tom ritchey and i have one thing in common; both of us were born in the same year. and there's a strong possibility that we both use the same pedals on our offroad bicycles. other than that, the man has the advantage on me by having won the uci world mountain bike championships, holds the distinction of being the first production mountain bike manufacturer in the world and is an inductee to the crested butte mountain bike hall of fame in 1988.
in fact, as if that were insufficient to engender feelings of inadequacy at this end of the word processor, tom ritchey was also voted into the united states bicycle hall of fame a matter of four years ago.
given this extensive palmares, i think it fairly safe to say that the man knows his stuff and more than likely, knows it a great deal better than we do. in the days of thomas frischknecht's domination of the cyclocross world, i'd have given my right pedal to have borrowed a ritchey steel frame on which to explore the undergrowth, but to this day, i have yet to climb aboard anything with tom's name on the downtube. perhaps, if i'm a really good boy, 2017 might remedy that situation.
however, one has to start somewhere and i was most fortunate to be sent a pair of ritchey wcs xc pedals prior to christmas on which to fulfil my 500 festive kilometres (sadly curtailed to a more conservative 300). it would be childish of me to insult your intelligence by undertaking a dissertation concerning the modern-day pedal; basically, these thread into the cranks using an 8mm allen key, as do many current offerings. the cleat mechanism is quite compact and bijou, but apparently offering little in the way of surrounding foot support and leaving a smooth length of axle between it and the pedal body.
weighing a relatively scant 298 grams per pair, the component parts are built from forged alloy, stainless steel with a cro-mo steel axle. the axle runs on three bearing surfaces: a bushing on the inner edge, needle bearings in the middle and a sealed cartridge bearing at the outer edge. i'm loath to disassemble a brand, spanking new pair of pedals, but judging by the allen bolt at the outer edge of the pedal body, doing so promises to be a less thatn fearsome process when it becomes necessary.
according to ritchey, the only periodic maintenance that ought to be required is a few drops of lubricant on the springs and pivot points every now and again. the pedals are double-sided, making it way easier to clip in after leaping aboard in stylish cyclocross fashion, but it is prudent for the new owner to ensure the spring adjustment is identical on both sides. the factory setting is, in my opinion, just a smidgeon tighter than i'd prefer; there was more than just a single interesting moment during that first ride on the specialized.
oddly enough, lowering the tension to its most relaxed setting made it harder to get my foot out in a hurry. the pedal seemed inclined to hang onto its matching shoe cleat for longer than entirely necessary. however, adjusted to midway along the notched gauge seems to have set everything to normal and you would have been most impressed by my impeccable mount-and-clip-in demonstration given to an audience of none in bridgend woods over the course of last weekend.
they also appear to be impressively bashproof. my offroad ineptitude often leads to untoward marks that i'm sure weren't there when i left home. granted, i have only ridden the ritchey xc pedals for a matter of weeks, so i might have to get back to you on that one, but so far so excellent.
the clip-in procedure offers much in the way of confidence. i have ridden other offroad pedals that, while offering ease of entry, haven't always provided the ideal feedback. i do like to experience a decent click when pressing my foot to the metal. the pedals feature four degrees of float making for efficient pedalling and a none too onerous twist of the foot required to unclip. surprisingly, to me at least, that apparent lack of foot support was entirely transparent in use. in the process of failing to reach my festive target, i managed a couple of 100 kilometre days with no discomfort whatsoever. at least not in my feet.
i am insufficiently well-informed as to whether there is an industry leader in the world of offroad pedals, though i should imagine shimano have captured a fair percentage of the market, but in terms of function, simplicity of use and build quality, it's hard to find a reason to choose other than these ritchey xc pedals.
ritchey's wcs xc offroad pedals retail at a list price of £152. there will be a second part to this ongoing review later in 2017.
wednesday 4 january 2017..........................................................................................................................................................................................................