Not all that long ago, Whistler based brand Chromag jumped into the plastic pedal game with their new ‘Synth’ pedal. Modeled after Brandon Semenuk’s signature ‘Contact’ pedal, they take on a similar outline and come in at about the same weight, but at roughly half the price. Plastic pedals in general are more economical and seem to absorb impacts better than aluminum. One point of interest with the Synth is that Chromag offers replacement plastic pedal body sets for just $15 USD/pair. Follow along to see how they’ve worked out through the long haul. Details 15mm at platform center Polycarbonate/nylon 110mm x 107mm 9 pins per side 380 grams per pair 5 colors $58.50 USD / replacement bodies available for $15 Chromag’s claimed weight is 380 grams/pair. These came in at just a touch over that, but keep in mind there is a few grams worth of dirt caked into them. As for the size, these are pretty middle of the road at 110mm x 107mm. Most of the grip you’ll find will come from the pins, rather than the pedal body – aside from this raised lettering, there isn’t really much in the way of traction coming from the pedal body itself. The side view above reveals the concave shape of the pedal fairly well. There are 9 replaceable pins per side. Easy pin swaps via an allen key… The pins have an interesting shape to them and thread in via a jam nut that sits in the pedal body, that way you won’t strip them out. On the trail I’ve used the Synths for most of my flat pedal excursions this winter and typically have ridden them with a pair of Etnies Marana shoes. I’ve spent time riding them on my trail bikes, e-bike and also a little bit on my Ticket-S. These come in toward the slightly smaller end of what I’m looking for in a flat pedal, although I did find them to be plenty supportive. On trail, the traction was right in the sweet spot. That would be loosely defined as somewhere in between “too much shifting around” and “too hard to move your feet when they end up in the wrong spot”. The former I would associate with a pedal that is low on traction and/or design quality, and the latter I would associate with a pedal like Chromag’s ‘Dagga’ – Chris Kovarik’s signature pedal, which could be savagely over the top for some. As far as the shape is concerned, I generally prefer quite a bit of concave so I did get along admirably with the Synth and found it very natural and effortless to find that “home spot” for my foot placement. The fact that these are modeled after Semenuk’s Contact pedal means that they sit inboard toward the cranks for more “trick control”. I don’t exactly do any tricks on my bike and the only time I’m upside down is when I crash. So I did find this “inboard” feel a bit strange at first, but got used to it rather quickly and surprisingly didn’t find any abnormal wear on my crankarms due to it. Touching on durability – while the Santa Cruz area isn’t known for being rocky, I did have a handful of encounters which the pedals seemed to glance off nicely, without taking on too much surface damage. As far as the bearings are concerned, I’ve found no play has developed after a moderately wet winter and plenty of hosings. In good form, Chromag offers rebuild kits and spare axles on their website. In terms of axle strength, these survived Brandon’s Rampage win and most of his insane filming over the last year without bending, so I doubt normal folks will have any issues. Overall I’m definitely not afraid to admit that I like plastic pedals in general and the Synths are no exception. They might not have the same luster as their aluminum counterparts, but do come with a much lower price tag attached, and at about the same weight, without any compromise to ride quality – or durability for that matter. One thing that sets these apart from some of their competitors is the fact that they’re less “disposable” and have spares easily available, should you need them. My only minor complaint was having to get used to my feet being a bit closer to the cranks, which turned out to be a small matter. Aside from that, the feel and ride quality is up there and the size is pretty agreeable, in the middle – some might prefer larger or smaller offerings, but these are safe. All in all, the Synths are really good pedals for the money, and the availability of spare parts makes for nice insurance. www.chromagbikes.com
Big news out of the Enduro World Series team today with the announcement of the 2021 race calendar. As well as there being brand new venues added to the 2021 event calendar, the EWS will also be returning to Derby, Tasmania, for round two of the series. How good is that! Derby has of course hosted two EWS events in the past, and it’s also been voted the Specialized Trail of the Year twice, proving its popularity with riders, spectators and locals. Additionally, the e-MTB off-shoot of the Enduro World Series, the EWS-E, is set to expand to five rounds for 2021. We’re intrigued to see how this series evolves, and also to see which EWS competitors decide to make the jump to e-Racing given the huge uptake in e-MTBs over the past few years. There’ll no doubt be more brands wanting to get in on the racing action. Anywho, here’s the official release from the lovely folks at the Enduro World Series – get excited! The Enduro World Series is coming back to Derby! Enduro World Series Unveils 2021 Calendar The Enduro World Series (EWS) is excited to announce its 