6 Best Pedals for Gravel Bike to Suit Every Need You Have (Summer 2022)

This article will help you find perfect pedals for your gravel bike and provide facts about different types and features you can choose from.
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Last updatedLast updated: August 03, 2022
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Gravel biking is one of the best ways to burn calories as it requires a lot of energy to ride on dirt roads compared to paved ones. As such, you need to be prepared with the right gear. You’ll also have to deal with lots of rocks, roots, potholes, and other obstacles along the way. One of the gears you will need is a set of pedals designed explicitly for gravel biking. These pedals are usually heavier-duty than road pedals and are often made from metal or carbon fiber rather than plastic.

We tested the best-rated gravel bike pedals in the market and listed them on our list of favorites according to their comfort, durability, ease of use, and performance in all terrains. Here are our top recommendations for the best pedals for a gravel bike. In our tests, we further looked at factors such as weight, stability, ease of installation, warranty, versatility, and so much more.

Top 6 Pedals for Gravel Bikes Reviewed in 2022

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Features
  • Material: a blend of steel and plastic
  • Weight: 0.64 lbs.
  • Bike type: cross country
  • Warranty: 5 years

More features: lightweight, 4-sided entry, premium bearings, customizable float

First on our list of the best pedals for gravel bikes is the Crankbrothers Candy Clip-in MTB Bike Pedal. It comes in eight different colors and five candy designs. The pedal is best fitted for use in cross-country bikes, although you can use it in cyclocross, trail, and all other types of mountain bikes.

Candy brothers pedal is the kind that you would want to have in your bike if you are racing or riding in any event requiring high-performance pedals. This excellent performance is made possible by its longer spindle and competition-oriented customizable design with an integrated pad for traction. This paddle is extremely lightweight and will make it easier for you to explore the bounty trails in any backyard.

Why are we impressed?

  • During our ride tests, we loved Candybrothers' paddle durability and quality. The pedals also come with three years of warranty. If anything happens to them during that duration, they can get repaired or replaced by the company free of charge. One pedal weighs 0.64 pounds from our tests, which makes it easy to carry around with you wherever you go. Its design allows you to clip it onto your shoe easily without the need for special tools. You don't even feel like there's anything attached to your foot when using this pedal because it fits perfectly into your shoes.

What negatives must you be aware of?

  • What we did not like about this model during our test rides was its inconsistent engagement. Sometimes, the pedal disengages too quickly after pedaling, but sometimes it takes quite some time before engaging again. We also didn't like how this pedal has limited adjustability. It offers limited cleat tension adjustability. Moreover, it is prone to clogging due to the accumulation of dirty cleats if you do off-road biking frequently.
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2
Premium Pick

SHIMANO PD-M9100 XTR

Features
  • Material: metal
  • Weight: 1.08 lbs.
  • Bike type: road bike, cyclocross bike, cross country bike
  • Warranty: 3 years

More features: included cleat set, increased drive train efficiency, smooth

The Shimano PD-M9100 XT Road Bicycle Pedals are another excellent option for those who love their cycling adventures. PD-M9100 XT’s standard features include a steel body, aluminum shanks, alloy toe caps, and stainless-steel bolts.

This model differs from its predecessor, the PD-M8120 XT, in size and also design. The PD-M9100 XTR has a broader platform that provides stability and better control even when you are not clipped in it. One pedal only weighs 314 grams compared to the M8120 XT, which weighs 438 grams. However, this model lacks an integrated cage that is present in its predecessor.

What do we love it for?

  • During our extensive pedals test rides, we liked how these models of pedals were very durable. Its construction is sturdy enough to withstand rough conditions and heavy loads. They were able to handle any pressure we could subject them to in our tests. That means that you won't have to worry about breaking them down now and then. And if it does break, the 3-year warranty has got you covered.

What were we disappointed with?

  • During our riding tests, we found out that these paddles have seal problems. Most pedals for gravel bike reviews seem to agree with our findings. These seals are responsible for keeping dirt out of the axel. Without them, dirt will enter the axels and increase friction and mess up with a comfortable ride. Friction will also make it extremely hard to cycle in challenging terrains. We think this pedal would be better if these issues were fixed in newer releases.
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9.4
Features
  • Material: titanium
  • Weight: 0.66 lbs.
  • Bike type: BMX, MTB, Mountain Bike, Hybrid bike, Old School, Cruiser, Commuter Bike, Dirt Jumper, Folding Bike, Road Bike- Touring, Track Bike, Unicycle, Urban Bike
  • Warranty: lifetime

More features: lightweight, sealed bearing

The ROCKBROS Mountain Bike Pedals are also among the best flat pedals for a gravel bike. ROCKBROS brand is known for making high-performance mountain bikes affordable. Most of the brand’s products are made from top-grade materials such as titanium and CNC integrated aluminum alloy. For this model, they didn’t disappoint as it is among the best-rated and affordable pedals out there.

