Review: double-sided pedals

VP Components R62

Price: $90
Tester: Eric McKeegan

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I’ve ridden a lot of these clipless/platform pedals. They are my go-to pedal for bikes that might do double-duty on long rides and casual trips around town. I’ve been using these for over a year now, and you can color me impressed.

I have a few pairs of VP platform pedals that have put up with hard off-road use, and these R62 have proven to be similarly reliable. I’ve used both the included cleats and Shimano’s, and performance is identical with both. I like my clipless pedals tight, and there is plenty of adjustment here, from loose and casual to tight and racy.

The feature that sets these pedals apart are the four traction pins per pedal. Almost all similar pedals (including the XT Tour pedals on the previous page) use raised aluminum nubs that don’t grip as well as I’d like. The VPs stick to everything I tried including dress shoes with slick soles and lugged winter boots.

Even after a year of typically wet weather and a salty winter, the bearings spin freely. While part of me wished for a wider platform for longer rides, during most of those I was clipped in so it didn’t matter. And that smaller platform gets bashed less often on ill-advised late-night singletrack shortcuts. In short, these are the best of this breed of pedals in my experience.

Shimano Deore XT Tour

Price: $120
Tester: Jon Pratt

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Shimano’s XT Tour Pedal, the PD-T780, is designed with two distinct pedaling surfaces: a SPD compatible side and a flat, platform side. Now it doesn’t matter if you are wearing your clipless shoes, or regular sneakers. This is especially nice for an urban bike where you will be using it in different scenarios or on a touring rig for days when you need a break from those more rigid clipless shoes and want to rock out with some sandals.

The platform sides can also help you get through any mechanical issues you might have with your SPD shoes while out on the road. I’ve been using them primarily on my urban bikes and really like the ability to wear an SPD shoe for some of my longer distance jaunts but then switch it up when I want a more comfortable shoe to walk around in or stand for long periods of time. It’s a pain to get ready for a ride and realize you either need to change your shoes, or worse, your pedals—no more!

The built-in, slightly recessed reflectors are a nice touch too. Not only are you more visible out on the road, the reflectors are far less likely to catch on something or just be knocked off. The only negative things I’ve experienced are that the platform side can be a bit slippery when wet and the pedal is sometimes a bit of a pain to flip to the correct side when frequently stopping and starting. Even with those two issues, you’ll probably see them on my bike for years to come.

Crank Brothers Double Shot

Price: $90
Tester: Katherine Fuller

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The primary benefit of the Double Shot is that it’s made for Crank Brothers cleats. That’s not a knock—it just is. As a longtime Crank Brother’s user, I’m glad to see something like this finally available for my cleat of choice.

The actual engagement point is one-sided, meaning it doesn’t spin, but it does have a bit of front-back movement to help you find it. Engagement is simple–the big platform and slight concave shape makes the clip easy for your foot to find–nothing out of the ordinary for longtime Crank Brothers cleat users. This is not a super-high-end pedal, intended mainly for touring, commuting and entry-level riders, but it feels nice. The set weighs right at 400 grams, a tad on the heavy side, but the platform is just the right length and width (not too small) to support your sandal-driven flat-pedal riding adventures.

The platform features a diamond plate center strip that feels a bit like rubber under foot, and a few raised aluminum nubs. Without pins, these pedals aren’t super grippy, but are adequate. I would say they are best for someone who will clip in the majority of the time but still wants some flat-pedal flexibility. On my gravel bike, I appreciate being able to clip out one foot and plant it on a steady platform for peace of mind while descending sketchy singletrack (should I need to quickly put a toe down). The soles of a clipless MTB shoe will also grip the flat side well enough for pushing off steep inclines from a standstill and whatnot, and has often been welcome in that regard.

Available in black/grey or orange/black. Search for them online to find good deals for less than retail pricing.

 

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