Best Clipless Pedals

Review & Comparison, Last Update November 18, 2019
If you wish to get the most out of riding your bicycle, get a pair of clipless pedals and see how your cycling experience will change. Riding a bike with clipless pedals will help you fully focus on cycling. Make bike rides safe and fun by using a pair of clipless pedals from our review! ...Read more ...Read less
BEST 2019
PROS
CONS
OUR VERDICT
Type
Intended Use
Cleats
Material
Comfort
Weight
Warranty
 
PROS

The pedals feature a spring-loaded platform with the “Pop-up” mechanism that sits up at 12.5-degree angle and captures the cleat immediately as you press down.

CONS

They are rather heavy. 

OUR VERDICT

These pedals have been on the market for more than 10 years now, which speaks a lot about their high quality and superior dynamics properties. They are good for all types of riding.

detailed parameters
Type

SPD (dual-side binding)

Intended Use

All-mountain, Down-hill, BMX

Cleats

Included (SM-SH51)

Material

Chrome-moly sealed cartridge spindle with reinforced steel collar

Comfort

"Pop-up” mechanism tilts the binding at a 12.5º angle for easy and fast entry, Adjustable entry and release tension settings, Excellent mud and debris shedding ability

Weight

20 oz

Warranty

2 years

PROS

The pedals are fitted with reflectors, which is an important safety feature that makes you well-visible on the road in low lighting conditions.

CONS

The pedals look pretty much like ordinary ones. 

OUR VERDICT

Because of the simple design, the SHIMANO PD-T400 go well for bike touring, commuting, recreational riding or any other style where you often make stops. Excellent for beginners.

detailed parameters
Type

Click'R (dual-side binding)

Intended Use

Trekking, City bike

Cleats

Included (SM-SH56)

Material

Chrome-moly spindle and low-maintenance sealed bearing cartridge axle

Comfort

Lighter spring for simple entry and release, Pop-up cage for easier step-in, Adjustable entry and release tension settings, Integrated reflector for safety

Weight

17.9 oz

Warranty

2 years

PROS

The sealed mechanism with the serviceable cup and cone bearings is very easy to maintain, so with proper care, the pedal itself and the spindle, in particular, will faithfully serve you for many years. 

CONS

The tension should be adjusted over time. 

OUR VERDICT

This model stands out with its unique dual-function design. On the one hand, it has the standard Shimano SPD mechanism, and on the other hand, it is a simple flat platform pedal. Compatible with absolutely any footwear.

detailed parameters
Type

SPD/Flat (single-side binding)

Intended Use

Trekking

Cleats

Included (SM-SH56)

Material

Sealed mechanism with serviceable cup and cone bearings

Comfort

Standard platform for street shoes and clipless mechanism for cleats, Adjustable release tension, Good mud and debris shedding ability

Weight

18.8 oz

Warranty
2 years
PROS

The full maintenance will take you about half an hour owing to the simple cup and cone bearings inside (replaceable cup and cone bearings are easily accessible and affordable).

CONS

Not as much base for pedaling.

OUR VERDICT

If you need the good, all-around budget pedals that are powerful on the road but unpretentious in maintenance, the Shimano SPD PD-M520 is a solid fit. It's a decent double sided SPD pedal for any type of riding.

detailed parameters
Type

SPD (dual-side binding)

Intended Use

Cross Country

Cleats

Included (SM-SH51)

Material

Chrome-moly spindle and low-maintenance sealed bearing cartridge axle

Comfort

Compact body design with open binding for easy-entry, Adjustable entry and release tension settings, Good mud and debris shedding ability

Weight

12 oz

Warranty

2 years

PROS

These cheap pedals look and function very similar to famous Shimano LX's. Even the Shimano SH-51 cleats are compatible with these pedals.

CONS

They don't shed mud that well.

OUR VERDICT

The Wellgo WPD-823 is a great alternative to pricey Shimano pedals. They are great if you're not sure whether clipless pedals will suit you but don't want to shell out much money for your "experiment"

detailed parameters
Type

SPD (dual-side binding)

Intended Use

All-mountain

Cleats

Included (98A, compatible with Shimano SM-SH51)

Material

Chrome-moly spindle with loose bearings

Comfort

Adjustable entry and release tension settings

Weight

13.7 oz

Warranty

1 year

Shimano PD-M647

Quality Tested by Time

The SHIMANO PD-M647 clipless pedals have been on the market for more than 10 years now, which speaks a lot about their high quality and superior dynamics properties. They make pedaling more efficient and help you get control over numerous styles of riding. And probably, the Shimano DX M647 is the best option for gravity and aggressive trail riding to date.

