Kona Wah Wah II Flat Pedals - Review

Feb 21, 2018
by Mike Kazimer  
Kona Wah Wah II pedal review



The pace of change in the mountain bike world can be whiplash-inducing, but when it comes to flat pedal technology, things aren't quite as turbulent. Take Kona's original Wah Wah pedals – they're now being retired, replaced by the lighter, wider, and thinner Wah Wah II, but that's after a solid ten-year long run.
The Wah Wah II pedals have a fiberglass reinforced composite (read: plastic) platform, with seven replaceable pins on each side. The platform's dimensions are very generous – it measures 120 x 118mm, and even when you subtract the bearing bulge and measure only the portion that a shoe will sit on they still measure 110 x 107mm – that's a lot of real estate.


Kona Wah Wah II Details
• Composite body, chromoly spindle
• Platform dimensions: 120 x 118mm
• 7 pins on each side
• 2 cartridge bearings, 1 needle bearing
• Weight: 354 grams
• MSRP: $49.99 USD
www.konaworld.com

They're nice and thin, too, at 12mm in the center and 14mm at the edges, with a slight bulge in the outboard center portion of the pedal that measures 18.4mm. The pins themselves extend 5mm above the platform. Plastic pedals tend to weigh less than their aluminum siblings, and that holds true here as well – the Wah Wah II's came in at only 354 grams on my scale.

Available in six colors (black, forest green, red, purple, orange, slime green), the Wah Wah II pedals retail for $49.99 USD.



Kona Wah Wah II pedal review
Seven replaceable pins are located on each side of the composite platform.
Kona Wah Wah II pedal review
The thin platform helps provide a little extra ground clearance, and the chamfered edges are designed to help keep the pedals from hanging up on obstacles.


Kona Wah Wah II pedal review
The platform is nice and wide, extending almost to the outer edge of a size 11 shoe.
Kona Wah Wah II pedal review
The Wah Wah's size compared to the Specialized Boomslang.


Performance

Pedal preference is one of those topics that bored mountain bikers love to argue about, but I'm pretty open-minded when it comes to the ol' clips vs. flats debate. I regularly switch between both styles, sometimes because I'm too lazy to swap out the pedals that are already on a bike, and other times because the weather is atrocious, and the day's trail menu includes some extra-spicy portions where I'd rather not be clipped in.

Foul weather has been the name of the game for the last few months here in the Pacific Northwest, which has given me plenty of chances to go splash through puddles and blast through the mud with my feet resting on the Wah Wah pedals. At first, the pedals look almost comically large, but that width felt great under my size 11 shoes. Matched with a pair of 5.10s, there was plenty of grip on tap, and I didn't suffer any unwanted foot slippage. Compared to Specialized's Boomslang pedals, the Wah Wahs don't have quite as much outright grip, but it's close, and the larger platform helps compensate for that, making it very unlikely that an impact will be large enough to knock your foot entirely off the pedal. That extra-large platform also makes it easy to find the pedals again after taking a foot off – there's no need to gingerly search for a tiny metal sculpture when you have a big plastic flyswatter to aim for instead.

The lack of pins in the center of the pedal didn't pose any issues either – I never found myself wishing for any more traction. What about the little lump on the middle outboard portion of the platform? I honestly didn't feel it – the height of the surrounding pins keeps it from being noticeable. On the whole, the pedals feel more concave than they actually are, which is a good thing in my book.



Kona Wah Wah II pedal review


Durability

Plastic pedals have a reputation for being less robust than their aluminum siblings, largely due to a few models that came back out in the mid-2000s that weren't up to snuff. The latest crop of plastic pedals seem to be much stronger, and the Wah Wahs are no exception. I've hit an untold number of rocks and roots, and even forced them to take the brunt of a misjudged landing off a stepdown that left me with a sprained ankle. Despite all of that, every single pin is still in place, which is surprising, and impressive. When the time does come to replace a mangled pin, it's good to see that they're threaded from the backside of the platform.

When I pulled the pedals apart (a simple process that only takes a minute or two) there was plenty of grease on the spindle, but it did look like some moisture had made its way inside. The bearings themselves are sealed, excluding the needle bearing that sits next to the smaller cartridge bearing, but it is worth pulling the spindle out every once in a while for some cleaning and greasing if you're regularly riding in really wet conditions.




