Of all the pedals available for road bicycles, platforms are the most overlooked; they’re perfect for casual riders who don’t wear cycling shoes—or serious riders who feel like sneakers that day.
Thanks to this, platform pedals are an excellent tool to keep around.
Here are my picks for the best platform pedals for road bikes:
Types of Pedals
But wait! Platform pedals? What are my other options?
There are several types of pedals you may wish to have in your collection; they all have their standout features, depending on circumstance.
Platform pedals—your desire, or the only pedals you know the name of.
These pedals are also called flat pedals. Regardless of which name they fall under, the name reflects their description.
Platform pedals are flat slabs; they’re the most common pedal. You’ll find them on children’s bikes, budget bicycles… essentially, they’re what most non-experts think of when it comes to bike pedals.
And it’s their simplicity, and how they work for any age and any footwear, that makes them so wonderful.
Sometimes these pedals won’t be so flat, though. On mountain and sometimes road bicycles, they’ll have little studs that grip your shoe’s tread, holding your foot in place or preventing slipping.
Cage pedals are also called toe clips, although the former name is more accurate, visually.
These pedals keep your feet in place without the need for special shoes.
Your feet stay in place on cage pedals, as they grip your toe and have a strap over your foot. You can adjust the strap as needed, but the toe clip is usually one size and metal.
This is an excellent choice if your feet slip off the pedals, and you crave stability; they’re particularly useful for mountain bicycles on rough terrain—as the bike shudders, your feet stay on.
You never have to worry if your feet will slip, and the pedal will whack your heel or shin!
But they can be a struggle in an emergency. You have to pull your foot back before you can slam it to the ground.
As far as non-clipping pedals go, platforms are, surely, the safer option.
Hybrid pedals are the best of both worlds.
On one side, clipless pedals. On the other, platform pedals, sometimes with teeth, to grip your shoe.
If you’re a nervous cycler wanting to graduate from platform to clipless, this could be your best bet. If you see terrain that makes you uncomfortable, flip the pedal and have the freedom to put your foot down whenever you need to.
This is also a particularly great pedal for serious cyclists who commute on the same bicycle. Do you really want to change your pedals after work, before your evening cycling session? You could just change your shoes instead.
Don’t let the moniker fool you. I spent a good 10 minutes bamboozled when I first heard it—but it’s simple.
Clipless pedals lack toe clips and cages.
They do, however, allow your shoes to clip to the pedals. For this, you need cycling shoes.
Once you’re clipped in, you can’t pull your feet up off the pedals. But being attached to them gives you more power than not.
It’s simple to get clipped in and out; all it takes is a twist of your foot. But in a crisis, like when you’re falling or about to crash, this simple twist can be the barrier between “ouch!” and “phew!”
Best Material for Bicycle Pedals
As you’re aware, you’re probably used to the thick, rubber plastic platform pedals you grew up with.
However, they’re not always the case. Sometimes the plastic composition will be a little harder. Other times, you’ll find aluminum alloy pedals.
Aluminum alloy, as a metal, will be tougher than plastic by default. That makes it a superior material for pedals if you favor longevity and lightness.
You may find other metals in your pedals, like titanium too, but these may not be as light as aluminum. And, they’ll probably be heavier than nylon fiber—which is what most plastic pedals are.
Do Size and Weight Matter?
Unless you’re super picky, size and weight don’t really matter. But keep this in mind:
- Smaller pedals won’t work as well for larger feet.
- Heavier pedals may be harder to push on as you accelerate.
So keep this in mind and look at the specs in the reviews below. Select the largest/smallest size and weight as you require.
Reviews of the Best Platform Pedals for Road Bikes
It’s true that the majority of these are dubbed mountain bike pedals, but they can work on any bicycle.
After some research, I’ve determined these are the best platform pedals for road bikes and other bicycles alike.
We’re starting off with some excellent, decently long aluminum alloy pedals with protruding studs.
The studs are to help grip your shoe, but they won’t lock your foot in place; they’ll stop your foot slipping off, but lifting remains unimpacted.
Customers found their security worked well, but some felt they were too wide for their shoes.
Most found little fault in them, praising their strength, but did equate this to added weight. Although at less than half a pound each, this shouldn’t add much to your road bicycle.
That is, unless you have an extensively lightweight carbon fiber steed, where every extra ounce feels like a pound.
Weightwise though, since they do pack more of a punch than plastic pedals, they hurt when they strike. And if you wear shorts, their sharp cleats may make your legs bleed!
Luckily, these little studs are removable. If they ever come loose, they’re easy to tighten.
- Long and wide, great for large feet.
- Not too heavy.
- Studs help prevent slipping.
- Easy to remove or repair the studs.
- Lots of color combinations.
- Contain pointy parts.
- Too wide for some.
- Material: Aluminum alloy.
- Size: 4.1 x 3.58 inches.
- Weight: 0.45 pounds each.
Let’s switch instead to some plastic pedals; they’re heavier than the previous set and not much larger.
So, these will hurt even more if they strike you, and you’re not safe from studs either. This pair has the same gripping studs to prevent foot slippage.
