Edco's 3AX pedals are designed to help with hip-knee-foot alignment, but £250 is a lot of money to spend on pedals that don't guarantee performance gains or better comfort for all. They're also considerably heavier than competitors.
The 3AX pedals are purported to alleviate knee pain and increase power transfer by giving your feet the freedom to 'sway' sideways and move more naturally than just the rigid lateral movement offered by most clipless pedals. It's a fascinating idea and Edco has certainly done its homework before bringing them to market, but I'd like to see some further improvements if there's to be a second iteration.
The company quotes studies showing average efficiency improvements of 5.47% in a test pool of 30 cyclists, riding at a power output (W) of 2.5x greater than their bodyweight in kg. It was this exhaustive testing and research completed over four years that earned Edco an innovation award at Eurobike last summer – but are they any good on the road?
Coming in their own neat presentation box (as they should for £250!) and with Keo-compatible cleats, setting the cleats up was a standard affair, as was mounting the pedals which requires an 8mm hex wrench rather than a pedal spanner.
It's worth warning you that engagement of the 3AX pedals takes some serious getting used to – my understanding is that because of the pedal moving side to side, working with the natural direction of your foot, you have to wriggle your foot to engage, rather than being able to just 'scoop' it in as with a Look Keo or SPD. As a slight overpronator I had to angle my foot inward slightly to engage the cleat, and no matter where I placed it on the sole of my shoes the same thing happened. For me this makes the 3AX pedals unsuitable for rides with lots of foot-down junctions en route. After a lot of use I just couldn't make clipping in seamless every time, which could potentially be dangerous in heavy traffic.
Once clipped in I was largely impressed with the pedals. They take some getting used to and it's odd at first when you move your foot around atop of the pedals – I'm used to my feet feeling pretty rigid – but after a while the difference is negligible.
As someone with reasonably good left-right balance and efficiency, I couldn't really tell the difference going in a dead-straight line, and based on my anecdotal evidence and ride data I can't claim efficiency improvements myself. I did definitely feel the pedals gave a more comfortable ride than the mid-range ones I've been used to, especially out of the saddle and turning corners, where the extra freedom of movement was welcome.
The exposed aluminium spindle does hang down quite low, which didn't fill me with confidence when taking some tight corners – I just about cleared them each time – but for crit racers it would definitely be worth experimenting with clearance before going for these.
That spindle and all the exposed metal does make me question the longevity of these pedals; it means there are numerous entry points for grime and they did get dirty quite quickly during my test rides. I'd like to have seen some more protection on the underside of the pedal – perhaps a casing over the spindle, although that would add more weight and even less clearance, and the 3AX are already heavy at 390g.
Walking in the 3AX cleats isn't too bad. They're a bit flatter than Look Keo cleats, less protruding than SPD-SLs, and they're quite hardwearing, so for short walks they're fine.
If you prioritise weight over comfort and are a reasonably efficient rider, it's fair to say the 3AX pedals may not be for you. To give some comparison, Shimano's Dura-Ace 9100 pedals are 228g a pair with an RRP of £224.99, and Look's Blade Carbon Ti are 248g for £249.99 but can be picked up for less if you shop around. It means the 3AX lag with regards to both weight and price compared with the market-leading brands.
In summary, I'm not convinced that the 3AX pedals are a complete revolution in pedal design just yet. Edco's quoted studies of 30 riders, although exhaustive, don't quite go far enough to demonstrate that all riders would benefit. Visiting a bike fit specialist and/or a physio would also definitely be worth it before deciding you need these pedals for their promises of greater knee comfort if you struggle with knee injuries.
For myself, I noticed slight improvements in comfort but not in performance, and would like to see some more weight reduction and a redesign of the pedal body before I could fully recommend them for all.
An exciting innovation, but they're not really worth the outlay for the majority of cyclists
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Edco 3AX pedals
Size tested: n/a
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?
Edco's 3AX pedals are purported to alleviate knee pain and increase power transfer by giving your feet the freedom to 'sway' sideways and move more naturally, rather than just the rigid lateral movement offered by most clipless pedals.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Weight - 390g for the pair
2° of rocking 'sway' to each side, 9° of float
Aluminium body, proprietary alloy spindles
3-hole mounting system (Keo compatible)
12.5mm stack height
54mm spindle length
Made in The Netherlands
The exposed spindle doesn't fill me with confidence with regards to the longevity of the pedals, and the pedal body is already showing quite a bit of wear after 300 miles of riding.
Despite fearing the swaying motion would lead to power losses on sprints and flats, the 3AX pedals still felt stiff and controllable riding fast in a dead straight line.
The spindle and numerous entry points for dirt means the pedals do get dirty quite easily. I'd like to see some more protection on the underside of the pedal.
Shimano Dura-Ace pedals: 228g a pair; Look Blade Carbon Ti: 248g... the 3AX lag way behind at 390g.
I was impressed by the comfort offered by the swaying motion of the pedals, and they still felt stiff and controllable riding fast in a straight line.
It depends how much you rate the technology – but I imagine £250 will be too much for the majority of cyclists for quite marginal performance and comfort gains.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Although I can't claim efficiency improvements, I definitely felt the pedals gave a more comfortable ride than the mid-range pedals I've been used to.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
The extra freedom of movement, particularly out of the saddle.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
They're difficult to clip into.
Did you enjoy using the product? For the most part yes, but certainly not at traffic lights.
Would you consider buying the product? If I could afford the luxury of having a pristine pair of pedals just for racing, I would consider buying them.
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Perhaps
Use this box to explain your score
If I had a friend who suffered with knee/IT Band issues, or another friend with money to burn who wanted marginal gains, then I would recommend they give these a try – a try, that is, as the published studies Edco provides don't give conclusive proof to me that they can markedly improve comfort or performance. Plus £250 is a lot of dosh.
About the tester
I usually ride: Road bike (currently Specialized Tarmac) My best bike is: Ridley Chronus TT bike
I've been riding for: Under 5 years I ride: Every day I would class myself as: Experienced
I regularly do the following types of riding: road racing, time trialling, commuting, club rides, sportives, general fitness riding, triathlon races
After cobbling together a few hundred quid during his student days off the back of a hard winter selling hats (long story), Jack bought his first road bike at the age of 20 and has been hooked ever since. He was Staff Writer at 220 Triathlon magazine for two years before joining road.cc in 2017, and reports on all things tech as well as editing the road.cc live blog. He is also the news editor of our electric-powered sister site eBikeTips. Jack's preferred events are time trials, sportives, triathlons and pogo sticking (the latter being another long story), and on Sunday afternoons he can often be found on an M5 service station indulging in his favourite post-race meal of 20 chicken nuggets, a sausage roll, caramel shortbread and a large strawberry milkshake.