Pedals for Groms: Spank Spoon 90 vs. Chromag Radar - Review

Jul 28, 2017 at 11:27
by Brett Gossman  
Pedals for Groms Spank Spoon 90 vs. Chromag Radar - Review


Pedals get no respect. If they do their job well, you don’t notice them, but they still deserve your reverence. They’re arguably the most important point of contact on your bike—sorry, grips; sit down, seat—but they’re often where we save a few bucks by not getting the good stuff, and it's even easier to scrimp when it's for a kid's bike. But is that a good idea?

There have always been two trains of thought when it comes to pedals: Buy the cheap stuff, bash them for a few months, and then get another set of disposable platforms; or splurge for the good stuff that should work better for longer, but that can also sting your wallet as much as your shin. If you value pedal performance enough to spring for the premium price, that's a personal decision. But what about the groms who don’t yet have the experience to make the comparison, or even the ability to articulate the nuances of their opinions? So, is it worth getting 'the good stuff' for a kid’s bikes?

Now, we’re not talking about the kind of kid’s bikes that you get from your local big-box store, branded with the latest Star Wars, Marvel, or Pokemon characters. Instead, we’re talking about the latest generation of performance bikes that now come in smaller sizes, machines that can handle laps in the bike park or tagging along with parents as they hit their regular trails.
Pedals for Groms Spank Spoon 90 vs. Chromag Radar - Review
These pedals come stock on a not-cheap bike from a major bike company. They were used in a pinch for about a week. Notice how many plastic 'pins' were totally ground down to flat.

Sadly, most of the new generation of full-suspension kid’s mountain bikes come with terrible pedals. However, some manufacturers have stepped up and now offer small-platform versions of their high-end adult pedals, including Chromag with their Radar pedals and Spank's Spoon 90 pedals, both of which we tested over an entire season. So how did these pedals stack up? The short answer is that they performed well. Seriously, upgrading pedals is one of the easiest things you can do to a grom’s bike, and it has an immediate impact on their confidence and riding.

But which pedal is the best for them?


Pedals for Groms Spank Spoon 90 vs. Chromag Radar - Review

Spank Spoon 90 Pedal

While some manufacturers offer different pedals with different platforms sizes, Spank offers their Spoon pedal in three versions. The smallest of these, the $95.00 USD Spoon 90, measures 90mm x 105mm and is intended for the grom who rides bigger than their stature. The alloy body is home to twenty pins per pedal (ten per side), and they spin on a combination of sealed bearings and IGUS bushings. Two other size options are available as well: the Spoon 100 and the Spoon 110, both of which offer a larger platform size.
Spoon 90 Details

• Platform size: 90mm x 105mm
• Height: 12mm (16mm concave)
• Material: extruded, CNC alloy
• Twenty pins per pedal
• Axle: chromoly steel
• Sealed bearing/IGUS bushing
• Weight: 360 grams (pair)
• MSRP: $95.00 USD
www.spank-ind.com



Pedals for Groms Spank Spoon 90 vs. Chromag Radar - Review

Chromag Radar Pedal

Chromag’s entry into the pint-sized pedal game is no slouch, either. Using what they’ve learned over the years with their Contact and Scarab pedals, Chromag set out to create something with the same performance but in a much smaller package, and the result is the $96.00 USD Radar. The Radars employ the same internals as Chromag's adult-oriented pedals, but the 70mm x 93mm package is intended for riders with smaller feet. They also feature custom pins that can be adjusted to best suit the rider's needs.
Radar Details

• Platform size: 70mm x 93mm
• Height: 13mm concave
• Material: CNC alloy
• Twenty four adjustable pins per pedal
• Axle: chromoly steel
• Weight: 300 grams (pair)
• MSRP: $95.00 USD
www.chromagbikes.com



The Testers

The testers, all of whom range in age between seven and twelve years old, are from Whistler and North Vancouver and possess vastly different ability levels. In order to properly assess the impact premium pedals would have on a rider, a crew of testers was assembled who could really put them through their paces. This included more than twenty races (some enduro and cross-country, but mostly downhill events), and they've spent at least one hundred and fifty days in the bike park.

All told, it's not out of line to equate the last year of combined testing to about five years of normal use.
JC
A grom tester putting the Spoon 90s through the paces at Crankworx. Jason Coleman photo.




