Review: Crank Brothers 5050 Pedals

I have used Crank Brothers pedals for several years, after giving up on my Shimano SPDs after they clogged with mud one too many times.  I started using the basic Candy 1’s for my mountain bike, then moved on to the eggbeaters for the muddier cyclocross courses.

It was only natural that when I wanted to use flat pedals that I would try out Crank Brothers’ offering: the 50/50.  (Full disclosure: I received these pedals at a discount.)  The 50/50s come in two quality levels, the 2 and the 3.  The 3 is slightly lighter and uses higher performance bearings.  However, the savings of 19g didn’t mean much to me, so I opted for the 50/50 2 since both carry the same 5 year warranty.

I’ve been using these pedals for about 6 months now on my Rumblefish for all of my riding.  I initially had a lot of trouble keeping my feet on the flat pedals, even though the spikes were extended out a good distance.  There were two problems, one of equipment and one of technique.  The first was easy to fix with buying the right kind of riding shoes.  I traded in my running shoes for a pair of flat cycling-specific shoes.5050

The second fix took longer, as I had to reteach myself where to place my feet and how to distribute my weight.  I had the best success when my feet were further forward on my pedals, putting the spindles close to midfoot.  I also learned to drop my heels so as I was going over bumps the pedals would push up into my feet instead of trying to slide backwards beneath them.

After a couple of weeks adjustment period, I felt comfortable on the pedals and was ripping around all my regular trails just as quickly as when I was on the Candy pedals.  In fact, I was taking some of the sections faster, especially bermy stuff and drops.  I had more confidence since I could bail off whenever I wanted to.

However, I have some complaints, more to do with flat pedals in general than with the 50/50s specifically.  It’s harder to start going up hills because I can’t pull up or pedal a full circle.  It’s harder for me to get through slow techy sections for the same reason.

One complaint about the 50/50s is that they seem very thick.  I have way more pedal strikes using the 50/50s than with my Candy pedals.  I also seem to hit my feet more on trail obstacles.  I think I hit my feet more because I’m wearing bigger shoes.

Aside from the pedal strikes, I have really enjoyed the 50/50s.  The adjustable pins are great and provide a very secure grip on my shoes.  The platforms are large enough for even my wide clown feet to feel secure, and they have held up great over the months.  I’ll be swapping them back out for my Candy pedals for race season in a couple of weeks, but I look forward to putting them back on this fall.

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