Pinkbike's Take
bigquotesKona's Wah Wah II pedals are ready to rock, with a wide, grippy platform that provides plenty of support for keeping those feet in place no matter how rough the trail, and a price tag that’s tough to beat. Mike Kazimer








99 Comments

  • + 88
 With all these great plastic pedals hitting the market (these, oneup) it's getting harder to justify $150 aluminum models every day!
  • + 41
 Justification is overrated. If these banal chunks of metal make you feel like a million dollars, they're worth every penny.
  • + 12
 i switched from TI axle aluminum goodness a while ago. the chromoly composite are cheaper, just as light and will flex when they impact something .if they dont it most likely would have broken a metal pedal anyway
  • + 9
 Yup. I bought a set of plastic pedals when I was on a tight budget and was so happy with them that I switched them on my other bike too. Great value!
  • + 10
 @BenPea: haha touche... Can't ever discount humans and their fascination with shiny things.

Though, that is justification right there... Maybe it's better to write, I find it harder to feel like a million dollars from a pair of $150 aluminum pedals when I can feel like $999999 from $50 plastic ones?
  • + 9
 Finally! I waited so long for an inexpensive big pedal with sealed bearings and no bushings. Thank you Kona !!!
  • + 74
 @sspiff: plastic pedals just dont have the same ring to them when they slap your shin
  • + 5
 @adrennan: ooohhhhhh pain
  • + 2
 @BenPea: you are on fire today hahaha
  • + 4
 @BenPea: I really like the patina of a well-worn alu pedal. I've had my Superstars for going on four years and the wear pattern on all the outer edges is very pretty, certainly nicer than the gouged up mess I reckon plastic versions would be after that long.
  • + 5
 My next pedals will be plastic, just out of curiosity. When I have to replace them after a year or so, I shall return to 40 euro Wellgos that will see me through to my retirement in 2040.
  • + 1
 @WAKIdesigns: it's from the napalm
  • + 4
 @BenPea: My $40 composite Wellgos are holding up just fine after 3 years of abuse
  • + 3
 @focofox37: well there ya go...
  • + 2
 Who's gonna make the first Ti axled composite pedal?
  • - 6
flag seraph (Feb 21, 2018 at 9:11) (Below Threshold)
 $150? That sounds nice. Try $200+ for the good stuff.
  • + 1
 @nojzilla: didn’t E13 do it?
  • + 1
 @WAKIdesigns: that triple layer design?
  • + 1
 @WAKIdesigns:
No, those were aluminium with plastic screw on plates. Grippiest f*cking pedal ever though!
  • + 2
 One time tried plastic never switch back
  • + 1
 They'll just sell $150 plastic pedals then, problem solved.
  • + 0
 I tried plastic Nukeproofs but kept snapping pins off when clipping rocks. After about 2 months had to swap out to Alu Oneups. Still smash pedals everywhere but they’re lasting much better, which I put down to material. For me, $150 metal shoes pedals will be cheaper than $50 plastics that don’t last.
  • + 1
 @dthomp325: don't give them ideas... You know SRAM would be first in line
  • + 3
 @sspiff: When neon green atlas pedals happen to match all of your other accents you just ship them a box of money and don't ask questions.
  • + 1
 @gkeele: on composites, all the plastic is colored so scrapes, chips and gouges don't show.
  • + 19
 been riding wah wahs for the last 8 years - still the best pedal I've ever used
  • + 3
 Same here!
  • + 2
 @gtrguy: @glyner: Yep, these have been my go to for a while. All around great pedals.
  • + 3
 Whichever moron owned my dirt jumper from 2009 before I did apparently didn't put any grease on the Kona Wah Wahs, because they seem to be permanently attached to the crankarms. No problem, they still spin decent and aren't showing any signs of letting up. Thanks Kona! Hopefully these are just as durable.
  • + 2
 Wah Wah were mounted on my Kona operator when I rode downhill.... mind blowing grip, felt like being clipped in! Best deal out there 4sure
  • + 1
 @mnorris122: bust out the impact gun and hit that bitch from behind
  • + 1
 @blakemoss: Meh, maybe when they totally fall apart I'll go that route, but until then I'm perfectly happy with them where they are lol
  • + 16
 Kona; bringing solid products to the working' man!
  • + 3
 I'm getting a pair goddamnit! #9to5forlife
  • + 11
 Can I plug my guitar into these ?
  • + 2
 not if you like metal
  • + 9
 If you ride lots of rocks, plastic pedals are the shizz... especially since they're inexpensive!!!
  • + 4
 ...I already hit a lot of rocks with them...could not believe but they are still fine...
  • + 3
 I'm a fatty and hit rocks regurlaly due to my poor riding skills and my metal spanks have'nt skipped a beat in 4 years... Not sure why people think metal pedals aren't durable?
  • + 4
 I ride lots of rocks. Smashed my plastic pedals almost as soon as I put them on :-/
  • + 1
 @mollow: i think @scottlink is saying that plastic is better on rocks because they don't catch on rocks like metal pedals do, they tend to slide on them instead
  • + 0
 @xeren: exactly....
  • + 5
 Sorry plastic pedals, with all your low price and weight. DMR Vaults till the day I die.
  • + 2
 Apparently this review has boosted Kona's pedal sales. I went to order a pair of black ones from jensonusa, and they are on back order except for a pair of Orange pedals...They had a decent stock on them last night..I know, you snooz, you lose..lol
  • + 1
 Correction, all they have is Green...meh..
  • + 1
 Have these and One-Ups. WW2’s are noticeably bigger, not as grippy, but they have lots of room to move your feet around. One big miss in my book is that the bearing sits a couple mm’s too close to the crank arm. I have to use extra pedal washers to stop them from dragging against the crank boots on my RF Next.
  • + 3
 $50 but for sale at £60 in the UK? Can I get a god dam reach around?

