iSSi is QBP's new pedal brand, and they're providing a compelling, colorful alternative to Shimano SPD pedals, but they're not Shimano SPD cleat compatible. © Cyclocross Magazine
Editor's Note: This article is from our mud-loving friends at Cyclocross Magazine and originally appeared on cxmagazine.com. Visit them for your daily cyclocross fix.
Stroll around Quality Bicycle Product's Frostbike expo and perhaps the two things you see the most in booths are tires and pedals. For cyclocrossers, that's probably a good thing, as these also happen to be the two things that are most likely to get you to head into your local shop, for a fresh set of rubber for racing or training, or a new set of cleats (or pedals) to ensure your dismounts and remounts are as smooth as Nys.
Today we'll look at iSSi, VX and Look's new clipless pedal options. All three were showing off new pedals that they are positioning for cyclocross and mountain bike racers. First up is iSSi.
iSSi is QBP's newest brand, and its mission is to provide bike shops with an alternative to Shimano SPD pedals. QBP distributes Shimano components to independent bike shops, but Shimano has recently decided to go dealer-direct with its pedals, opening up an opportunity for QBP to fulfill retailer demand with its own brand.
The new pedal line offers up some interesting differentiations from Shimano SPD pedals. First, and most noticeable, are the colors.
The first model to hit the market, shipping to your local bike shop now, is the $75, XC and CX-oriented Pedal iSSi. There's no less than eight color options for the style-conscious racer: Brilliant White, Hi-Vis Yellow, Hi-Vis Orange, Tru Blu, Really Red, iSSi Pink and the "standards" of Bright Silver, and Intense Black.
The pedal offers one sealed bearing and one bushing, and are rebuildable both in terms of bearings and bushings (via the spindle rebuild kid) and also the black plates and retention clips (via small parts kit).
iSSi will have three spindle length options, with a +6mm and +12mm option for those who need a wider stance. © Cyclocross Magazine
Coming in the new few months are spindle length options, with two spindles that are 6mm and 12mm longer, should you require a wider stance (Q-Factor). These longer-spindle options are targeted to be just $5 more, at $80, as seen below.
See the three marks on the spindle? That designates the triple bearing option on the Pedal iSSi. © Cyclocross Magazine
The company also has a Pedal iSSi Duro in the works. This model features triple sealed bearings, and is designated by three laser-etched lines on the body near the spindle. The Duro is expected to be ready by summer.
Also in the works is a trail option. A prototype of the Pedal iSSi Trail just arrived at QBP this week, and is shown below. It should also come in the same color options.
One additional differentiation offered up by the iSSi pedals that may not be appreciated by cyclists, especially cyclocrossers, who are already invested in Shimano SPD pedals, is that the iSSi pedals are not Shimano SPD cleat compatible. Instead, the pedal uses a Wellgo 98A cleat, and iSSi strongly recommends not trying to force an SPD cleat into the pedal, as float and retention (and thus safety) are greatly compromised without the correct cleat.
[Update: Although iSSi warns against it, many people have reported that Wellgo 98A cleats and SH-51 cleats are interchangeable, and one early iSSi rider has reported success after some initial troubles. YMMV. ]
This pretty much rules out the pedal for anyone who already rides (and likes) Shimano pedals and just wants to outfit another bike with one of the colorful or longer spindle options offered by iSSi. But new cyclocrossers and cyclists certainly have plenty of color and spindle length options to choose from while buying what might be their first cyclocross bike.
This is a prototype of iSSi's new trail version of their clipless pedal. © Cyclocross Magazine
With iSSi, along with some other QBP brands, strict pricing is enforced, and all retailers will be selling the Pedal iSSi at $75, with no third-party (Amazon, eBay) online sales allowed. That hopefully will get you into your local shop to check out the color options, and back to them to pick up replacement cleats.
For more information visit rideissi.com.