Performance

Proper sizing of a flat pedal is a point of great debate. Some like a large platform, while others want just enough room to be able to turn the cranks but not so much that they're more likely to be clipping roots and rocks. Regardless of preference, everyone will agree that small feet are not a great match for full-sized adult pedals.


Pedals for Groms Spank Spoon 90 vs. Chromag Radar - Review

Side-by-side comparison of the platform size with a size five shoe.



In this showdown, it’s the Spoon 90s that are the larger of the two. Both offer a low profile, but the Spoon 90 is just a hair thinner. So, which comes out on top? Well, that’s completely up to the size of the foot they’ll be supporting. Larger groms will appreciate the bigger platform of the Spoon 90s, but that same sizing might be a bit too much for kids on smaller 20” and 24” wheeled bikes who might not have their timing perfected quite yet.

For kids who wear a size five shoe or larger, it's going to be the Spoon 90s that makes the most sense. But for those who have smaller kicks, the Radars are the ones to go with. It should be noted that while the Chomag Radars might be more appropriate for smaller feet, a trailside non-scientific experiment showed that the relative size of size five shoes on Radar pedals was roughly the same as this writer’s size thirteen shoes on Chromag's Contact pedals. That means that even the smaller Radars will last a growth spurt or two.


Pedals for Groms Spank Spoon 90 vs. Chromag Radar - Review
  Excellent use of lines and negative space on the Spoon 90s.


This is purely subjective, and both the Spoon 90 and Ranger pedals have looks based on their larger siblings and come in different colors. The Spank pedals come in four colors, and Chromag offers the Rangers in five different colors options - both can be had in red, black and blue, but if you’re looking for orange, green or purple, your brand decision will be made for you.

Both pedals feature chromoly axles, replaceable bearings, and a concave profile, although the Spoon 90s have a slightly more concave shape to them. Due to their larger size, the Spoon 90s also weigh 60-grams more.

The biggest difference between the two comes down to their pins. While the Spoon 90 is no slouch with twenty pins per pedal, they don’t come assembled. That's not a huge deal, but prepare yourself to spend a fair bit of time with a tiny hex key and a tired wrist before the pedals are ready to go.

On the other side of things, the Radars come pre-assembled. But that’s not where it ends. They have sixteen pre-installed pins per pedal but can take up to twenty-two pins depending on your grom’s preference for grip and position, making them more adaptable than the Spoon 90s. In addition to the option custom placement, the pins themselves have the same feature common to all Chromag pedals—they have a shear point that keeps things from getting messy if they do happen to smash into a rock.

The difference in grip that both of these pedals offer compared to generic OEM pedals can’t be understated. In fact, our younger testers found the pedals too grippy. This is likely due to the fact that it’s a big step to go from regular pedals to something with more performance in mind. One feature offered on the Chromag Radars really stood out here: the Radars come with spacers on each pin, and the depth of these spacers is close equal to the length of the pin beyond an engineered shear point, or a place where the pin is meant to break when under stress. In the adult line of Chromag pedals, this ingenious little feature lets users simply remove the spacer on a pin to have it back to regular length, an operation that can easily be performed trailside if needed.

For the pint-sized rider, these spacers add the extra advantage of letting users run much shorter than normal pins by using two spacers per pin. The photo below shows the variety of pin lengths that can be used on the Radar pedal. We ended up preferring the shorter pin options for our smaller testers, and they found it to be a great feature, especially when taking the big step up from OEM pedals.

Chromag's adjustable height pins may be a minor yet nice-to-have feature on full-size pedals, but it's absolutely genius for smaller riders. The Radar pedals win this round.


Pedals for Groms Spank Spoon 90 vs. Chromag Radar - Review
  The three pin height options on the Radar pedal is both a great way to get your grom accustomed to riding with grippy pedals and highly useful for fixing the pins.


Groms are rough on equipment, and just by the fact that they’re closer to the ground, they’re particularly hard on pedals.

So how well did the test pedals hold up? Flawlessly, it turned out. Both the Radars and Spoon 90s were used and abused up to and beyond any adult level. They were run into roots, clipped against rocks, rubbed against pavement and much more, but both sets came out the other side relatively unscathed and even looking pretty good, especially once any damaged pins were replaced.



Which Pedal is the Winner?

So, is it actually worth getting premium pedals for small riders? Biking is a very expensive activity, one that's only made more expensive when you’re trying to outfit someone who grows out of their bike every few years. A bike park-worthy full-suspension kid’s bike starts at around $2,000 USD, so it’s tempting to look for ways to keep the costs down. But do good pedals merit the extra $120-ish dollars that you’ll have to lay out? No question, it's an emphatic 'yes' in my mind.


