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The top 11 best clipless pedals for commuter bikes

In this article I’m going to delve into the best clipless pedals for commuter bikes. Since I run single-sided clipless pedals on my own commuter bike, they are heavily featured in this article as well.

The reason is that I often use my commuter bike for smaller rides, where I want to quickly be able to hop and off the bike without having to worry about wearing shoes with cleats. And of course hybrid pedals are made for just those occasions.

I also included a number of dual-sided clipless pedals that offer standout functionality, yet are distinct enough to suit different groups of people. Though some of you might shy away from bad weather, this list features pedals that can take a serious beating and can even be used for trail riding. So if you want worry-free pedals that will last for many years, I’ve got you covered.

With that out of the way, let’s head over to my list of the best clipless pedals for commuter bikes.

Shimano Deore XT PD-M8120

Shimano Deore XT PD-M8120
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The Shimano Deore XT PD-M8120 sets a benchmark in terms of value-for-money. Not as expensive as the XTR, but basically offering all the tried-and-true functionality you’ll ever be going to need from a clipless pedal for trail riding.

Shimano pedals are known for their bearing quality and longevity, with low service intervals and excellent riding quality offering many miles without worry. A dual cup-and-cone style setup is specific to the Shimano brand, and as far as longevity is concerned I don’t know any difference.

The XT pedals are slightly heavier than the XTR at 438 vs 398 grams, and also have a slightly larger stack height of 16.2 mm vs 15.4 mm. Those two figures alone aren’t enough in my opinion to make up for the difference in price. Especially considering the fact that the platform and SPD mechanism itself is almost similar.

This means that both pedals offer the extremely user-friendly SPD cleat mechanism. When attached they offer a snug feel with minimal float of 4 degrees, and reasonable release tension at 13 degrees. This is good for those people who want a super consistent pedal feeling and maximum energy transfer.

The mechanism is a dual system with a single spring, which means you engage toe-first and then clip in. Although it takes a bit of practice once you get used to it, both engaging and releasing your foot from the pedals is what makes Shimano pedals so popular, since it’s the best you could ask for.

Shimano pedals are boring. They are a single color, don’t look flashy, and don’t really stand out. But as far as functionality, there are very few pedals that come close or rival the build-quality, longevity, and user-friendliness of the Shimano Deore XT PD-M8120, except maybe the XTR version. And in the end, build quality is the most important factor of any product, including one that gets as much abuse as a clipless pedal for trail riding.

Expert Experience

87 | Simon Kohler – 45001

The Shimano DEORE XT PD-M8120 pedals have established themselves as the standard among clipless pedals for a reason. The spring preload offers a large adjustment range, and the mechanism feels defined, though the float feels somewhat on/off. However, their self-cleaning is poor and the small cages don’t provide much grip or support. Their durability, on the other hand, is among the best and, together with the availability of spare parts, that makes the XTs a superb low-maintenance option.

Pros and Cons

Shimano PD-ME700

Shimano PD-ME700
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The Shimano PD-ME700 is a clipless mountain bike pedal with a pin-less small platform for trail, and enduro riding.

The platform is made from extruded aluminum and functions as both protection for the clipping mechanism and as support for easier engagement and dynamic downhill sections.

Shimano pedals in general are no lightweights and this one is no exception, sitting at 540 grams per pair.

Shimano pedals are really trustworthy pieces of equipment and their focus has never been on making nimble pedals. Although it has just one single sealed cartridge bearing, the lifespan of these pedals are years when properly serviced now and again. Which can be done easily with a Shimano pedal axle tool.

The adjustability of the pedal is decent, but you want to look for the Time MX versions if you want them to be as tight as possible. Otherwise the SPD system is confidence inspiring and offers a consistent and noticeable click when engaging the pedal.

The platform does provide that extra bit of support, but they don’t have any pins for added grip. This means that there isn’t a really distinctive difference with a non-platform SPD pedal.

Yet overall the platform is superbly capable, does what it sets out to do with flying colors, is easy to adjust and easy to service and doesn’t cost an arm and a leg.

