Gravel Pedals (Road vs Mountain)

Just bought my first Gravel bike. I’ll be training and racing in New England. My road shoes have Time cleats, my Mtb shoes SPD’s.
Just wondering if the forum thinks it’s better to put mountain or road pedals on a gravel bike, and if it’s mountain pedals is there a favorite in the SPD world ?

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I use XT spds. M520’s are fine and dirt cheap if you are on a budget, but I prefer the lighter weight and looks of the XT. They are also easy to service


In my part of the world (Pennsylvania, USA), our gravel rides tend to cover what I would call “less technical mountain bike trails” (as opposed to say “fire roads” or access roads like the mid-west US). As such, I opt for my preferred mtb pedals/cleats (SPD, in my case). Also, there’s enough hike-a-bike that I prefer to wear what I would wear for cyclocross or trails.


Depends where you are and what you ride. I use both on my bike. MTB if I’m heading to the trails but road pedals if I’m riding straight gravel. It’s pretty rural around here so I don’t put my foot down much. If you plan to be doing (or think you might) be doing any sort of walking go for the MTB pedals and shoes.


I’ve always preferred SPD’s. EVERY bike I have wears XT pedals. Even my mtb race bikes don’t get XTR. I’ve had buddies break more than one pair of them, but the XT’s have been bullet proof for me.
I prefer the walkability of MTB cleats over road shoes for gravel cycling. Too many times getting off the bike for something wacky like wading through a creek crossing. :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:


Which New England gravel events you have in mind @Jkauffman? I’ve seen people walking (and done some myself!) at Rasputitsa, D2R2, Overland and Farmer’s Daughter. SPD’s are right for those IMHO.

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If there is any chance of walking in mud then go MTB, road cleats are very unforgiving if you pack them full of mud. As above, can’t beat XT/XTR pedals, they’ll last lifetime with minimal service.


Definitely thinking farmers daughter and Vermont Monster (ludlow).
Thanks for advice!

Are you referring to these? Shimano XT PD-T8000?

Crankbrothers Egg Beaters on my gravel bike


Up until now it’s always been Crankbrothers pedals on my gravel bike but I picked up a pair of PowerTap P1 pedals this past fall so I’ll be rolling with road shoes for a change.

I have various time atac pedals on my mtb and cross bike. Just need one pair of shoes. I hear that some people are not quite as happy with them since i think rossignol bought them.

I am not a big fan of spd pedals, they have not worked well for me in poor weather conditions.

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I say SPDs, but I am that guy racing, ahem, participating in crits on a crossbike. 90% of what I ride is gravel.

Side note: I have never worn road shoes. :open_mouth:


If there’s any chance that I have to dismount and travel forward while off the bike I’d choose MTB.

Time ATAC and Shimano XT pedals are fantastic. That’s where I’d start.

I found Eggbeaters had too small of a platform and created a hotspot. I also saw no benefit to being able to clip in on 4 sides … read: I never clipped in faster w/4-sided pedals.


25 year Time ATAC user and I am still a huge fan of them. Faultless engagement and I like the free float design vs the forced centering action of the SPD and similar designs.



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No, M8000. It’s the XC/race version.

XT M8000 XC Race pedals - have these on both my MTB and Cyclocross Bike - reliable and bullet proof + easy to service. A++

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Great info…this is different topic but I’ll ask. Any preference for a good gravel Tire?

It is a different topic and should have it’s own thread. Let’s keep this focused on pedals, please.