Labeling anything as “Ultimate” sets a high bar, but that’s exactly what Canfield Brothers did when they released the latest version of their Crampon pedals.
Just like handlebars, rims, and tires, pedals are getting the “wider is better” treatment. The broad platform measures 105mm x 105mm (4.1in x 4.1in), which provided ample support for my size 11 shoes. The pedals are thin–just a mere 6mm at the front and rear edges and 10mm in the middle. This tapering creates a slight convex shape to the profile.
A chromoly axle spins on DU bushings on either end instead of bearings. There are 10 shin-shredding pins per side, which are replaceable. In terms of weight, the Crampon Ultimates come in at just 342g (12oz) for the pair. To put that in perspective, these replaced a set of Shimano’s inexpensive SLX Trail pedals that weighed 455g (16oz)! That’s a substantial weight savings.
The aluminum body is anodized, and is available in 10 different colors. Retail is $150, which makes them highly competitive in the high-end flat pedal market.
On the Trail
Pulling the Crampons from their box, I was impressed by the lack of heft and the quality of the finish. There is extensive machining on the platform which not only shaves weight, but also adds some extra traction. The Canfield Brothers logo is laser-etched over the axle, and the pedals are clearly marked left and right.
After spending the majority of the last few years riding clipless pedals, I expected there to be some growing pains–in the form of punctured shins–going back to flats. Happily, at least so far, this has not been the case. That can be chalked up to the crazy traction these pedals provide. Combining the large, grooved platform with 10 pins per side gives a sure-footed feel. Even wearing the (now defunct) Teva Links, I have yet to slip a pedal. The rubber on the Tevas isn’t particularly sticky, so I could envision needing to remove some pins if riding in a pair of Five Tens.
I thought that the slight hump in the platform where the axle threads into the crank arm would be noticeable while riding, but it hasn’t been. That said, I have worn away some of the anodizing in this area.
The pedals’ low-profile design has kept pedal strikes to a minimum, but I’ve still managed to smash them into a few immoveable objects. The Ultimates have been able to shrug off these impacts and only show a handful of battle scars. I have yet to break a pin on them.
In the Southeast our soil generally has a high silica (sand) content. It’s great when the trails are baked hard, but add a little moisture and you’ve essentially got a component-destroying rubbing compound. I’ve used the Crampons in these conditions and after the ride, the pedals felt crunchy on their axles. They loosen back up after a few minutes of riding, though. Canfield recommends adding a drop or two of lube to the bushings if your pedals are running rough. Servicing the Ultimates is about as straightforward as it gets, as shown in their tutorial below:
I’ve thoroughly enjoyed my switch back to flat pedals due in no small part to the performance of the Crampon Ultimates. Their glue trap-like traction–even when my foot isn’t in the optimal position–has been appreciated in technical sections. Also, knowing that I can more easily ditch the bike if things go pear-shaped has upped my confidence when it comes time to put some space between the ground and my tires.
The Ultimates are some of the thinnest flat pedals available on the market. While there are lighter options, such as Canfield’s own Crampon Magnesium pedals, the Ultimates aren’t exactly boat anchors either. Lighter pedals are also going to cost substantially more. The Canfield Brothers seem to have hit a sweet spot balancing thickness, traction, weight, and cost with the Crampon Ultimates. If you’re looking to upgrade your current pedals, you’d be hard-pressed to find a better overall set out there.
Thanks to Canfield Brothers for providing the Crampon Ultimate Pedals for review.