Where else on earth would you expect pedals with a superior sealing design to be born? The deepest, wettest trails in Scotland of course. Pinnd CS2 pedals are a product of their environment, manufactured by a family run business north of Edinburgh. Pinnd operates under their primary company name, Contract Solutions Scotland, with engineering expertise that has produced equipment for the medical, aerospace, motorsport industries, as well as the oil and gas sector. Built on twelve years of operating five axis CNC machines, the CS2 pedal's machining work stands out from the crowd in terms of looks, but also in design that shows they aren't afraid to stray from the usual bike industry ways.
Pinnd CS2 Details
• 13 customizable pins per side
• 1x needle, 2x cartridge bearings per pedal
• Titanium spindle
• No weight limit
• 5 year warranty
• Platform dimensions: 110 x 105 mm
• Colors: black or silver
• Weight: 420 grams
• MSRP: £195.00 - $265 USD
The Scottish-made pedals run on a special oil seal to withstand the toughest elements backed by a five year warranty, similar to the system used in the output shafts of motor vehicles. They've aimed to strike a balance between the durability of the system and the platform height, boldly stating that there's no rider weight limit. A 3 mm bearing is in place instead of the 1mm thick bushing that is more commonly seen, which makes the body around the axle thicker than most. A strong titanium axle comes at a higher cost, but offsets the increased weight of the bearing.
The aluminum platform measures 105 long by 110 mm wide. The pins have a foot print of 90mm long by 85mm wide at the largest distances. The CS2s are supplied with 6mm tall 303 stainless steel pins and their adjustments are limited to adding or removing the four pins near the center. For £20 you can upgrade to alloy pins that weight just 0.1-grams each and come in the usual rainbow of anodized colors to spruce up the look if you fancy that. Performance
As a flat pedal rider at heart, there are some key attributes I look for and the Pinnd CS2 pedals nailed a couple of those. First would have to be the concavity. A side view reveals how deep the distance from the top of the outer edge pins to the axle body is. This really lets the shoe's sole flex and reduce the contact surface. There is one caveat to that, though. You need a sticky but stiff-soled shoe like a Five Ten Impact. I first tried the CS2s with Five Ten's Crosstrail shoes and found that the extreme concavity made my foot cramp on normal descents - something I've never experienced before. The 6mm tall pins have a sharp outer lip and stand tall, away from the rest of the pedal body with immense traction, so you'll need to run the four center pins and distribute the load if you're a fan of riding in skate shoes.
Secondly is the grip. I've explored various types of pins and found their traction is not due to the height of the pin, but the bite. This also plays into how they are dispersed. Lining the edge of the platform makes the most of the grip and concavity - think of a bed of nails. The less distributed the load, the more each pin bites in. If you don't like a totally locked in feel, add the central pins to keep the shoe from sagging into the middle of the pedal body.
The platform size and the CSs are fairly substantial in the lateral and vertical directions. The body also sits tight to the crank which allows you to find your footing solidly in a pinch. Where the CS2s falter slightly, and this is due in part to the platform height, is their lack of security. The rear half of the pedal is on the short side and requires you to accentuate the practice of "dropping your heels". Descending is not so much of an issue as returning to the top.
However, climbing up punchy bits of trail is already a challenge on flat pedals for most people. Your foot doesn't have the locked in benefit while cycling through the six and twelve o'clock positions of the pedal stroke. It's during this moment when the tall ride height and short back half of the pedal can cause your foot to loose traction and roll off of the pedal, backwards or forwards. Flat pedals are essentially a seesaw and need an even force applied to each half of the pedal. A longer platform and lower body height would reduce the tendency for your foot to come off of the pedal.
At the heart of the system is a lightweight titanium axle and unique oil seal with a burly 3 mm bearing.
The grease is showing signs of use, but the pedals still feel smooth so far.Durability
The CS2s are only halfway through a dreary winter filled with a ton of snow, mud, and bike washes. They still look to be keeping most of the elements outside, although I expected the internals to look brand new with all the talk of the special sealing system. The grease has changed color a little, but they haven't increased in rotational speed or started to feel crunchy. A bit of friction from the seal here actually makes locating the flat surface a lesser task than when they are spinning madly.
It should be noted that servicing the CS2s requires a very narrow outer diameter 8 mm socket. You'll have to grind down a chunk of material to clear the threads of the pedal body.
The pins and body also have a few smacks, but haven't been subjected to anything serious since the ground has been extremely soft with all of the moisture lately. Without any direct damage to the pins, I can't say how easy they would be to remove. There is plenty of purchase to get some small grippy pliers on even if the 4 mm hex head did become damaged and the threaded portion of the body looks thick enough to survive jarring rock strikes. I can attest to the strength of the axles too, which survived a savage case and remained dead straight.How Do They Compare?
The Pinnd CS2s have a similar feel to the Chromag Daggas in terms of grip and height with their savagely tall pins that bite into shoe soles. The Daggas are aren't a low profile pedal because of those spikes, but they do offer better security from the equal weighting on the platform. Looking at price tags, they're both on the higher end of the scale, but Pinnd's titanium axle makes them even more expensive than the Daggas. That axle does give the CS2's a 67-gram weight advantage, though.
Mid-term longevity has shown that the Pinnd's sophisticated axle seals keep things fairly clean and extra smooth, while the Daggas needed a quick refresh through a similar time frame and conditions. The bearings in the Daggas are also fairly small, so the high initial cost of the CS2s could be worthwhile well down the road. However, that extra height and shorter platform may not be what everyone is looking for.
Strong and lightweight+
Tons of traction+
Tall and short platform can cause feet to roll off-
Expensive, even when compared to other high-end flat pedals-
Oil seal is not as impermeable as promised