The platform of the pedal is deeply concave, which really helps your foot sit into it for a secure fit. At 95mm long and wide, there's good support for your foot, though there are broader options out there. The AE05 is nice and thin however, being 16mm at the deepest point. That means they're less likely to get beaten up on rocks, though the aluminium body has proven to be tough when that has happened and the anodised finish is hardwearing too.
While the shape of the platform helps, the real grip comes from ten steel pins per side. They're threaded all the way up, which helps grip your soles to maximise traction and they thread in from the reverse side, which makes replacing damaged pins easy. You also get some spare pins included, which is a nice touch.
It's a really nice balance between holding you in place without stopping you from re-adjusting your foot as you ride and the only small issue that I could come up with is that the rather sharp edges of the platform can sometimes be felt on extended descents where you have a lot of weight on the ball of your foot for a long time. Apart from that, they're comfortable, whether you're pedalling along or pinning it downhill.
The steel axles of the pedal do without spanner flats, which helps reduce the overall width and the distance they sit from the cranks (Q-factor), attaching instead with an 8mm Allen key. Each pedal spins on an IGUS bushing on the inside of the pedal and a ball roller bearing that sits externally to the pedal body, hidden beneath a small metal cap.
After the pedal bearings began to get stiffer after a few months use, I stripped them down and found that water had managed to wash all of the grease out of the roller bearing, which had begun to rust and seize. Having the bearing positioned on the outside of the pedal body probably doesn't help with sealing, though due to the lack of thickness in the pedal body, I assume it's the only place HT could fit it. I'm sure that a bit of preventative maintenance could have stopped this, but I've got other flat pedals that are still running smoothly after a similar length of time in similar conditions so it's a definite weak spot of an otherwise good pedal. A rebuild kit costs a very reasonable £12, but it's not something you want to be doing frequently in an ideal world.
On the plus side, the weight of the AE05 is very good for the price, tipping the scales at 356g for the pair without resorting to any exotic materials, though the magnesium platform models are significantly lighter again should you wish to splurge more cash. As it stands, they're lighter than most of their rivals such as the DMR Vault, though the Nukeproof Horizon Flats are a fair chunk cheaper, even giving the HT's bearings the benefit of the doubt.
The pedal body and pins are great, but premature bearing wear due to poor sealing is an issue.
Product weight extra:
They're a good weight for the money.
Product comfort extra:
generally comfortable, though I prefer a broader larger platform with fewer sharp edges.
Product value extra:
Disregarding the bearing issue, they're on a par with or slightly better than their rivals but you either need to service them regularly or keeping spending money on rebuild kits, which isn't very good.
Yes, they're a grippy flat pedal that works well.
Probably not, as I don't fancy stripping them down all the time.
Only if they were an obsessive cleaner, fettler and rebuilder of things.
The AE05 pedal is a really good platform that's lightweight and well made, but the poor bearing lifespan is off-putting for anyone that doesn't enjoy regular strip downs and rebuilds.
Jon is the editor here at off.road.cc. Whether it's big days out on the gravel bike or hurtling down technical singletracks, if it's got two wheels and can be ridden on dirt, then he's into it. He's previously been technical editor at BikeRadar.com, editor at What Mountain Bike Magazine and also web editor at Singletrackworld.co.uk. Yes, he's been around the houses.