Road Bikes: Are Road Bike Pedals Universal?, If Not Why Not?


Often overlooked and not fully understood, most cyclists are unfamiliar if bike pedals are universal. Well in this article I am going to cover all you need to know. There are a number of topics that you’ll want to understand when it comes to bike pedals being universal. Read below to find out more…

Table Of Contents


  • Are Road Bike Pedals Universal?
  • What Is The Most Common Size Of Road Bike Pedals?
  • What Other Sizes & Types of Pedals Are There To Choose From?
  • Is There A Performance Difference Between The 9/16 Inch & ½ (Half) Inched Sized Pedals?
  • Are Road Bike Pedals Expensive?
  • What Are The Advantages To Road Bike Pedals Compared To Normal Pedals?
  • Are Road Bike Pedals Clipless?
  • Are Road Bike Pedals Fittings & Fixtures Universal?
  • Are Road Bike Pedals Lightweight?
  • How Expensive Are Road Bike Pedals?
  • What Are The Top Bands For Road Bike Pedals?
  • Do Road Bike Pedals Come With Foot Attachments?

Are Road Bike Pedals Universal?


No, road bike pedals are not universal. Road bike pedals are not universal because they come in a variety of sizes and shapes, however there are two common pedal sizes that adult cyclists can choose from. There is a 9/16 Inch sized pedal and the second option is sized at a ½ (half) Inched.

As mentioned before, road bike pedals are not universal however there is a standardization to bike pedal sizes. The standardization to bike pedal sizes allows them to be easily replaced and allows them to fit on to almost any type of bike. The two sizes mentioned above do not refer to the size of the actual bike pedal, rather it refers to the size of the bicycle screw thread that the bike pedal is attached to. 

What Is The Most Common Size Of Road Bike Pedals?


The most common and widely used size of road bike pedal is the 9/16 Inch sized pedal, the 9/16 Inch sized pedal is used on most adult road and mountain bikes all over the world. Tha 9/16 Inch sized pedal is the most common standardization of bike pedal sizes to choose from for adult mountain bikes. The ½ (half) Inched sized pedal is less common, however ½ (half) Inched sized pedals are often used on cheaper priced adult bikes and juvenile aged bikes.

 

What Other Sizes & Types of Pedals Are There To Choose From?


Fortunately for most cyclists, there are only two universal/standaration sized road bike pedals to choose from, as mentioned before, it is the 9/16 Inch and ½ (half) inch sized pedal. That being said, there are other sizes and types of pedals to choose from, there are pedals that are typically used for tricycles that have been found on road bikes

Typically some people make the mistake of using pedals on their road bike that are intended for tricycles usage, through sheer error of judgment and confusion, these pedals technically can be used, however I would always recommend using the two most common and universal sized road bike pedals, the 9/16 Inch and ½ (half) inch for best results

Another common alternative pedal to choose is the “platform” bicycle pedal. The platform pedal is very common on many mountain and other leisure based bikes, the flat surface on the top, pedalling surface allowings for any shoe type to comfortable cycle the pedal/bike over distances  

The platform pedal is best suited to the “leisurely” or “casual” cyclist in mind, the urban cyclist typically would have platform pedals on their bike. The only time I would not use platform pedals on my bike is when going off road, like that of a mountain bike trek. The limitation to platform pedals is that there is less grip and foot fixtures, meaning you will likely have your foot bumpy and swaying all over the place when cycling off road.

Is There A Performance Difference Between The 9/16 Inch & ½ (Half) Inched Sized Pedals?


No, there is no difference in performance between the two sizes of pedals, the performance all comes down to the cyclist’s own cycling ability and power. The only time when performance may change is if the size of pedals are too small, giving the cyclists a limited ability to cycle at his maximum capacity. 

In the case that a cyclist has a ½ (half) Inched sized pedal, it may be affecting the cyclists performance as the pedal is too small, giving the cyclists less grip and pedal power. In this case you would be best getting the larger size of, 9/16 Inch sized pedal which is best suited to adult cyclists feet and shoe size.

Are Road Bike Pedals Expensive?


Road bike pedals come with a more advanced design and specification therefore they typically are more expensive than your traditional, everyday bike pedal. Having said that, road bike pedals can be purchased for around $15 at the cheapest. Road bike prices can start from around $15 all the way up to $250, there is a very broad range in price and quality that are available in road bike pedals

The higher priced bike pedals typically have a greater specification and design to them, the $250 priced road bike pedals have super lightweight carbon fibre bodies compared to that of aluminium on cheaper models. Additionally there is typically a larger foot rest area, which maximises power transfer when pedalling, the larger foot rest area also reduces the overall weight of the pedal as well

So whatever budget you have, you will be able to purchase a solid and well designed pair of road bike pedals. If you are a novice rad bike cyclist, I would suggest buying the cheapest pair of bike pedals to begin with. If you happen to take up road cycling in a very professional manner, then is the best time to invest in a higher caliber pair of road bike tyres.

What Are The Advantages To Road Bike Pedals Compared To Normal Pedals?


There are a number of important and relevant advantages to road pedals compared to your average, standard bike pedal. Below I will list a number of the main differences that you want to be aware of when deciding to choose between the two options:

Benefit Number 1: Body Design & Size: The more advanced design of a road bike pedal means that the body of the pedal ergonomically fits on your foot compared to a normal bike pedal (which tends to be typically very flat and generic). 

