First published in Singletrack Magazine issue 99
When Barney first handed me these and told me the price, I was very much a cynic. Previously, I’ve tended toward budget flat pedals, and given how thoroughly I’ve beaten them up, I didn’t really see a reason to go for anything swankier. Over the past five months, I’ve put these Syntace ones through most of a Pennine gritstone winter and a heap of other abuse, and they’ve taken it all like champs.
Available in three sizes, Syntace sent us a large pair, which felt about right for my size 9.5 feet. As you would expect for upmarket flats, they’re light for their size, and turn well but not too freely. Spinny duties are fulfilled by a couple of standard sealed outer bearings, and inboard roller bearings larger than the bearings most pedals use. Rather than rely on a dustcap, they’re also hidden away behind a custom designed rubber seal, and Syntace has revised later versions to include an outboard grease port.
Each pedal has a whopping 28 pins, covering every section of the pedal body right from the corners to the centre. The pins have little hex flats at the bottom, making them fractionally heavier than some (if that’s the kind of thing that worries you), but from experience I can say that’s much better than digging bent grub screws out with pliers.
The bodies and pins alike have withstood rock strikes very well, with the black anodised finish wearing away somewhat on the outer corners, but the pins remaining intact, present and the bodies keeping their shape. Having lost pins and bent lesser pedal bodies with the same treatment, that was a bit of a surprise. Pins are available from Syntace dealers in alloy or steel flavour – ours were alloy.
The Titans clear mud exceptionally well. The bodies are well designed, with no cutouts or recesses deep enough for filth to really gather or stick in there. Even after some apocalyptically wet rides, I only ever had to wash a thin surface coating off them, with no clods or grass clumps in evidence.
The bodies measure up at 15.4mm thick before pins, and as well as the slightly concave profile you might expect, they have a bunch of subtle technical refinements that Syntace refers to as its I.S.C. or “Improved Surface Concept”. In Syntace’s own words, this is the result of a “tedious and lengthy pedal shoe contact detail analysis”, which is broken down into five specific features. In simple terms these are: a slightly concave surface, recessed centre pins that apparently make it easier to reposition your foot, two large hollows for your shoe to conform to, smooth pin surfaces to increase contact with soft rubber soles, and pointy corners creating a bigger platform.
I absolutely did not notice any of those things individually. What I did notice after the first few rides is that the Titans do a slightly better job of everything than any other flats I’ve ridden. I’ve tried them with various shoes, including skate shoes and walking boots; even with sub-optimal soles and a solid bit of dad-grade jumping, my feet stayed planted and I didn’t lose a pedal all winter.
The difference between these and most other pedals is by no means night and day, but they are noticeably more refined. Cheaper ones will do an adequate job but if you want something that’ll perform immaculately, the Titans might be for you.
I’m a convert. The Titans are tough, functional, and up to the challenge of British weather.
|Product:||NumberNine Titan pedals|
|Tested:||by David Hayward for Five months.|