Review: Ultralight, Race-Ready Ritchey Logic WCS Paradigm Mountain Bike Pedals

Ritchey Logic WCS Paradigm mountain bike pedal review and actual weights

With my (very good) Shimano XTR pedals showing their age after a couple years of abuse, I started looking for options. Ritchey’s folks had let me borrow a pair of their Paradigm pedals for a ‘cross race once, and with my Shimano cleats they were about 95% awesome. For all intents and purposes, Ritchey’s pedals SPD compatible, but they said for the best performance, I needed to use their cleats.

Challenge. Accepted.

TECH SPECS & ACTUAL WEIGHTS

Ritchey Logic WCS Paradigm mountain bike pedal review and actual weights

The Paradigm pedal lineup consists of three options: Comp ($70, 340g), Pro ($140, 255g) and WCS ($160, 225g). Technically, the Comp doesn’t carry the Paradigm moniker, but it uses the same cleats and looks very similar. This is it for Ritchey’s mountain bike pedal family, there are no “trail” pedals or flats.

The pedals look like what we’d expect from Ritchey – a pared down, classic aesthetic whose design is driven primarily by function. You get independently adjustable tension for each side, and the WCS uses a slimmed down forged alloy body on a chromoly axle. No titanium or other fancy bits to drive the price up or shrink rider weight limits (there are none).

Ritchey Logic WCS Paradigm mountain bike pedal review and actual weights

They roll on a bushing, needle and cartridge bearing combo that’s proven pretty durable over a half year’s use on both mountain bikes and cyclocross bikes in all manner of crappy, cold, wet, muddy, hot, dry and dusty conditions.

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They have small rubber seals that seem to do a great job of keeping the crud out, but do let a bit of grease out, as evidenced by the accumulation of junk just outside the pedal body.

ritchey-wcs-paradigm-mountain-bike-pedal-review13

…then they easily wipe clean. They’re still rolling as smooth and quiet as new.

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The only difference between the Pro and WCS models is the extra material removal from the chassis and retention clips. The WCS, on left, shaves away excess alloy from the pedal body and retention mechanisms to save a claimed 15g per pedal. They both roll on the same spindle and bearing set up, so (presumably) performance would be similar. Both have 4º of float. The Comp (not shown) uses a cast steel body, standard ball bearings and 5º float.

Ritchey Logic WCS Paradigm mountain bike pedal review and actual weights

In actuality, they came in at 240g for the pair, a bit above the 225g claimed weight. Still pretty darn light. You’ve gotta spend a lot of money to chip away at these numbers in any significant way, and then you’re often faced with rider weight limits. For comparison, the new Shimano XTR 9000-series Race pedals are claimed at 310g/pair.

One last feature worth pointing out: Two small screws on the body sit just behind the front cleat retention mechanism. These provide a (replaceable) steel platform for the cleat to rest on, preventing it from rubbing into and wearing away the alloy body.

RIDE REVIEW

Ritchey Logic WCS Paradigm mountain bike pedal review and actual weights

In use, the Ritchey’s feel and perform virtually the same as Shimano’s SPD pedals. Which is to say, very good. The overall platform’s a bit smaller since it lacks the side tread supports of Shimano’s, but it never made my foot feel wobbly. If my foot were an airplane, there’s virtually no rotation along the Roll Axis.

Ritchey Logic WCS Paradigm mountain bike pedal review and actual weights

I’ve been riding them for almost a year now, moving between two pairs mounted on various mountain and cyclocross bikes. While I didn’t keep track of miles for each specific set, one set in particular has seen the bulk of the miles and traveled with me to more press events. That pair has developed the slightest bit of play – only really noticeable when testing it with my fingers, and not while riding. I’d call it within normal expectations for wear and tear on pedals, and certainly better than some other brands with similar accumulated ride time.

Ritchey Logic WCS Paradigm mountain bike pedal review and actual weights

Plus, they’re fully rebuildable. Unscrew the alloy end cap, then a bolt and slide the axle out. The bearings and bushing are all captured inside the pedal body, so simply freshening up the grease is all but foolproof – just note that the non-drive pedal’s end cap threads opposite of normal (righty loosey) and that material is soft enough to strip. Ritchey’s Warranty Manager & Tech Rep Ryan Bontrager says the grease starts out beige but turns gray, so the darkness you see above is perfectly normal. While it was discolored, there was not a hint of dirt, grit, grime or dust inside the pedal, indicating the seals did their job flawlessly.

Ritchey Logic WCS Paradigm mountain bike pedal review and actual weights

A sealed cartridge bearing sits farthest outboard with needle bearings in the middle and a bushing closest to the crank arm.

Since they weren’t giving me any problems, I didn’t pull the bearings out, but rebuild instructions and parts are available from Ritchey.

Ritchey Logic WCS Paradigm mountain bike pedal review and actual weights

Out of the box, the retention springs are set very, very loose. As in, I could almost pull out of them without twisting my foot – and did come out on a couple bunny hops. After a healthy amount of adjustment screw rotations all around, they were much better. There’s a wide range of adjustment, making them good for beginners all the way up to seasoned racers.

