Best Clipless Pedals for Beginners (Top 6 Picks)

Hey there! Some links on this page may be affiliate links which means that, if you choose to make a purchase, I may earn a small commission at no extra cost to you. I greatly appreciate your support!

Clipless pedals present several advantages for beginner cyclists, including improved power transfer, more control, and greater efficiency.

However, making the switch from flat pedals can be intimidating. Choosing the right pair of clipless pedals is key to having a smooth transition.

There are many clipless pedal options on the market today, varying in features, design, cleat types, and more.

clipless pedals for beginners
clipless pedals for beginners

However, with the right pedals for your riding needs and bike setup, you can provide a beginner with an efficient platform for learning.

Confident and neutral, this guide covers the 6 best clipless pedals for cycling beginners based on value, ease-of-use, and adjustability.

The recommendations aim to provide a smooth transition into clipless pedaling with low risk of injury or frustration.

Each pedal highlighted has been vetted based on years of cycling experience and thorough research.

Knowledgeable recommendations consider multi-release mechanisms, pedal float adjustability, cleat compatibility, and other factors that can make a difference for beginners.

If you’re looking for an ideal first clipless pedal system, start here. The options will help any rider develop confidence and feel comfortable on two-sided pedaling with minimal hassle.

1. Rating: 4.7/5
2. Rating: 4.7/5
3. Rating: 4.8/5
‎Shimano PD-M520 MTB SPD
4. Rating: 4.6/5
5. Rating: 4.6/5
Look Keo Classic 3 Road Pedals
6. Rating: 4.3/5
Shimano PD-RS500 SPD-SL

6 Best Clipless Pedals for Beginners

We’ve reviewed some of the top clipless pedal brands and models to determine the 6 best clipless pedals for beginners.

These pedals provide an easy learning curve so you can get comfortable with the feel of clipless riding, without the difficulty that can come with more advanced pedals.

They work with most standard cycling shoes and cleats to provide a secure yet flexible attachment system for your feet.


shimano pd eh500 spd
Clipless Pedals for Beginners: SHIMANO PD-EH500 SPD

Basic Info

Bike TypeRoad Bike, Mountain Bike
ColorDark Gray
Age Range (Description)Adult

The SHIMANO PD-EH500 SPD & Flat Hybrid Bike Pedals are a versatile and affordable option for beginners looking to enter the world of clipless cycling pedals.

These durable pedals offer the convenience of both clipless SPD compatibility and flat pedal functionality in one compact design.

The PD-EH500 has an SPD clipless pedal mechanism on one side and a grippy flat pedal surface with pins on the reverse.

This dual functionality makes these pedals ideal for transitioning to clipless pedaling or for riders who sometimes wear cycling shoes and other times prefer regular sneakers.

The included SH-56 SPD cleats allow for easy clipping in, while the adjustable cleat tension accommodates different rider preferences and footwear.

The flat pedal side offers sufficient grip for wider soled sneakers, while the open pedal body allows for quick mud and debris clearance.

Despite being an entry-level solution, these Shimano pedals incorporate durable metal construction and robust spindle and bearing mechanisms for long-lasting performance over thousands of miles of riding.

The PD-EH500 pedals provide an accessible yet dependable solution for beginners looking for the flexibility of both clipless and flat pedaling while learning the advantages of clipless cycling shoes.

The combination of affordability, versatility for either shoe type, and Shimano’s reputation for reliable cycling components make these pedals a confident recommendation for riders just starting their clipless journey.


  • Require little maintenance
  • Great color choice for most bikes
  • Can be used with regular shoes
  • Tension adjustability mechanism available


  • Slightly more expensive than some other alternatives


shimano pd m324 spd
Clipless Pedals for Beginners: SHIMANO PD-M324 SPD

Basic Info

Bike TypeRoad
ColorOne Color
Age Range (Description)Adult
MaterialAlloy Steel, Metal

The Shimano PD-M324 SPD Clipless Pedals are a solid choice for beginners looking to make the transition to clipless pedaling.

Featuring a tried-and-true SPD cleat system on one side and a standard platform on the other, these pedals offer the convenience of being able to clip-in for optimal power transfer or ride flat when you need to come to a stop or walk your bike.

Built from durable aluminum alloy, the PD-M324 pedals feature a barrel finish that helps resist scratches and corrosion. They include two cleats and fastening screws, allowing you to clip-in right out of the box.

