Plastic fantastic from the Canadians?
There’s something to be said about a good looking bike parts. And in the world of pedals, in my opinion the Race Face Chester has film star looks. Out of the box the colour pops and the subtly rounded body looks purposeful. In short, if this was a review based on looks alone the Chester would get top marks, hands down.
But this isn’t just a shallow celebration of style over substance. When it comes to flat pedals, they need to perform; because if they don’t, the impact on your ride experience can be pretty significant. The two areas of most concern for flat pedal riders are primarily grip and to a point, durability. So how does the Race Face Chester stack up?
Race Face Chester’s grip
With eight adjustable pins on each side, the Chester has, on paper bags of grip. Each pin is reverse threaded through a nylock nut to keep them in place. At just 4mm in height, they are a little on the stubby side though. You can also eke a couple more milimetres of length by tightening up each pin. This does draw the head of the pin into the body a little but we haven’t had any issues with damage yet. Even with the extra length the grip isn’t perfect.
The sticking point (sorry!) seems to be that the body around the axle is the tallest part of the pedal. With certain shoes it limits just how much of the pin the shoe can actually grasp. With a softer, flexible sole grip isn’t as much of a problem, but with a stiffer sole shoes can waver about.
Throughout the testing period the Chester hasn’t missed a beat. Race Face has made sure that the bearing and bushing of each pedal are properly sealed against the elements. As such, both pedals still feel exceptionally smooth. One of the other reasons I’m a fan of composite pedals is because of their ability to resist smashing into a rock or two without much damage. To this end the Chester lives up to this resilience, surviving many a pedal strike without looking as tired as an equivalent alloy pedal might.
The Race Face Chester doesn't offer the last word in grip. But if you are a rider that favours a soft and flexible shoe then the durability and styling of the Chester could make them a very appealing option.