PNW is a brand that’s always creating products with an emphasis on longevity and ease of service. Once the brand announced the fresh Loam pedals, we were quick to get a set in to see if they live up to expectations. Here’s we’re going to take a deep dive into the pedal and we’ve managed to bag an interview with PNW’s Director of Product Design, Adam Hammerman about the Loam pedal’s design.
True to PNW’s form, the Loam pedal comes with a handful of very thoughtfully designed features built into its CNC 6061 aluminium body. For example, the pins are accessible from the underside and screw away from the pedal. This means that if you were to truly mangle a pin, it should be perfectly easy to uninstall. Also, as the allen head is very well hidden inside of the pedal, it shouldn’t get damaged, allowing the pedal’s pins to be accessible regardless of the condition of the body or pins.
While we’re on the subject, those pins are made of steel, so they should be extra strong. The threads on the pedal’s body come with a stop too, so they’ll only screw in so far and you won’t have to worry about getting the perfect pin length arrangement. Even with the pins wound all of the way in, they are mighty long, with 6mm at most, poking through the pedal.
PNW’s components are known for their easy serviceability and the brand has designed the Loam pedal so that it can be disassembled using a single Allen key. For the most part, that’s absolutely true with just a 5mm Allen headed cap, concealing another 5mm Allen headed retaining bolt. However, it’s accessible with one Allen if you’re servicing the pedal on the bike. If not, you’ll need an 8mm to hold the spindle still as you undo the other bits and bobs.
Taking the body off of the spindle reveals two cartridge bearings and a single needle bearing pressed into the centre. While the teeny outer bearing can be coaxed out with a smidge of kinetic persuasion, the needle bearing and larger cartridge bearing will need extra tooling. However, it’s said that there is a proper service kit for the pedal on the way, so that should see the job done pretty easily.
With all of that out of the way, we fired over a few questions to PNW’s Adam Hammerman, the Director of Product Design to get an insight into the Loam pedal’s design.
What are some key design points that you really aimed to hit with the Loam Pedal?
- We wanted to make pedals that are ideal for long days of modern trail riding. This means that grip needs to be plentiful while balancing the rider's ease of repositioning their feet and keeping foot fatigue to a minimum.
How were they tested and who tested them?
- The Loam Pedal started life as a 3D print, which allowed us to validate general shape and pin position. Then, we went through a few different rounds of CNC samples to validate further. From there, we expanded our testing program to a larger number of riders using T1 samples (first samples from tooling in Taiwan). With these samples, we made further changes to the final pin design and placement. We tested these with a wide range of riders- from pro racers to friends and family. We also tested with industry veteran engineers who were able to take a technical eye to the prototype pedals. Testing locations ranged from the pacific northwest to the alps in Switzerland.
The shape of the pedals, while seen on one or two others, is pretty uncommon, what made you decide on it?
- The tapered shape of our pedal is designed to help deflect pedal strikes, keeping you from getting snagged up during your rides. We kept the main bearing diameter smaller than most, meaning you feel the bearing bulge much less than similar axle systems. While the pedal body itself is convex, the pins are strategically placed to create a mild concave between the pin tops and the axle area. This allows the shoe to nest as much as possible while keeping stack height low.
Also, if there are any other cool facts, I'd love to know them.
- I think the main story here is really that we designed the pedal for trail riders with the right amount of grip and comfort and low stack height for happy days on the trail.
So that is a deep dive into PNW’s new Loam pedal. We’re right in the midst of testing these so you can expect some proper ride impressions coming soon.
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