Many bikes are supplied with pedals that are functional but cheaply made. These pedals are made of plastic, they offer poor grip in the wet and their bearings wear out quickly.
Much better for transport cycling are the after market pedals sold for mountain bikes and BMX bikes, with a large studded platform.
The platform makes them suitable for use with non-cycling footwear and the studs improve grip in bad weather. On the better quality models, such as the DMR V12, the studs are replaceable when they wear down and the bearings can be replaced.
Pedal thread sizes
Pedals come in two thread sizes: 9/16″ and 1/2″. Make sure you buy the correct size. 9/16″ is the most common for adult utility bikes. There is more information on pedal threads at Sheldon Brown’s website.
Removing and installing pedals
A pedal is usually installed with a 15mm spanner. Pedal spanners have a slim head and an extra long handle. This long handle can be useful for loosening really tight pedals. Sometimes a normal 15mm spanner will work. Some pedals take an allen key in the end of the axle.
The right pedal has a conventional ‘right-handed’ thread and the left pedal has a reverse thread or ‘left-handed thread’. This is a safety feature intended to prevent the left pedal from self-loosening. It means the left pedal tightens anti-clockwise.
There is an illustrated article on rebuilding bicycle pedals at Sheldon Brown’s website.