The best pedals for riding fixed gear

I often get asked; what pedals are the best for riding fixed gear on the street? If you ride without brakes then this is especially important. Anyone that has ridden fixed gear bikes for a while will understand how important this is. The last thing you want is to be bombing a hill or riding in traffic and when you try to lock up your foot disengages.

Rather than list a bunch of pedals that I think don’t work I am simply going to list the ones I recommend. I have narrowed it down to three types; I will list the pros and cons and let you decide what is best suited to your riding style. soma_pedal_hellyer_black

Firstly; I begin with the classic flat pedal and cages. There are a lot of flat pedals to choose from; I recommend a classic track pedal such as the Soma Hellyer and set of metal cages such as the NJS ones. Most importantly are a set of double straps such as the ones from Toshi. I would say the double strap is the most important aspect of this combo; you really want a double leather with nylon middle construction. The strain from riding fixed gear puts then under tremendous pressure and the cheaper single leather ones can stretch quickly.

Flat pedals, cages and straps are really good if you like to wear trainers, the down side is; trainers are soft and you do loose a lot of power. If you’re commuting or heading out to the pub then this combo could be the one for you.

Time-Atac-pedalSecondly are MTB pedals; whilst there are a load on the market my top choice are the Time Atacs, I would definitely recommend the ones with tension adjustment. If you want even more tension a little tip is to put the left cleat on the right foot and the right on the left. Do this and there will be no chance of your foot accidentally disengaging.

These are great pedals and the top choice among messengers all over the world! The fact that they are MTB pedals means you can obviously use MTB shoes that are a lot easier to walk in than your standard road shoe. The cleats are brass so do wear down quicker than other companies steel ones though the float and security of the Time is unrivalled.PELOKECL2012_P1

Finally it is the road pedal; I have to say these are no good if you plan do do a lot of walking.  If it is maximum power transference you’re after then they are the way to go! The Look Keo Classics are a popular choice; if you tighten up the tension adjusters then your foot stays firmly in place. The plastic cleats come with various degrees of float so you can decide what is most comfortable for you. Do remember the cleat is plastic; so keep walking to a minimum! If you watch track racing you’ll notice that the riders have extra straps to secure their feet, I wouldn’t worry about these unless you have a ridiculous amount of power; it also means you cannot disengage easily. Overall they are great for longer rides when you won’t be off your bike much.

So to summarise:

Cages: recreational riding

Time Atac: Commuting all round, messengers choice (my recommendation)

Look Keo Classics: Maximum power transference and racing


About Dave Noakes


  1. Thanks for this, Dave. I realize the review is a few years old, hopefully you’re still reading! Just wondering which of the ATACs you would recommend for city riding? Thanks

  2. Hiya I would go for the Time Atac XC2 or XC4 or the XC8 if you have the budget.

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