2021 calendar – featuring brand new venues, reimagined classics and an expanded EWS-E series. The season will get underway in New Zealand in March, visiting Nelson for the first time in the series’ history. Situated on the Northern tip of the South Island, this small city is famous for clocking up the most sunshine hours in the country, but also its steep, natural and burly trails. Round two heads back to the inimitable Derby, Tasmania. This tiny town has embraced mountain biking and in just a few years created one of the most iconic riding destinations in all of Australia. It’ll be the third time the series has visited Derby and with good reason – their ever expanding trail network has twice been voted the Specialized Trail of the Year. Get the Shrek masks out again lads, it’s EWS Time! For round three it’s back to one of the UK’s most famous venues, the Tweed Valley in Scotland. After a six year hiatus the series will return to the hallowed trails of Innerleithen and the surrounding hills, which for the last three decades have acted as the proving grounds for some of the biggest names in the sport. The Tweed Valley will also act as the first round of the 2020 EWSE Series, putting e-bikes through their paces on some of Britain’s most challenging terrain. The second round of EWS-E will head back to Valberg in France, to take on the region’s infamous grey earth in the Southern Alps. Val Di Fassa in Italy will play host to EWS round four. This stunning venue nestled high in the Italian Dolomites became an instant rider favourite when it first appeared on the calendar in 2019, featuring long, physical stages amongst some of Europe’s most dramatic terrain. It’s across the pond to the USA for round six, for the series’ second visit to Burke Mountain in Vermont. Serving up some classic East Coast riding, Burke’s trails will make their EWS debut later this season when they host round six. Famed for its raw and technical terrain, Burke will offer up a challenge to even the most experienced of racers. And for the first time in the series history, there will be a second USA stop, as round seven heads to the West Coast and one of California’s most talked about mountain bike destinations, Northstar. The resort’s dry and rocky trails pushed riders to the limit when they were featured in the 2019 calendar – and in 2020 they’ll expand the offering to e-bikes to form round three of the EWS-E Series. The EWS-E then heads back to Europe for the penultimate round in that most dramatic of settings, beneath the Matterhorn in Zermatt, Switzerland. Wyn ‘Whip-It’ Masters, proving aero is not actually everything. We expect many adoring fans will be returning to Derby for a close encounter with their favourite racers. For the final round of the EWS the series will crown its series champions in the sport’s spiritual home of France for the first time. Loudenvielle in the Vallee Du Louron in the South West of the country offers up a slice of classic French enduro – steep and natural trails and of course, some of those infamous French switchbacks. And whilst the series champions may be decided in France, there’s still one of the largest events of the year to go – the Trophy of Nations in Finale Ligure, Italy. This celebration of the sport sees Industry, Rider and Nation trophies up for grabs at the biggest race of the year, all set against the stunning backdrop of the Italian Riviera. It’s also the location for the final EWS-E round, and where the very first EWS-E Champions will be decided. Chris Ball, Managing Director of the Enduro World Series, said: “We’re all really excited by the 2021 calendar – it’s a great mix of established and new venues. “We’re especially excited to offer two USA rounds for the first time and expand the EWSE to five rounds.” Ella Connolly negotiating granite boulders many times her size. About Shimano Enduro Tasmania The Shimano Enduro Tasmania was a ground breaking event when it first visited Derby in Tasmania’s North East in early 2017. Helping to create the juggernaut that the Blue Derby project is, both the 2017 and the 2019 return received the highest acclaim winning the Specialized Trail of the Year award. Race Director, Ian Harwood from Event Management Solutions Australia has thanked the Tasmanian Government and Events Tasmania for their continued support in showcasing the state to the world. “Without the support of Events Tasmania, we would not be able to showcase the best riders in the world, taking on the best trails in the world”. The 2019 edition of Shimano Enduro Tasmania saw in excess of 5000 spectators cheering the riders on. In 2021 the schedule will be expanded into a more inclusive multi day festival with a dedicated EWS Kids event, Ebike events with the Derb-E and an expanded line up of entertainment. “As part of our on-going commitment to support and grow cycling our region Shimano Australia proud to help bring the world’s best riders back to the trails of Derby in 2021. After a fantastic event in 2019 we are looking forward to an even bigger party in Derby next time around. Bring your bike, bring your mates and come down and make some noise”, Toby Shingleton, Shimano. Can we just fast-forward to 2021? Mo’ Flow Please! Enjoyed that article? Then there’s plenty more to check out on Flow Mountain Bike, including all our latest news stories and product reviews. 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