The best flat pedals for cycling in 2020
Although sometimes overlooked, a robust flat pedal can be the best choice in a range of circumstances.
They make shorter rides in ordinary shoes far easier and more comfortable than trying to get by using flat shoes on clipless pedals. For a causal town bike, commuter, or even a touring bike, the versatility of flat pedals presents a compelling draw.
They are also a good option for anyone with a knee or ankle injury, which can make it difficult to perform the sideways twisting motion necessary to disengage from a set of clipless pedals. The wide platform of flat pedals can also offer more support than a set of clipless pedals.
However, for the ultimate in efficiency, clipless pedals do rule the roost. So if performance is paramount, then flat pedals may not be the best choice for you.
If you want to know more, read about which clipless pedals system is best for you and what clipless pedals are the best.
Best flat pedals
This guide includes links to some products. With each product is a ‘Buy Now’ or ‘Best Deal’ link. If you click on this then we may receive a small amount of money from the retailer when you purchase the item. This doesn’t affect the amount you pay.
Now, let’s take a look at a few of our favourites.
Shimano M8140 Pedal
This pedal is a part of Shimano’s Deore XT range, the mountain bike equivalent of Ultegra. As such, you can expect a high build quality that is set to last.
The pedal axle is fully serviceable in the same way as other Shimano pedals, so it will be relatively easy to keep them spinning smoothly.
There are 10 pins per platform, however it is worth bearing in mind that they screw in from the front, as opposed to the back. This means that if they are left to get worn down too far, they can require a set of pliers or mole grips to extract and replace.
The platform in the small/medium size is 100mm x 105mm, which is a reasonable area for town riding and commuting. In being slightly concave—and 18mm thick at the thinnest point—they do nicely support your feet. Their weight is 461g.
Buy now: Shimano M8140 pedal at Wiggle for £94
Using a nylon body, rather than alloy, both the price and the weight can be kept low. This isn’t at the sacrifice of longevity either, being a very robust pedal. Although over time, knocks and scrapes can leave the plastic body looking a little scruffier than an aluminium alternative would.
There are 10 replaceable pins on each side of the 105mm x 107mm platform and the weight comes in at 349g.
Buy now: HT PA03A at Bike Inn for £35.49
DMR V12 pedals
Having produced the V12s for over 20 years now, DMR’s reputation is well established. The one-piece forged alloy platform is 95mm wide and is known for being robust.
There are 10 replaceable pins on each side and their height is fully adjustable. If the levels of grip offered are beyond your needs, they can be wound in to lessen the damage of any shin-pedal collisions.
The axle runs on two well-sealed cartridge bearings and is fully rebuildable, adding to the durability of this pedal. They weigh 422g, which is respectable for a metal body.
Buy now: DMR V12 Pedals at Evans Cycles for £49.99
DMR V6 Plastic Flat Pedals
A more budget oriented offering from DMR. The V6 shares the same body shape as the V12, but is constructed from Nylon rather than aluminium. The pins are constructed from the same material as the body and are not replaceable. The bearings cannot be serviced either.
However, this all serves to keep the cost down. If you know that you are not one for stripping down a pedal, preferring to replace when worn, these represents better value for money. They tip the scales at an impressive 327g.
Buy now: DMR 6 Flat Pedals at Wiggle for £13.99
Engineered to the high standards we expect to see from the UK brand Hope, these pedals use three cartridge bearings (albeit small ones) to spread the load on the axle. Should the time come when the bearings need replacing, Hope also sells a full rebuild kit.
The pins are fitted and removed by an Allen key at the back of the pin, which makes it easier to replace worn pins. The body is very thin at 15mm and their weight comes to 390g.
Buy now: Hope F-20 at Tweeks Cycles for £103.99
Crank Brothers Stamp 1
Another option with a plastic composite body, these are particularly light at 299g for the 100mm x 100mm platform. There are nine metal pins per side which mount from the back.
Crank Brothers pedals can be quite hard to tell the left from the right. The difference is marked only by a small groove around the left pedal axle. For those concerned about serviceability, the bearings are replaceable.
Buy now: Crank Brothers Stamp 1 Pedals at Wiggle from £37.44
Perhaps a contentious choice, as only one side of these pedals is flat. But as a dependable pair of pedals for riders who want to switch easily between cleats and flats, there are none much better than these.
Standardly from Shimano, the pedal axle is cup and cone, making it easily serviceable and long lasting.
Curiously, there are no pins, meaning that the pedal’s grip is a little less. Also, there are no replacements once the crenulated edge of the pedal cage is worn down—but this will take a serious amount of riding. The weight is a somewhat hefty 533g.
Buy now: Shimano PD-M324 at Wiggle for £41.99
Key features to look out for
Wider platforms will offer greater support, as well as being more grippy. However, too large and it can make a pedal cumbersome and awkward. Finding the right balance for you will ultimately be a personal choice depending on your needs.
Pedals with pins give a number of performance enhancements over models which have a crenulated cage.
Pins make pedals more grippy, meaning you won’t slide off in the wet. However, pins that protrude too far out can damage shoes and pose a risk to your shins. Many models are offered with adjustable pin height, giving you the flexibility to choose the balance that best suits you.
Another benefit is that it is a lot cheaper to replace pins when they become worn down than having to buy a whole new pedal. It can be worth going for a model where the pins wind in from the back because these will be easier to extract when worn.
Plastic composite pedals will be cheaper and are often lighter. For those young at heart, composite pedals also tend to have a greater range of colours. However, plastic bodied pedals tend to look scruffy sooner and are not as hard wearing in general as metal bodied pedals.
The simple serviceability of Shimano pedals requires just a couple of spanners (and sometimes also the TL-PD40, an inexpensive plastic tool) which makes them easy to keep running for a long time. Many other brands opt instead for replaceable sealed cartridge bearings and bushings. With a bit of periodic maintenance, a set of pedals can be kept going for a surprising number of years.
However, if you know that you are not one to be delving into the guts of your pedals then you might find better value in a set that does not have serviceable bearings, as these tend to be cheaper.
There are pedals that you can clip in to but can also be ridden as flat pedals without a problem. These pedals have a large cage around the clipless mechanism, which provides grip and support. Also, in being symmetrical, there is no need to flip the pedal over before you set off.