RockBros Nylon Fiber Review
Cons: Questionable durability, not the grippiest
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Our Analysis and Test Results
The RockBros Nylon Fiber pedals were a pleasant surprise for testers. When you are dealing with brands that haven't quite established themselves in the bike industry, there can be a clear sense of skepticism. The extremely low price didn't do much to help our preconceived notions. Once we finally got out on the trail, we found the RockBros pedals to be functional and effective. No, they never challenged top contenders in any performance metric, and one might describe the on-trail performance as forgettable. That said, they earned a Best Buy Award For Riders on A Shoestring Budget for their understated and serviceable performance at a supremely low price.
The RockBros Nylon Fiber pedals delivered average levels of grip. These pedals never felt ultra-tacky, but our feet stayed on these pedals well enough. Two different testers used these pedals. One tester rode Specialized 2FO shoes with SlipNot rubber, and one had Bontrager Flatline shoes with Vibram soles.
These pedals feature ten pins on each side. The pins load from the bottom of the pedal and protrude approximately 4mm from the pedal. They are positioned around the perimeter of the platform, and there is a dead space in the middle of the pedal along the spindle. When focusing on charging the trail and proper form, testers found these pedals to offer passable levels of grip. We picked our way down the gnarliest rock gardens and came out on the other side.
The RockBros pedals were exposed a bit on the climbs. Mellow fire road grinds or super buffed-out singletrack presented no issues. That said, the technical and punchy climbs were less pleasant. On tricky tech moves that require a lot of body language, our feet bounced about and came off the pedals more easily than other pedals.
The RockBros pedals have a platform that measures 99mm x 99mm. They have a slightly concave shape with the leading edge of the platform at 16.25 mm thick, while the platform at the axle is 14mm. The distance from the crank arm to the furthest outboard pin is 103mm. The pedal is constructed of nylon fiber, which is a type of plastic.
The platform is slightly smaller than most of the competition and significantly smaller than the largest options. One of our testers has size 11 shoes and felt the smaller platform size was really noticeable. For reference, these pedals are about 16mm shorter, in the fore/aft direction, compared to the largest platforms in the review. On the trail, testers were always able to get their feet back on the pedals in a hurry. However, it was noticeably more difficult to find a good foot position on the fly. The tester with larger feet noted that it often felt like a good portion of his shoe was hanging off the side of the pedal.
This pedal has a concave shape. It is 2.25-mm thinner in the middle of the platform compared to the edges. This is a matter of preference as some pedals are totally flat while others are convex. Testers agree that there are a lot of benefits to a concave shape. Unfortunately for RockBros, we feel the platform is just too small to reap the full benefits of a concavity. Your shoe can't really form to the shape of the pedal because the pin placement is questionable, and everything is packed into a small space.
These Nylon Fiber pedals are quite thick. At 16.25mm at the leading edges, they are among the chunkier pedals in the review. While they do have slightly angled leading edges, they are several millimeters thicker than thinner models. This may not sound like much of a difference, but it is noticeable on rough trails. A couple of millimeters can be the difference of a bone-rattling pedal strike versus a near miss or grazing of the pedals. Speaking of pedal strikes, one benefit of a plastic pedal is the fact that they tend to slide and glance off rock instead of gripping and potentially causing a crash.
The less tenacious grip/traction lends itself to impressive mobility. Since your foot doesn't necessarily feel glued to the pedals, it is quite easy to reposition your foot in a hurry. All it takes is the quick bounce to unweight your foot and twist it into the right spot.
It is quite easy to adjust your foot on the pedals. A slight unweighting and turning of the foot allows you to reposition the shoe. This is critical when rolling into a sketchy rock garden or berm, or ripping around the bike park. Nobody wants to have their foot in an uncomfortable position while approaching a difficult section of trail. The same attributes that detract from the RockBros pedal's grip/traction works to increase foot mobility.
These pedals spin quite freely on the axle. A quick kick of the edge results in multiple rotations of the pedal body and they may end up in a less than ideal position. This is generally a matter of preference, but we prefer pedals that spin less and are in a predictable position when you remove and replace your foot.
One quick look at the RockBros pedals, and it is obvious that they don't match the high build quality of the more expensive competition. This is not an insult or a knock on the pedals, as affordability and pure functionality were a focus of the design process. They do come with 3 replacement pins should you smash or wear come down over time.
These pedals are serviceable. Simply remove the 6mm black end cap on the outboard side of the platform. The end cap exposes the axle with a retaining nut. Use a socket to loosen the nut, and the axle pulls out. We wouldn't recommend spending too much energy on the upkeep of these pedals. At this price point, they are more of a disposable item that is easily replaceable.
The RockBros pedals hit the scales at a very respectable 367-grams. That places these pedals on the lighter end of the weight spectrum. We gave these pedals a healthy dose of pedal strikes, and they survived with little visible damage.
The Nylon Fiber pedals are an impressive value. At their low price, you get a highly functional product that delivers passable on-trail performance. No, these may not have the most dialed shape or thinnest profile. But they are affordable, and they work. As a result, they earned our Best Buy For Riders On A Shoestring Budget.
Familiar names and high prices dominate the pedal market. The RockBros pedals are an affordable change of pace. While they never stood out as fantastic in any performance metric, they work and deliver passable performance at a fraction of the cost of the competition. For those on the tightest of budgets, the RockBros Nylon Fiber pedals are a viable option.
— Pat Donahue