Road Or MTB Pedals – Which Should You Choose?

Road Or MTB Pedals – Which Should You Choose?

Clipless pedals fall broadly into two types – road pedals and MTB pedals. When making the move to clipless pedals people often ask – which should I get and what’s the difference? In this video, Ollie and Dan run you through the main differences between the two and conduct some experiments to work out which may suit you best.

In association with LOOK Cycle.

GCN Winter Sale – Up To 50% Off:
Subscribe to GCN:
Register your interest in the GCN Club:

Submit your content with our new uploader:
Join our Facebook community:

We’ve partnered with LOOK to make this video, because they were pioneers in pedal design, having released their first clipless pedal back in 1984. The origins of which were in ski binding tech! And although we’re using LOOK, the information applies to other brands too.

The LOOK Keo 2 Max road pedal. It’s one of the most common road pedals in the world. It weighs 251g for the pedals and 65g for the cleats. It combines with this three bolt plastic cleat that is bolted to the bottom of your shoe. Road cleats like this are typically made from hard wearing plastic and are designed to be replaced when they wear out. They last ages though, and they will last longer if you don’t walk in them much.

By comparison, there is the MTB Look x-track race. It’s much smaller than the road pedal and the cleat is much smaller too. It’s also made from metal. It weighs 363g and the cleats are 55g. Aside from the weight, The crucial difference is that the MTB pedal is double sided making it a little easier to clip in.

What pedals do you use on your bike? Let us know in the comments below. 👇

If you enjoyed this video, make sure to give it a thumbs up and share it with your friends. 👍

If you’d like to contribute captions and video info in your language, here’s the link –

Watch more on GCN…
Drop Bar Vs Flat Bars 📹

Music – licensed by Epidemic Sound:
Mile Soul – Da Tooby
Gotta Get Back 2 – Martin Landh
Gotta Get Back 3 – Martin Landh
I Can Still Dance – Tigerblood Jewel
Lasers And Stuff – Tigerblood Jewel
Swimmer – Hara Noda

Photos: © Velo Collection (TDW) / Getty Images & © Bettiniphoto /

About GCN:

The Global Cycling Network puts you in the centre of the action: from the iconic climbs of Alpe D’Huez and Mont Ventoux to the cobbles of Flanders, everywhere there is road or pavé, world-class racing and pro riders, we will be there bringing you action, analysis and unparalleled access every week, every month, and every year. We show you how to be a better cyclist with our bike maintenance videos, tips for improving your cycling, cycling top tens, and not forgetting the weekly GCN Show. Join us on YouTube’s biggest and best cycling channel to get closer to the action and improve your riding!

Welcome to the Global Cycling Network | Inside cycling

Thanks to our sponsors:

Assos of Switzerland:
fi’zi:k Shoes & Saddles: and
Topeak Tools:
Canyon Bikes:
Orbea Bikes:
Trek Bicycles:
Vision Wheels:
Zipp Wheels:
Wahoo Fitness:
Park Tool:
Continental Tyres:

Suscribirse a GCN en Español:
The GCN Club –
YouTube Channel –
Facebook –
Instagram –
Google+ –
Twitter –
GMBN Tech –
GCN Tech –

Leave us a comment below!


  1. Brian Mayo on July 16, 2019 at 11:50 pm

    I’ve just switched from Speedplay Zeroes on my roadie to Shimano M520’s. I ride mostly longer road events in the Colorado hills and I train weekly in Spin classes which are always Shimano SPD. For me, I made the switch because at events like the Copper Triangle etc you do a fair amount of walking around and even in a semi-walkable cleat like the Zero, at the end of a long day, recessed cleat shoes are much easier to get around in. Then it was comfort decision The recessed cleat or mountain/city SPD compatible shoes are more comfortable even after 8 hours in the saddle. More comfortable on the bike more comfortable off the bike. The counter argument from my perspective is that road shoes and road pedals are more accurate. If you get a pro fit, the combination of more adjustment and the ability to get your foot, knee and hip/pelvis aligned is higher because road pedals and shoes have more adjustment and thus a better ability to get your biomechanics down as perfect as possible. SPD type systems don’t have anywhere near the adjustment range. Lastly, if you run longer cranks like I do, you notice the difference in pedal clearance and stack height of road systems vs off road systems. Really good video, gentlemen. Please keep up the good work.

