Google iSSi pedals and the first result is "iSSi Pedals: Colored Clipless Bike Pedals." That is exactly what the brand has been doing since its inception--making uniquely colored clipless pedals. But iSSi's latest creation definitely isn’t clipless. The Stomp XL is a machined aluminum flat pedal. It’s still available in hard-to-find colors, but it’s definitely not clipless.
For iSSi's first foray into platform pedals, it went big. Physically. There is an XL in the name after all. The length is 102 millimeters from pin-to-pin, and side to side the pedals measure 95 millimeters pin-to-pin. They are 18 millimeters thick. The Stomps aren't the biggest pedals I've ridden, or the second biggest, but they aren't small.
Is bigger, better? To a point. Having a supportive pedal with a centered riding position offers more security against bouncing around or flipping. After riding the Stomps for the last few months, I never flipped them, but I did find myself bouncing around at high speeds in rougher sections of trail.
That isn't to say the Stomp doesn't have a solid amount of grip. It does. My shoes might not have been locked in like on the Wah Wah 2 (a substantially larger pedal), but I also never blew off the platform. And there is something to be said for less grip. When I found myself in hairy situations, micro-adjustments were easier to make. I only wished for more grip on sustained, washboard terrain. In the air and pushing through berms, the pedals held strong.
All this grip comes from a few subtle elements in the design. First and foremost, the pedal is concave. The outside is 18 millimeters thick, but the center is only 16. The dip gives my foot a natural place to fall within while the surrounding pins act as stabilizers.
The outer pins aren't your normal flat-pedal pins either. They’re reversible, with one side being longer than the other. Don't like how much grip there is? Flip the pins so they are shorter. Want less grip on the sides than front to back? No problem.
I rode the pedals with the fore and aft pins in their long setting, and the outside pins in the shorter configuration. The inside pins were a different story. On the outside of the pedal, shorter pins were great, and made sense to help stop any lateral sliding off the pedal. But the inside pins--the ones right next to the axle--made for an uncomfortable place to stand.
My shoe wasn't wide enough to rest on both the outside and inside pins evenly. The two inside pins were just tall enough (even in the shorter setting) to push on my shoe, feeling as though I were standing on uneven ground. I was forced to move my foot further outside to a less comfortable position. Luckily, there was a simple fix. I removed the inner pins, and what was once an 11 pin-per-side pedal became a nine pin-per-side pedal. And I didn't take any noticeable hit to grip.
There was one other glaring problem with the Stomp XLs. They are a burly 18 millimeters thick. The pedal's leading-edge slopes away from oncoming obstacles, which helps with deflecting rock strikes, but it doesn't actually mitigate rock strikes. Luckily, the machined pedal is durable enough to shrug off hard hits, and will likely keep going long after you have switched to another color.
So the Stomp's are thick, they're not exceptionally grippy and they aren't cheap. Who are they for? They’re a great option for riders who want something durable, but who also aren't going to be straight-lining rock-laden minefields. They excel when comfort and easy adjustments outweigh a need for straight-up grip. And there is the color thing. With four colors in either matte or polished versions, these pedals look great.
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