Being able to switch out pedals easily is extremely important for many avid cyclists! Being able to adjust from a clip-less, to a flat pedal with ease makes riding more enjoyable, and more versatile. However when you are shopping for your multiple pedal setup, you likely have wondered to yourself as to if pedals are universal, and if any pedal that you buy will fit on your bicycle.

So are bicycle pedals universal? Bicycle pedals are universal to a point! There are two categories of pedals (1/2″ and 9/16″ crank bolt size). If you figure out which one your bicycle is, and buy within that half of the category, all of the pedals you buy will fit your bike with no problem. However if you buy one from the other size, it unfortunately won’t fit.

The 9/16″ version of pedals is by far the most popular, and most modern quality bicycles now carry this standard. Now, this doesn’t exactly make them universal, however at least there are only two categories rather than a sliding scale of categories. So with that said, let’s dig a little bit deeper into this topic.

What is a 9/16″ bike pedal?

This is by far the most popular style of pedal attachment! Most all bicycles out nowadays offer this size of pedal crank arm bolt, as it is thicker, more reliable, and just a better setup. If you have anything that is not a big box retailer bicycle, or a children’s bike will likely have this one.

If that is a case, you should be able to buy really any pedal you find right here, and most bike shops will be able to supply a pedal that fits your bicycle.

What is a 1/2″ bike pedal?

1/2″ bicycle pedals are not nearly as common in modern days! It is a thinner bolt, resulting in lower reliability, and has slowly been phased out.

Due to cost cutting however, you will find them sometimes in big box retailer adult bikes, and some children’s bicycles as well.

Are there any other pedals outside of this?

There really are not many other options out there, except for the fact some french bikes actually come with 14mm pedals! Outside of that, you will only find custom bikes or one-offs that may have something slightly different.

Thankfully, the bicycle industry is trying its best to set up some standardization to make it easier for bicyclists to be able to make their bikes their own.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can you replace a pedal on a bike?

Replacing a pedal on a bicycle is actually surprisingly easy! All you need is a bicycle wrench, some new pedals and a small amount of time. You will basically place the wrench on the end of the pedal where it attaches to the crank arm, and turn counter-clockwise.

Why are bikes sold without pedals?

Many bikes now days due not come with pedals! This is because this is an easy item to add, and so many people have their specific preferences on pedals that they would likely replace them anyways. This saves time and cost for both the manufacturer and the new bicycle owner.

Can I use MTB pedals on a road bike?

As long as you have the same crank arm size, you should have no problem swapping out your pedals on your road bike and mountain bike. I don’t know why you would, but it technically is possible with no issues!


While bicycle pedals are not necessarily, truly universal, the 9/16″ version is so common that mosts people don’t have to worry while shopping to make sure they get the right pedal! If you have a big box retailer bike or a children’s bicycle, you should probably dig in a bit further though.