Wednesday, September 12, 2012
Cyclocross Pedal Review Crank Brothers Eggbeater 3
There are a few assumptions that can be made for almost any cyclist. One such assumption is that everyone has at one time or another owned a bike make by Specialized. Everyone who rides off road, including Cyclocross, has owned at least one set of SPD pedals. Evo is no different.
I can recall the race in the Seattle Cyclocross Series at the classic venue of South Seatac. The day was wet and the mud was sticky. I had just passed a small group of riders on a short run up and I remounted and went to clip in. I tried, and tried. Too much goo on my shoes and thick mud caked on my Shimano SPD pedals. I groaned as the riders I had just passed flew past me. I finished in a foul mood and cursed my pedals. That week I got a set of Eggbeater pedals and I have never looked back.
The pedals look different from everything else out there. They don't have a platform per se. For many this is disconcerting, as you don't have as big of a "target," to aim your foot at. The upside is that mud has very little real estate to call home. The "open" nature of the pedal also ensures that any mud that does accumulate can easily be pushed through with minimal effort. Another benefit is you don't have to worry about pedal orientation when clipping in. There is no platform to hinder your cleat from engaging. When your shoe contacts the pedal if your cleat is not over the cage, you can slide your shoe forward or backward and it engages.
The Crank Bros cleats have a unique and excellent feature. You have two mounting options so you can vary your float when you install your cleats.
A design feature that can viewed as a positive or a negative is that release tension is NOT adjustable. This means as a rider you won't have little screws to lose, or a crash because you set your release tension too tight or too loose. At first I was bothered by the lack of adjustability, but I can say that after six years I have never had a premature release and when I have crashed or needed a quick exit, they have been predictable and consistent. I now consider the lack of adjustability to be a huge positive.
I have lubed them a few times and they are still going strong. A little love goes a long way.
To get the ideal set up, play with the included plastic shims (add them and test, remove them and test) and if you are wearing carbon soled shoes, get the shields to protect the carbon. You will know when it is right as the release is exactly when you want it and clipping in is easy.
The cleats are brass, so the soft material will alter the feel over time. If you service your pedals you will go through an extra set or two of cleats before it is time to retire the pedals.
I did try a set of the cheaper Eggbeaters and found the engagement clunky and release awkward and variable. If you are looking to save money, don't look at your pedals. Get the 3's or the 11's.
How happy is Evo with his pedals? I won't even think about using anything other than Crank Bro pedals. I do entertain trying a race with the new Candy 3's, but it hasn't happened yet.
The Eggbeater 3's (or better) get a full five of five Evos !