Home
Verdict: 
Cheap robust Look-a-like clip-in pedals let down by lack of float
Weight: 
306g
Contact: 
www.decathlon.co.uk
B'Twin 500 Road Clipless pedals
5 10

Despite coming from the vast depths of the French Decathlon warehouse these BTwin pedals are made by VP Components who make an awful lot of headsets, bottom brackets and pedals both under their own name and for a whole bunch of other people. Despite their bargain price these 500 pedals have a certain reassuring provenance.

They're not light pedals. The body is aluminium but the axle is steel, as is the spring; you don't get any titanium and carbon dieting for your thirty quid, princess. There's a steel plate on that alloy body to prevent wear too. The pedals fix into the crank via an 8mm allen key out the back, there are no spanner flats on the axle.

The spring mechanism for the BTwin 500 is a basic affair. A chunky exposed spring curls its way round the spindle of the cleat retention clasp, and spring tension can be adjusted via the 2.5mm allen key bolt embedded in the pedal body. That deals with both entry and release forces simultaneously, no independent adjustment here. That clipping in and out is done with a reassuring clunk that requires a certain amount of determination as that unsophisticated spring adjustment doesn't offer much in the way of a difference between tight and loose, because it's a robust steel spring.

The red cleats don't have any fancy pontoons or protective nubbins stuck on them so if you like to walk around nature reserves in inappropriate shoes you're not going to get much life out of them, and walking in them is as duck-awkward as you'd expect.

There's no float in the B'Twin cleat. Well, there's the tiniest bit of clicky play between the cleat and pedal if you force it but to call it actual float would be an injustice. Your knees will either be fine with this rigid interface or not. For me it was a problem, not necessarily for short rides but after a couple of hours of float-free pedaling my knees would start to complain. Your mileage may vary, as they say. Literally.

The B'Twin blurb suggests that you can use Look Keo cleats on their pedals, and while they use the same industry standard three-hole mounting system and look (heh) about the same to the naked eye, the Keo cleats won't entertain clipping into the BTwin pedals. So if you try to introduce some float into the system this way, you'll be disappointed and you'll have a spare set of Keo cleats.

The pedals are guaranteed for two years but if longer term maintenance issues occur the axle can be unwound from the body with the Shimano TL PD-40 tool that you might have in the shed and the sealed bearings tinkered with and replaced if necessary. At their bargain price it'll probably work out cheaper, if less eco friendly, just to get a new set of pedals, with cleats to replace the ones that are a bit worn out now.

The BTwin 500s are okay pedals, especially for the price. If you can live with the lack of float the body of the pedal is large enough not to cause any hot-spots or any feelings of roll, pitch or yaw, and is a stiff enough platform for any kind of cycling you might want to do. But if you hunt around the internet for bargains you can find other similarly priced road pedals that come with cleats that offer some degrees of float, I'd probably go for them if I were you.

Verdict

Cheap robust Look alike clip-in pedal let down by lack of float

road.cc test report

Make and model: BTwin 500 Road Clipless pedals

Size tested: white

Tell us what the product is for, and who it's aimed at. What do the manufacturers say about it? How does that compare to your own feelings about it?

The B'Twin 500 Road Pedals are designed for regular road cyclists using Look Keo compatible cleats. High resistance pedal bearings and body.

Rate the product for quality of construction:
 
8/10

A solidly made pedal.

Rate the product for performance:
 
4/10

Perfectly acceptable click-in pedals let down by basic spring adjustment and lack of float.

Rate the product for comfort, if applicable:
 
3/10

Lack of float will be an issue to some.

Rate the product for value:
 
8/10

Perfectly acceptable entry level pedals.

Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose

As a clipless pedal they did just fine, clipping in and out was solid, the lack of free play might cause some people's joints to complain.

Tell us what you particularly liked about the product

Cheap, and repairable if needs be.

Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product

The lack of float was a bit of a pain, literally.

Did you enjoy using the product? To a certain extent, until the static pedal interface started to ache my knees a bit.

Would you consider buying the product? No, the lack of float is an issue for my knees.

Would you recommend the product to a friend? If they wanted a cheap 'have a go' pair of clipless pedals, yes.

Stout construction and accessibility to the innards mean these should last a while.
Rate the product for weight, if applicable:
 
3/10
Yeah, chunky.
Rate the product for durability:
 
7/10

Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?

Large pedal surface for greater performance.'Aluminium body, Chromoly steel axle and cartridge ball bearings.'Adjustable cleat tension (80~180 kgf/cm).'For KEO-compatible shoes and cleats. 2 year guarantee.

Overall rating: 5/10

About the tester

Age: 47  Height: 180cm  Weight: 73kg

I usually ride: It varies as to the season.  My best bike is: The one I\'m on at the time

I've been riding for: Over 20 years  I ride: Most days  I would class myself as: Experienced

I regularly do the following types of riding: road racing, cyclo cross, general fitness riding, fixed/singlespeed, mtb, Fun

 

Jo Burt has spent the majority of his life riding bikes, drawing bikes and writing about bikes. When he's not scribbling pictures for the whole gamut of cycling media he writes words about them for road.cc and when he's not doing either of those he's pedaling. Then in whatever spare minutes there are in between he's agonizing over getting his socks, cycling cap and bar-tape to coordinate just so. And is quietly disappointed that yours don't He rides and races road bikes a bit, cyclo-cross bikes a lot and mountainbikes a fair bit too. Would rather be up a mountain.

