I’ve been an SPD user since back in the day when I traded in a trusty pair of Power Grips and, cash in hand, stumped up for a shiny pair of clipless pedals and Axo’s Pony II boots. Since then I’ve spent a lot of time firmly clipped in, winching and plummeting as is the Calderdale way, and developing a whole host of – no doubt bad – habits along the way.
But the very nature of life is change, and challenging yourself is a good thing to do, and so – with a view to honing skills and unlearning the bad bits via a back-to-basics look at my riding style – I opted to embrace a new outlook with a pair of Giro Jackets and these rather lovely F20 pedals from Barnoldswick CNCmeisters, Hope Technology.
As you would expect from Hope, the F20 pedal platform is honed, via a massive investment in computer numerically controlled machinery, from a single billet of 2014 T6 aluminium. It’s available in a range of anodised colours: gunsmoke, purple, red, blue, and more neutral black or silver too if that suits your aesthetic desires better. The platform itself is slightly concave and has 20 replaceable pins to offer what Hope believes to be the right balance of grip and traction.
The pedal platform rotates around a heat-treated, high-strength chromo steel axle with an inboard, self-lubricating Norglide bushing and three outboard sealed bearings, all sitting within a well-sealed chamber. Initial rotation is slow as a result of the close-fitting double seals, but eases with use. It’s a sign of this close fit that I’ve had no issues with the pedals throughout the test: no play has developed, they show no deterioration, and still feel smooth when pedalling.
Fitting the pins to the pedals requires a 2mm hex key and with the sockets to the pins accessible from the opposite side of the pedal, they’re relatively protected when in use. Removal is a simple process should breakages occur. There are no spanner flats; an 8mm hex key is required to fit the pedal to a crank and keeps the pedal’s axle looking neat on the bike.
In use the CNCed, rippled design of the pedal surface combined with the hollow 4mm pins to create a decent platform for pedalling, while allowing easy foot movement when needed. Combined with the Giro Jackets, which aren’t the stickiest of rubber-soled shoes out there, the 4mm pins held everything where it was placed on all but the rockiest of descents, where some slight foot movement was possible. Nothing disastrous though, and easy to adapt to and prevent happening after experiencing it a couple of times. On balance I’d rather have the ability to move around a bit on the pedal, than the extra security of feeling ‘locked in’ by a stickier shoe/pin combo.
While the pedal was considerably wider than the XT Trail SPD pedals I’ve favoured since they were released, it proved easy to adapt to the extra platform on all but the narrowest of moorland singletrack, where pedal strikes inevitably occurred. (I realise this is a somewhat localised phenomenon, but it’s my favourite bit of test trail, OK?) Other than that the F20s seem suitably low profile, with a depth of a mere 15mm, and on rockier valley trails and trail centre blasts provided plenty of comfortable support on longer rides, where I admit I was expecting some foot fatigue.
Five months down the line I’ve come to love the F20s. In keeping with much of Hope’s output there’s a sense of longevity and quality to these pedals. They’ve been well designed to cope with UK conditions, are easily serviceable when the time eventually comes to take them apart (though I’m not sure that’s going to need doing anytime soon) and spares are readily available. There’s also the lovely warm feeling you get from knowing that they’ve been designed and made in the UK too.
If I was to change anything about them it would be to swap out the steel pins for the optional titanium pins I’ve read are available, but that would be purely as a ‘just because’ exercise, rather than any perceived performance improvement. I’m happy with them just the way they are.
A nicely proportioned flat pedal that offers a good compromise between freedom of movement and foot security. Well made and sealed for UK conditions.
|Product:||F20 flat pedals|
|Tested:||by Dave for five months|