Properly grippy and comfortable
With its unique axle design, the ultra thin Specialized Boomslang is one of the more unusual flat pedals out there. And it’s one of the best too.
The sculpted alloy platform puts the larger inner bearing tight up to the crank arm within a raised cover and uses a small ‘trapdoor’ to access tiny, hidden, outboard needle bearings. This allows a super low profile body, that’s still concave enough to ensure feet stay planted. It also makes for a narrower overall pedal width for better leant-over ground clearance.
The slim platform is just 10mm thick in the centre; keeping rider weight low, and there’s a reassuring sense of really being in, rather than on, the bike and the pedal. To keep shoes fixed, the ‘undercut’ pedal studs really hook into soles, and the resulting grip level is pretty amazing. The pins thread in from the back for easy replacement too, with four spares cleverly stored in the platform.
Most pedals as grippy as the Boomslangs can flip too easily when repositioning if you catch the outer edges, resulting in a violent crank spin (and often split shins). Being so thin and stable though, the Boomslang is actually harder to topple in this way than most, which is an excellent trait.
Wide (size 43) Five Ten Impacts don’t rub or press on the inside bearing housing, but bigger footed riders might have an issue here, and while bearing life, anodizing and overall quality is good, it’s more of a faff to get into and service this pedal than most.
The pricey Boomslang’s tight-to-crank design needs an extra pedal washer to allow free spinning, and repositioning after a corner or dab, you can end up getting stuck out of position more often than some pedals simply because they’re so damn grippy.