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Best Bike Touring Pedals

Best Bike Pedals

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This is a gear review about the best bike pedals for bike touring and Bikepacking 2023.

Bike Touring Pedals can be simple flat pedals or clipless pedals or combo pedals that have one side of the pedal as a flat pedal and clipless pedal attachments on the other side.

You need to choose between clipless pedals or flat pedals. If you choose clipless you will need special cycling shoes, while flat pedals can be used with hiking boots, runners, or sandals. If you can’t decide there are combo pedals that have clipless on one side and flat on the other.

The pedals in this review can be used on Touring Bicycles, Bikepacking Bikes, Fat Bikes, Gravel Bikes, or Tandem Bikes.

I’ll take you through all the best options, so keep reading about the best bike pedals for touring and Bikepacking.

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Best Pedals for Bike Touring 2023

The Bike Touring Pedals in 2023 are:

Best Clipless Bike Touring Pedals

Shimano M520

Shimano M520 pedal review

> Reasonably priced
> Reliable
> Easy to adjust the tension on these pedals
> Using clipless pedals make it harder from thieves to steal the bike!
> Can only be used with special cycling shoes
> They may not look the most fashionable for some cyclists

The Shimano M520 pedals are known as a really popular and clipless SPD type of pedal. It is really easy to adjust these pedals to suit your needs. It is no wonder that these pedals are loved by everyone, as they are incredibly reliable. 

Not only that, but it is known that these pedals are a favorite for mountain bikers, but touring bikes will love these pedals just as much.

These pedals can be bought at a really reasonable price, even though they may be very exciting to look at. They are lightweight and easy to use.

I used these pedals many years ago and found them simple, easy to adjust, and reliable. Using these pedals also made it harder for criminals to steal the bike as riding off with my bicycle in normal shoes would be a problem!

Overall, these are the best clipless SPD pedals for bike touring, bikepacking, and mountain biking. And road cyclists love them too.

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Premium Bike Touring Pedals

Shimano PD M530

Shimano PD M530 pedal review

> These pedals give you much more control while you are cycling
> Chromoly Steel – Known for its strength and durability
> The design of these pedals will push away mud or debris as soon as your foot is placed into the pedal
> There is no cage on these pedals, and some customs would prefer the extra support

The Shimano PD M530 is great for cyclists. There are no toe clips on this design which is normal for this type of pedal.

The pedals have a mud shedding ability, which is due to the open bidding design, that pushes debris and mud off the pedals once the riser has put their foot in the pedal. These pedals are at the lower end of the Shimano clipless range but still at a premium price compared with some other budget options.

Overall, if you want a good set of SPD clipless pedals then this could be the one for you.

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Best Flat Pedals for Bike Touring

Shimano PD GR500

Shimano PD GR500 pedal review

> Made from Chromoly steel, these pedals require little to no maintenance
> 9 height adjustable and replaceable pins that will keep your feet exactly where you want them to be, especially when it is muddy
> The special design of these pedals is to provide comfort to your feet while riding on longer journeys
> This is one of the pricier pedals that we have mentioned on our list today

Shimano have created the PD GR500 pedals. This is a flat type of pedal that has been designed to be compatible with flat soled shoes. I currently use the earlier model of this same pedal and have used it for year.

These pedals are great for all kinds of riding including as bike touring pedals. The special shape of these pedals have been thought about to help provide you with comfort during those long rides where your feet will be on the pedals for hours at a time. 

I also discovered that there are 9 height adjustable pins that are also replaceable. But after a while the grub screws become almost impossible to remove and replace.

Overall, these are the best flat pedals for bike touring and bikepacking. If you want to wear hiking boots, shoes or sandals when cycling then these are for you. Highly recommended.

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Best Clipless/Flat Combo Pedals

Shimano M324

Shimano M324 pedal review

> There are two sides to these pedals. One side for flat shoes and the other for cleats
> Lightweight
> Easy To Install and adjust
> Over time cyclists have noticed that the aluminum began to erode

Last but definitely not least on our list is the Shimano M324 pedals. Different from the others we have already mentioned, these pedals are made from aluminum and are very lightweight.

I like that there are two sides to these pedals. 

On one side you have a metal cage that has been bolted on, which is ideal when riding in flat-soled shoes. Then on the other side has an adjustable tension binding when you have cleats on.

They are versatile pedals that offer you great performance and the flexibility of using SPD clipless or flat pedals.  These are durable pedals that will last years on your touring bike.

Overall, these are the best clipless/flat combo pedals that have both clipless and flat pedal designs for more options when cycling.

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Bike Pedals

Buyers Guide

When it comes to touring, you need to think about the pedals that you choose. The first thing you should think about is whether you want a flat pedal or clipless pedal. The list above is a shortlist of some of the best bike pedals. There are literally hundreds more to chose from.

Clipless Pedals

Clipless pedals are great when you want to cycle fast and don’t mind clipping in and out of your shoes. If being on the bike is the whole point of your cycling trip then these are best. Don’t want to spend much time off the bike exploring on foot, then these are for you.

