iSSi Trail and Trail Triple clipless pedals review

Longer than standard pedal axles with color options

Pedals
While the aluminum casting appears chunky, the pedals weigh slightly less than Shimano XT Trail pedals.

While the aluminum casting appears chunky, the pedals weigh slightly less than Shimano XT Trail pedals (click to enlarge).

On the bike

I’m a longtime Shimano SPD pedal user. Because of my preference for gravel and mountain biking, I’ve actually put mountain bike pedals on all of my bikes, road included. I far prefer the double-sided entry of the pedals and the walkability of the shoes. This does mean that I also have to use washers to maintain similar Q factors among bikes. The different spindle options helped with that. I put the longer spindle Trail model on a gravel bike with narrower road cranks and the Trail Triple with its 52.5mm axles on a mountain bike with wider MTB cranks. Swapping between them was seamless.

iSSi’s attention to detail is evident on the Trail Triple with laser etched “R” and “L” to help users quickly install pedals. The three hashes signify the three internal bearings.

iSSi’s attention to detail is evident on the Trail Triple with laser etched “R” and “L” to help users quickly install pedals. The three hashes signify the three internal bearings (click to enlarge).

Both models install using an 8mm Allen key. On the slightly fancier Trail Triple model, small details like printing L and R on the pedal spindles means less trial and error when installing.

Both sets of the iSSi pedals worked, as claimed, with both the included cleats as well as Shimano SPD cleats. Engagement action is fantastic. Clipping in and out is just as you’d expect from an SPD model. Like Shimano pedals, the iSSi Trail models feature adjustable tension. The iSSi cleats offer 4 degrees of float but it isn’t as free a movement as Shimano XT or XTR SPD pedals. I found that the float was a bit freer with the iSSi cleat, but that may have had to do with shoe differences as well.

Both of iSSi’s Trail models install using a hidden 8mm Allen key socket.

Both of iSSi’s Trail models install using a hidden 8mm Allen key socket (click to enlarge).

I can’t find fault with the functionality of the iSSi pedals. If forced to nitpick, I would say that the finish is perhaps a half step below Shimano, but the pedals did hold up well in muddy, snowy and dusty conditions.

It’s also worth noting that spindle kits are sold aftermarket for $52 so that iSSi pedal users who already own compatible pedals can benefit if fit requirements change. This also allows shops to order pedals and install the extended spindles on a case-by-case basis. Likewise the Trail pedals can be ordered with longer spindles in limited colors.

On the left is a Shimano SPD cleat, an iSSi on the right. Both are interchangeable meaning that people with multiple bikes can run Shimano and iSSi pedals and cleats without worry.

On the left is a Shimano SPD cleat, an iSSi on the right. Both are interchangeable meaning that people with multiple bikes can run Shimano and iSSi pedals and cleats without worry (click to enlarge).

With comparable MSRP pricing, the iSSi Trail pedals offer a real alternative to Shimano pedals and one with fitting and color options that the Japanese giant doesn’t provide. The iSSi Trail pedals are a win for mountain bike clipless pedal users who want more, like me.

For more info visit rideissi.com.


About the author: Nick Legan

Nick Legan is happiest with some grease under his nails and a long dirt climb ahead. As a former WorldTour team mechanic, Legan plied his trade at all the Grand Tours, Spring Classics, World Championships and even the 2008 Beijing Olympics. In recent years, gravel and ultra-distance racing has a firm grip on Legan’s attention, but his love of mountain biking and long road rides hasn’t diminished. Originally a Hoosier, Legan settled in Boulder, Colorado, 14 years ago after finishing his time at Indiana University studying French and journalism. He served as the technical editor at VeloNews for two years and now contributes to Adventure Cyclist, Mtbr and RoadBikeReview.


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  • Peper says:

    Shimano pedals only for me thanks. I’m not down with the whole pimped out colorway kit featuring Wellgo re-branded ISSI. According to them they don’t support the multi release of the M56 cleat shimano offers. However if single release mechanisms are good enough then you can’t get better than Shimano’s standard m51 cleat offered in the 520 pedal for under $30 bucks or the 530 trail pedal under $32 at http://www.jensonusa.com on sale now!

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