Lust doesn’t motivate the majority of my purchases with the exception of a recent upgrade. When I came across the first spy shots of Spanks new flats I knew they were destined for my bike. In a crowded segment this is one of the most unique looking pedals to be introduced within the past year. It’s an attractive design that comes without the burden of a boutique pedals price and it as as trendy as anything else on the market due to its light weight, “reduced Q factor,” chamfered edges, and thin platform. And they come in pretty colors.
Over the past few months of riding they have proven to be as useful as they are sexy…
There are a lot of pedal options out there, but when riding flats, there is not a whole lot that separates one set from another. Even a mediocre pedal will perform well when paired with riding specific shoes like Five10s. If you are going to drop $125 MSRP on a pair of these pedals, you will be expecting a lot more than just good grip. The Spank Spikes, equipped with a hollow and tapered (scandium-enriched) steel axle, weigh in at a respectable 398 grams.
There are lighter pedals available, but what differentiates this set is their width. Unlike a variety of new pedals on the market, like the new Straightline Amps or VP line up, the Spike doesn’t sacrifice the size of the platform (90 sqcm2) to minimize weight. I had never tried a platform this wide before and it makes a difference. Despite grippy pedal/shoe combinations, it is not uncommon to slip a pedal during a downhill run. With these gigantic flats, even if my foot shifts, I’m not stuck riding out a technical section with just part of my heel or a toe on the pedal.
The design incorporates a total of 20 pins. There are 16 hex pins that thread in from the opposite side, along the perimeter of the pedal, and an additional 2 grub screws which thread all the way through the body. The pedals come without the pins installed. Spank claims this self-installation is so you can pick “right pin configuration to suit your riding style, foot wear, and preferred level of grip.”
The maximum grip configuration requires the use of all 20 pins, but if you prefer improved foot positioning and adjustability they suggest you forgo installing the grub screws. I installed all twenty pins and have not looked back. In three months of hard riding I have yet to lose a pin but cosmetically the pedals show slight wear and tear. The body is unscathed, but the logos along the chamfered edges have started wearing. Spank cold forges its pedals because the process creates a more consistent grain throughout and provides improved strength and weight characteristics in comparison to extruded components.
The Spikes achieve balance between reduced q-factor and slim profile (12mm) by placing the inboard sealed bearing where the pedal wrench inserts would normally be found. The pedals spin on the one large inboard sealed bearing and an Igus bushing. Consequently, they don’t spin generously, but the assembly instructions claim that the bushing seal is a wearing part, and when new are intended to reduce “free-spin.” A couple hundred miles have passed since I installed these pedals and they still do not spin as freely as pedals I have owned in the past, but I didn’t notice any additional resistance when pedaling.
As a mountain biker I’ve grown accustomed to a little disc brake drag and chain guide rub – so a slightly stiff bearing does not faze me. My only complaint with this design is that sometimes one of my pedals whistles. This has only occurred twice, once during my first test ride, and again during my first muddy ride of the season. I doubt the whistling will get worse, but if it reappears, they are easily rebuildable.
Overall, I highly recommend the Spank Spikes pedals, unless you dislike receiving compliments. Since they are eye catching, it’s not uncommon for fellow riders to reach down and fondle them trailside, and they can be purchased in black, blue, red, ti-gray, and “zesty orange.” After owning a set of these, I would be hard pressed to go back to a smaller pedal. That little extra platform is confidence inspiring and can be very useful during short technical climbs. The chamfered edges and thin profile really help minimize pedal strikes in berms and when peddling through rugged terrain. These pedals were well worth their price tag considering their light weight, respectable grip (even in non-riding shoes), and comfort.
Special thanks to my riding buddy and photog Steve Burt.