Nukeproof’s Horizon CS pedal is a solid and reliable clipless pedal providing more support than a lollipop cross-country pedal and is available in a range of fetching colours to complement your bike. It’s compatible with Shimano SPD cleats if you’re already familiar with, or using that system already, so switching is easy. If these are your first clipless pedals, they are easy to use and have a very shallow learning curve.
The Horizon clipless pedal is available in two versions, the CS tested here which has a 70mm wide cage and it’s aimed at trail and cross-country riders seeking a bit more support than a race-ready clipless pedal, and an 85mm wide version aimed at more at downhill and well, the gnarlier rider who wants maximum support.
To provide easy engagement the aluminium cage has a sloping toe edge to prevent obstruction and the mechanism sits proud of the cage. The shape of the cage is also designed to protect the pins and mechanism from rock strikes, and there’s plenty of space around the mechanism for mud to fall/squeeze through.
Nukeproof has also worked to ensure a large pedal to shoe contact area either side of the mechanism, to provide the extra support during pedalling that is the key appeal of choosing a platform pedal. There are four pins on each side (six on the bigger CL pedal) and you can adjust the pin height if you need more or less security. I found the stock setting worked fine with flat-style mountain bike shoes.
Inside the cage resides a mechanism that initially looks the same as a Shimano SPD unit, but there’s a critical difference. Where a Shimano unit has a fixed front and sprung rear, the Horizon uses a dual sprung mechanism. You can adjust tension independently with a 3mm Allen key to suit your personal preference.
The supplied cleats provide 4-degrees of float, 8-degree float cleats are available separately. It has chamfered edges front and rear and you can enter the pedal from the front, back and downwards. Cleat engagement is easy and positive.
They look identical to Shimano cleats, and when I tried a pair of shoes with Shimano cleats installed, I wasn’t surprised at all to find they worked just fine. That’s handy because it’s easy to get a pair of Shimano SPD cleats, nearly all bike shops have them and most people have a pair lurking in the bottom of a toolbox.
In use, the pedals provide predictable and consistent performance. If you’ve ever used Shimano SPD pedals, you’ll be right at home because these feel very similar out on the trail, whether with the supplied cleats or Shimano cleats. The supplied cleats provide a similar level of float as well and when riding along, detecting the difference to say a set of Shimano XT Trail pedals was nigh-on impossible.
Despite the mechanism being sprung at the front and back, clipping in was about the same as a Shimano pedal, no better or worse. I was expecting the mechanism to enable easier clipping in during those sketchy, seat-of-the-pants moments compared to a Shimano pedal, but it didn’t seem to make all that much difference.
When it comes to clipping out, the action feels akin to a Shimano pedal. There’s the same free float and clearly defined release moment. If you’re a long-time clipless user you’ll no doubt have a preference, but I found the Horizon pedals predictable to use, and I reckon clipless pedal first-timers will find them most agreeable too.
I tested the pedals with several different shoes, including Shimano and Specialized flat-style shoes, and found the level of support to be very good. The flat bottom of these shoes made better contact with the pins and provided a more locked in feeling. The cage and pins do a good job of providing that extra level of support that you want from this sort of pedal, but importantly doing so without impacting engagement and release.
They spin on sealed cartridge bearings and DU bushes and durability has been good, certainly, no issues have arisen thus far. One detail I like is that the axle can be installed with either an 8mm Allen key or 15mm spanner. Makes life easier when you’re swapping pedals and can’t find the right tool.
If it sounds like I’ve mentioned Shimano in comparison a lot, that’s because they’re one of the most popular choices and given the similarity in design and performance, choosing the Horizon means choosing over Shimano’s comparable pedals. These won’t leave you wanting though, they’re a good choice.