Ultralite Sports, a startup out of Boulder, CO, from the minds (and feet) of Masters road racer Bill Emerson and product design engineer Neal Beidleman
At first glance, they look similar to the Aerolite pedals popular among lightweight builders like Fair Wheel (ridiculous example here). The differences are these are lighter, and they use a spring mechanism to retain the cleat. The entire pedal system for the lighter weight Cirrus TI is just 112g (claimed). That’s two pedals, cleats and mounting hardware. And the Nimbus ST is just 146g for the system.
How’d they do it?
Two models are offered at launch and will start shipping in November. The gold model is the Cirrus TI with a titanium spindle and lighter retention spring. It’s rated for a 200lb rider max and will set you back $450. Pedals only weight is 72g, just 36g per pedal!
The Nimbus ST uses a tempered steel spindle and comes in at just 58g per pedal with a 300lb max rider weight limit. Retail on these is $315.
Cleats add another 40g and are made of a glass reinforced nylon and should last about as long as traditional cleats. They have a wear indicator so you know when you should replace them. They’ll be available in two versions, with 0º or 4º float. There are also upgrade/optional springs to change the retention tension. The Cirrus ships with the lighter 38lb spring, and it looks like you’ll be able to pick that or the 50lb spring for the Nimbus.
Replacement cleats are just $30 and the spring kit is $25 and will include two of each spring and two spacers (six pieces total).
So, where’s the retention spring? It’s inside the alloy barrel that surrounds the spindle. To click in, you slide your foot onto the pedal from the outside at a slight angle to push the barrel toward the cranks. Once it’s pushed far enough in, you simply step down onto the spindle and the barrel pushes your cleat to the outside edge and locks it in. You basically reverse the motion to get out. It’s a 90º difference from what most of us are used to and will likely take some getting used to, but at least you won’t be spinning a one-sided pedal around with your toes once the light turns green.
“Clipless pedals have basically remained unchanged since Bernard Hinault popularized them during his 1985 Tour de France win,” says Ultralite president and founder Bill Emerson. “Today’s rigid road shoes allowed us to develop a pedal system that is much more minimalist and lightweight while delivering maximum power and efficiency for everyone from the pros to recreational riders.”