ONEUP ALUMINUM PEDAL REVIEW
Review by Robert Johnston
The battle for king of the flat pedals has never been hotter, with just about every component brand having a solid offering that attempts to take the title. OneUp components’ entry to the competition comes in the form of their quite unique looking Aluminum pedal, utilizing an inboard bearing design that allows for an impressively thin body. How does this translate to performance out on the trail? The Eurowolf was excited to find out.
OneUp Components’ answer to the ultimate flat pedal comes in the form of their simply named Aluminum Pedal. You get no prizes for guessing the material used here – the bodies are heavily machined 6061-T6 Aluminum, which when combined with a tapered chromoly steel axle gives a reasonable overall weight of 382g (actual, with pins). The standout feature of the OneUp pedal is the large inboard bearing, which gives the profound “bulge” on the inside against the crankarm but allows the remainder of the pedal to be very low profile as it only has to accommodate the thin brass bushing at the outer edge of the axle. The real estate for foot placement is a generous 115mm long by 105mm wide, which should suit all but the clown footed out there, and tapers from just 8.3mm thick at the leading and trailing edges up to 12mm at the fattest point around the axle, giving a convex profile overall instead of the more common concave shape. OneUp says this should lead to a more connected feel, as the pedal will sit into the arch of the foot. The leading and trailing faces have a slight chamfer, and the outside edge features a heavy amount of shaping to help with the reduction of hook-up on trail obstacles. 10 unique hexagon shaped 8mm steel pins are fitted to each side of the pedal, and thread through from the rear for easier removal when damaged. The inboard bearing is held in place by an aluminum lockring that is fastened with a cassette tool for easy servicing and has an additional seal to prevent the ingress of water and dirt. For when the inevitable wear and tear occurs, OneUp makes it easy to source service kits to return them to spinning smooth. It’s important to note the inboard bearing design means they are not compatible with Sram Carbon cranks or with crank boots without modification. The OneUp Aluminum pedal is available in 6 colors, and retails for £116.50/$129.
The OneUp pedals arrived feeling decidedly premium – some nice machining, the telltale “stick” of a well-sealed bearing, and a small amount of resistance as you wind them into the crankarm that tells you the thread tolerances are tight. Both bikes I had in the garage during testing were equipped with Sram/Truvativ Descendant carbon cranks, and I had not been made aware of their incompatibility until it came time to type up my thoughts, so I was perhaps testing a ticking time bomb. Nevertheless, the OneUp’s mounted okay in my particular case, with a couple of pedal washers spacing them out adequately to avoid rubbing and still adequate thread engagement into the crankarm to avoid issues. This is not a suggestion that you should ignore OneUp though – there are plenty alternatives on the market that are not considered unsafe on these cranks.
The feel underfoot is different to most flat pedals due to the convex body profile. While your feet sit somewhat “in” most pedals, instead the OneUp Aluminum pedal makes your foot sit around the pedal, which theoretically keeps the natural curve of the arch in the most comfortable position. I tend to opt to run Etnies Camber Crank shoes on the majority of my rides, which have a relatively stiff sole with sticky – but not ultra-soft – rubber that has shallow recesses for the pedal pins. Paired with the OneUp’s long, shin eating pins, I felt as if I was almost on stilts above the middle of the platform, with the most central pin preventing my foot from sinking in, and the shallow tread not swallowing the pins enough. Add the sole stiffness to the equation, and I struggled for foot traction at times – a phenomenon I had not yet experienced with the Etnies. My feet were pivoting around the central pins and only contacting either the front or rear row of pins at one time. Switching shoes to a slightly more flexible sole with deeper recesses, such as Five Tens’ Impact Pro, led to instant relief from the issue, with a reassuring amount of grip and no foot pain even on extended descents. Not a fault of the Etnies shoe, which is excellent, but certainly a consideration required for prospective buyers. Removing the central pins led to an improvement in this regard but did lessen the grip security in less favorable foot positions, such as after a quick dab through a technical section.
The overall platform size is very generous, which when combined with the inboard bearing leads to a very widely spread pedal from the crank. This offers a noticeably wider stance on the bike, which feels reassuringly stable, however it does make the width of the bike greater, which led to a couple of ultra-tight trail sections becoming even tighter, and some serious pedal-scraping action through narrow ruts. The inboard bearing never felt like an issue, with its rounded profile and location hard against the crank preventing the shoe from ever resting on top, but the effects to the width of the bike are there to be felt. Thankfully, the thin leading edge and generous shaping on the outside edge of the body makes the OneUp Aluminum pedal rank among the best metal pedals I’ve tested for resisting hang-up on trailside obstacles, helping to limit the drawback of the wide stance. You’ll see just how much anodizing is missing from the body in the pictures, yet there was only a single time I felt as if the pedal grabbed onto the terrain below. I’ve managed to bend a couple of pedal pins but given the abuse my pedals see in the local rock-strewn jank, they’ve held up remarkably well, and removal and replacement was easy thanks to the rear-loading design. As have the bearings, which have maintained the same minor play they had when new, that disappears as soon as the pedal is loaded. You get the feeling the OneUps are in it for the long haul, with the reassuringly chunky body likely to hold up to a barrage of abuse over the years, and the user being cared for with their servicing kits and guides designed to get the most life from them. The $129 price tag is in line with other premium offerings, so although it would always be nice to be cheaper, you can’t argue with it given their premium construction.
Though the convex profile may not be for everyone, the OneUp Aluminum pedal is a high-quality offering that can provide a grippy and comfortable platform that’s able to take a beating. Avoid stiff soles and Sram Carbon cranks and you’re onto a winner.
Price: £116.50 /$129
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