  2. 347ringgold on July 16, 2019 at 11:51 pm

    If you have wide feet (as I do), find shoes that fit first. There are very few wide cycling shoes, so that dictated the pedal type (MTB) for me.

  3. kc8ufv on July 16, 2019 at 11:51 pm

    I’m more of a casual/commuter rider. My Shimano mountain bike shoes blend in with any other sneakers. Being a casual rider, I’m not concerned much with weight. In addition to the double or quad sided clip in pedal options, there are also pedals that are platform on one side, SPD mountain clip on the other. This lets me just grab my bike for something short and quick regardless what shoes I’m wearing. Bonus on the Shimano A530, the weight of the platform makes the clip almost always up. I do have some rubber slip on covers for the metal cleats so I don’t have the annoying clicking noise as I walk on concrete or brick, and I’m less likely to scratch indoor hard floors such as ceramic tile or hardwood flooring inside a house.

  4. ELCHURRO250 _ on July 16, 2019 at 11:53 pm

    Gmbn is better

  5. lee oien on July 16, 2019 at 11:54 pm

    I switched form MTB pedals on my road bike. I found that when I was kicking off at an intersection that it was too easy to slip using road bike cleats (LOOK). MTB, especially if the pavement is wet, is much more stable, and thus safer, when kicking off.

  6. BadassStealthFace on July 16, 2019 at 11:55 pm

    My Shimano road pedals squeal like a cat in heat no matter what I do to them. I got an old pair of MTB pedals and they’re just fine, although I’d prefer less float.

  7. fribkt on July 16, 2019 at 11:56 pm

    What about the Speeplay road, man, and pave pedal systems?

  8. JB Schroeder on July 16, 2019 at 11:58 pm

    You can own 1 pair of shoes

  9. CycloFeed Ubox on July 16, 2019 at 11:58 pm

    Used look keo road. So so. Pain clipping on a hill start during rush hour. Pain walking through a polished stone floored train station part way through commute. Clips actually felt less positive to me as if foot was floating above pedal. Moved over to MTB and so much less of a faff imho. Not had hot foot or any issues on rides up to 150+ miles either. Horses for courses but I prefer SPD now. Think sl’s are hype

  10. Aaron DeFreese on July 16, 2019 at 11:58 pm

    I use MTB pedals on all of my bikes because of shoe comfort.. (Even on my stationary)

  11. Lejf Knutson on July 16, 2019 at 11:58 pm

    After two seasons of sportives on road pedals, I switched to mountain and never looked back. It’s blistering hot where I live so it takes nothing to wear out road pedals. I would carry the covers but it was one more thing to carry and they fell off half the time. With the mountain pedals, I just put on the shoes and don’t have to think twice about it.

  12. · doubleplusgood · ʞɐǝdsʞɔnp · on July 16, 2019 at 11:59 pm

    Can’t beet trainers with toeclips, particularly if the toeclips are one size to small and the trainers one size too large.

  13. D Max on July 17, 2019 at 12:00 am

    Ollie runs like 🐿️squirrel🐿️ with a bag of nuts. Good on ya…

  14. Damag381 on July 17, 2019 at 12:03 am

    LOL, Enduro pedals for longer rides…. Um no the have the cage for protection for Gravity Enduro racing.

  15. Bart Hammack on July 17, 2019 at 12:06 am

    I just got into cycling this year. A buddy gave me an old cross cut schwinn from the early 90’s. He had already put 700c wheels on it. I converted it to better brakes and drop bars. I wanted some clipless shoes and found a slightly used pair of mb shoes for $35. Then I bought pedals off of Ebay for $10. I like the mb pedals and so I will probably stick with because it is what I’m used to riding.

  16. Clinton Shiells on July 17, 2019 at 12:08 am

    I switched all my road bikes to MTB pedals years ago. The Shimano XTR pedals are comparably light and with stiffer soled shoes MTB pedals haven’t given me hot spots even on longer rides. My Speedplay Zeros have been in the cabinet for years now.

