Catalyst Pedals Review
A road bicyclist (not [yet?] unicyclist) friend pointed me toward these pedals, thinking they might be useful. I pondered it for a bit, and in the end agreed and bought a pair to try out on my Nimbus Oracle 26. I wasn’t so sure about the science and its applicability to unicycles, but the theory seemed somewhat sound, so I decided to give it a shot.
Unfortunately, I broke one of my own rules and made more than one change at a time, so my first ride impression has to include that disclaimer! I replaced my stock 150mm cranks with some dual-hole (127/150) KHs and like a kid at xmas, I put the Catalyst Pedals at the 127mm and went for it.
First ride: 5.3mile road ride… super awkward, with a bit more knee pain than I usually deal with (it is usual for me to have a bit after a 5-7mile ride around here). I tried to keep my feet glued to the prescribed position, with the ball of my foot ahead of the pedal axle. Seems this might be a bit of a mistake.
My riding area doesn’t contain any flats, as I live in the foothills of the Adirondack mountains, so my normal riding loop is either 5.3 or 6.5 miles of +300-400ft (and the subsequent -300-400ft) on the road, or around 4miles of mountain bike trails with around 300-400ft (again, up and down) elevation change.
After the first ride, I learned a bit about foot position on these new pedals, and tried a few more times on the same loop at the 127mm crank length setting. I’ve learned that I have more space to maneuver my foot on the pedal surface, and can shift forward and backward to adjust for comfort on ascending/descending/flat terrain. I’ve begun to learn to use more of my hips for power and my balance seems to be getting better as I gain confidence with the increased pedal platform. I’m using the included shorter traction pins (8mm, I think?), and haven’t attempted the longer (12mm?) pins yet.
This week, I moved the pedals back out to 150mm and tried some trail riding… what a huge difference. Between the crank length change and the platform size, my offroad riding got much better. My ability to stand up and crank while hill climbing is also improving quickly. I’ve maybe only put 60 miles on these pedals so far, but like my handlebar, I think the better I learn to use them, the happier I’ll be with them.
My shoes are not a hard/stiff-soled purpose built sort like the 5-10s I hear people raving about, as I like the tactile feel at this time, which probably lends well to the longer platforms.
All in all, these pedals are standing up to my hopes for them, and if you’ve got a bit of coin to rid yourself of and are open to the experiment, I’d say they’re worth your time. If you’re prone to UPD and getting tangled up in your unicycle, you might want to follow some previous advice and knock down the sharp corners with a file or angle grinder. I haven’t been punctured by them yet, but there’s a first for everything and I might end up following this advice, too.
Oh, yeah, what good is a review without some pictures? :