shop.bikesandbuddies.co.uk/accessories/pedals/new-wah-wah-composite-pedal
  • + 1
 It's rediculous, I wanted a set of these and thought the UK price took the piss a little. Fortunately I was out in the US so picked a pair up. Still tempted to pay the UK price to get a set for my other bike, they are brilliant pedals.
  • + 1
 I feel your pain, $80 in Canada... same price as the alloy versions were!
  • + 1
 Do plastic pedals scratch less than aluminum? I have a pair of Chromag Scarabs and after a handful of rides they look like absolute trash. Paint and finish completely scratched and worn. They're less than a year old and look like I've had them for decades.
  • + 2
 No, but since the plastic is a solid colour throughout they don't show up the rub and scrapes like an alu pedal.
  • + 1
 I think these look like a great flat option. Ive personally been running a pair of the Nukeproof composites for a couple years now with zero issues, and are super easy to maintain and have stood up to many a meeting with rocks etc
  • + 2
 I picked up a pair for a new build after seeing them on a friend's bike. Bigger and thinner than Chesters, they have a great feel. Plenty of grip without going too far, and the colour won't get scraped off.
  • + 1
 another review of these mentioned just a touch of give with these and composite pedals in general. anyone running composite pedals (these or another brand) notice the same thing? how noticeable is it compared to a stiff alloy pedal?
  • + 1
 I've been running these Wah Wah II's for a few months now and haven't noticed any flex or give. My last pedals were TMac's which are awesome, but these are just as grippy and I love the huge platform (size 10.5 shoe). The composite pedals have an added benefit of deflecting off of rocks much better than alloy, plus they don't look all beat like alloy does after such rock strikes.
  • + 1
 I run Superstar El-plastique,I believe same as one model of HTs. I use them with 510 Impact VXii. They are great, probably best all round pedal I have ever owned m. Just the right amount of grip and they won’t demolish your shins. Thickness is good too. I’ve been commuting on them in shitty Gothenburg weather, riding road, pumptrack, dirt jumps, lately skate park. They just keep going.

Just replace the pins every now and then and I wish someone made a slightly bigger version of them.

If you want max grip then they are not for you. Boomslangs on the pic up there seem awful to me. Small platform, the bearing part is always in the way and the grip is just too much. There is no way to reposition your foot if it gets bumped up and lands where you don’t want it. If I wanted a pedal that makes me slow down to lift a foot in order to put it back where I want it to be I’d just clip in. Alloy One Ups get the edge of this too much grip. Both are terrible for your calves and shins though
  • + 3
 I've got Chesters and don't notice any flex
  • + 1
 A sealed-bearing pedal at $50 to $70 is something that's sorely needed in MTB. Concave is the smarter move for sure, too. And Kona has made such good pedals for a long time. Good job there! But plastic & the giant size seem to be misses... seemingly just to follow the current trend and "placate the masses". I'd buy magnesium + smaller platform Wah Wah II's for the rest of my life.
  • + 1
 Dont dich the plastic until you tried! They slide over rocks better then any metal pedal! But I agree on the width!!
KONA pleas! When will you make a smaller version of the Wah Wah 2?
  • + 1
 I bought a set of these as winter pedals for my road bike, but I liked them enough to throw them on my MTB. I have a size 13 foot so I really like the large platform. If you run crank arm protectors you have to do some trimming to get the bearing housing to clear (even with the pedal washers installed), but that is my biggest complaint.

