Urban Velo

Crank Brothers Candy SL Pedals

crank-bros-candy-slCrank Brothers rose to prominence in the mountain bike market in an incredibly short amount of time. Years later they’re known as the most popular alternative to Shimano’s ubiquitous SPD clipless pedal. Crank Brothers effectively nudged the closest competition out of the way with clever design, slick packaging and consistent marketing. Their flagship product, Egg Beater pedals, continue to sell incredibly well. But for many cyclists, the venerable Candy pedals are where it’s at.

Offering a little more contact area than their minimalist cousins, the Candy SL pedals use stainless steel springs and spindles like the similarly priced Eggbeaters, but at 266g per pair, they’re roughly 18g heavier. Hardly a concern for most commuters. The $130 price tag, however, may be. Crank Brothers offers a $90 Candy C pedal that substitutes a Chromoly spindle and pays a 42g weight penalty. I’ve used both models extensively, and can’t say the Candy C’s work any better or any worse than the Candy SL’s. Mostly, I just like the SL’s better because mine have fancy blue springs.

Unfortunately, all Crank Brothers pedals suffer the same Achilles heel. The cleats are soft, and walking in them decimates their lifespan. This is bad news for urban cyclists, because even though the cleats are relatively low-profile, rocks and gravel do a number of the soft brass alloy. And once the cleats are worn out, they don’t like to stay clipped in.

Another downfall of the Crank Brothers design is that even brand new cleats can become disengaged at inopportune times—namely climbing or skidding on a fixed gear. I’ve had this happen to me numerous times, and while it seems to be the exception, not the rule, it’s still enough to wonder if double-strap toe clips aren’t still the best option for fixed gear enthusiasts…

As far as clipless pedals go, Crank Brothers pedals seem to work remarkably well in adverse conditions, including rain, snow and mud. This makes them a great choice for mountain biking, and presumably for cyclocross racing. Plus the pedals come with a handy grease port adapter that makes repacking the bearings a snap. Crank Brothers offers a road pedal and several other off-road pedals, which we’ll review another time. For the time being, suffice it to say the Candy model serves the widest audience.

Visit www.crankbrothers.com for more info.

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16 Comments

  1. Bert BondyFebruary 9, 2009 at 12:22 pm

    I have not had problems w/ Crank Brother cleats coming undone in over 40 cross races, lots of them extremely muddy. You are constantly clipping in and out for barriers or run ups so they do get worn down that way. But I haven’t had any pop out on me during a tough grind ups or ride ups. Go to any cross or MTB race and you will see that the Candy and Eggbeaters are used extensively. If they popped out as you suggested I don’t think they would be so popular.

    Also, if you are running them on MTB shoes as a cyclocrosser or MTBer would I have a hard time imagining how the cleat is being worn down since the cleats/spikes are hitting the ground NOT the cleat.

    FWIW, they do have premium cleats that supposedly last longer.

  2. ZekeFebruary 9, 2009 at 12:39 pm

    I think these pedals work ok but dont last very long for me. I liked the appeal of urban shoes and also being clipped in. Im on my second set of Candy Cs because I thought they wouldnt break so fast the second time. Im also almost my 100th set of cleats too because they wear out so fast and start poping out more noticeably.

    Now Ive busted both the left AND right pedal (2nd set) with just normal urban wear and tear. Sure ive bashed both sides on the ground with some good force via my fixy but the left pedal doesnt hardly spin and the right side wiggles and squeaks bad. I also feel that eggbeaters are a much less positive connection than spd style mtb pedals. I mean that I pop out too often unintended with my eggbeaters, especially when skidding. Clips and leather straps are probably my next upgrade…

  3. BrianFebruary 9, 2009 at 1:07 pm

    on three of my bikes. Love ‘em.

  4. Brian JohnsonFebruary 9, 2009 at 2:57 pm

    Important note: Crank Bros. customer service rep told me that they now do NOT recommend using the grease-injector adapter.

    It’s a hassle, too as you have to force grease through both seals of the bearing.

    I’ve discovered that it’s easer, and maybe even better, to leave the bearing out when using the injector adapter.

    After disassembling the pedal (a very easy task) and cleaning everything up nicely, I reassemble and leave the bearing out. I thread in the injector adapter and then inject grease until it comes out of the inboard spindle seal. The inside of the pedal is now filled with moisture-displacing grease and the grease has properly coated the inboard spindle/bushing interface. Then I just push the bearing back in and screw in the end cap. Grease will continue to ooze past the inboard rubber seal near the crank arm. Just wipe it off from time to time. It’ll eventually stop.

