Blackspire SUB4 Pedals: Review

Feb 22, 2010
by Mike Levy  
Canadian boys Blackspire have spent years producing some great mountain bike components right in their British Columbia facility. New to their list of high end bike goodies for 2010 is the SUB4 pedal. Inside we'll take a closer look at the SUB4 as well as dish on how they have held up over the last three months of riding.

Read On...Blackspire's new SUB4 pedals do not use open ended set screws for grip, but instead use flat topped studs. There are a number of good reasons for this, namely reliability and being able to easily replace a damaged pin down the road. No matter how careful one seems to be, all it takes is one good pedal strike to quickly tear out a set screw and permanently damage it's mounting hole. Best case scenario is that you get by without damaging the threads within the pedal body, although there is still a good chance that the small allen key slot that you use to remove the set screw pin is now long past fitting an allen key into it. For those reasons, the SUB4's pins screw in from the opposite side. This not only protects the allen head of the screw, but also gives the screw itself a lot more support and strength.


Blackspire's SUB4 Pedal Details:

• New pedal for 2010
• CNC'd in Canada
• Replaceable T-style pins that are accessed from the reverse side
• Pedal body turns on both sealed bearings and bushings
• Large mud shedding body cutouts
• Colors include black, as well as limited runs of blue, gray, red, green, rootbeer, silver, burnt orange, power coated white, and the purple shown here.
• All parts available aftermarket
• 350 grams for Cro-mo axle, 265 grams for titanium axle version (referred to as the SUB3)
• MSRP $105 CAD (Cro-mo spindles), $240 CAD (ti spindles)


Inside you'll find both bushing and bearings that are sealed against the elements for long life. Blackspire is based in British Columbia, Canada, so you can be sure they want to produce products that can handle our rain-centric weather. Riders have two spindle options to choose from depending on their demands and budget: a 350 gram Cro-mo spindle version or an uber-light titanium spindle alternative that comes in at a svelte 265 grams. While no one can argue with the ti version's light weight, the less expensive Chro-mo model is also notably light and will appeal to most riders.

What did we think the SUB4's?

We have three months of proper B.C. riding time on the new SUB4's and are quite impressed with them so far. They've seen a lot of rain, a lot of mud, and not a single second of maintenance. First impressions were great, out of the box the finish is as good as one would expect from a premium product of this caliber. All edges were finished nicely and the anodizing was spot on. I've had a number of pedals throughout the years that seemed to not have the best job done of their pedal spindle threads, not so with the SUB4's. They spun on smooth from start to finish with no tight spot during the installation. Pins came installed as well, always nice.


Grip was never an issue during the test, although it should be mentioned that all users were wearing tacky soled Five Ten shoes. Regardless, not a single pedal was slipped at any point. The SUB4's have an aggressively machined body that does not have much surplus material. In our time on them we learned that the minimalist body has two benefits. Firstly, the pedals clear mud like you wouldn't believe. There simply isn't anywhere for it to collect. Second, the material that has been removed from the pedal seemed to create a sort of false concave for the shoe to rest in that enhanced grip slightly. The lack of mass on the body has not adversely affected the pedal's strength as besides a few cosmetic dings they are looking as good as new. Likewise, the axles are also still arrow straight. We had no issues with damaging pins even though they were dragged across some good sized immovable objects. One or two impacts in particular would have surely damaged the pins of a weaker set screw variety.


After some trail time on the SUB4's I don't have anything negative to say about them. They are light, provided ample grip, and proved to be strong and reliable. While it would certainly be nice to sport the 265 gram titanium version, I have the feeling that most riders will gravitate towards the more economical Cro-mo spindled model that we tested here. The Cro-mo's 350 gram weight is competitively light compared to any pedal, including other manufacturer's titanium axle pedals, and they are sold for a very reasonable price. Two thumbs up!




Visit blackspire.com to see their entire lineup of parts and accessories.

Blackspire is distributed by Norco Bicycle Products in Canada.