Pedals for Groms Spank Spoon 90 vs. Chromag Radar - Review
  With confidence that their feet will stick to the pedals, groms can go higher, both figuratively and literally (as our 8-year-old tester shows on the Chromag Radars). Coast Mountain Photography photo.


Watch a kid ride on some technical terrain that’s right at the edge of their ability and you’ll notice that they struggle a bit more to keep their feet on the pedals compared to an adult rider. This is likely because they don’t have the upper body strength and put more weight on their feet to compensate, not to mention the fact that their light frames are easier to buck off the bike. When we introduced the new pedals to our two smallest testers, there was an almost immediate improvement in their riding. I’m sure that some of that had to do with the performance of the pedals, but that increase in performance also lead to a massive increase in their confidence—they began to trust that their feet would stay where they wanted them to.

There's also the safety factor to consider, of course. If you've read this far, we'll assume that you're either a parent or someone who rides with kids a fair amount. Just think about how many of their bails have stemmed from feet coming off pedals. A good set of pedals isn't going to eliminate the issue, but it is going to make it a less common occurrence, which can only lead to fewer ejections. The cost of a set of premium pedals is a small price to pay for that kind of immediate confidence, and if those pedals lead to just one less bail, they’re more than worth it.


Pinkbike's Take:
bigquotesWhich pedal makes the most sense is going to depend on your grom’s shoe size. If they’re rocking size three shoes or smaller, then the Cromag Radars are the best choice. But if their feet are size six or larger, the Spoon 90s (or their larger siblings, the Spoon 100s) are the way to go. As for mid-sized feet, it’s a bit of a toss up. On one side, the larger Spoon 90s will take longer to grow out of, but on the other hand, the variable pin height option on the Radars is fantastic for riders just stepping onto high-end pedals. I’ll give that one to the Chromag Radars by a hair. Grom Patrol



About the Writer
Grom Patrol is a collection of mostly parents of kids who don't see much coverage of ripping kids in non-traditional sports like DH biking, snowboarding, etc. Passing on the stoke.
grompatrol.com




64 Comments

  • + 48
 Childhood obesity is cheaper than these pedals.
  • + 7
 And a Rubber is cheaper than making your kids fat, whats your point? Do what you can as a parent to help your kids have fun, succeed and rip the trails with you!
  • + 43
 People don't blink and eye spending 100 on a night out with friends after food and drinks. Then cry about a quality product asking a reasonable amount. Cost per use. Excellent value.
  • + 10
 @Jokesterwild:
Amen to that. I'd much rather spend my money in a quality set of shoe grippers for my little ripper than pay for over priced beverage(s) that I'll just piss out and make me feel like turds later.

I don't get peoples priorities these days.
  • + 2
 @Jokesterwild: absolutely. If you can't do it yourself or make it cheaper your self don't complain about it. CNC Mills are available to everyone in today's world.
  • + 4
 @indydave124: I guess you proved my point that you have no sense of humor.
  • + 1
 @nyhc00: I guess that came across as a dig, my bad. I just really liked my Rubber comment and wanted to use it. Its not that I dont have a sense of humor, I was lazy and didnt put much effort into my comment. Keep on being funny!
  • + 6
 Prefer the plastic pedal with built in WIFI more
  • + 1
 @indydave124: it's all good
  • + 3
 As a former fat kid, I would argue that these pedals are less expensive. I can't tell you how many bowls of cocoa and fruity pebbles I went through while watching MTV and Nickelodeon. Cable TV alone cost more and it had a huge contribution to my childhood obesity.
  • + 2
 @tibetaneskimo: clearly my original comment was a joke...that being said if my kids had a weight problem the responsibility falls on myself and their mother.
  • + 11
 I like the idea of GromPatrol - as a parent it's good to see kids stuff. Still seems crazy expensive for my kids at their current level of riding prowess, but I guess the pedals can be transferred between bikes as they grow to limit the financial damage.
  • + 6
 For something easier on the wallet, there's a pretty good Wellgo option.

My kids like 'em. No slipping off charging over roots on hardtails.