Expert Experience

40 | Katherine Moore – 44782

I felt some improvement on using the platform for security on the pedals over rougher singletrack on a mountain bike compared to platform-less SPD pedals, but I would prefer a more marked difference, especially given the weight increase of adding the cage.

Shimano’s ME700 pedals are best for riders who are looking for a little more support than standard SPD pedals, or perhaps are new to clipless systems. However, they could be further improved with even greater platform-to-shoe contact.

Pros and Cons

Shimano Deore XT PD-T8000

Shimano Deore XT PD-T8000 clipless side
Shimano Deore XT PD-T8000 flat pedal side

The Shimano Deore XT PD-T8000 are the Japanese brand’s premium single-sided clipless option. They are one of a number of hybrid pedals from Shimano and are arguably the best they have to offer for a couple of reasons.

For starters, if you’re specifically choosing a single-sided clipless pedal, you can’t go wrong with the SPD mechanism of the XT pedals. There is no XTR hybrid pedal, since XTR’s focus lies in a very small weight reduction and stack height, characteristics which don’t make sense for a hybrid pedal.

What does make sense for touring and bikepacking is bearing life, and Shimano delivers with their signature cup-and-cone style setup. which is similar to the one used for mountain biking.

The PD-T8000 is markedly more expensive than the Shimano PD-EH500. But it does provide a much larger platform measuring 80 mm in length with a width of 90 mm. Especially if you have larger feet the added width will provide more comfort.

The flat side also offers 8 height-adjustable pins. Although in general this is not as much as a true MTB flat pedal, it does provide an ample amount of grip on harsher rides. The pins are front-loading, which can be an issue when damaged or broken, and reside in a machined aluminum body which is open enough for the SPD mechanism to not easily clog with mud.

In line with its touring characteristics, the pedals also feature replaceable reflectors for increased visibility in low-light conditions.

Expert Experience

109 | Emma Silversides – 44378

I’ve been won over by the performance of these pedals. While there are cheaper options, the solid yet easy-to-maintain build, sensible design and excellent versatility should result in some serious mileage – they’re an investment that promises to pay off.

Pros and Cons

Shimano PD-EH500

Shimano PD-EH500 clipless side
Shimano PD-EH500 flat pedal side

The Shimano PD-EH500 is another single-sided pedal from the Japanese brand. Although it’s much cheaper than the Deore XT PD-T8000 it’s also very different from that pedal in a number of ways.

The most important difference is the pedal platform. Although it does offer the same amount of pins, 8 front-loading ones on the flat side, it’s much less wide at 71mm versus the XT’s 90. That isn’t that much of an issue for people with small feet, but if you move upwards of a size 10 (for men) there’s noticeably less platform to support you.

The lack of support is much more apparent on the side where the SPD mechanism resides. Since the pedal body is curved, there is no support at all, giving it the same feel you’d have with a minimal XC pedal body. The only upside of this design is that the pedal, with its dark gray aluminum body, is very pretty to look at compared to the much bulkier XT single-sided pedal.

Another big difference with that pedal is the bearing quality. Instead of a dual cup-and-cone style setup, you have a single cartridge bearing and bushing on the chromoly steel axle. That’s fine for normal use, and you can replace them should you wear them out, but don’t expect the same longevity as its more premium counterpart.

Mud-shedding, should you find yourself needing it, is decent enough, and the mechanism provides the familiar SPD feel even if road conditions take a turn for the worst. Adjustability happens with a single allen key and is easy to do with solid clicks to audibly confirm you of its position change.

This is not a better pedal than Shimano’s XT version, but its price, and the fact you can run the SPD mechanism in a hybrid setup does make it a worthy contender.

Expert Experience

110 | Rupert Englander – 44974

If you are in the market for this kind of solution then weight is not really going to be a huge contributing factory to choice, but I was slightly surprised to learn they came in at 383g (where a standard SPD set of pedals will weight in around 342g) for the pair as they certainly feel a lot lighter.

Pros and Cons

Shimano Click'r PD-T421

Shimano Click'r PD-T421 clipless side
Shimano Click'r PD-T421 flat pedal side

There are a couple of good reasons why you’d want to opt for the Shimano Click’r PD-T421 pedals.

