At a glance
Price: 149 USDBuy Pedals on
Pedaling Innovations is out to change the way we pedal. Their ultra oversized Catalyst pedals have the biggest platform surface out there. The pedals come in 5 different colours (black, grey, blue, purple and red) and for riders with size 13US/47EU or larger they make an XL version.
The Catalyst pedals are an invention of James Wilson, a fanatic bike rider and strength coach who has worked with top MTB racers like Gwin and Houseman in the past years. In his work and while out riding he came across a good amount of stigma revolving around flat pedals. They’re for DH riders only, they lack pedalling efficiency, if you want to make the most of your pedal stroke you need to be clipped in.
Somehow that felt counterintuitive and he decided to dive into the literature to find proof for being clipped in. However, when he started to look at what the science really said about clipless pedals and their value to us mountain bikers he found that it didn’t exist. What’s more, the science that did exist pointed to a much different story about the pedal stroke and ways to best optimise it. It’s too much to list in this review but James put up a nice summary of the science on his website here: https://pedalinginnovations.com/science/
The pedal itself is big. No wait, it's huge. Being 143mm long and 95mm wide, they provide a huge platform for your feel to stand on. They’re 16mm thick, have 18 replaceable pins hold your feet in place and of course it comes with dual sealed bearings. The pedal comes with longer (8mm) pins in the box if you’re looking for added grip. They weigh in a 525 grams per pair and come with a 30 day money back guarantee if you don’t like them.
Out on the trail
Once mounted on the bike, I did have to get used to the look. My lord these things are BIG. The good thing is with that, they’ll offer plenty of grip too. But that’s not the reason to make the switch to these pedals.
The short version is that the size gives you two points of contact instead of one, creating a more stable position for your feet increasing control and decreasing fatigue. Compare it to standing on the ball of your foot for a day. That doesn’t feel good after a few hours so why would you do so when riding? Instead of putting strain on the achilles tendon and calf when you use the ball of the foot, you get the power from your much stronger glutes and hamstrings.
Once I started to ride on my new pedal setup, there were a bunch of things to change. Saddle height, angle and where I applied pressure to my pedal stroke. With the axle right in the middle of the foot, I could definitely notice that I could generate more power. I even did a little sprint test on the Tacx Neo2T that told me so. With the evidence there, it gave me the motivation to keep riding until I felt properly adapted, which was after about 10 rides or so.
From that moment on, the bigger platform felt totally normal and I had the feeling I had a lot more control and less fatigue compared to the regular flat pedals. I did switch to the larger pins, as due to many years on clips I got used to a ‘fixed’ feel when riding the rougher terrain that I kind of miss when switching to flats.
When you see the size of the pedals, you might think you’d encounter a lot of pedal strikes in rocky terrain, but I didn’t have a single issue in the testing period. They’re only 16mm thick so there’s no reason for an increase in pedal strikes. Same thing goes for the pedals hitting your shin. They provide a super stable platform, so I never even slipped a pedal. If you would, I’m sure they hurt nothing more than a regular pedal.
Were there moments I didn’t like the pedals? Basically only when the terrain got really rough, I felt I struggled a bit with being planted on the bike. That will be mainly due to the fact I spent most of my time on clipless pedals, and got better at it as time progressed. Also when your RPM goes up, it gets harder to make the pedalling motion from the mid foot position. Again not something you do a lot (at least I don’t) but worth noting.
The Catalyst pedals are as groundbreaking as flat pedals get. It’s interesting to see other brands moving slowly (reeeaaally slowly) to bigger platforms but still Pedaling Innovations is leaps and bounds ahead of the competition. The 30 day money back guarantee is great if you’re hesitating too. I’d highly recommend them to any flat pedal rider, especially if you have larger feet!Buy Pedals on
This review was in Issue 73 of IMB.For more information visit Pedaling Innovations
By Jarno HooglandJarno's life has revolved around two wheels ever since he swung a leg over his first BMX at age 4. After a BMX and DH racing career, he moved on to work for bike shops, distributors and brands before ending up in the editors seat at IMB. Based in the ultimate testing ground in the Swiss mountains, he runs his guiding operation and makes sure every IMB issue is filled with top notch content.