PRODUCT REVIEW: HT DOWNHILL
RACE X2 PEDAL
THE "BEST-OF-BOTH-WORLDS" PEDAL FOR GRAVITY RIDERS
After trying to torturing the HT Downhill Race X2 pedals for about 2 months, we came back with smiles. This pair of sleek neat thing is built for races! And they seem to be outdoing our riders in the punishment department. Read on and be the judge.
FILTERING AND RETAINING THE GOOD STUFF
We had a first look article with these shiny metals some time back. The numbers are all here.
For a start, this set of pedals look really good. And one of the riders even muttered something like " … a beautiful love child of Shimano SPD and Crank Brothers Mallet …" We kind of agree with him on this one.
The X2 seem to go all out in filtering all the good stuff from all the famous pedals out there and fused them all into one single pair of pedals. The X2 has a big stable platform and it is easily one of the most secure and stable set of pedals (with only 5 Pins on each platform) we have ever used. These 5 pins did wonders even when the rider was not clipped in. The slight downside, which serves more like a warning than a complain to all X2 users or potential users, is that the pins' strong grip may make unclipping a little difficult.
We removed one pin from the front row and one from the back and felt that the pedal was easier to get in and out of. And on occasions when we were unclipped but still cycling, the 2 fewer pins did not affect the gripping strength for the rider. Of course, the expectation of grip on pedal is subjective from rider to rider and depends on the shoe as well as the riding style. As such, we would not say our preference to remove 2 pins was the best way to use the X2 pedals. There's some trial-and-error going on here.
As much as we would want to keep the shiny bits on our bikes as immaculate as possible, things can get unpredictable when we whiz through the single tracks and focus on the descents. Many times, we grimaced as we hear the sound of metal scrapping over hard surfaces, usually rocks, and would worry how many pins flew off. We were pleasantly surprised that this pair of pedals, though light, remains resilient to trail abuses. Nothing flew off. We might even have chiseled off some rocks…
As stated in our introduction, this IS one of the most (if not the most) stable and secure clipless pedal we have used – and we have used many clipless pedals, on and off editorial records. By saying they are secure, we do not mean they are hard to unclip. The clip-ins are encouraging and snug with no free play once engaged. The clipping mechanism are also well designed and made clipping-in smooth and easy. There was little to zero adaptation time needed to get used to the pedals, and the rider seem to find the clips easily throughout the ride. Being snug and easy to clip in and out may mean that the pedal mechanism could be set too light (or loose) for some pedals. But not this pair. There was no unpredictable unclipping instances even over rough gnarly sections – as would some other clipless pedals, even from big … big brands.)
A lot of rider's feedback had been taken into consideration for the X2, as can be seen when we fiddle with the clip-in spring tension. Instead of clicking to the preferred indexed tension, these pedals adopt the continuous dial style. While this may make the perfectionistic riders go crazy with that "perfectly balanced" left and right pedal tension, this feature offer a more organic setting by way of feel. And the tension range is extremely wide – from ironman's tight fit to hang-loose casual fit. The spring tension indicator is positioned all the way within the large platform's protective cage. It is hard to spot at first but it is also safety tucked away from unnecessary or accidental fiddling.
MIXED OPINIONS ON CLIPS BEHAVIOR
During unclipping, we noticed that the pedals prefer us to unclip in one swift confident move. Otherwise, it has the tendency to "hang" onto rider until more force or a bigger movement is made. This could be a good thing for those who have the habit of unclipping when approaching technical sections where the rider wish to prepare for possible bailout. As long as we remember this half-clip or "hanging" characteristic of this pair, we could make full use of it's design to our advantage.
On the other hand, during riding, we notice our shoes' rear cleats have the tendency to engage themselves self with the pedals' spring bar when we try to reposition our feet in anticipation of more technical sections. When this happened, a quick slight jerk forward with the foot would solve the problem. But this does indeed pose a risk to the uninitiated when rider may feel trapped and start to panic. Things could get twitchy here.
On the topic of clipping mechanism, we did notice one peculiar behavior though. One of our test riders noticed that the spring tension dial seem to have moved (anti-clockwise in our instance) causing the clipped-on tension to feel different during the next ride. We were very sure we did not unknowingly rolled the tension dial during rides. We do not have an explanation to this at press time.
WHAT ELSE DO WE LIKE?
Riding through the rainy season was the perfect opportunity to do some serious mud test for bikes and components. The HT X2 pedals' clipping mechanism has very decent mud shedding capabilities. While they easily proved that they do not clog easily at moderately muddy conditions, they are discovered to be also quite "mud resilient". There were occasions when the pedals were filled with mud cakes but clipping in and out of the pedals were still consistent.
We also like that this pedals uses good quality parts in its internal mechanism. The EVO+ bearings can certainly take abuse from the environment. No roughness nor irritating sound from the pedals throughout our test period – about 2 months of frequent rides.
Perhaps the best feature of the X2 pedals is its large platform. And after our test period with this pair of pedals, we are convinced that they out-performed all the currently available large-platform-clipless pedals in market. These large platform also give the X2 a "Best of Both Worlds" feel – like riding with clipless pedal yet having the stability of platforms.
With so many reasons to love these pedals … we'd say "Go get them!"
HT dealers in Singapore
- 1 2 Cycle
- A Bicycle Shop
- Ave Avenue
- Big Box Singapore (HT-X2)
- Bike Avenue
- Bike Continent (HT-X2)
- Bike Culture
- Bike Haus
- BikeLink 2 (HT-X2)
- Chapter 2 Cycle
- Cycle Craft
- Emmanuel Cycle
- Hin Leong Cycle
- L&T Cycle (HT-X2)
- RadStation (HT-X2)
- RE Cycle Bike Seeker
- Seng Chu Hin
- Wheelers' Yard
- TEF Bikers Junction
- Tiong Hin Company Tyre
- Ulu Cycle
- New Era Cycle
* (HT-X2) denotes store carrying HT X2 Downhill Race pedal.
HT Components are distributed by Bike31
Tel: +65 6635 2132
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