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Why there are pins on Mtb pedals & are they all universal

While mountain biking is divided into two sections flat pedals and clipped-ins and I won’t be going into that but flat pedals are my all-time favorite and most preferred since they provide the ride with much more confidence and are very beginner friendly as well whereas clipped-in are some peoples favorite as well but a lot of the people don’t feel comfortable in them just like me.

If you ever stopped to think about why there are pins on the pedals I think most people would already know the answer to that question but for those who don’t know.

Pins on the MTB pedals are there to provide the grip, mountain biking trails are technical they can be quite rough at times, and a lot of the times they can through your feet off balance, and pins help the riders to keep their feet firmly on the pedals while reducing the risk of them slipping.

At the same time, they provide the riders with confidence on technical trails or corners where there are chances of falling your feet are always free to move around and that helps boost the confidence as well.

And also the flat pedals are easier to clean, and they are excellent in all different kinds of weather conditions as well clipless or slipped-in pedals can easily get mud and sand in them making them harder to remove your feet from the pedals and always riding in the constant fear of falling due to the fact that your feet are basically locked in for the long run.

But each of the pedals has its own advantages and disadvantages but you can get the same or almost the same kind of grip that you get from a clipped-in pedal from the flat pedals as well if you utilize them the right way.

I actually did an article on why pedal sizes matter you can check that out as well if you are interested in flat pedals.

Another benefit of the pins on the flat pedals would be extreme conditions like mud or snow in rainy seasons in muddy conditions flat pedals perform much better because the bike is losing balance all over the place and the pedals can get a lot muddy and snowy so pedal pins will save you in times of those extreme conditions they don’t hold mud or snow in them and everything passed through you get almost the same traction from them as you would in the dry conditions.

What are mtb pedal pins made of :

Pedal pins are usually made of steel, but aluminum is quite common as well though I wouldn’t recommend them. but most of the flat pedals have carbon steel. You can also use titanium pins on your pedals as well

Steel and titanium are sturdy and don’t bend or break that easily whereas aluminum pedal pins can easily bend or even break after some time.

if you have an unfortunate accident on trails or if you are just pushing through the mud and snow aluminum pins just won’t stay they might be resistant to rust more than steel but once they do get rusty they become useless whereas steel tends to stay longer and they are much stiffer and safer as well.

Are all pedal pins universal in sizes:

Not, Flat pedal pins vary in sizes mostly you would see 4M threads with lengths of 5mm or 3M threads on pedals but sometimes pedals are equipped with friction fit (you just push the pins in) but most pedal pins are threaded and there are ways to get around threaded pins but nothing can be said about other types of pins.

Usually, manufacturers would slap on some cheap pedals on the new bikes or none at all, and even if you buy from the same manufacturer they can differ, if you are having trouble finding the exact same pins for your bike you can ask your manufacturer about it or you can go to your local bike shop and ask them if they have anything they can fit your pedals usually they do have spare pins that can fit your pedals.

There are also ways to do it yourself at home as well.

Can you add more pins to the pedals :

While you can add more pins in addition to your existing pedals they are block holes in your pedals if you have never noticed but it’s not recommended because too many holes in the pedals can make it weaker and less sustainable, a better option would be adding longer pins to your pedals.

Mostly Mtb pedals are made of steel and in some rare cases magnesium you can easily make new threads in them but that would make them more vulnerable and more prone to breaking.

If you think your pedals do not provide enough traction or it’s just not enough then a better option would be to just use longer pins usually pedals with screw types are 5mm you can actually use 4M * 7,8,10 MM pins on them I had say 8 mm would be more than enough though.

How to match pins for pedals :

There are generally two ways to match the pins on your pedals you either have to call the manufacturer of your pedal and ask them what size pins they used on the pedals or you can go to a nearby hardware store and ask them if they have the same pins as used on your pedals usually they would have something that can fit your pedals.

But you can also use a tap to widen the pedal’s pins’ holes to fit the pins you had like to fit, but I wouldn’t recommend that because using any tool on the pedals would nullify any guarantee you had with the manufacturer but if you had like to do it anyway then you would need.

  • 4M × 0.7 mm tap
  • 1/8″ drill
  • set of new pins

The whole setup would cost you around 30-40 $ but yeah there is an option that you don’t need to discard or throw away your old pedals just because you damaged their pins.

As for how to do the procedure pink bike has done a good job of explaining how you can do it.

another thing that I see people struggling with is the size of their pedals.

How to know what size your MTB pedals are :

Here’s a picture to show you what the length and width of your pedals are

image shoes pedals length and height,and how to measure pedals


Dimensions of any items are measured as Length × width you can use a normal foot or tape to measure your pedal dimensions and one other thing pedal sizes are measured in (mm), not inches make sure your convert your measurements.

And the other thing that I see people struggling with a lot is.

How to tell if your pedals are 1/2 or 9/16 :

1/2 or 9/16 are used to indicate diameters of the pedals and it’s taken in inches 1/2 would be (12.7mm) diameter pedal spindle thread and similarly, a 9/16 inches pedal spindle diameter would be (14mm) to measure the diameter of the pedal spindle you can use a caliper.

If you get the values 12.7mm than its a 1/2 pedal and if you get the 14mm value than its a 9/16 inch pedal no need to dive in deep and get a headache while just trying to know you pedal sizes.