The New 5050 vs. the 5050 3
Crankbrothers now just makes a basic 5050 version of this pedal, dropping the 3 version from their lineup. See the new 5050 in the photo below on the left, followed by the 5050 3, which we originally tested, on the right.
This pedal retails for a more affordable $60. (A $30 price drop!) Crankbrothers tells us that the major difference between the two pedals is the amount of machining they do. As you can see, the 5050 3's lost a bit more metal, making the 3 a touch lighter than the newer version. The 5050's weigh in at 480g per pair the old 3's we tested were 450g/pair. Aside from the weight difference, the pedals should perform similarly, as the pin placement and platform are identical. Since we haven't set foot on this new 5050, the review from here on out refers to the 5050 3 pedal.
Hands-On Review of the 5050 3
Even though they can get mangled and smashed up, the grip that adjustable grubs screws provide is hard to argue with. They are probably the easiest way to customize grip by dialing the height in or out. As much as we love grub screws, we really hate plastic. Though it has its place, that place is not somewhere that gets smashed repeatedly into rocks. If the main purpose of the dual-material platform was weight savings, we wish crankbrothers found a different way to shave grams. While the pure performance of these pedals was decent, we're not convinced they would stand the test of time. One of our pins stripped out and was not able to be repaired.
Now in its third iteration, the newest 5050 3 is 5 mm slimmer than the original.
Each pedal has 20 set screws (10 per side) that install with a 2 mm allen. It is incredibly easy to fine tune pin height to provide customized traction. The profile of the pedal is 17 mm at the ends and tapers to 15 mm toward the axle. This concave shape, similar to that used by the Race Face Atlas, helps increase traction and we had no problems keeping our feet adhered while bouncing over rocky sections of trail. Plastic cutaways on the polycarbonate section of the pedal platform serve to provide more traction. Setting the outer pins higher and dialing down the inner ones will exaggerate the concave shape to provide even more rock solid traction.
We were happy running all pins pretty much in the middle of their adjustment range as the sharp edges of set screw pins typically provide enhanced traction over other flat top designs. Unlike the majority of pins that load from the bottom through the pedal body like on the Blackspire Robusto or Race Face Atlas, grub screw pins are definitely more apt to suffer damage or break. Another minor drawback is the pin heads are easily clogged by mud and are susceptible to crushing forces during pedal strikes. It's usually easy enough to ream out clogged screw heads with the smallest allen or some other type of pick on your multitool. Once the screw heads are mangled though, accepting an allen tool is impossible and instead, removal or adjustment must happen with pliers.
Grub screw pins can offer great traction but the can easily clog with dirt, making adjustment and removal a bit of a hassle compared to bottom loading flat head pins. If the allen head is damaged from an impact, removal can be tricky as well.
The new 5050 3 uses a half polycarbonate half aluminum design; we assume weight reduction was a large factor in this decision. With plastic taking up so much real estate on such a vulnerable component, we were feeling a little leery, even though most pedal strikes are likely to affect the outside alloy portion of the pedal. One gripe about the plastic is that the metal traction screws thread directly into the plastic body.
One of our pedals took a blow to a screw residing in the plastic platform area that bent it over and deformed the top portion of the threaded plastic opening. Two long torx 25 bolts hold the plastic and alloy platform parts together snugly and there was absolutely no play between the different materials, nor were there any noticeable differences in flex. In order to service the pedals, these bolts must be removed and the pedal halved in order to expose the distal axle assembly.
The bolt heads are recessed safely within the crank side polycarbonate pedal body. We found the manufacturer's stated platform dimensions to be a little off. Their 102 x 96 mm didn't verify — we got 100 x 101. That's okay because these dimensions are well-suited to the medium profile of this pedal. Any larger and there would probably be an uptick in pedal strikes.
At 19 mm this pedal was certainly not the slimmest in our test. That honor goes to the Deity Bladerunner and Funn Python. It did however, lose a whopping 5 mm from the original 5050 model, moving it toward the "thin is in" new school approach to pedal design. But it is still grouped with the chunkier Blackspire Robusto and Shimano Saint MX80. The aluminum pedal body has two cutouts that reduce weight and improve mud clearance. The less expensive 5050 2 (not tested) does not have these cutouts on the platform among other internal differences.
With a slight concavity to the platform design, grip can be enhanced further by dialing out the grub screw traction pins on the leading and trailing ends of the pedal while leaving the middle ones lower.
The inside needle bearings and outer sealed bearings kept this pedal spinning smoothly throughout our test. It's not a very fast spinner, similar to the Spank Spike or Race Face Atlas. Our lead tester felt it was useful in a wide variety of applications, including bike park, freestyle, enduro, and downhill. Finding the pedal was rather easy when placing the foot after air tricks, unlike pedals such as the Spank Spike or Race Face Atlas that have large inner bearings that form a bump where crank and pedal meet. With the 5050 3, the smaller bearing provides a flat platform and the few millimeters of exposed spindle between the crank and pedal platform make the entire platform surface area easy to locate with the sole of your sneakers.
As mentioned above, the two long torx 25 bolts holding the polycarbonate and aluminum pedal halves together must be removed to service these pedals. The internals are well protected from the elements. Despite being already covered by the aluminum pedal body, the nut on the distal axle is protected further by a plastic end cap that must be pried off to access it.
Well-protected bearings ensure grime stays outside where it belongs. The notched polycarbonate platform area adds a bit of grip.
The pedal installs only with an 8 mm allen and will not accept a pedal wrench. The forged 435 chromoly steel spindle spins free and smooth on the needle/cartridge bearings. We recommend slapping some Loctite on the traction screws in order to hold them firmly in place.
Two T25 bolts hold the polycarbonate and aluminum halves snugly together. The pedal must be halved in order to remove the axle.
At 450 grams, these were the third heaviest pedals in our test. Only the Shimano Saint MX80 and Blackspire Robusto, at 490 and 505 grams, respectively, outweighed them.
Despite being half polycarbonate and half aluminum, the 5050 3s were still the third heaviest in our test.
Just like the Top Pick Award-winning Race Face Atlas, the 5050 3 is well suited to enduro type riding. Light enough, grippy enough, and strong enough, without topping the charts in any one of those categories, Crankbrothers serves up a decent pitch at a competitive price.
For a pretty average price, we feel you'll get a pretty average set of pedals. They're on the heavy side and the thick side, and although we like the platform, grip, and smooth pedal mobility, there are options that will stick around better than these half plastic pedals. The VP Components VP-Vice is all metal, lighter, thinner, and more versatile. The Spank Spike is also thinner and lighter and, like a Timex watch, takes a lickin' and keeps on tickin'.
We were big fans of these pedals for downhill and enduro style riding. They handled bike park jump sessions comfortably enough with their predictable spin at the cranks. They weren't ideal, but they got it done. However, we think there are stronger pedals that can take a daily beating a little better than these, especially considering the wounds our test pair incurred. Though the price is decent at about a hundred bucks, we would probably be making use of Crankbrothers' gracious five-year warranty.