In Issue #113 of Singletrack Magazine, we tested 17 different pedals as part of our Flat Pedal Group Test.
With nylon bodies, the Race Face Chesters were one of only two plastic pedals on test. Nylon isn’t the absolute toughest plastic, but it is cheap, tough, and can be molded in a lot of different colours. I don’t think anything else in this grouptest comes in the seven colour array Chesters do, so if you’re primarily looking for something to match the rest of your bike, these should probably be on your shortlist.
Plastic also puts them at the lighter end of the spectrum of pedals tested, weighing in at just 340g. There are lighter and much fancier pedals out there, but the Chesters have a decent combo of light and tough.
Like many plastic pedals, the Chesters use captive nuts rather than relying on threads in the pedal body, as while it is possible to put threads in many plastics, they wouldn’t last very long or resist tearing forces on pins very well. To fit everything in though, the pins are M3 – a thread so weeny that I’ve not seen it on any other pedals. In fact, the pins were the only weakness the Chesters had, bending very easily when struck on things. This is a stark contrast in durability compared to the M4 fixings most pedals rely on, but as long as you don’t mind extracting bent pins and replacing them occasionally, M3 hi-tensile steel socket caps and nuts are very cheap replacements.
Platform size is quite large at 110mm by 101mm. It tapers at the back to roughly 65mm, which doesn’t leave your foot feeling unsupported there, but does mean the pedal is nicely ramped underneath at the front when a given face is flipped to the bottom – all the better for deflecting rock strikes. In terms of that, while they did bend a few pins, the nylon bodies soaked up everything Calderdale could throw at them like champs, with only scuff marks to show for it.
Overall, they had good stickiness up and down everything, including technical climbs and descents. The slight bowl shape scooped out over the axle is immediately grippy, which was a surprise, as looking at them they don’t seem that concave compared to many other flats. Perhaps it’s an effect of the M3 pins being especially bitey and relatively long, but everyone who rode them immediately commented on how grippy the Chesters were.
Mud repellency is also pretty good, which also surprised me given the large shelves they have to hold the socket cap pins, but I can only speculate this is maybe due to the surface properties of nylon. Even after a good few months of being ridden, scratched and dinged they have a smooth matt finish overall.
If you only looked at them on paper, their stats could mislead you into thinking they’re not as good they really are. The Chesters may not be fancy, but Race Face has obviously put a lot of thought into the design. They’re certainly the best plastic pedals I’ve ridden, with good grip and feel. If it weren’t for the weak pins, they’d be a favourite.
For plastic pedals these are corkers. A good, cheap all rounder, but you’ll definitely need a bag of spare pins and nuts. If you’re on a budget and looking for grip above all though, these might be the ones for you.
|Product:||Chester flat pedals|
|From:||Silverfish UK, silverfish-uk.com|
|Tested:||by David Hayward for 4 months|