Last week we introduced you to the iSSi Triple Trail clipless pedal and this week we have another member of the family, the iSSi Trail. Bike Black Ribbon Tester, Steve Meurett has a look at these versatile pedals.
Pedals-sexy as the latest carbon fiber fatbike frame? Hardly. Yet, without them, you’re not going anywhere fast, which leaves one to wonder why most bikes don’t come equipped with any these days. Personal preference of course.
Shimano SPDs stormed onto the scene about 25 years ago and were the standard for the off-road rider. Even now, they’ve held their own against newer brands like Crank Bros. eggbeaters, Time and a few generic brands.
Clipless pedals have moved into the evolutionary stage at this point rather than revolutionary (with flatpedals still popular as well) so it makes sense that a company would come along and improve on a solid design.
“iSSi” brand (under the QBP umbrella) has moved into the market with four models, ranging from the 316gr. iSSi II to the $100 MSRP, 445gr., iSSi Trail we have here, which features an aluminum cage for extra width and grip. iSSi pedals are compatible with not only their own cleats, but also SPD and Wellgo 98A models.
For those of us threading them into fatbike cranks, we can really appreciate that the Trail model has optional, replaceable chromoly spindle lengths to customize fit: Standard (52.2mm), +6mm and +12mm. That extra dimension is genius when it come to running a variety of footwear-from normal warm weather shoes to wide, warm winter riding boots. The extra space allows the pedal to be positioned in the center of the sole, avoiding the annoying rub-on-crank syndrome.
After arriving at the test shack, I excitedly installed the iSSi Trails on the Beargrease, anticipating the smooth and solid click of fresh cleats engaging the solidly built pedal. There’s something about having new pedals, that makes the bike feel so….well, new. No vague connection to the cranks. The cleats are slightly larger and beefier than my old SPDs and mounted easily.
After several rides, I begin to appreciate the larger “cage” of the iSSi Trail pedal. All of my previous pedals had minimal shoe/boot sole support-basically no platform underfoot. Hopping on and off the bike and quickly clicking in seemed much easier with the iSSi. My summer shoes are not as stiff as the Wölvhammer I use in the winter, so the extra foundation the trail model provides a more comfortable ride. The iSSi’s have 4° float, a 14.6° angle of release, (which worked well for me) and easy to adjust spring tension.
The sealed bearings/bushings should provide low maintenance and durability-something I can appreciate, having blown out other pedals over the years. New pedals should feel crisp, but they’re only as good as long as they last, and from all appearances, these are well designed for the long haul-which we intend to test with vigor over the coming months. Stay tuned!