When researching mountain bike pedals it’s common to come across lists like “best mountain bike pedals 2019”, but what about lists for the lightest mountain bike pedals in the world? I don’t consider myself a weight weenie at all but thought that it would be fun to do some research into just how much mountain bike pedals weigh these days.
After researching hundreds of mountain bike pedals, the lightest set of pedals found was the
The data from this comparison was sourced from common sources such as JensonUSA, Backcountry, and REI. According to these sources, the 18 lightest mountain biking pedals currently available are shown in the table below.
|Model||Weight [grams / pair]||Style|
|Time ATAC MX 8 Carbon||182||Clipless|
|Time Speciale 8||196||Clipless|
|HT Components ME03T Magnesium/Ti||218||Flat|
|Time ATAC DH 4||238||Flat|
|Time ATAC XC 12 Titan Carbon||241||Clipless|
|Crank Brothers Candy 11||249||Clipless|
|Crank Brothers Eggbeater 1||256||Clipless|
|HT Components AR06||260||Flat|
|Shimano PD-ES600 SPD||279||Clipless|
|Crank Brothers Eggbeater 2||285||Clipless|
|Time ATAC XC 8||286||Clipless|
|Crank Brothers Eggbeater 3||288||Clipless|
|Dimension Sport Platform||290||Flat|
|Crank Brothers Candy 1||294||Clipless|
|Time ATAC XC 4||294||Clipless|
While these are the eighteen lightest mountain bike pedals that I was able to locate, there were other insights that I found during the research process that surprised me.
A Deeper look at the Lightest Mountain Biking Pedals
Before you get caught up in their weight alone, I should point out that a lighter pedal isn’t necessarily a better pedal. This was just a fun thought exercise to look at a place where weight savings might otherwise be overlooked.
For reference, the heaviest pedal that I came across was the Shimano PD-M545 SPD weighing at 567 grams (1.25 pounds). Comparing these to the lightest pedals, the
On the surface that’s a pretty solid weight saving just by swapping out pedals. However, it’s worth pointing out that unless you’re using that exact model, the difference in weight savings is likely to be more minimal.
The average weight of the 134 pedals checked was 378 grams. Assuming that you are currently riding on an “average” weight set of pedals, then you would only save 199 grams (0.44 pounds).
While not an insignificant savings, it’s not exactly something I’d write home to about. That’s quite literally the difference of a bowel movement.
Clipless vs Flat Pedals: Which are Lighter?
Looking just at the lightest 18 pedals alone you might be inclined to think that it’s a clear winner. Clipless pedals have taken over! But not so fast…
In my dataset, I was able to locate the reported weight for 72 clipless pedals and 62 flat pedals. The average weights for each of those respectively were:
- Average clipless mountain bike pedal weight – 372 grams
- Average flat mountain bike pedal weight – 385 grams
That’s right – there was only a difference of 13 grams between clipless and flat pedals on average! Even when comparing the lightest clipless pedal to the lightest flat pedal there was only a difference of 18 grams.
While this may not have been the case years ago, I expect that the advancements in the use of composite materials for the manufacturing of flat pedals have helped to close the weight gap between the two pedal types.
Instead of relying solely based on metals, companies are now able to create extremely strong and durable flat pedals almost exclusively from composite polymers that are much lighter in weight.
If you’re looking for weight savings, pedal style should not be the main determining factor. Instead, you should focus on the type of pedal that allows you to ride more comfortably and confidently.
That will contribute far more to increases in speed than the few measly grams that you might save by choosing one style over the other.
The Impact of Pedal Weight on Price
As with most weight-related upgrades, you expect to pay a premium for the improvement. While I can’t say there wasn’t an increase in price for the top 18 lightest pedals compared to the rest, it wasn’t as big as I was expecting.
To help normalize for the outliers i.e. really expensive and cheap pedals, I compared the average price of all pedals versus the average price of pedals that fell into the top 18 lightest.
I repeated this process for clipless and flat pedals to see if there was a distinct difference between them as well. The results of this analysis are shown in the table below.
Note: The percent change values should be read vertically e.g. the percentage difference in the combined average price of all pedals to the combined average price of the top 18 pedals.
|Category||Combined Average Price||Average Clipless Price||Average Flat Price|
|Top 18 Pedals||$138.59||$144.74||$122.59|
Shown below is the current price on the lightest clipless pedal from the group.
The kitchen-utensil inspiration behind Crank Brother's mud-clearing pedal design knows no finer expression than the Eggbeater 11 Pedals. With the exception of the stainless steel spring, every bit of steel on the other Eggbeaters — body, spindle, and wing — is replaced with cycling's lightweight wonder metal, titanium. Like all Eggbeaters, it features an all access 4-sided entry and replaceable cartridge bearings and bushings.
