Added a comment about feature First Look: Troy Lee Designs D3 & A1 MIPS Helmets 6/21/2016 1:34 PM
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^ Agreed. It's your dome, you only have one!

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Added a product review for Race Face Chester Flat Pedal 5/19/2016 1:53 PM
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Tested: Race Face Chester Flat Pedals

Rating:

The Good:

The Bad:

Overall:

by Justin Schroth

Thanks to a market flooded with pedal options, it has become increasingly more difficult for brands to distinguish themselves and standout a sea of anodizing. Race Face looks to break free from their traditional mold (pun intended) of aluminum platforms with the new Chester pedal. The Chester is a composite pedal that looks to offer durability and function at a more reasonable price tag than their metal counterparts.

Race Face Chester Features

  • 
Weight: 356 grams (per pair)
  • 110 mm long x 101 mm wide x 15-18.44mm thick
  • Nylon composite body
  • Chromoly steel axle
  • Sealed bearing // bushing system
  • Cartridge bearings
  • DU bushings
  • 16 removable hex traction pins per pedal
  • MSRP - $54.99

Initial Impressions 


The first thing you will notice is the hard nylon composite material that makes up the body of the pedals. We could say hard-as-hell and seemingly bombproof, but time will tell if that translates into durability in life on the trail. Eight steel pins grace each side of the pedal, with access from the opposite side for removal and maintenance. At 356-grams for the set they are not the lightest composite pedals on the market, but they would still save some weight compared to most alloy flats. We did notice the Chesters did not have a concave profile that some competitors (and riders) swear by. The bearings have a smooth feeling but with a resistance to free spinning that some will prefer (especially dirt jumpers). 


On The Trail


We tested the Chester pedals with Five Ten Freerider Contact shoes. Although not one of the thinnest pedals, the platform size of the Chester is above average and provides a more-than-ample platform for those with Clydesdale-sized feet. During seated climbs through rough terrain, we occasionally noticed our feet floating around, searching for the pedals and feeling a bit disconnected. We attribute this to the flatter profile of the pedal and the flat section of the Five Ten Contact soles being in contact with the center of the pedal as opposed to the outside edges with the pins. Once standing with more weight applied to the pedals, they really shined and never let go. Grip was excellent and firm throughout hard pedaling, and we had no issues pushing hard through turns or dropping the heels for some steeper descents.

As we mentioned above, the Chester pedals do lack that concave profile we typically associate with mega-grippy flat pedals. Despite that, and the fact that the Chester pedals aren't the thinnest pedal on the market, we found the overall stability of the pedals to be better than we had expected. In rough sections where we tend to drop our heels and let the suspension do its thing, even when we'd have a slight hang up due to a big square-edge hit, our feet resisted rolling forward on the pedals and blowing off. Overall we're quite happy with the level of grip and stability offered by the Chester pedals.

Long Term Durability

The Chester pedals were unfortunately (or fortunately) tested on a bike with a low bottom bracket and they were victim to many a pedal strike. Despite all efforts to test the pedals to failure, we were only able to inflict surface wounds to the pedals and a managed few slightly bent pins. Surprisingly none were completely sheared off or fully damaged. Because of the underside access to the hex head, pin replacement is not an issue. 
The pedals still feel as smooth as day one, but Race Face touts complete serviceability with the Chester pedal if needed down the line.


Things That Could Be Improved


The biggest improvement we could see with the pedals is obviously a more concave profile to increase grip. But an easier solution would be to offer longer pin options, or even include a longer set of replacement pins.

What's The Bottom Line?


While it may lose a few points due to its shape, the Chester pedal gained more back with its size, durability and grip when it counted most. From the aggressive trail rider who still loves to go foot-out in the turns, or the dirt jumper who feels the need to pull a good ol' fashioned heelclicker, the Chester is a more than durable option that won’t break the bank.

For more info, visit raceface.com


About The Reviewer

Justin Schroth has been riding mountain bikes for over 15 years, experiencing first hand the evolution of the industry from thumb shifters and MCU cartridge forks to carbon fiber frames and single-ring all mountain bikes. As an East Coast rider, he loves trails with a combination of jumps, technical downhills, and the occasional loose corner for some foot out action. With a Mechanical Engineering degree, Justin's instinct is to always consider how it works over how it looks. After many years of racing the Northeast Norba and Collegiate series, Justin hung up the race plate and his diploma to go behind the camera at Lucent Productions, creating mountain bike video content for several clients such as Highland Mountain Bike Park.

