Our simple guide will help you choose road cycling pedals that will not only improve your power transfer but also improve your overall performance. But first, a few questions…
What kind of shoes will you be wearing?
If you wear trainers when you ride, you need flat pedals or pedals with toe clips to keep your foot in place. The latter can take some getting used to and are a bit tricky to pull your foot out of in an emergency, so be sure to have a few practice runs in a safe area before you hit the road.
Most cyclists will wear specific road cycling shoes with plastic cleats that allow you to ‘clip’ in and out of your pedals, safely. Whichever clipless pedal you choose, it’s important to consider how often you’ll want to clip in and out. For example, city commuters and town riders will stop frequently at traffic lights, so should opt for pedals or cleats that can be clipped in on both sides of the pedal, such as mountain bike or trekking pedals. This just means you don’t have to worry about which way round the pedal is. If you spend most of your on-bike time in the countryside or on longer rides, you won’t need to clip in and out as much, and so you should choose specific road cycling pedals, which are wider and only clip in on one side of the pedal. Settled on specific road cycling pedals? Be sure to check the outsole of your shoe. The number of holes need to match the kind of cleats you’ll be wearing.
How light can you go?
The mantra ‘less is more’ is true hear – the lighter the pedal, the more you’ll pay for it. For these lighter pedals, materials such as carbon fibre will be used, and the bearing system will be less hefty.
How loose can you go?
All clipless pedals feature a screw which you can tighten or loosen. This affects the spring, allowing you to clip in more easily or with more tension. It might seem a bit mad to make it harder to clip in, but experienced riders may prefer this as it makes slipping out of the pedal when you’re going at great speed much harder.
Will you be walking on your cleats?
Cleats aren’t forever and will wear out over time, especially if you also walk in your shoes, and this can make it harder to clip in and out of your pedals. Don’t just make do – not being able to clip into your pedals quickly and easily is unsafe, and it’s really cheap to replace cleats.