Race Face Chester flat pedal review

Can a $55 nylon pedal compete with the best?

Pedals
Orange was our color but there are six others available.

Orange was our color but there are five others available (click to enlarge).

Lowdown: Race Face Chester Flat Pedal

Flat pedals have grown in popularity over the years and the selection is broad, ranging from $20 to $300. But what is one really getting when paying top dollar for a pedal that is basically flat and with no retention mechanism? Thin is definitely in as well as shoe traction and platform surface quality. Strength and durability are key as well as the pedal may be subjected to countless rock strikes and inclement trail conditions. There’s also the bling factor that few confess to but many are influenced by.

Race Face surprised us with their Chester pedal. They were quite proud of it and that was refreshing since it was a nylon $55 pedal. It is a nylon pedal with 8 traction pins per side that’s fairly thin and fairly wide. And it was surprisingly light at 340 grams. Was it good enough to survive and thrive in rough and diverse conditions? We took it to many road trips to find out.

Stat Box
Height: 15mm – 18.4mm Bearings: Cartridge bearings and DU bushings
Platform size: 110mm x 101mm Price: $55
Weight: 340g Rating: 5 Flamin' Chili Peppers 5 out of 5
Number of pins: 8 traction pins per side

Pluses
Minuses
  • Great grip and usability
  • Looks like plastic because it is
  • Very durable and doesn’t show wear
  • Not the thinnest, fairly thick at the axle at 18.4mm
  • Lightweight at 340 grams
  • Not the most open design for mud
  • Extremely affordable at $55
  • Great color selection
  • Good balance of platform and bouncing off obstacles
  • Fairly thin with well placed and sized pins
  • Pedal mutes shock and sound when bashing rocks

Review: Race Face Chester Flat Pedal

The most significant takeaway from this review is that this is a 5-star product. Given the price they charge, it’s definitely one of the best products we’ve tried. If it was double the price, we would have still given it a 5-star rating. What makes it so good? Look at the ‘Pluses’ column and that reveals the story. In fact, when filling in the ‘Minuses’ area, we really had to reach since these pedals did very little wrong.

The Chester pedal endured numerous rock hits in Moab.

The Chester pedal endured numerous rock hits in Moab (click to enlarge).

Off the bat, one has to get beyond that this is a low-cost plastic pedal. We just seem to be programmed that exotic prices and materials are required to create the best components. But the colors are well chosen and the the shape and look of pedal is good so we proceeded to put this pedal on every bike we tested recently.

Traction and feel of the pedal is excellent when paired with any of our FiveTen shoes. The 8 pins on each side do a great job without calling attention to themselves and attacking our shins. The pedal is thicker on the axle so no pins are present near it. There are four pins in the front and four on the rear which balance out the 15 mm edges with the 18mm middle axle area.

8 pins on each side give ample traction.

8 pins on each side give ample traction (click to enlarge).

The pedals never called attention to themselves as they did the job in the rocky trails of Moab and Sedona and the damp and mossy trails of Squamish, BC. And of course they did well in the loamy forests of Santa Cruz our home field is usually a cakewalk for most pedals.

The rocky descents and climbs of Ahab were a good match for the Chester pedals.

The rocky descents and climbs of Ahab were a good match for the Chester pedals (click to enlarge).

But two things really stood out about the pedals:

First is the pedal seemed to cushion blows from rock and root strikes. These hits are never pleasant but the the pedal seemed to have some shock and vibration qualities in them. That harsh rebound and metal to rock blow was a little more muted with these and our riding was interrupted less.

The second observation is four months later, the pedals still look mint. Upon close observation, there are some body scratches but they’re really not visible from a normal distance. Some of the leading pins are shorter but none are bent or disfigured. And they spin as smoothly and quietly as the first day.

Given all that and the $55 price, this is just an incredible 5-star product. Bravo Race Face Chester.

For more info, visit www.raceface.com.

Photo Thumbnails (click to enlarge)

About the author: Francis Cebedo

The founder of mtbr and roadbikereview, Francis Cebedo believes that every cyclist has a lot to teach and a lot to learn. "Our websites are communal hubs for sharing cycling experiences, trading adventure stories, and passing along product information and opinions." Francis' favorite bike is the last bike he rode, whether it's a dirt jumper, singlespeed, trail bike, lugged commuter or ultralight carbon road steed. Indeed, Francis loves cycling in all its forms and is happiest when infecting others with that same passion. Francis also believes that IPA will save America.


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  • Smithhammer says:

    The Chesters are a really good pedal for a great price. I have them on two of my bikes. For the weight, durability, servicability and insane gription, I see no reason to buy a metal pedal ever again.

  • butch says:

    I was going to buy these but wasnt sure how they would grip with rubber, I know 510′s love smooth metal but wasnt sure if the matte plastic would create a non-stick coating. I’ll probably be getting these next time, I like the idea of plastic over aluminum, the strength/weight/cost ratio is much better than aluminum and no paint to scratch.

  • GuyOnMTB says:

    Need new pedals, good timing on the article.

    I once tried the Fixation nylons and they turned me off of nylon pedals as the bearing retainer screw was pushing the threads out of the nylon pedal body, allowing the platform to move slightly, which was unnerving to feel under foot while hauling butt. They were replaced under warranty, but the warrantied pair did the same thing after two months of regular use.

    I would assume that it may have been to soft a nylon for its intended use. So I’m wondering if this has been an issue with other nylon pedals?

    At $55usd I’m willing to consider the risk, specially since it’s a company I’m familiar with and have parts from that have been exceptional. I’ll just need to see how well the ESI Red Chunkies match up?

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