A larger shoe contact area allows for greater power transfer when pedalling which means your cycling effort is lessened when you have a greater power transfer in every pedal. Generally road bike pedals have a wider and flatter which gives you greater road clearance when taking sharp corners. a wider and flatter pedal also allows for bearing placement for increased rigidity and uniform load distribution when cycling in most urban cities

Benefit Number 2: Light Weight: Most good quality road bikes are made from materials like carbon fibre, carbon alloy or stainless steel which means that road bike pedals are very lightweight while still maintaining a durability and toughness to them. The property of carbon material means that road bike pedals can withstand strong forces, which could be knocks and collisions when cycling.

Most normal bike pedals are made from a plastic composite, however road bike pedals give you that extra layer of quality by being made from a lightweight carbon material (in most cases), giving you less weight to deal with when cycling your bike. Typically, your average weight of a road bike pedal is around 185grams, that for each pedal.

Benefit Number 3: Anti-Skid Surface: For most cyclists, cycling in the rain is an everyday reality, especially if you live in the UK. Therefore having a pedal that has an anti-skid surface helps tremendously. Most road bikes pedals have a wide tread and anti skid materials meaning that you will have 100% grip even in the wettest conditions. Contrast this to a regular  bike pedal, as soon as there is a little drizzle, then typically getting good amounts of grip can be a real challenge, especially in wet winter conditions.

Are Road Bike Pedals Clipless?


Yes, you can get road bike pedals that are clipless. For most road bike cyclists, clipless road bike pedals are the way to do it when it comes to cycling your road bike on a regular basis. Most clipless road bike pedals give you a superior “foot lock” compared to a regular pedal

The built-in mechanism that comes with clipless road bike pedals means that you have no slip at all when you are pedalling hard and do not want any problem, snag or slip to break the rhythm that you are generating when cycling at a fast rate on your road bike

Clipless road bike pedals came about in the 80’s, primarily because of this exact problem (your foot slipping when pedalling at speed). Having your foot loose grip and slip when pedaling at around 70 to 90 revolutions a minute (which is your typical road bike pedaling rate/ratio) can really break the progress and momentum you are building with each pedal, not to mention, it could lead to an injury on the follow through

Clipless road bike pedals have become so popular nowadays that most road bikes come with no pedals at all. Most road bike retailers know that your average and well experienced road bike user has their own specific pair of clipless bike pedals that fits their feet like a glove, for a better term.

Are Road Bike Pedals Fittings & Fixtures Universal?


The more accurate answer to this question is that there is a standardization to road bike pedals fittings and fixtures that correspond to specific bike pedal sizes and your bike frame. The fittings and fixtures are standardized to fit your typical, 9/16 Inch and ½ (half) Inched sized pedal to make life easier when fitting them on your road bike

Additionally as mentioned before, most fittings and fixtures are standardized to universal road bike frames and sizes which means that the fittings and fixtures that you buy in your bike shop, will fit most, if not all road bikes (older models as well as newer models)

Are Road Bike Pedals Lightweight?


Road bike pedals fall into two categories when buying them, they are either clipless or the standard road bike pedals, however both weigh around the same weight, give or take. In general, road bike pedals are extremely light as you would imagine. The average weight of a road bike pedal is around 0.5 Kilograms, this is a approximation but most, if not all extremely light to the point it will not add any significant amount of weight onto your road bike

How Expensive Are Road Bike Pedals?


As you can imagine, road bike pedals come in an assortment of designs and specifications which makes their retail value differ between one brand to another.  The cost of road bike pedals differ depending in the complexity and advantageous nature of one design to another, however here I will average out the cost of budget, medium and high end priced road bike pedals

Worth mentioning, the road bike pedals include clipless and standard road bike pedals. Budget priced road bike pedals are priced between £10 all the way to £30, this price range is your absolute cheapest to medium price point. Medium priced road bike pedals are priced between £30 all the way to £60. The highest price point for road bike pedals are between £40 all the way to £60+, just depending in the quality and brand of the road bike

What Are The Top Bands For Road Bike Pedals?


Road bike pedals can come in an assortment of brands depending on what bike shop that you visit, however the most recognized and trusted are Shimano, Speedplay and Garmin. Shimano, Speedplay and Garmin are the most well known brand when it comes to road bike pedals primarily because they produce very high quality road bike pedals compared to the other brand on the market

It’s worth mentioning that Shimano, Speedplay and Garmin road bike pedals are the most expensive and retailed at the highest price pound. If you have a more modest budget then, there are other brands that offer more affordable solutions while still offering a quality product. Some of these brands can vary greatly depending on your location and country

Do Road Bike Pedals Come With Foot Attachments?


Yes, typically there are a couple of ways in which your foot is “attached” to the pedal, the most well known foot attachment to road bike pedals is the Clipless MTB pedals. Clipless MTB pedals allow you to connect your shoe to the pedal using a pair of road bike shoes that take two-bolt cleats fixings

Clipless MTB pedals, which are also known as SPD pedals basically use a two-bolt cleat system to attach a cycling shoe to the pedal, this is most well known and used. Clipless MTB pedals ability to attached to the pedal give the cyclists a greater amount of power and control when cycling, however there is a higher price point for this

Most Clipless MTB pedals are made by one of the brands we have mentioned before, Shimano, which angina are commonly referred to as SPD pedals, after Shimano SPD, the primary brand for this system.

Another way for your foot to attach to the road bike pedal is by using “Cage” road bike pedals. Cage road bike pedals are a flat pedal that has a metal cage around the central spindle. The jagged, caged design of the pedal allows you to get a greater amount of grip between your shoe and the pedal. Some of the caged pedals available come with toe clips or straps to fasten around your foot for greater efficiency.

Conclusion

I hope you enjoyed this article on “What Is The Standard Road Bike Tire Size?”, All of the information has been thoroughly researched and I have plenty of real world experience on this issue to add as well. Thanks for reading and enjoy!

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