HT Components ME03T Pedals
Hsing Ta Industrial isn't a newcomer to the cycling world – their history dates back to 1954 when they began producing spokes and nipples in Taiwan. In 2005 the company started HT Components as a way to expand into the high end pedal market, and they now offer an extensive lineup of pedals, everything from clipless road pedals to flat pedals intended for downhill and slopestyle usage. The ME03T is part of their EVO series, which features of some of the thinnest and lightest flat pedals currently available.
The ME03T follows the recent trend towards thinner and thinner pedals, with the majority of the pedal's magnesium body measuring only 11mm thick. In addition, HT has managed to create a pedal that weighs in at only 220 grams for the pair, nearly a half pound lighter than many other pedals on the market. Part of the credit for this light weight goes to the pedal's 6-4 titanium alloy spindle, but the usage of titanium also raises the price by a fair bit. HT offers a similar version of this pedal with a chromoly spindle and an aluminum body, the AE03, which weighs more (352 grams), but costs less, coming in at $160 USD.
• Extruded magnesium body
• CNC machined titanium spindle
• Dimension: 102 x 96 x 11mm
• Dual DU bushings and one external bearing
• Replaceable, anodized aluminum pins
• Adjustable spin resistance
• Weight: 220g (actual)
• Price: $285 USD
Each side of the pedal has ten aluminum traction pins that can be removed from the other side with a 2.5mm Allen wrench. HT includes a handful of spare pins to replace any of the stock ones that break off during encounters with rocks and other non-moveable trail obstacles.
Two DU bushings are housed inside the body, and HT's unique “EVO” bearing system is secured to the outer end of the spindle. Pedal installation and removal is accomplished with an 8mm Allen wrench – the spindle does not have any wrench flats. Instead of using the more common sealed cartridge bearing at the end of the spindle, HT uses nine small ball bearings that sit in a retainer sandwiched between two races. A small spring keeps tension on the bearings, and the pedal's resistance to spinning can be adjusted via a locking nut on the outer portion of the spindle. It's important not to overtighten the locking nut, as this will make it nearly impossible for the pedals to spin. The reliance of this design on a small spring to provide tension means there may be a slight bit of side to side play once the spin resistance is adjusted, but the amount of movement is minimal, and was not noticeable when riding.
A look inside the ME03T, from right to left: locking nut, bearing cover, outer race, bearings, inner race, preload spring, and washers.
As the bottom bracket heights of bicycles have dropped, the demand for thinner pedals has increased. Thin pedals help reduce the number of times a pedal smacks the ground or scrapes across roots and rocks during a ride, and keep your center of gravity as close to the spindle as possible, rather than being perched above it on a towering block of metal. While we still managed to run the MEO3T pedals into a fair number of rocks and roots, the thin profile was noticeable, and they emerged unscathed on a few sections of trail where other pedals have not.
Underfoot, the ME03 pedals do feel slightly smaller than other pedals we've tried recently. The center of the platform is 102mm wide, but at the leading and trailing edge the corners of the pedal are tapered in to around 75mm, which means there is less of a perch to rest on. The upper outside portion of the foot (the pinky toe area
) hangs over the edge of the pedal more than it would on a square pedal profile, something riders that prefer a larger platform will want to keep in mind. In addition, there is a 2mm difference between the internal and external height of the pedal body. The pins are tall enough that this was barely noticeable, but if we paid close attention to our foot position it did seem to cant slightly to the outside.
Despite the reduced platform size, the overall grip of the pedal was excellent. The aluminum pins extend a solid 4mm above the pedal body, and when combined with sticky soled shoes there was sufficient traction for even the roughest of trails.
A look at the ME03's ultra-thin side profile. The tall pins provide plenty of traction, especially when paired with sticky rubber shoes.
The MEO3T's overall build quality and construction is good, but the external bearing is not sealed as well as it could be. The mud and grime often encountered when riding in the Pacific Northwest has a tendency to work its way into every nook and cranny on a bike, and pedals are exposed to the brunt of these adverse conditions. When we disassembled the pedals it was apparent that dirt had begun working its way towards the bearings, entering at the junction of the external bearing and the pedal body. The pedals still spun smoothly, and it was a simple process to clean and regrease the outer bearing and inner spindle, but riders who spend their time riding in wet and muddy conditions should be prepared to spend a little extra time on pedal maintenance.
The aluminum pins shrugged off a number of glancing blows, but a direct hit to the underside of the pedal did break the exposed portion of one pin completely off. The use of aluminum pins is part of the MEO3's weight saving equation, but it does mean that they are more likely to shear off rather than deform like steel pins would. That being said, it was a solid hit that broke the pin, and it didn't take more than a few minutes to extract and replace it. Pinkbike's take:
|As Keith Bontrager famously said, 'Strong. Light. Cheap. Pick two.' The MEO3T's $285 price tag might have some riders spitting out their energy drinks in disbelief, but it's worth taking a step back before starting to pound out a diatribe about how expensive mountain biking is, and how you could buy a dirt bike for that much money. There's no denying that $285 is a huge investment for a pair of pedals, especially ones that need a little more preventative maintenance than others on the market. However, constructing a pedal out of titanium and magnesium isn't cheap, and for the rider who is trying to shave weight off their bike, the ME03T could be just the ticket; a few minutes with an 8mm Allen wrench might end up knocking off half a pound. We could also see downhill racers who are still riding flat pedals using these as a race day special, thrashing around on a less expensive set for training, and then putting the ME03Ts on for the main event. There are certainly a number of other pedal options out there that cost a good deal less and offer a wider platform and better sealing against the elements, but not many of them are as thin and weigh as little as HT Components' ME03T. - Mike Kazimer|