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The top 7 best one sided clipless pedals

I have been both a fan and user of one sided clipless pedals for years. And I thought it would be a good idea to commit my thoughts on the subject to paper and provide you with a list of the best the market has to offer.

There are a couple things to consider before committing to buy one sided clipless pedals. Though they might seem to offer the perfect combination of functionality from flat pedals and clipless pedals, you might be better off buying a pair of the latter two instead.

The first thing to consider is that you will need at least two pairs of shoes to fully be able to use the pedals. Obviously you cannot use the retention mechanism of the clipless side with shoes that don’t have cleats. Yet less well-known is the fact that using cleated shoes on flat pedals is far from adequate as well, especially if they’re road bike or XC shoes since they are incredibly stiff. And road bike cleats protrude from the sole.

One sided clipless pedals are a perfect option if you’re going to switch shoes in between rides. And this has to do with the function of your bike. So a bike used for both commuting and fitness would be an excellent candidate to benefit from having these types of pedals. The same goes for touring or bikepacking bikes, where you might also use your bike for a quick ride downtown after you’ve reached your camping space or B&B.

If we take a look at what’s actually out there in terms of product, you’ll find the pedals move from urban/commuting environments all the way to harsh trail conditions as far as functionality is concerned. So again, it’s totally dependent on your specific ride requirements (and budget) which pedal is most to your liking.

Let’s take a look at what made it on my list of the best one sided clipless pedals.

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

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

Specifications one sided clipless pedals

Name
Price
Weight
Length
Width
Height
Body
Spindle
Bearings and bushings
Pins
float
release
Xpedo Ambix
105 USD
390
102 mm
84 mm
19 mm
aluminium
Cr-Mo
3 sealed bearings
8, single-sided
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°

Sources

98, Xpedo Ambix Review, Outdoorgearlab, 43626
Contributor, Shimano Click’R pedals PD-T400, Road.cc, 42292
98, Crankbrothers Double Shot 3 Review, Outdoorgearlab, 43626
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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