Downhill Mountain Bike Pedals
Remember singing the old nursery song "The wheels on the bus go round and round..."? The wheels on a downhill mountain bike do the same thing - go round and round - but they must be propelled to do so. Pedals are the components on a downhill mountain bike that allow the biker to propel their bike forwards. By exerting constant, steady downward force on downhill mountain bike pedals, the wheels on a downhill mountain bike go round and round, round and round.
It seems simple, but pedals are anything but, especially when considering the different types and styles of pedals available to downhill mountain bikers today. A seemingly simple, yet necessary element, downhill mountain bike pedals can cost upwards of $300 if a top brand, like Shimano, Campagnolo, or Crank Bros. is purchased.
Pedals can be made of steel, of aluminium, or carbon fiber composite materials, or of titanium. All pedals attach to the cranks, which attach to the chain ring, which attaches to the cogs, the gears, and the derailleur - a step pyramid of kinetic efficiency that when propelled correctly and constantly, propels a mountain bike uphill, downhill, or across a flat plain.
Pedals come in two major styles - clip pedals and clipless pedals. Clip pedals are pedals that you are probably most familiar with - a platform on which you place yuor foot and push. Sometimes, there might be straps on these clip pedals that grasp your feet more firmly to the pedal, but usually, clip, or platform, pedals come unadorned with any accoutrement. They are best for cross country mountain biking, or mountain biking that is not very impactful or bumpy.
The other type of pedal, one most popular with road and downhill mountani bikers alike, are clipless pedals. Clipless pedals work in tandem with a cleat - similar to a ski binding - on the bottom of a special mountain biking shoe. Shoes are clipped into the pedal, literally attaching the foot to the pedal for secure, highly efficient pedaling. To remove the foot from the pedal is simple - simply swing your heel away from the bike, and the shoe detaches from the pedal binding with a solid "click." Clipless pedals offer a more secure ride - no matter how rocky the terrain, how big the jump, or how many obstacles you urge your downhill mountain bike over, there is no chance that your feet will become detached from the pedals. The one downside to them is that you have to work to take your feet out of the clips, a process that takes more time than simply moving your foot off of a platform pedal and onto the ground for stability.
Downhill mountain bike pedals can be found anywhere, from online mountain biking stores to your local bike shop downtown. Do some research before you purchase a set of pedals - expensive materials may look good, but steel, or chromoly, and aluminium are just as durable, and more cost effective than higher priced titanium and carbon brands.