Cleat vs Flat Pedals

When you choose to use one of our fleet mountain bikes as part of our all-inclusive mountain biking Experience, you have the option to choose flat or cleat bike pedals. Deciding on which option is best for you can be a difficult decision. We have detailed the pros and cons for each option below.

Firstly, please keep in mind that using cleat pedals vs flats pedals doesn’t necessarily demonstrate your level of skill, rather it’s about a personal preference.

Flat Mountain Bike Pedals

Flat mountain bike pedals are a standard mountain bike pedal with a flat surface. You use a normal sport shoes with a flat pedal.


  • Great choice if you are a beginner as you can easily put your foot down for a rest or to stop.
  • Gives you an opportunity to get used to a different bike, without having to also learn how to use cleats.
  • You can wear your general running shoes rather than riding specific shoes if you don’t own these.Cons
  • You can feel less sturdy on the bike because you aren’t attached to the pedals, especially going down hill. This can be circumvented by reducing your speed however.
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Cleat Mountain Bike Pedals

Mountain bike cleat pedals are a pedal that have a small cleat attached to them. You use a special mountain bike cleat shoe to attach to the cleat pedal.


  • Cleats hold you on to your pedal, and therefore your bike. This means you have more push and pull power when riding up hill and your feet are more sturdy on your pedals when riding down-hill.


  • If you don’t unclip fast enough, you may experience one of those awkward ‘clipped in’ mountain bike accidents!
  • You need to purchase your own specific mountain bike cleat shoes.
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Is There A Middle Ground?

Absolutely. You can purchase a flat mountain bike specific shoe, that grips to your pedal and keeps you sturdy on the bike.

If you still have any questions about which pedals you should select when joining one of our mountain biking Experiences, please contact us directly.