The ROCKBROS Mountain Bike Pedals are best suited for you if you want a pedal with a broad platform. It features a 99.45 millimeters wide platform that ensures your feet are evenly supported during your rides. It also has steel anti-skid spikes on its sides, providing you with an excellent comfortable grip to prevent your sneakers from sliding off. The pedal is best suited for riders with a shoe size of under US 12. Its simplicity and design also make it the best beginner clipless pedal for a gravel bike.

What are our favorite features?

  • What we like the most about these pedals is that they weigh 302 grams each. So, carrying them around is not difficult at all. Another good feature of these pedals is that they come with lifetime warranties. They also have a full money-back guarantee in case they become faulty within a specified period. The two guarantees ensure that you have peace of mind and a risk-free purchase.

What could be better?

  • What we didn't like about this model is that it doesn't have enough grip. The pedal's grips are only located at its edges. They do not provide enough grip for aggressive riding. When ascending or descending from a hill, we found out that shoe traction is worse. ROCKBROS Mountain Bike Pedals are close to perfect, but it would be better if the manufacturer used more spikes to increase grip.
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8.9
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4
Best Mud-Shedding Design

SHIMANO SPD Pedal Clipless Pedals

Features
  • Material: metal and plastic
  • Weight: 0.22 lbs.
  • Bike type: road bike, mountain bike
  • Warranty: not specified

More features: mud shredding design, customizable engagement, and release

Shimano SPD Pedal Clipless Pedals are arguably the best SPD pedals for gravel bikes currently on the market. The pedals are made of Chromoly and come in three different colors. If you’re looking for a pedaling system that provides excellent comfort while still having outstanding reliability, look no further than Shimano’s SPD Pedal Clipless pedals. Clipless pedals have so much to offer, and it is not surprising that over 90% of triathletes prefer clipless pedals over any other type.

PD-M540 succeeded the SHIMANO SPD Pedal. The two have similarities in appearance but are made of different materials. The PD-M540 has fluorine-coated claws, which allow easy entry and release. It is relatively small and weighs 352 grams compared to Shimano SPD Pedal Clipless Pedals, which weigh 380 grams. From the names, the successor has clips, while this model does not have clips. Regardless of being an old model, this clipless model is more durable and affordable than its successor.

What do we love it for?

  • What we liked the most about this model is that they are easy to install and use. You do not need any technical knowledge or a technician to snap them in and out. The model is also made up of solid alloys that can see it last for a lifetime. It is also designed with an open binding mechanism that allows mud and debris to be pushed away when riding in muddy terrain. Despite being clipless, the pedal has optimal power transfer that ensures all your efforts are transferred to the bike. These features make them the best clipless pedals for a gravel bike.

What were we disappointed with?

  • We didn't like how the budget clipless pedals were heavy. They felt during our test rides compared to other SPD models. The heaviness hinders the comfort and ease of your ride. Also, on a snowy day, these pedals did not shed snow excellently as they do for mud. The materials used to construct this model are not durable. To keep your pad working flawlessly, you need to service it properly to avoid rust and other defects.
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8.5
8.8
Features
  • Material: aluminum
  • Weight: 0.62 lbs.
  • Bike type: mountain bike
  • Warranty: lifetime

More features: ultra-sealed bearings, available in different colors, stable, smooth, easy installation

Alston Pedals for Bike Road Bicycles are one of the top choices among road cyclists who want to improve their performance. This product comes with a set of high-quality aluminum alloy components that make it lightweight yet sturdy. Alston Pedals for Bike Roads bicycles feature a unique design that gives riders superior control over their bikes. To complement your bike coloring, you can choose between green, Jasper, blue, yellow, red, and black colors.

The Alston Pedals are best suited for riding beginners. First, they are easy to install. The pedals come will a detailed manual, and they are also engraved with L and R so that you can know which pedal belongs to the right or left side. Alston pedals are the best platform pedals for gravel bikes currently in the market. Their broad platform offers adequate support for any riding beginner for a comfortable and exciting riding experience.

Why is it special?

