Crank Brothers Candy 7 Review
Cons: Not much platform, non-adjustable
Manufacturer: Crank Brothers
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Our Analysis and Test Results
The Crank Brothers Candy pedals are their mid-size, small platform pedals, offered in five different models. The Candy 7 that we put through the wringer is the lowest priced model you can get featuring their new traction pads. Crank Brothers describes them as lightweight yet durable and dependable. Most performance-oriented mountain bike products strive to strike this balance, and the Candy 7 succeeds. Let's look at the rest of the story.
Ease of Entry
The mini platform of the Candy makes them much easier to access than standard Egg Beater. Although the mechanism features four-sided engagement, the mini platform makes it essentially a two-sided pedal. Similar to our thoughts on the Crank Brothers Mallet E, the engagement mechanism isn't always in the proper orientation inside the pedal which can complicate entry. The feeling of engagement is typical of Crank Brothers and not incredibly consistent, sometimes you hear a snap while other times, it's a vague click. You get used to it after spending some time on them and doesn't tend to be an issue for most of our testers, just our observation. The Shimano XT M8120 by contrast, give a decisive engagement sound, a reaffirming audible 'click'.
Ease of Exit
The Candy is quite easy to get out of. Without any traction pins to get hung up on, a simple heel twist and you're free of the pedal. The sound and feel of release are also a bit vague, but release comes at the angle dictated by the cleat installation, 15 or 20 degrees. When twisting out, you're not sure if you're pushing against the spring tension or just encountering friction from the traction pad. You can swap out the traction pads with different thicknesses, resulting in more or less friction between the shoe and pedal. Getting the right fit helps to distinguish between the forces holding you in. We felt the Candy 7 release was far superior and more reliable than the Time ATAC XC 8. While they both had a faint feel, the Candy released with the same level of effort on each attempt.
Other than cleat placement and traction pad thickness mentioned above, the Candy 7 offers no adjustability. It's a limiting factor on the Crank Brothers pedals but if you're of average skill and weight, the mechanism seems to do a pretty good job keeping you secure and releasing when you needed. The traction pads provided with the pedals are either 1mm or 2mm thick and swapping them out changes the level of contact with the shoe's sole.
By increasing or decreasing this interface, it gives more or less friction to your heel float. Crank Brothers also offers a 0-degree float cleat that enhances pedal efficiency. The inability to adjust the release tension is a product of the simple design; we like the design, but the pedal loses points to every non-Crank Brothers pedal in the test for its 'one size fits all' tension.
At 320 grams, the Candy 7 is a lightweight pedal. This is the upside of having no adjustability, you're not weighed down by the extra hardware. The XTR M9120 pedal featuring adjustable release tension came in 52 grams heavier on our scales and the steel Shimano SPD cleats add 17 grams over the Crank Brothers brass cleats.
In many ways, the size of the platform on the Candy 7 is nice. It achieves the objective of aligning the pedal with the cleat and the surface of the traction pads provide a reasonable pedaling platform. The platform stops the pedal from rolling underfoot but as with the Mallet E, hides 2 of the entry points. Analyzing pedal to shoe fit, the Candy 7 and Mallet E have almost identical amounts of contact on our cross country test shoes. Using the softer rubber-soled Five Ten shoes, our interface was greatly increased with the Mallet E. We rated the platform much better on the Mallet E because of this. It's important to pick the right shoes to utilize the size and function of your pedals.
We find the Candy 7 to be the sweet spot of the Candy pedals price point. At $169 you get the traction pads that the 3 less expensive models lack and you're not dropping $450 for the titanium-clad Candy 11. Crank Brothers pedals haven't exactly been known for their durability but starting in 2016 all models have been upgraded to new Igus LL Glide Bearings, Enduro cartridge bearings, a double lip internal seal and a new external seal. Keeping the muck out should prolong the life of these pedals or at least the stints between servicing.
The Candy 7 is a noticeable upgrade over previous iterations of Candy pedals. If you're not discouraged by their lack of adjustability we think they provide a nice compromise of light weight, ease of entry and mud-shedding ability. We'd recommend these pedals for a wide range of bikes, light enough to thread into a racing hardtail yet stable enough to grace our 5" trail bikes. We find the pedal caters better to those using stiffer soled all mountain and cross country shoes.
This pedal can be worn with either a stiff shoe, like the Sidi Dominator 5 Fit, or a slightly softer shoe like the Giro Terraduro. Even better it can go with a shoe that falls in the middle and has a stiff sole and sticky rubber, like the Pearl Izumi X-Project Pro. Matching it up with a more substantial shoe like the Five Ten Kestrel has diminishing returns. It can also be used on almost any type of trail bike, from hardtail to 5 inches of travel.
— Joshua Hutchens