In Issue #113 of Singletrack Magazine, we tested 17 different pedals as part of our Flat Pedal Group Test
As part of that group test, we rated all 17 pedals according to several key performance characteristics including grip, platform shape, durability, and ease of service. At the end of the test period, we then presented four separate awards; Best Engineered, Best Grip, Best Budget, and Best Overall.
Winner Of Best Overall – NS Radiance
When people ask ‘What flat pedals?’ on the internet, these aren’t an option I’ve seen put forward before. More’s the pity, because I’m finding them great – even in the worst weather the UK has to offer. Perhaps that’s because NS Bikes’ home in Poland has a less temperate climate than the UK. First introduced in 2014, Radiance flat pedals seem to have had few to no revisions apart from the colours and a five gram reduction in claimed weight (395 down to 390g).
The bodies are just 13mm thick at the thinnest point, and 22mm on the tips of the highest pins. Unlike manufacturers that use proprietary pins, NS Bikes use 7mm M4 grub screws, and, rather than sell ‘kits’, even points out along with the pin specs on its own website how widely available they are. You could easily swap some out for longer grub screws, stainless, etc., if you want to. NS also drilled some of the holes deeper to create a virtual bowl shape with the pins, so no matter what length you put in them, if they’re all the same you’ll always have a 1.5mm height difference between pins at the edge of the pedal and ones near the axle.
Platforms are 103mm by 97mm, which felt perfect for my size nine feet, but might be a little big for smaller ones. 6061 T6 aluminium alloy keeps them tough enough, while two large cutouts give them exceptional mud shedding ability, and a few slots in the sides bring the weight below the magic 400g mark designers seem to aim for.
As ever with pedals, if you want these to look spick and span for longer you’re better off going for an anodised rather than painted option, as within a ride or two the paint started rubbing off the more exposed parts of our orange test pair (looking pristine is just not what pedals are for though, so I don’t mind). The paint is well adhered to the pedal bodies, just showing small rub marks and scratches, revealing a white primer coat under the colour. Sometimes powder coat on cheaper pedals can peel off in enormous flakes as soon as you bash it a few times – none of that here.
These orange ones are an extremely bright orange, and I wish Rob Crayons the best of luck photographing them for this review; I tried with my phone and it can’t really see them through the glare. Aside from black, the other options are similarly lairy, including bright neon green covered in black graffiti (completely eliminating any need to proclaim ‘Hello fellow Teens. I am not a cop’, to fit in at your local skate park), and an oil-slick finish anodising showing a rainbow of metallic colours.
The metal of the bodies is exactly where it’s needed to keep them tough, and they manage to be thin without being too flat. Combined with sticky rubber shoes, you definitely need to lift your foot to reposition it, and even without Tom Cruise-esque stealth rubber, they provide plenty of grip. Most of the time while riding I didn’t have to think about them at all, which is always an indicator of good design. Despite being so thin, the pedal bodies have a good bowl shape, reminiscent of DMR Vaults though not as deep. Still, grippier than I expected and able to keep hold of my soles up, along, and down anything technical that Calderdale has to offer.
There are grippier pedals out there, but for some riders there can be such a thing as too much grip when the stickiest shoes and toothiest flats combine. The NS Radiance pedals give just enough without changing any pins that I’d say, for most riders, they’ll pair up with the right shoes to give just the right amount.
Internally, the bodies run on a bushing plus two sealed bearings, which is pretty standard for most mid-range, mid-priced pedals. Opening them up at the end of our test period revealed absolutely no dirt ingress at the end caps, and only a little bit at the crank end of each. No play in either pedal, and only one of them had developed a slightly freer spin, so weather sealing on these seems pretty good compared to most.
A very good, reliable, thin, light enough contact point for your bike, and despite clashing horribly with every bike I own, my favourites to ride out of all 17 pairs on test.
|Tested:||by David Hayward for 6 months|
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Is there a standard for flat pedal measurement that indicates whether the quoted dimensions are width x length or length x width? No review (anywhere) ever clarifies this
Ha – just seen the caption… never mind.