Catalyst Pedal FAQs
If you have received your Catalyst Pedals and are unsure of anything, hopefully, you'll find what you are looking for here, as well as all the answers to common questions about their performance. For anything else, please get in touch with us via our contact form.
My pedals have arrived but the pins are not installed, is this normal?
Yes. We supply the Catalyst Pedal with a choice of either 5.5mm or 8mm pins, so users can customise their pedal based on the type of riding they intend to do. You can download our Pin Installation guide here.
The pedal axle feels very stiff to turn by hand, is this normal?
Our UK manufactured Catalyst Pedals utilise the all-new IGUS bushing. The advantages are that it is 'self-adjusting' so that you will never get that worn-out feel and lateral play in your pedals. They do feel tight by hand initially, but you will not notice this when riding. They will loosen up after a handful of rides.
What are the best shoes to wear with the Catalyst?
We have tried nearly all the shoes on the market with the Catalyst pedals. The best we can find for off-road mountain biking are the Five Ten Freerider Pro. These have a sticky rubber sole that is flat and flexible - shoes with stiff and/or pre-curved soles do not work perfectly with the Catalyst as sometimes they do not make a good connection with the pins at either end of the pedal.
For riding or cycling where grip is less important (road bike, gravel bike, touring, BMX, etc.) any flat and flexible shoe will work fine.
Is there any way that I can try a set of Catalyst Pedals before I purchase some?
We are currently working with a number of independent bike shops across the UK and Europe to be able to offer a 'try before you buy' service. We will release full details of this once confirmed.
Don’t I need to use my ankles for leverage when pedalling/ won’t pushing with my ankle help me add power to the pedal stroke compared to just letting the calf muscle do nothing?
This study (J.R. Van Sickle Jr, M.L Hull/ Journal of Biomechanics 2007) showed no difference between the ball of the foot or the mid-foot position in power or economy. It also showed that the mid-foot position placed less stress on the calf and Achilles tendon and instead suggested that the stress was placed on the hips instead.
This means that the mid-foot position better recruits the hips and that the ball of the foot isn’t “better”. If it was it would have won, not just tied. In fact, from a functional movement standpoint taking the stress off of the smaller ankle joint and putting it at the stronger, bigger hip joint is how the body is meant to move. Your calf needs to act as a stabilizer for the ankle so it can help transfer the power from the hips and when you try to move it to “add” to the power you decrease that power transfer and place extra stress on a more sensitive joint.
And if you look at how kids pedal they are almost always mid-foot on the pedals – this is the natural riding position and unless someone at some point told you that you needed to push through the ball of the foot, odds are you wouldn’t have learned it. Again, we can’t argue with your success and if the ball of the foot works for you and you don’t want to try something that could be better then that is fine. Our point is simply that using your ankle for leverage isn’t “right” and in fact, we could argue that it goes against how your body is built to optimally move.
Don’t I need my ankles to help smooth out bumps on the trail/act as extra suspension?
We’re not going to argue about someone’s personal riding style and preference. However, as James Wilson, the strength coach behind these pedals knows that a more stable foot allows the rest of the body to relax and move better which will more than make up for a few lost inches of movement out of your ankles. Using your ankles as extra suspension can also result in an ankle getting snapped back and sprained (Rachel Atherton and her snapped Achilles tendon in Les Gets 2019 is a good example of this!). We also like to point out that most pedals are set up for you to be on the ball of the foot and so it is hard to say what someone’s preference would be on pedals that changed the platform and balance points. If you feel that it works for you and you are not interested in trying something new that could be better then that is fine but that technique certainly isn’t “right” and there are some arguments against it.
Don’t you need to pull up on the backstroke?
The short answer is no. The Korff (et al. Med Sci Sports Exerc 2007; 39:991-995) and Mornieux (et al. Int J Sports Med 2008; 29:817-822) Cycling Efficiency Studies clearly show that pulling up on the backstroke produces less power and burns more energy than simply driving hard on the downstroke and letting the trail leg come up just hard enough to get ready for the next hard downstroke push. This video showed a rider who tried to prove that he needed to pull up on the backstroke and instead proved that he was more efficient when he couldn’t pull up on the backstroke. We have found no studies or evidence that supports the theory that you need to pull up on the backstroke and we have an open challenge to anyone who can prove otherwise. This was just a theory that sounded great but now that we can actually look at what is happening during the pedal stroke the evidence clearly shows that pulling up on the backstroke is not the “right” way to pedal.
Don’t you need a concave design and/or more pins in the middle?