73 Comments

  • + 13
 These pedals are sweet. Grippy, light and made in North America. What more could you ask for?
  • + 3
 yea but what if you you clip a pin and the pin tip becomes lopsided? and when you unscrew that pin, wont it ruin the threads?
  • + 7
 Just quickly grind away enough of the pin to unscrew it then?
  • + 2
 just cut bent part off or file it down before you unscrew it
  • - 5
flag chochocho (Feb 22, 2010 at 0:40) (Below Threshold)
 thats so much effort though.. haha
  • + 1
 nah, it'd save your pedal.......... these are sick but I'm kinda skeptical on how solid a 260 gram pedal is.... hahah
  • + 1
 good idea in case of hittin somethin.. almost no problem with replacing damaged pin. but the weight puts me off - when you hit something you would not be replacing the pins (so this idea is useless here) but the whole pedal...
  • + 9
 Yah exactly.... I got Mg-1 Ti's for my downhill bike and when I actually picked them up I was like, "F*ck No" sooo to this day I'm runnin my 600g Sunline v1 pedals, 3.5 years old and bomb proof. Sh*ts getting wayyy too sketchy now a days to save a few grams
  • + 3
 They do look like thay have been on jenny craig for quite some time....
  • + 1
 these seem more of a dj pedal, doesnt look like it would hold up well on the dh. as for the pin issue, the first paragraph exolains it all.
  • - 8
flag urbanDJ5 (Feb 22, 2010 at 8:57) (Below Threshold)
 purples cool and everything, but it doesnt suit all bikes, would be nice if their was a more than one color in my opinion
  • + 2
 urbanDJ5,

Have another read, there's loads of color options =)
  • - 6
flag dh-juice (Feb 22, 2010 at 10:09) (Below Threshold)
 i agree with thye person at the top if u clip a stone and bend a pin you dont want to have to grind toughened steel down or have to be hacksawing at a pin and slipping off and scratching the pedal i love the pedals but dodnt like the way the pin is i think pedal pins should be like a normal top screw thing but with a nut instead of an allen key cos then it always works
  • + 0
 lazy americans
  • + 4
 i really like where the industry is going with lighter/stronger parts as well as stylish colors, but really? 240 bucks for a set of pedals? im just saying
  • + 1
 i see these doing very well on jump bieks as u rarely find rock gardens in the middle of a jump set Wink as for dh i see lots of warrantied pedals(do pedals even have warranty?)
  • + 0
 americans
  • + 1
 hahah i like the way someone wrote lazy americans by my comment hahaha can you tell what the flag is ??? its the union jackkkkkkkkk and dont be silly even tho u all say ud happily do that with the pins u shouldnt have to they should be designeds othtat thingslike that are thought of already
  • + 1
 NWray, yes there is warranty on pedals. they may not actually replace the pedals itself but they can help by shipping you a replacement part.. for example i bent the spindle on my v-one pedal on a race, i emailed the guys at sunline and they sent me a set of spindles for my pedals... which was awesome of them.
  • + 1
 thanks for clearing that up Salute
  • + 2
 I don't know if anyone will view this since this review was from a while ago, but I took some pictures of their orange pedal. Haven't seen any pictures of this pedal in orange on the web, so if anyone is interested this is what the sub3's look like in orange.
www.pinkbike.com/photo/5883428
  • + 2
 at first i thought these were another wellgo rebadging, but they have slightly more machining while being quite similar www.wellgo.com.tw/p-image/B030.jpg. Nice pedals.
  • + 0
 I love my 20$ Wellgo pedals. They grip very well (thanks to 5.10 shoes) and I don't care about destroying them, which won't happen since they're so solid/heavy.

I don't understand how one can think that putting down that much money on pedals can be a good idea.
  • + 1
 do your have replaceable studs? and its because the lighter pedal, think makes for an easier cranking motion. plus yours probably are sealed bearing right?
  • + 3
 Obviously there's no fancy feature. But I've been riding them for a few years now and I don't need to replace any of the pins even after bumping shitloads of rocks. I can understand that DH racers need that easier cranking motion and stuff, but the average Joe can barely see the difference. And for 200$, I'll just pedal harder.
  • + 1
 yea, ill stick with my sub 80 dollar pedals, still work fine for the kind of riding i do
  • + 1
 Doing some image analysis, the Sudpin 3 and 4 pedals are:

