Last year I switched from riding SPD pedals on my bikepacking bike to flat pedals. I’ve ridden SPD’s for just about as long as there have been SPD’s and despite coming from a BMX background and being comfortable on flatties I’ve always preferred to be clipped in on a MTB. The main reason for the change was a practical one though, if I’m doing a multi day trip I don’t want to be carrying a spare pair of shoes around for non riding situations.
I started off with the DMR Vault pedals shown on this photo:
But as I found on a five day trip my feet got a little fatigued from a lack of support, though that still could have been from the fact I still rode SPD’s the rest of the time. I’d heard about the Pedaling Innovations Catalyst, but had never actually seen one in the flesh. When I was on holiday this year I saw a set in Colorado Backcountry Biking in Fruita. They looked perfect for the job and once I was back home I decided I’d give them a go.
As you can see when compared to a normal pedal these puppies are mahoosive! First ride out was quite entertaining, it was very wet and muddy and I wasn’t sure whether I’d made the correct choice or not, I found them a little slippy. However I got on to eBay and replaced the pins with ones 4mm longer for a fiver. While they did make the pedals look a little scary that did the trick and now they are super grippy and we’ve certainly had enough rain and mud to test them so far this winter.
More importantly though I’ve had the chance to do some longer rides and some back to back rides and I’m really happy to say that they are just what I was looking for. When you get the pedals there are instructions in the box and unlike anything else you’ve ridden they ask you to put the axle in the middle of the arch of your foot.
This feels a little odd to start off with, but after half an hour you forget about it and I must say it feels pretty natural. I’ve ridden the bike fully loaded down some steep and pretty choppy trails and we’ve stayed together! So all good. Also it has allowed me to use both a dedicated MTB flat pedal shoe when I want and also a goretex hiking shoe when it has been wet and I’ve had no issues with grip using either of those.
Obviously I can’t comment on durability yet, but I’ll get back to this once I’ve put some more miles / hours on them. All in all a really nice pair of pedals.