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My bike has trapezoidal flat pedals, similar to the ones pictured below. One edge is smaller than the other.

Two loose bike pedals, trapezoidal shaped, such that the front edge is smaller than the back edge

Since they're just flat pedals, there is no reliable way to favour one position over another — leading with the smaller edge or with the larger edge. The difference isn't large enough or its bearings not smooth enough to have the larger side hanging down reliably.

So why are these pedals asymmetrical and how are they to be used?

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  • I'd not expect any "special feature" from entry level urban pedals with unconventional design, other than looks. Otherwise, the asymmetry should cause the pedal to always be with the large side down when pedals are resting (like dual SPD/flat pedals), so if you approach from front or rear, you'll have the large side front/rear, but again, there shouldn't be any functional difference.
    – Rеnаud
    Commented Sep 4, 2023 at 10:07
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    @Renaud not even that, since the difference isn't pronounced enough or its bearings not smooth enough to make the pedals always hang same side down when not in use.
    – SQB
    Commented Sep 4, 2023 at 10:58

2 Answers 2

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I would guess there is no difference between the sides of the pedal, and the angle of the end is just styling.

There's exactly 50% chance the pedal will end up point forward vs rearward when starting.

These pedals cost £13.69 UKP in 2024, so they're entry-level pedals and probably have bushings instead of bearings.
Performance isn't a feature. Test this by flicking the pedal with your finger, and see how many full revolutions it does on the axle while stationary. A good pedal will do several rotations, while a gummy pedal will not achieve a half-spin by itself.

If you feel that one orientation is more comfortable, when riding simply look down and flip the pedal over to make it right.

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    "Performance isn't a feature. Test this by flicking the pedal with your finger, and see how many full revolutions it does on the axle while stationary. A good pedal will do several rotations, while a gummy pedal will not achieve a half-spin by itself." This isn't a performance Test, as even new high end pedals can do just half a rotation, because of thick fat in the bearings. You need to test bearings under load to see if they are any good.
    – airace3
    Commented May 24 at 6:31
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    My Deore XT pedals probably count as ”good pedals” and they wouldn’t even do a full revolution if I did that…
    – SimonL
    Commented May 24 at 7:18
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    The number of revolutions it will manage will also depend on the moment of inertia. Some good pedals will have most of the mass close to the axis. Commented May 24 at 8:05
  • OK fair enough - I'm trying to show that cheap pedals with bushings aren't as good/efficient as pedals with bearings.
    – Criggie
    Commented May 24 at 9:30
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    Pedals with sealed bearings will also fail at this test - especially without load, the cheap plastic pedals with bushings on my utility bikes do more rotations than the aluminium XT ones of the sport bike with sealed bearings. So no disagreement with the point of your remark, only with the way proposed to verify it ;-)
    – Rеnаud
    Commented May 24 at 9:58
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A possible upside of using such a design is that it can reduce the likelyhood of a ground strike when the shorter side is forward. The point is that you generally have the pedal tilted forward when its in its lowest position, so that a shorter forward edge increases the ground clearance while cornering. Not that it matters much, though.

A possible downside of a short forward edge is that the outer toes are not supported by the pedal, and that can lead to pain in your feet.

All in all, I feel that this design is rather pointless without also providing a heavy weight on the designed back-/underside to ensure proper orientation of the pedal.

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