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
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. 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. 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