The Ritchey WCS Trail Pedals are SPD compatible pedals suitable for various styles of off-road riding. The're lightweight and engage and disengage positively, although the performance comes at a cost.
Straight out of the box the quality of the bearings is evident, spinning really smoothly with very little stiction and no play. Many miles in typically horrible winter weather hasn't changed that – they still feel as smooth as when they came out of the box.
Each axle spins on a cartridge bearing, a needle bearing and a bushing, with each chosen for its position to give a good blend of low friction and low weight. Ritchey does a rebuild kit for when the time comes, too.
Engagement into the pedals is reassuring, with a click that leaves no doubt you are clipped in. The pedals have a 12 point adjustment for release tension, which is plenty and ranges from being rather loose to very tight.
Disengagement is similar to Shimano in feel, with no sense of increasing resistance – again, just very clear feedback.
The four degrees of float is enough movement to ensure your legs and knee can track comfortably when pedalling. The platform section gives some extra support too, and this is the area that impressed me.
Even with stiff carbon soles, the pedals give a extra support that I find beneficial for downhills when pushing on, and also when climbing hard. While I used the pedals exclusively on a mountain bike, there is no reason why they wouldn't be equally good on a gravel bike.
At 353g (the cleats add 53g a pair), these are lighter than many options that don't have a platform. We have a pair of non-platform WCS pedals that weigh in at 310g, which means approximately 20g for the platform on each pedal.
The Shimano M540 pedals are significantly cheaper at £62, and work very well, but they're also 454g, which won't help if you are trying to keep bike weight down. At the other end of the price scale sits the Time Speciale 12 at £250, yet even they are 404g.
In fact, the only pedals I know with any form of platform that can beat the WCS Trail on weight are in the Candy range from Crank Brothers, although the platform is smaller and offers less support.
For general cross country or gravel use, the WCS Trail Pedals are impressive. They offer fantastic bearings, confident engagement, and easily tuneable release at a weight that will keep almost all riders happy.
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