Pedaling Innovations Catalyst Pedal - Review

Jan 13, 2016
by Paul Aston  
Pedaling Innovations - Catalyst Pedals

The Catalyst pedal comes from James Wilson, the proprietor of MTB Strength Training Systems. The Pedaling Innovations venture began after he thought of a new way to help translate the power he created in the gym onto his bike. He found that there was a missing link between the barefooted stance he used in the gym when swinging around kettlebells and various other lumps of iron and the way he could use the same movement patterns to propel his bike forwards on the trail. The solution to this problem resulted in the creation of a larger pedal platform. The Catalyst pedals aren't lightweight at 505 grams, but after shelling out $119 USD, they are the only pedal on the market that come with a 30 day, no quibble, money back guarantee.


Catalyst Pedal Details

• Intended use: improving pedalling dynamics by using a large platform to support the foot
• 6061 aluminum
• Dual sealed bearings and DU bushing internals
• 128mm x 95mm platform
• 16mm thickness
• Red, blue, black or grey colors
• 30-day money back guarantee
• Weight: 505 grams
• MSRP: $119 USD
pedalinginnovations.com / @PedalingInnovations
Pedaling Innovations - Catalyst Pedals


Construction

The Catalyst pedal doesn't do any singing or dancing, and this is probably because their designer is a gym rat and bike rider, not an engineer. A simple affair, they are extruded and machined from 6061 series aluminum into a 16mm thick platform. Dual sealed bearings and DU bushings keep things spinning on the cro-mo axle. There are five pins at the front and rear of the platform, and two more between the axle and leading edge of the pedal. At 95mm wide they are comparable to others, but the huge 128mm length is the largest on the market.


Setup and Science

The Pedaling Innovations web page cites a number of scientific studies that helped spark the creation of a pedal with such an oversized platform. To summarize, the key points describe the hips as the main driving force behind a strong downwards pedal stroke, and state that from a biomechanical standpoint there is nothing to be gained from pulling up on the pedals on the backstroke. Mountain bikers are told to center the ball of their foot over the pedal axle, and traditional technique sees pedal strokes focusing on the quadriceps. According to the James Wilson, positioning the axle under the middle of the foot can improve the way hip flexors, glutes and hamstrings fire.

The theory of placing the ball of the foot in line with the axle comes from the way we run or jump as a human; we push off the ball of the foot and toes for movements where we take off from the ground. For movements where our feet don't leave the ground, it's said to be better to keep the foot flat on the floor, supporting either end of the arch at the ball and heel. James says the pedal stroke is similar to squatting or deadlifting in the gym - try squatting with a heavy weight at the gym balancing on your toes versus keeping your feet flat on the floor.

Wouldn't a stiff soled shoe accomplish the same thing as the Catalyst pedal? Well, not quite. Using a stiff sole will help to support the foot, but the calf muscle and Achilles' tendon still need to be recruited to push down on the pedals. Having to keep tension in this area will subtract from the amount of power we can produce in the hips, and next to zero power can be added from these small muscles. The Catalyst pedal is designed to be long enough to give support at both ends of the foot for most people, although basketball players might need something even bigger; I used the pedal with a size 10.5 US Five Ten Impact VXi shoe.

Pedaling Innovations Catalyst Pedal Review
  You might have to spend some time readjusting your foot position.

Pedaling Innovations Catalyst Pedal Review
A short pedal placed under the ball of the foot requires the calf muscle and Achilles tendon to be flexed in order to pedal and balance.
Pedaling Innovations Catalyst Pedal Review
Placing a larger platform in a more central position under the foot could mean increased pedal power.



Performance

I have been following James' downloadable MTB Strength Training plans for a number of years now and believe they have helped me to improve my pedalling technique. The majority of the training focuses on using plenty of kettlebell swings, squats and exercises designed to improve hip movements and increase the effectiveness of each pedal stroke. Riding with a mid-foot position rather than pushing with the ball of your foot is crucial for using the Catalyst pedal, and a technique that I had a head start on. If you don't have this style dialled in, it may take longer for you to reap any benefits from the extra size, and continuing to use a quad dominant stroke with the ball of your foot placed over the axle won't bring about much of a benefit over a standard pedal. Getting onto the trail I had no problem moving my foot a few centimeters forward as recommended, and it became second nature within a couple of rides. I should also note that I'm a long term flat pedal user and when using clips I always have the cleats positioned as far backward as possible.

I had three concerns when the pedals arrived: would they affect the way I try to keep my heels down on rough downhill sections as my foot would be further forward, would maneuvers that use a 'scooping motion' like bunny hops be more difficult, and would they clip every obstacle in sight with their massiveness? No problems arose with any of these. Keeping my heels dropped wasn't an issue and I even felt more balanced on the bike. Hopping, turning and jumping felt barely different to any other flat pedals and I didn't find them striking the ground any more often than normal. Within two rides I felt like I had gained more power with no extra training, and when putting in hard, standing efforts on the pedals, I found it much easier to maintain form and posture and a strong pedalling technique. Going from normal flats to the Catalysts feels like another step up in terms of keeping my form on point. Also, the extra support from the pedals means that slimmer, more flexible shoes can be used without worrying about them curling over the pedal's leading and trailing edges.

Grip wise I didn't find the Catalyst to be great for getting involved in the real rough stuff - the pins are pretty short so I upgraded to some slightly longer pins to increase traction. I would compare grip levels to a DMR V12 or Nukeproof Neutron, whereas I feel more comfortable riding downhill on a more aggressive pedal like a DMR Vault or Nukeproof Horizon. Along with longer pins for more extreme riding, I would like to see some shorter pins or texture in the middle of the pedal as the huge flat surface in the middle can feel a little slippery underfoot. This large surface area could also pose a problem with mud build up in adverse conditions.


Pedaling Innovations - Catalyst Pedals
The Catalyst is a monster, but needs bigger pins to match.
Pedaling Innovations - Catalyst Pedals
The 128mm long body has a small amount of concave and is 16mm thick at the axle.



Pinkbike’s Take:
bigquotesThe Catalyst changed my view on flat pedals by making it feel as if I had more power, better balance, and the ability to maintain my form for longer periods of time during sustained physical efforts. I do wish they had better grip - as a result they are more suited to trail/all mountain riding than aggressive downhill in their standard form. Still, if I can improve my riding by simply changing my pedals, I'll take it. And don't forget that there is a 30-day money back guarantee, which makes it even easier to try a pair and see if they work for you. - Paul Aston


Must Read This Week

263 Comments

  • + 78
 I wanna try them, but I'm concerned my calves won't retain the sexy mountain biker look they're known for
  • + 75
 I wear a size 15 shoe, I like flats, maybe this will take care of some of the numbness.
  • + 39
 Well if James fails at winning over the masses with his theory of more power delivered, then at least he'll own the market for the 14+ shoe size riders.
  • + 7
 Im 2 sizes bigger than you and can tell you now they're probably not wide enough and won't give the same benefit as smaller footed riders. Personally id need a 120 x 180 platform for the same le
  • + 4
 *same level of support
  • + 3
 Tmac pedals bro.
  • - 4
flag inked-up-metalhead (Jan 14, 2016 at 7:47) (Below Threshold)
 Why am I getting negative props for facts? My merrells I use for riding are 135mm wide and about 330mm long, ive since measured and to get the same proportion supported itd actually need to be 210mm long.
  • + 3
 at 95mm width, can't imagine they'd be great for large feet. Im only a size 11 and the only pedals I've felt comfortable on (with my clunky 5tens) are the VT Harriers at 110mm width, gives me plenty of room when adjusting my feet slightly to open my hips into a turn. Im sure the length provides huge improvements in pedaling efficiency, but id still opt for the security of the extra width of the VT when ripping down the trail.
  • + 17
 I also wear a size 15, but I prefer clips. Don't cry for me, I'm already dead.
  • + 13
 I didnt know any sasquatches were on pinkbike
  • + 1
 I'm a 13 shoe, I use Straitline DeFactos (98mm x 108mm, 517g) right now and they work OK but I've always wanted a bigger pedal! Theses are lighter than the Straitline's as well.
  • + 2
 @esander and edit from previous comment: The VP Harrier pedals are 120x110 mm, 362g. I just looked them up, sorry Pedal Innovations but I think I'll be getting the VPs instead.
  • + 3
 TwentySix Products makes some fattys for us big footed folk. Sharp as sh** pins customizable lengths and colors, concave, and easy customer service. Yes they are above average price and yes they are far above average performance.

Size 14 here.
  • + 2
 Edit add: And weigh very little.
  • + 0
 @David1po And only $270!....
  • + 1
 But if you think on the margin the additional $100 is spent into a lifelong product. And any bike product remember could I spend a little more to get a lot more.
  • + 32
 What we need is tests on a powermeter to see if you can really improve pedalpower and efficiency. Until then sales will remain low becausewe get way too many unproved theories thrown at us.

Same for wheelsizes, how freaking hard can it be to do a 26" vs 27.5" vs 29" test to see the exact difference in rolling resistance? We want facts/numbers, not useless theories.
  • + 67
 It's mountain biking, if you're picking your bike based on rolling resistance you're missing the point.
  • + 11
 The numbers on wheelsizes exist already in other publications.
  • - 3
 @scottz: then Everyone who switched to 27.5 missed the point: people switch because they think it will make them faster due to less rolling resistance.

@deeight: do you have a link for me? I googled this subject a lot but the best I could find was an estimation of how much the difference could be. No real tested-and-proved numbers.

I can't understand how so many companies are trying to sell all these inventions and upgrades by saying theoretically it should be better. And then they think it is weird when no one buys stuff like these longer pedals..
  • + 4
 That's a goofy comment.

I bought 27.5+ because it's fun. Really really fun.
  • + 8
 As an xc racer, I choose 27.5 because of my years of data on three wheel sizes over the same loops ridden many many times. I have my data.
  • + 7
 Look at bike radar's YouTube channel. They have a video scientifically comparing wheel sizes
  • + 7
 There is one on you tube. 29er won Smile
  • + 12
 I have a new 27.5 because I liked the bike as a whole design , the wheel size was what it was. My reasons for selling my two 26ers have nothing to do with their wheel size, I love both bikes. If manufacturers went back to selling 26" wheeled bikes, we would all still be having FUN right?....
  • + 26
 Thanks for letting me know @natemeyer ! Just checked the video and indeed finally a good scientific test!

For those not wanting to watch 17 minutes of video, I'll share the results here:
Over a 3.8km xc lap:
- 29" was fastest
- 26" got second (+12 seconds)
- 27.5" was slowest (+19 seconds)

When they looked at climbing vs descending:
- 29" was the fastest climber, followed by 26", then 27.5"
- 26" was the fastest on descents, followed by 29" and then 27.5"

So basically 27.5" was the big loser here.
  • + 21
 Which is the exact opposite of what MBUK found with their scientific study.

