March 14, 2011, 9:58 am / Categories: Biking
A few times a year, I like to step back and gush over a piece of equipment that has long served me in the field. Today’s entry comes from Crank Brothers of Laguna Beach, Calif., and its much-heralded “Eggbeater” pedal line. Specifically, for me the company’s top-of-the-line titanium model — which goes at an astounding $425 a set! — has been a super solid product. I have literally been clipping in and out of the same pair of these pedals for six or seven years and thousands of miles ridden, and there’s been nary a hiccup the whole time.
The design has changed a bit over the years. But my “old” Eggbeaters are essentially the same product as what’s sold today. Crank Brothers offers a true classic piece of gear with its minimal clipless pedal. A strong spring, a titanium spindle, bearings, a threaded end, and titanium “wings” that clip to a shoe cleat comprise the artwork that is the Eggbeater design.
No, this review is not a paid endorsement! I love these pedals, but at more than $200 apiece, they are pricey beyond belief and I have trouble recommending them to all but my most affluent cycling friends (which are VERY few between, I might add!). But in the “you-get-what-you-pay-for” category, the titanium Eggbeaters have more than passed my test. They have traveled the world with me and adorned fixed-gear bikes for city riding and alleycat races as well as dual-suspension 29ers for crushing on singletrack and downhills.
What do I love about the Eggbeaters? The clip-in is not solid and “mechanical” like it is with a Shimano SPD pedal. Crank Brothers’ connection underfoot is lighter and “softer” feeling, and there’s a fair bit of play from side to side, which some people love and others (especially long-time SPD riders) tend to hate. Your foot is connected on the pedal, though not rigidly held in place. You can twist your shoe ever so slightly for balance or comfort on the ride. Twist far enough, to 15 or 20 degrees, and the shoe pops off the pedal for release. You get used to this after a few days of riding and can just “sense” the range.
I swap my ti Eggbeaters out bike to bike as needed. I love the performance of these pedals underfoot, but my connection is more than just that. I will go as far as saying my connection is visceral and sentimental — the kind of feeling you get for a climbing rope or a backpack after a crazy mountain climb. The gear morphs from inanimate object to invaluable (sometimes life-saving!) tool, to “friend.” Well, at least it does for me.
The latest titanium Eggbeater pedals, the newest version of the pedal I use, are called the Eggbeater 11. They weigh a crazy light 174 grams per pair and have a five-year warranty. The company sells less-expensive iterations of the Eggbeater, too, and they are all worthy pedals. The Eggbeater 3 model, at $120, saves you a bunch of dough at the “cost” of a bit more weight — 278 grams per pair — and stainless steel on the body and wings instead of titanium. It’s a solid pedal and a great choice if you’re looking to try the Crank Brothers experience, but don’t want to drop four big bills to get there.
—Stephen Regenold is founder and editor of www.gearjunkie.com.
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