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Believe it or not, toe clip pedals have been around since the late 1890s.
People have been using toe clips to stabilize and secure their feet on the pedals of road bikes for (literally) more than 100 years. They offer a lot more safety, a lot more stability, and a lot more security than you would have gotten out of “flat” pedals – and all of that translates to a smoother ride, a speedier ride, and a lot more confidence every time you pedal your bike.
At the same time, not all toe clips are created equal.
Some of the best toe clips can be used even when you are wearing casual shoes, whereas others require you to wear specialty “cyclist only” shoes that lock it into position, provide a lot of extra grip and security, and really help you become one with the bike in a way that would have been tough to do otherwise.
The trick is finding the right toe clip pedals for your needs, especially if you are going to be adding these to a road bike you already love to ride.
You’ll want to find some that are lightweight, durable, and extra secure while still being a pleasure to pedal – even when you aren’t wearing shoes specifically designed to cycle in (unless you want to bring other shoes with you in a backpack, for example).
But that’s why we have put together this quick guide.
Below we highlight six of the best toe clip pedal options you’ll find on the planet today.
All of these top choices have been carefully selected because of their build quality, the design and engineering that went on behind the scenes to create these pedals, and the results that they produce.
A little bit later we’ll get into a couple of key things you want to focus on when choosing any new toe clip pedal as well as tackle some of the frequently asked questions new cyclists have about this aftermarket upgrade.
Let’s jump right in!
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Our Six Favorite Toe Clip Pedals for Road Bikes in 2020
The beautiful thing about these toe clip pedals in specifically is how versatile they are compared to a lot of the other options on the market right now.
For starters, these toe clip pedals work just as well on road bikes as they do on spin bikes and even on mountain bikes. You’re going to be able to attach these pedals to pretty much any bike you own (quickly and efficiently), keeping the pedal experience consistent across the board – something that’s tough to do with a lot of other options.
On top of that with the build quality of these road bike toe clip pedals is really second to none.
The price tag is a little steep in large part because of the premium materials and engineering “under the hood” of these pedals, to be sure. But most agree that these pedals are worth every penny – especially because you can use them on so many different kinds of bikes.
- Weighs 1.6 pounds /pair
- Made out of diecast aluminum bodies with heavy duty CNC axles and sealed bearings
- Work as a dual function pedal, making them perfect for those with toe clips and with clip list shoes as well
- Has a relatively larger form factor to ensure improved riding stability
- Complete and total compatibility with all SHIMANO SPD MTB Pedal systems
- Adjustable tensioning system allows you to dial in the feel of these pedals without any difficulty
The overall opinion from real customers in regards to these toe clip pedals is glowingly positive. Some of the best reviewed pedals, you really can’t go wrong spending your money on quality gear like this.
If you want nothing but the very best of the best when it comes to SPD style toe clip pedals in specific, this is the option you’ll want to add to your favorite road bike.
Super lightweight and considerably less expensive than many of the other top toe clip pedal options on the market right now, these bike pedals work wonders with most road bikes and outdoor bicycles – mountain bikes and hybrids – as well as spin bikes, too.
The lightweight resin material that makes up the bulk of these pedals (and the strap/cage system) is a standout for sure. The resin and alloy combination lowers weight while improving strength and performance, helping you to get more out of these pedals than you would have gotten out of stock options.
All of these pedals are sold ready to be attached to any 9/16 inch spindle bike. That allows for a lot of customization options and the odds are good you’ll be able to attach these to all of the bikes in your collection (assuming they are running that same spindle diameter).
- Weighs 1.2 pounds
- Resin and alloy construction is an impressive feat of modern engineering
- These toe clip pedals have a fantastic reputation for durability and reliability
- Resin cage allows for clipless operation
- Six month warranty protects your investment
Most customer reviews for these toe clip pedals speak highly about the quality of these aftermarket options, especially in relation to their unbelievably low price tag. You may be able to find slightly better toe clip options on the market today – but you’ll almost always spend a lot more money to do so.
Very well made, very reliable, and super inexpensive there’s not a lot to be unhappy with when it comes to these toe clip pedals.
Another set of bike pedals that takes advantage of resin and metal alloy construction materials, all in an effort to shave weight while improving strength and performance, you’ll be able to see an immediate improvement in riding performance when you attach these to your road bike.
Again configured for 9/16 inch spindles (pretty much the universal standard throughout the road bike industry) you’ll be able to attach these aftermarket pedals to exercise bikes, spin bikes, road bikes, mountain bikes, and even a lot of BMX and hybrid bikes as well.
The toe clip mounting system is solid and stable but the resin cage makes using these without clips pretty easy, too. If you’re going to flip these pedals upside down and run them with the cage facing the road you’ll want to tighten things up a little bit, but other than that you should be good to go.
- Weighs 0.9 pounds
- Quality construction materials and engineering throughout, with resin and metal alloys making up the bulk of these pedals
- 9/16 inch spindle mounting system guarantees perfect fit and finish across almost all of your bikes, guaranteed
- Six month warranty protects your purchase
It’s pretty hard to find anybody that has negative sentiment about these toe clip pedals online. The price, the materials used, the engineering, and the overall ease of use and installation flexibility make them a very attractive choice.
Finding the right aftermarket toe clip pedals becomes a whole lot easier when you choose to move forward with a set up like this one.
A bit of a more traditional approach to toe clip pedals, these aftermarket options have a more retro feel to them to be sure.
At the same time, you would definitely be making a mistake to think that these “old-school” road bike pedals aren’t taking advantage of modern construction materials and engineering advances. Super lightweight, made out of indestructible nylon and metal alloys, and capable of mounting to any 9/16 inch spindle axle, these toe clip pedals are super popular for a reason.
