Making a choice for the pedals can sometimes become hard and if you are lost I think this article will help you decide whether you should go with slightly bigger pedals or slightly shorter pedals, and what can be most beneficial to you in the long run.
What to consider when choosing pedals :
Before going into the bigger and shorter pedals benefits I think it would be much easier for you to know what would work for you.
There are 3 main factors that I consider you should look into before making any choice.
- your interest (riding style you are going to adopt or working toward)
- struggles you face (placing feet on the pedals or grip)
- What your riding discipline requires (XC, DH, all mtn, enduro, freestyle).
To be specific define your riding style whether you are into racing or you are aiming to become a racer or you are going for the exercising and just riding the route on any kind of trail and once you make sure what kind of path you are going to take in future go with the pedals that support you in your journey and don’t pay too much attention to what might be useful today.
And if you can’t decide on what route to take and you are confused about what you are going to follow in the future then the best way to choose your pedals would be to go with the ones you think you might be the most comfortable with and along the way you can always adjust and buy a new set in future when things clear up for you.
Bigger pedals or shorter pedals :
bigger and small pedals each have their own benefits and their own cons as well but it depends on different factors that most beginners tend to ignore.
So I decided to write an article to give you a little bit of an idea of how things work and in the process help you make a better choice.
Bigger pedals :
Slightly bigger pedals have a wider and longer platform to place your feet which in turn makes it easy to move your feet around and have better confidence on the technical trails that being said it all depends on the riding style as well.
Generally Bigger pedals perform better for leisurely-style riders who mostly use their bikes for commuting and on green trails mostly, but all people fall in this category and like to use bigger pedals.
For beginners or people wanting to switch from clipless pedals Flat pedals with a larger platform are a much better choice than slightly shorter pedals.
Shorter pedals :
A little shorter pedals give excellent grip they don’t provide you with a very wide area but you can use them to lock your feet in for the racing they perform way better on technical trails and fast trails where you need your feet firmly in place.
That being said you also run the risk of slipping your feet and it gets a little bit harder to place your feet in the right position at high speeds.
Confidence in your riding style is a must for little shorter pedals
In addition to the pedals, your pedal pins and shoes matter a lot as well, on wider or bigger pedals shorter pins work better because most people are going for the comfort of the riding and the confidence.
Convex or flat pedals :
You will definitely come across convex and fully flat pedals, convex pedals have a little bump in the middle of the pedals and it usually has smaller pins and both sides will have larger pins.
Again it depends on your riding style but if you are not comfortable with the gripping aspect and you are struggling with the grip on the pedals these pedals can help you do that.
In the gripping aspect, these pedals are the best as any clipless pedals and they perform way too well than clipless if you are using a nice soft set of shoes. Most people avoid these kinds of pedals including me because they are tiring
These kinds of pedals are a little bit advanced for beginners because they are made to dig in much like clipless pedals and another downside of convex pedals apart from being somewhat uncomfortable, they will dig into your shoes much faster than any other flat pedals.
Shoe choices :
Shoe selection for the clipless pedal is very important because in the end no matter how good of a pedal you are using if you are using the wrong shoes you will find the pedals much worse and a lot of the time you will see people complaining about their pedals and they would be wearing hard sole flat shoes.
Make sure you don’t make the same mistake, For mountain biking a soft shoe with or without any pattern is much better you want your shoes to dig into the pedals. the pins are going to chew the shoes out but we are not talking months here a pair of 5/10 shoes can last 6 months to a year and I have seen some people wearing the same shoe for even 2 to 3 years it just depends on the user.
If you are new to the flat pedals or you are a total beginner it would take time for you to learn some things like the amount of force on the pedals and grip on the pedals all of these things come naturally and once you figure that out you wouldn’t be destroying your shoes either.
I wouldn’t be recommended using hiking shoes for the flat pedals especially if they are stiff and hard especially for a beginner if you are someone with experience you can get away with it and maybe ride better but for a beginner, they can be too much to handle for the most parts you will be struggling with the grip and slipping your foot a lot of the time so starting with a soft sole shoe would be the most appropriate choice.
Recommended pedal size for the shoe sizes :
|Shoe size for US and canada||shoe size in euro||shoe size in uk||Pedal size mm
Length × width
|5-6||35-37||3-4||90mm x 105mm
|7-10||37-41||5-8||100mm x 105mm
|11-12-13||41-43||9-10||110mm x 105mm
I put together these resources so you can skim through them and decide what would suit you best I usually don’t go with the recommended stuff I tend to match the pedals with my riding style and if you are someone like me you can do it as well if I am more into the XC or racing stuff I would go with a smaller size pedal than the recommended one and if I am into more leisure style cruising than I would go for the bigger size pedals.
Which type of pedals are better for free riding :
Free riding is another thing altogether and personally, I would still be looking ahead where I would go from there but if I had to make a choice for the time being or for the long term I would get a bigger pedal set.
It would not give me the traction I want but it would still give me enough space for better foot placement, making a choice based on your weakness can be a great way to decide as well if you struggle with the platforms then bigger pedals would work the best and if you struggle with the pedals getting in the way or not enough traction than smaller pedals would make much more sense.
How can you tell if the pedals are too big or short for you :
Having pedals that are too short or too long can be problematic since you will be struggling to either keep your feet on the pedals are trying to maintain your feet on the pedals which can get very frustrating and annoying.
if you are constantly finding your feet getting stuck in between the pedal pins or getting stuck in the pedal gaps then those pedals may be too big for you similarly if you’re finding your feet hanging on the edges of the pedals your pedals may be too short for you.
There is no way to get around these problems if you just bought your pedals you may very well return them and ask for a return if not you might have to buy a new pair.