Road Bike Pedals Guide

The pedal is probably the most important point of contact between rider and bike - this also true for the road bike pedal. Here, muscle power is transferred to the bike and converted into speed. That’s why it is vital that you find a pair of pedals that suits you and ensures optimal power transmission.

In this guide we will show you the advantages and disadvantages of the different pedal systems and explain what you should look for when buying a pedal. Whether you are a road bike beginner or an experienced road bike rider - here you will find all the information you need.

Road Bike Clipless Pedals

With road bike clipless pedals, there is a firm connection between your road bike shoes and the pedals. This is possible thanks to the cleat. The plate is screwed into the three triangular holes in the sole of your shoe and remains there. To click you have to step on the pedal with a firm movement, which requires some practice at first. To unclick, turn the heel sideways to the outside. You can usually adjust how easy it should be to click out (the so-called "release hardness") on the pedal. 

However, clicking road bike pedals in and out requires practice. Beginners should therefore practise standing up first before going on their first ride. 

The advantage of a clipless pedal over a platform pedal? With the classic platform pedal, you can only exert force by pressing down on the pedal. A clipless pedal, on the other hand, also allows you to pull up the pedal. This allows you to transfer your power even more evenly to the pedal and thus the crank.

Another advantage is that your feet always remain in the optimal position for you. You can adjust the position of the cleats individually - depending on what is best for your needs. This can help make your rides more ergonomic and prevent joint pain.

Another practical feature is that you can't slip off the pedals, even in difficult weather or riding conditions.

In addition, road bike clipless pedals are used with special road bike shoes. These have a harder sole than, for example, street shoes and thus a certain stiffness. This gives your foot an even firmer footing and improves power transfer to the pedal. It also minimises the loss of power and allows you to more efficiently use your energy. 

In contrast to mountain bike click systems, the click systems of road bike pedals have a larger contact surface and thus better power transmission. Another advantage of road bike pedal systems and cleats is their low weight. However, they are also less robust and have reduced self-cleaning properties. Therefore, road bike pedal systems are often somewhat more susceptible than MTB click systems.

So if you want to get off your bike for a quick trip to the café, the cleats on your shoes will make it difficult for you to walk. When running with cleats, we recommend cleat covers. These make running easier and protect the cleats from being damaged while walking.

With adapter plates, you can quickly transform your clipless pedal into a platform pedal. This means you can ride your bike with street shoes and use it for more activities, such as commuting or quick errands. 

Short facts about road bike clipless pedals

  • Float angle:            
    This angle describes how far you can rotate your foot inwards or outwards while you are clicked into the pedal. In other words, the freedom of movement when clicked in.

  • Release tension:           
    Indicates how much force is needed to release the shoe from the pedal. On many models, this can be adjusted individually. For beginners, a low release tension is recommended so you can quickly take the foot off the pedal in tricky situations. 

  • Release angle:           
    This is the angle you need to turn your foot outwards to come off the pedal. For beginners, a lower release angle is recommended to practise clicking out. The adjustment of the release depends on the click system and cleat used and is not always adjustable. 

  • Contact surface:           
    Indicates how much space you have on the pedal to place your foot. The larger the contact area, the better the power transmission

Pedal System Comparison

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See all road bike clipless pedals

Road Bike Duo Pedals

Flexibility and versatility - with a duo pedal there are no limits. The duo pedal, also called a combination pedal, brings together a click and platform pedal in one pedal system. This makes them optimal for flexible riders who want to switch between both pedals or beginners who would like to try clipless pedals.

Duo pedals can be ridden on one side like a platform pedal with any type of shoe, sneakers or otherwise. These are particularly popular for short distances in the city or relaxed road bike tours. 

On the other side of the pedal is a click system with two-hole standard, which is normally used in mountain biking. For these you need the right cycling shoes and cleats. The clipless pedal side is usually SHIMANO SPD compatible.

The selection of road bike clipless pedals is usually larger than that of duo pedals. This is because duo pedals are generally used by beginners in the road bike sector who want to familiarise themselves with clipless pedals. Road cycling pros use the classic clipless pedals for their races and training laps. 

Road Bike Platform Pedals

Although platform pedals are unusual in the road bike sector, some cyclists do use them. 

They score points with their easy handling and uncomplicated use. Therefore, they are particularly well suited for short-distance riders or racing bike beginners.

The pedal is not firmly attached to the shoe, so you can easily ride them with sports shoes or sneakers. This is practical for short and sporty hobby tours or a quick ride out for ice cream.

Thanks to the rubberised or roughened surface, you have a secure grip when road cycling. The large support surface also offers you enough space for a secure stand.

One great advantage is the freedom of movement. The rider's foot is not attached to the pedal, so it is easy to get on and off, for example at traffic lights.

For even more grip, there are also platform pedals with pins. The contact surface is reinforced with pins that press lightly into the sole of the shoe. This gives you even more grip in wet conditions.

Shop platform pedals