If cycling and mountain biking are part of your “get in shape for ski season” routine, you’ll interested in these new bike pedals from Fruita, Colorado-based Catalyst Pedals.
Last winter I took my Trek Stache 9 mid-fattie (29 inch wheels with 3 inch wide tires) bicycle along on a two month skiing road trip from New Jersey to Colorado and Utah.
Throughout the year about 50 percent of my riding is on a road bike, 30 percent on a gravel bike and 20 percent on the mid-fattie that I use as a both a rail trail and mountain bike.
During my skiing boondoggle, it was all mid-fattie all the time.
On the drive back to Jersey I made several bicycling stops, including Moab, Utah where I learned that what I consider mountain biking and what they consider mountain biking do not exist on the same planet. I also realized that not being clipped into a pedal might be a better option for me when mountain biking, so I started researching flat pedal options.
About that time I started seeing ads on social media for Fruita, Colorado based Catalyst pedals. Coincidence?
How Are Catalyst Pedals Different?
I have a soft spot for biking in Fruita since I rode there during my ski travels and the pedals in the ad were like nothing I had ever seen. So I clicked to learn more. Catalyst flat pedals are bizarre looking in that they are huge . . . One would think they are designed to be used in conjunction with clown shoes.
The pedals were designed by long time mountain biker and strength and conditioning coach James Wilson. They are meant to be used in a mid-foot position, rather than with the ball of the foot over the center of the pedal. The large platform supports all sides of the arch and allows for more power to come from the major muscles surrounding the hips.
I read the science behind the pedal stroke, watched Wilson’s videos and read and watched independent reviews.
It made sense, but it was solving problems I did not have. I was quite happy with the way my legs powered me along on my three bicycles and was only looking to be unclipped on one of them when riding steep uneven trails.
Catalyst pedals seemed like overkill to solve my one little issue and at $129 for a pair they are pricey, but I was curious and interested in experimenting with the mid-foot position, so I ordered a pair in red. They are also available in black, blue and gray and, for a limited time, purple.
I’ve only had a chance to ride them a few times on gravel/dirt trails, but I’ve noticed that I’m using different leg muscles when I pedal with the arch of my foot centered on the pedals instead of the ball of my foot. Whether or not it’s adding more power to my stroke or making me more efficient, I’m not sure. But I do like the fact that I’m exercising different muscle groups.
I still plan to ride clipped in on my road and gravel bikes. Again, I am very happy with the way I power myself using those SPD pedals. While I can hold my own on roads and rail trails, I confess to being a novice when it comes to singletrack mountain biking. This autumn I plan to head up to Vermont and ride at several of the ski resorts offering mountain biking trails. I might even take a lesson or two.
And speaking of ski resorts, bicycling is a great way to keep the legs in shape, or get them in shape, for when the lifts start spinning.
Martin Griff, our East Coast ski bum contributor, purchased his Catalyst pedals. Neither he nor braveskimom.com received compensation from Catalyst pedals. As always, all opinions are his own and are exactly what he would tell his family and friends.
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