104.6mm Wide (from crank arm to widest outer point)
97.5mm Wide (platform only at widest point)
100.6mm Long
17mm High (claimed)
  • + 0
 These pedals look tight, but I think on a serious downhill course with a sloppy ass 205 pound rider like myself, they would be destroyed the first time they met with a rock doing 20+. I have the factory sun ringle pedals that came on my switch s3 in 05 and I have beat the shit outta them and they still turn fine with no noise or flex. I'd rather save weight in other places like tires, bars, stem and wheels then what im standing on.
  • + 1
 Interesting to see that the pedal you tested was in fact a prototype. The production pedal appears to lack the pin in the middle of the body.
  • + 3
 well this is a hell lot better than the previous spotlight peddal...
  • + 3
 Im not sure what to get for this season these or some twenty6's lol
  • + 3
 if i were you i would get the point one podium pedals Smile i have them and they are amazing!
  • + 4
 Better be amazing for $170 pedals.
  • + 3
 yea well the twenty6 pedals retail for $319 new Wink
  • + 1
 i wanna hear a review on dark cycles arachnids
  • + 2
 ya they look like they would clear mud great
  • + 1
 Worst pedals I've ever used. Failed after two months. DO NOT BUY THESE PEDALS!
  • + 2
 any uk guys know if theres somewhere selling these yet?
  • + 1
 email Aaron at blackspire! He's the man with the answers and probably the best customer service in the industry.
  • + 1
 You can get them from Chain reaction cycles from UK or directly from Blackspire website
  • + 2
 holy late reply batman
  • + 2
 they look sick
  • + 0
 All things considered I'll stick with my Kona wah wah's, best damn pedal ever!
  • - 2
 agreed...

the sub4 profile looks like an exact rip off of the kona wah wah...and the pins don't look as grippy.

$80, stickin with the wahwah's.
  • - 1
 2nd that... Wah Wah is a great pedal for a great price..
  • + 5
 made in canada > made in china...i think i'll take the blackspire!
  • + 2
 Agrred, but I think Straitlines are a nicer Canadian made pedal!
  • + 1
 WTF ustemuf? The sub4 looks nothing like the kona wah wah. From any angle! That is like saying a hummer h3 is an exact rip off of a dodge caravan!

EasyKillah... whats nicer about strightlines? Double the price? the 30mins+ it takes a pro mechanic to install the studs? The awful noise the cheap plastic bushings make? having one pedal barely spin when the other spins like a stripper on a pole? The stubby little axles that bend under a 150 lb rider? Sure they are canadian and beautifully made, and they are nice, no argument about that, but what makes them nicer?
  • - 1
 is.pinkbike.com/photo/4600/pbpic4600688.jpg

www.dirtragmag.com/gal/data/668/kona3.jpg

you are right, they dont have similar profiles at all - the kona's are concaved more to give you better grip.

my bad, i should have noticed in the first place, very sorry.
  • + 1
 The subs are concave too! Just as much as the konas, but you can see the konas are made from a chunkier extrusion and have a different shape when you look at them from the top Wink
  • + 0
 I've never seen one bend but you can tighten those bushings and rebuild the axles and those studs that are hard to put on are also hard to lose
  • + 1
 But what makes them nicer?
  • - 3
 Looking super nice.... I want... However, everyone seems to have a pair of these up for sale with just some slight variations... But no one does them in purple!!!! Purple is back just like tight jeans.
  • + 8
 maybe 3 years ago... and tight jeans will never be in
  • + 15
 purple looks good unlike tight jeans which, unlike the common misconception, just looks shit on everyone but hot skinny girls.
  • + 4
 ^ yup
  • + 8
 Hot girl in tight jeans HOT!!! All others in them are NOT!!!
  • + 10
 Agreed! From nature, men got three very good reasons NOT to wear tight jeans! Wink
  • + 0
 is there jelly dripping from them in the pic?
  • + 1
 Just so we all know, I dont' endorse tight jeans... I am just a casual observer of stupid trends...
  • + 1
 as am i
  • + 2
 I think they poured grape pop over them
  • + 0
 and burgtecs are better still
  • + 2
 nah i had a set of burgtecs and they are pretty poo just big and expensive not worth the money
  • + 1
 its so subjective aint it? i just ditched some straitlines cos they kept seizing and eating their own bushings. replaced with burgtecs and feel like ive got superglue on my shoes.

fwiw ive also got a pair of wellgo v12 copies with ti axles for about a third of the price and half the weight and they work just great. not pretty though!
  • + 1
 well i had a set of burgtecs and they were pretty shit and it wasnt my shoes or anything cause i wear 6.0's and they still wernt all that great ive had sunlines aswell they were pretty sick but im on straightlines now and they have been my personal favourite
  • - 1
 The review is missing the dimensions of the pedals. Can we get a measurement for the area that the shoe contacts?
  • + 1
 well they stuck a crushed grape drank can over the pedal and it barely covered it so...
  • + 4
 they look like they might be about the size of a pedal.
  • - 2
 straightlines are better
  • + 3
 dont say they better unless u have treid these personally. I like the twenty6 pedals and my wah wah are very good fro the price also
  • + 1
 wawa and deity decoy best grip:weight:cost ratio. i love my JC's but they are a tad hefty compared to the decoy/wawa(same pedal basically)
  • - 3
 id buy straitlines before these!

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