In the current global pandemic scenario, bicycles have emerged as a popular choice for safe, reliable, and environmentally-friendly urban transportation.

When thinking about buying a commuting/urban bicycle or an e-bike, the pedal choice may seem at first like a trivial concern but it will genuinely impact your ride experience in many ways, especially if you are new to riding a bike around the city.

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A good pair of commuter pedals must adapt conveniently to the rigors and needs of city riding, as well as the personal preferences of the cyclist. Firstly, your shoe choice it’s the most obvious variable that will dictate your ideal type of pedals.

Flat pedals can accommodate any type of shoe but if you opt for clipless you won’t be able to get the most of them unless wearing specific shoes with matching cleats.

If your commute involves several traffic lights and busy roads, the continuous stop-and-go situations might be easier to deal with flat pedals. The same goes for the mixed commutes combining bike, subway, and train rides.

On the contrary, if your commute is long and over quiet roads, you will undoubtedly benefit from the pedaling efficiency of the clipless pedals. Ultimately, dual-side pedals offer a nice compromise and adaptability to any kind of shoe.

Let’s look at some of the best pedal options on the market to cater to every commuter’s needs.

Top 8 Commuter Pedals

1. Shimano XT PD-T8000 SPD Pedals

Source: competitivecyclist.com

Japanese industry giant Shimano’s pedal and cleat systems are probably the most widely used both in road and mountain bikes. And with the XT PD-T8000 SPD model, they add further versatility for commuting and city rides.

These are dual-sided pedals that offer a flat surface on one side and the SPD mountain bike (two-bolt) clipless system on the other side. The pedals hang vertically so it’s easy to find the desired side every time. They feature removable metallic pins on the flat side for added grip.

The aluminum construction is as robust and durable as you might expect from a consolidated brand such as Shimano, and the pedals don’t come with an excessive weight penalty. The sealed cup and cone bearings guarantee long-lasting use with minimal service required.

The XT PD-T8000 SPD don’t come at the cheapest price but are a good solution for the rider who needs versatility – commuting on busy roads and casual footwear during the week, and then going for longer weekend rides or even touring trips wearing MTB cycling shoes for efficient pedaling.

They are also ideal for riders new to clipless pedals, offering extra stability thanks to their wide surface.

Best use: Commuting, Touring

Pedal type: Clipless / Platform

Cleat type: 2-hole (included)

Material: Aluminum

Weight: 392 g

Pros

  • Versatility

Cons

  • Price

2. Look Geo Trekking Grip Clipless/Platform Pedals

Source: rei.com

Shimano’s biggest competitor (at least when it comes to Pedals) has a beautifully designed alternative for the dual-sided pedal category, the Look Geo Trekking Grip. These gorgeous pedals are aimed at the casual city rider concerned about aesthetics, matching even the sleekest urban e-bike models.

Coming in a classy black color, the Geo Trekking Grip feature one flat side covered with grippy elastomer instead of metallic pins, while the other side is clipless compatible with the SPD cleat system. As a nice touch for novice cyclists, they come supplied with Look cleats that offer an easy 13-degree release angle. The release tension is also adjustable with an Allen key.

The Geo Trekking Grip’s 84 mm composite platform offers great stability on both sides and extra grip in wet conditions. The downsides to these innovative materials are less resistance to scratches and hits than an alloy pedal body, and sometimes a slight weight penalty.

Overall, the Look Geo Trekking Grip pedals do the job nicely and will trump many other brands as far as design is concerned, but they come at a hefty price and feature less robust materials than many competitors. Highly recommended for stylish bikes such as Van Moof and the likes.

Best use: Commuting, Touring

Pedal type: Clipless / Platform

Cleat type: 2-hole (included)

Materials: Composite body, chromoly spindle, steel bearings.

Weight: 400 g

Pros

  • Great design

Cons

  • Durability

3. Look Geo City Grip Platform Pedals

If you liked the Geo Trekking Grip’s design but never considered riding with clipless pedals, the Look Geo City Grip are the solution for you. These feature the same vulcanized rubber pads on both sides, with the bonus of an extra-grippy tread pattern and multiple color choices.

At first glance, the grooved tread rubber pads on both sides of the platform are the most striking aspect of the design. They are made by shoe soles manufacturer Vibram, are interchangeable and come in three colors, black, lime, and red. They are extremely effective in improving the grip in wet conditions thanks to the added drainage provided by the grooves.

The wide 107 mm platform and the vulcanized rubber finishing also increase the comfort compared to alloy pedal bodies, even wearing shoes with thin soles. Unfortunately, this brings up the weight well over 500 grams, although that’s normally not an issue with city bikes (not to mention e-bikes or cargo bikes!).

All in all, these pedals are a nice upgrade if you are looking to spice up the look of your commuter/cargo/e-bike or you ride frequently in wet conditions and want a little bit of extra safety compared to plastic or alloy flat pedals.

Best use: Commuting, Recreational Cycling

Pedal type: Platform

Materials: Composite body, vulcanized rubber.

Weight: 538 g

Pros

  • Stability and grip

Cons

  • Weight

4. Bontrager Line Elite Pedals

Source: rei.com

Originally intended for mountain biking, the Bontrager Line Elite platform pedals are so slick and minimalistic that they won’t look out of place mounted on a city commuter or an e-bike.