I would love to see a dh bike test where they actually do a no pedalling allowed dh run on every bike and publish the times. That would be better than the usual "yeh it's really good" that we normally get. I don't understand why the motorcycle press is all about objective head to heads, and the cycling press is completely averse to any sort of objective comparison.
  • + 23
 the only test that is worth doing is a lab test with controlled variables. testing on a track means nothing as there are to many variables
  • + 3
 @doek: have you watched the video yourself? They also keep track of their muscles activity and CO2 they breathe out, so they could compare the results to this aswell. That's where they found 26" rode faster down the hills, but also required more muscle power. Meaning that for short descents 26" is faster, but if you'd do a super long descent (let's say 30-60 minutes) the extra muscle power needed will fatigue you more, so a bigger wheelsize would probably be more effective on very long descents.
  • + 8
 Five bikes, three testers, three runs each on every bike, short track dh. You could do that in a day, 15 runs each and graph the run times. Not exactly scientific, but it would still make an interesting read and give you more insight than they do currently.
  • + 4
 I agree on that @jaame. The thing is that the argument most companies use is 'our pro rider rides 27.5" and he won some races'. But that doesn't say anything except for the fact that the pro rider is very fast. For all we know that same pro rider could have won with 26" or 29" wheels aswell. But good to see at least Bikeradar and MBUK took the time to really test things. When I have some time I will try to find that MBUK article aswell, sounds like an interesting read.
  • + 44
 2014 called, they want their thread back.
  • + 6
 The whole point we are talking about this is that even years later there is a lack of proof and every sales story seems to be about theories, not facts. We're not discussing about which wheelsize we like most, we're discussing the lack of scientific proof after all these years.
  • + 4
 Giant published a lot of their research in the brochure last year. I haven't read it but they did go on record saying that they onky want to make 650b in a couple of years. As for 26 being fast, Graves proved it on the SB66.
  • + 11
 Don't forget that Ratboy won his first WC race on a 26" V10 while almost every other team was on a 27.5. Moreover it was at Fort Bill, the type of track where 27.5 should be an advantage. Here is the comparison you were looking for.
  • + 2
 @doek I was just about to post the exact opposite of your's but for the same reason. Lab tests mean nothing in the real trail environment.......
Due to those variables

Smile

Fir instance we dint just sit on our bikes an pedal, we sit we stand we sprint. We move all over the bike in cornering, climbing descents.
And
We hop an pop!
As a 4X'er I'd like the idea of more power but, how would these pedals effect pumping an jumping? I feel horrible with my foot further forward but, us it something that can be gotten used to
So
Yeah! More in depth testing please PB
  • + 15
 On a review about pedals the top comment thread is still about wheel sizes! Never change pinkbike, never change.
  • + 8
 You dont need proof, as long as it sells more bikes
  • + 1
 @nojzilla in a real world test it would be impossible to hit the same bit of rock or lean at the exact same angle etc on every run so you would have far less variables in controlled lab test. Although I agree neither solution is perfect lots of runs down a hill proves nothing
  • + 0
 @DJDrysdale406: good link, but the most important part is missing: the rolling resistance that gets lower when the wheelsize increases. How big is the difference here? This exact difference, which is probably the most important selling point of bigger wheels, is still nowhere to be found.

Also I can't believe that the contact patch on a 27.5 is closer to a 29er than to 26, since 27.5 is closer to 26 than to 29 (it is 25mm bigger than 26", but 36mm smaller than 29"). Also most tests show that the contact patch doesn't get bigger: it gets longer and narrower, but roughly stays equally big in square centimeters. That's where I start doubting the numbers that Giant show us (and still it lacks the IMO most important part: the rolling resistance)
  • + 3
 the contact patch is the same amount no matter what type of wheel size. Contact patch is based on tire pressure and weight. The only thing that changes is pattern for wheel size.
  • + 3
 Just saying...

Your data has way to many variables then wheel size.

For example, has your fitness level changed at all over the different sizes?

What about bike handling?

I think it would be hard for any mtbr to admit they have remained static in those things...

Atleast I would be embarrassed to admit that myself :p
  • + 3
 Its roll over that improved not decreased rolling resistance. I've never seen a claim that there is less rolling resistance on larger wheel sizes. They roll longer because they have more momentum further from the center but that's also why people say 26in is better because it accelerates faster. Smaller wheels should have less rolling resistance because they have a smaller contact patch on the ground. They also "Should" have less grip due to this. Again. Theories.

But my bigger point is. Rollover increases with larger wheels. That is a fact. Whether that makes you faster depends on every single other factor you could possibly come up with.
  • + 1
 Also while the guy in the bikeradar video talks about "real world differences" but in the REAL REAL world... professional racers like Nino Schurter has been proving for several years now than 650Bs are every bit as fast as 29ers in XC racing.
  • + 5
 @deeight: cant really say that purely based on his good performance. His good performance just means he is a very fast rider. For all we know he could have been even faster if he'd ridden a 29" instead.
  • + 5
 This happened to my mate Johnny, he was at a race when the devil came over to him offering wheels that would make him faster in exchange for his soul, deal. However the next year, Johnny realised the devil had shaftered him, when everyone had the same wheel.
  • + 7
 Ratboy won in 2014 with 26"
  • + 3
 Wow I love your Antarctica flag!
  • + 4
 haha looks like a session @jaame
  • + 29
 In addition to longer pins, they also need to thread out from behind. Those hex holes are gonna be gone in 4 rides.
  • + 0
 100 times YES YES YES!!!!! BLACKSPIRES DO!!!!!!
  • - 3
 looks like they take a pedal wrench?
  • + 5
 @Creg he is talking about the pins on the pedals themselves, not the actual pedal thread into the crank.
  • + 21
 The new Pedal+ Technology! Designed to make you a stronger and more stable rider with a larger contact patch. Hmmm...sounds familiar.
  • + 13
 Dear James.
Thanks for trying to get riders to place their foot in the wrong position on a pedal.
The Ankle is an important part of riding for pumping, absorbing smaller impacts, braking etc.
How do I drop my heels as efficiently when riding if I ride with my feet so far back?
Is this 1 small potential gain for a lot of loss in riding dynamics? For me it would be. This may not impact some riders but for the majority my money would be betting that it does.
  • + 19
 Its an interesting subject as pedaling mountain bikes is always compared to road bikes. This annoys me as they are totally differant sports. Its comparable to football and rugby. Similar but in no way the same. A road cyclist sits and occasionally gets up to put the power down and as such they are nearly always supported by their backside so that idea of using the ball of your foot as power is valid. A mountain biker stands and has to balance over rough ground. They only sit on slow uphills. XC types might be differant but then these pedals are not for them at that weight and size! As such, it makes sense with all that standing to actually use all your foot. We would not naturally walk around on our tip toes which is effectively what a traditional SPD postion would create. I belive this is a very valid concept which is proving its self in the way riders are positioning their cleats these days. The size of flat pedals currently would suggest that most riders on flats would find a naturally comfortable position anyway. At the end of the day, some folks like wide bars, some dont. Its personal preferance but wide bars, single rings, expander cogs, big wheels and short stems were all challanged at first. Lets see how this pans out........
  • + 5
 There's a video (from Dirt I think) where Fabian Barel advocates drilling the slots on his SPD shoes further back to improve grip and pedalling. We tried it at home when the GF switch to SPDs as she hated the sketchy feeling of being on the balls of her toes after coming from flats. And it's really helped her out.

I'd just like to point out that this was before Barel started breaking his legs and back, etc.
  • + 3
 Just put your foot in James position for power and move it backwards in technical terrain. I have been doing this for years.
  • + 1
 I'm quite heavy and have always suffered from calf strain on long decsents. I have tried for years to shift my feet forward a bit and it really helps. Unfortunately no matter how much I try to maintain this I always find my feet shuffling back to default spd position. I think it's too ingrained to change Frown
  • + 5
 Dude, this isn't an ankle brace. Its a pedal that rotates on a spindle. Size does not inhibit the pedal body from rotating. This will not affect your ability to rotate your ankle. Also, if you do all of your riding from your ankles, your doing it wrong. It is always more biomechanically effective to drive movements from larger muscles/joints (a guitarist doesn't drive movement from the wrist, instead from the elbow and shoulder). Use your knees and hips instead.
  • + 6
 @betsie I guess you missed this part from the review:
"I had three concerns when the pedals arrived: would they affect the way I try to keep my heels down on rough downhill sections as my foot would be further forward,......"
"Keeping my heels dropped wasn't an issue and I even felt more balanced on the bike. "

Also, he's confidant enough to offer no questions asked money back, so instead of paper riding, you could try for yourself risk free.
  • + 2
 @LaXcarp : What I was talking about below is not about "drive movements", but about absorbing them, as well as dropping your center of gravity by dropping your ankles. If you move your foot forward, and do the usual "drop your ankles" thing, it won't affect your position as much as it would with the usual foot position. And by the same effect of reducing the "travel" you have in your ankle in relation to the pedal axle, it must have an effect on the way your ankles work as your "suspension".

I'm certainly not saying I wouldn't try, I see the logic behind this improving your pedalling and strength on the bike, but I feel like these would be the drawback.
  • + 2
 Since your foot does not break contact with the pedals then your lower leg acts much differently. It is more like doing a set of kettlebell swings - where your foot remains in contact with the ground - than landing from a jump where your foot has lost contact with the ground.

As an example, try to do a set of kettlebell swings while on the balls of your feet. You will feel unbalanced and awkward trying to create and absorb that energy. This is why we do swings with the heels down - since your foot isn't coming off the ground it works better if the heels stay down.

This is a very misunderstood subject in the cycling world and a lot of the analogies used to explain it are simply wrong and inaccurate. If you are interested I have written a couple of articles on the subject you should check out:

pedalinginnovations.com/avoid-this-critical-foot-position-mistake-and-improve-your-agility-on-the-bike

www.bikejames.com/strength/do-you-really-need-to-push-through-the-ball-of-your-foot-when-you-pedal

Again, I understand what you are saying and I used to think this way too but after researching it for myself I found that this it simply isn't how the foot and lower leg work on the bike.
  • + 0
 That kettlebell example makes zero sense. You're more stable with your heels down because with your foot on the floor you can apply downward force from either your heel or the ball of your foot to create a moment and stabilize your body. This is literally impossible on a pedal because the spindle freely rotates. You can't produce a moment of any kind from your foot.

And how is riding or landing a jump like a kettlebell swing in the first place??

The only benefit of midfoot pedal position is that it protects the calves from burning out before the bigger muscles in the leg; it's the 'weak link' in endurance riding and triathlons... those are usually the people who use it. I've tried it on my hardtail and it feels atrocious, it massively reduces my ability to absorb small chatter from the trail. Dislike.
  • - 1
 bkm303 is pretty much there

James, you need to think of things in terms of physiology, anatomy, biomechanics and the other established sciences concerning things like this rather than relate everything to some anecdotal observations of barely related exercises. The outcome might be the same but you aren't going to win anyone over with the current explanations which miss the point (IMO). It is genuinely good to see something a little different and I don't intend this to be as critical as it sounds.
  • + 4
 @ilovedust a counterpoint to your argument(not a rebuttal, as I am in no way going to claim to have the magic answer of the what the best position is) Would be how you run when barefoot: Naturally, it IS all on the balls of your feet. Also, when coaches for various sports that require a lot of mobility(like wrestling or other mat sports) tell their athletes how to move faster, especially laterally, "moving on the balls of your feet" is one of the first things the mention. So one could argue that the body is in it's most limber, & balanced stance(while obviously requiring more muscle to maintain it,) when rising up off the heels.
  • + 1
 @loveduck Don't you think it makes more sense to absorb the trail through knee flexion rather than ankle flexion? Larger range of motion, stronger set of joints, etc.