    I ride and race in wet weather (Portland, Oregon) and this has worked out for me pretty well.

  5. AdamFebruary 9, 2009 at 5:53 pm

    I run Candy’s on both my road bike and fixed gear, before that I ran them on my old mountain bike too. I did try Eggbeaters but just prefer the small platform on the Candy’s.

    I’ve never unclipped by accident even when skidding on the fixy. I’ve been running the same set of cleats (old style ones) for over 2 years of daily commuting and week end rides, and no problems. I do have a set of the premium cleats waiting, but haven’t had to change them yet. I don’t know what you guys do with yours?

    I wouldn’t use anything else!

  6. SeanFebruary 9, 2009 at 8:56 pm

    I use two pairs of eggbeaters and one pair of Candy SL. I LOVE THEM! The Candy even got me through a wreck with a four wheeled counter part and I still use them. I would of been able to ride them home if my frame hadn’t been trashed.

    I use them on my rigid frame MTB and never had a problem with them releasing. You guys know that the cleats have two release degree settings? :-)

  7. steveFebruary 9, 2009 at 10:39 pm

    had ‘em for a bit, will never recommend them or use them again.

    the spindle develops a lot of play over just normal riding. not a fan of that, especially since the fix is buying a rebuild kit.

    cleats are way too soft. if i can walk on my keo cleats and they don’t wear as quickly, surely something can be done about these brass ones to make them last longer. look at cleats that last forever (spd-r, mainly). hard metal. sure, clipping in and out is harder, but it creates a much more positive connection to the pedal.

  8. RaiynFebruary 10, 2009 at 1:45 am

    No sir, I don’t like ‘em. I’m quite happy with my Times thank you.

  9. estrattonFebruary 10, 2009 at 9:20 pm

    I’ve been riding my Candy SL’s for about 3 years strong and just rebuilt them due to a small amount of play that had developed (along with just assuming it was time). Nice, tight, solid pedals imho, and I’m digging the new guys with blue springs.

  10. benjaminFebruary 23, 2009 at 8:29 pm

    i have the candy c on my fixie/commuter. i’ve never unclipped on a skid. i have the eggbeaters on my mtb and the cleats havent worn at all. they are great pedals.

  11. don_steel_frameMay 11, 2009 at 8:24 pm

    I’m on my SECOND candy set. BOTH both got play on the axle via worn inner bearing (which is a soft sleeve type I think anyway). I’m a big guy, but these wear loose in only two months of week end riding. Way too short a time, in my book. Technically, I guess this is called “spindle play.”

  12. paulMay 12, 2009 at 4:42 am

    I’ve had 4 pairs of these CB pedals fall apart on me on various bikes in the past 14 months. They are utter rubbish with bearings made of what seems butter and clay. They look great at first like the packaging they ship in and are light- put that’s about it.

  13. CoreySeptember 28, 2009 at 10:31 pm

    I have 2 pairs of Candys. One is my “spare set” as I have broken about 5 of those blue springs on different sides, and carry the second set as spare in my pack (when they aren’t being replaced under warranty).

    Other than that, I love them. Just kind of a big nuisance to carry extra pedals, but it’s saved me on the trails 2x …

  14. GarryNovember 20, 2009 at 3:58 pm

    I have 4 Candy pedals, and two eggbeaters and have never had a problem with unlipping or excessive cleat wear. One set of Candy’s developed a clicking after 500 Km. It was the inner bearing sleeve, and a little grease fixed the problem. My first cheap pair of eggbeaters were taken back to the store after the spring on one pedal kept ‘slipping’off its retainer causing the cleat engagement bars to ‘collapse’. I even tries a pair of Smarty’s for my old beater bike. Excessive spindle play occured very quickly and they were tossed in the garbage were they belonged. The Smarty is a bad design using non-adjustable loose bearings.

  15. Crank Brothers Candy 2 Pedals « Urban VeloJanuary 18, 2011 at 8:04 am

    [...] moons ago, Crank Brothers introduced their Candy pedals at Interbike’s outdoor demo. When the day was over, I bought a demo pair for a song, and some [...]

  16. johnMarch 3, 2011 at 10:00 am

    I have two pairs of crankbrother sl pedals, use only to commute to work.Less than a year on the one pair, they developed excessise play on the inner body sleeves, sent it back for evaluation, CRANKBROTHER you must admit you have a bad material/on the pedal, Im sorry in purchased this junk, Had so many BAD reviews google its before u buy..

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