I came across a story about a new pedal design, called the Catalyst, from James Wilson at Pedaling Innovations and thought that the concept and design of the pedal may appeal to some fat-bike riders. Fat-bikers already use flats a lot more than traditional mountain bikers and James sent us a set of Catalyst pedals to try out. My thought was that in the winter, with the larger boots we typically use when we ride in sub-zero conditions, the larger platform of the Catalyst could be an advantage. In practice, many riders using “Sorel” type winter boots already use a modified version of the foot positioning that James advocates. I think this pedal may find a receptive audience with fat-bikers.
Before we get into checking out the pedals I want to mention that the original motivation for James creating this new pedal design was not so fat-bikers could have more room for their boots, that may just be a happy coincidence, it was a rethinking, backed by some scientific studies that you can read about on his website, of how to place your foot on the pedal in the first place. James advocates a “mid-foot” placement essentially putting the arch of your foot over the pedal axle rather than putting the pedal axle under the ball of your foot. Again, check out the info on James’s Pedaling Innovations site it’s lengthy and thought provoking.
Anywho! On with the show.
When I received the Catalyst Pedals Wisconsin was in the throughs of a warm spell and so winter/snow testing will have to wait. I did want to get some rides in on the Catalysts and give James’s theory a try so I mounted the Catalysts up on my Schlick APe for some trail rides.
Here is a shot before I switched out my Fyxation Mesa MPs for the Catalyst showing the significantly larger size of the Catalyst. I compared the weights and the Catalyst, at 505g, is about 100g heavier.
After several rides on the pedals so far so good but, to be honest, it is going to be a challenge to relearn foot position on pedals. I’ve been riding bikes for over 45 years and my foot just naturally plops down on the pedal in the same position every time! My natural position is with the ball of my foot just ever so slightly forward of the pedal axle. With my size 8 foot I just see the inside, front pin when I am wearing my FiveTen shoes that I usually wear to trail ride.
Using the pedals with my foot placement where I’d normally put them on the Catalysts felt good with a bit more support for my feet. The extra pedal size is on the length with the width being very similar to my existing pedals so there were no issues with more pedal strike or anything like that.
For my personal use I think that the real benefit will come when we finally see colder weather, snow and ice! I’ve switched the Catalysts over to my Schlick Northpaw winter/beach bike that I would typically use Keen Summit County winter boots on. With those boots I think I tend to put my foot more forward for the type of riding that comes with soft conditions. Just have to wait for snow! I’ll have another report down the beach!
- The Catalyst is extruded and machined using 6061 T6 Aluminum
- The pedal is manufactured by VP Components using parts and materials with a proven track record for durability and quality
- The pedal is designed to connect the front and back ends of arch of the foot. It is the longest platform pedal on the market
- Dual sealed bearings and DU Bushing internals
- Heat-treated Cr-Mo Spindle that is compatible with a standard 15mm wrench or 6mm Allen
- 12 metal pins per side are strategically placed to maximize the new, optimized foot position possible with this design
- Available in 4 anodized colors: Black, Blue, Red and Grey
- Length – 5.6”/ 143 mm
- Width – 3.75”/ 95 mm
- Thickness – .6”/ 16 mm
- Weight – 505 grams
- MSRP $139.00