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crank bros eggbeater sl

My first pair of clipless pedals were a set of cheap Nashbar SPD pedals. I learned on those, and I stuck with Shimano pedals and SPD cleats for many years. The basic Shimano pedal (515, 520, etc.) was always pretty good to me. Not great, but usable since I was on a tight budget.

I got used to them packing with mud all the time. That was not always a huge hassle, but it sure was during a race! Having to stop and slap my feet off the pedals to try to knock mud out of my cleats was very annoying and wasted precious time.

Worse yet was my latest pair of Shimano pedals. They would unclip at the worst times, like when bunnyhopping or riding over logs. I dialed the release tension as tight as possible, but that just made it super hard to clip in – the clipping out still happened unexpectedly!

I don’t know what the deal was because I never had that problem before. But whatever it was, it was dangerous! So I needed new pedals, and Eggbeaters seemed like the way to go!

I decided on a set of Crank Bros Eggbeater SL pedals. They looked like a good, lightweight pedal that would shed mud easily.

Crank Bros Eggbeaters: The Good

crank bros eggbeater sl

First off, the weight savings was marvelous. The 266g Eggbeaters were replacing some 370g Shimano M520 pedals.

Consciously, it didn’t seem any easier to spin the pedals. However, 100g is a significant weight loss, especially on a pedal system, so even if it doesn’t feel much different, your legs will thank you!

Second, they shed mud. There’s just nowhere for the mud to hide on these pedals. Clipping in to these pedals was virtually identical whether they were clean and dry or covered in mud.

The problem is when your shoes get packed with so much mud that your cleats disappear. You’re still going to have problems in that case, because you’ll have to get rid of the packed mud before your cleats can touch the pedals to clip in! You might not save that much time in a muddy XC race by switching to these pedals, but it’s still worth it.

Best of all, these pedals keep me securely clipped in almost always. If I needed to bunnyhop a ditch or clear a log, my feet stayed securely in the pedals. Not once did they clip out in a precarious situation like that.

It’s actually the design of the pedal that accomplishes this. When you are pulling back on the pedal (like when you’re bunnyhopping,) the lack of downward pressure keeps the Eggbeaters’ jaws closed shut. So you simply won’t slip out.

Lastly, I have had good experience with customer service. If you have any problems with Crank Bros products, there’s a good chance they’ll help you out.

My first experience with Crank Bros customer service went like this:

What happened was, the dust cap fell off my left pedal after maybe 4 rides in 3 weeks since installation. Why? I haven’t a clue. I must have bumped it when leaning the bike against a wall or the ground. (It wasn’t during a ride, because I always check my bike out after a ride, so I would have noticed.)

With just a simple email to them on 9/23/08, they sent out a replacement the next day for free. I got it on 9/29/08. They sent me a couple replacement caps actually. So the good news is, they stand behind their products. The better news, the replacement caps they sent me are aluminum alloy! (The one that fell out was some sort of plastic, which explains why it broke so easily.)

So I was pretty pumped to get nice alloy end caps!

crank bros eggbeater sl

Crank Bros Eggbeaters: The Bad

As much as I loved these pedals for a while, it didn’t last…

My first complaint is that the metal fins rub into your shoe sole. In front of and behind the cleat, you’re going to get grooves worn down into your shoe. If you have rubbery sole, it’s probably just cosmetic damage. However, if you have a bare carbon sole, these pedals could eat away at it and possibly crack it!

According to their website, they are working on a fix for this problem. The only solution I see currently is picking up some “shoe shields,” which are little metal plates that protect your carbon-soled shoes from damage. Problem is, that will cost you another $11 (about $20 with shipping.)

Along with that, the pedal body (on either side of the wings) really rubs on the rubber tread of the sole. On some shoes, this can make it tough to clip in. Cutting a tiny bit off could help you clip in faster; just don’t cut off too much, since that sole/pedal contact is good support.

Moving on… The pedals rarely unclip unintentionally, unless you’re riding a rock garden! The only performance problem with the Eggbeaters is how rock gardens force them to release your feet. If you’re pedaling through a nasty rock garden and tap the pedals on a rock at the right angle, it pushes the wings apart and your foot comes out.

In my experience, this only happened in certain rock gardens. Sometimes it didn’t happen at all, even if I was smacking my pedals on the rocks. Usually it only happened when pedaling through slower speed rock gardens (ones that are annoying to ride.)

