Tioga releases ultra-thin axle-less mountain bike pedal
By Ben Coxworth
August 9, 2011
While many mountain bikers like so-called "clipless" pedals, in which cleats on the bottom of their shoes click in and out of a mechanism in the pedal, others prefer the unfettered feeling of platform pedals. Generally speaking, the two types of pedals are about the same thickness. Given that platforms don't need to contain any springs or other cleat-retaining gizmos, however, they could be much thinner ... if only it weren't for that axle running through them. Well, Tioga has done away with the axle, in its new ZEROaxle MT-ZERO pedal. At a maximum thickness of 7 mm, it's being billed as the "world's thinnest dual-concave mountain bike pedal."
The pedal is attached to the crankset via the company's ZEROaxle bolt assembly. Like a traditional axle, the assembly screws into the crank, and contains sealed cartridge bearings that allow the pedal to rotate separately from it. The ZEROaxle's bearings, however, are twice as large as those usually found in traditional pedals, and can reportedly withstand five times the dynamic load. This is a necessity, as the pedaling load is concentrated on the bolt assembly, instead of being spread out along the length of an axle.
The bolt assembly and pedal platform can be separately replaced, as needed.
While the one-piece chromoly steel pedal itself is 7 mm deep at its thickest point, that number goes down to just 4 mm in the middle, as both sides of the platform are concave. This thinness minimizes the chances of pedal strikes against trail objects such as roots and rocks, and is also said to increase pedaling efficiency, as it places the rider's foot closer to the center of the pedal.
Although some riders might question how much abuse such a thin pedal would be able to take, Tioga maintains that its product has been "tested to handle a wide spectrum of off-road applications from XC to all-mountain." Hmm, we'll see ...
As has been pointed out on BikeRadar, a similar product already exists in the form of MomentumBicycle's FlyPaper pedal. It, however, can only be used with the company's own crankset - by contrast, the Tioga pedal's 9/16" thread allows it to be mounted on a bicycle's standard, existing cranks.
ZEROaxle MT-ZERO pedals weigh 450 grams (15.87 oz) per pair, and should be available within the next month-and-a-half at a suggested retail price of US$99.