The Click’r mechanism is a variant of the well-known SPD system. The difference resides in the fact that both engaging and disengaging the pedal is much, much easier. It means the target audience for these pedals is not people familiar with SPD, but rather newcomers to clipless pedals.

Or people who want maximum ease-of-use disengaging because they’re going to use the mechanism for commuting and touring in urban environments with lots of starts and stops.

The increased amount of float and the fact you get multi-directional SM-SH56 cleats shipped with the pedals furthermore distinguishes these pedals from ones with the standard SPD mechanism. The multi-directional cleat provides more freedom of movement for disengaging the pedal. Either the horizontal outwards option or a diagonally upwards one. You can buy these cleats separately with SPD pedals that come with standard cleats.

The flat pedal side has a non-slip surface rather than a pinned construction. Together with the reflectors makes for a more commuting look than either the Shimano PD-EH500 or even the XT PD-T8000.

Expert Experience

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Pros and Cons

Crankbrothers Double Shot 3

Crankbrothers Double Shot 3 flat pedal side
Crankbrothers Double Shot 3 clipless side
Crankbrothers Double Shot 3 black
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The Crankbrothers Double Shot 3 is the most expensive version of their only single-sided clipless pedal.

The pedals feature the non-adjustable clipping mechanism from the Eggbeater pedals with a generous platform for flat pedal riding. There’s always a trade-off with hybrid pedals, and it’s the same with the Double Shot pedal lineup.

Crankbrothers have chosen to provide support on the clipless side of the pedal for mountain bike purposes, which makes engaging the mechanism a little bit more difficult than with their minimalistic Eggbeater pedals. You can find the platform easily enough, but every so often it takes a next try to engage the mechanism. Nothing to write home about though.

The Double Shot pedals are lamented for having much less mud clearance than non-hybrid variants. This is because of a winged structure inside the platform where larger objects and/or mud can lodge and hamper engagement with the mechanism. It’s true enough and happens during muddy trail riding. However, I would never recommend single-sided clipless pedals for trail riding, because it’s a downgrade from either riding full clipless or flat pedal.

So it kind of doesn’t make sense to me to be using these for trail riding. But I can imagine that you might want to look for the Shimano Deore XT PD-T8000 for bikepacking and touring in really rough conditions, if you really want a hybrid pedal.

There’s no denying the Double Shot 3 is a great looking pedal. It’s slim, it’s made of premium materials, and will look great on any rig. The flat pedal side holds 8 front-loading adjustable pins. That’s not as much as a true flat pedal, which often has 10 or more, and offers an asymmetric setup for rear-loading pins. Pins that are easier to remove should they get damaged.

The body itself is made from aluminum and cast stainless steel, with a stainless steel spring, and a forged chromoly steel axle running on a sealed enduro bearing. It’s a quality setup which is to be expected from a pedal in this price range.

Expert Experience

98 | Joshua Hutchens – 43626

The platform is a large enough target for your shoe but small enough that either the front or rear grub pins get lost in your cleat recess. This results in only a couple of the pins making contact with the shoe at any given time.

The Double Shot 3 pedals gave us mixed results in the exit tests, most of the time they were quite easy to disengage but when mud, sand, grit or debris was present on the pedal we had less consistency.

As with the Double Shot 2 the platform insert is a choking point. By messing with their proven egg-beater design to make it one-sided they have reduced its effectiveness at shedding mud.

Pros and Cons

Crankbrothers Double Shot 2

Crankbrothers Double Shot 2 clipless side
Crankbrothers Double Shot 2 flat pedal side
Crankbrothers Double Shot 2 black silver
Crankbrothers Double Shot 2 black orange
Crankbrothers Double Shot 2 black red
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The Crankbrothers Double Shot 2 hybrid pedals offer the exact same functionality, both pros and cons, as the Double Shot 3.

The only difference is the material used for the pedal body, which is a combination of aluminum and stamped steel instead of stainless steel. And rather than adjustable pins, they are molded from the pedal body itself.

Expert Experience

105 | Tim Wiggins – 44641

Crankbrothers pedals use their own unique cleat, made from a brass alloy. Some riders complain that these are soft and get easily damaged; but from my experience if they are recessed well within the lugs of your mountain biking shoes then they last a decent time.

