Dirt Rag Magazine

New: Canfield Brothers Crampon Mountain Pedals


Canfield Brothers released a new pedal in their thinner-than-thin Crampon line, the Mountain.


The Mountain pedals are a melding of the Classic, which appeared in 2011, and the newer Ultimate pedals. The Mountains have the same 6 mm leading edge as seen on the Ultimates, but feature a full-length axle that is 4 mm wider than the Ultimates’ shorter-length 10 mm axle.

The increase in width is due to the use of DU bushings on the inner side as well as three sealed bearings on the outer, which is how the Classics were designed. According to Don Stefanovich from Canfield, this allows the pedal to withstand more load on the inner side, wear longer and is easier to seal.

Canfield Crampon Pedals Action

The Crampon Mountain pedals measure 112 mm x 106 mm, weigh 400 grams and come with 10 pins installed on each platform surface. There are two additional drilled holes in the center of the pedal which will allow you to add one more pin to each side if you need some additional grip.

While we are talking pins, all the pins are removable from either side of the pedal. If you shear off the top of the pin, or just plain mangle it so that your Allen wrench is rendered useless, you can still remove the pin by accessing the protected socket through the other side of the pedal. It’s an incredibly useful design found on all the Crampon models.

Canfield Pedals

I’ve had the pedals out for a few rides and have no complaints. Stiff, grippy, comfortable and super thin. I like the larger platform and more user friendly axle design of the Mountain Crampons, so I’m interested to see how they hold up over time. Judging by their apparent craftsmanship, I doubt I’ll have any issues. They run a cool $149 and you can check ’em out at canfieldbrothers.com



Editor’s Choice 2015: Our favorite components

Dirt_Rag_Editors_Choice_2015_WEBThis is Dirt Rag’s second year doing an official “Editor’s Choice.” With editorial staff of all shapes and sizes, spread out all over the country, we can’t just pick one product per category and call it the best.

Also notice our timing. While we could do this in the early spring, how much ride time do you think those early season awards are based on, if any at all? Waiting until the end of the year allows us to consider all the products we’ve used.

And finally, notice not all these products have been reviewed (some we’ve shelled out our own money for), nor are they all from our advertisers. We’re doing our best to be honest with our selections here, and each one is deserving of its award on its own merits. While you can buy us a beer, you can’t buy our editors.

Continue reading for products from Shimano, 9Point8, VP, Industry Nine and SRAM.

Shimano Di2 XTR


Di2 groupset

Electronic shifting? I can hear the purists and singlespeeders scoffing, pointing and cursing my name, but the unequivocal fact is this drivetrain works with absolute perfection. It’s been a few years since I’ve had a double chainring on a personal bike, yet with top-notch shifting from the auto Syncro Shift I barely notice it’s not a single—it’s that smooth, with no front shifter to fiddle with.

With almost a year of abuse, through the tail end of winter, a wet spring and a dusty summer I have never adjusted, tweaked or fiddled with it once. That’s the biggest takeaway: truly maintenance-free performance without frayed cables, corroded housing, water freezing the line or worrying about funky routing hampering shifting. Battery life is also longer than claimed, so I hardly think about that either.

Shimano Di2 XTR isn’t in everyone’s wheelhouse and it’s not meant to be, but the concept and performance is groundbreaking. Because of that it gets my choice and is certainly here to stay.

More info: bike.shimano.com
Price: Varies, but serious $$$. If you have to ask…

9Point8 Fall Line dropper post

Tech EditorEd Choice components-2Other than good tires, a dropper post is the best upgrade you can make to your bike. The Fall Line is the best dropper I’ve used in 2015, and as long as it remains reliable it’ll be the best I’ve ever used.

The Fall Line is cutting-edge because its design is the first mechanically locking dropper with infinite adjustment. It also has a sweet remote that can be run horizontally or vertically on either side of the bar. And two offset choices: 0 mm or 25 mm along with internal routing with tool-free cable removal for packing or sharing the post between various bikes. And it never, ever needs to be bled.

All that, plus it’s made in Canada and costs less than most high-end droppers on the market. I hope 9point8 sells a million of these things.

More info: 9point8.ca
Price: $375

VP VX Adventure Race pedals

Contributing EditorEd Choice components-1Aside from some early misadventures, I’ve ridden Time clipless pedals for what seems like an eternity. Sure, SPDs are great and they’ve been around forever, but once you commit to a pedal system and pick up a few pairs, it sure is hard to switch.

I signed on to review these SPD-cleat-compatible trail pedals from VP and switched over some cleats. With both the stock VP cleats and some old Shimano ones they have a positive engagement and a crisp, quality feeling when unclipping. I’ve moved them from bike to bike for the most part of the year, and they’ve never loosened, squeaked or complained one bit. The large platform is just the ticket for a secure feeling underfoot, as more of your shoe is in contact with the pedal.

I may not be ready to toss all my Time pedals in the recycling bin, but the VP VX Adventure Race pedals are good enough to find a permanent spot on one of my bikes and a pair of SPD cleats on my favorite shoes.

More info: vp-usa.com
Price: $130

Industry Nine Pillar Carbon Trail 29

Former Art DirectorINine wheelsStrength, weight and price. That’s the trifecta, and it’s been said that you can only have two of the three. So with a $2,850 base price it should be no surprise which two are finishing first and second.

