To me, BMX pedals haven’t been a big importance when building or updating a BMX bike but after further research and riding, I have realised what I’ve been missing by not looking into what the best pedals would be for my riding style.
Unlike mountain bike companies that often manufacture their pedals out of metal, great for shredding up your shins, BMX companies mould in various types of plastic. These plastic pedals are still very painful when added to your shins at speed but it’s not the only reason plastic is used. They also perform much better when sliding along grind rails.
How to Install and Change BMX PedalsBike pedal installation and removal isn’t a complicated task, though it can confuse people who haven’t done it before. All you need to do to remove your first bike pedal is spin the cylindrical piece of metal between the pedal and the crank like a bolt. The end of the axle is threaded and simply screws into the crank itself.
Unscrew and remove your pedal by using a spanner, commonly 15mm, on the pedal axle. The axle will spin independently from the pedal itself so you need to make sure your spanner is in the correct place. More recently pedals are being developed to have a second removal method in case you round your axles or don’t have many tools on you. Allen bolts are often placed on the very end of the axle. The threads are the same but if it’s easier for you to use an allen key this method is a great one.
The most confusing thing about pedal maintenance is the direction of the threads. To prevent pedals from coming undone the threading has been changed so they spin the opposite direction to regular pedalling. Threading is different on both sides of the bike, a good rule to remember is twisting to the rear of the bike will loosen a pedal and twisting towards the front will tighten them.
Pedal Maintenance and Removing a Stuck PedalIf you’ve come across an old bike that has horribly stiff pedals or has had a bad crash which resulted in bent pedals you may be wondering how to loosen and remove your stuck pedals on your bike.
If your pedals are seized but still have sides/notches for your spanner you’re in luck. This means you can still use intended tools to remove the pedals. Start by lubricating the pedal with a significant amount of something like WD-40. You should not use this inside the pedal or on the bearings but it will definitely help you get screws unstuck. If there’s still no budge with the spanner next you can try using more leverage. The easiest way to do this is to get another spanner, the longer the more leverage it gives. You will then need to interlink the two spanners as shown below. As long as you can keep the spanner on the bolt you should have no problem loosening the pedal, just be careful not to slip under the intense pressure and round your bolts.
BSD Safari BMX PedalsReed Stark is the BSD sponsored rider that helped design these cycling pedals. Reed is a stylish young American rider that’s doing some awesome stuff on his bike. The safari pedals were developed by reed during his senior year of university as a part of many projects. He and some BSD employees spend a very significant amount of time getting the pedals just right. He knew they had to be plastic for his riding style and the placement for the extra pins was thoroughly researched to make sure he got all the high impact areas of the pedals. The places pins usually wear down and break quickest.
BSD and Reed ended up using a strong fibreglass plastic coupled with a heat treated Chromoly spindle that keeps the pedals stronger for longer. The extraordinary 20 pins are hexagonal and are moulded in with the plastic so they aren’t removable but it’d be a tough job getting all them to wear down or break off.
After more than a year of testing and research, the team at BSD got the concave and knurling just right on the Safari pedals. They went through 3D printing and a lot of rider testing with Reed to make sure everything felt perfect and he was able to ride the pedals hard and for a long time without damaging anything significant.
Stolen Thermalite Pedals PlasticStolen Thermalite pedals get their name from the proprietary material that Stolen have developed. The thermalite material is slightly concave in shape to fit with the curvature and pressure of the foot. Along with the improved shape, the pedal is covered with a small anti-slip design. It’s hard to see on the image but if you got up close to the pedal itself you’d recognise what I mean. They are like thousands of small pyramids coming from the surface. This, along with the larger plastic ‘towers’ help tremendously with grip in wet and muddy conditions. As well as the small pyramids, there are 12 larger pins on either side of the pedal which are great for stabbing into the tread on your shoes to keep you from slipping off. These are simple and pretty useful but they do unfortunately wear out quicker than any metal pedals.
It’s easy to take a quick look and believe that the design of BMX pedals isn’t as important as that of mountain bike pedals due to the lack of fancy designs and colours but if you look for longer and closer it’s pretty evident that a lot of time has been spent getting it right. On this pedal specifically, you can see that the end farthest away from the bike, known as the bearing cap end, has been recessed towards the centre of the pedal. This recess is added to prevent damage to the bearings or the area inside the pedal that houses everything that needs to be protected and clean in order for the pedal to spin nicely. This design allows the front and back sides of the pedal, the least important areas, to take the brunt of the force when the riders have a scrape or bump.
