can you use mountain bike pedals on a road bike

Can You Use Mountain Bike Pedals on a Road Bike

can you use mountain bike pedals on a road bike

Yes you can use mountain bike pedals on a road bike because they both have the same pedaling thread of 9/16″ diameter axle and have 20 TPI which is thread per inch. A mtb pedal can screw into a road bike very easily.

Why Use Mountain Bike Pedals on a Road Bike

While road bike pedals are specifically designed for road cycling and generally provide a larger surface area for more efficient power transfer, there are several reasons why someone might choose to use mountain bike pedals on a road bike:

  • Ease of Clipping In and Out: Mountain bike pedals are typically dual-sided, meaning you can clip in your shoes from either side. This is different from many road bike pedals that have a single entry side.
  • The dual-sided feature can be more user-friendly, especially in situations where quick foot entry and exit are needed, such as city cycling or commuting.
  • Walkability: The cleats used with mountain bike shoes are smaller and recessed. This makes walking or hiking much easier and more comfortable when you are off the bike.
  • On the other hand, the larger, protruding cleats used with most road bike shoes can make walking difficult and awkward. If you frequently stop and need to walk during your rides, you might prefer mountain bike pedals for this reason.
  • Durability and Versatility: Mountain bike pedals are designed to cope with harsher conditions, such as mud and dirt, making them generally more robust than road bike pedals. This can be beneficial if your rides occasionally take you off-road or if you ride in varied weather conditions.
  • Comfort: Some riders find that the float (the degree to which the foot can rotate while clipped in) offered by mountain bike pedals is more comfortable on their knees, especially over longer distances.

Are There Disadvantages To Using Mountain Bike Pedals on a Road Bike

Yes, there can be certain disadvantages to using mountain bike pedals on a road bike. Here are some of the potential drawbacks:

Reduced Power Transfer: Road bike pedals typically have a larger surface area for cleat-pedal interface, which can provide a more solid platform and more efficient power transfer.

Mountain bike pedals, on the other hand, are generally smaller and may not offer the same level of efficiency, especially for high-speed, long-distance road cycling.

Weight: Mountain bike pedals are usually built to withstand rougher conditions, which can make them somewhat heavier than road-specific pedals. If you’re looking to minimize the weight of your bike for speed or climbing, this could be a factor.

Compatibility with Road Cycling Shoes: Mountain bike pedals are designed to work with mountain biking shoes, which have different cleats and a different overall design compared to road cycling shoes.

You may not be able to clip in properly if you try to use road cycling shoes with mountain bike pedals.

Potential for Discomfort: Because mountain bike pedals have a smaller surface area, they can potentially cause discomfort on longer rides as the pressure is distributed over a smaller area of the foot.

Road bike pedals spread the pressure over a larger area, which can lead to more comfort on long-distance rides.

Aesthetics: For some, the look of their gear is important. Mountain bike pedals on a sleek road bike might not provide the desired aesthetic.

Despite these potential downsides, many riders still choose to use mountain bike pedals on road bikes because of their advantages in terms of versatility, ease of use, and walking comfort.

Technical Requirements Needed Before Installing Mountain Bike Pedals on a Road Bike

Installing mountain bike pedals on a road bike is a relatively simple task, but you’ll need a few things before you begin:

  • Compatible Pedals: As previously mentioned, both road and mountain bike pedals generally use a standardized pedal thread size of 9/16″, so they should be physically compatible with your road bike’s crank arms.
  • Pedal Wrench or Hex Key: To remove your old pedals and install the new ones, you’ll need either a pedal wrench or a hex key (also known as an Allen key).
  • The size needed can vary, but 15mm wrenches and 8mm hex keys are commonly used for pedals. Some pedals can be installed or removed with either tool, while others may require one or the other, so check your specific pedals to see what you need.
  • Grease or Anti-Seize Compound: It’s a good idea to apply a bit of grease or anti-seize compound to the threads of your new pedals before installing them. This can make it easier to remove the pedals in the future and can prevent the threads from becoming damaged.
  • Mountain Bike Shoes and Cleats: If you’re switching to mountain bike pedals, you’ll also need mountain biking shoes with the correct cleats to match your pedals.

Mountain bike shoes have a two-hole cleat system (“SPD” style), which is different from the three-hole system commonly used for road bike shoes.

Do You Need Cleat Adaptors

Whether you need cleat adapters or not depends on the type of shoes and pedals you are using.

Mountain bike pedals typically use a two-hole cleat system, often referred to as SPD (Shimano Pedaling Dynamics). This system requires compatible shoes, which are designed with two holes that align with the cleats and allow you to clip into the pedals.

