Why Don’t Mountain Bikes Come with Pedals? 3 Reasons

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As mountain bikers, we’re particularly meticulous when it comes to the pedals of our bikes. We’re willing to invest dozens of dollars to get the best set.

Ironically, for this specific reason, many manufacturers choose not to include pedals with their mountain bikes!

At first, the producers’ decision may seem strange or counterintuitive, but there are several logical explanations for it.

That’s why I’ve written this post to answer the question: why don’t mountain bikes come with pedals?

In a Nutshell: Why Don’t Mountain Bikes Come with Pedals?

Mid and high-end mountain bikes don’t come with pedals because most advanced bikers prefer to choose their own pedals by themselves.

Considering that, manufacturers tend to cut the pedal costs by removing them.

That way, they can invest these costs into developing other important bike parts, like the drivetrain.

The 3 Reasons Why Don’t Mountain Bikes Come with Pedals? Detailed Explanation

Here are the detailed reasons for not including pedals with new mountain bikes:

1.   To Meet Bikers’ Preferences

As mountain bikers, we consider our pedals a personal choice. This means that each biker has their own unique preferences regarding the specifications and quality.

Manufacturers noticed this shift toward personalizing pedals in the past few years. So, they knew that most riders would be dissatisfied with standard built-in pedals.

For that reason, they stopped including pedals with the new bikes and left the whole choice to us.

2.   To Allocate the Cost More Effectively

Given that including standard pedals isn’t a desired feature anymore, manufacturers seize this opportunity to allocate their budget more effectively.

By not including pedals with the bikes, producers can save on the cost of these parts.

Meanwhile, they can also reduce the number of workers required for the assembly process, which reduces overall wages.

This allows them to invest the pedals’ budget in other sought-after features like drivetrain, suspension, or frame material.

That said, the pedal-free bike rule doesn’t apply to most low-end bikes. Take a look at budget-friendly bike sections on Amazon, Target, or Walmart, and you’ll obviously notice that.

The reason for this is intuitive: customers who buy cheaper bikes tend to have no interest in upgrading them.

In most cases, they’re beginners and don’t know the difference adjusting the pedals can make.

3.   To Facilitate the Upgrade

As long as upgrading the standard pedals is inevitable, I can see that purchasing a bike without these parts is an added benefit.

It saves my time and effort when setting up the new bike. I don’t need to take off the original pedals first and then put on my own ones.

Instead, I can add my preferred pedals without the extra step of removing the original ones. This makes the setup process more efficient and streamlined.

How Do Mountain Bike Pedals Affect the Riding Experience?

As a beginner cyclist, you might wonder why two pieces of metal, like pedals, hold such crucial significance among bikers. Here’s why:

Affect Our Performance

Pedals do make all the difference for us in terms of control, power, and confidence while riding a mountain bike.

For example, I’d pick flat pedals if I would perform challenging movements like hitting or jumping flat. This is because this type provides more control.

On the other hand, I’d choose the clipless type to go for a long distance, as they maximize pedaling efficiency.

Reflect Our Style

We consider our pedals as a reflection of our riding style and preference. That way, we even pay close attention to the appearance and colors of this part of the bike.

Ultimately, I’d advise you to test and try out different types of pedals yourself to see how they work in real rides.

Remember that watching and reading reviews about different types and models of pedals is one thing and trying them is another.

How to Pick the Best Pedals for Your New Mountain Bike?

There are a few essentials you need to know to make an informed decision when picking your set of pedals.

The most important of them is the differences between the main types of pedals: flat and clipless.

Here’s how each works:

1.   Flat Pedals

Flat pedals are simpler in design and usually cost less than clipless ones. Better still, riding your bike with these pedals is straightforward. You can get your foot on and off them quickly.

They have tiny pins that grip the soles of your shoes, preventing them from slipping off. These pins can be easily replaced when they wear out.

That said, for these pins to do their work successfully, you should wear a pair of mountain bike shoes, as regular shoes won’t stick to the nails.

Further, the two downsides I consider crucial about these pedals are the following:

  1. They require considerably more pedaling effort, especially when riding for long distances.
  2. These pedals may increase the risk of your feet falling off the bike, which could lead to injuries.

2.   Clipless Pedals

Clipless pedals boost your performance and reduce muscle fatigue compared to flat ones.

That’s because when using these pedals, your feet are firmly attached to them. This allows you to engage all the muscles of your legs during the entire pedal rotation.

Thus, the effort is distributed over the whole leg and not particular parts.

Another benefit is that clipless pedals provide more convenience as your feet are secured and don’t move around. You’ll notice the difference in comfort, in particular, on longer rides.

Furthermore, clipless pedals are safer on technical trails. They secure your feet so you won’t slip off the pedal. Plus, there’s no risk of getting your foot stuck in a toe clip.

Despite all these advantages, I don’t recommend these pedals for novices, as using it can be challenging for them at first.

They’ll take time to learn how to release their feet quickly to put them on the ground, which is a vital movement for mounting bikers.

However, twisting your ankle to release your foot becomes second nature with practice. Once you’ve mastered it, you’ll have excellent control over your bike.

Can I Install Pedals Myself, or Do I Need a Professional?

You can install pedals on your mountain bike yourself with the proper tools and direction. It’s such a breeze, so most riders do it themselves.

Actually, we enjoy the process of upgrading the bike, including the pedals. You’ll probably love it as well. However, if you’re unsure about your bike maintenance skills, you may seek assistance from a professional, at least the first time.

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Paul Tuthill
Growing up in Scotland, Paul developed a love for the outdoors and a desire for adventure from an early age.