@groghunter Cycling is not an effort of propelling the human body forward, it is an effort of driving force down more or less vertically to drive a gear that then propels a wheel. Because of this, the balls of your feet dont really need to participate. You want to drive with your largest muscle groups, being hips and glutes and you cannot efficiently drive these muscle groups through the ball of your foot.
  • + 2
 You're arguing a strawman, I made the point about using the balls of your feet for mobility, not increased pedaling output, in fact, I literally stated that it took more muscle to stay on the balls of your feet.
  • + 2
 @bkm303 - It is pretty simple. If your foot comes off of what it is in contact with (like running, jumping, landing a jump, etc.) then you want to use the ball of the foot to push through or help absorb the impact.

If your foot stays in contact with what it is on (like when squatting, deadlifting, standing up from a chair, pedaling your bike, etc). you want it to stay flat on the ground.

This is a pretty simple test and based on it pedaling is more like a swing since in both cases the foot stays in contact with what it is on. And your point about the instability of the current flat pedal design actually is one of the reasons the Catalyst is better - by getting both end of your arch supported you can achieve a balanced foot position not possible with any other pedal.
  • + 2
 @BeardlessMarinRider - Thanks for the suggestion but to be honest all of this IS based on all of those things. When you look at what the science actually tells us is much different than what we are usually told.
  • + 1
 @groghunter - This is a common misconception but it isn't true. You only want to be on the ball of the foot if you are actually breaking contact with the ground. Having some weight on the ball of the foot is one thing, being up on it is another. You can't change levels when on the balls of your feet and it actually reduces your agility. Try doing a set of kettlebell swings on the balls of your feet and you'll see how unbalanced it really is.
  • + 1
 @groghunter I think you're absolutely right on this one. The best position on the pedal for me (I've fiddled with my cleat several times) is one that maximizes the "athletic position" you're talking about, without placing so much load on the calf that it burns out or gets unstable on a long ride. In practice (for me), this puts the cleat about 2/3 of the way back in the slots on my shoes. Further forward and I can sometimes get "sewing machine calf" after riding a long time, further back and I feel much less nimble/subtle on the bike and I can't absorb small impacts or shift my weight around as quickly.

@LaXcarp, no it doesn't make as much sense to absorb things though knee flexion. A smaller, weaker "spring" and lever (calves and foot) will be much more sensitive/plush in response to small impacts than a large, stiff one (the quads and shin, or glutes and femur). Not to mention, your foot (the lever) is perpendicular to upward impact forces, which makes it much better suited to absorbing impact than, say, your shin bones, which are pretty much vertical (parallel to the force --> harder to engage).
  • + 3
 @PedalingInnovations you want your foot to stay on the GROUND because you can apply force against it to counteract imbalances. If you're tipping forward, you put pressure down on the ball of your foot. If you're tipping backward, you put pressure on the heels. Using your foot the same way on a pedal will only cause the pedal to rotate.

My point wasn't about "current flat pedals" it was about ALL pedals. All pedals, including yours, freely rotate on a bearing, which means it's impossible to stabilize in the forward/backward axis by manipulating the foot, as you would on the ground. There's nothing to push against.

No matter how large you make the platform, you're still standing on a free pivot. This is true for current flats, these flats, or even clipless pedals.

Your pedal is not like doing a KB swing with your feet flat on the ground, it's like doing a KB swing while balancing on a thin rod. Whether you put the rod under your midfoot or under the ball of your foot, it's going to be almost impossible to do a KB swing. Which is why a KB swing is a meaningless analogy when it comes to riding a bike.
  • + 1
 Hey, I like that you're trying something different. Having a wide foot and living in a muddy place, are there plans for anwider version with more oin positions? Would love to give these a try.
  • + 3
 @PedalingInnovations But what about the fact that bikes leave the ground, not just once in a while, but often? your center of gravity is moving through the air, just like in a jump made without a bike. The same could be said of hip movements made in corners: your feet may remain stable, but you're moving your COG in a similar way to someone who's quickly moving side to side.
  • + 2
 @bkm303 - But if you can apply equal pressure to both ends of a platform balanced on a spindle then you will create a balanced platform. It is only if I create unequal pressure that it wants to spin. That is, once again, the point of the pedal. By supporting both ends of your arch you can balance the forces being applied into the pedal. This is not possible with the current size pedals on the market. Once you can achieve both a balanced foot position and the ability to shift your weight from front to back you can let the foot move more naturally. And being balanced on the balls of your feet makes it harder to use the hips to change levels and absorb impact, so focusing so much on using them takes away from your body's natural absorbers in the hips. This is why you don't need to use the ankle joint to absorb the energy of a KB swing - the hips are the real shock absorber and the ankle is just acting to get the foot into position to use them.

@groghunter - Just because your bike comes off the ground doesn't change what is happening at the foot. If the foot stays on the pedal then it wants to stay balanced, no matter what is happening to the bike itself.
  • + 7
 Even with the large pedals I still find it very hard to do kettlebells while riding my MTB. Any tips?
  • + 4
 @mikericci - Dude, you just told everyone about my next program "KBs on MTBs"...
  • + 1
 Remove the kettle bell from the equation.
Move to a common gym exercise. Complete your maximum squat for 20 reps (you will do more than this on a run down fort william). Now move to calf raises (yes I understand we don't isolate when riding but his is a simple example). Now take the same weight as you could squat. Add 20% and see if you can do calf raises... of course you can. I would consider myself an ok rider and ride with some far better than ok riders every now and then. Follow a professional and watch how they ride. They do not all ride the same. There are different styles that suit different riders (WC finals qualifying level riders). Luckily we are not all the same. Would be boring if we were.
  • + 1
 Bkm- that rationale would only apply if you mtb standing straight up. When in an attack position, your knees, hips, glutes are in the exact position you just described. Save the plushness for your suspension.
  • + 2
 Not an engineer by any means, but I have to ask about your rationale behind recruiting your gastroc-soleus complex less. Intuitively, I can understand the downwards and forwards vector with traditional SPD placement. Using the above mentioned analogy of "lever" with your foot (obviously, your ankle joint is your saggital plane fulcrum and the calf/achilles works the short side behind it), would having a longer pedal accomplish this? A longer pedal adds a longer moment arm behind the spindle. The force from the thighs/hips is transferred through the tibia (above/slightly behind the ankle fulcrum and well behind the spindle). You would need to activate you calf group just to keep the pedal flat all the same. If your calf didn't do some work, your foot would fold up to your shin.
  • + 3
 My brain hurts...
  • + 10
 I have just started using these pedals. I wear size 48 Shimano Am41's and Teva Links. I am also flat footed. So far these pedals have really improved my riding experience. I have felt a significant increase in power and control, as my thigh and hip muscles are contributing more to my pedalling efforts than before and my calves and ankles feel a lot less strained. I get rock strikes but the frequency is the same as my other pedals (VP Harrier and VP Vice), since the Catalyst is quite thin. I also don't see why dropping the heels should be much of a problem. My ankle movements get taken out of the equation, but then I can use my knees and hips a lot more effectively since my feet are really stable and supported.

James Wilson has already stated i
on his website that these pedals are not for everyone. My first few impressions are that they are for me, so don't knock it until you try it. I do believe that riders with small feet won't benefit as much and it will probably feel really weird. I am really stoked to ride some more on these pedals. Thanks, Pedaling Innovations!
  • + 2
 Being flatfooted, do you get pain in your feet while riding? Did his pedal position help?

I'm badly flatfooted and sometimes I start cramping in my feet, this happened both with flat and clipless pedals, and has been unbearable at times.
  • + 5
 @Adodero, sometimes I do, but i more often I get calf strain, which I didn't realize until I started using James' pedals and pedal positioning. My calves are a bit softer now. Still big and firm, but they feel less tense ( I thought they were just rock hard from all the riding I did) . My thighs would also tense up and start to cramp on long hard rides on hard days. On my last ride with these pedals my muscles still felt relaxed.

My analysis is that being flat footed, when I support my weight on the pedals, my ankles and calves need to work overtime to keep my heels from dipping too much and falling off the pedal since my foot arches can't support all my weight plus the pedaling movement. This in turn probably started to strain my thighs so they would get fatigued faster than they should. I now realize that for me, using regular pedals was like walking tip-toe style versus just walking. Now when I stomp down on the pedals as hard as I can, my stabilizer muscles and joints don't need to work so much to keep my feet on the pedals, and that's where my hips can contribute even further. For some reason, I can also keep my feet further inboard the pedals than before. Usually I would just use the lateral part of the pedals because I felt the need to have a wide stance to offer more stability and power, Now with my feet fully supported, I can use a narrower stance. This aspect however needs more experimentation and observation on my part.

Thanks for the inquiry man. I hope this helps. I also hope you can benefit from these pedals. Guys like us who have biomechanical disadvantages need all the help we can get.
  • + 7
 The sad part of reading through all this. Everytime something new comes out Pinkbikers bitch about it being a money grab from the big bad industry. He creates a pedal and is confident enough to offer a money back guarantee and Pinkbikers still bitch. Amazing.
  • + 6
 Well, no idea about the pedals, but I can say that after starting @pedalinginnovations (James') workouts, it took one ride to start transferring power to the pedals with more hip involvement and more body awareness.

So, thank you, James. Even if your pedals suck, your free content is pretty great and your entrepeneurial spirit leaves you head and shoulders above the armchair engineers hurling their "book learnin'" from the safety of their computer screens.
  • + 6
 Think it's brilliant people can enter the mtb market with new ideas and Pinkbike showcases them. I'm not sold on idea but with a 30-day send them back policy no one can argue whether they work or don't. Get a pair and try them out! That's an awesome selling point. At the very least they'll help Bigfoot riders it people wanting extra stability and security on DH.
  • + 3
 I wouldn't make the guarantee if I didn't feel they could deliver and to take the risk off of you. I know how much it sucks to get a new part and find out you don't like it but you're stuck with it and I wanted to take that out of the equation for riders wanting to try the Catalyst Pedal.
  • + 1
 I think that's a stand out policy in the bike world!

Will you be shipping to UK or have a UK based distributor? Would the 30-day still apply?
  • + 9
 We don't have a UK distributor yet but we ship worldwide and the 30 days starts from when you start riding them. I want you to have a full month to try them and we're not going to split hairs over it.
  • + 5
 MTB strength training systems was having trouble translating the strength he created in the gym to the bike. It sounds like the gym training wasn't well suited to riding the bike. You are putting the cart before the horses if you have to change the activity to suit the training you do for it.
  • + 1
 This is exactly what I think every time I hear one of his wacky ass theories about mechanics (flats are more efficient!?!?!?). Midfoot pedaling is for triathletes and long distance riders. I can't think of a single good thing about it for mtb, especially as a hardtail rider.
  • + 2
 @bkm303
You tried them and they don't work for you?
  • + 2
 I've tried riding with midfoot position on flats. It sucked.

