Pedal to the Metal: Installing New Pedals for Improved Performance

Fixing flat tires and adjusting brake pads are often the first skills cyclists learn when maintaining their bicycles. However, there are other important components to consider, particularly when it comes to improving performance. One such component is the pedals, which play a crucial role in powering a bike forward. In this article, we will explore the different types of bicycle pedals and explain the process of installing clipless pedals. By the end, you will have a better understanding of how upgrading your pedals can enhance your cycling experience.

Types of Bicycle Pedals

When it comes to types of bicycle pedals, there are two primary options: platform pedals and clipless pedals. Platform pedals are simple flat pedals that offer a solid surface for your foot to rest on while riding. They are often used for casual or recreational riding. On the other hand, clipless pedals require special cycling shoes with cleats that attach to the pedal. These pedals offer several benefits, including improved efficiency, greater safety, and more comfort. By keeping your feet secure on the pedals, clipless pedals enable you to transfer more power with each pedal stroke. They also eliminate the risk of slipping off the pedals and provide better support for your feet. Installing clipless pedals requires careful preparation, precise installation, and regular maintenance to ensure maximum performance and durability.

Platform Pedals

Platform pedals are the most common type of pedal found on bicycles. They are flat, with a large surface area on which to rest your foot. They attach to the bike's crank arm via a threaded spindle and allow for a secure grip without clipping in. Platform pedals are easy to use and don't require special shoes, making them a good choice for novice riders, commuters, and casual cyclists. However, they are less efficient when it comes to transferring power from the rider's foot to the bike's chain.

Clipless Pedals

Clipless pedals may seem misleading by name, but they offer a secure way of "clipping in" to the bike. These pedals provide a more precise and efficient transfer of power from the foot to the pedal, allowing for a smoother, more powerful pedal stroke. They come in different designs, but most consist of a cleat that attaches to the bottom of a specially designed cycling shoe and snaps into the pedal, securing the foot in place. Compared to platform pedals, clipless pedals take some getting used to, and the specialized shoes come with a higher price tag, but many experienced cyclists swear by their benefits.

Benefits of Clipless Pedals

Clipless pedals offer a variety of benefits when it comes to cycling. First and foremost, they provide an improved level of efficiency since your foot is directly connected to the pedal, allowing for a more even distribution of power throughout each rotation. This makes it easier to maintain a consistent speed and puts less strain on your leg muscles. Additionally, clipless pedals provide greater safety since your foot is less likely to slip off the pedal, especially in wet or slippery conditions. Finally, clipless pedals offer more comfort since they allow for a greater range of motion and reduce the likelihood of foot cramping or hotspots. When installing clipless pedals, it is important to properly prepare your bike and choose the right pedal and shoe combination for your needs. Once installed, regular maintenance is necessary to keep them functioning properly and ensure their longevity.

Improved Efficiency

Clipless pedals allow you to pull up as well as push down with your leg muscles, resulting in a more efficient transfer of energy to the bike. This means you can ride faster or longer with less effort, making clipless pedals an excellent choice for training or competitive cycling.

Greater Safety

Clipless pedals improve bike control, ensuring your feet don't slip off the pedals, preventing accidents, and giving you more confidence when cycling under any terrain or condition. To unclip, it only takes a flick of the ankle, making them faster to release than platform pedals.

More Comfort

Clipless pedals offer better foot support, and since they hold your feet more stably, this means fewer hotspots or pressure points. They also help to reduce fatigue in your feet, calves, and knee joints.

Installing Clipless Pedals

can drastically improve the performance and safety of a cyclist. Before installation, it is important to prepare and gather necessary tools such as a pedal wrench and thread locker. During the installation process, it is crucial to follow instructions carefully to ensure proper alignment and attachment to the bike. Regular maintenance is also important for optimal function and safety. The benefits of clipless pedals include improved efficiency, as they allow for a more fluid pedaling motion, greater safety by keeping the cyclist securely attached to the bike, and increased comfort by distributing weight more evenly across the foot. Overall, installing clipless pedals is a worthwhile investment for serious cyclists looking to improve their performance and experience on the road.


- Make sure you have the proper tools, including a pedal wrench, Allen wrenches, and grease.- Remove the old pedals from your bike, taking note of which side is right and which is left.- Clean the threads on the crank arm with a cloth or brush to prevent dirt or debris from entering.


- Apply a small amount of grease to the threads of the new pedals to ensure a smooth installation.- Thread the pedals into the crank arm by hand until tightened, using the pedal wrench in case of any resistance.- Tighten the pedals to the recommended torque specification (check the manufacturer's instructions).- Test each pedal to ensure it is secure and functioning properly.


- Regularly inspect the pedals for damage, wear or debris.- Clean them after every ride using a cloth or brush.- Replace the cleats or pedals when they become worn or damaged.Upgrading your pedals can seem daunting, but with a little preparation, installation is an easy process that anyone can do. Whether you are a competitive cyclist or casual rider, switching to clipless pedals can help boost your performance and make your cycling experience more comfortable and enjoyable.

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