by Fred Robinson
Considering we have pretty much have three contact points connecting us to our bikes, we’d argue that the pedals might be the most critical in terms of fit, function and feel. That said, over the past seven-or-so years we’ve seen a pretty big change in what’s available as far as pedal shape, weight and profile. We don’t recall exactly when it happened, but it seemed like, all of a sudden, there was a huge race between pedal manufacturers to make the thinnest pedal possible. Some of the resulting pedals were, excuse the pun, flat-out terrifying.
One pedal that came along during that period was the Point One Podium. It was thin, it had a good shape, and aside from durability issues with the axle system, it was regarded as one of the benchmark pedals of the time. But, the Podium pedal became hard to get after a few years and Point One Racing eventually went off the radar for unknown reasons. A few years later, out of nowhere, Point One resurfaced and unveiled the Podium 2. Well, the Podium 2 never made it to full production (if it did, we missed the announcement) and once again Point One Racing dropped off the map. Then in 2014 Gamut announced their acquisition of Point One Racing and their plans to rethink and refine the original Podium pedal. After patiently waiting for the production versions to become available, we finally got our hands on a set a few months back.
Gamut Podium Pedal Features
- Weight: 298g (w/ alloy pins)
- Platform: 100mm x 100mm
- Pins: Custom hollow, silver alloy included
- Bearings: 4 sealed cartridge per pedal
- Body: Forged aluminum-machine finished
- Axle: Chromoly steel
- MSRP: $169.99
If you couldn’t tell, we were stoked to see these. Having been fans of the old Point One Podium pedals, Gamut’s take on the platform is quite similar in terms of shape and size, but, there are quite a few differences. The Gamut Podiums are thinner (at least they look like it) and Gamut has also refined the rough machining employed on the original Podiums. They've also shaved down the axle bump considerably, which many, including yours truly, greatly appreciate. A few other tweaks include slightly different pin placement with the addition of two pins on the axle-line of the pedal, the use of hollow pins, a completely concealed axle and more contoured leading and trailing pedal edges.
Gamut also managed to shed a decent amount of weight off the new Podium pedals, with the set coming in at 301.6g (tested with steel pins) versus the old Podiums which came in at 371.4g (tested). With all those improvements, assuming that the new Podium pedals are more durable than their predecessor, we have high hopes for them.
We had the unique opportunity to test the new Gamut Podium pedals back-to-back with the old Podium pedals, as we’ve held onto the Point One’s quite a bit longer than we should have.
On The Trail
We first mounted the new Podium pedals to a bike with carbon cranks and those silly little rubber booties that are supposed to reduce damage from crank strikes. Even with two pedal washers, the pedal-body of the Podium sits too far inboard to the crank to run those booties. No biggie to us, as they’re pretty ugly anyways, but it's worth noting if you’re super worried about damaging your carbon cranks. Installation is pretty straightforward, as you’d expect. The pedals do not have flats on the axle for a pedal wrench so you’ll need a 6mm allen key for install. As we just mentioned, the pedal body sits quite close to the crank arm, and we’d recommend running at least one pedal washer to make sure it doesn’t contact your cranks.
The platform, at 100 x 100mm, is wide enough to basically accommodate our tester’s size 11 shoes with only a centimeter or so of hang-over. Despite the slight hang-over, our feet never felt like they were hanging over the edge of the pedal causing any weird pressure points. We honestly didn’t even notice until we snapped a photo of it. Fore and aft, the Podiums are wide enough that even when we’d fudge our foot placement before a rough section, we could still ride it out just fine without ever feeling like our foot was going to roll forward or backwards off the pedal.
The slightly concave profile of the Podium pedals coupled with the aggressive pins (they're long and hollow) mean the pedals definitely take hold of your shoe very well. So well, in fact, that once you weight your foot there’s no moving it. If we didn’t get our placement right on the first shot, we either had to sit down to re-position it, or try and move it on a pedal upstroke where we could slightly un-weight our foot. Some may hate this, some may love it. We personally appreciated the firm grip.
Given that we ran the Podium pedals predominantly on a low-slung DH bike, we managed to generally avoid any serious rock-strikes. Chalk that up to careful pedal placement when things get rocky, or the thin profile of the pedals themselves, we can’t really say. But, we did manage to knock them a few times. We should mention here that we ran both the included hollow alloy pins and the hollow stainless steel pins (available for $19.99) with about 2 months of ride time on both pins. While we did blitz a couple pins, both alloy and steel, we honestly expected the hollow pins to be quite a bit more fragile than they were. We haven’t had to replace any pins due to damage yet, but Gamut has made all the pins accessible from the opposite side of the pedal and included a few extra pins with the pedals at no charge.
Long Term Durability
As we just mentioned, despite the hollow pins, we’ve found them to behave like pretty much every pin on the market in terms of durability. If you smash them into a rock, they will deform or shear-off completely. If or when that happens, replacement of the damaged pins is straightforward as they're accessible where the pinhead is safe from harm. One major issue we found with the old Point One Podium pedals was the axle system. After a few months of use they would develop a fair amount of play between the axle and the pedal body, or just completely seize altogether. After four months of riding everything from muddy winter conditions to dusty and dry pre-summer SoCal trails, the new Gamut Podium pedals have remained play-free and smooth.
Thing’s That Could Be Improved
Our only minor nitpick with the Podium pedals is how close they sit to the crank. While it’s a minor gripe, we found quite a few cranks that required the use of a pedal washer just to enable the pedal to spin freely after installation. Given that our testers pretty average size 11’s hung over the edge of the pedal a tad, there seems to be a bit of room to widen the q-factor a little and alleviate that issue without sacrificing much in the way of clearance. But, as we said, this is pretty minor, and as long as you run a pedal washer it’s pretty much a non-issue.
What’s The Bottom Line?
Low profile, durable and pretty darn grippy - Gamut took an already well-regarded pedal and improved them with their version of the Podium pedal. For fans of the old Point Ones, look no further, as these are everything the old pedals were in a lighter, more durable and refined package. If you never had the opportunity to ride the old pedals, or perhaps you did and couldn’t get over that big ol’ hump around the inboard side of the platform, the Gamut Podiums should be on your shortlist of pedals to try.
About The Reviewer
Fred Robinson, a.k.a. "Derf," has been on two wheels since he was two years old. He picked up a mountain bike in 2004 and started racing downhill in 2006. He saw moderate success racing CAT 1 but now focuses his efforts on building, maintaining and riding his local trails. He's deceptively quick for a bigger guy and likes steep, fast trails where he can hang it off the back of the bike. As a SoCal native he mostly rides trails covered with loose, traction-less turns and sharp, immovable rocks. Besides downhill, he rides trail bikes, CX bikes on the road, and also enjoys the occasional dirt jump session.