Designed mainly for downhill mountain biking, they feature a unique floating mechanism for better stability and comfort. This is a spring-loaded platform with the front portion that sits up at a slight 12.5-degree angle and captures the cleat immediately as you press down. Like with other Shimano pedals, the tension on the clip-in mechanism here is fully adjustable. You can set the tension evenly across all four sides.

The cage on this pedal is made of durable plastic which seems to be very dense, so it'll supposedly hold up for a long while. Plus, large plastic platforms provide plenty of support and are strong enough to survive big hits and a lot of abuse. The pedals have an open binding design allowing mud and debris to flush out when you step in. The only thing that mars the impression is a bit too heavy weight. But that's the cost of extra-solid construction.

Review of Shimano PD-M647 Clipless Pedal with Outer Cage

Easy Clipping

If you're new to clipless pedals, you should definitely consider these. No doubt about it. The PD-M647 pedals are much, much easier and faster to clip into than most other pedals available today. As mentioned, the platform has the clip-in mechanism that self-positions at a right angle, so all you need do is put your feet on the pedals and push down. The clipping-in usually takes a second.

One more benefit is when you're riding sketchy or technical sections of the trail, you can quickly clip out and still have a sturdy platform to rest your shoes on. The clipping in and out is audible and consistent.

Overall, we would highly recommend these pedals for all types of riding and riders. They will definitely make pedaling more efficient with a wide variety of shoe styles. Excellent for professionals and beginners alike.

Shimano PD-M647 Clipless Pedal with Outer Cage in the use

Additional Info

    Manufacturer


 

Shimano PD-T400

Safe and Practical

The Shimano PD-T400 CLICK'R are one of the best options for those riders who are just thinking about purchasing of clipless pedals. They are extremely safe, stable, and can be easily unclipped at a junction or emergency stop. However, for experienced riders who already feel comfortable with clipless pedals, it's an arguable choice. These are not true racing pedals and they don't look cool when you're off of the bike. Actually, they look like conventional pedals and even have reflectors (which we consider a nice factor, especially for beginners). The built-in reflectors is an important safety feature that makes you well-visible on the road in low lighting conditions.

They pedals have quite large platforms with the quick and featherlight release mechanism. They feature the convenience of dual-side entry allowing for fast and easy engagement. So, if it's the ability to easily get in and out of the pedals you cherish the most, you certainly won't be disappointed. With the Shimano PD-T400 CLICK'R, you'll get the increased efficiency from being clipped to the pedals without the hassle required to get your feet free.

Review of Shimano PD-T400 CLICK'R Clipless Pedals

For Leisure Riding

You'll like these pedals if you want clip-ins on both sides. As mentioned, they offer dual-side entry and easy-to-engage cleat springs, which contributes to fast and simple clipping in and out. Plus, they require less amount of heel twist for disengaging than most other clipless pedals on the market. That being said, you'll be able to pop out of the pedals easier, which is crucial for riders that are keen to try clipless pedals for the first time

Because of this simple design, the SHIMANO PD-T400 also go well for bike touring, commuting, recreational riding or any other style where you often make stops. For the price, these can't be beaten.

Shimano PD-T400 CLICK'R Clipless Pedals in the use

Additional Info

    Manufacturer


 

Shimano PD-M324 SPD

The Way to Perfection

Customers who take racing seriously and want to get the most out of cycling should opt for the best clipless pedals, that's for sure, and the Shimano PD-M324 can be a great choice. Featuring a neat and minimalistic design, they present the main principles of Shimano - maximum practicality and reliability. Being made entirely of metal (stainless steel and aluminum), they can provide riders with ultimate stability and balance. Speaking of practicality and convenience of use, these pedals aren't the most lightweight in our review but you'll hardly feel it since they are intended mainly for short trips around the town. What's more important, though, is that they feature a dual-function design, allowing cyclists to use them with both regular snickers and cleats. This approach is highly valued by amateurs who plan to gradually switch to clipless pedals. Another advantage of the pedals is their adjustable clipless mechanism that lets riders pick the right spring setting for greater comfort and stability. The Shimano PD-M324 pedals are worth every cent since they will work well for many years, allowing you to forge your way to perfection.

