“It’s your connection to your bike.” That’s what one of my buddies said to me this summer as he was giving grief over my old pedals with the pins all worn out. To preface this, I should mention that, despite riding a trail bike, I, unlike the rest of the world, don’t like clipless pedals. I much prefer the nuances of how flat pedals work to move the bike, it’s almost like skiing—and way more fun to me.
My own policy, for a long time now, has been to use super cheap pedals: one—because I’m really bad about bashing them off rocks, two—because I find I can’t adjust my foot well enough on the sharp tall pins that come with fancy flat pedals. Thus, I’d been rocking my old white-trash Wellgos for some time before I finally stepped it up this fall.
I was just losing my feet too much, so I started trying all my buddies’ pedals to see if anything clicked. When I finally put my foot down on a set of Chromag Scarabs, I felt exactly what I was looking for.
First, the Scarab is concave; I don’t know why so many pedal makers bulge the middle of their platforms around the axle–but concavity let’s your foot dip in better. Next, the Scarab’s got the exact right amount of pins for my liking, and there are spacers to adjust the height and placement. For you weirdos who can put your foots down exactly where you want it every time, and like it locked there, simply take the spacers out to make the pins taller. The Scarabs come with a bag of extras pins, which is great for replacing or customizing in this regard.
But this brings me to my first word of advice: tighten those pins often! I’ve lost a couple over the last month, but that’s to be expected if you don’t check them.
The next thing I like is the pins are somewhat round on the top and the threads are hidden inside the pedal body—unlike pedals that use grub screws, which are too sharp to begin with and become hard to remove once you mash them and all the exposed threads get wrecked.
But the profile of the pedal is really what makes it magic. It’s nice and narrow but with tons of surface area in a simple and clean design. I drag my back foot on steep stuff all the time, and it hits rocks, but these pedals are narrow enough I actually feel less of an impact. The aluminum body also makes them surprisingly light for a downhill pedal, which is perfect for someone like me who likes platforms but is still weight conscious.
The bearings are tight and smooth out of the box, but I’ve been warned these will be the first things to go on the pedal and don’t last as long as some other brands’ do. However, you can get whole new axles and bearings for only $29, so you can keep running the pedal body for as long as the platform’s in good shape—which will really just depend on you.
This fall I’ve taken these to Williams Lake, Rossland, Revelstoke, Nelson and New Denver and they’ve made me a better more centred rider with a wider stance and taken away a good deal of the foot cramping I used to get on steeper descents. I never lose my footing anymore. So far they’ve proven tough as nails and are still spinning tight and smooth, minus perhaps my own neglect to retighten the pins from time to time.
The Scarabs aren’t the cheapest pedals out there (nor the most expensive), but if you’re serious, it costs a premium to get a premium product, and these are potentially the best platforms going and a bargain at $160 for what you get out of them.
- 110 x 105MM
- Low profile 13mm at platform centre
- True concave design
- Custom adjustable height pin
- 42 pin placement options
- 430g / pair