Gravel riding is trendy and we're totally fine with it, because the gravel bike enables a wide variety of experiences on the bike, such as bike trips, a brisk ride through the forest in the evening or long rides on different terrain to sharpen your fitness.
But a gravel bike is not a racing bike or a mountain bike, so which pedals and shoes should I use to have the best riding experience?
Shoes for gravel bikes
The first step in deciding on the right pedals starts with the Choice of shoes And here mountain bike shoes are ideal for 3 reasons:
- Compared to road bike shoes, they offer more flexibility, especially when it comes to getting off and giving. In addition, the metal cleats are protected when walking, whereas the protruding plastic cleats on racing bike shoes wear out quickly off-road.
- MTB shoes are more stable, less sensitive to dirt and simply better suited to off-road terrain.
- There is a large selection of different models of mountain bike shoes, from very light cross country shoes with carbon soles for weight and speed enthusiasts (e.g. from Specialized or Giro), to SPD sneakers for good protection, a casual look and comfortable walking ( e.g. from Shimano or Vaude). Every gravel biker can find the right model here.
Pedals for gravel bikes
As described, in most cases MTB shoes are better for gravel riding than racing bike shoes and so it's a good thing that there are also good reasons for the mountain bike version when it comes to pedals:
- When it comes to mountain bike pedals, great attention is paid to stability in both the choice of material and construction, which is beneficial for off-road use. Road bike pedals use very light materials and thin walls, which speaks against harsher off-road use.
- Mountain bike pedals are significantly less sensitive to dirt.
- As with shoes, there are many different versions of MTB pedals for different purposes.
But what requirements should gravel bikers place on their pedals?
In a direct comparison with racing bike pedals, it becomes clear that, in addition to stability and dirt resistance, efficiency is also important. The large contact surface between pedal and shoe, which ensures optimal power transmission on racing bike pedals, is also the case with Gravel pedal very important. So it makes sense Pedal with a generous contact surface to the shoe to choose, which creates a similar feeling to road bike pedals. It is important that the pedal is light yet compact in order to minimize the overall weight and avoid contact with the ground.
Play a special role Hybrid or combination pedals, ideal for gravel bikers who move on rough terrain and want to use their foot for support or who want to use the bike in everyday life. These pedals are characterized by their versatility, offering a pedal with a click mechanism on one side and a flat pedal on the other side. The flat pedal side should be large enough, have enough pins and be designed so that the cleat does not have any metallic contact with the pedal, as this significantly reduces the grip.
Of course, gravel bikes can also be equipped with flat pedals, because there are options for everyone who gets along well with flat pedals on a mountain bike or doesn't want to switch to clipless pedals Flats that are very suitable for gravel use. A slightly smaller and weight-saving platform should be chosen. So that the pedal pressure can be transferred well, we recommend shoes with good grip and a stable sole construction, such as the Crankbrother Freerider Pro, a classic among flat MTB shoes.
In summary, a gravel pedal should be dirt-resistant, easy to walk and efficient to ensure the optimal riding experience. A low weight and solid storage complete the requirements and enable you to have casual adventures on your gravel bike.
Here are our recommendations for gravel pedals:
- Clipless pedal: MC-FLY with steel axle or in the high-end version with a titanium axle - which is special lightweight gravel pedals
- Combination pedal: TWO-FACE with steel axle or in the high-end version with a titanium axle - which is special lightweight combination pedals for gravel bikes (this might also interest you)
- Flat pedal: CONTACT CNC Small - our recommendation for Flat pedals on the gravel bike.