PEMBREE D2A FLAT PEDAL REVIEW
Words by Robert Johnston | Photos by Finlay Anderson
It’s safe to say that the flat pedal market may be one of the more saturated in the mountain bike world, with options of all shapes, sizes and constructions you can think of. Chances are, you don’t know about the origins of your pedal though: where they were made; using what energy, and how they found their way to your door. PEMBREE founder Phil Law wants to change that, with his company set up on the principals of “making the world a better place”, for a better future for his three sons. With PEMBREE, Phil is making it easier for mountain bikers to be more sustainable, thanks to more environmentally friendly manufacturing of his products and more durable components that should require replacement less frequently. We’ve been putting their D2A flat pedals to the test for the last couple of months in the Tweed Valley and have come away quite impressed overall.
The D2A is PEMBREE’s second flat pedal offering, with a lighter weight that’s designed to be the racer’s choice compared with their original R1V. The body measures in at 100mm x 110mm, with a 15mm depth at the axle. The pedals are machined in their own facility in the UK from a solid billet block of aluminum. This aluminum is sourced from the UK, and at least 75% of its composition is from recycled sources. It takes 20 minutes for each pedal body to be machined on their 5-axis CNC, during which all of the electricity used is taken from purely renewable energy sources. Thanks to some clever robotics to feed this CNC machine, the process is nearly fully automated, minimizing labor costs to allow the D2A pedals to retail for £129 / $195 despite their eco credentials. The aluminum swarf that is generated as material is removed from the billet is recycled, and PEMBREE hopes to close the loop in the future by using their own swarf to produce new pedals but admit this is somewhat of a pipedream.
PEMBREE strives to manufacture a very high-quality product, with a 10-micron body machining tolerance to allow for the high-quality bearings used inside to function optimally. There’s an IGUS plain bearing (bushing) on the inside of the axle, with two premium NSK sealed cartridge bearings on the outside end. The spindles and traction pins are machined in the UK from stainless steel, giving high strength and corrosion resistance. The PEMBREE D2A pedals are supplied in 100% recycled and recyclable packaging, with no plastic in sight, and are carbon neutral. The D2A pedals tip the scales at 446g for the pair; pass the EFBE Tri-Test GR for freeride and downhill bike strength and are supplied with a 5-year body and spindle warranty and an impressive 2 year bearing warranty. And if the pedals come to the end of their life, PEMBREE will accept them back to recycle and the customer will receive credit for future purchases.
Out of the box it was clear that the manufacturing quality of the PEMBREE D2A flat pedals is very high, with a lovely machined look and smooth spinning with the slight resistance that exudes quality sealing notions. The traction pins look like quality products in themselves, with clean and consistent machining and a size that suggests they’re going to stand the test of time. The pin placement is as wide as possible, giving the widest footprint of grip for their body size. The red anodizing on my test set may not have been my first choice but looks excellent in the flesh.
In terms of platform size, the PEMBREE is slightly larger than average and should provide most riders with a comfortable fit. This platform is flat fore and aft, which means it’s thin at the extremities and so slightly less likely to snag on the trail but doesn’t offer quite the same “in the pedal” feeling as the best of them. There’s a slight lateral concavity over the axle to give the foot a bit of room to sink into the middle though. With the right shoe sole, the pin arrangement around the perimeter only can leave your foot sitting slightly into the pedal, but on a stiffer sole or when your tread is deeper it does feel rather flat. The grip on offer is not the most extreme, though just enough to be acceptable with the right tacky shoes, such as a Five Ten Impact Pro or Ride Concepts Tallac BOA. Phil at PEMBREE didn’t rule out the possibility of offering more aggressive pins in the future, but was happy with his current offering. These traction pins will please the riders who favor being able to reposition their foot slightly easier, as they never bite into the shoe sole in such a manner that you can’t shift position when you unweight.
The square edges on the front face are likely to hang up more than if they were angled, but it does provide a larger platform for the same overall size, so there’s a trade-off. The tapered edges at the side are good to see and didn’t feel to be limiting the security and comfort of the foot for my size US11.5/EU45 feet. In terms of their durability claims, the PEMBREE pedals have fended off a few impacts without much complaint, with those stainless-steel pins proving to be particularly resistant to damage and still gripping as well as day 1. There was no play at any point during testing, nor any ingress of mud or water to make the D2A pedals feel rough or sticky. It seems they’re in it for the long haul, so if they offer the feel you desire then they seem like a great eco-conscious investment, especially in the UK.
The Wolf’s Last Word
They’re not the grippiest pedals to rule them all, but the PEMBREE D2A flats offer solid enough grip for most sticky-shoed flat pedal riders to be happy. What will make customers even happier is the fairly reasonable price for what has proved to be a very high-quality pedal, with environmental credentials to help you do your bit to make your bike more eco-friendly.
Price: $195 /£129
Weight: 446 grams (pair)