Beginner Clipless: iSSi Pedal Doubles As Flat

Designed for “clipless on the commute or clogs on campus,” iSSi Flip pedals are a solid option for beginning riders who want to try clipless pedals before making the plunge or those who ride in street shoes.

issi flip II on bike
At 7.4 ounces apiece, these reversible clipless/flat pedals are heftier than the competition, Shimano’s A530. But the added bulk makes for a beefier pedal better suited to non-racing riders with less interest in maintenance and performance.

I slapped a high-vis pair of Flips onto my city commuter and swapped them onto my touring bike for a couple long rides. After a little over 500 miles on roads and some gravel, I’ve noticed some definite upsides (ease of use) and drawbacks (durability) to iSSi’s design.

Good Pedal For Beginners

At some point in the progression from beginning rider to regular commuter, the need for a pedal upgrade becomes apparent. Most bikes sold at box stores and local bike shops are equipped with cheap pedals to keep sticker prices down.

These stock pedals are generally plastic platforms that are not serviceable and have about a year of life to them. Any consistent riding will wear out the non-sealed bearings and introduce grit, moisture, and road debris inside the pedal.

By the time the pedals wear out, many riders will be on the verge of considering toe cages, pedal straps, or clipless pedals with cleats. The advantages being markedly more power per pedal stroke and security in wet conditions, where foot slip can easily lead to a crash.

issi flip II with bike

The iSSi Flip pedals are an approachable option for those who want the ability to use cleats, but the freedom to ride old-fashioned flats once in a while. Plus, unlike cages or straps, there is nothing to strike the ground when the pedal is flipped over.

Easy To Use, Too Easy To Abuse

The Flips were simple to operate and install. I swapped them out between bikes numerous times with a 6mm Allen wrench, and they engaged the cleat reliably and easily with minimum effort.

Beginners should have no problem learning the entry and disengagement mechanics. Plus, for serious commuters, iSSi offers a kit to convert the 58.5mm spindle length to 52.5mm or 64.5mm for a better fit.

But while using the Flips was easy, maintaining them required more effort. Twice I had to adjust the tension in the pedal to reduce noise and play where my cleats engaged. Tension adjustment is simple, requiring only a 3mm Allen wrench, which is a good selling point for any clipless pedal.

But the frequency of adjustment after a dozen rides was discouraging.

issi flip II

The biggest drawback to the iSSi Flip is its durability. I ride hard in urban and open road environments, and after roughly 500 miles of use, the spindle on the non-drive-side pedal has developed play. This likely accounts for some sporadic creaking I’ve noticed and will only get worse with further use.

Overall Impressions

The iSSi Flips have a few advantages over the Shimano A530 and Crank Brothers Double Shot, the two most popular alternatives. First, its $75 price tag is $10-$15 cheaper than either (though with a little internet shopping you can bring any of those prices down).

Second, the combination of features like cartridge bearings and bushings inside, available spindle adjustment, and tension control are great for the price.

Unfortunately, the price also seems like it may come at the expense of higher quality innards that stand up to serious riding and long miles. But for entry-level riders making the decision to upgrade into the world of clipless pedals, the iSSi Flip is an affordable way to acclimate.

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Adam Ruggiero is an all-sport activity junkie – from biking, running, and (not enough) surfing, to ball sports, camping, and cattle farming. If it’s outside, it’s worth doing. Adam graduated from the University of Minnesota with a BA in journalism. Likes: unique beer, dogs, stories. Like nots: neckties, escalators, manicured lawns.

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