Review: Gamut USA Podium Flat Pedals

by singletrackjay 0

By Jamie

Regardless of what and how you ride, the return of the flat pedal is definitely ‘a thing’ – although for many of us, the flat pedal has never gone away. Their mud shedding ability and ease of exit when riding more technical trail elements means the availability of quality flats has never been stronger. So how do Gamut’s new Podium’s handle all round trail riding?

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History

Those who remember the release of the original, alloy ‘Point One Racing’ – Podium (2010), will recall the fuss made about a combination of performance, high price and the unique, exposed and tapered cromo axle that made the Podiums stand out from the crowd; a number of manufacturer’s subsequent designs followed the Point One Racing blueprint.

A few years later, Gamut USA came calling, taking Point One Racing and co-founder Jimmy Amaral as designer and engineer with them. The result is the ‘Gamut Podium’, a new pedal, with an enviable pedigree.

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Design

In evolutionary form and function terms, it was in fact the the revised ‘Podium 2’ (2013) that looked much more like the new design we see here. Gamut have clearly taken forward the Podium with a number of design and manufacturing tweaks.

The new pedal body is extremely sculpted and on first appearances, might well be formed from magnesium alloy. It’s actually constructed from forged aluminium,  which Gamut claim increases strength, reduces weight and (importantly) brings retail cost down by nearly a third. It is quite easy to get carried away with the way these look and, okay, they might ‘just be pedals’, but mere slabs of metal these are not. Almost organic looking from every angle, they provide not a square edge on the outer profile to catch your ankle or associated fleshy bits.

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The chromoly steel tapered axle remains as was established with the Podium 2 redesign. So, the heat treated axle sits encased in the pedal body itself, with two pins placed at opposing ends of the central outer shaft to help centre the foot. The pedal offers a 100mm x 100mm platform footprint with nine (total) custom hollow alloy pins on each side, spaced strategically across the body. It’s a confidence inspiring fit, with three pins aligned at the front facing edge, and four pins more widely spaced on the rear. The axle spins on four sealed cartridge bearings (three smaller bearings towards the outside of the pedal, with a larger one towards the inboard spindle end).

With a very gently concaved platform, they are also super thin at only 10mm thick at the edges and by tapering to 8mm at the thinnest points. The Podium’s ‘DH tag’ shouldn’t put off any mountain biker whatever your discipline of choice. Weight watchers will be pleased to hear a pair won’t tip your scales over 300 grammes. In anyone’s book these fall into what can only be described as ‘super light’.

Performance

One of the worst crimes committed by some pedal manufactures is that they don’t make it easy to remove pins. It takes nothing to catch and bend a pin – and severely damaged pins can’t be removed without damaging the pedal body, or at best – and if the pin remains intact – an appointment with Mr. Pliers.The Gamuts’ pins sport allen bolts on the reverse (or at least grub screws), And these hollow alloy numbers are actually designed break if the impact is sufficient – this saves your pedal (and the threads) from undue damage from any huge clonks, and means that you can still remove them easily enough.

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Gone too are the machined platform channels that adorned the older model and the hollowed out sections at each forward facing end. The body is completely smooth edged and uniform, offering no small hollows to embed trail debris. A small ‘shelf’ where the branding is placed on either pedal underside does allow for small amounts of grime to build up but it doesn’t affect performance.

The low profile design means that you miss a large number of obstacles that you might tend to catch with thicker pedals, although both pins and platform have proved themselves tough enough to shrug off rock strikes. On the trail it’s almost impossible to lose this pedal, even in the roughest terrain and they have a stable, grippy feel without the need for gigantic sole shredding pins. Granted, they’re not cheap, even at the new, reduced price, but the great design and performance, combined with tip top materials and manufacture makes the reduced price seem more than acceptable.

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Clearly it’s early days with the new design here but, as with the older incarnations, these pedals can be fully rebuilt for similar costs compared to obvious rivals. Distributor Madison is for example making pin replacement kits (£14.99) and axle replacement kits (£16.99 per side) available for future maintenance duties.

Overall

On balance, my suspicions have been proved right so far. The intensity of the staff bun fight that ensued over who would get to test these was for good reason – and in truth, staff members who have ridden the older versions have been very much smitten.Costing nearly a third less than their earlier siblings and offering plenty of design evolution, the long term future of the Podium legacy is in very safe hands with Gamut USA. Recommended.

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Review Info

Brand: Gamut
Product: Podium Pedals
From: Madison
Price: £109.99
Tested: by Jamie for 2 months