Overview of Pedals

This overview is general, with specific overviews about each manufacturer. Pedals are a bearing intensive part of your bike and they may be dealt with more intimately here than you're used to, but it is the body contact power point and for that reason we give them additional gravitas. There are some terms and concepts you should be familiar with. The thread on the spindle that fits in the cranks for all of these pedals is 9/16" in diameter with 20 threads to the inch, which, in pedals, is known as an "English" thread. All the pedal sets we sell come in English thread only, just as all the crank sets we sell come in English thread only. Any of these pedals will work, without exception, in any of the cranksets listed in our crank section. Pedals have three primary parts. The first is the "spindle", on which threads into the crank arm and is surrounded by the body. Second, is the "body", which is commonly of cast aluminum that the spindle and bearings are housed in. Finally, is the "cage", made of steel or aluminum, it is the outer band of metal that toe clips and reflectors are bolted to. In the body, on the spindle are usually two sets of bearings. The set nearest the crank arm is referred to as the "inner" bearing. The inner bearing is where the preponderance of the force and load are converted to forward momentum in the drive train. Some makers therefore use larger, more durable, or higher quality bearings for the inner pedal bearing. The bearing at the end of the spindle is referred to as the "outer" bearing. The outer bearing's primary purpose is to support the end of the spindle so the pedal body rotates freely in a level plane. The outer bearing may be smaller or of lesser quality without greatly compromising the pedal mechanisms or their effective life.

Some pedal bodys are cast with protrusions from the spindle to the cage, where the cage is then fastened. Generally, there are two of them moving to the front and two moving to the rear, which hold the cage to the body. These are referred to as pedal "braces" and show themselves most in traditionally styled racing pedals. At the rear of most pedal cages is a small metal tab that sticks out. It is sometimes cast into the cage or a part of the cage that is bent outward. This piece is known as a "toe flip". The toe flip gives a pedal, with toe clips fastened, a point for the bottom of the shoe to grab so the pedal will rotate backward allowing easy entrance into the toe clip and strap. Where toe flips are built into the cage, we've mentioned it. Aftermarket toe flips are available to bolt to pedals which have none, or where the toe flip is impracticably small. Look at the end of the Pedal section for WTB Toe Flips. Toe strap installation: toe straps are threaded from the outside bottom through the cage and the first brace, leaving the buckle face down. Once you pull all the strap through the first brace, the custom is to put one 360 degree rotation in the strap, just one complete twist, then pass the strap through the inner brace, pedal cage and up and back through the toe clip strap supports. The twist between the rear braces is an old trick so the strap can't move loosely left or right, and makes having to reposition it continually unnecessary. Some pedals, for mountain bike purposes, are made with the same features on both the top and bottom of the pedal. This allows the rider to use either side without paying attention to where and how they are putting their foot. This is known as a reversing style pedal or "reversing pedal". Several terms are used by manufactures to describe how far the bike can lean over before you "dig" a pedal. Among the terms are "cornering angle", "degrees of lean", or "lean angle". All these terms are used to describe the angle of the bike can achieve from vertical toward the ground, before there is pedal to ground contact.
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