Hey maybe these things solve some problems for some people, who am I to tell them they're wrong for liking them? All I know is the "science" behind these is laughable.
  • + 1
 @bkm303 - There is more science backing up the theory behind this pedal than the ones you'r currently riding (unless you are riding these already). Since you seem to be such a science fan, where is the science to back up anything you are saying?
  • + 0
 What "science"? The fact of the matter is that the best athletes in the world tried and then abandoned midfoot pedaling. The best athletes in the world use clipless pedals.

Also, the half-assed research that James Wilson quotes on his website states great EFFICIENCY at 200w using flats than clipless. Not better sprinting power, not better power at VO2max, not better power at lactate threshold. Show me something, anything that says that these pedals will result in better AM, DH or XC pedaling. I'm guessing it doesn't exist.
  • + 1
 has anyone used these for bmx on the track?
would these be better if i mounted kettle bell handles on my renthals?
  • + 3
 Maybe the biomechanics of the "best athletes in the world" are better than 90% of the rest of us. What works for the best athletes in the world may not necessarily be the best for the rest of us who have day jobs and don't have the luxury of being able to work out whenever we want to. Maybe I have physical limitations that these new developments can really help offset. Too many armchair analysts. I have ridden these pedals and they are AWESOME for ME! I am sure there are at least a thousand guys in the whole wide world who are built like me and think like me who can benefit from these "wacky ass theories".
  • + 1
 @PedalingInnovations if we are quoting science, is there a peer reviewed published article to show these exact pedals make a difference - not cheery picked statements that 'may suggest' they work from previous publications? I would be very curious to read this article if it exists.
  • + 2
 @PedalingInnovations my high school physics textbook, for one.
  • + 4
 @bkm303 You should probably leaf through a college level kinesiology book instead. How much "MTB" technology was just borrowed from 1970's road bike technology that just isn't as good for trails? Steep head angles, long stems, skinny bars, low volume tires, high tire pressure, tubes, triple cranks, LYCRA, etc. Pedaling position??? We have (mostly) gotten rid of most of it because the oldschool holdouts finally saw the light. We have changed nearly EVERYTHING about mountain bikes, why shouldn't we examine HOW we ride them too? At this point in the evolution of the sport why would we ever BLINDLY copy roadies, even the best in the world? I can tell you really don't like the foot position that James suggests. That much is obvious by how passionately you have objected. From my experience, after TEN YEARS on clips, I like flats and 5.10s better, and I am a better rider this year than I was two years ago. When I ride flats my feet NATURALLY start to creep forward to that exact position. For months I fought it and kept repositioning, I don't anymore. As soon as I kill my current pedals, I'll give the Pedaling Innovations set a try. With the guarantee what have I got to lose?
  • + 1
 ^ This. My foot position on the Catalyst is very slightly more rearward than what James suggests. I started on his suggested foot position, but me feet did start to creep to the preferred position - but not too far from his recommendation. At least now I have more options on how to position my feet. Besides, my feet will eventually move around a little on the pedal anyway. I just put it wherever it feels comfortable and stable. Problem solved.
  • + 0
 If you want kinesiology, the studies on James' own site (a) make NO mention of any stability improvement (b) state that pedaling from the ball of the foot generates THE SAME AMOUNT of power as the midfoot.

All mtb pedals to this point are just some tech we borrowed from roadies?? Maybe you haven't been paying attention, but virtually the entire WC DH field has switched AWAY from flats to **mtb specific** clipless systems. They're about as far from roadie influence as you can get. I think mtb riders were plenty involved in that process...

How much suspension are you guys riding? I've tried pedaling at the midfoot but on a hardtail I think it feels like shit, unless the trail is really smooth.
  • + 3
 "MTB specific" clips are just roadie clips that are modified to clear mud better and handle the occasional impact. However, they lock us into pedaling the way roadies do, with exactly one foot position for ALL situations. The top DH riders who ride clips do so because their main concern is foot security, not pedaling. It would be really interesting to see where riders like Gwin, Minaar, Peat, etc. set their cleats. I'd put money on them being as far back as their shoes allow.
  • - 2
 Ah. So those 1500w+ bursts during a DH race don't matter? Really? Also, you realize that DH racing makes up an incredibly small portion of mountain bike riding, and mountain bike racing, right?
  • + 5
 Correct me if I'm wrong, but didn't Gwin win a WORLD CUP downhill race with ZERO watts from pedaling? Also, I was specifically addressing the above comments about world cup downhill racers.
  • - 2
 @thrasher2 so right dude, chains are outdated roadie technology that we don't need in MTB! Let's get rid of chains because one guy won a race on a specific type of track.

Everyone knows SPDs have benefits. Foot retention, added power, greater efficiency. Multiple people (who have PhDs in this field!!!!!) in this thread have posted scientific journal articles that prove it. If you've been on both roadie pedals and mtb clipless you know they're MASSIVELY different systems; cleat size, release tension, 2-sided, mud shedding, pins, etc. They're mtb technology 100%.
  • + 5
 @bkm303 I currently have Shimano 105s on my road bike, and I have used Time and Speedplay pedals in the past. I used both crankbrothers and shimano clipless pedals on my mountain bikes (DH and Trail) for about ten years. There are obviously physical differences, but functionally they are essentially the same. It is a system to hold your feet in place on the pedals. I have read a number of articles about clipless pedals and have concluded, as many have, that they are beneficial for road cycling. I have yet to see an article that conclusively proves that they are beneficial for mountain biking. I don't care about tests conducted on roads and trainer bikes, trails throw many more variables in the mix. For DECADES the prevailing wisdom was that high pressure tires rolled faster, because that is what the tests showed. We now know that isn't true on trails.
So, I have to go with my gut. I am a better, and faster, rider on trails with flats. I also have more fun, so it's a no brainer for me. If I was competing at the level where tenths of a second matter, I might reconsider. Notice, I'm not advocating for anybody to do anything but give new ideas a chance, otherwise I would be riding a steel 26er with a 110mm stem and 24in bars, 3x9 drivetrain, 2.1in tires set to 50psi with tubes, three inches of coil suspension, etc. My current bikes are packed with changes that met with blind resistance because of "conventional wisdom".
  • + 5
 I cringe at the sight of those red arrows in the pictures. The only thing supporting the pedal body in real life is the spindle and free spinning as it is it does not transfer torque other than bearing friction in the vertical "crank arm plane", hence the force vector of the pedal stroke should always be through the spindle.

The pedal stroke vector will be variable, as will the angle of the slip plane that together with pedalbody friction gives you transferred force vectors in the vertical and horisontal crank plane.

All a longer platform does is making you keeping your foot on the pedal straight as a crooked foot position will be worse on this pedal than a normal platform as contact points with pins are further from horisontal foot rotation axis when foot is placed centered on the pedal spindle and gets even worse when the foot is un-centered.

A symmetric pedal body gives predictable grip regardless of foot position and i find that more important when things get bouncy and rough. When it´s not rough ideal foot position is easy enough on any flats because that is where you end up automatically when your foot is feels stable on the pedal.

So what problem does this pedal solve again? At that price and weight?
  • + 5
 Tried different flats hated clips finally found the right pedal for me how can anybody be negative about a product they have not tried out before making their minds up 30 day guarantee anyway crazy.
  • + 8
 Can also be used as propellers to take off and fly away...
  • + 4
 Wouldn't it affect stuff like landing? I mean in the ankle/knee joint area (impact-wise). With the pedal axle in the middle of your foot you can't flex as you could normally and the impact would be bigger to the ankle and to the knee... I mean you wouldn't naturally land on the whole sole when jumping off of something (not on a bike) but rather land on your toes to take the impact to the joints away.
Not sure if this would be the case on the pedals but that picture with shoes above... I mean the positioning looks kinda like it might compare to landing on the sole rather then toes.
  • - 3
 Since your foot does not break contact with the pedals then your lower leg acts much differently. It is more like doing a set of kettlebell swings - where your foot remains in contact with the ground - than landing from a jump where your foot has lost contact with the ground.

As an example, try to do a set of kettlebell swings while on the balls of your feet. You will feel unbalanced and awkward trying to create and absorb that energy. This is why we do swings with the heels down - since your foot isn't coming off the ground it works better if the heels stay down.

This is a very misunderstood subject in the cycling world and a lot of the analogies used to explain it are simply wrong and inaccurate. If you are interested I have written a couple of articles on the subject you should check out:

pedalinginnovations.com/avoid-this-critical-foot-position-mistake-and-improve-your-agility-on-the-bike

www.bikejames.com/strength/do-you-really-need-to-push-through-the-ball-of-your-foot-when-you-pedal

Again, I understand what you are saying and I used to think this way too but after researching it for myself I found that this it simply isn't how the foot and lower leg work on the bike.
  • + 4
 My instincts tell me that standing with your foot flat is not an "athletic" position. Having a little tension on your calves/achilles is a good thing in my opinion because you're in a good "ready stance" to take one whatever comes at you and react quickly as foot position is rarely a constant in MTB. I think the "benefits" would really only prove true in smooth, non-technical pedaling situations.
  • - 2
 Since your foot does not break contact with the pedals then your lower leg acts much differently. It is more like doing a set of kettlebell swings - where your foot remains in contact with the ground - than landing from a jump where your foot has lost contact with the ground.

As an example, try to do a set of kettlebell swings while on the balls of your feet. You will feel unbalanced and awkward trying to create and absorb that energy. This is why we do swings with the heels down - since your foot isn't coming off the ground it works better if the heels stay down.

This is a very misunderstood subject in the cycling world and a lot of the analogies used to explain it are simply wrong and inaccurate. If you are interested I have written a couple of articles on the subject you should check out:

pedalinginnovations.com/avoid-this-critical-foot-position-mistake-and-improve-your-agility-on-the-bike

www.bikejames.com/strength/do-you-really-need-to-push-through-the-ball-of-your-foot-when-you-pedal

Again, I understand what you are saying and I used to think this way too but after researching it for myself I found that this it simply isn't how the foot and lower leg work on the bike.
  • + 2
 @matack
I agree with you, as far as quick and reactive movements go, but pedalling is about producing sustained power. When I rode clips my calves were the first muscles to wear out. On flats the first muscle to wear out is my quads, and it takes longer.
  • + 7
 This completely disregards the fact that lots of grip and damping come from tracking the terrain with your ankles.
  • + 1
 That came into my mind as well. Everything about the pedal seems to make sense to me, but I feel like the trade off is the loss of ankle "suspension", isn't it?
  • + 2
 Can you explain how these pedals keep your ankles from working the same?
  • + 1
 see my comment above
  • + 2
 It's not about the pedals themselves but about the guy's ideas on foot placement, which is the main argument for their shape.
  • + 4
 Been testing the pedals for 3 rides, but only mounted on a stationary spinning bike. There was a little adjustment to do with riding position in order to get the feet in the right position with toe knuckle over the front pin. First ride felt really clunky, it felt like it over emphasized a heels down position and didn't feel limber or flexible. Second and third rides were a little better.

In a nutshell these pedals make you more conscious of where pedaling 'starts' - with your hip joint - and de-emphasizes the lower limbs and ankle joint. Learning to use larger muscles and joints will absolutely improve muscle endurance, strength, and probably even speed/suppleness in the pedaling stroke, once properly learned.

