riding, and their versatility should not go unnoticed.

While we loved these pedals for their incredible grip, we admit they may be too grippy for some riders. Those who like a little foot mobility should probably look elsewhere. Additionally, we found the large symmetrical pedal body and thicker profile of these pedals to make them slightly more prone to pedal strikes. That said, for riders who want a burly pedal with high levels of grip, durability, and style, the TMAC is a fantastic choice.


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