As an absolutely graceless and just slightly above average rider, I'm able to clumsily destroy nearly any pedal that crosses my path. I am the maladroit Richie Rude, floating lightly over nothing and smashing wildly into everything. When navigating obstacles on the trail, I'll invariably dropkick one with a pedal and consequently eject off my bike and into the woods. When it comes to pedal-failure testing, there may be no better rider alive. There are plenty of thin aluminum flat pedals on the market, but all are expensive and most struggle with longevity issues. The Tenet FPT rings in at $90 for the pair and comes with an unprecedented free factory rebuild inside the first year of ownership. Exciting, but how are they on the trail? Let's dig in.
Tenet's tenet is to create hard-working and affordably priced components while offering additional features like the Pedal Refresh Program, which is a free service to repair or replace and install any part that might need love on your pedals. Break or bend a traction pin or spindle? Damage a bushing or bearing? Tenet has your back. The new approach brings a refreshing human touch to the market.
I fit my Tenet pedals to my Hightower LT and immediately proceeded to Canada for the Trans BC Enduro to see what kind of punishment they could take. The following week could only be described as The Great Pedal Reckoning of 2018. Blind racing some of the hardest trails day after day offers opportunities to smash the life out of any bike part. Frames were splintered, bodies broken, souls crushed. But for the entire race, my pedals survived, albeit a bit worse for the wear.
The Tenet FPT isn't the lightest pedal on the market at a claimed 408 grams, and it isn’t the thinnest or largest. It shoots for the middle: a product most pleasing to the most people. At 96 x 96 millimeters, the platform is big but not massive, fitting nicely under foot—providing a stable stance that isn't so large as to diminish its pins’ effectiveness. The pins themselves are a perfect combination of quantity and size. Too big or too many, and the pressure on any given pin is lessened, limiting traction and that ‘locked-in’ feeling that we so desire in a flat.
Fortunately these made me feel right at home on the first ride. I appreciated the solid hex-keyed pins for when I invariably mashed them into paste against a rock. They were long, but didn't extend so far as to completely immobilize your foot. While it might not be the easiest process, cutting the bent or broken end and unscrewing the remainder is a welcomed alternative to trying to replace grub screws, which is essentially impossible after ride two.
As someone who strikes his pedal frequently, I'd love to have a thinner profile to decrease the likelihood of hanging up on a root or rock. At 17 millimeters at their thickest, these pedals could stand to lose some girth, particularly if you, like me, always seem to be 1 millimeter from hanging up on something. And though not the largest platform out there, the FPT's spindle is a tad on the long side, increasing the chance of a strike. And the pedal's shape doesn't do much to deflect those strikes. The relatively square profile is great in a thinner platform, but at this thickness, I would have wanted some increased angulation like a Spank Spike. But the shape of the pedal's contact surface itself is spot-on. The FPT has a 2mm taper to the middle intended to increase grip, which offers a bit of its locked-in feeling. I had no issues with traction across multiple brands of flat shoe.
My left pedal decided it'd had it with the poor treatment and got the weeble-wobbles typically associated with the decline of a sleeve bushing. But the pedals never had a chance to descend into grinding themselves to death, thanks to Tenet's refresh program. Unfortunately for my pedals, I needed that refresh program rather quickly, making it nary over a week of the harshest slamming I could give them, abruptly abridged by a pedal strike that stopped my bike cold; throwing me over the bars and down a chute, breaking my big toe. It was like a Mortal Kombat finishing move (am I dating myself?).
So off went the FPT's to Tenet headquarters, trail weary and limping like a cowboy who'd seen too many years on the range. And after only a few days back came … something almost unbelievable. The horrible condition in which I sent them in was replaced by something almost-new looking, and certainly new feeling. Still visible against the black anodization were several silver scars like impact marks on the hull of the Titanic. But they spun smoothly despite this, ready for more abuse. The pins were replaced, standing again sharp, tall and true.
But that was my one Refresh. The one extra life the FPTs had. If I run them through the same gauntlet with the same unbridled aggression, I'll be on my own for another rebuild. Except, that doesn't mean Tenet isn't still supporting my FPTs. For just $20, Tenet offers a rebuild kit. And not just a couple bearings and some pins. The kit includes bearings, pins, seals, hardware, bushings and two brand new spindles. For $20. That could make these pedals easy to hold on to for a long time. The best thing about Tenet's offering isn't the type of bearings it uses, the thickness or shape—it’s the knowledge that if you treat them like I did, they'll have your back.