The two main takeaways that I took away from these results were:
Takeaway #1 – Pedal price is not closely tied to pedal weight
While pedals from the lightest group were on average 18% more expensive than the average cost of all pedals, it was not such a large increase that weight alone was the primary factor increased cost.
Heck, spending an average of $21.51 seems pretty fair to me! Compared to other upgrades like frames, handlebars, etc.. that represents a reasonable cost increase for when you’re looking to save weight.
Price is more likely tied to the complexity of manufacturing, assembling, and testing high-end pedals, then the use of materials to specifically lower their weight.
Takeaway #2 – Flat pedals are cheaper than clipless pedals
I’m certainly not an expert in manufacturing, but I would expect that due to their simplistic design flat pedals are simply cheaper to make.
They have fewer parts, require little to no assembly, and are likely created using injection molding techniques that allow for easier mass production.
This allows for both the creation of both cheaper high and low-end flat pedals. This difference is reflected in the average price of all clipless and flat pedals, as well as for their respective lightest versions.
Top Manufacturers for Lightweight Mountain Bike Pedals
One of the most obvious themes that I noticed while compiling the data for this article was the prevalence of certain manufacturers. Looking through the top 18 lightest pedals, three manufacturers covered 13 of the 18 pedals.
That’s a whopping 72 percent!
Crank Brothers took home the gold medal for the most lightweight pedals with 6 in the top 18. Time had the second most with 5, and HT Components had 2.
If you’re interested in a lightweight pedal, these three manufacturers are probably a good place to start!
Discrepancies in “Reported Pedal Weight”
While doing the research for this article I thought it was funny that most of the sites had the pedal technical specs listed “reported weight” instead of just “weight”.
Clearly, this indicates that they’re simply relying on the manufacturers to provide accurate data, for which there may be differences.
In most cases, I think it’s fair to assume that in most cases this is due to differences in prototype versus final production models and not malicious intent.
Digging around on forums like weightweenies, I found that in most cases the differences in weight were by a couple of percent at most. However, I did notice that their data seems to have stopped around 2012.
I’m not sure if this is due to people not longer finding weight discrepancies, or if manufacturers have simply gotten better at reporting the exact final weight of their production pedals.
Regardless of discrepancies, I still think that weight should not be a primary factor in selecting mountain bike pedals. So basing your selection off one weight number alone (which may be incorrect) is already a flawed approach.
I’ll be upfront in stating that in no way is this a perfectly accurate set of data.
I chose to focus my research on multiple large retailers carrying many models of pedals. I’m sure that there are smaller manufacturers who only sell direct-to-consumer whose products will have been missed in this research.
My intent was to focus on gathering data for pedals that are readily available for research and purchase by an avid mountain biking enthusiast.
Availability is extremely important should you ever need to replace a broken pedal or cleat in a pinch.
Regardless of these disclaimers, I feel that it does a good job of representing a rough range of the lightest pedals that can be easily found and purchased on the market today.
If you’re curious as to why I narrowed my selection down to the 18 lightest pedals, then I assure you that it was not done randomly!
After compiling all of my weight data, I calculated the standard deviation i.e. average difference between pedal weights and subtracted that from the overall average.
There were 18 pedals whose reported weight fell under the -1 standard deviation bound of the average.
What Tradeoffs come with using Lightweight Pedals?
The primary trade-off with using lighter pedals is their durability. Because they have been simply manufactured with fewer materials, it makes them more likely to break or malfunction after an impact or long-term use.
When selecting a lightweight pedal, it’s important to check that they have wear-resistant features like sealed bearings or chamfered edges and that the manufacturer offers longer warranties.
Otherwise, you may find yourself replacing the pedals every 1-2 years.
In other situations, the lessened weight comes at the cost of decreased surface area. By reducing the size of a flat pedal’s platform, its weight also goes down. This leaves you with less area to set your foot on and creates more opportunities for it to slip off during aggressive riding situations.
While this may not be as impactful for riders with small to average sized feet, it can become problematic for riders with large feet. For this reason, you’ll find that some manufacturers offer a standard and large size for their flat pedals.
What Benefit do Lightweight Pedals Provide?
The most obvious answer to this question is that saving weight in the pedals contributes to an overall lighter bike weight. In our extreme example, the savings could amount to almost one pound.
While that scenario is an outlier, it does represent an area in which you can easily and cheaply cut down your bike weight. For an average rider, this makes little difference but for cross-country riders and racers it can of more value.
Others indicate that they feel less leg fatigue by reducing the weight around the crank. While objectionable, this view is backed by physics. The more central that a bike’s center of mass can be, the more efficiently it can transfer power to the ground.
However, it’s far more likely that overall savings in bike weight will have a more positive impact than this minor point. For more details about how pedals can make a difference in your ride quality, make sure to take a look at my article here.