The best MTB flat pedals are popular with those who prefer undiluted trail feedback, combined with the ability to shift your feet while you ride. Riders who like to put serious miles under their belts mostly prefer to clip-in to their pedals for better efficiency and power transfer.
If you're looking to improve your technical riding technique, without the risk of having to follow your bike into a crash if things do go wrong, the best MTB flat pedals are the solution too. Advances in design have delivered larger platform flat pedals with thinner pedal bodies that mean lower weights.
Our team of expert testers have ridden every leading flat pedal over the years and we've featured the most worthy right here. The level of grip is undoubtedly the most vital aspect of a flat pedal, but we also consider the quality of the pedal bearings, how effective the seals are at keeping the elements at bay and how the pedal body fares against rock strikes and the like.
It is worth mentioning that even the best flat pedals work as part of a system and must be paired with MTB flat pedal shoes for the best results. Skate shoes, sneakers or trail running shoes are not a great choice. Lacking in protection, grip and stiffness, they will feel terrible and will quickly get wrecked by your pedal pins.
Our top MTB flat pedal choice is the Race Face Atlas, and our best value pick is the DMR V11. For more on how to choose the best MTB flat pedals for you, scroll on down to the bottom of this page for lots of helpful buying advice. And if you're considering other pedal options as well as flats, maybe our best mountain bike pedals guide will be of use to you too. If you're on a tighter budget, our guide to the best cheap MTB pedals may be of interest.
The quick list
The redesigned Atlas is as good as it gets
Superb grip, lighter than most, resistant to damage and simple to service – we reckon its the best flat pedal you can buy.
Tough, scar-shrugging composite pedal
The same shape as DMR’s Vault but this nylon composite version is much cheaper and has an impressive performance.
Super-sturdy, benchmark flat pedal
If you're looking for super-dependable grip on a pedal that can laugh off big hits, the DMR Vault is hard to beat.
Big, grippy pedal with excellent durability
Burgtec’s latest aluminum flat pedal offers excellent internal sealing and bombproof construction.
Best online only
Available in large and small platform sizes
Canyon's Performance Flat comes in two sizes and has a slight amount of concavity for enhanced grip.
Triple sealed internals and easy servicing
Hope's F22 pedal is a big step up on the brand's F20. It's light and triple sealed to the keep the elements out for longer.
See the next 5 flat pedals ↓
Best for racing
Impressively light with slightly angled edges
With proven racing credentials, these are the pedals that have won Sam Hill numerous Enduro World Series races.
Great value, light composite pedal
Fantastic value and super light, the Composite's nylon body is more forgiving than alloy on rough terrain.
Best long pins
The most aggressive pin profile you can get
Extra-long pins for absolute grip requirements, designed for extreme descending riders.
Best large body
The largest flat pedal you can buy
If you believe bigger is better, these are the flats for you, with room for an unrivaled 18 pins per side.
Ultra-thin shoe-size-specific pedal
Super thin and lightweight, the pro-level Stamp offers two platform sizes based on your shoe size.
The best MTB flat pedals
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1. Best overall
Race Face has relaunched its Atlas pedal which improves on the original in every department. The new incarnation has a wider platform and a thinner body, an easier to service bearing and comes with a lifetime warranty.
While the original Atlas platform was deemed a touch small by some riders, the 2022 version is virtually the same size as DMR's massively popular Vault pedal. The only difference in platform is that the front and rear of the Atlas' cage are slightly shorter to accommodate its far more rounded corners. The 10 pins on each pedal face are narrower (2mm) and longer (6mm) than you'll find on most rival pedals (the length can be shortened by adding the included washers), while the chamfered pedal bodies have the faintest whiff of concave.
We've been riding with these pedals for over six months now and are seriously impressed with the support they give and amount of grip on offer. On the flip side, the narrow pins are razor sharp and our scarred calves are proof of their vicious nature. While our beautiful legs may have been disfigured, the iodized graphics (available in nine different colors) on the pedals still look great and there's no sign that the finish will wear away yet either.
