HT Components AE03 Evo Review
Cons: Moderate size platform, pin heads are somewhat exposed, a bit pricey
Manufacturer: HT Components
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Our Analysis and Test Results
The HT AE03 pedals offer a knife-thin profile with exceptional internal components and plenty of traction. These exquisitely machined pedals are some of the thinnest and lightest flats available. Designed for top of the line performance, these pedals keep ground strikes to a minimum and your bike light for any climb without sacrificing grip.
Grip and Traction
Each HT AE03 pedal uses 20 hex head traction screws (10 per side) placed in key points along the perimeter of the pedal body, with two in the center near the axle. One drawback to the thin profile of these pedals is that it leaves nothing for the traction screw heads to hide behind making them more susceptible to damage from rock strikes. The profile of the pedal tapers slightly towards the outside edge of the pedal, with a notable rise over the axle close to the crank arm. We could feel this raised section under our shoes ever so slightly, and our soles don't sink quite as far onto the adjacent pins. Still, these pedals provide solid traction in technical terrain. In instances where a thicker pedal may want to roll underfoot, the AE03 stays glued to your foot with the pins engaged into your shoe.
The HT AE03 pedal has a moderate but efficient grip. In wet conditions, the grip stayed true. Mud build-up wasn't an issue; it cleared well. Depending on shoe size, these pedals can quickly transition from lots of grip to very little if your foot gets off position. These pedals were tested in some very wet and muddy conditions, and they performed well. Similar to the Deity Bladerunner, these pedals are machined and anodized aluminum, built for a small and light yet durable profile.
The AE03 pedals were designed to be paper-thin and as streamlined as possible. This platform is a bit smaller than many of the other pedals in its category. With its offset top and bottom design, this pedal gives the allusion of being larger than the actual effective platform. That said, we didn't find it to be too small. These pedals benefit from being less prone to ground strikes though they feel narrow when compared to some other pedals. Their light weight is most noticeable on the climbs. The platform is flat relative to other pedals. It's obvious there's more meat in the middle of the pedal for your shoe sole to make contact with, this helps maintain a solid feel on the pedals even if your foot moves slightly.
The HT AE03 spins well but not so quickly that your shins get hung up on the pins if you slip a pedal. There is a slight bit of peculiar chatter in the pedals, and that could be related to the axle not extending the entire length of the pedal. A nut at the end of the pedal spindle allows for adjustment of the tension and the ease of spinning.
We found that these pedals to be fairly easy to maintain. Due to the thinner profile, they didn't strike much and held up well in terms of avoiding rock strikes. The pin size could be changed to add more grip if desired. A rebuild kit for the AE03 starts at $18.00 but does not include a replacement spindle or a new set of pins. Those together will run you about another $25.00.
The HT AE03 sacrifices a little real estate in platform size in trade for its lightweight. With aluminum construction and a weight of 350 grams, they are lighter than many of the other platform pedals in our test. That weight savings comes at a premium, however, and these pedals are geared toward gram counters who are willing to spend more to lighten up their ride.
The HT AE03 falls in the higher end of the price spectrum at their retail price. These pedals held up great under our testing and will last for many seasons. We feel the solid performance, durability, and reliability of these pedals makes them a solid value despite their higher price.
The HT AE03 pedals are a high-performance option for the rider or racer looking for a well-designed pedal that is durable and gets the job done in all conditions. Aside from riders with larger feet searching for a wider platform, there aren't many flaws to these pedals. They're light, thin, and made with high-quality materials. Low profile design keeps ground strikes to a minimum.
— Al Morrison