Best e-Mountain Bike Pedals: Clipless or Flat?

clipless vs flat pedals

Table of Contents

To clip or not to clip? That is the question.

 

Deciding what sort of pedals to have is a big debate in e-MTB riding and getting the best e-mountain bike pedals for your ride all depends on the style of riding you’re likely to be doing. Although they’re only small, don’t underestimate the importance of the pedals – they help with power, efficiency, balance and manoeuvrability.

 

In this guide, we’ll talk about all things clipless and flat pedals, exploring which style of riding works for which and whether there is a right or wrong choice for a certain discipline. We’ll also look at the best e-mountain bike flat pedals & the best e-mountain bike clipless pedals on the market.

 

So, join us in our clipless v flat pedal review.

What’s the Difference Between Flat Pedals and Clipless Pedals?

E-MTB Flat Pedals:

On an e-mountain bike, flat pedals are usually large, flat surface areas accompanied with some extra metal pins to give you additional grip. They have a large surface area to ensure maximum contact between the foot and the metal.

 

Because you aren’t clipped in here, they give you the flexibility to move around and take your foot off, which helps if you’re a less confident rider and if you expect that you’ll need to put your foot down for stability.

E-MTB Clipless Pedals:

The word “clipless” is an interesting choice in the industry, because on a clipless pedal you have actually have special cleats (clips) on the bottom of your shoes, which attach to the pedals. They can also come with additional extra pins to give you grip, too.

Pros and Cons of Flat e-MTB Pedals:

The word “clipless” is an interesting choice in the industry, because on a clipless pedal you have actually have special cleats (clips) on the bottom of your shoes, which attach to the pedals. They can also come with additional extra pins to give you grip, too.

Peaks👍

Troughs👎

What Sort of Riding are e-MTB Flat Pedals Best for?

  • Beginners: safety net to put foot down, big surface area
  • Downhill riders: need to keep feet unclipped due to tricky terrain
  • Freeriders: feet unclipped to perform tricks

Pros and Cons of e-MTB Clipless Pedals:

The word “clipless” is an interesting choice in the industry, because on a clipless pedal you have actually have special cleats (clips) on the bottom of your shoes, which attach to the pedals. They can also come with additional extra pins to give you grip, too.

Peaks👍

Troughs👎

What Sort of Riding are Clipless e-MTB Pedals Best for?

  • Enduro riders: power efficiency
  • Cross-country riders: power and endurance efficiency  
  • Bike packers and long-distance riders: power and endurance efficiency

A Summary of Flat vs. Clipless Pedals:

As you can see, it all really depends on the riding you’re doing; there isn’t one definitively better pedal style. Both have their merits, and similarly, both have their drawbacks. So, think hard about the type of riding you usually do and take it from there.

Best e-MTB Pedals

Now that we know which type of pedals suit which types of riding, let’s look at the best currently out there on the market.

Best e-MTB Flat Pedals

Deity TMAC pedal
  • Price: $179.99
  • Weight: 454g
  • Size: 110mm long x 105mm wide
  • Pins: 14 per side
Summary:

You’ve got some serious pins on these flat pedals, giving you an incredible amount of grip. There are 14, in total, which can be replaced and adjusted according to your needs. With that grip comes enhanced bike stability, and the peace of mind that you won’t be in danger of sliding off your pedals.

 

They’re also big; this size gives you a really large surface area on which to plant your foot, which is ideal when coupled with the amount of grip coming from the pins. These are some of the best flat pedals for e-mountain bikes available.

Race Face Atlas pedal
  • Price: $174.99
  • Weight: 386g
  • Size: 110mm long x 108mm wide
  • Pins: 10 per side
Summary:

This is another well-sized pedal with a good surface area for you to plant your foot on. The pins are chunky, too – 6mm long in fact – which gives you a solid level of grip; that 6mm is longer than most other pedals on the market.

 

You need to be careful, though, because their length also means that they’re like daggers if you slip off, and they can cause some nasty grazes on the shins and calves. That said, they’re made of tough stuff for a reason; they’re super durable and will last you a long time. The Race Face Atlas pedals are definitely amongst the best e-mountain bike flat pedals out there.

HT PA03A pedal
  • Price: $47
  • Weight: 349g
  • Size: 107mm long x 105mm wide
  • Pins: 10 per side
Summary:

This is a real beauty if you’re working on a budget. These pedals give you a decent surface area on which to place your foot, although it is smaller than the others we’ve mentioned.

 

Despite the lower price, that doesn’t mean a lower quality – they’re sturdy and durable, with 10 lengthy pins on each side, which give you a solid level of grip overall.

 

Considering that they’re $100 cheaper than our other options, and don’t compensate on quality much, these pedals are an absolute steal.

Best Clipless Pedals e-MTB

Shimano PD M520 pedal
  • Price: $57.99
  • Weight: 380g
  • Size: 42mm long x 62mm wide
  • Pins: 0
Summary:

This is one of the best e-mountain bike clipless pedals on the market. It works for entry level riders as much as it does the experienced shredder. It’s super reliable and very easy to operate, with a smooth clip in-and-out system.

 

The drawbacks of these pedals are that you don’t have a large platform to push through, and there aren’t any pins to give you extra “side-to-side” grip. It’s hard to look away from that bargain price, though!

Funn Ripper pedal
  • Price: $130
  • Weight: 570g
  • Size: 120mm long x 120mm wide
  • Pins: 4
Summary:

You’ve got a really large platform here to firmly plant that foot down, along with the clip-in-option as well, which means you can generate a serious amount of power. It’s also got 4 pins to give you some extra grip and stop you slipping side to side.

 

It’s a chunky pedal, and certainly isn’t cheap, but it’s robust and will take a decent hammering. This one is best for more serious riding, and it’s definitely one of the best clipless pedals for an e-MTB.

Crank Brothers Mallet 2 pedal
  • Price: $82.95
  • Weight: 428g
  • Size: 88mm long x 37mm wide
  • Pins: 0
Summary:

This is a decent half-way house between the Shimano and the Funn Ripper. You have a greater surface area than the Shimano, but not quite as much as the Ripper.

 

Meanwhile, you don’t have the addition of pins to prevent the side to side movement. It’s reliable, though, and easy to operate, as well as being a fair amount cheaper than the Ripper.

 

It’s a solid pedal and a good bet if you want to have a greater surface area to churn out those extra miles, without needing a full-blown shredder like the Ripper.

Final Thoughts

There you have it, our guide to the best e-mountain bike pedals (both flat and clipless) on the market in 2022. If you were wondering whether mountain bikers clip in? The answer is yes, some do, but it really depends on the type of riding you’re doing.

 

The key thing to consider is if you need power, endurance efficiency and stability, or whether you need manoeuvrability and a safety net. This will dictate whether you go for a flat e-mountain bike pedal or a clipless e-mountain bike pedal.

 

There are some beauties out there on the market and we’ve given you our top picks. So, all that’s left to do is saddle up and get out there riding.

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