Fly Pedals Review
I’m one of those guys that has too many bikes. Partly because I like to ride with regular shoes most of the time, yet like to clip in for special events. The easiest route was to just have that extra bike so I could avoid the annoyance of swapping pedals all the time. Cost effective, no. So, I’ve been searching for easy platform adapters for my clipless pedals for quite some time. In my case, with SpeedPlay X series, it’s been fruitless until now.
Fly Pedals showed up as a FaceBook ad, probably the first one I’ve ever clicked on! The concept of using your own cleats is something I’m surprised I’d not seen before (and is why I’ve never been able to get platform adapters for my pedals thus far). Looked to be nicely designed and solid. I jumped in and ordered a set of “Version II” immediately just to make sure I didn’t get stuck too far back in line in case there was a big rush of orders. Part of the ordering process offered a discount for publicizing them on social media. I attempted to do so, but the process failed (the coupon it gave me wouldn’t work). Not a real big deal, wasn’t even going to worry about it. The price is quite reasonable to begin with. While the site does also offer some cleats, they didn’t have X series SpeedPlays, so I had to jump over to Nashbar (.com) for those. Normally I’d support my LBS, but they recently moved so they’re not so “L” anymore, and they weren’t open at the time either…
As usual Nashbar had a box on my doorstep in 2 days. The Fly Pedals took a bit long as they came from further away and came via UPS – USPS transfer (which always adds an extra 2 days beyond the estimate for me). Still, pleased with how quick the order was shipped. Package arrived in excellent condition, nicely packed. Simple instructions for the pedals, simple and elegant design. Contrast with the trainwreck that is the SpeedPlay directions. Seriously guys, I know how to install the cleats, give me a specs area so I can get the torque values without spending 10 minutes hunting for it. Don’t get me wrong, it’s just the documentation, SpeedPlay makes a great product over all (even includes extra shims and 2 different length bolts!). In this case, the extra long SpeedPlay bolts with the standard shims were perfect for attachment to the Fly Pedals. A Snap-On torque screwdriver helps with the touchy part of getting the torque correct. Too much and you can break things. Not enough and things may not stay together while riding. Finally, the install on the bike was easy, just place on the pedals and give it a firm press (by foot, carefully balanced) and right into place.
The riding experience… Now, it is definitely different from plain double sided platforms. I’ve used single sided platforms in the past, so am familiar with having to hit the pedal properly to spin the correct side up. The Version II here is touted as being easier than the original due to an offset design, but the best position of my SpeedPlay cleats (for contact area) seems to defeat that and leaves the pedal exactly up side down. The SpeedPlays also are very low resistance (compared to some combo pedals which have some stick to them), so you can’t just push the pedal part way and then kick it over. After some experimentation, I found the best entry is from the side, kind of sliding my foot back and up at the same time. After a few starts on my test ride I was about 50% successful without even looking. Even when I missed and had to go *right now* to avoid getting mowed down by cars, the Fly Pedals didn’t get kicked off from me pedaling on the wrong side. The pedal grip on the shoes was good, better than most platforms I’ve used before. Shoes in question this time were dress shoes with light tread (I was dressed for a meeting and didn’t want to change for the test ride). The only oddity is in the feel. SpeedPlay X Series has a good deal of float (a good thing generally), but on a platform it makes it feel almost greasy. Not an issue most of the time, but when standing I noticed it a few times. I was quite secure on the pedal, but the extra motion of it just made it feel odd. Note that Fly Pedals does mention that zero float is preferred if possible.
All in all I’m very happy with the product so far. It does a good job solving the problem I had. It also seems like it should be fairly durable (they have a lifetime warranty in case it does crack). So, anybody want to buy my spare bike?