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Added a comment about press release Vanderham Launches New Ryders Goggle 6/16/2016 11:27 AM
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Very impressed with the Ryders antifog coating so I assume these will work just as well!

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Added a comment about video MUST WATCH: Brandon Semenuk is the Master of Two Wheels 6/13/2016 11:15 AM
C138x104

Stylish in every aspect of riding. And that last trick was like "Sick whiiiiiiOOOOMG!!"

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Added a comment about product review Tested: Race Face Altas Cinch Cranks 5/31/2016 8:58 AM
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Ha I needed to keep SOME things black on my bike. Not landlocked, trails out near Callahan state park!

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  • Vital MTB member xyesterdayx
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Added a comment about product review Tested: Race Face Altas Cinch Cranks 5/27/2016 1:09 PM
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Correct, it is only needed for spindle changes and ours shipped with it pre-installed. Will update the review to reflect that detail

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Added a comment about product review Tested: Race Face Altas Cinch Cranks 5/27/2016 12:15 PM
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HAH! If it's not apparent...I'm fond of that color at the moment.

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Added a comment about product review Tested: Race Face Altas Cinch Cranks 5/27/2016 12:14 PM
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Race Face Chester pedals....review should be coming shortly on those too

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Added a comment about product review Tested: Race Face Altas Cinch Cranks 5/27/2016 12:14 PM
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Race Face touts the Turbine as the "incredibly light and stiff performance crank-set for modern XC and trail riders." while the Atlas are deemed more applicable to a wider range of riding "including trail, enduro and full on DH or freeride."

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Added a comment about product review Tested: Fly Racing Transfer Shoe 4/19/2016 9:38 AM
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Yeah I'd say they do. I'm usually a 10.5 in most every shoe and I had tested these in 10s and my big toe was right near the front but still had some room. My guess would be go down a size. Width shouldn't be a problem. I have super skinny feet and had to cinch the laces for a snug fit so you should have plenty of room.

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Added bike check Evil Following 4/14/2016 6:50 AM
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Added a comment about product review Tested: Source Hipster Hydration Belt System 4/13/2016 8:28 AM
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Do you leave it in the open position? I have the Source Whistler pack with the same bladder/valve and i typically leave it open and don't notice any water dripping out when riding.

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Added a comment about product review Tested: Source Hipster Hydration Belt System 4/12/2016 4:13 PM
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When I first saw these I was also skeptical and thought they were kinda goofy with the harness. But having a small pack with a smaller water capacity than a full on pack for short(er) rides (but more than a bottle) and knowing that it can be used without the harness has me reconsidering. Tempted....

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Added a comment about product review 2016 Test Sessions: Evil The Following X1 3/30/2016 5:50 PM
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Brandon - Did you add any volume spacers to the rear shock?

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Added a comment about video Brandon Semenuk: 10 Years with Trek 3/22/2016 1:26 PM
C138x104

I just want to be able to do a sweet table top.

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Added a comment about feature First Look / First Ride: Devinci Django 3/15/2016 6:42 PM
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Loving that more companies are going the short travel slack/low geometry for trail bikes.

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  • Vital MTB member Mr. P
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Added reply in a thread The 'What's Your Coolest Feeling on a Bike Ever?!' Thread 3/3/2016 10:25 AM

For me it's gotta be when a whole crew of your buddies are all ripping down a trail in a big train. Hearing the hootin' and hollerin' the whole way down, and getting to the bottom as people recall all the near misses, loose turns, and shredding that ... more »

Added a comment about video Short but Sweet - 2016 Giant Factory Off-Road Team Intro Video 3/3/2016 8:58 AM
C138x104

Need moar.

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Added reply in a thread Forum Hot Seat - Todd Seplavy, Director of Product at GT Bicycles 12/11/2015 3:34 PM

What is your recipe for Chicken Tikka Masala? I've tried recreating it from that time at Bromont and have failed miserably.

Added a comment about product review Tested: Fly Racing Transfer Shoe 11/30/2015 1:14 PM
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For reference, my personal pair of shoes are Mavic Alpine shoes (not the XL).

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