The first few days of snowboarding my feet ache like crazy, because I haven't trained or adjusted the larger muscles and core to initiate turns and handle terrain. By mid season that's changed, and turns start with the core and hips, leaving the lower limb muscles alone. I think this is the same idea.

I did a road bike fit session once, where the bike doc moved my cleats back behind the ball of my foot...again to engage more of the upper leg muscles.

These are good training tools for people interested in improving their pedaling technique, and perhaps even every-day pedals for trail riding. Don't knock em til you try em. The inventor is not asking you to spend $400 on a pedal, accept a new pedal/crank interface, or buy special shoe/pedal systems.
  • + 3
 Been following bike james for years and credit him to really improving my riding. Funny to read all of the comments questioning the science since his analysis really resonated with me. Cool of PB to review this product and am glad to hear that almost all of james's claims of this pedal are backed up by the author in his final take. Plus I haven't read a bad review yet from anyone who has bought a set either. I bought a set but haven't had an opportunity to really put them through the paces yet, but i do feel they support my body better. I am big rider, 6'6, 14 shoe and ride a hardtail. In addition to the 30day guarantee, the other big selling point for me was the terrain where these pedals were proven out on. If you don't know about the Lunch Loops out in Grand Junction CO, they are some of the most gnarly trails that colorado has to offer, if not the MOST rocky, sketchy, hardcore stuff you could put your mtb gear through. Same trails that MRP uses to test out their stuff. I kinda have a feeling that most of the neg comments are from folks that ride clipped in and just don't like to hear any positive stuff about flats - but what do i know. Oh yeah, the other cool thing to me is that James wants to hear constructive feedback on the pedals to make a better product - i like the idea that i can communicate direct on an mtb product knowing its gonna be taken seriously.
  • + 7
 The + size revo comes to pedals!
  • + 6
 I don't have that much money for pedals, but can I buy them and then return them after 30 even if I like them?
  • + 7
 Just do it once a month for free pedals!
  • + 3
 Keeping my heels dropped wasn't an issue and I even felt more balanced on the bike. Hopping, turning and jumping felt barely different to any other flat pedals and I didn't find them striking the ground any more often than normal. Within two rides I felt like I had gained more power with no extra training, and when putting in hard, standing efforts on the pedals, I found it much easier to maintain form and posture and a strong pedalling technique. Going from normal flats to the Catalysts feels like another step up in terms of keeping my form on point. Also, the extra support from the pedals means that slimmer, more flexible shoes can be used without worrying about them curling over the pedal's leading and trailing edges."

Can you spell "psychosomatic"?

The science behind these pedals is poor. Pedalling is not deadlifting. Pedalling is not skiing. The reason people move their cleats back is because cleats only give you 1 choice for foot positioning, so you have to go for a compromise between pedalling power and confidence in the rough. Flat pedals do not limilt you in this way, so you will see experienced riders moving their feet around to deal with different situations. Feet forward/heels down when you are fighting the terrain. Feet back/heels up when pedalling or pumping. You have calf muscles. They are bloody usefull. There is good science behind not over working your calf muscles during dead lifts. Not using your calves on a bike is just dumb.

Essentially this pedal is designed to fix a problem that doesn't exist, by someone who seems to spend more time in a gym than on a bike...
  • + 2
 Mid foot cleat positioning isn't a new idea. I guess this tries to replicate this on a flat pedal (in a marketing sense) but misses the point in a design/ real world sense.
  • + 5
 Just had an interesting thought....

Heres an experiment for you:

Jump as high as you can flat footed (make sure your toes leave the ground before or at the same time as your heels)

Now jump as high as you can off of your toes (engage your calfs, heels leave the ground well before the toes)

See how much higher you went the second time? Thats because of all the extra power you transferred into the floor using....your calf muscles.....

Food for thought. Smile
  • - 3
 @gabriel-mission9 - Since your foot does not break contact with the pedals then your lower leg acts much differently. It is more like doing a set of kettlebell swings - where your foot remains in contact with the ground - than jumping where your foot loses contact with the ground.

As an example, try to do a set of kettlebell swings while on the balls of your feet. You will feel unbalanced and awkward trying to create and absorb that energy. This is why we do swings with the heels down - since your foot isn't coming off the ground it works better if the heels stay down.

This is a very misunderstood subject in the cycling world and a lot of the analogies used to explain it are simply wrong and inaccurate. If you are interested I have written a couple of articles on the subject you should check out:

pedalinginnovations.com/avoid-this-critical-foot-position-mistake-and-improve-your-agility-on-the-bike

www.bikejames.com/strength/do-you-really-need-to-push-through-the-ball-of-your-foot-when-you-pedal

Again, I understand what you are saying and I used to think this way too but after researching it for myself I found that this it simply isn't how the foot and lower leg work on the bike.
  • + 1
 Gabriel, the theory of mid foot positioning isn't to eliminate using the "calves" but more balance out the use of the various muscles of the lower limb relative to their fatigue behaviour. The jump analogy is perhaps similar to peak power on a bike over a very short duration but you pedal several thousand strokes per hour....

Steve Hogg gives some better descriptions of this IMO:
www.stevehoggbikefitting.com/bikefit/2011/04/power-to-the-pedal-cleat-position
  • + 3
 Its got nothing to do with whether your feet come off the floor or not. By the time that has happened, all the power has already been transferred. The fact that is possible to jump higher when you engage your calf shows that it is possible to apply more power to the floor when you engage your calf.

When you are swinging a kettle bell, the weight of the bell is trying to pull your upper body around. Trying to counterract this force from the balls of your feet will be difficult of course. You are trying to fight the huge inertia of the kettle bell, through just two tiny contact points with the floor. However you will never experience a situation anything like this on a bike, unless your bars have become detached from the stem.

However, if you had a kettle bell attached to your hips, and were allowed to stand on the floor AND hold onto a fixed bar with your hands, then tried to swing the weight of the bell around using your arms and legs together, you would instinctively engage your calf muscles when attempting larger more vigorous movements just as you would engage the muscles in your foreams. This is a far more accurate simulation of situations that happen on a bike, as you now have four contact points, and suddenly have a huge amount more control over the weight between those points. Why would you not use your calves? What exactly do you lose by doing so?

Look at quadrapeds. They all walk round essentially on their toes. They have four points of contact with the floor, so do not need to apply their heels to the floor for stability as a top-heavy biped like a human does. Because they are not hindered like bipeds in this way, they stand on the balls of their feet at all times, allowing them to engage their calf muscles to put more power into the floor. Why do you think humans are such incredibly slow runners for the length of their legs? because we have evolved long calves and short feet to improve balance. When you are on a bike, you are no longer a biped. You are now a quadraped pushing levers with your feet. About as far removed as possible from a biped swinging free weights around with his arms.
  • + 1
 @BeardlessMarinRider
Well if you are turning your cranks several thousand times an hour, I suggest favouring what is by far the largest muscle in the lower leg...

Pedaling on the balls of your feet will help with this.

Another experiment for you:

Stand on your bike, balls of your feet over the axles. Now bounce up and down, using only your calf muscles and ankles to make the motion. This will feel normal, familiar even, very much like you are giving the suspension a test or pumping little features on a trail. If you keep this up for several hours, your calves will begin to tire.

Now stand on your bike with the axles midway between heel and toe. Now do the same motion as last time. Instead of bouncing up and down in smooth natural feeling arcs, you will now just be wiggling your toes up and down. This will feel wierd and nothing much like anything you have done on a bike before. After some minutes, the muscle on the front of your shin will likely be so exhausted it will be shaking, and you will not be able to keep going.
  • + 4
 Reposting this kettlebell swing crap on every comment doesn't actually answer anyone's questions....

You do KB swings flatfooted so you can apply force against to floor from your heels or toes to balance. This is impossible when you're standing on a spindle.

The physics behind this pedal are SO. EFFING. BAD. Midfoot pedaling is for triathletes. They have a reason to protect their calves during the bike ride.... they have to run on them afterwards. But they also don't have to do any technical riding, absorb small impacts, etc.

Maybe it does help some people with specific problems. But it definitely doesn't work for the reasons explained in the "science" section.
  • + 5
 I don't give a rip about the science on either side*, but the Crossfittery is too much for me to handle. Life hacker paleo tumblr electrolytes uuuuunnnnnnnnnnnhhhhhhh beeeeeep buzzzzzzzzzz checking out
  • + 1
 @gabriel-mission9 - You use your calves still, it is just to stabilize the ankle joint to allow better transfer of force from the hips into the pedal. Your calves are not "relaxed" with the mid-foot position, they are just not working as hard because they are not under a constant stress. And if you need your handlebars to help you balance then that means your foot is not balance, which is my whole point. If you need your upper body muscles to help you balance then they are not able to relax and react as effectively, which affects efficiency and your skills. By getting a better platform for your foot you allow those muscles to relax. In fact, this was one of the things that was reported in the review...but of course you think all of it was just "psycho-semantic".

And @bkm303 - you keep making my point about how unstable normal pedals are. When you can get both ends of your arch supported (like you pointed out is what happens with swings) you can apply balanced force into the pedals. You can't do that as effectively with the small platform currently available. How much of your current pedal stroke is simply your foot adapting to a less-than-optimal platform and not the best foot position possible. And I don't think you are using the word "physics" in the right context.
  • + 4
 @PedalingInnovations Physics is literally my job. This is a physics problem. Even a basic free-body diagram would show that you're misunderstanding how forces and moments work on a pedal.

For people with arch problems I can see why it would be nice to have the arch supported. Or if someone's calves crap out regularly on rides I could maybe see a benefit there too. But having the spindle under your arch doesn't allow you to apply "balanced force" any more than having it on the ball of your foot.

Does your pedal freely rotate? If so, then my comment applies to your pedal, "normal" pedals, SPDs, whatever. None of the stability benefits of lifting or doing KB swings flat-footed apply in any way once you stand on a pedal.

When you press your toe into the floor, you create a moment that can rotate your body backward. When you press your heel into the floor, you create a moment that rotates your body forward.

When you push your toe down on your pedal, the pedal rotates forward, like any other pedal. When you push your heel down, the pedal rotates back. Nothing you do with your foot on the pedal can stabilize you in the forward/backward direction.
  • + 2
 "And if you need your handlebars to help you balance then that means your foot is not balance, which is my whole point."

Er, no. Sorry. Thats just utter rubbish.

If you send me a video of you standing in the "attack position" on a set of these pedals, then removing your hands from the bars without falling over and faceplanting your stem, I will give some more thought to the above quote. You can get some kettle bells involved if you think that'll help. Until then I will keep hold of my bars while riding.

"By getting a better platform for your foot you allow those (upper body) muscles to relax."
Also utterly untrue. Your foot pivots forwards and backwards around the pedal axle. This is true whether I'm hanging onto that axle with my toenails, or if I have it right at the back of my heels. This has no effect on the balancing requirements placed on my upper body.

"they (my calves) are just not working as hard because they are not under a constant stress"
Stress they can take all day long. Because that is exactly the job the calf is designed for. If the calf was in any way the weak point in this equation you might begin to have a point. But it just isn't. The calf is an enormous muscle compared to the size of the lever it works against, the foot. However the muscle on the front of the shin, normally used only for retracting the foot and placed under no real load at all IS far weaker than the muscles around it. Hence "shin splints". All moving your foot back during pedalling achieves is the reduced use of the huge calf muscle and the increased use of the tiny shin muscle.
This last point I feel is addressed by the experiment I described above...



