Falling out of love with Crank Brothers’ eggbeater pedals


crank brothers eggbeaterA few years back when I decided to go clip less, I search for something that was easy to clip into and easy to learn to use. I don’t like the “proper cycling” shoes as you can’t just jump off your bicycle and have a walk as you please, so I was looking for MTB style cycling shoes. Out of them all stood the Crank Brothers’ eggbeater pedals, since they are four sided and also looked cool and simple.

Four sided : The four sided design made them extremely easy to learn to use. Simple to clip in, no flipping the pedal around to be able to clip in, e.g. just put your foot down and you are clipped in. The four sided design also meant that if you walk around in your cycling shoes or get mud on the pedals, the mud will just fall right off and you still can clip in.

Look : the eggbeater pedals just looks way cool, great design and the feel of them is like something that will last long and can handle a beating.

Simple : Being new to the game of cycling clip less and cycling shoes, back then, they looked well simple compared to others. Didn’t have fancy screws here and there to adjust them. Which can be a problem for others, if you like to set your pedals up, but I was a beginner, so KISS (keep it simple stupid). There are two settings for clipping out, 15 and 20 deg angle, plenty of float which I read was good if you have knee problems. Which I have especially with my left knee, I only had to change of the angle of one cleat a bit to get it to work, well it was the first time I have ever put cleats on my shoes. In the four years I have cycled clip less I have never had any problems with my knees, so that is a win for the Crank Brothers pedals.

And on top of that, their website look very slick and the packaging the pedals come in felt and looked like this is a good investment.

I have two sets off candy C, because now and again I would like to be able to cycle with out clipping in, the candy’s makes that happen for short distances, which I need. I also got one set off eggbeater SC and a set of eggbeater C on my other bicycles, you can get by cycling with normal shoes on the eggbeaters but you can easily slip.

crank brothers candy

In the last 4 years I have used both the candy and eggbeater pedals I have gone trough two set of each. That last pair of candy’s I got just managed to clock up just under 3000 miles before they broke*). That is not very long compared to other pedals out there. Many of my cycling friends use SPD’s and do many more miles than I do before they need service or new pedals.

*) that is mainly commuting with one week long tour over the last 6 months. And definitely not been knocked or banged as they are on my new pride and joy, the Surly Long Haul Trucker.

I don’t do MTB’ing or drop my bicycle onto the road or push hard on my pedals I use the gears. Most of my cycling is commuting in London and the odd cycle tour. And therefore I would like my pedals to last quite a bit longer than 3000 miles before they break on me.

What breaks all the time is the ball bearings, the spring and “hooks” hold on much longer. Though I did break one “hook” on one eggbeater but that is probably linked to the massive pedal strike I had on my fixed a half year before. And with only 3 hooks and therefore only 2 sided the pedal lasted a few more months before the bearings went.

I contacted Crank Brothers last year when my last pair died, and their answer was …

As to your comments on not having to buy rebuild kits; Crank Brothers pedals are designed to be rebuildable as this will provide the longest lifespan of the pedals. Other brands may appear to last ‘forever’ but after they break they will need to be replaced as a complete unit. A simple regrease of the spindle every now and then will reduce bearing wear significantly and reduce the need to do a full rebuild.

Well my argument against this is the friends I know who got SPD’s or the like, pretty much fit and forget their pedals and get many more miles out of them before they even have to think about servicing them. I talked to a friend the other day and he told me that he had a set of TIME pedals which have been going for ten years without service.

I should have some left over bits from my last repair and should hopefully be able to fix the candy C’s. I also do hope that the eggbeaters SC I just got will clock up more miles than just 3000 miles before they fall apart.

I really don’t know if this is linked to the price I pay for them, as I can’t afford the high end titanium pedals that Crank Brothers produce and therefore have to go for the lower end pedals.