If you are using mountain bike pedals, and your cycling shoes have the correct two-hole design, then you will not need an adapter. You can simply attach the appropriate SPD cleats directly to your shoes.

However, if you have road cycling shoes, which often use a three-hole cleat system like Look or Shimano’s SPD-SL, then you would need a cleat adapter to use two-hole SPD cleats.

These adapters typically work by providing a two-hole interface on a plate that can be attached to a three-hole shoe.

But do note that using an adapter may not provide the same level of comfort or performance as using a fully compatible shoe and pedal system.

You would also lose some of the walkability advantages of mountain bike shoes because the adapter and cleat would likely protrude from the sole of the shoe, making walking more awkward.

As a result, most cyclists who switch to mountain bike pedals on their road bikes also switch to mountain biking shoes to ensure the best compatibility and performance.

Step by Step: Installing Mountain Pedals on To a Road Bike

Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to remove mountain bike pedals and install them on a road bike:

Tools Needed:

Pedal wrench or an 8mm or 6mm Allen key (Hex key) depending on your pedal design

Grease or Anti-seize compound

Step 1: Remove the Pedals from the Mountain Bike

  • Position the crank arm so it’s parallel to the ground and facing forward.
  • If your pedals have flats for a pedal wrench, use the pedal wrench to loosen the pedal. If your pedals are designed to be removed with an Allen key, insert it into the hole on the inside of the crank arm.
  • Remember, the left pedal (non-drive side) is reverse threaded, so you’ll turn it clockwise to loosen it. The right pedal (drive side) loosens counterclockwise, the traditional way.

Step 2: Prepare the Pedals for Installation

  • Clean the threads on the pedals to remove any dirt or old grease.
  • Apply fresh grease or anti-seize compound to the threads. This step will make future removal easier and prevent the pedals from seizing onto the cranks.

Step 3: Install the Pedals on the Road Bike

  • Start threading each pedal by hand into the appropriate crank arm (right pedal into the right arm, left pedal into the left arm). This helps prevent cross-threading. Remember, the right pedal threads in traditionally (clockwise), and the left pedal threads in reverse (counterclockwise).
  • Once the pedals are threaded in most of the way, use your pedal wrench or Allen key to fully tighten them. Be careful not to over-tighten.

Step 4: Test

  • After installation, clip in and out of the pedals a few times to ensure that the system is working properly.
  • Always remember: if you’re not comfortable performing these steps, it’s best to take your bikes to a professional mechanic to ensure the pedals are correctly and safely transferred.
  • Also, ensure you have the right shoes for your mountain bike pedals if you’re going to use them on a road bike.

How Do You Know If You Should Install Mountain Bike Pedals on a Road Bike

Choosing to install mountain bike (MTB) pedals on a road bike is largely a matter of personal preference and depends on your individual riding style and requirements. Here are a few situations where installing MTB pedals on a road bike could be a good idea:

Frequent Stopping and Starting: If you ride in a city or urban environment where you need to frequently stop and start, you might prefer MTB pedals. They are usually double-sided, making it easier and quicker to clip in and out than with single-sided road bike pedals.

Combination of On and Off-road Cycling: If you often transition between pavement and dirt or gravel paths during your rides, MTB pedals could be a better choice. They are designed to handle off-road conditions and the cleats are less likely to get clogged with dirt or mud.

Walking: If your rides often include periods of walking or hiking, or if you commute and need to walk around at your destination, MTB pedals and shoes are usually more comfortable.

The cleats are smaller and recessed into the shoe, unlike road cleats which protrude from the shoe and can make walking difficult and awkward.

Comfort and Durability: Some riders find MTB pedals and shoes to be more comfortable, particularly those who prefer a bit of float (sideways movement of the foot when it’s clipped in). MTB pedals also tend to be more robust and can stand up to rougher treatment.

First-time Clipless Users: For cyclists new to clipless pedal systems, MTB pedals can be less intimidating because they’re easier to clip in and out of.

5 Mistakes Riders Make When Installing Mountain Bike Pedals on to a Road Bike

Installing pedals is a relatively simple task, but there are still several common mistakes that should be avoided:

1. Incorrect Threading:

Perhaps the most important thing to remember is that the left pedal has a reverse thread.

This means it’s tightened by turning it counterclockwise, which is the opposite of the usual direction. Trying to force the left pedal in the wrong direction can cross-thread or damage the crank arm.

2. Not Using Grease:

Always use grease or anti-seize compound on the pedal threads before installation. This helps prevent the pedals from seizing onto the cranks and makes it easier to remove them in the future.

