N8tive Noax Pedal 2016 Mountain Bike Review

N8tive Noax Pedal 2016

Reviews / Pedals

N8tive 7,633

At A Glance

Thüringen (Germany) based parts company N8tive are fairly new to the industry, but bring along an extensive know-how into innovative design and construction thanks to previous time spent in motocross parts and components. Their Noax pedal is a flat pedal which stands out from the crowd thanks to its unique low profile high-tensile forged aluminium pedal body.

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Unlike most flat pedals the Noax has no thru-axle, instead it has a large ball bearing unit positioned on the inside of the pedal. This is necessary to combat the increased leverage and gives the pedals a unique look. The general idea behind this design is to reduce the height of the pedal to give the rider a lower centre of gravity and also to increase ground clearance. The lack of thru-axle allows space for a concaved platform allowing ones foot to be totally planted on the pins. All sounds very logical, doesn’t it?

On The Trail

Before even using these pedals it is difficult not to like them. There is no denying that the craftsmanship of the CNC milled platforms with lovely laser cut Eloxal surfaces are easy on the eye, and will undoubtedly look the part on any bike. Once on the bike and out riding it soon became apparent that these pedals would take a bit of getting used to. The low profile body almost felt flimsy under foot and had me riding a bit more gingerly than usual - particularly on my home rocky terrain, which would I’m sure be described as ‘brutal’ by any bike component that had the ability to speak.

Time out testing soon put an end to this feeling of doubt however, several months of use later and I have every confidence that they are as solid a platform as any. Time was also the cure to my initial grumbles caused by the bearing unit feeling as though it was in the way every time I tried to find the pedal blind. Once I had got used to it, this unusual lump on the inside of the pedal could actually be used as a guide to help slot the foot into the required position. Worth a mention for those of you with carbon cranks with end caps as you will need a cheeky additional spacer to avoid the bearings and threads coming into contact.

The foothold of the pedal is a good size and allows the foot to sink nicely into all of its well-placed pins thanks to the concave design. It is a really nice feeling when you can feel that even force under your mid-foot, it gives you confidence to tackle long technical descents without the worry of the feet slipping. The pins aren’t the grippiest that I’ve used, but they were solid enough for me underneath a bed of Stealth sole rubber and are easily removed and replaced with the hex key provided. The ease of messing about with the pins encouraged me to play about with the pin set up, to which I found that in dry conditions by removing the inner pins there was still enough grip and a better connection between shoe and pedal. Once things got a bit muddy and wet however, these pins were important players so were quickly screwed back into place.

As good as the pedal is, as hot as it looks and as impressively constructed as it is, there is one fairly big issue with the Noax. To provide a good size platform next to the unique oversize bearing unit means that each pedal protrudes roughly 1.5cm further than the average flat pedal with a thru-axle. This increases the ‘Q’ factor, which stands for ‘Quack’, in reference to the wide stance and waddling gait of ducks. The obvious result is that when turning whilst pedalling there is considerably less clearance, which was noticed mostly when climbing twisty trails where the pedals and ground came into contact more than usual, as well as constantly clipping the side of those already difficult to tackle 4x4 ruts.
So, in a true 'profit and loss' statement, the Noax offers the advantages of a slimmer pedal body, yet brings to the fore the issue of the added ‘Quack’.

Overall

Without question this little known German company has produced a fine piece of engineering in the creation of the Noax pedal. A great looking pedal with some innovative features and a great foot-bed platform may well be desirable to those of you less concerned about the Q factor and see the benefits of the wider platform.

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By Charley Oldrid
Charley Oldrid is a man who spends a lot of time in the saddle. A highly experienced Mountain Bike Guide, having led trips all over world riding the finest trails he can find. His personal riding style can only be described as wild, getting sideways isn't an option on a ride with Charley, it's mandatory. If anyone can find the limit of a test bike, it's him.

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