The worrying part is that while I was writing this up I checked out ,citycycling always a good read and .anth is top bloke too. In his post on the blog “second fall in as many weeks” he tells us why he came off. He have come of his bicycle the other day because his Crank Brothers (candy) spindle snapped. I’m lucky and haven’t come off any of my bicycle when the pedals have failed but .anth came off quite dramatically. Lucky it was only a scrape to the bicycle and his jacket, though it could have been much worse since it was in rush hour traffic. Sadly as he report no one stopped to ask if he was ok when he was laying on the road all tangled up in his bicycle.

I really don’t fancy splashing out for 3-4 set of new pedals and cleats for my shoes, but if the pedals from Crank Brothers still fall apart I have to. Because I don’t fancy a drop just like .anth because my pedals have failed and I have had four sets fail in the last four years, that is too much.

I would have loved to give Crank Brothers more but because of so many failing in the last four years I can’t. Though the easy of use, when they work, and their look still pulls the rating up. If you still want Crank Brothers do spend a lot of money on the pedals as I do hope that the top end last a longer than the low end pedals. Which I can’t afford to test out for you.

LINK : Crank Brothers

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  1. Hey Woolly!

    First off, cheers for the link.

    Secondly, that pretty much all sums up exactly my feeling about Crank Bros. I’ve used them now for about 5 years. I’ve got a set on three different bikes, used Eggbeaters, Candys and Quattro SL. The Quattros actually feel quite solid, though they’ve only done about 1000 miles. The main commuting bike ate the pedals for breakfast, and the mountain bike just destroyed them. The looks are great, and the ease of use can’t be beaten, but after having that spindle break yesterday my new Time ATAC Aliums arrived today, and are already fitted to the bike. Will see how they fare heading home.

  2. After first riding clipped for about 3 years on SPD and then converting to CB, My main personal issue was the life of the cleats. I have read all the palaver about Crank Bros making them softer for the sake of the longevity of the pedals. But I am not so sure, myself. Other than that, my only problem had been with the MXR entry level pedal models which I pretty quickly flogged out and spewed bearings. (warrantee job the first time.. the second time…. meh)

    I have since gone back to clips & straps for the commuter bike.

    I do like the design of the Eggbeater.. but experience tells me they’re best dedicated to MTBing and not every day use.

    • Hi Kymbo

      Yes the cleats do wear down a bit fast compared to others, you can get harder Crank Brothers cleats. In my job I do tend to walk a lot in my cycling shoes and therefore wear down the harder cleats faster. Though I since I got my Lake I/O SDL I haven’t changed cleats in nine months. The main reason is that the cleats on the Lake’s are recessed much more than one the Shimano and Specialized cycling shoes I had before, both pairs wore out the cleats in under six months.

  3. I’m not sure about SPD longevity either. Generally they develop bearing play after 1000-2000 miles from new. They are serviceable with care (3/32″ bearings are very fiddly to handle), and a bit of play doesn’t actually damage them immediately, but I don’t find them to be low-maintenance.

    All pedals have the disadvantage of being the closest bearing to the water and mud and there not being much room in the package for decent-sized balls. Shimano tried a pedal with an oversize axle and bigger bearings in the 1980s, but as well as being an new and incompatible standard, the cranks tended to break at the pedal eye.

  4. I concur with the quality of Crank Brothers pedals. I have gone through 3 sets in 2 years. My 14-year-old son has gone through as many. Either the outer bearing gets “lunched” or the spindle gets badly scored by the sleeve bearing. The sad part is that Crank Brothers patent expires in 2018, giving them a monopoly on the eggbeater design until that time. I have sent a request to Crank Brothers asking them to improve their products. I at least hope to hear from them that they are “working on it”.

    We will most likely be switching to the Time ATACs – I hope that they are equally good for entry and for dirt tolerance. It would be sad for Crank Brothers to have a monopoly in these two categories when they cannot build a product that will last.

  5. hi
    Always looking at Crank Brother Pedals.
    I have used Time for 11 years. The 11 year old work A-tacs work still. The Z platforms i use day in day out have worked with no maintenance for 7 years. Some bottom of range Aliums need greasing, as the spindle does not spin easily. However the more expensive ones just work. Never had a spindle snap and i have hit everything on an MTB downhill.
    I would like Time to offer Z platform style with small pegs in them like the Crank Bros Mallets. Thats the only improvement they need to make. I use platform style peddles as you can use normal shoes once in while.
    Your comments echo a lot about crank bros comments else where.
    No clogging in mud( I cycle the south downs a lot), just work. Never know why they are not more common.

  6. I will concur with the negative assessment of Crank Brothers pedals. They are a great concept with poor execution. I’ve busted about 8 spindles on Mallets. I had an acid fail after 7 months road use. It just had lousy seals. The bearing seized and I spun the potmetal spindle threads right off the thing.

    The final straw came when a pedal sheared off when hitting a root sending me into an uncontrolled crash and separating my shoulder. Crank Brother had the promise of good things but ended up being poor attention to detail and poor manufacturing.

    If you value your time, money and health, don’t buy Crank Brothers.

  7. Regarding CB pedals,
    I finally converted to cleated pedals this week as everybody else seems to use them,i bought some CB Smarty ,which are essentially an Eggbeater within a frame,i cannot for the life of me get my left foot out of the clip,right hand shoe goes straight in and straight out,the left one however stays put and inevitably i fall over !
    The shoes are Specialized Tahoe and both cleats are sited dead centre/ forward of the shoe,i used the packing shims supplied as well,cleats fitted for easy exit with the marked cleats on the r/h shoe,
    any suggestions ???

  8. Can someone please recommend the best pedals to use on my MTB for commuting? I was thinking of getting some Crank Brothers Candy 4ti but have been totally put off by the bad rep of Crank Brothers pedals. I’d like the pedals to be as light as possible and preferably look good :)

  9. @Bogeyman: I’ve been using Shimano M520’s for a couple of years now. They’re pretty cheap (Wiggle list them at about £25) and come (or at least came) with cleats.

  10. I bought 2 pair of cb sl model pedals, use it for work commute, never in rain, mud or off road, the one pair fail,the inner body sleeve was worn so bad I cannot clip my shoe to it, the rebuild kit does not come with the spindle sleeve, had to send back under warranty, I would not recommend buying crankbrother pedals, to my opinion there junk.

  11. I too do not like Crank Brothers pedals.
    For other reasons though. They are too stiff and hard to get clipped into and not flexible sideways.

    I started out with Shimano. Not good for me.
    Next Speedplay Frogs. Very good.
    Heard so much good about Crank Brothers that I decided to give them a try. Not for me.
    Tested Twenty6 Prerunners for downhill. No sidewards flex, quicker to get off, but don’t use them without leg protection. They are nasty. Not for me.
    Went back to Speedplay Frog pedals. The best I have tried. Five years with only greasing them twice yearly.

    Comparable to Formula brakes in quality.

  12. Thanks all for your comments.

    I have run one Candy C and one Eggbeater on my Surly LHT, odd pair*, for nearly 2 years now and without any problems.

    * because each of the set of pedals have broken. So I could make a odd pair up, which have worked just fine.

  13. i bought 2 pair of crank brother stainless steel pedals,the pedals is use for work commute only,never in rain, or mountain biking,The problem was the left pedal had very excessive rotation/lateral play,had use new cleats and still cannot clip to pedal, sent it underwarranty,the inner body sleeve is badly worn,causing the play, crank brother need to redesigned your pedals.

  14. I have had one pair of smarties fail (bearing), One set of candies fail with a (broken spring), and most recently a “bottom of the line” egg beater fail due to complete bearing seizure. The last one was scary, I probably should have noticed it was getting bad, but I did not. So I am out of saddle on a major powerstroke and the pedal comes right off the crank arm. I was barely able to keep from face planting.
    Who knew that a pedal designed to tighten itself during normal operation, will actually loosen itself when a bearing seizes. Scary stuff.

    Yet I am looking to buy another set of cb eggbeaters…someone stop me.

    • Scary stuff. My ones are dying atm so I better change them. I do hear that the new versions of the pedals are better. Will spend a bit more and not get bottom range.

  15. I like the design, but Crank Brothers pedals are crap. The bearings work fine for me, maybe because I’m in a dry climate. Instead, the problem is with the springs. On all 4 sets I’ve had, plus one licensed knock-off manufactured by Look, 3 lost tension so as to be useless, and 2 springs simply broke (the latest with only 4 months of moderate use). When my final pair breaks (probably tomorrow), I’m switching back to SPDs.

    Warranty replacement really doesn’t interest me. Pedals that break are dangerous.

  16. About 6 mths ago I was looking to buy a pair of egg beaters but was also concerned about the bad feedback. luckily a friend got a job with the UK Distributor, he showed samples of the internal workings of the new and old pedals, I could clearly see the difference with strengthed spindles, bushes, seals and bearings, He assured me that very few of the new pedals have been returned. I have since bought a pair of Egg Beater 3’s and have hammered them in all conditions with no problems. I hope this helps those of you that are considering buying a pair.

  17. Go for it! from what I saw of the 1’s and 2’s the only difference between them and the 3’s is that they have a bearings and bush setup where as the 3’s have bearings at each end of the pedal.

  18. I have the new Eggbeater 11’s, which retail around $400. I have had them since last June. The pedals are amazingly light and a true joy to ride. The weight savings makes pedaling so much easier. I weigh about 190 lbs which is well within the suggested 200 lb limit. Last week while I was out riding on a typical road ride, I came into a climb and got out of the saddle and started to hard pedal. Half way up the climb, my right pedal axle snapped (titanium). I barely survived riding off into the grass. If it had been my left pedal, I dare say I might have drifted into traffic. Needless to say it scared the heck out of me. As much as I love these pedals, I have to say with failures like mine, I am hard pressed to recommend them to anyone. I would say to anyone purchasing this brand, to buy the slightly heavier model 3 with a steel axle, which is stronger than the lighter titanium. Not to mention much safer.

    • Yeah I’m not so sure about titanium. I have heard from others talking about products that is titanium which have failed after normal use. Is it really worth that much more money to save a few grams. Glad that you didn’t get hurt badly.

  19. I won’t be getting another pair of CB pedals. I have a pair of Mallets. The bearings are made of cheese. Since the last rebuild with new bearings and seals it was only 500 miles of road use only until they started squealing unbearably. This happened to them last time also shortly before the outer bearing in one pedal disintegrated and the pedal came completely off the spindle in the middle of nowhere (again this was road riding only). The cleats also wear very fast. I did walk on them a bit but they were new before a 10 day tour in France of about 500 miles or so and they were pulling out of the pedals toward the end. Totally unreliable. It’s a shame as when they work they are very nice pedals and the float is good for my knees

  20. Dunno what you guys are doing to those pedals. I have a pair of 2008 Eggbeaters (equivalent to the current ‘3’ model) with 9000 road miles on them. I re-grease them once a year. The original cleats are still usable, but I’ve been using a different pair of shoes with new cleats for the last 1000 miles or so. So far, no complaints, no rebuilds, no problems. Maybe I just got lucky. I would buy these again. Probably just jinxed them and they’ll break on my next ride.

  21. Five years ago my Bianchi mtb came with eggbeater pedals. The wore off pretty quickly plus I was never able to clip them on with ease. After about 5000 km I switched to Shimano wich I found durable and the clipping just came naturally.

