Project cyclo-cross bike has given us a good excuse to look at off-road pedals in more detail and there was one name which constantly came up when discussing pedal choice with seasoned ‘cross racers: Crank Brothers.
For someone used to spd pedals when venturing away from the safety of tarmac, conceptually the Crank Brothers pedals take a bit of getting used to long before you try and use them. They look somewhat different to anything else. Its clear to see where the ‘eggbeater’ name comes from as you might be forgiven for attempting to connect them to the end of your kitchen appliance mid-souffle making.
However, there are plenty of other manufacturers who use a similar ‘hook and bar’ type design; its just that the Eggbeaters are Crank Brothers pure race pedal and consequently are stripped to the bare essentials. We’ve heard nothing but praise for them from those who use them in cyclo-cross, listing superior mud clearance, ease of entry, great float, and straightforward home maintenance with excellent servicing support were all quoted to us.
The Eggbeaters are only half the story though as we were fortunate enough to be sent two pairs of pedals by 2Pure, the UK distributor, and the second pair, the Crank Brothers Candy, is a much more substantial, more familiar looking affair even if on closer inspection it is essentially just an aluminium platform placed around an Eggbeater style pedal.
With the Eggbeater you are offered true four sided entry but we imagine that you have to be accurate with your foot placement on re-entry and would need a stiff soled pair of racing shoes to get the most out of them. The Candy gives you the added advantage of the platform (cage) for extra foot support and may cope better with badly judged foot placement. Crank Brothers pitch it as the dual sided pedal with four sided entry, as you still have the advantage that the spring is free to rotate within the aluminium body giving you a theoretical four chances at connection.
It remains to be seen which set of pedals will find its way onto the bike in time for some summer ‘cross races. It is far from a case of one being better than the other as there are plenty of examples of top riders who use one type or the other, equally successfully. At the end of the day its going to be down to personal preference. Obviously we are lucky to have the opportunity to try both, so if you are considering Crank Brothers pedals we will try give you a steer as to which one might suit you best, so that when you take the plunge with your hard earned cash you are less likely to regret your choice.