OK so, the top 5 or top 10 idea is thrown around a lot in online reviews without much to support the opinions of the reviewer. The result is that many of the products are simply the first ones that the reviewer will come across in a quick Internet search. Well, I'm going to avoid that approach in my top 5s. I'm not familiar with all the platform pedals out there, so I'm sure you might have a slightly different view, but this review and list is based on my personal experiences, professional experiences and the input of other riders I consulted.
This hub does not argue the use of platform pedals vs. clip-in style pedals. Riders choose to run platform pedals for a variety of reasons, and honestly the decision is often based on the riding style. A lot of riders choose platforms for downhill, free ride or all mountain riding where purely XC riding drifts towards clip-in style.
That being said, the characteristics that define a good platform pedal and the ones used to write this top 5 are the following:
- First the pedal must be grippy. This means the foot cannot slide off easily even in tough technical sections.
- The pedal must not flex on the axle and should be long and wide enough to provide a stable platform without pressure points.
- The pedal must spin smoothly and easily on the bearings. Cartridge or sealed replaceable bearings are always preferred.
- Other characteristics that define any type of good pedal such as duribility, bearing life and aesthetics are also considered.
All of the pedals on this list are under $50 (USD). Have some extra cash? Check out my article on the best platform pedals under 100$.
1. Wellgo B103
MSRP 45 to 50$
With a Large platform with minimally tapered edges, sealed bearings, a weight of 374 grams, and 12 pins per face make the B103 my top pedal. With crazy grip and a stable feel, its hard to pass this one up for under 50 bucks. They are available in black, although I have seen a few with red faceplates floating around and I am not sure if that was a special edition. The CNC'd aluminum makes these slick looking and durable and the pin placement offers very good grip even though there isn't much room to adjust the setup. They spin incredibly well and the slim profile keeps you off the rocks and roots in the trail. The light weight and sweet looks are the deciding factor for these to steal the top spot.
2. Sun Ringle ZuZu Pedals
The Zuzus are not the lightest pedal weighing a beefy 560 grams. However, the replaceable sealed catridge bearings, and the fact that you can't kill these pedals makes them a great buy. The 14 pins give you a great grip and some variety of placement options, something not seen in most pedals under 50$. Usually, you just have 10 or so pins to replace every once in a while, but the Zuzus give you some options for pin placement.
The Zuzus are a bit thick, but they are able to take quite a beating and they feel great on long rides and in tight spots because of their platform design. The spin very smoothly and worn bearings are easy to replace. If you don't have a concern over giving up 200 grams, these are a fantastic pedal.
3. Forte Convert Pedals
MSRP 40 to 50$
At the top of the price range these pedals are slim, sexy, and moderately lightweight at 470 grams. The 10 pins are set in a great pattern giving you outstanding grip, and the large face provides a nice stable platform. These pedals have sealed bearings, and spin really smoothly. The slim design helps you stay off rocks and roots, and the aluminum is thicker and more durable than you would expect. The only drawback is that these pedals have Allen type pins, which tend to get lost, break or mash more easily than solid pins and is the only thing keeping them from one of the top two spots.
4. Wellgo WAM-B67
These are a nice concave super grippy platform with sealed bearings and a unique pin setup. The concave design offers great power transfer and comfort on longer rides. They spin decently smooth, but are a pretty thick pedal and come in a bit heavy at 540g.
The pedals hold up well but are slightly less durable than the ZuZus. I also prefer the pins of a pedal to be the screw-in from the bottom style rather than the top insalled Allen pins, which seem to break off or get mashed in more easily.
5 Xpedo MX-6
MSPR 40 to 50$
For a reasonable price, you get a great pedal. The MX 6 is a sticky 10 pin pedal with a durable build but light weight (385) . The sealed bearing is nice as well and the pedals spin very well. They aren't as flashy as other pedals, and don't have a unique pin setup or design but are a simple grippy workhorse for your bike.
The platform design feels bit narrow at the front and small overall for jumps and downhill sections, but the durability of the pedal, and sealed bearing make this a definte upgrade over many other stock pedals or cheap fabrications in this price range.