In Issue #113 of Singletrack Magazine, we tested 17 different pedals as part of our Flat Pedal Group Test.
Taiwanese company Wellgo tend not to be the first name off someone’s lips when you ask a mountain biker about pedals, but they are in fact the worlds largest manufacturer of them. Of course, much of that is through OEM sales, but they also have a large array of budget, after market components. The rather unromantically named B144 flat pedals are a step further than most of their offerings, for several reasons.
Body thickness is quoted at a massive 26.6mm, but that includes the pins and I measured the thickest part of the body at 17.8mm, putting them in the same ballpark as many mid-range and budget flats. Weight is 380 grams, which isn’t especially light but also puts them firmly in the mid-range of flat pedal weights.
One surprising feature these have, usually reserved for much more expensive pedals, is a grease port. As well as that, they have many more threaded holes than pins, giving you loads of options on how many pins to put in and where. So many threaded holes suggests the factory has some kind of tapping machine (if you’ve ever had to tap a hole by hand, look up dual clutch ones – they’re impressive!). However they’re doing it, threading one more hole for the grease port isn’t a significant expense when added to the 36 holes already in each pedal body, and it’s a thoughtful addition.
You can’t get everything at a budget price though, and in this case the finish is a bit cheap. Aesthetically, the design features the medley of typefaces you might expect from a non-English manufacturer (likewise, when Western companies make things using non-Western alphabets, we mess up in similar ways that aren’t obvious to us at all).
Despite Wellgo’s website claiming CNCed bodies, the light sand texture seems to indicate a casting, with the shapes in the body accordingly basic and unfussy. The surface texture is visible, perceptible to a fingertip, and holds on to filth just that tiny bit more, but wasn’t detrimental in terms of them shedding most muck on wet rides.
The pins are, unfortunately, very stubby. The grip they provide is not great, and was improved after I removed some and added through-pins in whichever holes had clearance for them. Even so, on descents I found my feet could slip a little if I braked hard. If the bodies were drilled to have slightly fewer pin placement options, but clearance for through pins on every one of those holes, they’d be much better pedals. As is, I found the grip tune-ability of limited use with such stubby pins.
The features Wellgo have got onto a pedal at this price point are really impressive, but there are just a few flaws that prevent them from being really good for mountain bike use. Perhaps you could boost the grip with sticky rubber soles, but if you’re splashing out on fancy MTB shoes, you’re probably going to splash out a bit on pedals too.
There are things about the B144s that could be improved, but those improvements would likely turn them into a more expensive pedal. As is, the features they have are nice and make them a fettler’s delight; just don’t expect the grip and feel to match fancier options.
|Product:||B144 Flat Pedals|
|Tested:||by David Hayward for 2 months|