The world's most in-depth and scientific reviews of outdoor gear

Spank Spike Review

Setting the standard for light and thin pedals – the Spike nails it!
Spank Spike
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Price:  $119 List | $108.64 at Amazon
Compare prices at 2 resellers
Pros:  Chamfered edges glance off rocks, cold forged, 12 mm slim profile, good foot engagement, cool colors.
Cons:  Required service almost immediately, large inboard bearing may cause awkward foot position, we missed the grub screws from previous versions.
Manufacturer:   Spank
By Sean Cronin ⋅ Review Editor  ⋅  Jan 12, 2017
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73
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#5 of 9
  • Grip and Traction - 25% 7
  • Platform - 25% 8
  • Mobility - 20% 7
  • Servicing - 15% 7
  • Weight - 15% 7

The Skinny

Laziness is the only excuse that has kept long 175 mm cranks on our enduro bike's low-slung bottom brackets. As a result, we smacked the living daylights out of our pedals on even the smoothest of rides. Fortunately for the Spank Spike's, the thin 12 mm profile, chamfered adges, and cold forged platform helped them shrug off all the abuse.

These skinny and strong pedals have been around for a while and have been the standard for low-profile pedals. This latest version also featured revised traction pins around the axle area that were formerly grub screws and this latest iteration provided a slight decrease in traction. The large inboard bearing interfered with a few crank designs, namely those with protective crank boots, so make sure of compatibility before you buy. Despite a few niggles, we still think these pedals, at 420 grams a pair, make a great enduro or trail bike pedal. Keep reading to find out how these pedals compared to the rest of the lot.


Compare to Similar Products

Our Analysis and Test Results

The Spank Spike is a very popular flat pedal. It's a crowd pleaser for the most part, but our testing unearthed a few character flaws that kept what we initially thought would be an award winning pedal on the margins of success. The latest version replaced a few of the grub screw traction pins with top loading pins that provided less grip. Older versions were more customizable — the rider could dial in or out the grub screws or remove them entirely. The latest pins lacked adjustment. The new Finish Line Teflon lubricant also performed poorly, producing a high-pitched chirp after only a couple runs. However, an assortment of anodized colors, thin profile, and moderately low weight make this pedal attractive for many users.

Performance Comparison



Grip/Traction


Seven bottom-loading traction pins and three smaller, redesigned, top-loading pins give this pedal traction that was plenty ample. Those that prefer a locked-in feel can find better grip with the Blackspire Robusto or Race Face Atlas, but the feel of this pedal is a little more versatile. Removing the three smaller pins allowed for a little more freedom of foot movement for bike park and jumping.

The three smaller pins were formerly grub screws. Those grub screws in the earlier version could be dialed in to reduce traction or backed out to provide a longer pin and increased traction like on the crankbrothers 5050. With the newer pins, the height cannot be adjusted, they are simply installed or removed. Further, the older grub screws provided more traction. Some pins loosened up on us so we'd again recommend Loctite when installing the pins. However, pedals get abused on a regular basis so it's easy to understand how they might come loose.

This photo shows the difference in size between the large inboard bearing design of the Spank Spike and the axle of the Deity Bladerunner.
This photo shows the difference in size between the large inboard bearing design of the Spank Spike and the axle of the Deity Bladerunner.

Platform


The pedal body is cold forged, which gives the aluminum a consistent, tight grain over the more popular extrusion method. This is the only pedal in the test to use this process and it helped set the Spike apart from the competition. By chamfering the edges of the pedal like the Race Face Atlas, ground clearance is improved and pedal strikes tend to deflect more than catch.

Instead of a giant square platform shape like the Funn Python or Deity Bladerunner, cornering clearance was improved while effective surface area was maintained by opting for a more triangular outside shape. In combination with the thin 12 mm profile, this pedal does all it can to get out of its own way. If you're a fan of the ultra-thin pedal platform, only the Funn Python and Deity Bladerunner, both 11 mm, can compete.

A proper mountain biking shoe with sticky rubber like the 5.10 Freeriders shown here  are almost as important as the pedal.  They allow the pins to dig into the sole of the shoe and provide maximum grip and support.
A proper mountain biking shoe with sticky rubber like the 5.10 Freeriders shown here, are almost as important as the pedal. They allow the pins to dig into the sole of the shoe and provide maximum grip and support.

Many user reviews log complaints about how the large inboard bearing on the crank side of the pedal body felt odd underfoot and reduced traction. There was definitely some wear on the anodized coating on top of that bulge, but we weren't too bothered by it. Unless your anatomy dictates a very narrow stance — see our Q-angle description in our buying advice — you might hardly notice it. Our lead tester made a slight complaint about it as it pertained to jumping and freestyle tricks. When pressed, he admitted the bulge wasn't "really ideal" given that the junction between the crank and pedal is a commonplace for foot placement to land given the "blind" nature of finding the pedal during tricks.

