Clipless pedals are much better than your ordinary pedals and beginner-friendly to riding bikes, although might take some time. These special pedals provide larger power during the pedal stroke as your feet will be locked in place and using more of your muscle power. They may have the same purpose but different designs mean different pros and cons to choose from.
Either road or mountain riding, we have made a list of reviews of the best clipless pedals around in these two categories to assist you in finding the right one.
If you are in a rush, the Shimano Ultegra PD R8000 is a fine option for road, gravel cycling because of the high-quality built and customization. Then we have the SHIMANO PD-M9100 which has the best overall stats for riding on mountains thanks to the extreme mud shedding capabilities and toughness.
Best Clipless Pedals For Road Cycling
Being made by Shimano, you know you are in good hands. Although a pricey investment but worth it in the long run. The Ultegra PD R8000 offers a beautiful, large, and robust body being made from carbon composite. Because the body is large, power transfers more efficiently, distributes pressure better and makes it easy to clip in.
Furthermore, the wide bearing placement brings stable load distribution so that it will last longer and roll much smoother. The best part is that there is an adjustable entry and release tension, allowing customization thus better comfort and accuracy. Although it only includes 6-degree cleats for 3-bolt shoes.
- Lightweight, large, and robust design
- Adjustable entry and release tension
- Easy to clip in
- SPD-SL cleats for 3-bolt shoes
- Very expensive
- Only include a 6-degree cleat
This Shimano clipless pedal utilizes the SPD – SL system, which is an upgrade compared to the traditional SPD clipless pedals, providing a wider cleat and a binding mechanism which makes shoe and pedal contact easier.
For the design, it is low profile and lightweight, still a bit heavier than the Ultegra we mentioned but great nonetheless. And you can lean them over nicely in corners, being able to cope with a 31 degrees lean. As a bonus, it comes with SM – SH11 (yellow) cleat which has a 6 degrees float.
- Durable, light, and low profile design
- Great value
- Wide cleat for easy clip
This best clipless pedal may seem more expensive than the Shimano, Time,… brands. But it will give you a run for your money. The platform is relatively wide, giving you a fantastic foothold and easy to clip in. Of course, the carbon design is created to be robust and lightweight at the same time.
What makes the TIMEXpro 10 Pedals from the other clipless pedals is the ability to change the tension, featuring three positions that can go off easily to be really secure. Moreover, the stack height is only 13.5mm, allowing you to get the most power out of it, being more engaged.
- Light and resilient
- 5mm stack height
- Adjustable tension, up to 3 positions
- Spacious platform, easy to fit in
- A small percentage of the models we have make a squeaky sound
The SpeedPlay has a more unique design than the others. A “lollipop” design which in order to use it solidly, you would need an adaptor. You have to bolt the adapter to your three-bolt-pattern shoe then bolt the cleat to the adapter. This would add 3mm to the stack height, but no worries as it is already fairly lower than other clipless pedals.
Another cool feature that this design holds is the free float. You can get nice and comfy with how you align your feet on the pedals thanks to the 0-15 degrees of float. Also, you can find two screws on the cleat, being labeled “Heel in” and “Heel out” which you can adjust the float.
- Free float, comfortable, and easy to clip in
- Lightweight, durable, unique design
- Very low stack height
- Slightly high-priced
- Lots of maintenance needed
- A bit hard to use
Best For Being Widest
Take a LOOK, the LOOK Keo Pedals offers a narrower 60mm width platform to give the most power transfer from your cleats, that won’t also lower its ability to turn fantastically in corners.
Of course, it has the carbon construct like the other clipless paddles but with fine stainless steel touch in the middle for increased durability. Also, you can adjust the float with three options being 0, 4.5, and 9 degrees, along with the tension.
- Solid and firm design
- Narrow, wide platform
- Three adjustable positions for float
- Great for cornering
The Shimano PD-M540 may be heavier and bulkier than your average clipless pedals, for specifics the body is made from alloy, and the mechanism, nickel-plated steel.
However, this, in turn, gives it an extremely resilient design along with a smooth operation. And being more open means clearing mud efficiently also means less maintenance if it gets dirty.
Furthermore, the float can be adjusted up to four degrees to lessen your discomfort and also the tension. If you’re into a bit of “fashion”, it comes in two colors black and silver, with the silver being slightly more expensive.
- Tough and wide design
- Capable of clearing mud
- Requires less maintenance than other clipless pedals
- Adjustable four degrees float
- Slightly heavier than others
Best Clipless Pedals For Mountain Biking
Coming from Shimano, you know you are gonna be in for a good deal. It is made for offroad riding. The contact areas are cylindrical and wide, capable of protecting themselves against mud, stable performance, and provide a firm place for your shoe to clip in.
With its dual-sided design being a bit larger than your average carbon clipless paddles, it is still fairly lightweight being only 310g, and can go through a lot of punishments thanks to the construction being made of aluminum and steel. Moreover, the axle length provides two options, 52mm and 55mm.
- Lightweight, low-profile design
- Two different axle length
- Cylindrical contact areas, great mud shedding
- Platform is still slightly narrow
Best For Cross-country Riding
You might confidently count on this best clipless pedal to get through the tough terrains in long rides. The TIMEATAC XC 8 offers a lateral float of 6mm in which not many clipless pedals do, 5 degrees angular float, and 13 or 17 degrees release angle cleat.
Going through muds should be a breeze cause of the unique, robust design it holds. Another cool feature is the adjustable spring-loaded release tension with three positions but not entirely consistent.
