jump to navigation

CrankBros Smarty Pedals (+++++)

Just so you know what I am comparing these pedals to, these are my first “clipless” pedals. Ever. I’m 36 years old and all I’ve ridden was platform and toe-clip pedals. Earlier this year, I ordered the CrankBros Smarty pedals, and a pair of Kingston Forte shoes, and will never go back to platforms or toe-clips.

CrankBros Smarty Pedals

My hesitation to convert was based on a couple irrational worries. 1) Knee and/or ankle pains. 2) Falling over.

As for the first one, I had no reason to think that any particular pedal would cause me to have any kind of discomfort or cause any amount of pain with extended use. I had simply read here and there that some riders have developed “hot spots” or pains from riding with their feet locked onto the pedals. So, I thought that clipless pedals in general did not offer any amount of movement for the feet and that the shoes were effectively locked to the pedals in one position.

This is, of course, wrong. In fact, depending on the type of clipless pedal you choose, there are many different variations and ranges of motion allowed. Even better, the position of the cleats on the bottom of the shoes I bought are adjustable. If I needed to move them inward (therefore moving my feet outward), I could do so by simply loosening the screws, moving the cleat half an inch, and re-tightening the screws.

The CrankBros Smarty’s offer a total heel travel arc of 35°, with 15° in one direction and 20° in the other. In fact, you choose whether the shorter 15° arc is on the inside or the outside simply by selecting which shoe you put which cleat on.

As far as getting clipped onto the pedal, there are no strange movements or tricky incantations, I simply put my foot on the pedal and start pedaling. When I’m ready to clip-in, I slide my foot back slightly, causing the cleat to engage one of the four hoops, then the action of the pedaling clips me in. To get out, I simply kick my heel out. I don’t have to jerk it (I did the first time, expecting resistance and knocked my head into the wall I was holding myself up against).

And then there’s the second worry, falling over. Yes, I’m tempting the kharma gods here, but I haven’t fallen over yet. In fact, I have only come close once, and I jerked my shoe straight up out of the clip (not the way it should release, unless you force it), and was able to keep from falling over. My worry was irrational when you look at how likely you are to fall over as a kid while learning to ride a bike – but we did it. So, sure you might fall over, but just like learning to ride, the more you practice the less likely you are to fall over.

Things I like about the Smarty’s… the platform is “right-sized”. Not too big, not too small. I’ve only used the platform (riding without cleated shoes) once. It was during my tour of Oahu, on the gravel trail up around Keana Point, and I needed my walking shoes on because I had to get off the bike frequently and walk it due to the sand, so I simply pedaled in my street shoes. The medium sized platforms worked perfect, the egg-beaters didn’t get in the way, and I was able to safely bail from the bike when I encountered the hidden patches of sand under the gravel.

As far as installation, I was going to take the bike in to The Bike Shop to have them put on, but was sitting around bored one night, read the instructions, and decided to attempt it. Not too hard. Make sure you have anti-seize for the threads. Other than that, if you have the right sized wrench, understand the difference in the left threads and right threads, and are careful – you can install them yourself. I did.

So, overall, I don’t have anything negative to say about these pedals. I’ve never used any other kind, so I’m kind of biased, but my experience with these has been better than I expected. They are (based on my experience) the best beginner pedals for those who want to try out clipless.

I strongly recommend them.

Website: www.crankbrothers.com
Model Tested: Smarty
Specs: www.crankbrothers.com/smarty_black.php

Ease of Use: +++++
Comfort: +++++
Design: +++++
Quality: ++++
Features: +++++
Accessories: not tested
Value: +++++
Support: not tested

Best of it: Allows decent amount of movement
Worst of it: none

Overall Rating: +++++


1. …in case you didn’t know… « …bike to work to live to bike… - June 10, 2007

[…] other news, I’ve added a couple more reviews: Canon SD700IS Digital Camera CrankBros Smarty Pedals Sea to Summit 10L Kitchen […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: