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3ax pedals on Kickstarter claim better comfort & efficiency

Novel design allows sideways foot movement

Not happy with the way your pedalling action feels? A new pedal design just launched on Kickstarter aims to improve comfort by adding an extra degree of freedom of motion.

When clipless pedals were first popularised by Look back in the 1980s some riders soon discovered that having their feet rigidly fixed in place didn't work for them as they developed knee issues. Rotational movement, or float, first in Time pedals and then in others solved that problem by allowing some freedom of movement.

Now Dutch engineering group TSG, which owns Edco components, has come up with a pedal that allows your feet to move sideways on an arc. TSG claims the 3ax design (pronounced try-axe) is more physiologically efficient as well as providing a more comfortable pedalling action.

The claim is that in lab tests, riders using 3ax pedals used on average 3.3% less oxygen at a power output of 2.5 watts/kg of rider bodyweight. The implication is that if you're using less oxygen your body is working more efficiently.

Biomechanical studies at the University of Applied Sciences in The Hague found that the pedals reduced sideways knee movement while pedalling, TSG says, which should be another advantage.

Explaining the origin of the pedals, TSG says on its Kickstarter page: "There's one thing [about cycling] we never really liked: clipless pedals, no matter how many we tried. They all seemed to be designed for a machine, not for humans. At least not for those 96% who have a tendency to tilt their feet.

"The evolution of road bikes over the last decades has been really impressive (lighter materials, better bike fitting, improved electronics), and we just felt pedals were lagging. It's such a crucial part for optimum power transfer, so we set ourselves the goal to build the best pedal possible."

As you can see from the video below, 3ax pedals allow the feet to move sideways on a slight arc.

However, it's not clear if this is necessary. One high-regarded bike fit specialist who has looked at the design told us: "We got left a pair these pedals so we could evaluate them. I didn’t really understand what they are trying to achieve and still don’t if I am honest.

"I would need to see some research underpinning as to why the foot is being canted as the Q increases. There maybe something here but biomechanical justification seems scant."

The pedals were originally announced last year as Edco 3ax Sway pedals. Heres the original promo video from back then

And way back in my 2013, here's a video of a very early prototype:

Given the time these pedals have been in development and the fact that TSG says they have had a 30-strong team working on them it's slightly puzzling that they're looking for a mere $50,000 from Kickstarter.

We've asked, and if TSG get back to us, we'll let you know.

John has been writing about bikes and cycling for over 30 years since discovering that people were mug enough to pay him for it rather than expecting him to do an honest day's work.

He was heavily involved in the mountain bike boom of the late 1980s as a racer, team manager and race promoter, and that led to writing for Mountain Biking UK magazine shortly after its inception. He got the gig by phoning up the editor and telling him the magazine was rubbish and he could do better. Rather than telling him to get lost, MBUK editor Tym Manley called John’s bluff and the rest is history.

Since then he has worked on MTB Pro magazine and was editor of Maximum Mountain Bike and Australian Mountain Bike magazines, before switching to the web in 2000 to work for Along with founder Tony Farrelly, John was on the launch team for and subsequently became editor in chief of Future Publishing’s group of cycling magazines and websites, including Cycling Plus, MBUK, What Mountain Bike and Procycling.

John has also written for Cyclist magazine, edited the BikeMagic website and was founding editor of before handing over to someone far more representative of the site's main audience.

He joined in 2013. He lives in Cambridge where the lack of hills is more than made up for by the headwinds.

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turnmeister | 8 years ago

I would love to see the evaluation by the so called experts as I believe they didn't ride the pedals or reply to numerous emails asking for the evaluation they said they would do

3ax | 9 years ago


As the inventor of the pedals and co-founder of 3ax, I'd like to clear up some misunderstandings in this article.

The pedals are a 3ax development, not a TSG development. TSG is the engineering company that we worked with. TSG have been doing a great job helping us to get from the bad prototypes we had at the beginning to get to the market-ready prototype we have now and TSG is still working with us on setting up production. All statements are ours, not TSG, it is 3ax who had the research performed.

3ax has a team of over 30 testers. They, more than any research, convinced us the most that we should get our innovation on the market as soon as possible. TSG did not work with 30 engineers on our project. If that were only true! ;). We can certainly use the money we hope to raise on kickstarter to get things done quicker, but as mentioned in the comments kickstarter is not only a money raising tool. It's also a great way to start a conversation with future customers: what do they like about our pedals? Is there something we should change the coming months? Is our story clear? What kind of questions do we get? Reactions like the ones above are nice to read!

We discussed the design with around 20 bike fitters and if any group of people loved the idea the most, it’s them! Canting of the foot is not a result of increasing the Q-factor. As stated correctly in the article the pedal tilts when it moves laterally, since it moves on an arc, not a straight line. This rocking motion, this extra degree of freedom, improves your leg alignment without compromising the stability of the pedal platform. Side to side movement is merely a side effect.

I hope this clarifies! ! If you have any other questions please ask of email me at stefan [at] - happy to help!

Stefan van Eijk
3ax inventor and co-founder

festina | 9 years ago

This is the kind of pedal that I've been thinking of designing for a while. Being lazy I no longer need to.

I'm using speedplays at the moment which are great for rotation but nothing accounts for lateral role, till now. Usually I have to shim my cleats to get a comfortable position.

Aapje | 9 years ago

Given the time these pedals have been in development and the fact that TSG says they have had a 30-strong team working on them it's slightly puzzling that they're looking for a mere $50,000 from Kickstarter.

They might be using Kickstarter for marketing and to guarantee a certain minimum number of sales.

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