  • During our tests, we liked this model's broad platform that offers maximum stability during cycling. Its large size ensures that there will always be room for your feet even after long hours of riding. The platform is also compatible with many times of shoes. Hence, you do not need to buy some kind of special shoes when you acquire this pedal. We also love that it weighs just 0.62 pounds making it very light and easy to spin.

What are the flaws?

  • During our tests, we were disappointed with the durability of this model. Although the company claims the pedal is built using premium grade material, we noticed that the rubber pads wore down quickly. In addition, the bolts holding the cleat together became loose over time. If you plan to buy this model, then consider buying extra screws so that you don't run into problems later. Also, make sure you service the pedals more often to ensure they do not jam in the middle of your riding trip.
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6
Best Energy Transfer

LOOK X-Track Race Mountain Pedals

Features
  • Material: synthetic
  • Weight: 40 g
  • Bike type: mountain bike
  • Warranty: 2 years

More features: lateral contact support, SPD compatible, great for rough conditions, versatile

Look X-track race mountain pedals are ideal for those looking for a reliable pair of clipless pedals. These pedals feature a low-profile design that fits nicely under your shoe. They have been engineered to provide excellent traction while allowing ample clearance from obstacles like rocks and roots. LOOK X-track racing mountain pedals are only available in black color.

The Look X-Track is best suited for you if you are looking for a compact yet firm pedal. This model has hit the sweet spot of ease of entry and platform size. Combined with their decent tension adjustment range and lightweight, these pedals are a worthwhile companion when it comes to mountain and gravel rides. They offer the best weight-to-contact surface ratio on the current market.

What makes it special?

  • We loved the look of these pedals, their excellent grip, and exceptional maneuverability. These features make them suitable for both flat and hilly terrains. We found that these pedals work perfectly fine on smooth surfaces but tend to slip if you encounter rough roads during our testing sessions. This model also does not require much maintenance since it only needs occasional cleaning. All you need to do is wipe dirt and grime off the surface regularly.

What cons did we find?

  • We think this pedal would be better if the manufacturers equipped it with quality bearings. During our tests, we would encounter a distinct tight spot on every revolution. If it were an issue with just one pedal, we would have classified it as bad luck. But for both to have identical problems, the pedals must have issues with quality or alignment. The overall performance of these pedals is decent, except for the noticeable bearings tight spots.

Things to Consider

When buying bicycle pedals, some factors should be considered before purchasing any particular brand. You can’t just choose a particular brand without knowing what makes it different than other brands. It is essential to know where each brand is best suited, how it works and why it is made the way it is.

So, what benefits do you accrue by using the correct pedals for gravel bike riding Trusted Source Mixed terrain cycle touring - Wikipedia Mixed terrain cycle touring, nicknamed “rough riding” in North America and very occasionally “rough stuff” in parts of the United Kingdom, involves cycling over a variety of surfaces and topography on a single route, with a single bicycle. The recent popularity of mixed terrain touring is in part a reaction against the increasing specialization of the bike industry. Focusing on freedom of travel and efficiency over varied surfaces, mixed terrain bicycle travel has a storied past, one closely linked with warfare. en.wikipedia.org ? Well, here are some advantages you gain by using the right pedal in your off-road biking adventure:

  • Excellent pedal grip

Having a good pedal grip is essential. When you use the proper pedal grip, you will find yourself able to climb steeper inclines at higher speeds. With the proper pedal, you won’t feel like you’re struggling to keep your legs on them. Instead, you’ll enjoy the ride!

  • Increased power transfer

If you’ve ever ridden a road bike Trusted Source Everything You Need to Know about Gravel Bikes, the Latest Trend in Cycling At first glance, a gravel bike looks like, well, a bike. There are the classic drop bars, shifters, and the 700cc rims of a road or cyclocross bike. But there are small tweaks and upgrades sprinkled throughout that help the bike handle rougher conditions. It has a slightly lower bottom bracket, and a longer wheelbase, which makes it more stable over uneven terrain at higher speeds. The wheels are wrapped in bigger tires, usually 32mm or 35mm wide, that do not require tubes. www.bloomberg.com , you probably understand the importance of having good pedaling mechanics. When you push hard on the pedals, you want to feel like you’re pushing against something solid. That’s because the more resistance you put into the pedals, the harder you’ll go. And if you don’t have enough friction between your foot and the pedal, you won’t generate maximum force.