Wellgo LU-D2 9/16 Jr BMX Pedal

6 pins, going off memory they are probs about 90x70mm... maybe 20-25mm thick? (not slim)

$19.99

QBP has a handful left, PD1614, ask yo LBS for it.
  • + 1
 Two of the three testers had those Welgos prior to starting with the new pedals. They were better than the plastic, but didn't hold a candle to either the Chromags or Spanks. The Welgos are definitely better than the kids OEM pedals from virtually all bike companies though.
  • + 1
 @grompatrol: Agreed, they definitely won't be Spanks or Chromags.

They are also about 1/5 the price at full retail.

I wanted to point them out as a more accessible option, especially for kids riding XC trails fast but not crazy since they are night and day improvement over OEM plastic and the benefit is huge for less $ (eg: my kids, starting at age 6, now 9)

Of course for a kid on a full-suss hitting jump lines/riding tech etc, spending the extra cash makes sense (and they have over 2k in the bike so it's relatively logical)
  • + 4
 I opted for the Chromag Radar pedals for my 6 year old on her Lil Shredder. The size of the pedal is proportionate to the bike and rider and definitely helped with control and confidence. The bike had adult sized platforms on it when purchased they were the only parts that were not mini sized. A big improvement!
  • + 2
 nice to seeing an even smaller pedals. I bought the Spoon 90 for my 10 yr old right away when it became available, and her pedal speed increase, and she didn't even notice it. costly? maybe, but I do see it is worth the money, when the user able to perform better when the right equipment is used.
  • + 2
 My kid's bike was basically built out of my used stuff. In fact his first full suspension bike will probably be my old size S VP-Free frame with a short shock and offset bushings to make it as low as possible. Junior bikes are very expensive and some have really cheap parts on them.
  • + 2
 I got my daughter plastic Odyssey pedals that turn pink in the sunlight weigh less, cost less and don't turn her shins into burgers. The only problem with a full sized pedal from age 5-11 has been when walking the bike. I put undersized cranks for the frame,130 from 155, so pedal strikes are a non issue.
  • + 1
 These neighborhood kids seemed like they were going to bike with me recently, which was cool, but I'd be almost 30 riding around with other people's children, I don't know what to tell them. "Ride your bike and have fun kids" Idk, I automatically just did that when I was a kid, I don't want to be rounding up random kids like Dr.Dolittle for bike rides, I'm a mess.
  • + 1
 First- MTB pedals have gotten so huge that now kids-sized pedals look normal.
Second - 95$ is too much for any pedal, especially for kids. Unless they're popping out of their BMW M5s.
Third - platform pedals (flats) are so much fun, that I have to hope that more riders (kids) can get on them and afford them.
  • + 1
 Nice review I'd like to see more Grom Patrol stuff, esp. bikes and safety gear. I gave my Race Face Chester pedals to my 9 y.o. son and I think this will suit him just fine for a long while. Same for my wife. They don't ride nearly as much as I do, so for the price point, weight, and quality, they do the job well.
  • + 1
 My kids use the Spank Spoon pedals on their trail bikes (Norco Fluid and Transition Ripcord) and their BMX bikes (Redine and Haro). If me and the wife can drop stupid amounts of money on ourselves and our bikes to make it more comfortable for us (ie. $200 plus on flat pedals), why would we do any less for our kids? They're the future of the sport after all.
  • + 1
 I'm not saying you should, but the reason I do less for my kids is that everything they get only lasts a fraction of the time my stuff lasts, and second, they don't know any better. My kids still like ice cream from Ikea, McDonald's and coke FFS! They will have the same fun on stock pedals as they do on $95 pedals... or close enough as to make no difference.
  • + 1
 @jaame: or a set of £25 v8s if you really want to go overboard.
  • + 1
 Must be a dentist family Wink
  • + 4
 Wellgo KC008. Check ebay. Love to shop local, but not at 4x the cost...
  • + 1
 My son (7 yo) has a pair of these on his Norco and he loves them. He's a bit small for his age with feet to match and these are the best small pedals I could find. Even at the LBS they were considerably cheaper than either of the pedals reviewed here.
  • + 1
 Be sure and look over the ones you receive. I got a set for my older son. When I took them apart to re-grease, there was only and outer sealed bearing. The inner one was a plastic bushing and the dust seal. Not much spin and nothing like the Blackspires my 8 yo uses. Of course the Blackspires are HUGE for him and I see him sometimes clip them on Mt Fromme's Bobsled in the burms. Note to self must get him smaller pedals....