The SPD mechanism offers adjustable tension to suit your riding style and experience level, making it easy to loosen the spring tension for beginners or tighten for more experienced riders.

Weighing just 1.17 pounds for the pair, these pedals offer a good balance of performance and weight for the money.

While they don’t have the ultralight race-day feel of Shimano’s higher end clipless pedals, they’ll handle commuting, fitness riding and light touring with ease.

For beginners transitioning to clipless cycling, the PD-M324 pedals provide a user-friendly SPD system with easy in-and-out functionality. The platform side is versatile and convenient, allowing you to ride “flat” when needed with standard pedal shoe tread.

These versatile clipless pedals are a smart choice for riders of all experience levels looking for an affordable and durable entry into the world of clipped-in cycling.


  • Very sturdy and durable (can take the abuse)
  • Require little maintenance
  • Tension adjustability mechanism available
  • Can be used with normal shoes


  • The silver color might not match every bike
  • Heavier than similar alternatives

3. ‎Shimano PD-M520 MTB SPD Dual-Sided Mud Shedding Pedals

shimano spd pedal clipless pedals
Clipless Pedals for Beginners: Shimano PD-M520 MTB SPD

Basic Info

Bike TypeMTB
Color3 Color
Age Range (Description)Adult

The PD-M520 pedals from Shimano represent an ideal starting point for mountain bikers looking to make the switch to clipless pedals.

Designed to be easy to use while still providing the benefits of clipless technology, the PD-M520 pedals offer a secure platform for ride performance without compromising on function or durability.

With a single-sided SPD design, the PD-M520 provides an intuitive clip-in and out mechanism for beginners – you simply step down onto the pedal body to engage the cleat, and twist your heel outwards to release.

Read Also: Best Mountain Bike Derailleur

The lightweight and durable aluminum body with stainless steel springs ensures years of use, even under demanding conditions.

Despite being an entry-level option, the PD-M520 pedals provide all the performance benefits you’d expect from Shimano.

The recessed cleat placement delivers optimum power transfer and bike control, while the open cage design allows for easy mud shedding so your cleats don’t get stuck.

The PD-M520 offers mountain bikers an accessible starting point for clipless pedals, with features that will grow with you as your skills progress.


  • Lightweight
  • Tension adjustability mechanism available
  • Budget-friendly
  • Easy to clip in and out


  • Marginal efficiency loss in comparison to road clipless pedals

4. SHIMANO PD-ME700 Pedals

shimano pd me700 pedals
Clipless Pedals for Beginners: SHIMANO PD-ME700 Pedals

Basic Info

Bike TypeCross Country Bike
Age Range (Description)Adult

The Shimano PD-ME700 pedals are a great option for beginners looking to upgrade to clipless pedals.

They feature a dual-sided entry design that makes clipping in effortless, even with no-look mounts.The wide platform ensures stability and gives some pedaling power even when unclipped.

The PD-ME700 pedals use a chrome-moly spindle and sealed bearing construction for durability that can handle the demands of beginner cyclists.

The float and retention tension are user adjustable so riders can fine-tune the feel to their liking.

These pedals are a good choice for anyone transitioning from flats to clipless. The relatively affordable price point and dual-sided entry make them easier to use for new cyclists.

While they have some performance benefits over flats, beginners should still take care when first using clipless pedals and practice clipping in and out at low speeds to avoid falls.

With time and experience, cyclists can take full advantage of the power transfer and pedal efficiency that clipless pedals provide.

The Shimano PD-ME700 pedals are a worthwhile upgrade for beginners looking for their first clipless pedals.

The dual-sided design, adjustable settings, and stable platform make these an easy pedal to learn on while still providing the benefits of going clipless. Just take things gradually at first and the ME700s can help propel riders to the next level.


  • Wider surface area improves power transfer efficiency
  • Tension adjustability mechanism available
  • Easy to clip in and out


  • Slightly more expensive and heavier than some other alternatives

5. Look Keo Classic 3 Road Pedals

look keo classic 3 road pedals
Clipless Pedals for Beginners: Look Keo Classic 3 Road Pedals

Basic Info

Bike TypeRoad
Age Range (Description)Adult

The Look Keo Classic 3 pedals are an excellent choice for beginners looking to experience the benefits of clipless pedals. They offer a few key features that make them suitable for those new to cycling:

Wide platform: The 400mm2 platform provides a stable and comfortable foot position for beginners still getting accustomed to clipless pedals. The generous size helps minimize wobble and gives confidence at stops and slower speeds.