The hybrid design of the Crankbrothers Double Shot 2 is the perfect solution for those looking for a set of pedals that they can use with normal shoes and with clip-in shoes. They offer versatility and robustness, and they are even available in a range of cool and bold colours (as well as black).

Pros and Cons

Crankbrothers Double Shot 1

Crankbrothers Double Shot 3 clipless side
Crankbrothers Double Shot 3 flat pedal side
Crankbrothers Double Shot 3 blue
Crankbrothers Double Shot 3 red
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Last but not least the Crankbrothers Double Shot 1 offers the most affordable single-sided clipless pedal from this brand.

To further reduce costs, the pedal has a composite resin body. Considering the fact that it runs the same axle, almost the same bearings, same spring system, and allround same functionality as the Double Shot 3, it’s by far the best option from a financial standpoint.

Pros and Cons

Xpedo Ambix

Xpedo Ambix clipless side
Xpedo Ambix flat pedal side

The Xpedo Ambix is a high-quality single-sided pedal with a large platform.

The platform measures 102 mm in length times 84 mm width, and is reminiscent of large flat pedals. The small Posi-Fit retention system sits on the other side. The entire design is an extremely open structure, so its mud-shedding ability is at a maximum, making this pedal even usable for muddy trail conditions.

Its retention mechanism is similar to Shimano’s SPD, and you can actually use your Shimano cleats with these pedals offering great compatibility. That’s a big plus if you’re used to SPD and already have shoes. Xpedo does offer its own cleats that come with the pedals, and they don’t resemble SPD cleats, so it is recommended you use the ones from Xpedo.

Moving in the pedals and disengaging is not noticeably harder or easier than what you would expect from the SPD system, and the pedals offer the same 6 degrees of float.

The pedals have a slightly larger-than-average Q-factor of 56 mm and are running on 3 sealed cartridge bearings on a chromoly spindle.

There’s a lot to love about these pedals. They are perfect for riders with bigger feet, or for those of you who simply enjoy a larger platform offering more support. They’re probably the best hybrid pedals for trail riding, or any type of riding in rough conditions. They look great, and offer perfect SPD compatibility and functionality.

Oh yeah, they also come in a slightly more expensive oil-slick version.

Expert Experience

98 | Joshua Hutchens – 43626

The Xpedo Ambix offers dual-purpose functionality in a value-oriented package. A flat pedal on one side and a clipless pedal on the other, this model has you covered if you want to switch it up. We found the flat side of the pedal to be functional, well-designed, and effective with its widely spaced grub pins.

The clipless side engaged well, shed mud, and performed predictably. The pedal is lightweight, does what it sets out to do and offers great value. It bests its closest competitor in every metric of our test, and while it has a wee bit of room for improvement, it should satisfy even aggressive riders looking for a dual duty platform.

Pros and Cons

Time MX 2

Time MX 2
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The Time MX 2 offers a similar approach as the Shimano PD-M647, which means it’s their XC pedal with a composite pedal for a bit more support.

Unlike the Shimano pedals these ones are less than 394 grams per pair, which is over 160 grams lighter, and pretty light in general for a platform pedal.

Time offers their ATAC system for easy entry and a lot of float for those of us who’ve been around the block and want to save their knees.

The dual spring-loaded mechanism holds the foot nicely, but Time pedals are more often mentioned as having a less consistent disengagement than either Shimano or Crankbrothers pedals.

I do have to mention that these pedals offer a better engagement when actually used with enduro shoes. A carbon shoe just doesn’t make sense with such a pedal. The minimal platform provides that extra bit of support when cornering hard.

Time uses the same sealed cartridge bearing on their entire MTB lineup, so whether you’re buying this pedal or their most expensive titanium carbon versions, you get the same smooth action.

When looking at the release angles set at either 13 or 17 degrees, it’s nice that you get the top one as well, but I’d stick to 13 degrees. Clicking into your pedals is straightforward and easy.

Pros and Cons

Time DH 4

Time DH 4
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The Time DH 4 has got DH in its name. They don’t say it but I can only suspect it stands for downhill, which is an interesting choice at least.