3. Over-tightening or Under-tightening:

While pedals need to be installed securely, it’s possible to over-tighten them, which can damage the threads. Conversely, under-tightened pedals can come loose during a ride, which can be dangerous.

A good rule of thumb is to tighten pedals until they are snug, then give the wrench or Allen key another quarter turn.

4. Mismatched Pedals and Shoes:

Make sure your shoes are compatible with the type of pedals you’re installing. If you’re switching from road to mountain bike pedals, you’ll likely need to switch to mountain biking shoes as well.

Using the wrong shoes with your pedals can lead to problems clipping in and out and can potentially be unsafe.

5. Not Checking Pedals after Installation:

Always check your pedals after installation. Try clipping in and out a few times to make sure everything is working properly. If something doesn’t feel right, it’s better to identify any issues while you’re still at home rather than during a ride.

Avoiding these common mistakes can help ensure a smooth pedal installation process and a safe, comfortable ride.

What is the Difference Between Mountain Bike Pedals and Road Bike Pedals

Mountain bike (MTB) pedals and road bike pedals have several key differences that reflect the different needs of MTB and road cycling. Here are some of the main differences:

1. Design and Mechanism:

  • Road bike pedals are typically single-sided, meaning you can only clip in on one side. They have a larger platform and use a three-bolt cleat system that offers a broad and stable connection between the shoe and the pedal, providing excellent power transfer.
  • MTB pedals, on the other hand, are usually dual-sided, which makes it easier to clip in and out quickly, especially on uneven terrain. They use a smaller, two-bolt cleat that’s recessed into the shoe.

2. Cleats and Shoes Compatibility:

  • Road bike shoes and cleats are typically larger, protrude from the sole of the shoe, and are less comfortable for walking. The design focus is on performance and efficient power transfer during pedaling.
  • MTB shoes and cleats are designed for versatility and durability, allowing the rider to walk or even hike when necessary. The cleats are smaller and recessed into the shoe, making them more comfortable for walking.

3. Weight and Durability:

  • Road bike pedals are generally lighter and sleeker. They are designed for smooth, paved surfaces, and as such, they might not withstand harsh conditions as well as MTB pedals.
  • MTB pedals are typically heavier and built to withstand rougher conditions and more abuse. They’re designed to cope with mud and dirt, and are generally more robust.

4. Float:

  • Both types of pedals offer some degree of “float,” which is the amount of rotational movement allowed when your shoe is clipped in.
  • This can be important for comfort and to prevent knee strain. In general, road pedals often have less float than MTB pedals, but this can vary depending on the specific pedal and cleat system.
  • These differences mean that the best pedal for you depends on the type of riding you do. If you’re racing or doing long distance rides on paved surfaces, road pedals might be the best choice.
  • If you’re riding off-road, need to walk regularly, or prefer the convenience of dual-sided entry, MTB pedals could be a better option. Some riders even prefer to use MTB pedals on their road bikes because they find them more comfortable and convenient.

7 Key Takeaways

1. Compatibility:

Mountain bike (MTB) pedals can physically be used on road bikes due to a standard pedal thread size of 9/16″.

2. Installation:

Removing and installing pedals requires certain tools such as a pedal wrench or Allen key, and it’s recommended to use a grease or anti-seize compound on the pedal threads. Always remember that the left pedal has a reverse thread.

3. Shoes and Cleats:

Switching to MTB pedals often also means switching to MTB shoes, which have a two-hole cleat system. Adapters can be used to fit MTB cleats onto road cycling shoes, but this may not provide the same level of comfort or performance.

4. Advantages of MTB Pedals on a Road Bike:

MTB pedals can be easier to clip in and out of, particularly in frequent stop-and-start situations.

They are also more suited to off-road conditions and more comfortable for walking in. MTB pedals may also be a good choice for first-time clipless users.

5. Disadvantages of MTB Pedals on a Road Bike:

MTB pedals have a smaller contact area with the shoe which can result in less efficient power transfer. They are also generally heavier than road bike pedals.

6. Mistakes to Avoid:

Key mistakes to avoid when installing pedals include incorrect threading, not using grease, over-tightening or under-tightening, and using mismatched pedals and shoes. Always check your pedals after installation.

7. MTB Pedals vs Road Bike Pedals:

Road bike pedals are typically single-sided, have a larger platform, and use a three-bolt cleat system.

MTB pedals are usually dual-sided, have a smaller platform, and use a two-bolt cleat system. The choice between the two depends on your specific needs and riding conditions.