While its looks are minimalist, the Race Face Aeffect R is a pedal that packs quite the punch. The pedals combine unquestionable grip with a large and supportive platform. Add in the excellent reliability, user serviceability, comparatively friendly asking price and a lifetime warranty, and the Aeffect R makes a serious case as one of the best mountain bike pedals currently available. You will have to deal with top-loading pins, however.
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Race Face Aeffect R - Technical details
Race Face’s original Aeffect pedal received rather mixed reviews, being universally praised for its excellent grip, reliability, and lightweight but criticised for its small size and its price. With those points in mind, the designers went back to the drawing board and the result is the much improved Aeffect R.
As before, the Aeffect R gets 10 top loading pins per side but the updates come in one major form - It’s larger and thinner. The pedal’s platform measures in at 110mm x 115mm, making it bigger than the much-loved Deity TMAC. It’s thinner, too, at 15.5mm in thickness. The body is slightly concaved with an 11mm thickness at the fore and aft edges and a 9mm thickness at the centre.
Its 6061-forged aluminium body spins around a chromoly steel axle that’s kitted with Race Face’s cartridge bearing and bushing set-up, the one that was previously loved for its reliability. Though further improving the life span of the Aeffect R is that it benefits from the brand’s lifetime warranty.
Race Face’s warranty is rather generous at that, covering breakages during legitimate crashes. If such were to happen, the brand would send you a fresh replacement component free of charge.
While the black colourway we’ve got on test looks rather subtle compared to some of the bling on the market, there are six colours to pick from, and Race Face is pretty excited to offer the pedal in purple. As for weight, the pair of pedals weigh 440g.
Race Face Aeffect R - Performance
A good flat pedal is one that you don’t notice while you’re riding and that’s exactly the case with the Aeffect R. That’s because this pedal feels incredibly natural, thanks to its simple, but well-considered platform shape. It’s plenty big enough for one, but importantly it’s fairly wide and that suits my wider stance to a tee. Then because the pedal’s outer edge is somewhat rounded from its centre to outer, it remains reasonably supportive, even after the clumsiest of dabs.
Race Face’s pin placement is pretty interesting on the Aeffect R as there are six pins screwed into that outer edge and four on the inside. This provides an impressive lateral grip that keeps the foot from sliding off. Though, the chosen pin layout leaves no compromise to grip elsewhere over the pedal. Again, everything feels very natural.
While shallow, the concave platform shape has just enough support to keep traction confident and reliable. Even with the best of pin designs, the pedal grip can suffer through particularly rough sections but that’s not the case with the Aeffect R. That subtle concave design forces the pins to dig deeper into a shoe’s sole, clinging onto that important rubber and stopping the foot from being bucked off as the bike travels from hit to hit.
That’s while testing with three different shoes, each with a different rubber compound. During my time with the Aeffect R, I’ve used the Giro Latch, Leatt 7.0 HydraDri and Fox Union Flat shoes and the grip levels remained consistent with each.
As for reliability, there’s nothing to grumble over. After my horrific habit of bashing my pedals against the floor at any opportunity not to mention a pretty soggy winter, the pedals are still spinning as smoothly as new. There are a few scratches here and there, but that’s to be expected given the type of rising they have been designed to withstand. Though something I will moan about is the top-loading pins and the fact that there’s no way to get to them from the bottom.
It’s reasonably rare but if you were to shear a pin somewhat flush against the pedal body, you’ll have to get pretty creative in order to get the mangle a pin. Even then, the exposed Allen interfaces can fill with mud or implode, making for a tougher time to remove them if and when the time comes. I am nitpicking here, as there are ways around this but making these pins accessible from the opposite side would make this pedal even easier to live with. Strangely, this is something that was included on the original Aeffect but omitted on this updated pedal.
Race Face Aeffect R - Verdict
There are plenty of pedals available for less than the Aeffect R’s asking price but if you’re looking for all-out grip, support and reliability, it's a worthy investment. But this performance-to-price ratio sacrifices any kind of bling factor that can be found on less expensive rivals.
For example, the Aeffect R aesthetic doesn’t come close to the CNC-machined magnificence of Pembree’s D2A pedal at £145 or Hope’s new F22 at the same price. But it proves to be a no-frills component as it outperforms both offerings.
Even though it’s not as pretty as its rivals and lacks pin accessibility, the Race Face Aeffect R pedal's grip, support, lifetime warranty and reliability have quickly made it my go-to flat pedal.