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Best Pedals For Gravel Bike in 2023

Everyone wants to know what pedal will be the “best” for their gravel bike. Are there any certain pedals that are better than others? Is there a particular type of rider, or a specific kind of bike, that requires a pedal with a certain shape and motion? The short answer is: no. Your gravel bike should work with any pedal, so long as it has the right motion. Of course, there are some general rules of thumb you should follow when choosing your pedal. You want something stable, but not so heavy that it’s hard to move around on the trail. Something with a quick-release clamp system is essential if you plan on switching back and forth between road and trail bikes often (versus dedicated gravel bikes). And last but not least… Do your research before buying to make sure you’re getting the right pedal for your needs. Gravel bikes have become quite popular over recent years due to their versatility and portability (i.e., they can be used almost anywhere). But where do you even begin finding the best gravel pedals? Let’s take a look at what to consider before making any purchase…

Our Top Pics

Best Overall: SHIMANO SPD Pedal Clipless Pedals

SHIMANO SPD Pedal Clipless Pedals with the PD-M520 are ideal for enthusiast mountain bikers or road cyclists who demand classic SPD reliability and performance. With a compact body design with open binding for easy entry and engagement, the PD-M520 is one of the most reliable and trustworthy SPD pedals on the market. And because it sheds mud and debris for reliable engagement and release in all conditions, it's easy to keep clean.

Best Budget: GPMTER Bike Pedals 9/16 for MTB, Mountain Road Bicycle Flat Pedal

If you're looking for a durable, slip-resistant bike pedal that will help you conquer the trails, look no further than our GPMTER Bike Pedals 9/16. This high-quality pedal features a durable ball bearing system for smooth, slip-resistant pedaling, as well as dual-sided road mountain bike platform for efficient and comfortable gripping. Plus, they come with our Dual Sided road mountain bike platform for efficient and comfortable pedaling.

Best Value: SHIMANO PD-M8100 Cross Country Race SPD Bike Pedal

The Shimano XT PD-M8100 Cross Country Race SPD Bike Pedal is designed for the peak performance of XC and CX racing. The stable pedaling platform and large pedal platform promote pedaling stability and efficient power transfer, while the excellent mud shedding ability ensures reliable engagement and release in all conditions. With its chrome-molly spindle and 8mm hex wrench mount, this pedal is strong and durable for peak performance.

Editor's Choice: SHIMANO PD-EH500 Urban Riding & Cycle Touring Double Sided Bike Pedal

The Shimano PD-EH500 is the perfect urban riding and cycle touring pedal. This pedal is versatile and efficient, making it easy to use for everyday or racing purposes. The platform side offers a comfortable grip for control in all conditions, while the SPD pedal provides easy entry and release tension settings for a more difficult or easier clipping in and out of the bike.

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Buying Guides

What to LOOK for in a Pedal for Gravel Bikes

Gravel is a unique type of bike riding that is often associated with the outdoors. It’s often lower traffic and filled with less traffic noise than a road bike, but still offers the same amount of grip and stability. It’s also great for training on dirt and loose gravel because it doesn’t require a great deal of maintenance—you can actually use it as a training tool! But gravel bikes don’t just work well in the dirt, you can also use them on concrete and gravel. Although, it’s probably better to use it on concrete than gravel as the traction is just not there.

Stiffness and Flexibility

One of the most important things to consider when it comes to the stiffness and flexibility of your gravel bike pedal is the rider. For example, a harder pedal will provide a more stable platform for your weight to sit on, but it will also make the bike harder to ride. This can be a risky choice in hot weather or during training sessions when you’re looking to develop your skills. On the other hand, a softer pedal provides better traction but is less stable because it has less spring in it. It’s probably best to err on the side of stiffer pedals on a gravel bike—you don’t want to be walking on eggs!

Weight vs. mobility

One of the most important things to consider with regards to the mobility of your gravel bike is the weight of the rider. Generally speaking, a heavier rider will require a more stable bike to balance due to the weight of their body on top of it. On the other hand, a lighter rider can actually move around more quickly on a heavier bike because they don’t have as much momentum due to the extra weight on the rear wheel. This is especially useful if you’re looking to train on your bike (i.e., for greater agility and coordination).

The Right Spring Rate

Another important thing to consider when it comes to the resilience of your gravel bike pedal is the spring rate of your fork. You want your fork to be springy but not so bouncy that it does more damage to the trails. Ideally, you want it about half way between the springiness of a hardtail mountain bike and the Springy behavior of a road bike. Most forks are between these two extremes, so it’s hard to say for sure. A softer spring rate will make your gravel bike pedal easier, while a stiffer one will make it work harder. This is probably the most debated aspect of all when choosing the right pedal for your gravel bike.

What Are the Different Types of Gravel Bike Pedals?

There are several different types of gravel bike pedals to choose from. There’s a chance that any given bike will come with a mix of all of them. A mix of soft and stiff, springy and plastic, heavy and light—it’s easy to get confused by this alone. Because of this, we’ve broken down the types of Gravel Bike Pedals into three different categories to help make things a little easier—each with a different purpose. Stiff Pedal: This type of pedal is intended to provide a very stable platform for your bike. It’s typically made of aluminum or steel, and is stiffer and heavier than a soft pedal. While it’s not intended to be used on the trail, it is still beneficial to have around when working on the bike in the garage or on the track. Flexible Pedal: This is the opposite of the stiff pedal, and is intended to be used on the track or in the garage. It is usually lightweight, but has soft springs in it, making it flexible and less dense than a stiff pedal. Sidewinder: This type of pedal has no difference between stiff and flexible, and instead has a single spring for both actions. It is best used on the track or when you’re in a hurry.

Bikes & Cycling Gear


The choice of the right pedal for your gravel bike can be difficult. There are many different types of gravel bikes, and the right pedal can make a big difference in terms of how well your bike rides. You want it to be stiff enough to hold your weight, but flexible enough to move around on the trail. Whether you’re a competitive rider or just want to get around on your bike more often, a gravel bike is a great choice. It’s low traffic and easy to maintain, and is best suited to light training rides. But before buying, make sure you know what kind of riding you like to do, and then shop around—you may be surprised at the price difference between different retailers.

Anete Craftx
Anete Craftx

I love yoga and gym! I am currently a yoga teacher for a fitness center.