Amanda tests and reviews Brandon Semenuk’s favourite flat pedals – the Chromag Contact
For the past six months I have gone from trail bike to enduro bike, back to trail, and eventually ended up on a steel hardtail. I’ve been changing shoes and bikes as if they grow on trees, with the one consistency being my pedals. And yes, I am sticking with flat pedals on a twitchy hardtail.
The Chromag Contact is Brandon Semenuk’s signature pedal, so if they’re good enough for that trickster they should be more than enough for me.
Designed with a lightweight compact platform that protrudes out around the axle and bearing housing to bring your feet closer to the cranks, they offer a level of control that I haven’t had before. The bearing housing is very neat and flush with the pedal body, making sure it doesn’t get in the way.
Chromag Contact Pedals – The Ride
The pedals encourage your feet to nip the cranks, which initially felt restrictive to me. This meant I had to adjust my positioning and pedalling style, but once I adjusted to adjust them I soon realised the advantage.
I had far more control over the back end of the bike, and in particular on the hardtail. My feet don’t bounce off the pedals and I have quite a good ‘grip’ on the entire back end. If I jump on someone else’s bike now, I inadvertently place my feet inwards to give that same crank-nippy goodness.
To add to this contact with the bike (and I JUST, at this moment, realised where they got the name ‘Contact’ from), the traction between shoe and pedal is at the stickier end of the scale. There’s just enough give to allow you to adjust your feet if need be, but in general your feet are planted with these.
I have ridden in FiveTen Freerider, FiveTen Freerider Pro, Shimano GR7 and most recently ION Raid Select shoes. In all cases, my pedals have been more than just a contact point.
You know those trails that have inconveniently placed DeathRocks exactly where your tyre wants to be, and you get ejected off? Well, being able to pull the entire bike up or around those rocks/roots both quickly and efficiently has saved my arse on several occasions.
The ION Raid Select in particular seem to be having a love affair with my Chromag Contact pedals – completely inseparable and each bringing out the best in one another. I have been riding some very loose, rocky descents at speed on my hardtail, and my feet have remained where they need to be at all times.
As mentioned, I have done a lot of bike swapping in the last six months, and I’ve put a lot of miles in on these pedals. Aesthetically they have the usual signs of wear that you get with any pedal, but the bearings themselves still feel as smooth as the day I got them. I haven’t lost any pins either.
My main points of reference I have for these are the DMR V12 and Hope F20 pedals. I’d like to say the Chromag’s are superior all round, but on climbs I can’t say I noticed a difference. If anything, I’ve experienced the odd squeak from the front of my shoes rubbing the cranks which makes me wonder if the Chromag Contact pedals are better suited to enduro/DH/DJ riding where you don’t pedal as much. I find myself bouncing off V12 pedals on a hardtail, but I haven’t committed the time to finding the perfect flat shoe match for those, and the argument remains that I should probably try clipping in now my daily ride is a Ragley Piglet.
Chromag Contact Pedals Gen 2
Now the riding is out of the way, let’s talk maintenance. You can get a replacement axle kit for the Chromag Contact pedals for £40 which includes everything you need for a full rebuild should you need it. I have really hammered these pedals and as mentioned, they show very little sign of wear beyond surface damage. A pack of 40 replacement pins will cost you £13, and with those there are 24 placement options. I have been using 9 pins either side at the shortest they go – the pins come with 1mm spacers, so they’re 3mm out the pedal with the spacer and 4mm without. A few more details about the pedals:
- 422g for the pair, with 9 pins either side
- Platform dimensions: 105mm x 110mm
- Platform thickness: 10.7mm front & rear, 10.6mm in concave centre
- Available in 5 colour options
If you’re in the market for a pedal that takes its job as a contact point with your bike very seriously, but you aren’t wanting to clip in, I’d put these high on your list. Showing little sign of wear after 6 months of daily use and seeming to suit most flat pedal shoes, they’re pricier than the likes of a DMR V12 but once pointing downhill you can, in my opinion, justify that extra cash.
|Tested:||by Amanda for 6 months|