Ultralite Sports Cirrus and Nimbus lightweight road bike pedals

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?

Ultralite Sports Cirrus and Nimbus lightweight road bike pedals

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.

Ultralite Sports Cirrus and Nimbus lightweight road bike pedals

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.”


  1. Clipless pedals have remained unchanged? Ever heard of Speedplay, Bebop, Crank brothers? How about blade instead of spring pedals like the new Looks and Time pedals?
    These pedals have no float, a huge cleat, and an odd entry and exit. Nice that they are trying to do something a little different but not anything I am interested in.

  2. @Darwin

    I don’t think that the statement was entirely incorrect. Almost all cleats have the same basic mechanism with different methods of implementing it, resistance in a horizontal plane from front to back. Speedplay moves the spring to the shoe, and Look uses a blade to provide resistance, but they are all doing the same thing. This would be the first time where the retention method was, as the article states, coming from a different angle.

    Also, they do have float depending on the cleat you choose. That is the same as Look.

  3. Interesting. I like innovation, thinking outside the box, etc.
    My first thought is difficulty in getting clipped in; that side ways action seems tricky and no real platform to get a second chance if you miss. Spose for racing they’d be good. Forget about walking.
    I’m waiting for the first pedal design to use neodymium magnets.

  4. @rustydogg

    Neodymium Magnets don’t make any sense, especially for a race application. If the magnet is strong enough to hold throughout the entire revolution, it will be near impossible to disengage them. If the magnet is weak enough to disengage, then there is no way they will resist all the forces being applied. I think you SERIOUSLY underestimate the forces that pedals are subjected to under any rider who is fully utilizing the benefits of being clipped in. Also, the magnets will gather up iron dust no matter where you ride (dirt or street) in no time at all.

  5. I ran Aerolites when they first came out about 20 years ago. They were light weight, even by current standards, and worked well. The biggest problems were that you needed adaptor plates to get them to mount on shoes with three hole bolt patterns and the cleat stuck out quite a bit. They have since solved the bolt pattern issue, but the large cleat is still a problem.

  6. Check out the review over on RKP. Sounds like they are as bad as you would expect. These pedals are for those who weigh their bikes, not ride them. Or those who never need to unclip.

What do you think?