For more, see our full Race Face Atlas pedal review.
2. Best value
The 105mm x 105mm platform of the V11 is the same as DMR's popular alloy Vault (see below) as well as the signature DMR concave profile to enhance platform grip. The only difference is pedal thickness, with the Nylon construction adding an extra 3mm of thickness to enhance the strength. The foot-centering shape is adorned with 11 replaceable/adjustable steel pins on each side, with a collection of longer ‘Moto’ pins front and rear for maximum grip.
The best thing we can say about the V11s is that most riders will be hard-pressed to tell apart from the metal rivals. In our tests, we found the plastic platform is a little slippier in the wet, however, the flexible construction can improve connection and reduce foot tiredness on relentlessly battering runs. We found they’re more controlled in terms of ricochet if you ground them when pedaling. The pedals are also serviceable with DMR offering bearing kits and replaceable pin sets.
For a more in-depth guide, read our full review of the DMR V11 pedals.
3. Best secure grip
DMR has been in the flat pedal business for more than two decades and remains the choice for those who want to experience a surge of confidence when attempting a new section of technical singletrack riding.
The Vaults might not win on pin count, but we found the positioning of their pins is excellent and ensures great shoe contact, even when we were on the lean angle limit through a fast berm or bouncing through a challenging rock garden. In our tests they've had more than their fair share of encounters with stony lumps and, aside from the odd scraped corner, with the tough anodized finish they're still looking fresh and yet to drop a pin. Serviceability is straightforward too, thanks to the cartridge bearings and bushings.
If you're after pedals to match any aspect of your bike, you can't go wrong with the Vaults as they come in a massive range of colors, as well as special edition models such as the triple anodized Liquid Camo finish pictured here – for more on that read our DMR Vault SE review. A lighter version, the Vault Mag SL, is also available.
4. Best bombproof
Over the years, Burgtec has constantly refined the Penthouse Flat to be lighter, lower profile and even grippier, and its now on its fifth generation. We’ve been fans for years, both in terms of bite, but also of how Penthouses survive in all weathers without attention and even through constant jet washing.
The completely redesigned 7075 aluminium platform has extra concavity, fresh pin locations and 7 percent more real estate. The Penthouses are now 65g lighter a pair too. Another key benefit is, despite better crank clearance, the MK5 also sticks out less on the outer edge by a few mm for even better ground clearance.
In our tests we found the Penthouses totally rock solid and locked on in all conditions. They are big enough to support shoe soles without any hot spots and a decent amount of concavity cradles the foot and stops it wanting to move fore and aft on hectic sections. The pins are tough and hard to bend or smash out and we found the trailing outer edge pin is particularly well positioned for driving the bike through turns or keeping your foot hooked on in wild sections.
Find out more in our full Burgtec Penthouse Flat MK5 review.
5. Best online only
Canyon has thought hard about the details of the Performance Flat Pedal. It comes in two platform sizes – small for 36-42 size feet and large for 43–48. It’s 17mm thick measured at the perimeter but is 15.5mm over the axle, creating a small amount of concavity or curve to the face of the pedal, which helps center your foot on the platform. It has ten pins per side, which are a combination of thin set screws and small solid bolts and, while they don't interlock with a flat shoe sole as well as bigger pins, they offer a ton of grip.
We tested the Large sized platform pedal, which gave our tester the feeling of never missing a target when getting his foot back on after dabbing in a corner or steep descent. However, it does limit cornering clearance and a few times he snagged his pedal in rocky terrain.
There’s enough concavity to push into when setting up for a corner or technical section. The pedal does have different pin heights to keep your feet in place and there are also machined signature stripes into the surface of the platform. Canyon has nailed the pedal shape and the pin design/placement which gives excellent grip.
For more, see our full Canyon MTB Performance Flat Pedal review.