Pedal Mobility


The large, full complement inboard bearing will require you to use a washer in order for the pedal to spin properly. Without a washer, friction between the pedal and the crankarm will prevent that. Although pedal washers are often a good idea and can often protect your expensive cranks, our lead tester found running these without washers for jumping in the bike park was a nice option. Freestyle trickery is made a lot more difficult if your pedals spin when you release your foot such as during one-footed tricks. As if purposely going airborne one-footed isn't difficult enough, landing on your pedal when it's oriented vertically can make things a lot more sketchy. Knowing your pedal will be in roughly the same orientation as you left it at the lip of the jump is more reassuring.

If the only time you take your feet off the pedals is when you're purposely getting off the bike, throw those washers on. The Spike isn't the type of pedal that rotates like a perpetual motion machine anyway. The inboard seal is actually touted to reduce unwanted spin as described by Spank. Overly "spinny" pedals only serve to painfully crack you in the shins with the slightest tap and we think the pedal mobility of this contender is just right.

The inboard bearing of the Spike will sit flush against the crankarm if a pedal washer is not used.  Some cranks that feature crank boots  as pictured above  are nearly incompatible with these pedals  even when washers are used as you'll see in the next picture.  We elected to just remove the crank boots.
The inboard bearing of the Spike will sit flush against the crankarm if a pedal washer is not used. Some cranks that feature crank boots, as pictured above, are nearly incompatible with these pedals, even when washers are used as you'll see in the next picture. We elected to just remove the crank boots.

Some carbon cranks (that had boots on the ends to protect against rock strikes) were a poor match for these pedals. In order to create enough space, we had to put three washers on the axle. However, this left us with less than 11 mm of thread, which is often recommended for safe use. We chose to just remove those boots because they're kinda dorky.

We had to throw three spacers on the spindle for the large inboard bearing to clear the crank boots.  However  that many spacers left us with only around 10 mm of thread to spin into our cranks  a less than desirable amount.
We had to throw three spacers on the spindle for the large inboard bearing to clear the crank boots. However, that many spacers left us with only around 10 mm of thread to spin into our cranks, a less than desirable amount.


Servicing


After a few rides, our left pedal developed a high-pitched chirp. To investigate, we easily removed the forged chromoly steel pedal axle using an 8 mm allen on the drive side and a 10 mm crescent wrench on the distal end. The problem was easy to diagnose — the internals were bone dry.

Zero grease was on the spindle, especially compared to the gooped up axles of the Bonmixc 9/16" or Shimano Saint MX80. We applied some grease, reassembled the pedal, and the chirp was gone. Spank uses a new Finish Line Teflon lubricant that isn't like the goopy grease we found on other pedals and it proved not as effective as other greases. Mountain bike pedals tend to be relatively maintenance-free, so we were a little dismayed at how quickly the Spike required attention.

No grease on the axle.  It was easy to find the reason our pedals started screeching after only a couple rides.
No grease on the axle. It was easy to find the reason our pedals started screeching after only a couple rides.


Weight


420 grams isn't a valid excuse for wheezing and coughing up lung butter at the top of a climb. That you're riding flat pedals says there's a good chance that fun factor is more important than weight to you. The weight of these pedals is impressive with the crankbrothers 5050 and Best Buy Award winning VP Components VP-Vice getting in the ring, but it was much more impressive a few years ago. Thinner and lighter pedals have since cropped up that save 100 grams.

Best Applications


The pedals are an excellent choice for all-mountain riding or enduro racing. Traction is sufficient to hang tight through rough and rocky terrain, but you have enough wiggle room to enjoy a casually paced climb. Unlike the sole penetrating grip of something like the Blackspire Robusto or Race Face Atlas, this pedal allows small adjustments to be made for technical climbing that can make the difference between cleaning or dabbing a feature.

The Spank Spikes were a great all-around pedal that came in enough colors to compliment even the loudest of kits.
The Spank Spikes were a great all-around pedal that came in enough colors to compliment even the loudest of kits.

Value


Although they're not giving these pedals away at almost $120, they're money well spent. The likelihood of exploding these pedals on a rock strike is pretty nil given the chamfered edges and cold forged alloy body. The cold forged chromoly steel axle is stubby and well-protected within the caged design of the pedal, reducing leverage and force that could potentially bend the axle during hard impacts. Factor in the cost of a tube of grease as well, because these pedals will likely be screeching an awful chorus in short time.

Conclusion


The new Finish Line Teflon lubricant didn't do the trick as effectively as the more common goopy grease used by most other pedal manufacturers. If your ankles are always rubbing on your crankarms, you might not love the bump that the huge inboard bearings cause. Durability appears insanely good. Say no more about the advantages of cold-forging.

Other Versions

  • Spank Oozy-CNC machined specifically for trail riding to optimize weight. Same internals, same 12mm thin profile as the Spike, but 360 grams per pair.
  • Spank Spoon - Offered in three different platform widths of 90, 100, and 110 to fit all ages and sizes of riders.


Sean Cronin