In terms of size and shape, this style of pedal is what I look for when purchasing something new. It’s very low and quite wide, giving you a much larger target to aim for when trying to plant yourself back on your pedals when doing a tailwhip or something similar.
Odyssey OGPC Plastic BMX Pedals, Metal PinsOdyssey makes some amazing parts. It just has to be said. There aren’t many BMX parts made by them that I wouldn’t ride. The Odyssey OGPC pedal is a clever design that, for once, isn’t just the same design as every other one on the market.
Instead of just moulding their brakes out of plastic, Odyssey has created a sandwich mould, this does result in a thicker and heavier pedal but it allows them to use metal pins that are effectively just a part of a threaded screw bolted onto the pedal. That’s what the hidden silver thing is on the image above. Initially, I did wonder why they didn’t keep it cleaner and hide the silver part but then I realised how easy Odyssey has made it replace these pins after they’re worn out. It’s not a huge deal since metal pins last ages and rarely have to be replaced but I would definitely find this useful. In total there are 16 pins, 8 on each side.
I don’t know how well it would work but if you’re a dedicated park or street rider and spend your life balancing on rails or ledges you can remove 8 of the pins from one side of your pedal, giving you one grippy side for feet and one slippy side for grinding. You’d have to effectively ‘clip in’ every time you get on which would be too much of a pain for a lot of riders but I think it’s an ingenious idea.
The OGPC pedals also use the slightly concave shape and the grippy miniature design. This sandwiched plastic coupled with the clever metal pins create the perfect balance between all the advantageous parts of both materials. The plastic will let you grind using your pedals and keep the weight down whilst the metal pins extend the lifespan and durability to these pedals substantially. Even if you do go all out and grind these bodies or pins to pieces you can purchase replaceable bodies for the Odyssey OGPC pedals for a fraction of the original price. They really are a one-time investment.
Eastern Bikes Atom Cycling PedalsThe Atom series is designed especially for the beginner or newer or younger riders that don’t feel ready to make a significant investment in new BMX parts when they’re still learning the ropes. Atom pedals are a lot like stock pedals that are provided with new BMX bikes. If your stock pedals break or get worn out but you don’t have the funds or desire to get any higher quality pedals then I definitely recommend you picking up a pair of Eastern Atom pedals.
The pedal has a generic plastic design with 10 plastic pins on each side and a fairly insignificant concave on the surface. You can definitely tell that these pedals have been designed for someone likely to take a few tumbles and knocks while riding. They understand their riders are still dialling in tricks and will regularly take a few attempts to get it right.
Odyssey Twisted Pro PC PedalsI think the design Odyssey have created for the pedal on the image above is one of the best designs for any pedal made for BMX. This limited edition Monogram design is a random but all over print of the Odyssey logo icon in various sizes all over the pedal. There are no two of these pedal sets that are the same. This design is then backed by either a gorgeous red or black colour.
As well as the great pedal and colour scheme, Odyssey has also created a matching Fat Cap Pivotal Saddle. The designs are the same on both bike parts. If you want to see the design much clearer then have a look at the Odyssey Twisted Pro Pivotal Saddle.
Before learning about the Pro version I will explain the great features of the regular Odyssey PC pedal; one of the best selling BMX bike pedals available. The simple but creative plastic shape has been designed and manufactured in such a way that it’s extremely cheap, durable and lightweight. The regular version in itself is a wonderful pedal that many riders proudly ride and replace again and again.
The plastic composite itself is the only significant difference between the regular and Pro versions. They are both encapsulating a loose-ball bearing configuration with the body of the Pro version boasting a wider, slimmer and an increased concave on the face of each pedal made from a high-strength nylon.
Redline Lo-Profile Platform Metal Bike PedalsRedline Lo-Profile Platform pedals are some of the rare products actually developed out of metal, specifically magnesium hugging a Chromoly spindle. The magnesium greatly helps to keep the weight down and since metal is much stronger than plastic, there doesn’t need to be a huge surface area. This design has much more of a skeletal feel to it.
Just like the previous Odyssey plastic BMX pedals that featured metal pins, the Redline pedals also offer the ability to change or remove pins. Changing the pins on metal pedals is extraordinarily easy. You commonly just need a small allen key to unscrew them from the pedal body and the same to screw new ones back in. This can become tricky if you leave it too long and the pins become extremely worn or even broken.
Another great feature these metal BMX pedals have over the regular plastic ones is the protection it can offer to the spindle and sealed bearings. Metal may be torturous to your shins but it’s very protective when bashed against walls or railings. As you can see on the image above, the spindle doesn’t actually reach the full width of the pedal. This means that you can smash up the edge of the pedal itself as much as you like and you won't cause any damage to the bearings at all.
