At the risk of sounding like a bumpkin, why do I see some bikes sold without pedals or at least pictured without pedals? Is there some kind of benefit to buying pedals separately? Do some people take their pedals off the bike when not in use, like they might take off their wheels or seat post?
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Most cyclists tend to stick with one of these standards across all of their bikes, so they don't have to have multiple sets of shoes. Thus higher-end bicycles typically are sold without pedals so that the customer can select the style of pedal that matches their existing shoes.
Because most of the high end bikes are sold without pedals.
Pedals are a totally personal matter. A rider is expected to buy pedals for the new bike or use pedals from an older bike. Especially in the MTB world this is more prevalent where the rider will either be riding clipless or flat pedals and there are tons of variations for each of the two types.