While the hubs and spokes are machined by I9 in North Carolina, the carbon rims are made by Reynolds Cycling, of Utah. Rim profiles and layups are designed to maximize lateral stiffness but maintain controlled vertical deflection. The 32 spoke holes are angled to minimize stress and promote long-term durability. The hookless bead walls allow for a slightly increased internal rim width. At 24 mm they aren’t super wide, but the bead walls are formed using a continuous fiber wrap around the top of the wall, which increases strength and impact resistance. Without a bead hook, it’s counterintuitive how secure and burp-free the tire is. Setup was easy, and I’ve had no issues.

This wheelset is ’spensive, but I9 hubs are my favorite. They’re precisely machined with a 120-point, three-degree engagement. They’re compatible with everything, and there are several colors for a custom look, but which will cost you an additional upcharge. I even like the freehub sound. There’s no need for a bell on the crowded weekend trails.

Price: $2,850
More info: industrynine.net

SRAM GX 1×11 drivetrain

General Manager and Photographer

SRAM GX group

SRAM has earned significant market share and popularity with its single-ring drivetrains for good reason. These drivetrains offer enough gearing range for most situations, greatly simplify bike setup and perform incredibly well.

Last year, Dirt Rag Editor-in-Chief Mike Cushionbury awarded SRAM’s X01 drivetrain his Editor’s Choice honors because it offered similar performance to the flagship XX1 group at a reduced cost. With GX1, SRAM has again significantly cut the price of entry to 1×11 ownership.

Sure, the GX 1×11 group gains a little weight, but it retains all of the performance benefits from its pricier siblings. Shifting might be ever so slightly less crisp than XX1 or X01, but I wouldn’t bet on being able to discern a difference if blindfolded. If I were building a bike or planning to buy a new one, I’d be targeting GX 1×11 for certain. This is the pinnacle of the current performance-to-value ratio right now.

Price: $564
More info: sram.com

If you missed our Editor’s Choice bike picks, check them out here. And make sure to subscribe to the print edition so you don’t miss all of our reviews and gear picks throughout the year.



Review: Answer Rove FR Pedals


For the past month I’ve been running Answer’s Rove FR pedals on all my bikes. Swapping between a fatty, full suspension, dirt jumper and gravel grinder. That’s just how I roll.

The Roves are solid. They feature a concave platform and ten hex-head pins per side. They even ship with ten replacement pins for when you tear a few off.

The pedal’s 6061 series alloy deck is just wide enough to provide a good platform for my feet and the pins keep my trusty Five Ten Freeriders from slipping around. I’ve had grippier pedals in the past, but the Roves maintain a nice balance between grip and the freedom to reset my foot when I get a bit out of sorts. That said, I’ve yet to slip a pedal…knock on wood.

Weighing in at 467 grams the Roves feature a cartridge bearing and steel axle that should take a pounding, and a thin 16mm profile to keep those rock hits to a minimum.

This is a great moderately priced pedal which feels like it will stand the test of time.


Colors: Red, Black, Gold, White, Silver.

MSRP: $95



Interbike Outdoor Demo: Speedplay readies Syzr mountain bike pedals


Speedplay is one of the best-known players in the road bike pedal scene, but it hasn’t had nearly as much success with riders in the dirt. The Frog series has some loyal fans, but they are few and far between.

Speedplay hopes to change the game with the long-awaited Syzr pedal system. Just like its road-going cousins, the Syzr features adjustable float between zero and 10 degrees, as well as an integrated platform that doesn’t rely on the shoe’s lugs for stability.


The two little rollers you see are ceramic bearings that help smooth the cleat release, while the wings help guide the cleat into position. Also the spring mechanism is on the forward edge of the pedal, rather than the rear like Shimano, which helps speed engagement.


The grub screws at the left of the cleat pictured are used to adjust the float. The black portion of the cleat is stationary while the silver portion swivels.

There will be a model with a stainless steel spindle for $229 and a Ti spindle for $420 when they go on sale later this year.


Review: Mavic CrossMax XL pedals


Mavic is all about component systems, and as such, the Crossmax XL line includes everything from wheels and tires to shoes and pedals. The Crossmax XL pedals are essentially rebranded Time ATAC pedals, which is a good thing to me since I’ve been a huge fan of the ATAC system for years and have several pairs that have long outlived their expected expiration date.

The larger body of the XL model provides more stability under the foot when riding in aggressive terrain or if you want to ride unclipped through a technical maneuver. The synthetic body is lighter than metal and has been plenty tough enough to stand up to clipping the occasional rock on the trail. If you ride with either gravity shoes or the more flexible “enduro” or trail shoes that are popular now, you’ll appreciate the extra platform underfoot.

The ATAC cleat system offers 10 degrees of angular float as well as 5mm of lateral float, so you can move your feet side to side a tiny bit to compensate for leg length discrepancies or less-than-perfect cleat placement. They also offer either 13 or 17 degrees of rotation before release, depending on which foot you mount them on. Plus they’re self-cleaning, and have always worked well in mud and snow.

The Crossmax XL pedals we tested use a hollow Chromoly axle and retail for $249, but Mavic also offers a Ti axle version available for $399 and less expensive versions under the Crossride and Crossroc labels starting at $99.


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