Spank Spike Review
Cons: Required service almost immediately, large inboard bearing may cause awkward foot position, we missed the grub screws from previous versions
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Our Analysis and Test Results
The Spank Spike is a 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 new pins lack 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.
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 some of the other pedals we tested, but the feel of the Spike 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. With the newer pins, the height cannot be adjusted, they are simply installed or removed. Further, the older grub screws simply provided more bite. Some pins loosened up on us so we'd 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.
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, ground clearance is improved and pedal strikes tend to deflect more than catch.
Instead of a giant square platform shape, 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.
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.
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.
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.
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 other pedals we tested. 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.
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. There are certainly thinner and lighter pedals that have since cropped up that save 100 grams.
Although they're not giving these pedals away, we feel they are 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.
Overall, we liked the Spike pedals and feel they are a great option for trail all-mountain, and enduro style riders. They have a good pedal strike free design, and a generally agreeable level of grip. Unfortunately, the new Finish Line Teflon lubricant didn't do the trick as effectively as the more common grease used by most other pedal manufacturers. If your ankles are always rubbing on your crankarms, you may not get along with the bump that the huge inboard bearings cause. Otherwise, durability appears insanely good with the rugged cold-forged pedal body.
- 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