Big large flats – Pedalling Innovations Catalyst pedals

First of all, I have never used clip ins. My Giant Anthem came with them, but I changed them to MTB flats straight away – I want an easy exit if thing go wrong, which regular readers of this blog will know does happen for me! Recently though, well, over the last year, I’ve been getting increasing knee pain – to the point I saw the doctor, physio and started reading more about pedalling.

On the plus, the knee pain took away from the recovering sore arm/shoulder pain 🙂

In my research, I came across Pedalling Innovations and their super huge Catalyst pedals. What really gelled with me, was the questioning of conventional “pedal from the ball of the foot” wisdom, challenged with biomechanics that suggest central foot pedalling just makes more physics sense. The description of a supported foot arch being more effective in a squat in the gym, compared to do a squat perched on the ball of the foot, just makes logical and practical sense; especially since this is the pedalling action as well. The claims that central foot pedalling also use better muscle groups, activating the hips and decreasing knee pain was also really appealing. The 30 day money back guarantee was the clincher!

A couple of weeks later, a box arrived at work containing my new pedals, some stickers, a second set of longer grip screws and some instructions. Fitting them to the bike was a breeze, and I opted to start with the installed shorter grub screw grips. I followed the instructions and lowered my seat a little, but ignored the advice of potentially moving the seat forward as well, because I’d never been able to get my seat as far back as I would like anyway!

The first ride seemed a bit strange. I had to really keep thinking about moving my foot back on the pedal to get the central position – retraining myself was a bit hard. I also found rather than getting heal strike on my rear triangle, I was now getting toe strike on my front wheel when turning sharply. I do have big feet!

But the power difference was amazing. Really amazing. I think in the first week I got eight different Strava PB times, I found myself climbing hills up one or two gears, and on one hill climb even broke a chain. OK, it may have been a dodgey link, but I have no doubt the extra power I had caused it to give way.

I’ve been riding with them now for a bit over 1000km, mostly daily commute, but some longer rides as well including off-road. There is no way I’m going back. I have maintained my extra power and I’ve got the pedal position sorted naturally now, along with a subtle foot back shift when I have to pedal slow or turn sharply. I’m out of the seat more comfortably and often on hills, and when off-road i can get out of the seat with minimal wheel spin on gravel – the power is more even and controlled. I like the ankle action they give, and most importantly my knee pain is absolutely gone! In fact, I went back to another bike with normal flats, and with a 20km ride, my knee pain came back. For me, these pedals really work!

I liked them so much, I ordered another set for my other bike. That package got intercepted by my wife though, and there is no way I’m getting them back, even if the bright blue pedals don’t match her yellow and black bike!

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