Why Do Mountain Bikes Not Come with Pedals?

Why Do Mountain Bikes Not Come with Pedals?
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When I first purchased my new mountain bike, I was surprised to find out it didn’t come with pedals. This is a common question among new mountain bike owners: why do mountain bikes not come with pedals?

The answer lies in the varied preferences of riders and the importance of selecting the right pedal for one’s riding experience.

Mountain biking is a diverse sport with different styles of riding, such as cross-country, trail, enduro, and downhill. Each of these styles may require a different type of pedal for optimum performance and control. Additionally, individual riders have personal preferences when it comes to pedals – some may opt for flat pedals, while others might prefer clipless ones.

Manufacturers recognize the importance of providing a customized riding experience.

By selling mountain bikes without pedals, they give riders the freedom to choose the best pedals for their specific needs and preferences. As a result, I was able to select the perfect pedals for my riding style, ultimately enhancing my overall experience on the trails.

▷ Quick Answer

Mountain bikes don’t come with pedals because manufacturers recognize the diverse preferences and riding disciplines amongst bikers, so they empower riders to choose their own pedals to customize their experience.

Why Don’t Mountain Bikes Come with Pedals?

Variety in Mountain Bike Pedal Types

As a mountain biker, I’ve come to notice that there is a vast variety of pedal types available in the market, and it is important to understand the key differences between them. Primarily, there are two types of pedals: clipless pedals and the flat pedal.

  • Clipless mountain bike pedals are designed for riders who want maximum control, stability, and pedaling efficiency. These pedals use a cleat system that allows the rider to “clip” their mountain bike shoe onto the pedal, securing the foot in place. Common clipless pedal systems include SPD, Time ATAC, and Crankbrothers.
  • Flat pedals, also known as platform pedals, are the go-to choice for many mountain bikers who prefer a more casual cycling experience. With flat pedals, riders can easily put their foot down when needed and make quick adjustments. These mtb pedals often come with pins for added grip and traction.
Type of PedalMain Features
CliplessCleat system, maximum control and stability, efficient pedaling
FlatEasy to use, foot adjustments, casual cycling experience

Personalization of Biking Experience

When it comes to mountain bike pedals, there is no one-size-fits-all solution. Each rider has their own personal preferences, which heavily influence the type of pedal they might choose.

As a mountain biker myself, I’ve seen how different cyclists prioritize certain aspects of their biking experience, such as control, stability, grip, flexibility, and even aesthetics.

For example, professional racers or advanced riders might opt for mtb clipless pedals, as these provide a strong connection between the rider and the bike.

This results in increased power transfer and efficiency during their cycling experience.

On the other hand, riders who prioritize having an easygoing or recreational experience might lean towards flat pedals, allowing for more freedom and maneuverability on the trails.

Ultimately, the choice of pedal comes down to the individual rider’s cycling goals and what they find most comfortable and practical for their specific mountain biking adventures.

Cost Considerations for Manufacturers

In my experience, one of the primary reasons a new bike doesn’t come with pedals is because of cost considerations for manufacturers. Producing a bike without pedals allows them to reduce production expenses, especially for cheaper bikes.

For instance, I have noticed that lower-end bikes often use less expensive components, and by excluding pedals, manufacturers can pass on the cost savings to the consumers.

I have also found that higher-end bikes also come without pedals.

The rationale behind this decision is that, with a higher price point, these bikes usually cater to an experienced rider audience who most likely already own their preferred pedals.

As a result, manufacturers can optimize their production costs and offer these premium bikes at somewhat affordable prices.

Market Diversity and Consumer Choice

Another factor I have observed as to why mountain bikes are sold without pedals is the diverse market and consumer choices regarding pedals.

There are a wide range of pedal types, such as flat, clipless, or a combination of the two. A simple way to present this diversity is through a table like this:

Pedal TypeDescription
FlatFlat pedals cater to riders who prefer a more casual, “footloose” riding experience.
CliplessClipless pedals require a shoe with specific cleats, which attach to the pedals for better control.
Combo (Hybrid)Combo pedals have a dual design: flat on one side and clipless on the other, accommodating both styles.

By selling mountain bikes without pedals, manufacturers effectively allow consumers to choose their preferred type of pedals separately. As a mountain bike enthusiast, I appreciate this approach as it enables customization and optimization of my biking experience.

Furthermore, it also enables me to invest in pedals that meet my specific needs and preferences without being restricted to the ones that come pre-installed on the bike.

Overall, the economic and marketing strategies of selling mountain bikes without pedals ultimately cater to a wide variety of consumer needs and preferences.

From my perspective, this practice enables me to have a more personalized biking experience, which aligns with the diverse and inclusive nature of the mountain biking community.


So there you have it, mountain bikes do not come with pedals due to the immense variety in rider preferences and cycling disciplines. Manufacturers recognize that a one-size-fits-all approach cannot adequately serve the diverse mountain biking community.

Instead, they optimize production costs and empower consumers to customize their ride by separately purchasing pedals tailored to their needs.

Factors like performance, compatibility, safety, and cost savings shape the decision to sell mountain bikes sans pedals. Ultimately, this strategy enables personalization and inclusivity – upholding the ethos that mountain biking is for all types of cycling enthusiasts with different goals, skills, and budgets. 

By providing riders the freedom to choose, mountain bike manufacturers allow for optimal, individualized experiences on the trails.

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