13 comments

Avatar
Grizzerly [367 posts] 3 years ago
0 likes

Why is everyone obsessed with floating shoe plates? If your plates are fitted correctly and you pedal properly, then your foot shouldn't move on the pedal. If it does, you're probably well on the way to knackering your knees.

Avatar
crikey [1251 posts] 3 years ago
0 likes
Quote:

Why is everyone obsessed with floating shoe plates? If your plates are fitted correctly and you pedal properly, then your foot shouldn't move on the pedal. If it does, you're probably well on the way to knackering your knees.

Because human biomechanics aren't as simple as you think. You could try riding with fixed cleats, and you might get away with it, but most people, including most professional cyclists, prefer to have a little bit of a margin for error.

Quote:

you pedal properly

I dread to think what you mean by this...

Avatar
Welsh boy [422 posts] 3 years ago
0 likes

Rubbish.

Why didnt every cyclist from the era before floating cleats have shagged knees? We all rode narrow shoe plates which fitted over the pedal body and which were held in place by a leather strap. No float, no bad knees but care needed in setting your plates up correctly. Oh I almost forgot, no marketing BS to brainwash the masses either.

Avatar
crikey [1251 posts] 3 years ago
0 likes

Well having been one of those cyclists, and one who loved to use toe clips and straps, I know that there was a significant amount of wiggle in the slot in the shoe plates, and that there was an additional wobble in the upper of the shoes...

Sorry fellas, but float was developed as an answer to a biomechanical problem, not as a marketing tool.

...and having ridden a season of road racing using fixed cleats and taken a month off with knee trouble, I have experience of this issue from every angle.

Avatar
crikey [1251 posts] 3 years ago
0 likes

A wee bit of history....

From http://university.tri-sports.com/2011/09/09/beginner%E2%80%99s-guide-to-...

Quote:

A Brief History of the Modern Clipless Pedal.

While crude examples existed since the early 1900’s, including the Cinelli “death pedal”, the modern clipless pedal was invented by the French inventor Jean Beyl, an early innovator of spring release ski bindings. In the early 1980’s Beyl designed an “automatic safety pedal” while working for the Look ski binding company. That pedal became the “Look” pedal.

Early white Look pedals and the later all black Look “Racing Pedal” were heavy and held the rider’s foot in static alignment with the pedal; your foot did not move. Beyl went on to develop a new technology that introduced lateral (side to side) and rotational movement, known as “float”. Beyl discovered that if the pedal allowed the foot to find its natural orientation performance was enhanced. He was also the first to formally acknowledge that the geometry of the foot changes on the pedal. The cleat/pedal interface ought to accommodate that for optimal performance and safety.

This famous Graham Watson image of Bernard Hinault and Greg Lemond on L'Alpe d Huez in 1985 shows both men using the new clipless Look pedal, the beginning of a revolution.

Beyl attempted to convince Look to include rotational and lateral movement into their pedal designs, but business pressures prevented a change in design. Beyl left Look in the late 1980’s to partner with two French businessmen to start a company called “Time Sport”. He introduced the Time Pedal with rotational and lateral movement built in. Under the U.S. direction of the charismatic French businessman Jean-Pierre Pascal, Time Sport grew rapidly. In 1989 the majority of riders in the Tour de France, including winner Greg LeMond, were using Time pedals. Top pro riders switched to Time pedals because they felt it extended their careers and limited exposure to knee injuries. Since Beyl introduced rotational movement in pedals with the first Time pedal, all pedals now incorporate some provision for rotational movement.

Avatar
Scowel [51 posts] 3 years ago
0 likes

Stuff that. I just nail my feet to my pedals so they don't budge at all. I use a claw hammer to get them off at the end of a ride and if I crash I just stay with the bike and man up. If my knees hurt I chew a piece of leather until the pain goes away or I pass out.

Avatar
crikey [1251 posts] 3 years ago
0 likes

Leather? You were lucky...

Avatar
Scowel [51 posts] 3 years ago
0 likes

If you call lucky making my own leather out of flattened hedgehogs I find at the side of the road then I suppose I am that lad, I am that

Avatar
ricardogarlondez [25 posts] 3 years ago
0 likes

Buy the btwin 300s lighter with tipped cleats 7° float and £16.99.

Avatar
tom_w [219 posts] 3 years ago
0 likes

They're only 20g heavier than 105 carbon? Seems like a harsh rating for the weight?

Avatar
joemmo [1164 posts] 3 years ago
0 likes

Oh I can't be doing with all this modern ergonomicals and biowhatsits. Can you? Did Bernard Eno have a saddle moulded to his pelvic floor? Did Freddie Mercs have jelly in his breeches? Did they bollocks. Nothing to sit on but a length of rough hewn timber wrapped in hessian and they were happy for that.

Real men. Hard men. Men with splinters in their arses.

Avatar
viagro2 [15 posts] 3 years ago
0 likes

You just chewed on an an old tub!

Avatar
gazza_d [472 posts] 3 years ago
0 likes
joemmo wrote:

Oh I can't be doing with all this modern ergonomicals and biowhatsits. Can you? Did Bernard Eno have a saddle moulded to his pelvic floor? Did Freddie Mercs have jelly in his breeches? Did they bollocks. Nothing to sit on but a length of rough hewn timber wrapped in hessian and they were happy for that.

Real men. Hard men. Men with splinters in their arses.

Bernard Eno?? wasn't he in Roxy Music?