Snafu Anorexic Best BMX PedalAnother pair of metal BMX pedals! I think Snafu have really provided a great product with these ones. Snafu have designed these to have a very low-profile mountain bike style. Many people ride mountain bikes at the same time as or before riding BMX meaning a lot of people enjoy the style of mountain bike pedals when switching over to BMX. Unfortunately, this awesome effort has affected the price compared to plastic BMX pedals but it’s definitely worth it.
Classic CNC machine styling is very evident on these pedals. The gorgeously coloured pieces of 6061 T6 alloy has been extruded and CNC machined to give great accuracy and less weight.
What I love most about these pedals is the simplicity coupled with the brilliant craftsmanship. If Apple designed a BMX pedal I dare say it’d probably look a lot like this one. Snafu have used high-quality parts such as the threaded bolt that attaches to the crank but not so outrageously high quality that they aren’t affordable.
Like you can see in the image above, Snafu manufacture two sizes of Anorexic pedals. There’s the thin version, boasting 4 grip pins on either side and the larger version that’s the common size and features 5 replaceable pins on either side.
Shadow Conspiracy Ravager Alloy & Plastic PedalJust a quick look at these Ravager pedals and it’s obvious that they’re made by Shadow. They’re entirely in line with their typical style. The pedals are fairly flat, relatively square and generic with a great amount of grip and replaceable pins.
Ravager Alloy and Plastic pedals have sealed bearings to prevent dirt or water damage that contain one needle bearing and one cartridge bearing.
Shadow love their grip. As well as the common fine grip that companies use on most plastic pedals, Ravager pedals have been draped in removable pins, they have 10 on each side and just to make it even better, shadow conspiracy has included a whole replacement set and an allen key to replace them with the pedals too.
The aim for these pedals is to be a high-quality generic set of pedals that 90% of BMX riders will be comfortable riding. The shape is very straightforward, simple and effective. The extra pins, that nobody would hold against them for not providing, increase the lifespan of them dramatically as the small pieces of metal are often the first to break.
S&M 101 Pedals for BMXS&M have made this pair of lightweight alloy pedals for their riders. The body shape is similar to a lot of other metal pedals but S and M have come up with a good idea to always leave you with enough traction. They have added a mix of moulded and replaceable metal pins. A lot of riders who like to adjust their bikes to their perfect style may want to remove one side of pins or to use less on each side in order to adjust the amount of grip they get when riding. Every rider has a different style when throwing their bike with their feet. Some people like their pedals to cling on to their feet for as long as possible in order to allow the rider more force but others like to have a much looser feeling.
Fly Bikes Ruben Aluminium & Graphite Bicycle PedalIt’s pretty obvious by the name but these pedals are a signature design by Ruben Alcantara. Ruben is one of the Fly’s most famous riders. Riding for many years, he’s really established himself as a BMX influencer. Over the years riding for them he’s worked on many signature products, all of which are very popular throughout the BMX world. Most of the setup Ruben actually rides is made from his signature parts and other popular bike parts made by Fly.
It’s the last one on the list but I decided to include both the graphite and aluminium version of these pedals on this list. The overall design is just great and the difference in materials provides a great product for all types of riders.
PlasticThe plastic version of these pedals were the first to be designed and sold. Fly have concentrated on the material of these pedals more than other brands. They’ve decided to go for a more durable and harder blend of Nylon and Fiberglass. It’s not very noticeable in the design but this new compound gives the Ruben pedals a nice boost in the way of strength.
Overall the body shape is a fairly regular slimmed down design but with a stronger recess and concave for a much tighter pedal feel that feels like they’re hugging your feet.
To finish the almost perfect design off Fly have used an oversized axle to add some more reliability and strength as if it needed it.
AluminiumI absolutely love the newer aluminium signature Ruben pedals. They have a beautiful style. The low-profile, concave design is kept relatively similar to the Graphite pedals while being CNC machined out of the highest quality 6061 T6 Aluminium.
The oversized, heat treated axle has also been kept on just to provide some extra support. Living alongside the axle there is an oversized 17 mm OD bearing and needle bearing, finished off with a recessed end cap to prevent any damage if the bike takes any bumps or is laid on its side.
Unlike the plastic pedals, Fly has moved away from the square pins and included 8, 3 mm replaceable metal pins on each side of their pedal.
Written By Michael Scott from Tresna Clothing
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