B'Twin's Rockrider 520 Grip pedals are fine budget flat models with resin moulded pins that offer decent grip. If you're tempted to dip your toe in the flat-pedal water – and you've already got some flat cycling shoes – these are a good starting point.
I've tested a few flat pedals recently – from the awesome Hope F20s with their equally awesome £130 price tag, to the excellent and slightly more affordable £50 Race Face Chesters. To finish the descent into low-budget territory, here we have the pocket-money-priced Rockrider 520 Grip pedals from sports supermarket Decathlon's B'Twin brand.
If you've bought a full B'Twin bike anytime recently, you might have received these pedals as part of the package. For the rest of us, £9.99 is a very modest outlay, and for that you get a pair of simple moulded resin pedals, with reflector bars front and back and a steel spindle. (They're currently out of stock online, but available in a few Decathlon stores.)
Although the moving parts aren't as well protected as the sealed bearings found on more expensive options, you do get a two-year warranty. And, as an added bonus, you could pop off one of the reflector bars on each pedal and bolt on B'Twin's compatible old-school toe clips.
But the thing that really drew me to these pedals is a particular detail of the resin body, because in the moulding process, B'Twin has created 12-a-side diamond-shaped (or square, depending how you look at them) plastic pins. Obviously, as these are moulded, you can't adjust the depth of the pins, but on first viewing their sharp edges look like they'll provide a bit of bite.
In the saddle, they're certainly better than a typical flat pedal, especially when teamed with a dedicated flat cycling shoe (I've been testing them with the Giro Jacket IIs and it seems to make for an effective pairing). There is an appreciable amount of grip – certainly enough for you to really push on, and even wet weather seems to have little effect reducing it.
The only times I had any issue with foot and pedal decoupling was with one particularly dodgy gear shift and one very bumpy patch of broken trail. Thankfully, even then, with a resin rather than metal platform the 520s didn't bash my shins painfully.
For general noodling around, performance is more than good enough and the wide-ish pedal design gives a fairly stable platform. If you wanted to test your abilities at higher speeds or over more demanding surfaces, you'd find a more rigid – ie, metal – platform is preferable. But, hey, these are only £9.99, and for most daily riding duties you won't notice any performance shortfall.
I've also got to highlight their weight. The Decathlon website does them something of a disservice by listing them at 350g. I've put them on the scales and they come out at 276g, which seems to me to be a very fair weight, even for only modestly pinned flat pedals.
I mentioned the £130 Hope F20s and the £50 Race Face Chesters earlier, but obviously they're in completely different territories. More similar are the System EX 365 Touring traditional metal-bodied flat pedals at around £16, but they're significantly heavier.
For £24.99 you could have the best of both the clip-in and flat pedal worlds with B'Twin's Road Half Clipless pedals – now called the '100 Clipless Dual Platform Leisure Bike Pedal' – although the flat side doesn't offer anywhere near the purchase of the 520 Grips.
And if you're quite happy with your clip-in pedals but you'd like the option of easier riding in 'normal' shoes, there's the fab £11 Pedal Plate that just slots into your existing pedals.
With their fairly basic construction, the Rockrider 520 Grip pedals may not last forever. However, as an inexpensive entry into the world of pinned flat pedals, these are actually perfectly usable.
Riders seeking ultimate performance might as well look elsewhere, but anybody wanting a decent pedal with a bit of extra bite that's light on both the scales and the wallet will appreciate the 520 Grips. And if you like them enough to feel it's worth splashing out on something a bit better, there's enough performance deficit to feel like any upgrade is worthwhile, too.
Surprisingly light, cheap and cheerful budget-priced resin pedal with moulded pins to add a bit of grip
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road.cc test report
Make and model: B'Twin Rockrider 520 Grip flat pedals
Size tested: n/a
Tell us what the product is for and who it's aimed at. What do the manufacturers say about it? How does that compare to your own feelings about it?
These are budget pinned pedals aimed at riders doing very modest mountain biking, although we're testing them in more of a general use capacity. B'Twin says: "Our 520 flat pedals are made from resin and designed for adults doing sport mountain biking. Enjoy increased stability and control with no extra weight thanks to our 520 flat resin pedals' width and moulded studs!"
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Width: 98 mm
Thickness (including the moulded studs): 26 mm
Body: Polypropylene resin
Bearing: Sliding bearings
Pretty decent for a budget product and certainly there's nothing glaringly bad. Sealed bearings would have been nice but a lot to ask at this price!
Very good grip let down only slightly by the resin body's relative lack of rigidity.
It should outlast its two-year warranty, but by how much, I'm not sure.
At 276g a pair, I'd say weight is pretty darn good.
Certainly a wide enough platform to offer good pedalling comfort.
There's really not much to touch it at this price.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
As a basic pedal with a bit of added bite, this is a fine option. Grip was good, especially with dedicated flat cycling shoes, although the pedals perhaps aren't quite as ultimately efficient as super-stiff metal alternatives.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Weight – these are nice 'n' light.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
Probably the relative lack of rigidity – it's far from a big problem if these are used for simple daily rides, but for more extreme riding you'd want something stiffer.
How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market, including ones recently tested on road.cc?
The System EX 365 Touring is a traditional metal-bodied flat pedal at around £16, but it's significantly heavier. For £24.99 you could have the best of both clip-in and flat pedal worlds with B'Twin's Road Half Clipless pedals (now called the 100 Clipless Dual Platform Leisure Bike Pedal), although the flat side doesn't offer anywhere near the grip of the 520 Grips. If you're quite happy with your clip-in pedals but you'd like the option of easier riding in 'normal' shoes, there's the fab £11 Pedal Plate that just slots into your existing pedals.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes
Would you consider buying the product? Yes
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes
Use this box to explain your overall score
Although they're the not the last word in performance, there's a lot to like about the Rockrider 520 Grip pedals, not least their light weight and very modest cost. As a basic pinned pedal, they're really rather good.
About the tester
I usually ride: Islabikes Beinn 29 My best bike is: 25-year-old Dawes Galaxy
I've been riding for: Over 20 years I ride: Most days I would class myself as: Experienced
I regularly do the following types of riding: commuting, touring, sportives, general fitness riding, mtb, Leisure