"psycho-semantic"

No
Psychosomatic. It means an imagining a difference due to expecting a difference. For example thinking pedalling like Rob Warner is a good idea because what works for powerlifting "must" work for all sports.
  • + 3
 @gabriel-mission9 thank you dude. You're crushing it.

@PedalingInnovations I don't think anyone is debating that pedaling power comes from the upper legs and glutes (which is what all the studies on your website indicate). But as long as the calves can keep up and don't get burnt out, there's "no difference in power or economy between pushing through the ball of the foot and the mid-foot pedal position" (quote from your own website).

But I'm not seeing references to improved stability or balance in these studies... only efficiency and power. And these are all related to seated pedaling with no obstacles, correct?
  • + 2
 AHA! An example of extending your ankle when the foot does not leave the floor. XC Skiing. The foot doesn't leave the floor. Therefor, according to your main argument, xc skiiers should not engage their calves on a power stroke. Good luck telling them that. I should think you will need some funky skis and a large supply of kettle bells. And a skidoo to keep up with them, for they will be going mysteriously fast....
  • + 6
 you guys are so angry at dude's pedals that I'm on his side now
  • + 2
 Lol, not angry. More amused. Its just a shame loads of people will probably spunk a load of monies on these and then not do a single kettle bell swing while riding their bike. Seems a waste of money and materials to me....
  • - 1
 @bkm303 - But if you can apply equal pressure to both ends of a platform balanced on a spindle then you will create a balanced platform. It is only if I create unequal pressure that it wants to spin. That is, once again, the point of the pedal. By supporting both ends of your arch you can balance the forces being applied into the pedal. This is not possible with the current size pedals on the market. Once again, you keep making my points for me.

@gabriel-mission9 - Holding the handlebars is one thing, using them to make up for bad, unbalanced body position is another. How you use your handlebars is your business but any skills coach in the world will tell you than you shouldn't be putting too much weight on your handlebars (i.e. not using it to hold yourself up) and instead using your feet. And if you don't understand how an unbalanced foot affects movement in the rest of the body then I don't know what to say except that you need to do some more research in that area because it simply isn't true - an unbalanced foot certainly does affect how the upper body can move and react. And by creating a balanced foot I am not placing stress excessive stress on either the front or back of the lower leg so you don't have to worry about shin splints. To be honest your understanding of functional movement and how the brain and body work seems to be a little lacking based on these responses, what was it that you did again that made you an expert in some way in these areas?
  • + 2
 "Er, no. Sorry. Thats just utter rubbish.

If you send me a video of you standing in the "attack position" on a set of these pedals, then removing your hands from the bars without falling over and faceplanting your stem, I will give some more thought to the above quote. You can get some kettle bells involved if you think that'll help. Until then I will keep hold of my bars while riding."
  • + 3
 Infact, reading back through your posts, it has become very apparent to me that you use a lot of words, but actually say very little.

Below I will paste the only real concrete statement you have actually made:

"As an example, try to do a set of kettlebell swings while on the balls of your feet. You will feel unbalanced and awkward trying to create and absorb that energy. This is why we do swings with the heels down - since your foot isn't coming off the ground it works better if the heels stay down."

In response to that you got this:

"Its got nothing to do with whether your feet come off the floor or not. By the time that has happened, all the power has already been transferred. The fact that is possible to jump higher when you engage your calf shows that it is possible to apply more power to the floor when you engage your calf.

When you are swinging a kettle bell, the weight of the bell is trying to pull your upper body around. Trying to counterract this force from the balls of your feet will be difficult of course. You are trying to fight the huge inertia of the kettle bell, through just two tiny contact points with the floor. However you will never experience a situation anything like this on a bike, unless your bars have become detached from the stem.

However, if you had a kettle bell attached to your hips, and were allowed to stand on the floor AND hold onto a fixed bar with your hands, then tried to swing the weight of the bell around using your arms and legs together, you would instinctively engage your calf muscles when attempting larger more vigorous movements just as you would engage the muscles in your foreams. This is a far more accurate simulation of situations that happen on a bike, as you now have four contact points, and suddenly have a huge amount more control over the weight between those points. Why would you not use your calves? What exactly do you lose by doing so?

Look at quadrapeds. They all walk round essentially on their toes. They have four points of contact with the floor, so do not need to apply their heels to the floor for stability as a top-heavy biped like a human does. Because they are not hindered like bipeds in this way, they stand on the balls of their feet at all times, allowing them to engage their calf muscles to put more power into the floor. Why do you think humans are such incredibly slow runners for the length of their legs? because we have evolved long calves and short feet to improve balance. When you are on a bike, you are no longer a biped. You are now a quadraped pushing levers with your feet. About as far removed as possible from a biped swinging free weights around with his arms.."

And this:

"You do KB swings flatfooted so you can apply force against to floor from your heels or toes to balance. This is impossible when you're standing on a spindle."

Would you care to actually respond to those points, or are we just gonna sling insults around all day?
  • + 0
 Sorry, maybe thats a bit hard for you. Heres an easy one. Explain to me the origin of the old saying "that'll keep him on his toes"

I assume its something to do being un-alert and off balance?
  • - 1
 @gabriel-mission9 - Again, what is your training and background in this area? Your knowledge is seems to be sorely lacking in these area which makes it hard to talk with you about these things.

Also, I responded to all of your points which you chose to ignore, please go back and re-read my replies.

Plus, you think that any positive feedback is simply made up so there is really no use discussing it with you anymore since there is no changing your mind.
  • + 1
 A bit OT but XC skiers do leave the floor inbetween power strokes as the camber lifts the skier and sticky section of ski so the skier can slide forward. Calves are used to push down the camber during powerstroke to make the ski stick. Calves are also used in skating to make each push longer, iceskaters do it too ans has adoptera the loose heel for more power and speed...
  • + 3
 @pedalinginovations

"Again, what is your training and background in this area?"

I've asked the same question to you several times and never received a reply. Are you a PT by background? Any accreditation, membership with professional bodies, education, etc? There doesn't seem to be any info on the website.

To be fair it sounds like no-one in this discussion has any physiology/ biomechanics background and it has run its course like any other PB comments section
  • + 6
 @BeardlessMarinRider PhD in physiology here, specifically strength and performance, but I can't see any point in discussing any of the pseudoscience here - no one is going to change their mind, it's pinkbike. When there is objective data published under a peer review process to back up these claims, I'll believe, up until that occurs, which it won't, I am presuming this is a scam, deliberate or otherwise. Placebo effect is a powerful thing.
  • + 4
 @smuggly Exactly. I'm pursuing a PhD myself, and it's funny how James WIlson is trying to pass off a few random sentences from a VERY SMALL SAMPLE of the overall body of literature as "overwhelming evidence" in support of his conclusions.
  • + 3
 PhD in Biomechanics here and I'm doing my best to bite my lip.
  • + 0
 @BeardlessMarinRider - I did not catch where you asked my background, sorry I missed that. If you don't know, I have been a strength coach in this field for well over 10 years and worked with top riders and teams in that time. I have also worked with hundreds of riders personally and many more through my online programs. I've spent the last 10 years spending thousands of dollars going around the country to learn from the brightest people I can find - Dan John, Gray Cook, Joel Jamieson, Mike Boyle and Ian King are just a few of the high level strength and conditioning coaches I have spent time learning from.

I have also discussed my thoughts on this pedal with a lot of very smart people with many more letters behind my name and they all agree with my conclusions. If you have some thoughts on my the theory behind my pedal I am always looking for input, I have just spent a lot of time researching this subject and thinking about it and I am pretty confident that I have an answer for any objection that gets raised. I know that sounds cocky but I would not have put in the considerable time and money it took to get this pedal to market if I felt there was a hole in its performance.
  • + 0
 @LeDuke - Where did I use the term "overwhelming evidence" in anything I have written? And while you may not like my studies, it is more than what you have shared (one study that did not actually look at how the pedal stroke is produced). You have not addressed anything in the studies I cited while I was kind enough to actually address the one you provided, perhaps you would like to extend me the same courtesy.
  • + 1
 @smuggly - Where is the "objective data published under a peer review process to back up these claims" for anything else you have on your bike? According to you no one should have anything on their bike that hasn't been directly backed by a study so are you going to apply that same criteria to everything before labeling it a "scam" or just these pedals?
  • + 3
 @PedalingInnovations you're the one making the claims, it's your responsibility to back these claims up with evidence - not misquoted cherry picked statements from other peoples work. I am not the one advocating a new pedal system, but I am very interested in seeing some data and reading a study, I am a scientist, I love data - presuming you actually took some objective data with a methodology I can replicate in my lab?? Until then this is a scam deliberate or not.

Also maybe do a science search and you might be surprised - there is a lot of scientific publications in all aspects of bicycle design and manufacturer, not exactly my area, but carbon fibre research has been booming over the last decade - even specific to bicycles... so yes much of my bike has been scientifically authenticate for example:

Carbon fiber in bicycle frames (and other things) nearly a 1000 citations:
science.sciencemag.org/content/339/6119/535.short

Do you also want me to find studies for bicycle suspension, dampers, brakes, gearing... you name it, it's available.
  • + 4
 Off topic, but the point needs to me made --

Anyone with a PhD has had experience with the peer review process being a complete failure -- because reviewers are very often subject to their own bias, or they are just plain lazy or stupid. It happens all the time. I'm in the PhD club too, and, in my field, i have learned that real life experience trumps a fresh PhD almost every time for practical things (materials science and engineering).

Let's get away from the "absolute" of peer review... because it is certainly not. And if you only entertain thoughts you read in peer reviewed journals (or text books), then i have doubts about your ability to really think about anything at all.
  • + 1
 @owl-X: puahaha..best rebuttal
  • + 3
 "from a biomechanical standpoint there is nothing to be gained from pulling up on the pedals on the backstroke." This seems untrue both in the literature and in my personal experience. I often "rest" by only pulling up on the pedals in flat, smooth terrain (of course, I am seldom in a hurry). Clipping in also allows me to slow my cadence when putting down power in rough terrain, better control. I rode flats for more than 25 years before finally switching over.
  • + 3
 You can indeed increase the amount of force you can put into your cranks while also pulling up with your rear foot. Which can be helpful on hard climbs where you're in your smallest gear and your cadence is getting low. But apparently pulling up, even though it can prove extra force on a short hard climb, is an inefficient way of pedaling. Apparently the ratio of how much energy it costs you compared to how much power you deliver, is not worth it and you can better invest that energy into putting more force in pushing your pedals down. This is for all the non-extreme situations where you can still keep your cadence high while riding flat pedals.
  • - 3
 Do you have references to any of the "literature" that backs up the need to pull up on the backstroke? I have found a lot of science and evidence to the contrary and to date no one has been able to produce a single piece of science to support it. If you have an actual study that shows pulling up is it would be the first I have seen, and I've been looking into this subject for quite a while.
  • + 5
 I think too many people confuse efficiency with power when it comes to pulling up. I can tell you I know many a pro road rider that pull up during sprints and during climbing......it's at the expense of efficiency (read: gets tired faster) but they are putting out more wattage. Also, pedaling with pulling stoke allows the quads to rest during a climb as you can alternate between pulling and pushing depending on exhaustion level.

