Gusset Slim Jim Magnesium £44.99
Weight: 431g / magnesium body, cro-mo spindle / depth (centre of pedal): 17mm / alloy-bodied version available (540g) £29.99 / Contact: Ison 01223 213800
MBR rating: 9/10
Xpedo MX-1 £79.99
Weight: 485g / magnesium body, cro-mo spindle / depth (centre of pedal): 22mm / alloy-bodied version available (594g) £59.99 / Contact: www.raleigh.co.uk
MBR rating 6/10
Magnesium has never really caught on in the bike industry despite its advantages. The big problem is that it lends itself to casting rather than being welded as tubes. Casting frames is expensive and the end-result looks a little funky looking for most people’s tastes, but for small, mass-produced items magnesium is a far more attractive proposition, and pedal manufacturers in particular are reaping the benefits. Both pedals here sport magnesium bodies which makes them around 20 per cent lighter than their cheaper aluminium alloy-bodied versions.
The Slim Jims are reminiscent of Odyssey’s Jim Cielencki BMX pedal (a pedal that our mini-wheeled brothers have held in high regard since their release), which is no bad thing, especially when the trails are dry. With a generous concave your foot sits just where it should and because they’re super-slim they avoid rocks and are less likely to roll over unexpectedly than thicker pedals. In the dry the M4 pins are fine but if you’re forced to push in damp conditions, your shoes will get muddy and you’ll find dirt clings around the threads, decreasing grip. The more vulnerable pins screw in from behind so you can get them out if you snap them off. The pins supplied (with spares in the box) are all 8mm long, with a fair proportion of that buried in the pedal. Fortunately, go to any good screw/bolt shop (try www.modelfixings.co.uk) and they’ll supply you longer pins for a couple of quid.
Both pedals mix a sealed cartridge bearing with DU bushes, and after a couple of months of abuse they’re still running smooth; we’re confident they’ll last the worst of the winter too.
The MX-1’s pedals are 50g heavier than the Gussets and are 5mm thicker at the centre of the pedal, making them more prone to rolling over. On the trail the single back-to-front concave is comfortable enough, but the pins are an odd, stubby shape, which our riding shoes seemed to skid across in the wet. We tried a DMR M4 pin in the thread and they fit no problem so customising is as easy as with the Gussets. We found we clipped rocks more often with the Xpedos — partly due to the extra depth and partly due to the width of the pointy-edged body.
Despite their light weight, both pedals held up extremely well to the rigours of testing: they have each clattered rocks, been covered in mud and then jet-washed back to life with no ill-effect. The bodies show no worrying damage — although the Slim Jims’ anodising is wearing away — and the bearings are all going strong.
The good thing about both pedals is that they are easily customised with a trip to a bolt supplier. One thing you can’t change is the shape of a pedal and we felt happiest on the Slim Jims’ double concave, which keeps the foot centred side-to-side as well as front-to-back. The Slim Jims have BMX heritage, an unassuming appearance, a super-narrow profile and wallet-friendly RRP, which means they come out top this time. If they came with the option of longer pins as standard, they’d be vying for top marks.