First up, let’s address the elephant in the room – the first question I get asked at every track – why plastic pedals on a race bike? Plastic pedals have a bad rep for racing, mostly because of the cheap models fitted to complete bikes; these are invariably made with cheap molded plastic, poor quality bearings and offering little or no traction. The Alienation Footholds however bear as much in common with most stock pedals as a lump of coal does to a diamond!
Plastic race pedals actually have a history that goes way back to the 80’s; Skyway Graphite Tuff Pedals and MKS Graphite-X (Graphite was the buzz word of it’s day) were regarded as respectable upgrades. As alloy pedals grew larger and more aggressive cages however, these early examples fell behind the times. The move to clipless left platform users in the minority, and plastics disappeared from the race scene altogether.
Plastic pedals didn’t disappear though; BMX street riders realised that their low cost and light weight made them ideal for an environment that destroyed even the best made pedal. As their use exploded, riders demanded better quality, but without too much of a penalty to the features that attracted them in first place; better technology and better materials starting delivering better designs. As the durability increased MTB riders too saw the benefits but demanded more bite; plastic again evolved to include aggressive traction. We now see pedals that are ready for a return to the BMX track.
The Alienation Foothold bodies are constructed out of engineering grade thermoplastic. This is light, stiff (no flex) and very durable. Protruding through the body are 10 (per side) stainless steel pins, which are replaceable to keep things fresh when required. They roll on a CroMo spindle, with a sealed bearing on then outer end and a sleeve bushing supporting the inner which keeps the overall profile thin and low. All top quality.
As soon as I stepped on them for the first time the first thing I noticed was that they’re huge! Plenty of support here, no bird-foot feel with these. The shape of the body forms a concave under foot, which combined with the thin profile means they feel incredibly stable; it doesn’t feel like there’s any chance they’re going to roll out under your feet. The pins are sharp and bite hard; if anything too hard on the outer pins on the sides for me. I’m screwing the side pins down slightly since I like to twist on the pedals a bit for in air corrections when required – if pure grip is required these will deliver.
A common misconception is that the plastic is going to be slippery. The Foothold’s thermoplastic has a coarse feel, but how does that translate to use? The conditions locally have been less than ideal lately, and although the tracks I’ve been riding them on are firm enough, the surrounds when you walk around wet enough to pick up all sorts of debris and mud. Under these conditions, the Footholds have actually gripped better than my alloy platforms; whereas the shiny polished aluminium turns slick until it’s dried, the thermoplastic retains the coarse feel any more importantly no loss of grip – there’s no sensation of your shoe sliding on a slick surface.
I’ve also inadvertently found another bonus; my (obligatory) crash test that seems to happen whenever I get anything sparkling and new usually makes whatever I land on look second hand quick. A bail during testing resulted in the pedal grinding into the ground, but instead of a nasty looking scarred/scratched surface, because the colour is embedded in the thermoplastic there’s no visible marking – good as new!
- Pedal body made of ruggedly durable engineering grade thermoplastic
- Sealed bearing and LSL (lightweight self-lubricating) sleeve bushing
- 6mm broached 9/16? CNC chromoly spindle
- 113mm x 105mm x 18mm concave platform for large feet
- Stainless steel M3-9mm replaceable pins (sold separately bags of 10 pins and nuts)
- 360g per pair
- Colour: Black, Pink, Orange, Red
|Value for money:||5/5|
- Thermoplastics provide many advantages, we could repeat all the features of these pedals but more importantly lighter and cheaper than alloy pedals. A performance packed pedal without the price tag, now that’s value for money.
- They are among the lightest pedals in their class.
- The Alienation Foothold pedals offer so much more than a standard “plastic” pedal and can out perform alloy pedals. Grip, reliability, durability; what more could you want?
- The colour range is the only thing that you could expand on with these pedals. They are built to last and look great, the colours really pop.
If you’re flat pedal inclined, the Alienation Foothold pedals are a worthy choice; you won’t be disappointed and may even become a plastic convert.
Alienation BMX products are distributed in Australia by Elite Cycle Imports (ECI) www.eciimports.com
Reviewed by Paul Knox/bmxultra.com July 15, 2021