  • Better comfort

When you’re out on a long ride, the last thing you want is sore muscles from sitting uncomfortably on the saddle. Pedal design plays a significant role in making sure you stay comfortable while riding. Some designs feature wider cleats so that your toes aren’t pinched together. Others include air cushions that provide extra padding around your ankles.

  • Durability

Gravel bike pedals are made to withstand the harshest terrain conditions. These pedals can take everything thrown at them from mud, water, snow, rocks, dirt, sand, etc. They are also easy to clean after being covered in grit and grime.

6 Best Pedals for Gravel Bike to Suit Every Need You Have (Summer 2022)

Such pedals are durable and weather-proof but very simply made and may lack in more advanced features.

Important Features

There are tons of pedals in the market that are an excellent choice if you want to ride in places with no pavement. The problem is that it is not easy to find the right type for you. Here are the factors you should consider when purchasing gravel bike pedals:

Material

The first factor you should consider when buying your pair of pedals is the material their body uses. There are two primary materials used in manufacturing pedals; aluminum or steel.

Aluminum pedals tend to be lighter but less durable compared to steel ones. Steel pedals are more robust and heavier but offer better durability. Other materials such as plastics, titanium, synthetics, and carbon fiber are also used to make pedals.

If you plan to spend most of your time on rough terrains, you need to invest in strong pedals with high-quality construction. If you prefer to spend most of your time on paved roads, lightweight pedals will work best. For highly rough terrains, we recommend buying the SHIMANO PD-M9100 XTR pedal covered above. Most of its body is made of metal and can withstand any type of terrain and pressure without breaking down. If you are cycling through paved or relatively rugged terrain, you can go for the ROCKBROS Mountain Bike Pedals above, which are made up of titanium.

6 Best Pedals for Gravel Bike to Suit Every Need You Have (Summer 2022)

Advanced pedals are easy to spot: their design is more complicated, with a range of specific features provided.

Weight

Another essential aspect to look at before choosing your pedals is how heavy they are. Those which weigh quite a lot require a bit of effort to move around and ride. On the other hand, lightweight pedals do not mean that they cannot handle challenging terrains.

If pedals are made of solid material, they can handle any terrain without breaking down.

The best pedals for off-road riding would be made up of light but robust and durable materials. For this purpose, we recommend purchasing the LOOK X-Track Race Mountain Pedals which only weigh 40 grams. The pedal has the perfect platform size and ease of entry. Combined with its compact size and weight, it will turn your off-road ride into a smooth, unforgettable experience even in rugged terrains.

If you are looking for the heaviest pedal around, it has to be the SHIMANO PD-M9100 XTR above, weighing 1.08 pounds. Despite being heavy-weight, these pedals are made to last for a lifetime. Their construction is rigid and able to withstand any kind of terrain.

Bike types

You must know what type of bicycle you have before deciding on the appropriate pedal for you. Otherwise, you will end up purchasing a pedal that is not compatible with your bicycle. Purchasing incompatible pedals is a waste of time and your precious money. So, why not take your time to assess whether your bicycle is compatible with the pedal you want to buy?

For mountain bikes, we recommend purchasing the Alston Pedals for Bike Road Bicycle reviewed above. For a road bike, then the SHIMANO SPD Pedal Clipless Pedals above would be an excellent match for you. If you are looking for a model that is versatile and compatible with BMX, MTB, Mountain Bike, Hybrid bike, Old School, Cruiser, Commuter Bike, Dirt Jumper, Folding Bike, Road Bike- Touring, Track Bike, Unicycle, Urban Bike, and so forth, then it has to be the ROCKBROS Mountain Bike Pedals covered in this guide. If you own a cyclocross bike, the SHIMANO PD-M9100 XTR above will serve your needs. The best pedal for a cross country bike would be the Crankbrothers Candy Clip-In MTB Bike Pedal.

Design

When selecting your pedal, you must pay attention to the shape of the pedal itself. It is ubiquitous for people to purchase a set of pedals based solely on looks alone. However, you may end up regretting doing so because the wrong pedal could cause injury to yourself.

Always choose a pedal whose shape fits well with your foot. In addition, ensure that the pedal is designed so that it does not slip during use.

If you are looking for the best designed clipless pedals, we recommend purchasing the SHIMANO SPD Pedal Clipless Pedals reviewed in this article. If you want to buy clip pedals, the best choice for you is the Crankbrothers Candy Clip-In MTB Bike Pedal which has premium bearings and a customizable float.