Review of Shimano PD-M324 SPD Dual Platform Pedal

The Most Bike Riding Countries

Interesting fact. In China, there are 250 bicycles per one car and more than 50% of the country's population cycle to work every day. For example, in Beijing, it's possible to commute to work by bike much faster than by bus or subway (of course, it's valid just for relatively short distances, i.e. up to 5 miles). In Denmark, Germany, and the Netherlands 30% of population commute to work by bicycle, and 15% in Japan.

Shimano PD-M324 SPD Dual Platform Pedal in the use

Gear up Your Bike!

Get a bike computer to track not only speed and distance but also your heart rate and the air temperature.

Detailed review of Shimano PD-M324 SPD Dual Platform Pedal

Additional Info

    Manufacturer


VIDEO
Shimano PD-M324 Pedal Overhaul - Clean/Lube/Install New Bearings
 

Shimano SPD PD-M520

All-Round Pedals

The SHIMANO SPD PD-M520 are legendary all-around pedals that offer genuine Shimano SPD performance and comes at an amazing price. It's one of the most popular clipless options for different bikers - although they are technically mountain bike pedals, they are widely used on commuting bikes, road bikes, racing bikes, hybrid bikes, tourers, so on and so forth. The system works great on any bicycle, and and you'll immediately notice a better power transfer. Additionally, the confidence they give you can push you to drive harder.

The pedals offer consistent performance on any type of surface. And even on muddy trails, it's very hard to tell them apart from more professional (and more expensive) XT and XTR pedals. They have double-sided entry and boast great release tension. The entry and exit is positive and easy. 

They already came with cleats that can be easily installed on your shoes. The range of cleat tension adjustment is very good, and once you set the retention loose, you will feel as you're wearing flats. So, you'll be able to get off your bike and walk around comfortably.

The only flaw is that they are rather narrow and not the most beautiful pedals out there. However, they're not bad looking either and available in white, black and silver colors to match your bike best.

Review of Shimano SPD PD-M520 Clipless Pedals

Easy Maintenance

Since these clipless are designed for the rigors of off-road, they can cope admirably well with mud and dirt. Pus, they are pretty solid and dependable on trails.

The Shimano M520s are alloy-bodied pedals with stainless steel mechanisms and axle. These road bike pedals are certainly required to be serviced annually. But if you notice that something is wrong with them, you can clean and grease them as a preventive measure without waiting for a yearly overhaul. 

Depending on your riding conditions and style, you might need to do that more or less often. Luckily, the full maintenance will take you about half an hour owing to the simple cup and cone bearings inside. And you can easily do that by yourself with the right tools.

To sum up, if you need the good, all-around budget pedals that are powerful on the road but unpretentious in maintenance, the Shimano SPD PD-M520 is a solid fit. It's a decent double sided SPD pedal for any type of riding.

Shimano SPD PD-M520 Clipless Pedals in the use

Additional Info

    Manufacturer


 

Wellgo WPD-823 MTB CR-MO

Cheaper Alternative

If you're not sure whether clipless pedals will suit you and your riding style but don't want to shell out much money for your "experiment", have a look at the Wellgo WPD-823 MTB CR-MO Clipless Pedals. These are a cheaper alternative to Shimano pedals that don't lose them in quality a lot and even look very similar to famous Shimano LX's. Even the cleats are almost identical to them, though not as sharply finished. By the way, it's worth mentioning that Shimano SH-51 cleats are compatible with these pedals, so if already own a pair of SH-51 cleats, you can try them with these pedals.

The Wellgo WPD-823 pedals have a durable aluminum alloy body with Cr-Mo spindle. The spindles are made from chromium molybdenum steel which is considered to be the premium material. Actually, this is arguably one of the best materials for bicycle production. It’s lighter and stiffer than ordinary steel. Also, Chromoly is very responsive and offers good flex whilst maintaining its form.

That said, we believe you won't have problems with these clipless pedals thanks to their solid construction, even if you are hard on them.

