types of pedals for spin bikes and indoor cyclesThere’s not too wide a range of choices.

When it comes to the types of pedals you can get with a spin bike.

There is 4 choices plus one that’s not a pedal.

So let’s get into them quickly.

No Pedals

This doesn’t happen very often.

One well known brand of indoor cycles designed specifically for indoor training supplies their bikes without pedals.
This is the CycleOps Phantom range of bikes. The expectation is that you will want to use your own pedals anyway as you do when you buy a high end road bike.

So, not something you are likely to come across with more affordable bikes. (See CycleOps Phantom 5)

Standard Pedals

These pedals are similar to the ones you get on a road bike. You just put your foot on the pedal and off you go.

They are simple to use but you don’t have anything to hold you foot in position or to stop it sliding off. The bike themselves are unlikely to be as durable as those with the other pedals.

These are found on low-end bikes only so combined with that they are an affordable solution. But you don’t see them too much at all. The preference is more for:

Toe Cages

These have a plastic/fabric cage or basket that stand up from the pedal that you slide your foot into. You slide you foot into cage and then tighten the strap to provide a good fit. They keep your foot in position on the pedal for an effective pedal stroke.

They are best used with athletic shoes. There shouldn’t be any issues with your foot slipping or moving while you’re pedaling hard in or out of the saddle.

You don’t get the most firm grip as you can get with clipless pedals where you clip-in.

You can push and pull all the way round the pedal stroke. These are found on low-end bikes through to mid price bikes. (Best selling bike with these is Sunny Health & Fitness Pro Indoor Cycling Bike)

Dual Pedals

These have 2 types of pedals – one on each side. You flip them over to use which side you want. They normally have toe cages and straps on one side and SPD fittings on the other side for use with cyclist shoes.

These are great if you don’t have specialist pedals but are thinking you are going to get those as you get more experienced. It saves you having to buy and fit a new set of pedals when you do move up.

There also great if there is more than one of you in the family wanting to use the bike for cardio exercise. One person may have the specialist shoes needed for the SPD and the other person hasn’t. Both can use the bike – it’s just a simple matter of flipping the pedal over and getting started.

You do have to be careful to check the listing when a bike says it had dual pedals as in a few cases (for the more affordable bikes) that they’re not referring to pedals that have a standard bike pedal on one site and toe cages on the other.

These pedals are normally on mid-price to high-price bikes – from under $500 – Sunny Health & Fitness Commercial Indoor Cycle SF-B1516 – to over $1500 and more – Schwinn AC Performance Plus With Carbon Blue Drive Belt). All things being equal the bike with dual pedals will cost more than those with just toe cages.

Specialist Pedals

These tend to SPD fittings and are referred to as clipless even through you clip into them. There are a number of advantages over using toe cages.
First off there are the shoes which have a stiffer sole so that the force of your pushing is not dissipated so you get a stronger stroke reducing soreness and fatigue.

Then once clipped in there is no slipping and you foot is always correctly positioned on the pedal without it coming off as you pull your foot up on the upward stroke. It altogether more efficient and effective for generating power.
It allows you to concentrate on getting the most out of each stroke.

It does mean when these are fitted to a bike that only those with specialist shoes can use the bike.

There are very few bikes that come with just specialist pedals with those sold for the home preferring dual so they can be used by more than one person. However, you can fit your own (supplied separately) if you prefer to use them to the dual.

Summary

Depending on what you after in terms of price and how serious you want to take your cardio workouts and training will determine the type of pedal you want for your bike.

And you can cater for beginners and serious with just the one pedal too – the dual pedal.

Then if you change your mind, apart from the low end bike you can change them too.

Most indoor cycles and spin bikes tend to have 3 piece cranks and have 9/16 thread which makes them changeable with most standard bike pedals.

Filed under: Buying Advice

Like this post? Subscribe to my RSS feed and get loads more!