So far I haven't felt the need to put my Scarabs back on. Cheers to Kona for making a $50 pedal that exceeded my expectations.
  • + 4
 obligatory song post : George Harrison Wah Wah
www.youtube.com/watch?v=usGObvP42GM
  • + 1
 @astro99 - Great tune!
  • + 1
 Beat the Meatles.
  • + 2
 these pedals are amazing, i run them on my DB mission. i also wear 12.5 shoes. they are definitely built for larger foot platforms
  • + 2
 I like my race face chester pedals on my Honzo except for the shitty pins Im sure these would be great especially for the price
  • + 1
 I might try these because of the larger platform. I ride both the RF chester, and the One-up composite pedals.. I have a wide foot 4(E) I might like these better, and for 50 bones they're not gonna drain my wallet.
  • + 1
 I had a look at these yesterday, they seem very nice. They look a lot like a spank spoke but a bit thicker with a better design of the spindle assembly. I have decided on some Chromag Scarbs though, get my anode on!
  • + 2
 What do you mean they're retiring the original Wah Wah? Those are my go to pedal when I need them (which is rare, I'm on my second set in 10 years).
  • + 3
 AN01 or AN14 - from HT components, Kona were one of the first to bring a rebranded HT pedal to market, its an old design but you can still get it - Also look for 'bikefridge' in the UK, they are very cheap on there.
  • + 2
 I don't like pedal that you can feel the axel in. I hope theese are different. My buddy has the one up composite pedals and you can feel it
  • + 2
 These look great for the price and I love the fact that it's all bearings but is that bearing really exposed to the elements like that?
  • + 4
 YES!!! Affordable bike parts!!! Thanks Kona!
  • + 2
 These bads boys ripped a 9 stitch gash on shin and I still don’t regret purchase
  • + 3
 its a winner. $50 and grip
  • + 0
 "Plastic pedals tend to weigh less than their aluminum siblings, and that holds true here as well – the Wah Wah II's came in at only 354 grams on my scale."
Aluminum Race Face Atlas weights 360gr on my scale...
  • + 1
 Composite flats are amazing. Light and pretty damn strong. I have cracked aluminum that seemed to be brittle. Composites seem to have flex when you pedal strike.
  • + 4
 wah wah wee wah
  • + 1
 great platform; terrible durability. one of the pedals broke after 2 rides. No hard strikes. Just NE riding. They are very thin.
  • + 1
 KONA! How long do we have to wait for a smaller version? These are much to wide for anything under size 10!!!
  • + 1
 Had my wah wahs for over 10 years. Looks like Llbe getting something else this time around.
  • + 1
 Done. Weight savings alone...354gr VS 400+ that the rest of the large flats are...
  • + 1
 Five Tens on Twenty6 pedals... priceless. Like a pissed off falcon attacking the soles of your shoes
  • + 1
 Now make them longer! My Catalysts have been awesome, just a little narrow (4E width feet...).
  • - 1
 I've tried plastic pedals and they are not for me. Just not enough grip and flexy. There are a bunch of affordable aluminum pedals out there. Why choose plastic when you can have metal?
  • + 1
 Funny I have it totally backwards, I clip in in the winter flats for flat out speed in the Summer.
  • + 1
 Which are better? These or the One Up composites?
  • + 2
 These are bigger than OneUp...120x118 vs 115x105. Tho fewer pins here...7 vs 10. Weights essentially the same...354 vs 360. My Scarabs by comparison are 110x105, 10 chromed pins(dull as f*ck out of the box) and 420gr. Depends what you're lookin for I guess....I'm switching.
  • + 1
 i have the OneUp composites and would strongly recommend them to anyone looking for a new set of flats. Plus they are Canadian. these new Konas look great but they are only half Canadian.
  • + 1
 One ups have a pin towards the center of the pedal not just the outside which I like. Haven't tried these but would recocmend the one ups for sure
  • + 1
 Really like the One Up Composites with 5-10 Freeriders, the combo sticks somethin' fierce. They're just as light as these Konas and can take abuse. I have countless rock strikes on them - they definitely deform a little with real bad hits, but they ride just like they did brand new. The platform is super wide - LOVE them. I was a clipless transplant this season, and I think I'm converted. I have such stiff joints and flats allow me to position my body a little better in some situations. Flats do inspire confidence, even though I had 3 years on SPD MTB clipless, I enjoy pushing the limits a little more on these. Also, jumping doesn't seem much different between flats and clipless, with my setup above.
  • - 3
 $50USD/pair, so about $60 - $70 CAD for plastic pedals @ 345g. No thanks. Maybe if the axle extended right to the edge instead of stopping short. At least they aren't using bushings. I'd rather get a set of ALU/Mg Welgos for that price.
  • + 1
 Can you give a comparison of the oneup composites vs these?
  • + 1
 “Nah”
Sam Hill
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