Pedal Envy

A couple of weeks ago I posted about pedals and how they’re the most likely culprit if your bike is making little clicks and creaks. Here’s an excerpt:

We’ve all experienced annoying little clicks and creaks on our bikes. You know, like the kind that happen each time the crank comes over the top at 2 o’clock. I often hear people talk about tightening crank arms and checking bottom brackets when this happens, but odds are it’s a pedal. See, many of the pedals we commuters use, particularly those such as the low-end models from Shimano or the touring pedals from MKS, contain the cheapest bearings on our bikes. They’re the most likely to run rough, and they’re also the most likely to click and creak.

Being the aficionado of fine bike parts that he is, this bit about cheap transpo pedals caught the eye of my friend Bob over at The Bike Biz. So, to school me in the ways of high-quality platform pedals, he sent me a pair of super sweet White Industries Urban Pedals to try out for a couple of weeks.

I’m a bit of a Luddite when it comes to pedals — I’ve been using some variant of the old rat trap for many years — but I have to admit, these White Ind. pedals are something else. With their machined platforms, tapered stainless steel spindle, bronze acorn nuts, and sealed cartridge bearings, they’re really more like jewelry or a high-end fly reel than the cheap-o pedals that I’m used to.

I’m a fan of double-sided platforms; I like the fact that I can just step on a bike in anything from flip flops to hiking boots and not have to fumble with my feet. The White Ind. pedals are single-sided platforms, and while they can be used without clips, it’s clear they were designed for use with clips and straps. I found myself hunting for the top side of the pedal and skating around a bit, both issues that would be resolved with the addition of clips. Since they’re on loan, I didn’t want to mount clips for fear of marring the finish, but if I was to use these myself, I’d definitely set them up with clips and straps.

These are just about the smoothest running and most beautiful pedals I’ve ever experienced. I can’t honestly say they’d be worth the $220 price tag for me, but if you’re wanting a set of made-in-U.S.A. lifetime pedals designed specifically for city riding, you won’t do better than these beauties; they’ll certainly add some major bling to any bike that’s up to it.

[Bob is the manager of The Bicycle Business in Sacramento, CA. The Bicycle Business is a sponsor of this website and provided the pedals for this article.]

18 Responses to “Pedal Envy”

  • bongobike says:

    That is one beautiful pedal. The wide platform must feel great, and with that tab, flipping into the clips must be a breeze. But $220?!?!?!? I’ve bought some really nice used bikes for less…

  • alan g. says:

    To die for! Unfortunately, I’d have to so I (my wife, that is) could afford them

  • MohjhoRyder says:

    No reflectors?

  • Alan says:

    @MohjhoRyder

    “No reflectors?”

    Um, that’s a different sort of bling… ;-)

  • Randobarf says:

    You guys are so cheap! $220 is nothing for that much machining! These pedals are modeled after the venerable Lyotard Marcel Berthet (aka MB23) steel pedal in production from the late 1930′s until the mid 1980′s. I still use a pair of Lyotard MB23′s with toeclips and they have served me well over tens of thousands of miles.

  • jamesmallon says:

    Not so bling, but am liking my Shimano spd-a530s: platform one side, cleat the other. However, do remember to raise the inside foot on a turn. No fun to bottom out on a platform pedal in a turn.

    I don’t like most platforms, as my feet skate off after using cleats for years, but I think I need to avoid cleats riding on Toronto winter ice, and so I can wear boots. Anyone tried spiked downhill pedals with half-clips? That ought to work.

  • Lovely Bicycle! says:

    They are beautiful, but I need double-sided pedals. I experimented with some vintage Atom 700 Pedals, but it was just too stressful for someone at my skill level to keep flipping the pedals in traffic.

  • Alan says:

    @Randobarf

    “You guys are so cheap!”