Not with this design. When you are on the ball of the foot then your pressure points on the pedal are more in the middle of the pedal body and pushing forward. This requires a lot of pins and/ or a concave design to combat.
However, the Catalyst Pedal balances the weight on your foot and puts the pressure at the front and back edge of the pedal body. This means that you don’t need as many pins in the middle, or a concave design since your pressure points have changed and you are not fighting the forward weight shift that comes from being on the ball of your foot.
Don’t you need float in your pedals?
Float is a made-up thing to make up for the lack of natural foot movement allowed by clipless pedals. Your foot needs some lateral freedom of movement but clipless shoes and pedals restrict this freedom. Without any lateral movement, there is a lot of extra stress placed on the ankles, knees and hips. The “answer” for this problem is to let the cleat twist some before disengaging, giving the foot some lateral movement to alleviate the stress on the rest of the leg.
However, this isn’t needed on flat pedals because your foot doesn’t have the same movement restrictions. This more natural movement means that you don’t need, or want, float. In fact, float makes things more unstable when you stand up since your foot is never really secure the same way it is when you stand up on flats.
Like a lot of things we are told about the pedal stroke, the need for float is simply not true. On flats, your foot has some lateral movement in the shoe and that allows it to move more naturally, just like it does when interacting with the ground. Float is only there to make up for how unnatural the clipless pedal interface is with your foot. Trust me, your knees will be happier without float on flats than they are with float on clipless.
How much do they weigh?
505 grams. For comparison a regular pair of flat pedals weighs 400-420 grams, making them a little over 100 grams heavier than a normal pair of flats, this is simply due to their length. However, weight at the pedals is one of the few places you won’t notice those 100 grams as much (it isn’t the same as adding 100 grams to your wheels or tires). Plus, the performance and comfort gains far outweigh any potential performance decrease from those 100 grams. In other words, the increased power you get from them improves your overall power-to-weight ration even with an extra 100 grams. And when your feet don’t hurt late into a ride then you can pedal harder, which again adds up to more power on the trail.
What are the pedal dimensions?
- Length – 128mm
- Width – 95 mm
- Thickness – 16 mm
How reliable are they and can I easily find replacement parts/ rebuild kits?
Pedals from bigchaps.com/Pedaling Innovations in Europe are made by Superstar Manufacturing in the UK. We supply rebuild kits on our website and they are easy to replace by a home mechanic.
What about extra rock strikes?
“My local trails are The Lunch Loops in Grand Junction, CO. As one guy said to me after about 20 minutes of riding there, “I’ve seen more rocks on this trail than I have in my entire mountain biking career”. While he may have been exaggerating, these are some of the rockiest, gnarliest trails you’ll come across. I have had no issues with rock strikes. In fact, since my foot is more level and I’m not leading with my toes as much I have noticed that I don’t catch my foot as much as I used to. And since the Catalyst Pedal is not wider than your foot you don’t have to worry about extra rock strikes in that direction like you do with every other ‘oversized’ flat pedal.” - James Wilson, Pedaling Innovations
Why are there so many pins on the front and back edge?
Two reasons. First, as pointed out earlier the pressure points for your feet on the Catalyst Pedal are balanced between the front and back edge of the pedal. This means you want maximum traction at those points and we wanted to give riders the option to have a lot of pins in those areas. Plus, since your foot is more balanced and you aren’t pushing forward when you pedal you don’t slip pedals nearly as much with the Catalyst Pedals, meaning you don’t have to worry as much about hammering your shins with all of those pins.
Second, we want to let people have the option to customize their pin placements. You can remove the pins to set up the pin placement as you like it. If you want to get rid of a few pins here is the pin placement I recommend, I’ve used it and found no real difference in the grip for everyday riding.
They look massive!
That isn’t really a question but I understand what you mean. The main thing to keep in mind is that they are no wider than a normal flat pedal. Most “oversized” flats are also wider, which makes them more prone to rock strikes, so the Catalyst Pedals are actually much smaller underfoot than anything those other types of flats. They disappear underfoot just like a normal flat but give you the support that your foot needs to increase power and stability.
Is there anyone who won’t benefit from this pedal?
So far the feedback has been overwhelmingly positive.
However, there have been a few riders that have not been blown away by them, but they are the ones that refused to change their foot position and were still trying to push through the ball of their foot. If you’re willing to really change your foot position, then you’ll enjoy the benefits. But if you refuse to change your foot position and keep trying to push through the ball of your foot then you probably won’t notice the full benefits of the design.
I'm a bike shop and would like to stock Catalyst pedals, do you have a dealer program?
Yes, please get in touch with us via our contact form.