They are similar to the Time MX 6, with the only difference that the DH 4 has an aluminum body instead of a glass-filled composite. Since The MX 2 made it on my list of the best clipless trail pedals, I have no reason to state that these are just as good for general trail riding.

So these are more than excellent pedals, with quick, easy engagement and disengagement, lots of float for a playful feel with the ATAC mechanism and a generous release angle between 13 and 17 degrees. The aluminum version is probably a bit more durable than the composite one as well.

The aluminum body does add a bit of weight, with the pedal sitting at 476 grams versus 380. But we shouldn’t be too squeamish about adding 100 grams for a bike meant for enduro or even downhill riding.

These pedals don’t have a really big platform and its pinless, which means that grip while disengaged is less than for instance the huge 7-pinned Chromag Pilot BA; a pedal which excels in this area.

Is this a true downhill pedal? Maybe. Is this an overall excellent pedal for a reasonable enough price? For sure.

Expert Experience

115 | Wil Barrett – 43207

The DH4 may not be the thinnest, grippiest or most colourful pedal on test, but there’s no doubting they’re well priced and absolutely bombproof. The unique ATAC mechanism isn’t for everyone, and personally I’d like to see a bigger body and some pins implemented to improve stability. If you’re after smooth engagement and consistent performance in a pedal that’s likely to outlast multiple bike upgrades though, the DH4s are brilliant.

Pros and Cons

Specifications clipless pedals for commuter bikes

Name
Price
Weight
Length
Width
Height
Body
Spindle
Bearings and bushings
Pins
float
release
Shimano Deore XT PD-M8120
130 USD
438
16.2 mm
aluminium
Cr-Mo
2 cup and cone bearings, 1 bushing
none
Shimano PD-ME700
65 USD
540
16.7 mm
aluminium
Cr-Mo
1 sealed cartridge bearing, 1 bushing
none
13°
Shimano Deore XT PD-T8000
130 USD
392
80 mm
90 mm
17 mm
aluminium
Cr-Mo
2 cup and cone bearings, 1 bushing
8, single-sided
Shimano PD-EH500
79 USD
383
90 mm
71 mm
17.4 mm
aluminium
Cr-Mo
1 sealed cartridge bearing, 1 bushing
8, single-sided
Shimano Click’r PD-T421
79 USD
418
19 mm
aluminium
Cr-Mo
1 sealed cartridge bearing, 1 bushing
none
Crankbrothers Double Shot 3
149.99 USD
403
94 mm
76 mm
aluminium / stainless steel
Cr-Mo
Igus LL-glide bearing
Enduro MAX cartridge bearing
16
0°or 6°
10° / 15° / 20°
Crankbrothers Double Shot 2
99.99 USD
395
94 mm
76 mm
aluminium / stamped steel
Cr-Mo
Igus LL-glide bearing
Enduro cartrdige bearing
none
0°or 6°
10° / 15° / 20°
Crankbrothers Double Shot 1
59.99 USD
331
94 mm
76 mm
composite / stamped steel
Cr-Mo
Igus LL-glide bearing
Enduro cartrdige bearing
none
0°or 6°
10° / 15° / 20°
Xpedo Ambix
105 USD
390
102 mm
84 mm
19 mm
aluminium
Cr-Mo
3 sealed bearings
8, single-sided
Time MX 2
63 USD
394
19 mm
fiberglass / composite
Cr-Mo
2 cartridge bearings, 1 bushing
none
10° / 13° / 17°
Time DH 4
106 USD
476
19 mm
aluminium
Cr-Mo
2 cartridge bearings, 1 bushing
none
10° / 13° / 17°
bio vanseijen

Johan van Seijen

Founder Restoration.bike

Johan van Seijen is the founder of restoration.bike. His cycling career has seen him at the starting line of classics such as the Amstel Gold Race and Liege Bastogne Liege. Realizing his racing capacity would fall short of what was needed he obtained a MS from the University of Amsterdam in engineering. His love for cycling changed into riding in an amateur capacity with his local cycling club TFC Weesp as a roadie and supporting MTB Noordwest as a mountain biker. He repairs, restores, and builds bicycles and shares his knowledge on YouTube, Facebook and this website. 

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