Ritchey Logic WCS Paradigm mountain bike pedal review and actual weights

The wide open design kept them from clogging up, even during muddy rides. For cyclocross, the platform was always big enough to catch my foot when remounting the bike. The pedal height is minimal, too, putting your foot as close to the spindle as it can without sacrificing durability. And that’s the real bonus of these pedals, that they can combine a respectably lightweight design with both solid performance and great reliability. And they do all that at very reasonable price points. Win. Win. Win. I highly recommend them to anyone sold on the SPD style pedal but looking for lighter options.

RitcheyLogic.com

Comments

Colin - 05/12/14 - 5:31pm

Two words, Ti spindles

What is the release tension range? In recent years Shimano has been reducing the release tension on the XT/ XTR pedals and I dont like it.

Aaron - 05/12/14 - 6:18pm

Give me not only Ti spindles, but shorter spindles for a narrower Q, and I’ll buy.

FRMN8R - 05/12/14 - 9:04pm

I’ve been using my WCS pedals now for over a year and have found them to not be very useful in cx or mtb riding. The sharp, jagged edges of the cleat retention mechanisms hang up on the cleats during release… kinda like you’ve disengaged but the pedal won’t let go of the front of the cleat. I thought they’d get better after break-in, but that never happened. They also are not very tight even with the adjustment screws dialed all the way. I still pull out without having to twist for release. As such, I use them only for gravel riding and still have to pay attention when standing to climb. Have you noticed any of those characteristics?

gabbia - 05/12/14 - 10:56pm

Ritchey has always made quality products so it makes sense this is a good review of his pedals. Pretty good price for such light weight and no weight limits.

drewsey junction - 05/12/14 - 11:03pm

Leave Ti out of it so those of us over a certain weight can actually ride them, and so the spindles can be long enough to avoid heel strike. Ti is stupid in pedals, even for racers, but especially for normal human people. Stainless is close enough in weight in the spindle region, and a good deal more durable under pedaling loads. Also, it doesn’t alloy with the aluminium that most cranks are made of like Ti does. (Yes, I know, use Ti prep. . .blah, blah, blah. It will still seize.) Basically, good on Uncle Tom’s designers for not using stupid materials.

anonymous - 05/12/14 - 11:18pm

I wish they would stop with the bushing, they wear bad over time. Ever worse, with the TI spindled ones, the bushings wear the spindle.

John - 05/13/14 - 12:10am

“XTR pedals showing their age after a couple years of abuse?” I thought XTR pedals were indestructible and would last forever.

Johan - 05/13/14 - 12:12am

Looks like a good option.
Hopefully more durable than the latest XTR of which I have now worn out 4 sets in a short time and needed to go to XT and M540 for better durability.

Frank - 05/13/14 - 1:28am

I have had them and the didn’t last 50km.
The cage was broken. They didn’t work as nice as my XTR op previous XT pedals.
I used the Shimano cleats.
They look really nice.

Fritz - 05/13/14 - 2:30am

Have been riding these pedals for about 4 month now on my Scalpel, on almost every ride the pedals start squeaking like an old rusty chain (not from the bearings). When I spray lube on the area around the springs it’s gone until the next ride … I usually like Ritchey products, but not very impressed with this one.

Jay - 05/13/14 - 9:23am

The openness of these enticed me into buying a pair at the beginning of last cx season, but that same feature lead me to get rid of them very quickly. The overall shape is very square rather than rectangular like Shimano’s and since it is so open it’s possible (and happened a lot) for the cleat to get caught up on the on the spring side when remounting. Also, since the action on these feels considerably worse than Shimano’s it would feel similar to clipping in when this happened. Ebayed and but XT’s..

Gwiz - 05/13/14 - 1:39pm

Same issues here and with the guy who gave me these pedals to play with. Cleats catch causing an almost second disengagement point. The first disengage feels like normal but then it seems the nose of the cleat stays caught and can take an awful lot of twisting to get out. Same deal with squeaking too. They look good on the road bike though.

Armor Todd - 06/16/14 - 3:25pm

Really jazzed when they arrived. Then snapped the retention clip hitting a rock while riding Sedona single track. Hitting rocks should be avoided of course, but is does happen, especially in very rocky AZ. Ritchey is replacing them, but now I am ambiguous at best. I certainly don’t want to break another even further from the trailhead! Put my bombproof 747s on and now I have no worries. Gained 150 grams…but will never have a broken pedal. Anyone in the market for a pair of Ritchey pedals?!

W G S - 09/23/14 - 5:34pm

I wish I had read the comments prior to purchasing the Pro (red) pedals as a replacement for my M780 XTs. Briefly, although the float is nominally the same (4°), my feat slide around much more, as if on ice. Unlike the reviewer, I also get noticeable roll axis rotation, perhaps because I have size 12 shoes. The M780 XTs offer a wee bit more platform to prevent this. The cleats catch as described by several others above, essentially requiring two motions to fully release. Using Ritchey’s cleats that came with the pedals offered only a very minor improvement over the Shimano cleats.

Shawn - 09/28/14 - 6:20pm

W G S and FRMN8R – I also get that hang-up on the release that you both describe, but with another type of pedal (similar design, light weight SPD pedal). When I talked to the manufacturer, he said that it may be shoe interference, but I haven’t been able to confirm that. He actually recommended taking away some of the material from the shoe sole around the cleat to create more clearance. Kind of a lot of work but may be the issue. Like FRMN8R said, it feels/sounds like the cleat has release but the shoe stays stuck to the pedal for a moment or two – very dangerous of course.

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