- Weighs 0.66
- Using nylon construction materials for nearly 90% of the build shaves a lot of weight off of your new road bike pedals
- Top grade boron steel axle (7 mm) provides a lot of extra strength and stability
- These toe clip pedals mount to all 9/16 inch spindle axles
- Compatible with or without cleats as well as both VP ARC5 and VP ARC6 clip styles
The general consensus regarding these toe clip pedals is pretty positive, even if these options aren’t quite as popular as the three we highlighted earlier. There’s still a lot of love for these retro style, almost completely nylon toe clip options though and you want to take a closer look at them for sure.
Well-made, inexpensive, and very versatile it’s easy to get excited about adding these aftermarket toe clips (learn more) to your favorite road bike.
The biggest advantage with these particular toe clip pedals is that they come preinstalled and ready to use right out of the box.
With high quality metal alloy grips on the bottom of the pedals in a nylon type strap/cage system (both of which work with the toe clips themselves) you’ll be able use these pedals anyway you want on all of your favorite bikes.
Easily installing on a 9/16 inch spindle (like most other toe clip options) axles, these AbraFit Premium Quality toe clips (learn more) are designed to work on exercise bikes, on off-road bikes, and on road bikes as well. The lifetime warranty of these pedals is a game changer, too.
- Weighs 1.3 pounds
- Hybrid of aluminum alloy and sturdy resin construction materials
- Comes preinstalled ready to go, easy to put on your favorite bike
- Lifetime warranty makes the value of these toe clip pedals skyhigh
The general consensus about these pedals is that they are pretty solid and pretty durable, though they do feature a bit of a “classic” form factor versus more modern MTB flat pedal options available today. If you’re looking for classic aesthetics or like the older style clip pedal, this is the way to go.
The quality of these pedals is solid, the aluminum alloy and resin materials used keep weight issues to a minimum, and the near universal acceptance of all 9/16 inch spindle axle systems all make these pedals a worthy option.
These actual clips are designed to work with pretty much every toe clip pedal option out there, especially those that feature the more modern MTB style design that most manufacturers are moving towards.
Optimized to get your feet into the perfect position to more efficiently pedal your bicycle, the engineering behind these pedals is top-tier. Combine that with high quality construction materials (the pedals are made entirely out of a durable resin that doesn’t degrade or break down over time) and it’s not hard to understand why so many people like these clips.
- Weighs 0.3 pounds
- Aggressive design specifically catering to those riding road bikes in urban conditions
- Made to last a lifetime thanks to the highly durable resin construction materials used
- Easy enough to snap into any of your favorite toe clip pedals in just a few minutes
The majority of reviews online paint a positive picture of these toe clips, though there were a handful of customers that found them to be a little too lightweight and a little too “flimsy” compared to some of the more premium options out there. Still, at this price point, it’s hard to argue with the value and performance you get out of these toe clips.
Perhaps not the fanciest or most expensive toe clip options on the market today, if you’re looking for a more budget focused choice that gets the job done (gets it done well) these clips are well worth a closer look.
What to Look for When Buying Toe Clip Pedals for Road Bikes
Now that we’ve covered our favorite toe clip pedal options for road bikes, it’s important to highlight a couple the key factors you’ll want to consider before you buy this aftermarket accessory for your bike.
Straightaway, the stability of the new pedals that you purchase will have a huge impact on how your bike operates going forward.
You need toe clip pedals that are strong, lightweight, and well-balanced – all things that are going to contribute to improvements instability when you are manipulating the pedals of your bike.
Using a toe clip is a great way to get a little more leverage and a little more power out of your bike. But that’s only true if the toe clip itself is rock solid aren’t going to fly out without any warning.
Look for toe clip options that are secure, use trusted designs for the actual clip components, and will lock your feet into place.
Easy disconnect options are essential for a variety of different reasons, but especially when you are running a road bike. The odds are pretty good you’re going to want to get onto and off of your bike pretty easily, and toe clips that are tough to disengage can be a nightmare to use in urban environments.
How Important Are Toe Clip Pedals?
Of all the different aftermarket pedal options out there on the market today toe clips are some of the most popular because of the significant performance improvements they offer. Changing to toe clip style pedals can totally change the way you use your bike on a day-to-day basis.
Should Every Cyclist Have Toe Clips?
Some cyclists are going to be able to benefit from toe clips more than others, sure. But anyone riding a road bike that wants to feel really stable and really secure (particularly when it comes to locking their feet onto their pedals) while enjoying inefficient ride will want to research these options for sure.
Will Toe Clips Make Me Faster or a Better Cyclist?
Toe clips may not make you a better cyclist (necessarily) – or even a significantly faster one – but when used correctly you’ll see some performance enhancements almost right away. You’ll be more efficient with your pedaling, you’ll feel like you are peddling almost effortlessly, and your bike will respond to you a lot faster, too.
Do I Need Special Equipment to Use Toe Clips?
Truth be told, the overwhelming majority of toe clips are specifically designed to accommodate industry standard spindle axle dimensions (almost always 9/16 of an inch in diameter). Some toe clip options are going to require a little bit more of an involved installation process than others, but most simply “pop on and pop off” – really simplifying things significantly.
At the end of the day, you really can’t go wrong with any of the toe clip pedal options that we highlighted above.
Some of them are a little more expensive than others, some are considered a little more durable than others, and some are easier to install than others. But all of them are high quality options that will improve the way you use your road bike from here on out!
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