    I think that’s the first time on this blog that anyone has accused me of being cheap… LOL

    Alan

  • Scott aka SirLanceI'mNot says:

    These pedals are certainly the cream of the crop for city bike applications, especially when combined with the stainless steel or titanium half clips from Bruce Gordon. I tried that combination on a test bike and was amazed at how easy they are to get in and out of, and how smooth and solid the feel is … and I’m not a clip or clipless guy by any stretch. Yes, they are very expensive … but when you look at the price of higher-end “clipless” pedals from Speedplay and the other leading companies, it’s really not out of line. It’s fairly common for a roadie to spend $200 – $300 for a set of nice pedals … and when you add to that the cost of cycling-specific carbon-soled shoes to match, the “pedal system” price climbs to the $500 range quickly. So, I suppose spending $275 for the very best platform and half-clip city bike solution really isn’t so bad for something you’ll likely never have to repair or replace, considering you don’t have to buy special shoes on top of it. Heck, I’ve seen pairs of designer jeans selling for that much and more! Bicycling magazine routinely reviews shorts and jerseys that cost $200. I suppose it’s all in one’s own personal point of view and what matters most.

    All that being said, these pedals are still a little out of my budget at the moment … but one can still dream …

  • Alan says:

    @Scott

    Don’t get me wrong; these pedals are certainly priced appropriately considering the quality of materials and construction.

    Alan

  • randomray says:

    Hmmm , not every high milage cyclist needs or wants to spend $500.00 on pedals/shoes . LOL I’m sure they are fine equipment and it’s great they are made in the USA .If you’re into the fine equipment I say go for it . For me it’s about the ride , not impressing my friends with my bicycle or speed .

  • Joel van Allen says:

    I bought a pair of these for my commuter a few months ago. If I could I would put clipless on my commuter, but by the time I bought shoes to go with them, I’d have paid more than for these little jewels. As it is, I’ve never been a fan of pedal cages– until now. These pedals are absolutely awesome! They dangle upside-down with the weight of a cage and straps, but flip effortlessly into place. Admittedly, they took me a bit of practice at first, but now they’re second-nature. So smooth you won’t even know they’re there. If every part of my bike were this smooth and quiet, it’d be called flying instead of bicycling.

  • alan g. says:

    Just curious, do you have the dimensions of the platform?

  • Andrew says:

    I love the look, and I imagine they’d be beautifully functional with a set of toe clips…that tab on the back is brilliant. That said, that price is way, way, way more than I would ever consider spending on a standard pedal.

    For what it’s worth, my clipless solution (cheap Crank Brothers Smartys and a nice set of subdued Shimano sneakers) cost a grand total of $130, and you can catch even better sales if you’re lucky. I had taken them off for commuting, but threw them back on for this past weekend (I was one of the volunteer ride-along bike mechanics for the Ride to Conquer Cancer), and when you’re doing 220 km over two days on a loaded touring bike trying to keep up with a pack of cyclists on road bikes, I was tremendously thankful for clipless efficiency…

  • bongobike says:

    I’m curious about the dimensions too, Alan. Would you mind putting the measuring tape to it?

  • Alan says:

    I’ll check the dimensions this evening and post here.

    Alan

  • Daniel M says:

    I just came across a link to an article about the original Berthet pedals in Rivendell Reader 25. Here they are, as two successive scanned pages at a somewhat reasonable size:

    http://www.cyclofiend.com/Images/rbw/rr25_pg26scrn.jpg
    http://www.cyclofiend.com/Images/rbw/rr25_pg27scrn.jpg

    Completely random find; wasn’t hunting for pedals at all but saw the photo and recognized them as the forerunner of the ones Alan had posted recently. Thought someone out there might be interested.

    Daniel

  • Sharper says:

    Nice machining! I definitely see the appeal to platforms+cages (I’m quite contented with MKS Touring + Velo Orange Deep Half Clips myself), but I’m not so sure about the single-side platform. On long rides, I like being able to flip the pedal over if I need to ride out of the clip or on other parts of my feet for a while, and I’m not sure I’d bother dropping $200 for pedals on my urban (short-distance) rider.

    A note, too, on reflectors, courtesy the California Vehicle Code:

    Sec. 21201 (d) (3) A white or yellow reflector on each pedal, shoe, or ankle visible from the front and rear of the bicycle from a distance of 200 feet.

    Since these pedals don’t seem to have the proper mounting for reflectors, the onus is going to be on the rider to wear ankle or shoe reflectors to stay compliant. Fortunately though, if there’s one thing police officers seem to understand less than bicycle vehicle laws, it’s bicycle equipment requirements…

 
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