Moving on to the issue of clipping in and out. Once your foot is in the right position, clipping in is easy. The problem is finding the correct position, since the pedal is so tiny. For having four-sided entry, which is so easy in theory, clipping in is fairly difficult in practice. If you don’t get your foot in the perfect position, the cleat snags on the pedal and won’t clip in. It’s definitely not a magical “put your foot somewhere on the pedal and one of the four sides will automatically engage” situation.

Clipping out is easy, once you get accustomed to the pedal. The first few rides I had some falls where I couldn’t get clipped out since I was used to the action of my Shimano SPD pedals. It’s the same general movement, but with subtle differences that affect your foot/brain connection. Eventually it becomes second nature though.

My next complaint is the rust. After their first race in nasty rain and mud, the pedal is covered in surface rust! Instead of that nice stainless steel gray color, the pedal body was an ugly orange/brown. It’s just cosmetic, but jeez, I thought these were stainless!

I could wire brush the pedals after every ride, but who wants to do that?

Durability also became an issue.

You’d think, with these pedals being so simple, they’d be very durable. Not so much!

Keep in mind how much I used these. I got them in late July 2008, and used them maybe once or twice per week through October. I didn’t use them from November-January. Then I used them a couple times in late February 2009, then a few times in March.

At that point, I was checking them out. Left pedal – I noticed one half of the cage was loose and shaky. Not sure what that means. The pedal body also slid along the spindle. Right pedal – the pedal moved in and out on the spindle, kind of like a suspension fork moves. I’d say 2-3 mm of play.

I took the pedals apart and regreased the spindle, checked the bearings, etc., and everything looked alright. Put it back together, tightened the locknut, but no luck! Still lots of play! There must be a worn out bushing in there somewhere.

[Note: Don’t try the grease gun method mentioned in the user manual. You want to pull the pedal body off the spindle if you’ll be regreasing it.]

Isn’t that pretty pathetic for a mere four months of easy use?!

I did some research and found a bunch of other people online that had similar problems, typically from six months to two years of use. Great for Crank Bros making money – you buy $120-$300 pedals and then have to buy a $20 rebuild kit every six months!

Since I was having this durability problem, I bought a second pair of Eggbeaters to have as a spare. Assuming Crank Bros honors their warranty, I would still want a spare pair to use when the other pair is being rebuilt.

That second pair was great at first. Then I did a 1:46 ride on a mix of paved and dirt roads (nothing rough.) Once finished, I found a huge glob of gray grease pouring out of the right pedal. I wiped it off and sure enough, the pedal now had some lateral play like my others!

I thought four months of use was pathetic; I don’t know what to think about the pedals developing play after one single ride!!!

The next day, I did a 5 minute test ride in a parking lot near my house. I came back and this time there was a glob of grease on the left pedal spindle. Under two hours of riding, and both pedals are super loose!

So I contact customer support again. I emailed them and got an RMA number. They said to send them in, and they have about a 10 day turnaround. I spent about $9 to send in both pairs for service.

I sent them on 4/29/09 via Priority Mail. On 5/11/09 I got an email saying my RA had been serviced and pedals have been shipped back to me. Thanked me for the feedback too. Apparently it was all free under warranty.

I got them back, excited to see how they worked. Well, they worked exactly the same as before!! Crank Bros did nothing!! Actually, they replaced my fancy royal blue alloy end caps with an ugly baby blue end cap, and said that fixed the problem! I’d bust out laughing at the absurdity of it all if I hadn’t wasted two weeks of waiting and paid to ship them back for so-called “service.”

To summarize, I have not had good luck with Eggbeaters! But… I’m baffled because I go to races and feel up all my friends’ Eggbeater pedals. Nearly every single person has a nice, tight pair of Eggbeaters! But I’m two for two when it comes to Eggbeaters falling apart prematurely!!

I researched for a while and came up with this thread at MTBR.com. If you read far enough, you find people with similar experiences as mine. You could sum up Crank Bros products as lack of durability made up for by good customer service.

My final verdict is…

The initial performance was awesome, but the durability is not impressive. After buying two pairs and having both fail in short order, I don’t care how good their customer service is. From my experience, I recommend you avoid any of the Crank Bros pedals unless you like your pedals breaking constantly.

I’m most likely buying some Time ATAC XS Carbon pedals to replace my Eggbeaters.

Official website: www.CrankBrothers.com

Buy online: www.Amazon.com

Product Review Details
Company: Crank Brothers
Product: Crank Bros Eggbeater SL Pedals
Reviewed by: Coach Levi
My Rating: 2.5 out of 5
Date last updated: 2010-07-11
Obtained Product: Purchased at retailer.
CoachLevi.com Advertiser: No.

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