Adjustable tension: The ability to adjust the pedal spring tension from 8 to 12 sets of tightness allows riders to find the ideal hold that provides easy entry and exit while still keeping the foot securely in place during pedaling. Beginners can start with a lower tension and increase it as they gain experience.

Durable construction: The Chromoly spindle and composite body make the Look Keo Classic 3 robust enough to withstand the occasional miscues from inexperienced riders. The materials and construction allow the pedals to perform reliably for many seasons of use.

Value: At around $60 a pair, the Look Keo Classic 3 pedals provide beginners the clipless experience at an affordable price point. The money saved versus high-end competition allows buyers to also budget for cleats and cycling shoes to complete the set-up.

The Look Keo Classic 3 pedals offer a wide, stable platform, adjustable tension for a personalized feel, durable construction and excellent value – all features that make them a top choice for beginners looking to upgrade to their first clipless pedals.


  • Lightweight
  • Tension adjustability mechanism available
  • Good price for the quality
  • Various cleats with different float angles to choose from


  • Not much for a beginner

6. Shimano PD-RS500 SPD-SL

shimano pd rs500 spd sl
Clipless Pedals for Beginners: Shimano PD-RS500 SPD-SL

Basic Info

Bike TypeRoad Bike
Age Range (Description)Adult

The Shimano PD-RS500 SPD-SL are some of the best clipless pedals for beginner cyclists. They offer an easy clip-in system with a decent amount of float for comfort, while still providing the power transfer benefits of clipless cycling.

Made from aircraft-grade aluminum and high-strength steel, these Shimano pedals offer durability for frequent riders. The symmetrical body design allows for easy clipping in from either side of the pedal.

The 6 degree float allows for a natural stroke when pedaling, reducing knee strain especially for beginners still getting used to clipless pedals. The adjustable clipping tension means you can adjust the amount of force needed to clip in or out based on comfort and skill level.

The SPD-SL cleats are a versatile standard that works with many cycling shoe brands. The cleats are easy to adjust to get the optimal ball-of-foot position for comfort and power.

Weighing only 270 grams per pair, the PD-RS500 stays light enough for performance riding while still providing a solid platform. The steel axle ensures years of reliability through hundreds of miles.

If you’re a beginner cyclist interested in the benefits of clipless pedals, the Shimano PD-RS500 SPD-SL offers an affordable, easy-to-use design with the features you need to get started on the right foot.


  • Wider surface area improves power transfer
  • Cleats are widely available and easy to replace
  • Tension adjustability mechanism available
  • Very durable


  • A bit more expensive than some other beginner options

Guide to Buying the Best Clipless Pedals for Beginners

Clipless pedals are a game changer for serious cyclists, providing a stronger, more efficient pedal stroke. However, choosing the right clipless pedals as a beginner can be daunting.

This guide will walk you through everything you need to know to find and use the best clipless pedals for beginners.

Choose the Right Pedal Type

There are two main types of clipless pedals: road and mountain bike.

Road pedals are lighter and stiffer, designed for high efficiency on pavement. They are best for road and touring bikes. Road Clipless pedals have a 2-bolt cleat that only allows forward and backward movement.

Mountain bike pedals are a bit heavier duty, designed for walking and rougher terrain. They have a 3-bolt cleat that allows more range of movement. Many mountain bike clipless pedals haveEasyclick mechanismsfor simpler clipping and unclipping.

Determine Your Budget

Clipless pedal prices vary widely, from around $30-$500. As a beginner, there is no need to spend over $100-$150. Look for pedals that are:

  • Durable- Built to last years with regular use and maintenance
  • Compatible Cleats- Get a pedal and cleat system that works together easily
  • Wide Platform – For adding and removing your shoes with ease

Choose Compatible Shoes and Cleats

Clipless pedals use either 2-bolt or 3-bolt cleat patterns. Make sure your shoes have the matching cleat type for the pedals you buy. Popular systems include:

  • SPD – Shimano
  • Look/Delta – Look Cycling
  • Speedplay – Speedplay


With the right research and preparation, you can confidently choose and begin using clipless pedals as a beginner cyclist.

Focus on a pedal type that matches your preferred style of riding, with a budget that works for you. Then practice, practice, practice clipping and unclipping until it feels second nature.

Clipless pedals will soon transform your pedaling efficiency and control on every ride.