Pedals & Cranks

Rotor QXL Rings

Rotor QXL Rings.web

The QXL rings are the latest product from Rotor, with increased ovalization over the standard Q-Rings -- 16% ovalized vs. 10% with regular Q-Rings. Rotor intends this design not to replace standard Q-Rings, but rather to complement them. Each is optimized for different rider profiles and situations. Standard Q rings aim to boost performance by varying the resistance in the pedal stroke. QXL rings claim to be more suited to higher output riders. I have ridden them all day at lower power levels and would be comfortable recommending them for riders new to oval cranks.

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Sampson Stratics Carbon/Cro-Mo Pedals

Sampson Stratics Carbon Pedals.web Sampson Stratics Carbon pedals deliver a light-weight, wide-platform, stiff pedal that feels solid and stable, with no cleat rock and clear transfer of power. The steel springs add durability, and the cam-style entry and locking mechanism makes for smooth, fluid entry into the pedals. If you're looking for an option to cut your weight from existing pedals but want to maintain the full features of a wide-platform 3-hole-style pedal system, these are certainly worth a look.

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Lightning Cycle Dynamics Carbon Crankset 130

A special feature on my crankset is the aero carbon "spyder," which I requested since the crank is on my time trial bike and every streamlining feature is helpful. This "spyder" is 15 grams lighter than Lightning's aluminum models too. And, the crankarms themselves are oval to cut more drag. Overall, the Lightning Carbon is a great way to step up to the right-length crankarms while significantly upgrading your crankset, drivetrain and pedal powe 

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Rotor Q-Rings Chainrings

QRingAre they better or are they just different? After some 220 hours on Q-Rings, my answer is yes. Compared to round chainrings, Q-Rings are certainly different and I think they've made my pedaling better. My three main bikes are now Q-Ringed, so let's see how my power, lactate levels, recovery and knees do in a season full of long miles and endurance events. I haven't found a downside to Q-Rings other than the cost. My hunch is that there's an upside.

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Rotor Crank System

RotorThe Rotor crank is a clever way to address inefficiencies in the pedal stroke. it's a promising idea. But the current unit is heavy, costly and requires lengthy adaptation. More R&D seems necessary, and we need more proof that its weird pedaling action actually improves performance.

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Look's Keo Carbon Pedals

On the road, Keos are as user-friendly as pedals can be. Entry and exit are effortless and can be adjusted to whatever spring tension you prefer. There's no slop during pedaling, and the wide platforms and low-profile design feel comfortable and super efficient. That's true if you're seated or standing and whether you're cruising or hitting it as hard as you can. Keos look great, making them a perfect complement to any bike right up to a 15-pound full-carbon dream machine.

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Shimano Ultegra PD-R600 Pedals

Trust Shimano to trickle down its high-end technology to the masses. it's happened with components. The Ultegra group is as good as Dura-Ace for all practical purposes, but it costs about a third less. Now there's a $140 Ultegra version of the PD-7750, dubbed the PD-R600. it's virtually indistinguishable in function from its pricier sibling. Both pedals use the same cleats.

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Osymetric Chainrings

The improvement noted during my homemade tests wasn't as much as in the studies on the Osymetric site, but it was enough to measure. At a given power output on my calibrated CompuTrainer, my heart rate would be about 3-5 beats lower with the Osymetric rings compared to round rings. And outside, times on my test courses improved about 2-3 percent with Talo's rings. I noticed that they made a difference climbing, too. Talo claims that riders will be able to use one gear higher (at the same cadence) on climbs as well as on the flats.

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FSA SL-K Light Crankset

The SL-K Light is part of an FSA crankset family that has shown unmatched stiffness in independent testing. In fact, FSA says its top-of-line K-Force Light has the highest stiffness-to-weight ratio of any crank on the current market, including the Campagnolo Record Ultra Torque, Stronglight Compact Pulsion and the SRAM Force GXP. In order to create a crank of similar stiffness, yet at a lower price point, FSA incorporates fiberglass in the SL-K Light's monocoque construction.

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Shimano Dura-Ace PD-7750 Pedals

The PD-7750 doesn't have flats for a pedal wrench. Instead, you install them with an 8-mm allen key. It helps if it has a long handle for leverage. Unlike some pedals with multiple adjustments (often unnecessary), this pedal is a minimalist delight. Only the release tension is adjustable, keeping complexity and weight low. The stock cleat provides 6 degrees of float (3 to either side). Foot rotation feels free and consistent. Fixed-position cleats are available, too.

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Sampson Showtime Walkable Road Pedals

Sampson provides cleats that resemble Shimano SPD. In fact, SPD cleats work fine with Showtimes, but Sampson's version allows slightly more lateral float before release, a feature I appreciated. The cleats didn't show any meaningful wear after a week of tramping around in desert gravel and into the Bisbee Coffee Company. The Showtimes are finished in silver, which should complement any bike well. From a short distance they look like a conventional road pedal so riders who don't want to reveal their penchant for walkable cleats shouldn't worry about their pedals giving them away.

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Ritchey WCS Compact Crank

Shifting on the WCS Compact has been crisp and perfect thanks to Ritchey's special chainring pins and ramps. Because of the large 16-tooth difference between the rings, front shifts cause a significant change in pedaling resistance. To compensate it's often necessary to double shift. That is, shift to a smaller cog when moving to the small ring; shift to a larger cog when moving to the large ring. This is the main drawback of compact cranks and it can seem like a hassle, but you get used to it and develop riding techniques to minimize it.

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