6. Best longevity
Hope CNC machine the F22's pedal body from a single block of aluminum for an excellent strength-to-weight ratio before getting a hard-wearing anodized finish. The chromoly steel axle is heat-treated and plated for durability and spins on a bushing with three cartridge bearings in a sealed chamber. Three seals help keep dirt and water away so the internals will spin freely for longer. Hope have designed the pedals to be easily serviceable when the time comes for new bearings.
The F22's platform measures 110mm wide, 105mm long, and 18mm deep (without pins), so it's not as big as some rivals here. A wider leading edge is part of a new asymmetric shape which Hope says "extends further [than the previous F20 pedal] to give better shoe support and a superior planted feel".
Each pedal comes with 11 pins per side – seven slim 6mm pins across the leading and trailing edges and four stubby 4mm pins on the inside and outside of each face. The pins have a hex shape which Hope says gives enhanced bite, while the surface of the axle section of the body is knurled for extra grip. The F22 has a very slight concave on each face which is made to feel much deeper by the pins of differing lengths. In the package, you also get a set of 1mm washers, which allow you to shorten the pin lengths to help give the feel you want.
7. Best race proven
No current flat pedal has the racing credentials of these Nukeproofs. They have won Sam Hill numerous Enduro World Series races and it is the racing environment that has influenced their design.
The edges of these Nukeproofs are slightly angled, reducing the probability of terrain strikes when attempting to flow through a slow and treacherous rock garden.
Platform size is not the largest, but those few missing millimeters have been sacrificed in places where you’d ordinarily run the risk of rock strikes – though should you have one, the solid cages of the Sam Hills are seriously bombproof. If you're a committed gravity racer, either downhill or enduro, these are the pedals for you.
We've ridden various incarnations of Sam Hill Horizons since they were first released and they are one of the grippiest and most bombproof flat pedals around.
8. Best non-metal
OneUp Components makes a great aluminum flat pedal with ample platform size and pin distribution. Remolding it in nylon-composite dramatically drops the price without sacrificing any of the pedal's attributes. In fact, the Composite pedals are one of the lightest pedals on our list. The composite body isn't as stiff as some of its alloy rivals, which helps dull impacts on rough terrain.
A wide platform has a thin leading edge thickness, 18.5mm at the axle and reducing to 13.3mm, which gives you a terrifically stable platform from which to pedal. The 10 pins are well distributed across the platform and there are textured ridges to help with traction in the wet.
9. Best long pins
These Canadian flat pedals look intimidating, with their long pins. Designed to offer a large platform, with impressive axle balance thanks to a slim profile, the Daggas are engineered for extreme descending riders.
With a structure that allows the use of extra-long pins, you might risk painful shin strikes if your shoe does slip, but the theoretical grip profile is tremendous. If you are committed to riding with a heel-down technique, these large platform Chromags, with their threatening pins, will reward you with unequaled levels of metal-to-rubber grip.
10. Best extra large
Designed by American strength coach James Wilson, this is the largest flat pedal you can buy. The Catalyst operates on a power transfer concept which believes that the more force you can apply through the entire foot (or shoe), the better your stability will be in any athletic endeavor on the bike.
The result is a huge pedal, which is particularly well suited to riders wearing large shoes. With its massive structure, there is room for an unrivaled 18 contact pins.
Big size does mean an increase in weight, which makes these less rotationally efficient than other flat pedals. There isn’t quite the concave shaping refinement to the Catalyst’s overall structure, either.
11. Best super-thin
Crankbrothers has been making high-quality platform pedals for a long time now and its current Stamp series of pedals caters to a range of riders and price points. The pro-level Stamp 7 is an excellent balance of price and performance with its Igus LL-glide bearings and svelt 11mm depth at its thinnest point.
Interestingly Crankbrothers offers two platform sizes based on your shoe size. For shoe sizes of 10-15 (US) the large pedal is recommended while riders with 5-10 (US) size feet should go for the smaller size.
