Deity Bladerunner Review
Cons: Fairly expensive, axle can be felt underfoot, concavity achieved with pins not platform
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Our Analysis and Test Results
The Bladerunner is one of two flat pedal models in our test made by the component manufacturer, Deity. The Bladerunner is the thinnest pedal in Deity's lineup with a relatively large 103 x 100mm footprint, 10 pins per side, and concavity achieved through varying pin height. The CNC machined aluminum pedal body is beautifully crafted, and these pedals look fantastic.
Each pedal has 20 grub screw traction pins (10 per side) that installed with a 2.5 mm allen key. All the heads are tucked away safely from accidental impacts and installed from underneath. If you do manage to break or bend a pin, a bag of extra pins is included. We tend to like the grip of grub screws better than other traction pins.
Despite what is usually better grip with grub screws, we felt the platform design of these pedals prevented them from fully optimizing their potential. The front and rear pins are indeed taller than the ones adjacent to the axle, but our soft rubber soles sucked up the height difference. We could still feel our midfoot area ever-so-slightly elevated along the axle compared to the rest of our foot. While they performed admirably on trail, the Bladerunner was a top performer in freestyle dirt jumping and bike park, allowing for smoother foot-to-pedal engagement and disengagement during tricks.
Pedals seem to get thinner and thinner every year. Deity extruded 6061 T6 aluminum into a shape that measured just a tad over 11mm at the front and rear edges, among the thinnest in our test. The midsection maintains a bit of a gut. Measured at a respectable 14mm, it had to swallow the Chromoly steel axle, two sealed bearings, and a DU bushing. The areas between the axle and the leading and trailing edges feature horizontally-ribbed aluminum that we guess were more for weight savings and aesthetics than traction. Clean lines and sharp angles offered little opportunity for mud to collect anywhere on these pedals. With the front and rear of the pedal being so thin, and the middle a bit taller, the actual profile of the pedal is slightly convex.To provide a more desirable foot cradling shape, six taller traction pins are used front and back, while four shorter ones are used closer to the axle. Despite the profile inversion provided by crafty pin arrangement, the axle could still be felt underfoot and was only moderately effective at increasing grip or traction. The reduced traction made this pedal a favorite for use in freestyle dirt jumping and bike park shenanigans, it fell a hair shy of that planted, locked-in feeling we sought for downhill use. At 103 x 100 mm, the platform was not the largest in the test, but its squared shape supported the outsides of our feet reasonably well regardless.
The Chromoly axle spins on two sealed bearings on the near side and a proprietary DU bushing on the further end. Everything remained smooth throughout our three-month test period, and we never experienced any unwanted pedal play. These pedals had a looser feel spinning about the axle compared to many others, but were not so free-spinning that they caused any problems when landing tricks. Pedal flop was also not a concern during trail riding.
The Bladerunners took a solid beating while testing. Pins were worn down, and it's important to get the pedals as clean as possible when working on them to minimize dirt getting into threads and bearings. This pedal shares the same internals as it's big brother the TMAC and the rebuild kit costs $24.99. The kit includes a spindle but does not include pins which are sold separately. Overall, the Bladerunners are well built, and with fresh pins, the pedals can last a long time.
A 5mm Allen is used to remove a threaded end cap that keeps all the trail dirt and grime out. Once the end cap is removed, there is another threaded 5mm spacer inside. This spacer fills out the interior of the pedal body where the spindle terminates inside. By using a shorter, stubby Chromoly axle, less stress is placed on the spindle, making it less likely to experience forces that could potentially bend it out of shape. Rebuild kits are available, and the pedal can is fully serviceable without removing them from the cranks.
Despite their thin profile, the Bladerunner is not the lightest pedal we tested. At 377-grams for the pair, they certainly don't qualify as heavy either. The strength-to-weight ratio of these pedals seemed pretty impressive as we nailed them on rocks many times, only to scratch the pretty purple anodized finish. Very little in the way of excess material was used in the design of these pedals.
A fair amount of consumers might be willing to buy the Bladerunner based on looks alone. They're so sexy with their laser-etched logos, textured and machined aluminum surfaces and they come in cool Skittle colors that add flair to your bike that will surely become a conversation piece at the trailhead. If you're looking for a super grippy pedal, your dollars are better spent elsewhere. Riders that value lightweight, mobility, and surface area can feel confident about investing in these pedals.
Often what's good for one type of riding can be bad for another. The list of traits you look for can range from getting down a hill the fastest to boosting a jump the highest. We found this pedal to be a good match for those who like to do it all. It's not the cheapest, lightest, largest, or grippiest. But it will take you from a morning spinning tailwhips at the bike park, to an afternoon shuttling downhill laps. We weren't crazy about the lack of concavity in the platform design and felt that trying to achieve the same result with the traction pins fell short in terms of grip performance. That said, we feel these are a great looking and versatile pedal for those who appreciate a little foot mobility.
— Sean Cronin