Saturday, February 15, 2014

new bike, part 2: pedals

On the subject of pedals...

I like Speedplay and have used them for more years than I like to admit. They're light, simple, have a low stack height, easy to clip into, compact, and double-sided (wait, that's implicit with "easy to clip into"), and works fine with standard street shoes (I'm not always wearing cycling shoes).

But they don't handle dirt well and the cleats are not compatible with walking. These are okay issues for many bike races, where you clip and go, but for other types of riding, being able to walk gets a higher priority. That's where mountain bike pedals come in.

Speedplay came out with a mountain bike pedal, the Frog. But it shares only a few of the assets of the road pedal. It's heavy, clunky, has a large stack height, isn't so easy to clip into (it has a phantom clip-in mode so you need to verify engagement once you feel a click), and doesn't work well with street shoes.

So Speedplay announced the Syzr at Interbike in... well, a long time ago. Over 4 years later, still no Syzr.

But there's really not a need for a Speedplay mountain bike pedal. That functional space is sort of occupied by BeBop. And not only does BeBop meet the needs of a mountain bike pedal, but it additionally serves as a quite functional road pedal. It's like the mountain bike pedal Speedplay wished it had made from the start.

Here's a photo:

About the only downside I see is the stack height is smaller than most mountain bike pedals are designed to handle, so you need to surgically remove tread from the sole of the shoe on the inside portion to make room for the pedal spindle. A small price to pay.

Wouldn't it be cool if you could get BeBop for Garmin Vector? Alas, you cannot. For Garmin Vector you have Look-style cleats. Here's one pedal, with its pod:

Double that and you have 352 grams. The Bebops were 192 grams. Neglecting differences in cleat mass, that's a mass increment of 160 grams.

Anyway, Exustar pedal bodies are designed for the road, but they actually don't work so badly for off-road. The cleats don't become clogged with dirt nearly as readily as Speedplay road pedals. And the cleats, with rubber pads underneath, are more walk-friendly than the Speedplay cleats, albeit walking in them will substantially accelerate wear. Speedplay cleats have covers available (I like the Kool-Stop model) but it's inconvenient to carry and use cleat covers every time you want to touch a foot to the ground.

The downside of the Vectors is the need for a torque wrench: 25 ft-lb of torque, or buyer beware. I don't have a torque wrench. Or do I? A torque wrench by definition is a wrench which delivers a predictable amount of torque. Torque is distance time force.



Note I have the 25 lb part down, but the distance is a bit shy of 1 ft. I'd need a cheater bar or a longer pedal wrench.


Garrett Lau said...

Since you have that digital scale, you can add the appropriate weight. You would also have to factor in the weight of the pedal wrench.

djconnel said...

Brilliant! I forgot the weight of the pedal wrench (actually, approximately half the weight). And of course I should have verified the kitty litter.