Which Road Bike Pedals Should You Buy?

Road bike pedals come in a number of shapes and sizes, so if you’re new to the sport, it can be a bit confusing. Road pedals are known as ‘clipless’ and involve two parts. The pedal body which attaches to your bike and a cleat which attaches to your shoe. When the two engage they create a secure connection between your feet and the cranks, thus improving pedalling efficiency. All road pedals are easy to install and intuitive to use. Stopping at a set of lights may seem daunting at first but after a few rides, it becomes second nature.

The three biggest pedal brands are Shimano, Look and Speedplay. All three offer a great range of clipless road pedals ranging from less than £50 to high-end models designed for the most serious of cyclists. Now that you know what road bike pedals are and what they do it’s time to decide which brand and model is best for you.

a Shimano road bike pedal

Which Road Bike Pedals Should You Buy?

Shimano Road Bike Pedals

Shimano offers a wide range of road bike pedals to suit all riders. From entry-level models such as the R540 SPD-SL pedals to the top of the range Dura-ace R9100 SPD-SL. They all feature an adjustability screw which alters how easy it is to clip in and out of the pedal body.

When it comes to durability few will disagree that Shimano makes the best road bike pedals. I’ve had the same pair of Ultegra carbon pedals on my race bike for over two years and they’re still as smooth as the day I bought them. If you’re just getting into road cycling then the first option below is the ideal choice. If you’re a seasoned rider looking to upgrade your race bike then go for the Dura-ace R9100 SPD-SL.

Look Road Bike Pedals

Look were the first company to invent the clipless back in the 1980s. Look pedals are very similar to Shimano in terms of shape and design. They feature a large surface area, albeit slightly smaller than Shimano, and an adjustability screw. Look have focused heavily on water resistance in recent years, equipping their pedals with internal, double-lipped seals to improve longevity and reliability.

Look offers a great choice from the inexpensive Keo Classic 3 through to the Keo Max 2, as seen below, right the way up to the Keo Blade Carbon pedals. All Look pedals come with a set of grey cleats to get you on the road as soon as your pedals are out of the box.

Speedplay Road Bike Pedals

No other road bike pedals offer the same amount of adjustability as Speedplay pedals. Speedplay allows you to fine-tune your float between 0-15° and position your foot closer to the pedal spindle for better power transfer. This increased adjustability also reduces the risk of injury and improves the efficiency of your pedal stroke. On top of all this, Speedplay pedals are extremely light.

While the cost is slightly higher than say Shimano or Look it’s worth bearing in mind that you needn’t buy different cleats to find the right amount of float.

Power Meter Pedals

Steering away from the norm a little, there is another type of road bike pedal entirely; power meter pedals. They’re a great way to train with power due to their accuracy and compatibility. They’re certainly not the sort of component a complete novice would buy but if you’re an experienced cyclist they’re a great upgrade.

The two models below from PowerTap and Garmin are fantastic options as they’re extremely affordable. Both measure one leg’s power output and double it to give you power reading. There are also dual-sided models such as the PowerTap P1 and the new Garmin Vector 3.

Shop all pedals and cleats at ProBikeKit!

Johnny Bowles

Johnny Bowles

Writer and expert