Here's my disclaimer: None of the products reviewed here were provided to me by the manufacturer or any retailer for evaluation. Nope. I'm not one of those famous bloggers who gets stuff for free. I purchased everything with my own money, and without any sort of special interweb journalist discount, so you can rest assured that the opinions expressed here are unbiased and come purely through my own experience ... good, bad, or otherwise. That being said, should any manufacturers out there wish to provide some cool bike-related products for ... ummm ... testing and evaluation ... I would likely be open to offering my honest review.
When I ordered my Hunqapillar, I had some pedals that I intended to install ... ones that had worked reasonably well for me in the past ... and I was content with that choice. While I was waiting for the bike to be assembled and shipped, however, I stumbled across a newer pedal that seemed like it might be a really good model to try ... and the spontaneous splurge soothed my impatience in waiting for the Woolly Mammoth Bike.
The new pedal is from Fyxation, called the Mesa, which isn't really "new" anymore, but was relatively so at the time of purchase. Here's a photo:
I'm not exactly the primary demographic for this pedal, as you might guess from the manufacturer's description:
- High impact nylon body built to take abuse
- Smooth running sealed bearings with a cro-moly spindle
- Molded surface pegs for a super grippy ride
- Compatible with most foot retention systems
Well ... although I'm not into BMX or Freeride, and I'm not exactly what you'd call an "urban" rider, this pedal still had a lot of appeal to me. The platform is very large ... bigger than any of my other pedals. The bearings are sealed, which maybe doesn't make much difference, but does reduce the maintenance. The body and pegs are made from "high impact nylon", which means it's pretty durable and won't rip up the soles of my shoes. The spindle is "cro-moly" steel, which should make for a strong axle to spin on. Plus, the "built to withstand abuse" part gave me the impression it would be a heavy-duty, durable pedal. All of this sounded like just the right stuff for what I do with a bike.
The only concern I had is that they're only available in black, bright red, and white. None of these colors are quite the right fit for a classic lugged steel frame with silver components. I worried that they would stick out like a pair of neon striped socks on an all black tuxedo. Nevertheless, I ordered a pair of the black pedals to try.
The pedals arrived long before the bike ... and I had time to look at them and have endless debates with myself about whether or not they would look okay with the Hunqapillar. When the bike arrived, I put them on ... and finally decided they could stay. Here's what they look like on the bike:
It turns out they weren't as hideous as I'd imagined, rather just blending in ... and they match the tires. Okay ... so it's not really a plus to have your pedal match your tires when they're black ... but it helps somehow in my mind.
So how do they work? In a word ... FANTASTIC.
The pedals I originally intended to use are the MKS Lambda, also known as the Rivendell Grip King. I'd used these pedals for quite a while on other bikes and always considered them my favorite, but felt they were lacking just a tiny bit in three areas. First, they're a little narrower than I ultimately would prefer, and with some shoes I feel as though half of my foot is hanging off the side. Second, the grip is very good and lets me re-position my feet easily, but can sometimes be just a tiny bit less grip than I'd like. I put some metal pedal spikes on a pair as recommended by Rivendell, and it does help, however, it also takes away a little bit of the full contact of the pedal surface. Third, the middle of the pedal body has no real support, so my foot is really only supported by the front and rear of the pedal, which also makes use with some of my preferred shoes less than optimal. Shoes with flat soles are great, but if there's a curved forefoot or a relief in the arch area, not so great. They also seem to promote a more "foot forward" position, which I like, but is not always preferred, as it can occasionally result in a minor collision between toe and fender.
Back to the Fyxation Mesa. This pedal answers all of the tiny issues I had with the Grip Kings. The platform of the Mesa is just a hair shorter, but substantially wider, and my feet always feel well supported in any of my shoes. The nylon pins provide a truly great grip, regardless of my shoe choice ... and yet they don't take away from full contact with the pedal. And my thought was correct that the non-metal pins don't seem to eat my shoes (or my shins) like the ones on other BMX style pedals. Finally, there's a nice solid support beam across the center of the pedal body, so no matter how I position my foot, it always feels like there's something under it ... once again, with any of my shoes. I've used them with everything from Birkenstock sandals to hiking shoes, and they all work very well.
Being the continual skeptic that I am, I swapped them out for the Grip Kings a couple of weeks ago, just to see if my assessment was accurate. Scientifically, I used them for three rides, with three different pairs of shoes. Sure enough, I immediately felt less supported in those little ways. So, without hesitation, I put the Mesa's back on.
I love that no matter where my feet are on the pedal, they feel solidly supported. This is a wonderful thing, since I do tend to move my feet around a lot on longer rides to prevent that little toe numbness that sometimes creeps in (this is one of the reasons I no longer use clip-in type pedals). I believe it's because of the nice broad support that I also feel more strength on longer hills.
They appear to be very rugged, although I've only used them for the past three months. There is no sign of any deterioration or sloppiness in the spindle, and all of the nylon pins are still intact.
And if it matters to you, they're incredibly light and very thin. Some say the thin profile brings your feet closer to the spindle, thereby lowering your center of gravity. Well ... okay, if a couple of millimeters makes a difference, then yep, they do it. I can't tell, myself ... but that's just me. They are also supposed to be compatible with the newer breed of pedal straps that help keep your feet in place. My feet stay on just fine without them, so I don't find any need for that sort of thing ... and as I mentioned, I like to move my feet around. But if you like them, this pedal might be a good design for you.
Are there any negatives? Well ... other than they don't come in a matching gray for my Hunqapillar, it's difficult to think of any. I suppose the extra wide platform might be prone to striking the ground if you ride really fast and lean hard into turns while pedaling, but that's not my style, so I've not experienced it. Also, the grip is so good that re-positioning my feet sometimes takes a little more effort, but not enough to be a concern.
I really like the Fyxation Mesa pedals. If money were no object, I'd certainly not hesitate to put them on all of my other bikes. If only I was one of those famous professional bloggers who gets stuff for free ...
So much for being "brief" ..... Happy riding!!