6 Best Pedals for Gravel Bike to Suit Every Need You Have (Summer 2022)

You can find many design options that will both provide different features and help customize your bike.

Warranty

It is important to note that all products sold online come with warranties. If there is an issue with your product within one year from when you purchased it, you can return it to where you bought it and get a refund or replacement. The warranty also ensures you have a stress-free purchase since if the pedal has defections, you won’t have lost money.

The best pedals that come with a lifetime warranty in our guide above are the ROCKBROS Mountain Bike Pedals and the Alston Pedals for Bike Road Bicycle. If you purchase any of the two, you have a lifetime guarantee that they will always be repaired or replaced if they are faulty.

FAQ

Once you have bought your new pedals, the first step to installing them is removing the old ones. Use a pedal hex or wrench to unscrew the old ones from your crank arms. Once done, we recommend reading the manufacturer’s manual. But in case your pair didn’t come with a manual, start by cleaning your arms with alcohol.

You should then apply bike grease to your new pedals to avoid friction. Look at whether they are labeled L and R. L means that the pedal belongs to the left side while R is the right side. The left and right-hand pedals are different. If you install them in the wrong positions, they will not fit appropriately.

Insert each pedal to where it belongs at right angles. Place your range or hex into the ports found in each crank arm. Tighten the left one counterclockwise and the right clockwise. Tighten the pedals until they are appropriately secured. Enjoy your ride.

After using your bicycle pedals, you should clean them regularly. You can wash them under running water but be careful not to let any dirt enter the cleats. Make sure that you dry off the pedals thoroughly afterward. To prevent rust, keep them away from moisture such as rainwater. You can also oil the metal parts when storing them for a prolonged period.

To avoid breakdowns when riding, we recommend inspecting pedal nuts and bolts after every ride. Tighten any loose bolts and replace all the damaged screws. You should only do this if your warranty has expired. Otherwise, you risk voiding it by replacing parts and maintaining it by yourself. If your pedal is under warranty, just make observations. If you notice anything loose or damaged, have it fixed by your manufacturer.

Most pedals usually last for over three years. A few can last for more than ten years and even a lifetime. The durability of your pedals depends on how often you use them and the riding terrain. If you use them frequently, you may want to consider changing them sooner than later.

Pedal wear also depends on how much pressure you put on them during rides. For example, if you run up hills, you might experience more significant wear than flat terrain. You should, hence, consider changing your pedal when they wear out and their efficiency has degraded. Hence, there is no specified amount of years or months your pedals must take before they are changed. It all depends on whether they are usable or not.

Our Verdict

The pedals covered in this guide are the best options available today. They offer excellent performance, durability, ease of installation, and maintenance. For our Editor’s Choice, we settled for the Crankbrothers Candy Clip-In MTB Bike Pedal, which features a steel and plastic body that is durable and strong. It also has a clip, which makes it easy to attach your feet to the pedals. Clipping makes sure all your leg efforts are transferred to the bike.

Our Premium Pick, the SHIMANO PD-M9100 XTR, is made of metal and can withstand any pressure subjected to its body. It is the best model for riding through rocky and highly rough terrains.

The best pedals for gravel bikes offer you the Best Value for your money. Hence, we settled for the ROCKBROS Mountain Bike Pedals. They are versatile and can fit into various types of bikes. The pedals feature a broad platform that evenly supports your legs, a lifetime warranty, and steel anti-skid spiked for a comfortable ride. We hope our review helps you choose the perfect set of pedals for your needs. Happy cycling!

References

1.
Mixed terrain cycle touring - Wikipedia
Mixed terrain cycle touring, nicknamed “rough riding” in North America and very occasionally “rough stuff” in parts of the United Kingdom, involves cycling over a variety of surfaces and topography on a single route, with a single bicycle. The recent popularity of mixed terrain touring is in part a reaction against the increasing specialization of the bike industry. Focusing on freedom of travel and efficiency over varied surfaces, mixed terrain bicycle travel has a storied past, one closely linked with warfare.
2.
Everything You Need to Know about Gravel Bikes, the Latest Trend in Cycling
At first glance, a gravel bike looks like, well, a bike. There are the classic drop bars, shifters, and the 700cc rims of a road or cyclocross bike. But there are small tweaks and upgrades sprinkled throughout that help the bike handle rougher conditions. It has a slightly lower bottom bracket, and a longer wheelbase, which makes it more stable over uneven terrain at higher speeds. The wheels are wrapped in bigger tires, usually 32mm or 35mm wide, that do not require tubes.
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