To pin or not to pin ( your pedals) that is the question

Just curious what types of pedals you all are using for different riding situations and wheel sizes. I have a love hate relationship with my pinned pedals, once my foot position is set I feeI confident they will not slip off but I find it difficult to adjust my foot placement after mounting on my larger size wheels, not so much on my 26er.

I’m with ya, Let’s see how it goes. I Hope for lots of responses,

I prefer pins. They can be a PITA, like when you land your feet too far forward and you’re having trouble reorienting your feet without flipping the pedal over, but once you get your feet planted right it’s good to know they’re going to stay put.

I agree but it’s that awkward few moments of wiggling a lifting to get it right that is so annoying. On my 26er I usually do a static mount with a stall and a hop to get my feet right, if it’s not right I idle and on the back stroke I am able to lift and adjust my footing. It’s always my left foot. I’ve had pinned pedals on all my unis for years. I recently put some hybrid pedals on my bike I use for bike trail riding, wide platform with a grippy flat surface. I have to admit I love them on my bike and may try them on my 29er, no pegs.

Trying to get your feet just right before you try a hill climb or a difficult patch of terrain can be challenging, and I frequently find myself trying to reseat one foot or squiggle it around to the right place. But once I’ve got my feet where I want them, I like the way pins hold them in place. To me, the extra stability is worth the fuss of having to fight with the pedals to get them in the right place.

At this point however, I’d be afraid to go that one extra step and go clipless.

It’s always a combo of shoes and pedals. Usually the five ten shoes with stealth sole is recommended for mountainbiking, but even with those shoes you’ll notice a huge difference with pedals.
For example:
Hope F20 pedals have a lot less grip (and therefore you can slide your foot around with less effort) than the Nukeproof Horizon Pro.
Both have steel pins and are famous brands and pedals.

For mountain unicycling I prefer the fiveten stealth sole with Crank Brother Stamp 7 as the best combo, but for unicycle trials I’ve got the Reverse Escape pedal with Adidas Original Jeans

for the best result. The fivetens have too much grip in that combo and whenever losing my balance it could take a fraction longer before I can get my feet on the ground. Therefore these sneakers give a better result.

That is not the question, because there are so many gradations of pedals, from completely smooth, to plastic teeth, to less-aggressive metal pins, to full-on calf-eaters. I think a better question is: Can you wiggle your foot into position, or do you need to lift your foot up to reposition?

If you do big drops or ride in wet conditions, aggressive pedals are a good choice. If you’re a freestyle rider, you’re constantly transitioning from one position to another, and being stuck on the pedals is bad.

I live in a dry climate and I avoid drops over one foot. I use 5/10 Freeriders (love 'em!) and less-aggressive (but not totally smooth), all-plastic pedals (Nimbus all-plastic on my 20", Fixation on my 24"). I am constantly changing my foot position. For example, when going down a steep hill on my brake-less 24", I will point my heels out a tiny bit, away from my narrow-Q cranks, to avoid stepping on a crank while pivoting. Or, if I am trying to ride on a narrow curb, I will position my feet as close as possible to the toes, for more control. Even on the scale of a single crank-rotation, I think there is a bit of wiggle happening.

I experimented a few years ago with more aggressive pedals. They bothered me when my foot position wasn’t correct, and I sensed my knees were being placed under increased twisting forces which would normally be absorbed by small motions between my shoe and the pedals.

There are riders of all levels on this forum. A beginner is going to have awkward dismounts, and thus I believe a smoother pedal is safer for them because it keeps them from being “caught” on the unicycle. A novice may gain more control the uni, but there may still be an unpredictable dynamic between their body and the unicycle, causing them to sometimes, inadvertently un-weight from a pedal; they may benefit from more aggressive pedals. An advancing rider may learn how to control the dynamics between their body and the unicycle, by holding on, by controlling weight in the seat, and for them, more aggressive pedals may be overkill. And an advanced rider who does crazy stuff, is of course going to benefit from the aggressive pedals.

If you only ride on aggressive pedals, you’re not going to learn how to actively, dynamically control your foot position. So, when you try less-aggressive pedals, you will feel out-of-control. Conversely, after years of pedals I can wiggle on, switching to aggressive pedals might drive me insane. For example, I have almost “unlearned” how to lift my foot up for re-positioning. I suppose, if my riding conditions were long, straight and predictable, maybe I’d be all right with aggressive pedals, but that’s not the way I roll.


Last season I switched out my fixation pedals for the nimbus studded on my 29 road and recently on my 32 road unicycle. I use them on my 26 muni. I thought it would be a good idea to have the same pedals on all my Unicycles I think I’m going back to the fixations on the road Unicycles.

Not too grippy pedals on my freestyle/flatland uni, pretty grippy pedals on my muni.

I need to adjust the feet on the pedals more often with flatland/freestyle, since I get on and off the pedals a lot there. If you put you land a trick, your feet are pretty much never perfect on the pedal. Also, for some flatland tricks (crankflips for example), a little less grip is actually better. On my Muni, I mount, adjust my feet and if I don’t UPD, I have no reason to adjust them again after that. Ideally I would barely ever change foot position, so a lot of grip is nice.

In my experience, with flat soled shoes and pinned flat pedals, it’s never too hard for me to adjust my feet on a Muni. Agressive thread on the soles (hiking boots for example), or caged pedals however can actually make it quite annoying.