Like many MTB-specific pedals, these feature a wide platform that will offer great stability to novice riders. The nylon resin body has a minimalistic open shape with large cutouts, a textured surface, and 10 replaceable grip pins. Bontrager offers them in satin black, neon orange and lime.

Compared to basic commuter platform pedals, the Line Elite pedals will give you a lightweight advantage and a better grip for a very competitive price. A great option for city bicycles, cargo bikes and even spin bikes!

Best use: Mountain biking, commuting

Pedal type: Platform

Materials: Nylon resin.

Weight: 350 g

Pros

  • Value for money

Cons

  • Traction pins are very sharp

5. Shimano M324 SPD Pedals

Source: rei.com

If I had to choose one single pair of pedals that could fit well on a city commuter, a gravel touring bike, and even a road bicycle, they would be the Shimano’s M324 SPD. These dual-sided pedals are the epitome of versatility and elegance.

The sturdy construction featuring an aluminum alloy body and a chromoly spindle guarantee long-lasting performance without compromising style. On the downside, these pedals tip the scale at over 500 grams, a bit heavy for such a narrow platform.

As all Shimano’s dual-sided models, these fall into a vertical position when not in use, so it’s easy to find the side you need every time: step forward to clip in and backward to land on the flat platform.

The M324 SPD are a perfect match for elegant touring machines or restored classic road bikes looking to be used as commuter rides. The quality of materials and construction will guarantee that you get a bang for your buck.

Best use: Commuting, Touring

Pedal type: Clipless / Platform

Cleat type: 2-hole (included)

Materials: Chromoly/aluminum alloy.

Weight: 530 g

Pros

  • Classic timeless design that matches any bike

Cons

  • Narrow platform

6. VENZO Multi-Use SPD compatible

Want to try clipless pedals without having to invest a large amount of money? The Venzo Multi-Use pedals are probably the cheapest dual-sided commuter pedals out there.

These feature a construction reminiscent of the Shimano M324 SPD using the same materials, but they come at half the price. That makes them a very attractive option for tight budgets however, you shouldn’t expect the same level of performance and durability as the Japanese brand.

The cheaper price is also reflected in a slight weight penalty, and cleat fit slightly looser compared to the Shimanos. But still, it might be worth the money if you are looking to spend just around $40.

Best use: Commuting, Touring

Pedal type: Clipless / Platform

Cleat type: 2-hole (included)

Materials: Chromoly/die-cast aluminum.

Weight: 600 g

Pros

  • Price

Cons

  • Quality

7. VENZO City Pedals

With a weight of 217 g a Pair, these Venzo flat pedals won’t just surprise you for their cheap price. They also feature a striking angular-shaped CNC-machined aluminum body that gives them a look of a higher-end product.

The fact that they are made in Taiwan and the claimed 2-year guarantee from the manufacturer can vouch for the quality construction and long-lasting life of this model. At first sight, the lack of a textured surface or grip pins suggest a poor performance under wet conditions.

Overall, a pair of good-looking pedals featuring top-notch materials at a very low price point. However, the design fails when it comes to grip performance.

Best use: Commuting

Pedal type: Platform

Materials: Chromoly/CNC aluminium.

Weight: 217 g

Pros

  • Design, Lightweight

Cons

  • Lack of grip

8. Kemimoto Flat Pedals

At just over $10, these are the cheapest aluminum pedals you can find out there. They also feature sealed bearings, anti-slip studs and a less-than-ordinary design.

The platform is wide and the traction pins are short and rounded, so they’ll provide just about the same grip as some standard plastic pedals. These are only superior when it comes to scratches and hits resistance.

Not a bad product for less than $15, it’ll do the job for city commutes that don’t involve extreme weather conditions. The durability might be an issue but you get what you pay for.

Best use: Commuting

Pedal type: Platform

Materials: Cast aluminum.

Weight:

Pros

  • Price

Cons

  • Durability

Buying Tips

There are countless options available on the market but just a single factor will help you narrow down to 50% of them – whether you opt for flat platform pedals or dual-sided pedals.

I didn’t include pure clipless pedals in this selection because these are by nature either road pedals or mountain bike pedals. There are no commuter-specific clipless pedals apart from the dual-sided.

As mentioned, if your commute involves heavy traffic, stairs and the occasional train ride, you want to be looking at flat platform pedals that will allow you to wear any kind of casual or work footwear. These type of pedals are also the best option for beginner cyclists without previous experience riding with clipless pedals.

On the contrary, if your commute rides are long and lack frequent stops you will be better off with hybrid dual-sided pedals. These will offer you better pedaling efficiency when using cycling shoes and versatility for use in shorter rides with casual footwear.

They are also a good idea if you are new to clipless as they will allow you to clip in with one foot only, freeing the other one to give you confidence at the beginning.

Another important factor to take into account when buying a pair of commuter pedals would be undoubtedly the price. If you don’t want to splash a big amount of cash, flat pedals will be the best option for you. These are normally made out of cheaper materials and will do the job for a while. Don’t expect them to last long though.

While you can get a couple of flat pedals for as low as 10 bucks, dual-sided pedals won’t come any cheaper than $40, and well over $100 for the big brand models. However, these are nicely made out of long-lasting alloy materials and are a worthwhile investment if you are looking for versatility and efficiency.

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