Review of Wellgo WPD-823 MTB CR-MO Clipless Pedal

Fine Tuning

The pedals really work well provided that they are clean. But as you can expect from their design, they don't shed mud that well. So, if you want to get the most out of the Wellgo WPD-823s, we'd recommend you to always clean and maintain them timely.

For fine-tuning of entry and exit release force, there're two 3 mm Allen bolts on each pedal. You may like the default setting or may want to experiment until you find the most comfortable position for yourself. To prevent accidental release, you should tighten those screws to increase the tension. Or decrease it if you want to make the pedals be easier to unclip. The pedals spin on bearings fine and you can service them yourself without the need for special tools.

If you maintain the pedals properly, you can expect for good performance comparable to famous Shimanos. Actually, it's a great choice if you want to try "clipless pedal" on the cheaper side. The Wellgo WPD-823 go well for first-time users.

Wellgo WPD-823 MTB CR-MO Clipless Pedal in the use

Additional Info

    Manufacturer


 

What are Clipless Pedals?

The term ‘clipless’ usually puzzles a lot of people, and if you're wondering why clipless pedals are called so, it's because such pedals evolved from so-called toe-clip models that had metal cages (toe clips) and leather straps to keep a rider's shoes in place. Actually, they didn't clip, so it's puzzling why people called them 'clip'. However, the new generation of pedals already had a 'clip-in' design but for some reason were called 'clipless'.

Clipless pedals attach to riders' shoes, keeping their feet firmly on the pedals. Such pedals are a two-part system consisting of special platforms with a locking mechanism and cleats that should be attached to the soles of cycling shoes. Keeping shoes in place, clipless pedals provide cyclists with the ultimate confidence when riding downhill and allow much more efficient cycling workouts. The pedals are available in many different design patterns to suit different riding styles and, hopefully, you will find the right pair for your bike in our review. We're more than sure you'll never get back to using conventional pedals after trying riding a bike with clipless ones.

Good tires will let you ride faster, so look through our best road bike tires and mountain bike tires reviews and make your choice.

What Features to Compare

Type

There are many types of clipless pedals designed for different styles of riding. They all use the same clipping mechanism but a different pedal-cleat system, so let's take a quick look at the most popular systems available on the market.

  • Shimano SPD double sided system is used by cyclists worldwide since the recessed cleats suit for many different activities. The cleats don't contact the ground, thus this system is ideal for walking and even hiking.
  • Shimano SPD one-sided are great if you like the idea of recessed cleats, yet need a bit more support for long cycling trips. The pedals look like a standard ‘cage’ pedal and allow you to ride in your trainers unclipped. Yet, if you need some extra fixation, you can clip-in and enjoy better support offered by the cage. However, such pedals can be a bit heavy, they are best suited for leisure riding or off-road riding.
  • Shimano SPD-SL has a three-bolt configuration with a wide platform. Such system provides the maximum efficiency and aerodynamics, so it's good for road riding, racing, and commuting.
  • Crank Brothers is a very light pedal-cleat system which is often bought for off-road cycling. The only drawback of this system is that it's got a weight limit and cannot be used by people wth the weight more than 176 pounds.
  • Time Atac pedals like Shimano SPD are very durable and provide great fixation, thus, are perfect for off-road riding.

Materials

Clipless pedals have a pretty complex design, therefore, manufacturers use a multitude of materials for their production. Platforms are usually made of aluminum, steel, magnesium, resin, composite materials, different alloys, sometimes even plastics, while spindles and springs can be made either of Chromoly or titanium. Chromoly spindles are considered to be the most durable and lightweight. The lighter, the better! So, if you can afford Chromoly pedals, go for this option.

Sources:

1. Ben Delaney How to choose clipless road pedals, BikeRadar. June 17, 2014.

2. Bike Pedals: How to Choose and Use, REI COOP. August 12, 2015.

3. CLIPLESS PEDALS — HOW TO GO FROM BEGINNER TO PRO, EVANS cycles. November 24, 2015.

4. Brent Rose Why You Should Switch to Clipless Pedals, GIZMODO. March 13, 2013.

5. Mike Anderson Beginner’s guide: how to use clipless road cycling pedals, RCUK - ROADCYCLING UK. June 28, 2015.

6. Adam Vaughan Clipless pedals: why you don't need to be scared of switching, The Guardian. May 14, 2014.

7. Marc Lindsay 6 Beginner's Tips for Clipless Pedals, Active.

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