Doing it all the hard way...

Friday, January 8, 2010

Crank Bros Eggbeaters Review

Evo's pedal of choice. Not a wasted gram of material anywhere !

In a cross race at Fort Flagler a few years ago there was a sand pit the full width of the course that was forty to sixty feet in length. There was solid grass before and after the pit. Turns before the pit drained all your speed on the approach. As you hit solid ground after the pit you had a short steep uphill and a sharp right hand turn to the finishing line. Some people rode the sand, some ran it, and many stalled part way through. A good run was as fast as a good ride. It was one of those beautiful Cyclocross spots where desire made the difference. On the last lap a rider I had been battling the whole race nosed ahead of me and I hung on his wheel approaching the pit. I moved next to him as we hit the sand. I dismounted and ran for all I was worth and remounted ahead of him. I churned up the hill and beat him across the line.

A few weeks before I had not been as lucky when remounting after a muddy Northwest run up. I jumped on and stomped on my pedal. There was no click. I tried the other side without success. My pedals looked like scoops of chocolate ice cream and my shoes were no doubt also caked with thick sticky mud. I scraped my shoe against my pedal to clear it and finally clipped in. In the time it took me to get clipped, I had lost several places. I fought hard and passed back some, but not all, of the riders who had passed me. After the race I was upset and swore I would replace my SPD pedals with Eggbeaters. By the next race I had installed the Eggbeaters and I have never looked back.

There are a lot of races where pedal selection doesn’t matter. Grassy courses, or ones that are dusty. Dry sand can be ridden with most any pedal. Soupy mud is amazingly easy on different pedal types. The thick cloddy, sticky stuff is where the pedals that contend and the ones that pretend part ways. I can’t speak to all the options out there; I can only say the Eggbeaters are outstanding.

Pedals are supposed to do three things, be easy to clip into, keep you in when you ride, allow you to exit predictably. Durability, serviceability, etc, are required for all components, so I don’t see them as specific to pedals. Exiting the Eggbeaters is as predictable as the sunrise. I’ve never had an unhappy ending in my years of Cyclocross with these.

This past summer I read how to service them, and accordingly removed the dust caps and lubed them. Frankly they had thrived even with total maintenance neglect. They are stout, simple and function great. In use, they shed mud because there is nothing for it to cling to. If you get mud in it, your cleat will push it out because unlike other pedals, there is nothing blocking the mud being pushed out. They release exactly when you expect and I don’t feel any flex.

These excel in Reliability, Simplicity, Predictability, and Performance. If there is something else you want a pedal to do, I can’t think of it. Five stars

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