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Digital Subscriptions > Singletrack > 107 > THROUGH THE GRINDER

THROUGH THE GRINDER

Sun-kissed and lightly powdered with trail dust, these products have had a pretty easy time of it over the last few months… As if! Wet, gritty and crunchy has been the riding style this summer and this lot has been there with us.
PICTURES BY ROB

RITCHEY WCS PEDALS

Price: WCS Trail £140.00, WCS XC £125.00

From: Paligap, paligap.cc // Tested: Three months

After Shimano came out with a fully formed, near-on perfect clipless pedal system 26 years ago, it seemed that everyone else might as well give up then. Ritchey, however, in keeping with Tom Ritchey’s quest for better tools to race with, had one of the best alternatives in those early days. It took the double-sided pedal and stripped away anything that wasn’t truly essential to leave a lightweight and perfectly durable component.

This innovation has continued, with Ritchey always looking to reduce weight without compromising efficiency or durability, and these two pedals are the latest in the line.

Both pedals come under Ritchey’s top-flight ‘WCS’ marque, meaning that they’re race-ready (and meaning that in some cases there are cheaper alternatives in the range). The Race pedal is as you’d imagine – pared down and as light as possible, while the Trail pedal sacrifices some weight in return for a bigger platform and some protection of the mechanism. The Race WCS pedals weigh 300g a pair (without cleats) and the Trail pedals come in at 350g.

The pedals both come with Ritchey cleats which are close, but not exact facsimiles of Shimano cleats. If you have both systems then there’s a certain amount of interchangeability between the two, but with variation in the relative release tensions, so double check you can unclip if you’re running one in the other as the tension will be a few clicks higher or lower than the other. The smooth axles use only an 8mm Allen key to secure, which allows good torque in the workshop, but pick your multitool wisely as not all of them have this bigger size.

Even backed off fully, there’s a reassuring ‘clunk’ when you engage. It’s a firm feel and again the race heritage can be felt here – racers don’t like to unclip unexpectedly. The Race pedal is easy to find and engage with though; unclipping needs a firm movement, but is consistent every time.

The Trail pedal is obviously a bigger pedal – more long and slim than wide though – and it’s easy to find in a hurry, offering a decent amount of support even if you’re not clipped in. Clipping in again takes a firm motion and this will vary on the tread of your shoes. Talking of shoes, when using the Trail pedals with chunky trail shoes or winter boots, the narrowness of the pedal is felt and, while it does keep your feet inboard and the bike’s width low for those slot-canyon descents, I found a fair amount of shoe rub on the cranks as the axle isn’t particularly long.

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About Singletrack

International Adventure: Southern nights, endless trails: Rickie Cotter's truly epic trip down the length of New Zealand, complete with beautiful watercolour illustrations by Beate Kubitz. UK Adventure: Be careful what you wish for…" We nearly broke our editor while riding some of the Howgill Fells remotest singletrack. Classic Ride: The Dark Peak: The riding around Hope Cross in the Dark Peak is definitely on the ‘must do’ lists for every UK mountain biker. It's a Classic Ride for a reason. Not ridden it for a while? NEVER ridden it? Then you need to get yourself to the Peaks... Grouptest: GPS Units: David Hayward puts six GPS units through torture to see which is the best for trail use, mapping, Strava and finding yourself again. Bike Test: Proper mountain, mountain bikes: Barney looks at three 160mm bikes from Focus, Scott and Specialized designed to get you up the big hills and back down again with fun and style. Racehead: Scotland the awesome. TweedLove and the Fort William World Cup are proof of Scotland’s superiority over all - at least for a month every summer. Last Word: A question of perception. Tom Hutton and Matt Letch go head to head in discussing how mountain biking needs to be presented to the wider world if we’re to increase (or even defend) our trail access. And, as they say, much much more: Product reviews, columns, tests and random burblings for all!
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