- 6mm lateral float
- Lightweight, unique, and robust design
- Can shed mud easily
- Small platform, a bit difficult to clip in
Best Budget Pedals For Mountain Bike
One of the most lightweight, less pricey, weirdest in a good way best clipless pedal. Well, just like the name, it has a design of an egg beater, providing up to four side entries that have been cut some weight for an ultimate mud-shedding capability and extremely lightweight.
Although clipping in is not simple, clipping out is the opposite, offering from 15 to 20 degrees of float. If you’re looking for a fun, great mud protection, and light offroad riding experience, then this is a good option.
- Really good at shedding mud
- Very lightweight
- Easy to exit
- Unique, resilient design
- Relatively cheap
- Hard to clip in
Best For Trail Riding
You may be astonished at the price of the TIME Speciale 12, however, it will make you run for your money. This heavy SPD clipless pedal is made specifically for trail rides, so of course you would expect the construct of it to be tough and very durable alongside a wide platform so you can confidently clip in and maximize power.
What’s interesting is that you can put in 8 adjustable pins in order to increase traction and a boost in power. Although this would make clipping out more difficult and your foot less mobile. Moreover, there is an ATAC dual-arch retention system for positive entry and release.
- Solid, low-profile build
- 8 adjustable traction pins
- Choose from three different colors for your own taste
- Fantastic mud shedding
- Really expensive
- Putting pins may result in having a hard time clipping out
Best For Enduro
If you are preferring a solid and resilient clipless pedal that can take on the enduro journeys and available at a low-cost price then this just might be a great option. Precisely engineered and CNC-machined, the HT COMPONENT STprovides two replaceable pins that you can place around the perimeter to up the strength of the platform and better grip.
Furthermore, the design gives you an easy clip in and out with a loud click to know that you are secured and exited. As a bonus, you can choose from two beautiful colors of the pedals, royal blue and purple.
- Uttermost durability that can take a lot of beating
- Available in two beautiful colors
- Two replaceable pins
- Great value
- Not SPD compatible so you need to use HT’s own cleat
What To Consider When Buying A Clipless Pedal?
Now it’s time that we look at some considerable and vital factors that you should take a deep look at if you are looking to buy yourself a nice clipless pedal besides from the options we have shown you.
Cleats are vital as it is what attaches your shoe to the pedal, or so-called “clip”, to get the most power out of the pedals, enabling you to use your entire pedal stroke. Usually requiring you to push your foot forward and down on the pedal until the cleat are in place.
You have two main systems of clipless pedals. The three-bolt system, or you can call it SPD-SL, attaches your shoe with three bolts, providing a bigger and more stable platform on the pedal. Second is two bolts which are mainly used for offroads, attaching your shoe with two bolts and because they are smaller, you can walk around much easier when you are off your bike.
And of course, the cleat on your shoe must be compatible with the pedals for it to actually function so check the description of the pedals carefully.
Pedal float means how much “wiggle” you can do when your foot is clicked onto the pedal, more specifically, the degree of rotation your foot can move from left to right. This can impact your muscles and joints, especially the knees. You gotta make sure your foot is firmly attached to the pedal if you want a huge increase in your performance.
If the connection gets more tense, more force will be used, this, in turn can place a lot of strain on your knee. It can be hard to determine the right float for you, but consider your cleat position and how your foot position should give you a vague suitable amount.
May we suggest the LOOK CYCLE Keo 2 Max Carbon for the three float positions it offers. 0 degrees for professional riding, 4.5 for anyone with knee issues, and 9 for the newbies.
Different designs of clipless pedals are served differently. Like we spoke of in the cleat, there are two systems of pedals, the three bolts and the two bolts.
For offroad riding, the two bolt cleats are used. They are small which means you can walk easily with shoes. Whereas the three-bolt cleats are much stiffer and stick out like a sore thumb, making walking way harder.
Like the name, it’s how much tension required for you to clip your shoes out of the pedals. They can be adjusted on most bikes, increasing the tension means more effort to twist out of your pedal, whereas decreasing the tension makes getting out of the pedals easier.
The Q-factor is the distance between the pedal attachment points on the crank arms, when measured parallel to the bottom bracket axle. But it is most uncared by most companies, rarely publishing these numbers. It can affect your foot alignment and your stance which leads to your overall performance.
1. What are clipless pedals?
Clipless pedals may confuse people because it’s not clipless, you have to clip it in. But in actuality, the clip is a cage that wraps around the toes to attach the shoes to the pedals. The clipless pedals only require special cycling shoes with cleats attached to the pedal using bolts, this is called clip in which is way more convenient.
2. What are the differences between clipless pedals & SPD pedals?
Actually, SPD pedals are a type of clipless pedals. Clipless pedals have two types, the SPD and SPD – SL. SPD type allows you to walk around when off your bike, commonly used in clipless pedals for offroad riding. While the SPD-SL is used on clipless pedals for on road riding.
3. Can you ride clipless pedals with normal shoes?
Well you can, however, you will feel the discomfort of slipping your feet off the pedals most of the time, especially in rainy conditions.
After we have reviewed some of the best clipless pedals around, the Shimano Ultegra PD R8000 takes the cake as the best overall one for road cycling. Why? Obviously because of the well-built, robust, attractive design and the ability to go deep into the customization with the entry, tension.
And for mountain riding, you might want the SHIMANO PD-M9100 for its incredible mud shedding capability, really strong build, being able to take a lot of punishments and a firm, wide platform for your foot to be placed on.