Having been a staunch Shimano SPD (Shimano Pedaling Dynamics) rider for well over a couple of decades, I've grown very fond of the easy, cheap and reliable system which has done me well. I have also scoffed at alternative brands over the years with expressions of what can they do these can't?
Enter the HT components, T1 Enduro pedals. At first glance they're not only a machining masterpiece but also a rather elegant looking pedal that pairs nicely with most modern enduro or trail bikes available in a astronomical range of some pretty rad anodized colours.
On paper and when compared to the most commonly found enduro and trail pedal, the Shimano XT/XTR PD-M80/9020, the T1's weigh in as the lowest product from all three by mere grams. A 92 x 68mm aluminum platform also provides a slightly larger landing pad to aim for when trying to find them again after unclipping or eating shit trailside. The T1 also offers a few extras such as replaceable grip pins on the leading platform of the pedal nose and theoretically, an easier maintained and stronger spring system.
Like Shimano, HT uses their own proprietary cleating system but with three variants of cleat and float in degree's. The spindle servicing and replacement appears to be a little more laborious on the T1's with the requirement for a snazzy little 8mm socket included vs a set of spanners and some grease with the shimanos. The pedals have a chromoly spindle and use HT's EVO+ bearing system. This relies on a bushing, a needle bearing, and a small thrust bearing mechanism to keep them captive and smooth under foot. The longevity of bearing life is yet to be determined.
With the first hurdle put to bed of having another proprietary cleating system and having to change my cleats, (best job in the world!!) the T1's were thrown on the Niner in readiness for a thorough flogging to see what difference they really had. First major real stop, a muddy Giant 2w Gravity Enduro in a wet forecast, Whakarewarewa Forest in Rotorua.
Yay, Or Nay?
Initial jump and ride felt like the norm. lift, stamp, ride.... So far I was glad they didn't need some magical carpet like antics to locate the cleat and platform or cage and the engagement felt positive with a distinct click and a solid feel. I chose to run the 4 degree float cleats as, well, I'm old and my knees and legs need a little give and these cleats seem to be the happy medium for me. The float was noticeable but not excessive or unnerving and to be honest, they were the firmest feeling cleat I've ever ridden on giving my shoes a solid grip on my pedals.
Pedaling in a muddy and gritty enduro was a pretty good test for the T1's. The times I needed to drop a foot and get back on the gas I found them just as easy to stomp back in and the Cro-mo spindles offered a pretty stiff platform with minimal flex. I never once had the pedals kick me out or unexpectedly release even when touching down heavily on the heal over a few drops which was highly in their favour. As for the extra pin grips? Well I gather these are really a small sales ploy to give you that little wanky cherry on the top, as the nose of a stiff shoe doesn't remotely come near to them. Maybe they intended them to grip when you're riding in ya jandals?
So if you're after a pedal that looks good, offers a stronger hold on your feet and performs as good as the competition then these pedals are definitely one to consider. For me, with my other bikes in the stable all running SPD's, is it worth purchasing a second set and staying with a single set of shoes? Well thats still under debate on whether or not I can twist the arms of the lads at Mybike Whangarei for a second set to thoroughly review them properly in numbers.....