How to choose the best MTB flat pedals
Do more pins equal more grip?
Pins are what give you the grip interface between a soft compound rubber mountain bike shoe and a flat pedal. The logic is that a greater number of pins gives you superior grip, and the longer they are, the more secure your shoe-to-pedal interface is.
Having more pins might be theoretically superior, but they don’t help if the distribution of pins isn't right. Pin placement is vital and this is where the pedal engineers really earn their money.
Should I go for metal or plastic flat pedals?
Most premium flat pedals are made from aluminum alloy as it's light, durable and it's much easier to change broken pins on a metal pedal body than a plastic one.
Plastic pedals have the advantage of being much cheaper though, and some brands offer versions that are exact size and shape replicas of their best aluminum pedals. However, you will have the disadvantage of problematic pin removal with the plastic incarnations.
Are bigger flat pedals better?
Bigger pedals are generally better as they give you a greater surface area on which to adjustment your feet. A larger contact area will also spread impact forces when riding drop-offs or landing jumps.
However, if your pedals are too large, they are likely to strike more rocks or stumps as you ride. While the pedals listed here are all suitable for average size feet, if your feet are particularly small, try before you buy. If there's lots of the pedal platform protruding from the side of your shoe, go for a smaller model.
What do I need to know about pedal bodies?
As a general rule, the more material you remove from a flat pedal’s structure the better its self-cleaning properties are, enabling it to shed mud during a winter ride. A pedal structure with more metal removed also yields a lighter pedal, but you still need enough pedal surface to provide a sufficient distribution of pins.
Material and manufacturing improvements have enabled pedals that are larger, lighter and capable of accommodating more pins. Having pins around the edge of the pedal makes the most sense, because the axle body area, in the middle, isn’t where you source most grip when descending. The skills philosophy of ‘heel-down’ pedal technique applies force to the fore and aft, so this is where most of the rider input happens during technical riding.
Although we refer to them as flat pedals, most are in fact slightly concave. This rise at the front and rear of most flat pedals is a subtle design feature that isn’t as obvious as pin placement, but vital. This concave shaping gives you an intuition of where the limits of the pedal are when having to readjust shoe position during a descent.
Is flat pedal thickness important?
Pedal thickness is a factor that is often ignored when choosing a pedal. But it's an important one that can affect balance and confidence on technical trails.
The thinner a pedal is, and this difference is often in single-digit millimeters, the lower your center of gravity will be. When off-the-saddle descending with level cranks, thinner pedals mean you're less likely to get bucked around on rougher trails.
How we test MTB flat pedals
We test these MTB flat pedals over several months at least in all manner of different riding situations, so we're able to see how they handle the roughest terrains and the worst conditions. We rate the pedals according to their grip, robustness, durability and serviceability.
Meet the testers
Graham is all about riding bikes off-road. Based in Edinburgh he has some of the best mountain biking and gravel riding in the UK right on his doorstep. With almost 20 years of riding experience, he has dabbled in downhill, enduro, and gravel racing.
Rich has been riding mountain bikes since the early nineties and testing bikes and kit for over a decade. While he does occasionally clip-in, his pedal of choice is definitely of the flat variety and he's tested every leading model over the years.
Guy Kesteven is Bike Perfect’s contributing tech editor. He spent a few years working in bike shops before starting writing and testing for bike mags in 1996. Since then he’s written several million words about several thousand test bikes and a ridiculous amount of bike components and riding gear.
An ex-elite downhill racer, Mick's been mucking about and racing mountain bikes for over 20 years. He's tested all manner of flat and clipless pedals so knows exactly what makes for a good pedal and what doesn't.
Paul has been testing mountain bikes and products for the best part of 30 years, he’s passed comment on thousands of components and bikes, from the very first 29ers and dropper posts to the latest e-MTBs and electronic drivetrains.