Xpedo Ambix Review
Cons: Not as much platform support as we prefer on the clipless side.
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Our Analysis and Test Results
Xpedo's Ambix dual-access pedal offers a reliable option for riders wanting clipless functionality and flat pedal freedom. The pedal body is machined from 6061 aluminum, and the Cromoly axles roll on three sealed cartridge bearings. The flat side of the pedal features eight adjustable grub pins with four located in the center around the spindle body and one in each corner of the pedal. The clipless side features an SPD style engagement mechanism with a static front bar and spring loaded rear. The release tension is adjustable, and the included XPC cleats offer 6 degrees of float. The pedals platform size and pin placement interface well with a clipless shoe and aren't overly obtrusive when riding the clipless side.
These dual duty pedals showing up on the market aren't for riding your enduro bike to the store in flip flops. They satisfy a demand for a pedal that can give the clipless rider a chance to step back from commitment in precarious situations or add some efficiency to a flat pedal riders haul up the hill.
Scoring well in most categories, the Ambix handily bested the similarly purposed Crank Brothers Double Shot 3. Seeing how the Xpedo Ambix stacked up against the competition, it is clear to see why it was our Top Pick for versatility.
Ease of Entry
The platform on the Ambix hits a sweet spot for size, its large enough to straddle the opening on a clipless shoe and small enough that it didn't feel bulky. We were able to clip into the Ambix with ease, the entry felt a little more vertical than the kick in motion on many SPD pedals but didn't complicate engagement. Once broken in the pedal hangs in a clipless biased fashion but not quite straight up and down, when your foot hits it from behind you'll naturally engage the clipless side of the pedal. Stepping into the flat side required a little bit of finesse or rearward motion, but neither side felt seamless. For this reason, the Ambix didn't score as high as our dual-sided clipless pedals such as the Time Speciale 8. Once oriented, the Ambix connected readily, and we weren't confronted with any engagement issues like we were on the Crank Brothers Double Shot 3
Ease of Exit
The Xpedo Ambix pedals are far more competitive in this metric. The clipless mechanism doesn't hesitate to release, and the otherwise flat clipless side of the pedal is free of obstruction. Getting out of the pedal is a typical heel twist away. Riding the platform side of the pedal feels similar to riding a dedicated flat and getting yourself untangled is as simple as lifting up. The grub pin traction means you won't likely be slipping off of this pedal.
This Crank Brother Double Shot 3, in contrast, had an inconsistent release that left us feeling uncertain on the clipless side. The flat side didn't fare any better with our shoes occasionally sliding off the Double shot but seated firmly on the Ambix.
Adjustable grub pins provide customization to the flat side of this pedal and unlike the Crank Brothers Double Shot 3, the pins were placed such that they made contact with the sole of the shoe that surrounds the cleat recess. The Xpedo also offers adjustable release tension which isn't an option on the Crank Brothers pedals. The release tension range was very similar to a Shimano SPD pedal such as the XTR M-9120.
At 384g per pair, the Ambix pedals are respectably lightweight. They're lighter than any of the other dual duty pedals we've tested including the previously tested HT D-1. While weight isn't everything in this segment, the fact that they provide two different surfaces for fewer grams than most single-purpose pedals we found impressive. Lighter than the Shimano XTR M9120 makes us feel good about adding versatility without a weight penalty.
The low profile 6061 aluminum body is lengthy and wide, providing ample support to enduro and trail style shoes. The flat platform features eight grub pins that most notably engage the forefoot, most of the time we got a solid bite from the pedal and felt in control. If you step too far outward and miss the inboard central pins, the outboard pins get lost in the cleat recess of the shoe while the fore and aft pins connect but leave you feeling less secure.
We tested these pedals using Vibram, 2FO, Shimano AM, 5.10, and harder XC soles. On all but the XC soles, we found a solid connection that felt like what we've come to expect from the nicer flat pedals on the market such as the VP Components VP-Vice. Moisture didn't affect our connection much as it relied on grub pin interface more than friction.
On the clipless side, they engaged readily but lacked the supportive feel we'd hoped the larger pedal body would provide. Pedals like the Shimano XT M8120 or Saint M820 support the sole of the shoe along the spindle structure and we didn't feel much of that with the Ambix. Their clipless support felt a bit reminiscent of the Shimano M530, while not a bad pedal, the market is evolving to offer more support.
Mud Shedding Ability
In general, less surface area means fewer places for mud to hang on and the Ambix features a minimalist clipless mechanism that helps its clipless side best the comparatively crowded Crank Brothers Double Shot 3. It can't quite match the mud shedding performance of the Shimano XTR M-9120 but that pedal doesn't feature a platform on one side.
On the Ambix's flat side, Xpedo has machined the spindle housing in an angular fashion which allows mud stuck to the shoe to split and shed fore or aft of the spindle. Similar to the tactic employed by the Shimano XTR M9100 with its conical machining.
The Xpedo Ambix retails for $89.00 in most colors and $119.00 in an anodized oil slick color. We find these to be an excellent value to the consumer. Less expensive than any of the other dual duty pedals we've tested, they excel in performance and value.
This is the best dual duty pedal we've tested. While we find some room for improvement in our metrics, the Ambix gives a substantial and stable platform and a predictable clipless experience.
This is the only dual duty offering from Xpedo's extensive pedal collection. Other dual duty pedals include the Crank Brother Double Shot 3 and the HT D-1 although neither of them gets the nod of approval for serious trail riding that we give the Xpedo Ambix.
— Joshua Hutchens