  17. Todd Taylor on July 17, 2019 at 12:11 am

    I’ve been debating this issue in my head for years and still haven’t switched over to all MTB pedals on my road bike. The reason I haven’t switched is that with my latest pair of MTB shoes, there’s considerable ‘float’ with the SPD cleat. While this doesn’t matter most of the time and my knees like it, things get really squirrely and loose feeling when I’m all-out sprinting. Other than in that one specific case, MTB pedals are just fine for just about ever non-racer.

  18. Dambuster on July 17, 2019 at 12:13 am

    I use for work mtb for weekend run spd because much better with the wider platform for stability but the cleats ware out much faster.

  19. Steve Webber on July 17, 2019 at 12:13 am

    I ride mtb pedals on my road bike.
    Easier to clip in, much more comfortable to walk in and when driving to an event don’t need to change shoes. Simple

  20. Malcolm Hodgson on July 17, 2019 at 12:13 am

    Really want to test a pedal? Let us see a video of how to get going again uphill on a 10%+ slope using each cleat type. My brother on MTB pedals can manage it, me on road pedals find it near impossible, if you dont clip in immediately you can’t get any purchase on hard plastic to carbon sole. Falling over follows shortly after. OR am I missing an important technique????

  21. Martijn van Aurich on July 17, 2019 at 12:15 am

    Always looking down when driving away in the city. Racing cleats, vital seconds indeed.

  22. Hugo Brás Da Costa on July 17, 2019 at 12:16 am

    I use MTB pedals on my road bike, because I also have a MTB and: first – I don’t want to buy new shoes; second – MTB shoes are a lot more practical. But I do have to admit that road shoes look great and for 100% road use and for someone who takes cycling very seriously, they are the right choice.

  23. Alex Pop on July 17, 2019 at 12:16 am

    Look столько раз придумывали горные педали и в итоге "придумали" SPD. Тяжелые и дорогие. Но, может, хоть не ломаются, как предыдущие…

  24. ryan mitchell on July 17, 2019 at 12:17 am

    He learned how to run by the third try

  25. Krane on July 17, 2019 at 12:17 am

    I have a hybrid so I choose mtb pedals even though I could have gone either way. I think it was mostly because I see road bike pedals as purely for training. While mtb pedals are much more utilitarian — you get the best of both worlds.

  26. Ross TheNinja on July 17, 2019 at 12:20 am

    I found the road cleats were easier on my feet but if you get on with the MTB set up, then stick with it. Lad on our trip to Mallorca managed just fine on Sa Calobra with MTB cleats.

  27. humanpowered1 on July 17, 2019 at 12:21 am

    Would love to see scientific tests on the increased power claim for the road pedal with a wider interface, as well as the claim that road pedals are less likely to create a "hotspot". Even if the two types were found equal in in this regard, the lightest useable option would be the winner for performance/racing, and a double sided option would be the choice for everything less than pure performance. In my book all pedals should be double sided, but I also believe it’s possible for double sided to be light and supportive.

  28. reginald atienza on July 17, 2019 at 12:21 am

    Used both on my 2 bikes. You could definetly feel the differenc of the weight of the road shoe Vs MTb shoes specially when you are getting tired. Both has its own adv and disadvantage. I love it both!

  29. Barrie Moorcroft on July 17, 2019 at 12:21 am

    This video helped, but the comments below summed everything perfectly.
    I have a flatcar bike for long commutes and occasional bike riding. I plan to buy a SPD single side (flat normal pedal the other) so I can clip in when I go for proper rides, walk in the shoes, and on the days I am just popping down the shops, wear regular shoes. MBT on my flat bar / and racing bike (if I get one) all the way).

  30. Lea Bi on July 17, 2019 at 12:24 am

    Why I use MTB shoes on road bike? 2 (or +) bikes, 1 shoe 😀 eheh

  31. B4BoomersBlockBoy7 on July 17, 2019 at 12:24 am


  32. Peter Ankerstål on July 17, 2019 at 12:27 am

    I use SPD pedals and shoes designed for roadbikes since I want to use the same shoes for spinning sessions. I have another pair of shoes for MTB rides.