For example, if you are planning on doing a long tour for many days, weeks, and months and all you will be doing is cycling 6 hours per day, almost every day, then use clipless pedals. And they are better for hill climbing. Clipless is certainly best for cyclists who love being on the bike.

Just be aware if you find yourself walking through the marble floor of a museum while on your tour, you will not like the clicking sound your cleats will make as you walk. I’ve been there and done that and prefer not to do that sort of thing when traveling and cycling.

Clipless pedals for bike touring

Flat Pedals

Flat pedals are best for longer tours where you are not going to be riding every day. They are also ideal for road cyclists, mountain bikers, and Bikepackers who like to cruise along at a steady pace.

Most long-distance bike tourers use flat pedals which means you don’t need to bring special shoes or sandals that can only be worn on the bike.

OK, there are some types of shoes, boots, and sandals that have recessed cleats and can be worn around town but honestly, they are not the best and are a compromise. Much better to compromise by using normal shoes and flat pedals.

If you love to go hiking and spend lots of time off the bike while bike touring then flat pedals are certainly the best for you. These are my preferred option as bike touring pedals as I like to combine cycle touring with hiking.

Flat Pedals
I used the Shimano Saint flat pedals for many years

clipless/flat combo pedals

When choosing between these two styles of pedal, it really depends on what kind of riding you plan on engaging in. If you can’t decide then maybe the combo pedals are for you.

One side of the pedal has clipless cleats, the other side is a flat pedal.

Bike Touring Pedals

Which one is best for you?

If you are going to be doing lots of climbing, then clipless pedals are probably going to be a better option. Otherwise, flat pedals are going to be better for cruising around.

Another thing to consider is how many types of riding you plan on doing. Do you mainly ride on roads? Or do you mostly use trails?

If you mainly ride on roads, then you might be interested in buying some clipless pedals. These pedals are designed to work best on smooth surfaces such as asphalt and can provide extra power in comparison to flat pedals. 

On the other hand, if you mainly ride on dirt trails, then you might want to go for flat mountain biking pedals. Flat Mountain biking pedals are designed to work well on rough terrain and are more suited to off-road riding. They have nice-sized lugs to keep your feet on the pedals even when it is muddy.

Alongside that, you should always think about the type of shoes you will be wearing. Flat pedals work best on flat shoes. Boots require a lot of support and stability and therefore, flat pedals would be a good choice. 

There are many factors that you need to take into consideration before making a purchase. Once you have done that, you’ll be able to choose from a wide range of options.

Are you confused yet? If so, just buy flat pedals for bike touring and if you decide to change later then you can easily change the pedals.

Flat Pedals for Bike Touring


There is no need to spend a lot of money on pedals for bike touring. You don’t need the lightest or coolest looking, just something that works for you.

Bicycle Touring Pedals

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I hope you have been able to decide which bike touring pedals are best for you. If you can’t decide then aim for something like the Shimano PD GR500 flat pedals.

The Bike Touring Pedals in 2023 are:

Another one of the Best Bike Touring Gear Reviews from BikeHikeSafari.

Frequently Asked Questions

Which Pedals Do Tour de France Riders Use?

There are a few different varieties of pedals that you will see used in the Tour de France. Yet the most will be using either Look or Shimano pedals.

This is because these brands sponsor most of the teams. 

How To Stop Yourself Falling With Clipless Pedals?

As you are coming to a stop, you need to move your weight to the foot that will remain clipped in. Then you can unclip the other foot that you will put onto the ground.

Thus, when you come to a stop you can quickly but gently put your foot onto the ground, but you just need to remember to clip out well in advance. When trying for the first time, or when you need to stop urgently, you may fall. They take a bit of practice.

Do All Pedals Fit All Bikes?

Pedals are quite universal. As a result, as long as you have the right size of thread for the crank that is already on your bike, then you can put any pedal on any bike. Most use 9/16 inch.

For example, on your touring bike you could add mountain bike pedals or road bike pedals if you like. Thus, all the pedals we have mentioned will be able to fit your touring bike with no problem.

Best Pedals for Bike Touring and Bikepacking

BikeHikeSafari Gear Review Process

The author, Brad McCartney from BikeHikeSafari is a small independent adventurer and outdoor gear tester who owns and runs BikeHikeSafari.com.

BikeHikeSafari is not part of a large blog network and is proudly independent. All reviews on this site are independent and honest gear reviews of outdoor products by the author.

The author, Brad McCartney is a very experienced triple crown thru-hiker, adventurer, and bike tourer having spent 1000s of nights sleeping in a tent and sleeping bag (Read more). He was a manager of an outdoor retail store and is very experienced in what is important when using and testing gear for reviews like this.

BikeHikeSafari will never receive any money for reviews and they do not accept sponsored reviews on this website. All the comments about the gear reviews are from the author based on his years of experience. Hope this independent review was helpful for you.

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About the Author:
Brad is an Australian who has completed the hiking Triple Crown after he hiked the Pacific Crest Trail, Continental Divide Trail and Appalachian Trail. He has hiked on every continent (except Antarctica) and has cycled from Alaska to Ecuador. He is an expert on outdoor gear currently living in Chile.

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