It's easy to see pulling helps if you have a power meter on your bike too; pulling up increases the wattage for short bursts. But because you are engaging more muscle significantly, you will tire much faster if you pull AND push. So to completely disregard pulling as being unnecessary is foolish...it has it's purposes.
  • - 3
 @rupintart - Again, please provide some evidence to back up that claim. What someone says they "feel" themselves doing and what the science has shown are two different things. Pro in every sport have been know to be wrong about where they were generating a technique from and this is one of those cases. Every time they look at it they show that pulling up produces less power - not more - and burns more energy to do it.

I used to think this as well but when you look at the science you find that it isn't true.
  • + 3
 Ok, here's some science for you:

linkinghub.elsevier.com/retrieve/pii/S0765159799800550?via=sd

"Results.

The results show a significant increase of the maximal values of force, velocity and power output when clip-less pedals were used, whatever the friction force applied.

Conclusions.

This improvement of maximal power could be attributed to a significant increase in optimal velocity, which was observed for both considerable and minimal friction force. In fact, clipless pedals allowed a greater muscular activity, a greater efficiency index, and better muscular coordination."
  • - 2
 @LeDuke - Thanks for sharing, although the study isn't really relevant to this conversation. No one is arguing "clipless vs flats", we are talking about how to power the pedal stroke. They did not actually look at where the performance increases came from it it was their guess that it came from "greater muscular activity, a greater efficiency index and better muscular coordination".

They were simply stating the prevailing theory, not testing that theory. All of the studies I have seen where they actually look at those claims show that they simply are not true and that pulling up on the backstroke isn't the best way to pedal.

Seeing if clipless pedals held your feet in place better during an 8 second sprint is not the same as looking at where those observed increases came from. I'd argue that the flex in the foot was the culprit for the loss in power (flew = power leaks) and that is more from a bad flat pedal design, not that clipless are better. Change the platform and get rid of that flex and you don't see the same differences, which is what the Catalyst Pedal does.
  • + 4
 Stating the prevailing theory? They performed a test comparing the two. This is the abstract, which you were apparently too lazy to read.

"Purpose.- The purpose of this study was to compare the mechanical parameters measured on a non-isokinetic cycle ergometer equiped with or without toe-clip pedals during sprinting.Methods.- Two groups of subjects (international-national and regional cyclists) performed four sprints of 8 seconds with two different friction forces applied to the belt (0.5 or 1.1 N.kg - 1 ). A variance analysis with repeated measures (shoe-pedal linkages and groups) has been performed.Results.- The results show a significant increase of the maximal values of force, velocity and power output when clip-less pedals were used, whatever the friction force applied.Conclusions.- This improvement of maximal power could be attributed to a significant increase in optimal velocity, which was observed for both considerable and minimal friction force. In fact, clipless pedals allowed a greater muscular activity, a greater efficiency index, and better muscular coordination."
  • + 1
 @LeDuke - They said in their own conclusion that it "could be attributed to", which means that they don't know for sure. You can also see from the study that they did not actually look at how the body was producing the power - there are no EMGs or force plate being used. This means that they did not actually look at any of those things and were just stating the prevailing theory on why they saw the improvements.

You need to read more than just the conclusions as scientists can be very biased in them and word them in ways that help them get published - like reinforcing the prevailing theories - instead of just sticking to the actual facts in the study.
  • + 2
 The "could be attributed to" statement is irrelevant. The clipless pedals produce more power. End of story. I don't have to understand the inner workings of an engine to know that 100HP is greater than 80HP.
  • + 1
 I think you're missing the point. When clipped in, you're pulling up and your other leg isn't just relaxing and being a dead leg...you have two applications of force vs just ONE when using flats (the leg pressing down)....hence the reason it expends more energy, aside from it using more muscle groups, you're also effectively using both legs at once. It's why if you climb seated, you can notice a marked increase in mph if you ALSO pull, not JUST pull. Tell a velodrome rider to use flat and he will absolutely put down lower wattage and lower speeds. There's a reason they use straps AND clip in, because the amount of force when PULLING during a sprint is enough to disengage the cleat from the pedal (amongst other things)

Also, there's no "feeling" when you look at a power meter result from a ride and notice the same climb done with just pushing and the 2nd same climb being done with pulling up in addition to pressing shows an increase in wattage. You don't need a lab and 50 scientists doing a comprehensive study to analyze and observe that, you just need to be able to read a graph.

I can tell you personally I'm interested in giving these pedals a try as all I do is sprint intervals on a road bike and I would like to see how these affect my riding in trials, where it's a static explosive movement with a single leg doing most of the initial drive with the non-choco foot doing auxiliary work for propulsion; where hip drive/extension and force production is more translate-able from the gym (deadlifts, cleans, squats) into riding where heel drive is prominent. PM me if you're interested in me testing them. I can give an unbiased opinion and I have an top tier university at my disposal for lab testing....
  • + 4
 What I know is that the widest part of the foot should be placed above the axis of rotation, it is a natural position during pedaling. So for me is not good design.
  • + 0
 Do you have any studies or references to back up that claim? I have a study cited on my site and I have seen others that clearly show no power advantage to pushing through the ball of you foot.
  • + 0
 This is just my opinion on what is see and feel during riding the bike. Perhaps your design can be an innovation, I'm not sure because I am not a specialist in this field. I would love test your pedals, but lets back to my opinion.

The widest part of the foot is just under the ball, I mean between the ball and mid-foot but closer to the ball.
As simple example please take SPD shoe, where do you have cleats is shoe in 99% there are placed in the wides part of foot.

But when you ride a bike in rough terrain (i'm thniking about enduro, fr, dh and all extreme discyplines) what is the most important thing in position on bike? wide elbows and BEND ANKLE - this mean guite low position. Pedal should be tilted from the level your ankle should be lower than the axis of the pedal. Which gives this position? Better control especially on platform pedals.
I think it's harder to bend the ankle when pedal axis is closer to the mid-foot.But of courese as I mentioned I'm not a specialis and I didn't make any study this is my opinion.

I'm not thinking about the force of pedaling because this is more important on road, in rough teraing the most important in filling the bike and having good control.
  • + 3
 James Wilson designs a different kind of pedal ..... proceeds to make Pinkbikers angry. Priceless. In the meantime I am actually using his pedals, feeling the benefits and having more fun riding.
  • + 3
 If we want to compare biking to squats (which the legs move in a completely vertical plane). Why dont we compare biking to running, which when pushing off is done on the balls of your feet.
  • - 3
 Since your foot does not break contact with the pedals then your lower leg acts much differently. It is more like doing a set of kettlebell swings - where your foot remains in contact with the ground - than landing from a jump where your foot has lost contact with the ground.

As an example, try to do a set of kettlebell swings while on the balls of your feet. You will feel unbalanced and awkward trying to create and absorb that energy. This is why we do swings with the heels down - since your foot isn't coming off the ground it works better if the heels stay down.

This is a very misunderstood subject in the cycling world and a lot of the analogies used to explain it are simply wrong and inaccurate. If you are interested I have written a couple of articles on the subject you should check out:

pedalinginnovations.com/avoid-this-critical-foot-position-mistake-and-improve-your-agility-on-the-bike

www.bikejames.com/strength/do-you-really-need-to-push-through-the-ball-of-your-foot-when-you-pedal

Again, I understand what you are saying and I used to think this way too but after researching it for myself I found that this it simply isn't how the foot and lower leg work on the bike.
  • + 3
 You may be right but all the comparisons are apples and oranges. Swinging a kettle bell you are only anchored at your feet. Riding a bike you are anchored at your feet and hands giving you more stability.

I do believe you can generate more power with a flat foot but normally when completing a strength move you are only doing a fraction of the repetitions that you would be doing on a bike ride. This stuff is dynamic for sure.

Another comparison, climbing stairs? Flat feet or on the ball?
  • + 0
 But if you are using the handlebars to make up for the lack of stability at the feet then those muscles can not be used as effectively for balance and technique. Getting your feet better supported allows the rest of the body to relax - which is one of the things reported in the review.
  • + 2
 "Since your foot does not break contact with the pedals then your lower leg acts much differently. It is more like doing a set of kettlebell swings - where your foot remains in contact with the ground - than landing from a jump where your foot has lost contact with the ground."

I don't dispute that maximum peak force through the pedals could be applied with a mid-foot position, but this is a fallacious argument; you may as well say the same thing about jumping wearing _socks_..."since the sole of your foot does not break contact with the inside of your sock then your lower leg acts much differently".

As you can only apply force through the contact points between the bike and the ground, the _whole bike_ is essentially an extension of your foot. Ignoring the effects of the bicycle suspension, every time you hit a bump, or take off or land a jump, the forces are more akin to jumping than kettle bell swings.

Even if the argument were not fallacious in this respect, there are other issues, because cycling (whether MTB or road) is rarely a case of application of maximum peak force to the pedal. If you were doing kettle bell swings for four hours straight it might be a bit more comparable, but who knows, the only people who have ever tried this either died of boredom or were murdered by a 'roid raging group of CrossFitters for 'doing it wrong'. At sub-maximal power, you can develop higher pedal speed by extending through the ankle - I find it much harder to recover from losing traction on a climb if I'm in the mid-foot position. I can also spin faster for a sustained period as the centre of mass of my leg doesn't have to move as far if some of the spindle movement is taken up by flexing at the ankle. And when you want to jump, you can apply force for longer because you can extend further - peak force may be lower, but you achieve higher velocity (and the same applies on landing). With a normal position, you can get your centre of mass lower and further back.

Aside from all of this, if the mid-foot position really had an advantage, we would have seen it dominate track events by now - but it doesn't.