  33. Doofusroy on July 17, 2019 at 12:29 am

    I use MTB pedals that are single sided with the opposite being standard flat pedals, andI have these on my road and mountain bike. I did this so if I want to just hop on and ride with the kids or something I don’t have to go hunt for the correct shoes. They’re a bit heavy, but I’m like 50lbs heavy myself so I figured 100g here or there isn’t critical. 🙂

  34. scotthunter4 on July 17, 2019 at 12:29 am

    I had A600 SPD touring pedals on my Giant TCR but changed to Dura Ace 9100 SPD-SL. The Dura Ace pedals are lighter, have a wider platform and are much easier for using with casual shoes for short rides and getting around. You can also get much lighter and stiffer road shoes with SPD-SL. I went from Specialized Sport Mtb shoes to S-works 7 and saved about 100g per shoe. I find them just as easy for walking around in as the recessed metal cleats on the mtb shoes and I defiantly feel like I’m getting more power transfer on the bike. I don’t know why I didn’t make the switch sooner.

  35. Stefano Canepa on July 17, 2019 at 12:32 am

    I use mountain bike pedals on my hybrid as, in my opinion, mountain bike shoes offer a more stable surface when I have to stop at traffic lights or runabouts. I mounted MTB cleats on road shoes for long not city commuting rides.

  36. Rick Barnes on July 17, 2019 at 12:32 am

    MTB and a Gravel bike that I’m also using for Triathlon. Many of the transitions for smaller races are grass so it makes sense to be able to run in my biking shoes, none of this running in bare feet and then trying to get feet into shoes on the bike. Saved me money on extra shoes too. I can’t see that 200g will ever make a difference to my riding, I’ll just part fill my water bottle on shorter races.

  37. nomans land on July 17, 2019 at 12:32 am

    Shimano MTB SPD pedals on my road bike. i can walk like a normal human being with the replaceable tread on my sidi mtb shoes. EDIT…Learn to do a trackstand and avoid most clicking and unclicking in traffic. Plus it looks cool when you roll in last to the stoplight next to 100k worth of kit the others have and they all take their feet out looking like amateurs 🙂

  38. CoderShare on July 17, 2019 at 12:33 am

    Not sure why I watch this channel. I’m a super casual cyclist. I ride junkers with parts scrapped from other bikes.

  39. Anthony Marsala on July 17, 2019 at 12:35 am

    I did my first big bike tour last month, and unbeknownst to me, we had a number of tourist stops along the route. I wound up not going into some of the stops because walking was too clunky in my road shoes. Then I loaded up sandals into a day bag, which I put in the support van, only to find that the van didn’t alway stop at our tourist stops with us. Moral of the story is I’m switching to MTB pedals and shoes to avoid this problem on future tours. Please do a future video recommending MTB shoes for road cycling; I’m getting dizzy looking at potential choices.

  40. Panos peterpan on July 17, 2019 at 12:36 am

    I never ride With pedals. The bike goes on its own. I Just give an order.

  41. David Ackerly on July 17, 2019 at 12:38 am

    I have mtb pedals on all of my bikes….. road, commuter, CX and mtb. Same shoe does the job for each bike (cleats last longer and reduces the number of pairs of shoes I need) and I can walk more easily. For me it’s about financial savings and comfort.

  42. mgy992002 on July 17, 2019 at 12:40 am

    I do have MTB on my road bike, the no.1 reason is that I can walk comfortably.

  43. MrTigaente on July 17, 2019 at 12:41 am

    I use Crankbrothers EggBeater C.. Those can be clipped in from four sides.

  44. Nat bell on July 17, 2019 at 12:41 am

    Hi grate video. I us MTB peddles on both my road bikes mainly because I commute every day its easier to clip in at lights and walk in them and the shoes tend to be wider 👍

  45. Michele on July 17, 2019 at 12:44 am

    So interesting. I use road pedal on Road bike when i’m training. If I have some trip when i am in vacation i prefer MTB pedala Also in a Road bike because I can walk and go to the restaurant or the wc much better

  46. Brainjock on July 17, 2019 at 12:44 am

    Ollie is slow as dirt running lol

  47. Da Chudda on July 17, 2019 at 12:45 am

    i use mtb too so i can walk around town with the mates

  48. Patrick Baranowski on July 17, 2019 at 12:47 am

    How slow did you clip into them MTB pedels?

  49. Alexandros El on July 17, 2019 at 12:47 am

    For every day ride MTB pedals no questions.

  50. Adam March on July 17, 2019 at 12:47 am

    Started with SPD, moved to TIME. Got a road bike and ran Speedplays. Now it’s Crank Brothers all around.