Which bicycle pedal fits my needs?

The range of pedals for bicycles is huge – from classic pedals for city bikes to professional racing bike click pedals. Sometimes it's hard to make a choice when buying.

To help you find the right pedals for you and your bike, we have put together this pedal guide with all the necessary information and tips.

Here we explain the pros and cons of click, platform and duo pedals, as well as which click system is best for which type of biking and what you need to consider when buying them.

Clipless, platform or duo?

The difference explained in 2:30 minutes

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Pedal Types Comparison

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Clipless Pedals

With clipless pedals, your cycling shoes are firmly connected to the pedals with cleats.

The advantage: While platform pedals only facilitate a forward movement by pressing on the pedal, clipless pedals also allow you to initiate a pulling movement and thus exert force over the entire crank revolution. This allows for a much more efficient power transmission and the desired "round kick".

Nice side effect: Once the cleats are correctly mounted (e.g. with the help of a so-called cleat adjustment aid) for your individual foot position, your feet are always in the optimal position thanks to the firm connection with the pedal. Perfect for preventing joint pain.

To click you have to step on the pedal with a firm movement, which requires some practice at first. To click back out, 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. With some systems, the lateral freedom of movement can also be varied by using different cleats.

Clipless pedals are available in various designs. Basically, there are the mountain bike click systems (with 2-hole standard) and road bike click systems (with 3-hole standard). Gravel, trekking, city and e-bike riders also use the MTB click system.

The MTB system is more robust, allows for a more comfortable exit and makes walking easier when you're not on the bike thanks to recessed cleats. Road bike click systems, on the other hand, are fully trimmed for efficiency and maximum power transmission.

Everything you need to know

To be able to use clipless pedals, you need compatible cycling shoes and cleats.

The cycling shoes must have holes in the sole for the cleats to attach to. There are two different mounting systems:

Bike shoes with three holes arranged in a triangle:

  • Suitable for cleats and pedals with a three-hole standard, i.e. road bike pedal systems

Bicycle shoes with two parallel holes:

  • Suitable for cleats and pedals with a two-hole standard, i.e. MTB/gravel/trekking pedal systems.

The cleats provide a connection between the pedal and the shoe. They must correspond to the pedal system used and are screwed into the bottom of your cycling shoes’ soles. The cleats then click into the pedal to create a tight connection.

What is especially practical about cleats is that they can be attached to the shoe to suit your desired foot position. This allows you to take individual factors such as the bike geometry and your natural foot position into account and adjust the cleats accordingly. The settings can be changed at any time in a few simple steps.

For which type of bike do you want to use clipless pedals?

Platform Pedals

The classic pedal always cuts a fine figure on a bike – whether on a city bike, mountain bike, road bike or other bikes. This pedal shape is particularly suitable for beginners, city cyclists and all those who like to be as flexible as possible on the road.

With platform pedals, there is no fixed connection between shoe and pedal. This has the advantage that you have maximum flexibility in choosing your footwear. For example, you can wear your street shoes and don’t have to wear annoying cleats when you want to drop by the bakery.

If you frequently need to take your foot off the pedal in city traffic or you’re still a bit unsteady in the saddle, then platform pedals are ideal.

Another advantage is that you can easily change the positioning of your foot on the pedal. You decide what feels most comfortable for you.

With a roughened or rubberised surface, platform pedals offer you good grip, protect your footwear and minimise the risk of slipping off the pedal.

For extra stability, even in wet conditions, there are also platform pedals with integrated pins. These dig into the sole of your shoe and provide even more grip. Mountain bikers in particular like to use these flat pedals.

When you’re in traffic, you should also pay attention to local pedal reflector requirements. With many city and trekking pedals, reflectors are already integrated or can be retrofitted if necessary. 

Everything you need to know

With platform pedals you can ride straight away. You don’t need any further accessories such as special cycling shoes or cleats.

You can mount them on any type of bike and use them with any shoe – even road shoes. Whether for commuting to work or longer trips, these are always a good choice.

However, if you want a little more support, we recommend special flat pedal shoes.

These have a rubber sole made from a special compound that gives you extra grip. They combine well with flat pedals that drill pins into your shoe’s rubber sole.

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Duo Pedals

Duo pedals, also known as hybrid or combo pedals, offer you a combination of clipless and platform pedals. There is a click system on one side and a platform pedal on the other. This makes them the favourite of cyclists who want to try out the world of clipless pedals. With this hybrid pedal you can easily test and practise cycling with clipless pedals – but you can also rely on the familiar platform pedal on the other side.

The advantage: maximum flexibility. Depending on the use, you can decide whether you need the advantages of a platform pedal or of a clipless pedal. A bike ride to the bakery in the morning and a sporty after-work tour in the evening – no problem with the duo pedal.

You can use these pedals with road shoes, flat pedal shoes or cycling shoes with screw-on cleats. The hybrid pedals are perfect for beginners and anyone who wants to remain as flexible as possible. Double-sided clipless pedals, on the other hand, have the advantage that you don't have to search for the right pedal side during fast-paced sporting activities.

Due to their design, duo pedals are only available with the two-hole standard. This means that there are no duo pedals specifically for road cyclists. If you would like to use a duo pedal on a road bike, you must make sure that your shoes comply with the two-hole standard.

Everything you need to know

As with a classic platform pedal, duo pedals can also be used with street shoes. Which is perfect if you only want to ride a short distance and also use your bike for errands from time to time.

For sporty rides with the clipless pedal side, however, you need suitable cleats and special cycling shoes with holes in the sole.

Duo pedals are only available as a two-hole standard, which means

  • your cycling shoes need two parallel holes in the sole
  • the cleat is firmly mounted in these
  • you can attach the cleat to the sole in such a way that your feet take up your optimal pedal position
  • the cleat is the connecting piece between pedal and shoe and is clicked into the pedal
  • the cleat section remains on the shoe when you take a break, like at the café

  • shoes, cleats and pedal must be compatible with each other

What type of bike are duo pedals best suited for?