The studs don’t adjust on these pedals, which is unfortunate, but thankfully, nobody has reported any bleeding.
The main complaints aren’t about function, but color. There are tons of options, but they’re deceptively vibrant when pictured.
- Tons of color options.
- Haven’t made anyone bleed.
- Great grip.
- Very large, hard to miss.
- Colors aren’t vibrant.
- Studs aren’t adjustable.
- Material: Nylon
- Size: 4.3 x 3.94.
- Weight: 0.79 pounds each.
Here are some plastic pedals to consider if you want colors that match what you see on screen. With five color options, there’s something to suit a range of tastes.
Of course, the color matters less than the supposed abrasion and corrosion-proof exterior. If it works for you, this will prove beneficial.
That is, if you can even get them installed. Some users had trouble, especially with turning the pedals. The screws that serve as studs are spikey.
Some users found they’re also not set equally, some protruding more than others. They’re incredibly difficult to adjust without damaging the hole they’re set in.
This seems to be a problem with the material. Both screws and rocks chip away at the pedals like there’s no tomorrow. These are clearly best for debris-free roads.
- Pleasant color options.
- Adjustable screws, if you’re careful.
- Grip well.
- Prone to chipping.
- Difficult to adjust.
- Sharp screws.
- Material: Nylon fiber (plastic.)
- Size: 4.1 inches wide.
- Weight: 0.8 pounds each.
Here are the pedals to pick if lightweight is your desired feature. These are the lightest of the group so far.
Unfortunately, lightweight doesn’t mean painless. If these pedals hit you or even scrape you, prepare for a cut.
If you want to avoid this, you can remove the screws; this will make your feet more prone to slipping, and there are 32 screws to tackle. But it’s safer, especially if you’re clumsy.
The high number of screws is due to the pedals’ large size. They’re great for large feet, but narrower footed people beware. Though mostly flat, the middle has a slight dip. If your foot sinks into it, you may experience discomfort, and a strained muscle like one customer did.
However, most customers had few, if any, complaints.
- Great for wide feet.
- Can cut you.
- Dips in the center may cause muscle strain.
- Material: Nylon fiber (plastic.)
- Size: 4.8 x 4.1 inches.
- Weight: 0.43 pounds each.
Here’s the first pair of pedals made specifically for road bikes, although there are mountain bicycle options too.
These are also the prettiest pedals, in my opinion, with their shiny, bright mix of hues.
Striking visuals, paired with their small size, indicate to me that these would be excellent pedals for kids. Of course, they’re well-suited to adults, too!
Some kids found them too big, but it all depends on foot size, I suppose.
The main complaint customers had was not size, but tightness. The bearings were tight, and in some cases, a little dirty upon arrival. They’re also difficult to install, according to several customers.
The right tools and some lubrication can fix these problems, leading to the high-performance experienced by most.
- Very pretty.
- Great for kids.
- Not too many studs.
- Difficult to install.
- Tight bearings.
- May arrive dirty.
- Material: Aluminum alloy.
- Size: 3.94 x 3.35.
- Weight: 0.68 pounds each.
With several snappy colors to choose from and a striking, stylish design, these pedals will look incredible on any bicycle.
However, they’re a little smaller than some customers expected. Plus, they’re harder to install than expected. You can’t use a pedal wrench with them.
Once on, they perform well. The subtle studs prevent foot slippage while not getting in the way. Some customers wish the studs were longer or higher in number, though.
Luckily, the studs are adjustable, removable, and replaceable; they may need tightening before use.
The bearing will also need attention before use. However, one bout of lubrication lasted one customer 700 miles. These are very smooth turning pedals.
- Require little maintenance.
- Adjustable and removable screw studs.
- Visually stylish.
- Difficult to install.
- Studs are too few for some customers.
- Material: Aluminum alloy.
- Size: 4.17 x 3.94.
- Weight: 0.72 pounds.
Lastly, we have a hybrid pedal.
On one side, you have a platform pedal lacking stabilizing studs. But on the other side, you can wear cycling shoes and clip in.
However, the pedals don’t flip over easily, and the clip side is stiff at first. There’s a break-in period to consider with these pedals.
The platform side has some break-in required, too; they can be a little slippery at first, but they’ll wear down with time, giving them more grip.
Overall, not terrible pedals and great for someone wanting the best of both worlds. You’ll need patients, though.
- Hybrid, with one side allowing for cycling shoes.
- Very strong.
- Requires time to break in.
- Material: Aluminum and stainless steel.
- Size: 4 x 3 inches.
- Weight: 0.87 pounds each.
Best Platform Pedals for Road Bikes Conclusion
In my opinion, the best platform pedals for road bikes are the MZYRH Mountain Bike Pedals. They’re nothing special, but highly effective and functional.
With their removable studs, they’re great for gripping shoes, but that element isn’t mandatory. I feel their size makes them almost impossible to miss when replacing your foot after raising it off the platform.
Their weight is also unproportionate to their size, as they’re much lighter than you’d expect from such a sizeable pedal.