Why Do Mountain Bike Pedals Have Spikes?

Mountain bike pedals have spikes to increase the traction between a rider’s foot and pedal. This enhances a biker’s control in a particularly tough terrain. Unlike tracks and the road with a relatively hassle-free path, mountain bikes are often exposed to rugged roads and tough climbs. Their spiked design enhances the rider’s ability to keep their foot on the bike and remain in control throughout their ride.

If you are planning to experience mountain biking, going with spiked bike pedals would be your safest best for lowest risk of lost control. You have to carefully consider different aspects of your bike to enjoy the best experience when mountain biking. Remember to check on more than just your backpack when planning your mountain biking.

Are Flat Pedals Better Than Clipless?

Your pedals are some of the most important components of your bikes. They are central to almost every move on your bike, from cornering to climbing. You need to find the right pedals to enjoy the best biking experience.

There are two types of mountain bike pedals. Flat pedals are flat surface options with additional pins that help riders dig in the soles of their feet for extra grip during cycling. On the other hand, clipless pedals attach riders’ feet to their clips using specialized metal clits or keys and a spring-loaded system on the pedal. But which is better suited for the right mountain biking experience?

Clipless Pedals

Clipless pedals are a highly common choice for mountain bikers because they offer improved foot efficiency when moving. Riders can push down on their pedal or pull up as needed whenever they are in tough terrain. This ensures complete control over their pedalling regardless of the condition of their terrain.

While most brands use unique locking mechanisms on their clipless pedals, all options feature a cleat that is secured onto the pedal through the use of a bolt. Aside from the recessed cleat, all options also offer a spring-loaded mechanism on the pedal that holds the cleat firmly while allowing some foot mobility when needed.

Clipless pedals will increase your pedalling efficiency. They hold your feet very securely in place to help ensure a smoother ride on tough terrain. With clipless pedals attached, riders can even lift and hop up with their bike. However, these pedals will often be uncomfortable and can increase the risk of knee injuries to riders. They are also very rigid and will limit the rider’s ability to move their feet once clipped in. Clipless pedals will also be tough to clip on and off when in a hurry.

Flat Pedals

While they were initially only popular with BMX riders, these pedals caught on with mountain bikers particularly for use when going downhill. Unlike clipless pedals, which lock you in to your bike, flat pedals offer more mobility for mountain bikers. With these options, users can get off their bike in a hurry when attempting to escape a crash.

Most flat pedals feature a spiked design on a large platform for enhanced grip. Riders can pick ideally sized spikes to help optimize their level of grip when using these pedals. They can be broader and longer to increase the surface area of traction or slimmer for better ground clearance. These pedals are designed in a slightly concave shape to allow your foot to sit better on the pedal.

Unlike clipless options, your foot can bounce off the pedal in rough terrains. Riders will need great technique to get the best out of these flat options when pedalling. Even though flat pedals are less efficient than clipless pedals for pedalling, they offer great general value for mountain bike riders. They feature a spiked design to minimize the loss of traction when moving. Lastly, flat pedals will not clog up on muddy terrains which results in a smoother ride in wet conditions.

Can You Install BMX Pedals on a Mountain Bike?

If you are planning on mountain biking, could you replace your pedals with regular BMX alternatives? They can be installed on your MTB as long as both pedals and cranks have a similar 9/16” thread. BMX pedals with a 1 /2” thread will need axle replacement or adapter installation before going on your MTB.

BMX pedals will come with a very wide plastic platform that features small pins designed to increase traction between the pedal and your foot’s sole. Inside the BMX pedal, a strong Chromoly steel axle combines with small well-greased ball bearings at the endpoints to ensure smooth rotation. The axle is secured by a lock nut on one end, with the other threaded end fixed into the axle. Aside from minimalistic differences, the BMX and MTB pedals are very similarly designed.

You will need to disassemble the main paddle before transplanting it onto your bike. You should take off the dust cap, unscrew the external nut holding onto your axle before removing the washer and internal nut. After sliding off the axle and collecting your small ball bearings with a magnet, clean the entire pedal and repeat the process on the transplant pedal. You should then grease your axle and both pedal entrances before assembling your BMX pedals on your MTB.

How to Make Your MTB Feel as Good as New

Are you planning on mountain biking after leaving your bike in the shed for too long? It might be too inefficient and bulky for an enjoyable trip. You should consider thorough cleaning and maintenance to help make your bike feel as good as new. Here are the key steps to take before your mountain biking experience.

Clean Your Bike

You should always clean your bike before storage and ensure it is dry before locking it in. Prefer bike cleaning products to ensure all the dirt is addressed. If you are using a water hose, avoid high pressure contact on certain greasy areas. Remember to take off your wheels, as well as deep cleaning the entire bike frame for a well-functioning bike.

Clean, Lube and Check Your Chain

Aside from cleaning your chain every few weeks, you should also consider using some lube on it regularly to ensure high output performance. Avoid using too much lube or wipe off any excess to prevent any muck build-up forming. You should also consider changing your chain after every 6 months to minimize wear and tear on the drivetrain.

Maintain the Brake Pads, Chainring, Cassette and Derailleur

Brake pads will wear out quickly when exposed to rain and mud. As such, your last mountain biking experience may already have significantly impacted your MTB. You should check and change them where necessary to ensure highly efficient callipers. Remember to clean your cassette regularly, degrease your chainring and replace any parts of your derailleur which could increase the risk of a crash.

Check Your Tires

If your bike feels out of grip of the trail when testing it, your tires could be the problem. You need your mountain bike in tip top shape to ensure a streamlined ride through the tough terrain. To ensure this, you should check and change your tires if they are worn out. New tires will ensure better grip and control when biking.


Mountain bike pedals are designed with spikes to help enhance the level of traction between foot and pedal. With the right sized spikes, riders will enjoy a more comfortable mountain biking experience with higher pedalling efficiency and lower risks of injury.


Do I need a wider spread of gears on my MTB to handle the tougher terrain?

You can fit both lower and higher ratios on your MTB for the best mountain biking experience. Downhill bikers usually need 7-10 cogs, whereas cross-terrain riders need about 12 on the back and 2 on the front wheels.

Should I set my seat higher or lower on my MTB?

Your riding preferences should dictate your seat positioning. However, mountain biking will often require the rider to remain standing to ensure better control of their bike.

Patrick Flinch

Patrick Flinch is a professional cyclist, according to him, cycling is a sport that also helps people stay in good shape. Cycling takes many forms, and styles and so does the cycling equipment, however, this information is not available to everyone and that is why Patrick thought it wise to consolidate the most important information about cycling on “For the Bike Magazine.” Beginner, intermediate and professional cyclists will be furnished with useful insights. They will be able to understand the differences and benefits of both online and physical cycling. Apart from Cycling, Patrick is a family man, he is passionate about cycling and when not on duty, he loves to enjoy biking with his crew.