I began this season with a pair of beloved Shimano XTs Iâ€™ve been riding (trashing) for the past 12 months. These pedals have been subjected to approximately one gazillion days of riding, so I decided it was time they retired. I recently replaced them with a pair of bright and flashy pink iSSi Trail Pedals, and for the past four weeks Iâ€™ve been busy putting them through their paces. They run $100 a pair and are similar in pedal body size and price to Shimano XTs.
The iSSi Trail Pedals have accompanied me all around the PNW on my Juliana Roubion including trips to my local trails in Seattle, as well as adventures in Port Angeles, Bellingham, and Whistler. Theyâ€™ve mostly taken me on all mountain escapades, but also a handful of xc epics, and even a couple days in the bike park. Their thin profile keeps them from hooking up on things they shouldnâ€™t, they feel solid and reliable underfoot, and theyâ€™ve proved to be an easy transition from the XTs because of their similar size and shape. As an added bonus, they always attract plenty of positive attention due to their brazen color. A common remark Iâ€™ve heard several times is, â€œThose pedals are so pink! Where did you get them?!â€ These pedals are hot, and theyâ€™ve made quite an impression on me thus far. Here are a few of my favorite features:
Solid Engagement: The pedals offer the rider a very tactile feel when engaging and disengaging which you can both hear and feel. Engagement is swift, crisp, and snappy. There is no in-between, and youâ€™re either in or youâ€™re out.
Release Point: Similarly, these pedals have a very consistent release point, a 15 degree angle, which is very similar to Shimano, Crank Brothers, and Time. Consistent release earns the iSSi pedals extra brownie points in my book, as my XTs used to shift and slide half-in and half-out toward the end of their life, and I often found myself unable to disengage from the pedal completely before occasionally tipping over in the parking lot in front of my pals. (Which often caused me mild panic).
Tension: You can really crank these babies down, noticeably higher than the XTs I was riding. If you like your pedals nice and tight, youâ€™ll be pleasantly surprised at the amount of spring tension that can be achieved by dialing up the adjuster bolt. Also, thereâ€™s a thoughtful little cutout in the pedal body so you can more easily access the bolt with a tool! Oh, and the adjustment has this neat dial that shows you how much tension each pedal has, similar to a ski binding. I really appreciate this visual feedback so I can see that I have similar tension on both pedals.
Compatibility: iSSi pedals are SPD compatible and can be used with Shimano, Wellgo 98, and (obviously) iSSi cleats. Selfishly, this makes my life much easier, as I have an eclectic assortment of pedals on all kinds of bikes. (Pictured: Shimano cleat on the left, iSSi cleat on the rightâ€¦ look pretty similar, right?).
Color Options: The iSSi Trail pedals come in 10 glorious and glowing shades of neon everything, but also have black, steel grey, and silver for the more traditional folks.
Other features: The iSSi website boasts of their new heat treating process which â€œdramatically increases the lifespan of our retention clawsâ€¦ that will not wear out and not develop sticky spots as the cleat moves toward release.â€ Thatâ€™s a great feature, but I canâ€™t vouch for this statement as Iâ€™ve only had the pedals for a month. So far theyâ€™re still feeling brand new. Something else worth noting is that iSSi offers 3 different pedal spindle lengths: standard (52.2mm), +6mm, and +12mm. So, if you have a mega-sized foot, or prefer your shoe/pedal to stick out a little further from the crank, you have some longer options in addition to the standard option. The pedal shown here is the standard option.
All in all, the iSSi Trail pedal and I have had a lovely time together. Although they are extremely similar in pedal body size, the iSSi pedals are a tad heavier than their direct competition, the Shimano XT. However, they have the capacity to attain higher spring tension, which is a big selling point for many folks. In summary, the iSSi Trail pedals have crisp engagement, reliable and consistent disengagement, a very solid feel underfoot, and endless color coordination options. If youâ€™re looking for a new pedal to spice up your rig, iSSi Trail are definitely worth checking out! www.rideissi.com
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