  • + 1
 We have these, too. I wonder if they're too small, though. So far they've held up pretty well.
  • + 1
 OOO these look good too!
  • + 2
 @grompatrol grate to see someone feeding n watering the seeds of our future. I never herd of you till now. Thanks for looking after the groms.
  • + 1
 Hahaha is that atrocious spelling meant to be ironic?
  • + 2
 @therealtylerdurden: compliments Google talk to text
  • + 1
 @properp: ahhhh. Well, sorry for the neg prop lol. I'd take it back if I could. Unfortunately on Pinkbike, once you've propped, there's no changing it.
  • + 1
 @therealtylerdurden: no sweat man. You can't play on pinkbike very long without thick skin.
  • + 2
 I went with Chromag Radars on my son's Spawn Yama Jama, he has size 2 or 3 feet as a 9 year old, sounds like it was a good choice. He is stoked.
  • + 2
 When your Grom slips a pedal with the Radars, there are consequences. Buy those and you're on the hook for shin guards as well.
  • + 2
 Great to see more content for younger riders coming out. My 4yo is already ripping it up and finding quality and safe equipment for him can be tough. Thanks PB!
  • + 1
 I got the Radars for both my kids (6 & 4 year olds). Best upgrade ever! Their feet were always slipping off the cheap plastic pedals. Not any more!
  • + 1
 I bought my son some cheap v6 pedals and they lasted 3 weeks or so, now he has some new shape v12s and he is a very happy boy...£40 well spent
  • + 1
 Used dmr-v6-flat-pedals on my lads bike, super cheap, hard wearing and altogether great. Just like a light v 8 at less than a third of the price of either of these
  • + 1
 Had V8's for years, so good I transferred them to my commuter bike, because they're better than the little fudgsicles it came with.
  • + 1
 My boy rocks the chromag radars and there worth every penny! The welgos that came on his spawn were done in half a season, the chromags will last him into his next ride.
  • + 1
 i've been using a cheap pair of wellgo V8 clones and they are still trucking 2 years on, but for decent pedals which don't break the bank just grab a pair of shimano pedals.
  • + 0
 I used cheap plastic pedal for a while, didnt like them plus I went through 3 sets of them in a month, cracked right down the middle. Spend your money on something good, not plastic or polymer.
  • + 2
 Chromag contact are our kids favorite.
  • + 1
 Loctite works well for altering pin height. Not as elegant as washers, but it gets the job done.
  • + 2
 I like how Spank always delivers clean, simple products.
  • + 0
 Cheap pedals on any bike is fine. They are such a personal thing, I don't know anyone who rides the original pedals that come on any bike, they always get swapped out.
  • + 2
 You're talking cheap pedals that come as original equipment on bikes, right? I had a friend that tried to put the $20 Wellgo pedals on his Kashima'd Pivot Firebird. I eventually talked him into at least going with some discounted VP AIMs. Even he said he noticed a difference beyond how capable the bike was. Pedals are importantest.
  • + 2
 @tibetaneskimo: To clarify, it doesn't matter what pedals come on a bike from the factory. I don't know anyone that uses the OEM pedals because they either use clipless or swap out to a flat they know and love.
  • + 1
 @THE-EDJ: That's what I thought you meant. However, I worked at a shop that still had a few of the cheap clipless pedals that came on Cannondales in the late 90s and early 2000s because no one wanted them. They had a full bucket. So no pedals are better than cheap pedals. But it is nice to have a bonus set of otherwise useless flats for the commuter.
  • + 1
 um does that mean that you "adults" don't ride flats? cause your'e missing out on all the foot trick fun
  • + 1
 who has 2000 bucks to send on a kid bike!!!
  • + 0
 What a waste of money. Nukeproof Neutron £30.
  • + 2
 The point is that these pedals are smaller to fit smaller feet. The Neutrons are great pedals but not so good if you don't have adult sized feetWink
  • + 1
 @PedalProgress:
Spoon 90 - 90mm x 105mm
Neutron - 98mm x 95mm
  • + 1
 The fuuks a grom?
  • + 2
 Dude, it comes from the surfing dialect covering unbridled enthusiastic kids typically are just starting out and don't care what they are riding, their ability or the conditions - they just want to get amongst it!
  • + 1
 @Wandoo: Ahh, I got it - I think.... "Hey those groms are with their baes" Did I do it right?
  • + 1
 @DBone95: pretty close... Those groms are surfing grovelly, onshore shit and and are fully stoked ( or some thing like that)????
  • + 1
 Great review! Thanks!

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