FWIW, I did run mid foot position (including necessary adjustments to saddle position) on my road and mountain bikes for several months after suffering an achilles rupture, and went back to a 'normal' position when I could because it works better for me most of the time.
  • + 4
 This whole thing would have gone far better if the stupid kettle bells were left out of it.
  • + 1
 I own these Pedal Innovations. Just got them two weeks ago, I really thought I would be returning them within 30 days. I'm size 11 shoe and so far (one sesssion at Mtn Creek) these are the most stable, forgiving pedals i've ever owned. Easy to respostion your foot on the fly and just feels solid and inspires confidence. I'm running these on a 2012 Trek Session 9.9 with XO cranks
  • + 1
 I have been using them for about 3 weeks now and have found that they do deliver at least part of what James promises. I definitely feel that I am transferring way more power through my foot and also had a corresponding increase in the feel of stability on the bike. The easiest way to feel the benefits is to try them and with the 30 day return policy he makes that easy.
  • + 1
 Glad they are working for you and the more you use them the better they work as your feet get more used to the new position and platform. Keep us posted on what you think.
  • + 1
 As for clipping every rock. Nope it doesn't extend your crank arms and it sure as neck doesn't extend your foot so I don't get that statment exept someone just trying to make a dumb statement sound funny #facepalm as for ankle movement it's moved pedals rotate there for ankles move your still able to pump single tracks and brace for braking and cornering it's a longer pedal so your able to put you feet in a correct and centered position to balance your weight properly to avoid numb feet as I had even with my riding shoes and for people saying there are a lot of cleats on these pedals HAHA these have been the pedals with the least amount of cleats I've owned and stick as good or even better than others.
  • + 1
 Glad you like them so much and thanks for the feedback!
  • + 2
 I bought a pair of these and let me tell you so glad I did I haven't had a numb foot or toe since. Build quality is fantastic and they are strong rocks are not a problem A+++++++
  • + 1
 Awesome to hear, thanks for sharing!
  • + 1
 Used these pedals on a couple of rides now and im impressed with them, they do seem to generate more power. I was very sceptical to begin with but was pleasantly surprised how I took to them. Having said that I have always rode using flats with my feet naturally in a more forward position than commonly advised.
  • + 2
 @PedalingInnovations

Your biggest mistake is getting involved in the discussions in the comments section. If your pedals are really as good as you say they will speak for themselves.
  • + 3
 Bought a pair. For me they work exactly as described, more power delivery when pedalling out of the saddle. Most noticeable on climbs. No disadvantages that I am aware of.
  • + 1
 IMO foot position isn't something you should consciously think about. When your ragging it down over some hectic terrain your feet find the best position naturally. Then the pedal fit is about comfort, grip and personal preference. He doesn't put much emphasis on control. I feel if I put my feet too far forward, I loose some of the control. How do the top pro's position their feet?
  • + 1
 This may be a great pedal for a trials rider; somebody who wants to get maximum force from hip extension in a fixed position and/or waaaaaaayyyy less variables than that of being on a trail where the ankle joint isn't recruited for absorbing bumps in the trail...

30 days to beat up on these on a trials bike...might be well worth it to see if all the gym time gets translated more fluidly on the bike...
  • + 1
 Ok- he's come up with a new idea , bike manufacturers do this constantly and most people accept it . To try and say he is trying to scam us with an false idea is pretty crazy , why are people hating on him so much ? . All innovations to "make us faster" could be bullshit but at least he's got a decent logic behind his .

For me , riding in a mid foot position is more about technical riding- putting weight through the BB to pump , generate momentum and make the tyres grip more . Also the heels down stops your from getting your weight pitched forward , which could happen more easily if your weight is on the ball of your foot . I can't see it being quicker than spds for flat/uphill sprints but I thought most people on here wouldn't care about that ?

It's too late anyway it looks like James has managed to brainwash Sam Hill already ...

upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/4/4c/Sam-Hill.jpg
  • + 2
 Here is a link to a review for the catalyst pedals I wrote if you would like a second opinion.

www.ridebicycles.com/blogs/ride-bicycles/81841921-pedaling-innovations-catalyst-pedals-trail-review
  • + 1
 I'm used to placing the ball of my foot just in front of the spindle, which is too far back according to this article and others. I think I understand the theory that moving my foot forward will engage my hip muscles more and allow me to transfer more power to the pedals.

If enough people start moving their foot forward an inch or two on their pedals, how will this affect top tube length? I believe that the seat should come forward as much as the foot to proper pedal, foot & knee alignment to prevent knee injury, so effectively reach is shortened, all other things being equal.

Also, does anyone wonder if moving the foot forward on the pedal makes it more likely that you'll experience an overuse injury at the hip rather than the ankle or knee?
  • + 1
 Wow - I had no idea there were this many different points of view around pedals. My attitude has always been to try stuff and see what works for me. I did that with flats 3 years ago, and that's all I've ridden since - didn't seem to be much, if any, efficiency penalty and they are way more fun. I've been using the Pedal Innovations on my trainer for the last week, here's what I know so far...
- Pedaling them absolutely feels different (for me, that's a good thing because I wanted to try this new idea).
- It changes how the foot delivers force to the pedal - it's not the size so much as it providing a solid base to both the front & back of the foot.
- As others have stated, it forces me to use the big muscles (at minimum, they will be great for training)
- I feel solid on the bike.
I get the sense that these pedals will force me to use proper form in cornering & attack, and may require that I have proper mobility in general. I'm really curious to try these on the trail, but living in CO that hasn't happened yet. I'm glad I bought the pedals because I know they will benefit my training, and I'm pretty sure they will have a place on my bike on the trail - maybe not every ride, but at least for some.
  • + 1
 1 Question for James (or others)
Because the pedal is now asymmetrical it is designed to be used with the longer section forward of the spindle. When you remove your foot from the pedal the longer section of the pedal will rotate to the bottom (assuming good bearings) so when you go to place your foot back on the pedal will the pedal now be in the wrong position with the long section of the pedal now behind the spindle? I think it would be a pain in the ass always repositioning the pedal to make sure the long section was forward of the spindle. I changed from clips to flats because I like to be able to stomp straight back onto the pedal and go, not fiddle around to make sure the pedal is aligned in the optimal pedalling orientation.
  • + 1
 the pedal is offset on either side as are almost all pedals so the weight is spread evenly and the pedals should remain level.
  • + 2
 Thanks doek, I have had another look at the pics and concur!
  • + 5
 really want to try these puppies out
  • + 3
 They are awesome.
  • + 5
 They really are awesome, I've been using them for a couple of weeks now and I'm ready to get a set for each of my bikes.
  • + 1
 To be fair, bigger pedals don't seem like a bad idea, and basically continue the trend that platform pedals have already started. Bike pedals from the early 1990's are like the size of egg beaters compared to new ones.
  • + 3
 30 day no questions money back guarantee = STFU and try them, return if hey don't live up to expectation

/end discussion
  • + 2
 I would think the guarantee and the favorable review would end the discussion but then what would PB nation do all day?
  • + 0
 I must have stumbled onto PinkEngineers by accident... I'm not really a climber unless it"s required, but I do know that in the seated position on the bike, I am not cranking away up on my tippy toes- it is heels down pushing with glutes & hammies too. I believe this is the pedaling position James is referencing with this design for the most part, and alleviating the maintained flex at the ankle would be a much more efficient stroke. The more fatigued I get, the closer my heel gets to the center of the pedal. The reason bikers typically have big hard calves is because they are constantly engaged- is that a good thing?

Bombing down I agree being up on the balls of the feet feel the best, in order to instantly change the body position for better cornering or center of gravity. But the beauty of flats is that you can position your foot to suit your needs.
  • + 0
 This is Bullshit. sure you may have more power into your down strokes but dropping your heel and following through with the pedal rotation will be much harder with that long of a platform, thus making your revolutions jerky and unnatural.
  • + 2
 I'm not sure about those scientific studies. I just don't believe it. Anatomy of human body hasn't changed much since wheel was invented...
  • + 2
 well,that doesnt mean ,that we`ve done everything right until now? its not long ago,that everybody had 130mm stems and 55 cm bars on their mtb. not to mention lycra...there have been to much roadie "logic" influencing mtb
  • + 2
 That is the problem - the current theories on pedaling are not based on anatomy and how the human body actually works. They are theories made up by guys in bowler hats over 100 years ago when the bike as we know it was first invented. When you look at what we know today about the human body it doesn't add up with what we are told about how to pedal a bike. The human body hasn't changed but our knowledge of how to best apply it to different activities has and that is what this pedal represents.
  • + 3
 Have our Roadie "cousins" missed a trick here??? Or have I missed something here???
  • + 1
 No, mid foot cleat position is nothing new
  • + 4
 Congratulations James, it seems you are legit hahaha Smile
  • + 1
 Th 95 mm width is way to small, you foot is going to be hanging over the edge of the pedals. DMR vaults at 115x115 are by far the most stable and grippiest pedals I have had so far.
  • + 1
 If you had a Carbon fiber insert in your shoes it would l do the same job. All of the power from your foot is transferred to the center point on the pedal. As in the axel. Think clipless shoes .very stiff .
  • + 4
 Untrue, pedal more to the front means a bigger leverage onto your ankles. And the whole pooint of this pedal is to take the pressure off your ankles and into your knees and hips.
  • + 4
 Saw these in a lbs last week, they are massive. Borderline snowshoe.
  • + 2
 They make great meat tenderizers as well!
  • + 2
 how about you dont ride with your pedal in the middle of your foot and actually use the ball of your foot... that will create a lot more power lol
  • + 0
 That is not true. If you can find any study that support that please share it. I have a study linked to on my site that shows there is no advantage in power to being on the ball of the foot and I have seen others that back that up as well. I'm interested in new data so if you have seen something I haven't please let me know.
  • + 2
 i guess every shoe manufacturer in the industry has had it wrong for over 20 years... my bad...
  • + 1
 could you colour the right pin as well?? I am getting confused with so many pins all over the pedal and I wanna make sure that I am doing this right!!!
  • + 4
 We need WIDE too!
  • + 2
 I think everyone is missing the point here.....

They look awful and they cost $120.
  • + 1
 a little wider would be even better 128mm x 105mm. i use a vault 105mm x 105mm
  • + 1
 The width is fine. In my experience the extra length offsets the need for a wider stance. I can shift my weight better during cornering. I have a VP harrier by the way which is huge.
  • + 1
 @paulaston wondering a year later if you're still riding these or went back to regular sized flats?
  • + 1
 It is fascinating how two people can be given the same data and rules, then come up with vastly different interpretations.
  • + 2
 Finally a real innovative useful product. Well done.
  • - 2
 The bicycle has been around for over 100 years and it took that long to discover this about pedals...amazing. Hey, did you ever think that bicycle wheels should be oval instead of round or would that just be another dumb idea to get people to spend more money?
  • + 2
 How it actually did affect the pumping, bunnyhoping and cornering?
  • + 1
 hardly know the difference. Pumping acctually improves
  • + 3
 stomp!!!!
  • + 1
 This pedal price is priceless. Why now?
  • + 0
 Hatters should try first and then start complaining. The people who have very arched feet should have even better benefits.
  • + 4
 Mad Hatters?
  • + 1
 ... why is a Raven like a writing desk ? ...
  • + 1
 I'm one of those people, I don't care how ugly or heavy they are. They make me a more stable rider
  • + 1
 Make them bigger so they create lift while flying through the air
  • + 1
 Does anybody know the next runner up as far as size are concerned?
  • + 1
 So, I should have my cleats in the middle of shoes... Hmm, interesting
  • + 1
 Is is worth the extra weight?
  • - 1
 just NO ... i already know i wouldn t feel comfortable, i prefer when the pedal is mistly under the front part of the foot..
  • + 1
 one word ugly
  • + 1
 such science
  • + 1
 good job buddy
  • + 0
 I love that they have poor grip.
  • + 1
 grip hasn't been an issue for me. They come with longer pegs if you want some serious traction
  • + 0
 This is dumb, just work out in shoes with pedals on the bottom.
  • + 0
 ...clip in.
  • - 2
 No
  • - 2
 Holy clip-every-f*#*ing rock,Batman!
  • + 16
 In practice they should be about the same strikes as a pedal the same width. These might make you clip the rock with your pedal however .001 seconds sooner causing you to fall slightly before that tree. Your welcome.
  • + 6
 They don't seem thicker or wider than regular pedals, so unless your foot would actually hit that rock I don't think it would change all that much.
  • - 3
 It's hard work going through all of pedaling innovations nonsensical copy and pasted comments and down voting them
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