Customer feedback: the next generation pedal latch
May 24th 2018
Every CHANGE bike or frame comes standard with a set of pop-off pedals, each with a quick-release latch, that look like this:
The Wellgo family of pop-off pedals also includes this line extension for mountain bikers.
Most customers find these pop-off pedals useful, and a huge leap forward over folding pedals, but they’re not for everyone. Specifically, two customers have appreciated the pop-off concept, but mentioned the same chafing concern to me. Gene worded it this way:
“Let me first say that I am very happy with the bike I got in September and it is a much better replacement for the stolen Montague paratrooper (pre 2017 model) I had before.
I’ve had no problems with the Change bike but there is an engineering flaw with the removable pedal fitting. The red knobs are stationary and fairly high; they chafe side of shoes and have chafed through several straps. I wanted to make you aware of the flaw and I suggest that you switch to a different mechanism that is not raised on the side as others may find the same problem. Gene’
I’d heard from one other customer about shoe-chafing, so this was a great time to follow up. Flatbike had just located a second generation, backward-compatible pop-off pedal using a different latch mechanism with no protruding red knob. What did Gene think of that?
Does the new latch pass the “Gene Test?”
“Well, these are the pedals we discovered, but they were REALLY hard to procure. So before we went through all the effort of international shipping for pop-off SPD pedals, we got a set of the new latches on some Wellgo-like pedals, just to test the latching mechanism, and sent it to Gene for quality testing.’
Here’s his feedback.
“Normally I don’t like writing reviews, but since I’ve been super happy with the bike, I will write one up.
The quick release fittings do not protrude as the old ones did, but it seems that there may be a slight chance of accidental opening, i. e. when inserting foot into straps, will have to look at that a little more closely.
The shafts that fit into the quick release fittings are the same, so I ended up using the old pedals, because I have toe clips and straps on those.’
“The ride was excellent as there was no more rubbing on the shoes and straps. I will order another set of straps and toe clips and compare the different pedals once installed on the new ones and report again. As I said, this is only preliminary, I only rode 5 miles today.
One more thing, it is a good policy to make sure the pedal is clipped in by pressing opposite of the ‘button’ and make sure it clicks, otherwise it may not be locked in.’
After a longer ride…
“I have not used the new pedals yet, so this only refers to the quick release fittings….
Now that I had more time to look at the unit, I realized that the flanged washers are integral to the unit (although they come in a separate plastic bag). I installed them properly yesterday but I did not realize that the plastic rings fit onto them to lock the mechanism in place once the quick release is locked in. None of that is mentioned in the booklet!’
“Now that I got that figured out, I will probably change the unlocking ‘button’ to the top. So anyway, the quick release fittings have my blessing but if I were you I would provide a clearer installation instruction if you decide to order them.’
FLATBIKE NOTE: Message received! We’ll write a Flatbike insert for the pedals.
Final notes after 80 miles on the non-Wellgo pedals
“I finally got my clips and straps and put about 80 miles on the new pedals.
Observations on the pedals:
- One pedal was not moving as freely out of the box as the other. After a few miles it loosened up, but still has a little more resistance than the other. If I were you, I would check them before shipping; it may be an exception but may not.
- The pedals may weigh a little more than the old ones, which may bother some people.
- The cleats on the pedals are better than the serrations on the old ones; they slip less and are easier on the shins when wearing shorts. Also, since I use clips, I removed some of the cleats on the backside, which again is easier on the naked shins and also makes the pedal slightly lighter.
- New pedals have a slightly larger fore and aft footprint, which is actually better for foot/leg leverage.
- One negative on the new pedals is there is not a good slot for straps; the slot is too large and the straps slide forward too much when sliding foot in, sometimes needing an adjustment by hand.’
FLATBIKE NOTE: The non-Wellgo knockoff pedals may have potential as a form factor, but also appear to have variable quality. We have no plans to standardize on these. Wellgo all the way…
Gene’s final verdict on the second-generation latch…
“To recap on the quick release fittings:
They are great if installed properly. Proper installation is not clear from the current installation manual; I suggest putting together a better, more comprehensive version to ship with the quick release fitting.’
Thanks, Gene, for sharing your expert observations and helping to make biking easier!