There is a vast choice of mountain bike clipless pedals available to buy, some are good for all-round trail riding, some are more suited to cross-country riding whilst others are aimed squarely at gravity, enduro or downhill riding. Between us at off.road.cc we've tested quite a variety and have listed the best in test here.
[Updated 19th November 2018]
As well listing as the top performing clipless pedals we've tested, we've also written a 'Buyer's Guide' to give you all the information you need when making that decision - Clips vs. Flats. To see the full verdict of each pedal, just click on the picture of each to go the review of that pair.
The Crankbrothers Mallet DH pedals are designed for downhill racing or riding with a wider q-factor and a larger platform than the similarly priced Mallet E’s. These aren’t to be limited to DH use though, the supportive pedal is equally at home on regular trails too. The only downsides are the expense (£150), the cleat mechanism is not adjustable and the pins are hard to adjust once clogged with mud. If you like the Crank Brothers cleat mechanism though, are happy to spend some time learning the knack of getting in and out of these pedals and enjoy the benefits of the flat and large platform, you’ll get on like a house on fire with the Mallet DH’s.
Nukeproof’s Horizon CS pedal is a solid and reliable clipless pedal providing more support than a lollipop cross-country pedal and is available in a range of fetching colours to complement your bike. It’s compatible with Shimano SPD cleats if you’re already familiar with, or using that system already, so switching is easy. If these are your first clipless pedals, they are easy to use and have a very shallow learning curve. Choosing these over a Shimano alternative won’t leave you wanting, they’re a good choice at a great price.
The Shimano M530 SPD pedals are an old favourite and such good value, we put another pair to the test to make sure Shimano are still on the right tracks where these budget busting workhorses are concerned. We've used both the M530's and the more expensive XT SPD's and we'd be lying if I told you we could tell the difference between the two without looking down. This test set have been used them on average five times a week, in all conditions, the sealed bearings have kept their promise and barred entry of water and mud, providing me with a durable pedal you can rely on.
HT’s T1 clipless pedal is aimed at the trail and enduro ride, providing easy engagement with a positive action. They come in a wide choice of colours and there’s a lighter titanium spindle version if you’re feeling flush. The chromoly version here is lighter than Shimano’s XT Trail pedal, but they are more expensive even at discounted prices. There is good ground clearance but the cage doesn't offer much support. The cleat mechanism takes some getting used to but they are a robust light pedal, that should last quite a while.
Crank Brothers have long been a popular alternative to Shimano’s dominance in the clipless pedal market, and the latest Mallet E takes the good bits from the Mallet DH pedal and bakes them into a lighter and slimmer down package that is well suited to trail riding and enduro racing. In taking the core ingredients of the successful Mallet DH and dropping a bit of weight and adding robust bearings and the traction pads, the Mallet E suit the demands of trail riding and enduro racing well, with a narrower Q-factor that feels more natural when pedalling over longer distances.
The extra float and seamless engagement provide some of the freedom of a flat pedal with the added security of being clipped in. The only downside is that they’re more expensive than Shimano’s XTR Trail M9020 pedals, and nearly double the XT M8020 Trail platform pedals. And while they're lighter than the Mallet DH pedals (480g) they're still 41g heavier than the XTR pedals.
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