We’ve always loved the simplicity of the Crankbrothers pedal design. The four metal bars, attached to a single coiled spring around the axle are simple and elegant. And beyond aesthetics, if you find yourself ejecting from pedals with four degrees of float, like Shimano’s SPDs, Crankbrothers yields up to 20 degrees of smooth motion before they release.
The thing is, over the years, we’ve tried to love Crankbrothers’s Eggbeater, Candy, and Mallet pedals, but they always seemed to fall short when it came to durability. Fortunately, the latest Candy 7 design seems to have put those worries to bed.
Candy 7s are built around the same elegant retention system. The pedal’s body and bearings have changed, however. Updates to the former are immediately apparent. The pedal body is large — almost to the point of resembling Shimano’s trail pedal shape. The Candy 7 and the high-end 11 have plastic pads on either side of the cleat interface, providing a more stable pedaling platform than any other Crankbrothers pedal we’ve ridden. Those plastic pieces are also replaceable, and there are different thickness options, depending on your shoe’s tread height.
Swapping out the “traction pads,” as Crankbrothers calls them, is simple, but ended up being a rather sweaty, knuckle-wracking affair for us. This was partly due to neglect on our part — by the time we decide to put on new pads, the pedals had seen some wear and damage, so the pads didn’t slide out of the alloy body smoothly.
We haven’t had any trouble with the bearings after over 1,000 miles of cyclocross racing and mountain biking. Likely that’s thanks to the Enduro cartridge bearings on the outboard side of each pedal. However, the Candys aren’t spinning quite as smoothly now, so perhaps it is time for a rebuild (see above for more on our neglect).
At $160 and 320 grams, the Candy 7 pedals are fairly comparable to Shimano’s XTR pedal, which is $180 (MSRP) and 310g. However, the two are very different, much of which comes down to personal preference. If you want less float, a more distinct in/out click, and adjustable pedal tension, pick Shimano. If you need more float for body English or comfort, better mud clearance, and a simple design, go with Crankbrothers. The good news is that now, Crankbrothers seems to be competitive in terms of durability.