A few years ago major bicycle parts distributor QBP decided to throw their hat into the pedal ring. Without changing much on the tech side, iSSi broke into the market of nondescript mountain bike pedals by offering eight different color options. With mountain bike pedals being a must for cyclocross racing and helpful for gravel riding, they are also a popular choice for recreational road riders due to their interface with shoes with walkable soles. The iSSi pedals provide an inexpensive and lightweight option for all riders—road, mountain, gravel or otherwise.
The iSSi pedals are available in two styles: a minimal lightweight design, plus the Trail version that uses a cage built around the pedal body to protect the exposed, spring-tensioned mechanisms. Both iSSi pedals use chromoly axles, and are available in three different lengths—52.2mm, 58.2mm and 64.2mm—which is a boon for riders with different ﬁt needs. Though the longer-axle lengths are available only in the black Trail and standard pedal body, you can purchase an aftermarket axle in any of the color bodies for an extra $52.
The iSSi pedals use a bushing and seal bearing to provide low maintenance and a durable internal for constant use and abuse. Because of the pedal’s minimalistic design, a set of standard-body iSSi pedals weigh in at 309 grams, while the Trail pedals tip the scales at 403 grams.
Our test rider decided to embark on his gravel journeys with the Trail pedal since he was unsure of what obstacles and terrain he might face, and the pedal body held up to a barrage of constant jarring and hard hits just ﬁne. It’s always a moot point to say if there is any durability advantage to the internals without a long-term (year or more) test. During mild conditions (dry dirt, rocks and sand), the pedal engagement was without ﬂaw, but when in muddy, mucky conditions, disengagement proved less-than-satisfying. Large gaps in the mechanism allow the cleat to slide into the pedal with ease when dry; however, when the cleat is sandwiched with mud between the pedal platform and the fore-and-aft retention plates, it can require an immense amount of extra force to clip out of the pedal. And if you are in need of a quick escape, well, “quick” probably won’t be the ﬁrst word that comes to mind.
We’d actually see this as an improvement, since we rode the previous version last year and found getting out of the pedals difﬁcult when they were just clogged with dust!
For riders looking for a lightweight, inexpensive and colorful pedal to start your gravel adventures with, iSSi has a pedal for you. If you expect to be riding in muddy conditions, you may want to decide on a pedal that will clear mud more efﬁciently. It is impressive having a pedal at 309 grams and only $75, where most would be at the same weight and at about twice the price.
• Inexpensive and lightweight
• Durable internals
• Disengagement difﬁcult when muddy
Price: $75 (standard body), $100 (Trail body)
Weight: 309 grams (standard body), 403 grams (Trail body)
Colors: Intense Black, Really Red, Pink, Hi-Vis Yellow, Lime Green, Bright Silver, Hi-Vis Orange, Sky Blue