By Vernon Felton
THUNK. THUNK. THUNK. This is the sound a marketing person's head makes as it repeatedly strikes their computer screen. You can almost hear this sound when you read their response to your email about something being not quite right with their product. Except, the marketing person will tell you, everything is working precisely as it should with their product; it is the magazine editor who is simply being an idiot.
Unfortunately, marketing types can't just call you an idiot, because you're writing the review of their product and they don't want you to go off halfcocked and flame the widget. So they attempt to write a cordial email insinuating that you have it all wrong without expressly telling you that you have it all wrong—which is why they are gritting their teeth, stabbing their keyboard and thunk, thunk, thunking their heads against the computer screen.
I am not entirely certain, but I suspect that this is what happened when I responded to an inquiry from Twenty6 about the status of its new Predator pedal. "So far so good," I'd written after a few rides on the pedal. "Except
I've already snapped off four pins."
That statement, I'm sure, must have annoyed the hell out of the Twenty6 representative, because the ease with which the traction pins shear off the from the pedal body is really the whole point of Twenty6's new pedal design; they engineered the pins to do just that.
Here's the deal: Twenty6's product designer, Tyler Jarosz, noticed that some riders were smacking their pedals and mangling the steel set screws so badly that the screws either tore out of the pedal body or were so messed up that they couldn't be extracted from the pedal. Consequently, Twenty6 designed the traction pins on its Predator pedal with a fail point that will give up the ghost if you bang the pin hard enough. The pin is destroyed, but your pedal is fine. Would you rather replace a single pin or an entire pedal?
Out of the box, Twenty6's aluminum pins offer outstanding traction. When paired with sticky-soled shoes, the grip is incredible. I snapped four of the aluminum pins within two rides and have killed off another six or so within a month. What's more, the pins I didn't break, I quickly wore down. The pedal body itself is a thing of machined beauty—almost skeletal, really—and at least 13 millimeters wider than the next widest pedal I own.
There's plenty of real estate to play around on here and the clearance is excellent—shorn pins notwithstanding. The traction pins are well distributed and the body is nicely concave. Weight—with aluminum pins and titanium spindles—is an impressive 340 grams. Opting for the less expensive chromoly spindle option adds 65 grams, but saves you a chunk of change. Both spindles are nitride-coated and are mated with Turcite bushings and Enduro bearings.
The Predator's dual, quad O-rings seem to be doing their job as the pedals still spin smoothly despite being immersed in loads of mud for a year now.
After more than a season of flogging the Predators, I can recommend these pedals, though with a few reservations. The pins are a breeze to replace, but they still fail more frequently than I'd like. I swapped aluminum pins (shown here) for steel pins mid-way into testing, and heartily recommend the steel versions, which feature the same basic design.
Performance, in short, is outstanding, so the real question is cost: These made-in-America beauties sell for at least twice as much as plenty of other great flat pedals.