  22. Hi- I have used EBs for over 10 yrs with no problems at all.
    The early “Carbon” was my first purchase followed by the “Chrome” and a “Mallet C”.
    These were used on my Fiori road bike in Summer and then the MTB or Hybrid for my Winter commute here on the West coast of Canada.
    Nothing ever broke, never pulled out, never failed to release or failed to clip in.
    I cycled 5000 to 7000 km every year. YMMV

  23. Since I last posted here in 2010, I’ve developed a new spindle design that is compatible with CB pedals. This will allow cyclists to still have the wonderful “wing” design, and have bearings that last. This new design does not infringe on any of CB’s patents. I have built several prototypes, including one that I have ridden to work on (18 miles per day) for one year now, including one MN winter. I’m still riding on that pedal, and a new winter is upon us. The bearings are all rolling elements and as smooth as the day I installed the pedal. The pedals are 100% water-proof (including high-pressure spray). I think CB is too cheap and arrogant to hire a mechanical engineer. I don’t know if I’m going to start a company around this new design yet or not. I will first have a couple of Cat1/Cat2 cyclocross racers put this pedal through its paces. If I do launch it, it may start out as a kit, where you would migrate your existing CB parts to the new spindle. The plastic sleeve in CB pedals suck up several watts of power. With all rolling elements, the power consumption is a small fraction of a watt. I’ve heard that the Candy 3, with needle bearings, is also getting lunched. I’m assuming it is because CB is too cheap and lazy to harden the raceway.

  24. really don’t mind the Crank Bros. pedals. I do admit that they or some are not build to the solid level of others BUT they are generally quite a bit cheaper for one and 2 they are significantly lighter, 3 they tend to outperform most others in sticky mud due to their open design.
    Put it this way, I bought their cheap Candy pedal with the polymer body with the bushing internals at a cost of ,maybe $50 CAN, and they are probably as light or lighter than XTR which I am sure are close to $200CAN. That is very hard to beat. XTR probably had a more positive engagement but the CB are very easy to engage/disengage.
    These pedals are susceptible to having their wings “clipped” by an errant rock or curb but this has only happened once in a decade of use. I am sure all pedals will be damaged by a severe strike but admittedly due to the design these are more prone to damage, a trade off for their superior mud clearance.
    Perhaps what I like most is they are rebuildable and upgradeable because they all have the same sized parts. My elcheapo Candy C is already a light pedal but I bought titanium axles from China for maybe $50? This knocked a further 70grams which is a good chunk on an already light pedal. They have easily found rebuild kits and they don’t gouge you for it like almost any other rebuild kit for any product. They are just $16CAN which is extremely fair IMO. The trick is that, at least where I am, both the lesser “bushing” kit and needle bearing kit are the same price AND the needle bearing kit fits perfectly into the cheaper pedals! I had no clue until I read it on a forum somewhere. The trick is that CB is correct, you need to be generous with the grease and unfortunately CB don’t seem to install much of it in anything which is dumb. I got the needle bearing kit and made sure to grease everything(everything appears completely free of grease). Their little sealed bearings ? I pried them open, which is an extremely easy job, just be gentle and use the right tool like a thin sharp edge, and the bearing looked free of any lube(this is likely a big cause of problems) I packed it with some Sentry Solutions Moly grease with the syringe dispenser then snapped the seals back on and slopped some Phil’s on the axle and bam, well lubed and sealed and done! Very easy job.
    Crank Bros have made improvements to the pedal design over the years with a change in axle, getting rid of a stupid sharp transition which created a stress riser and was likely the cause of the breakage you mention. Obviously they received some complaints. They also improved the crank side seal which ,again, was a fairly common source of issues including yours so right there they have bucked up and made improvements. IMO they should be doing a much better job at greaseing from the factory. There is no excuse for sealed bearings to be visibly free of any lube, thats just weak. Still, for the money, the performance, the weight(if you care about that, oh and its rotational weight too) and its ability to be turned into a “frankenpedal” I will continue to stick with Crank Bros.

  25. SPD M520 are the pedal any commuter should use if they want clipless. Stone reliable, dirt cheap. The Crank Brothers pedals are light, have lots of float for bad knees and clear mud really well. The lesser SPDs do none of that and thus suck for MTB use for the most part. I have had great durability, going back 10 years, with Eggbeaters. Always buy the model with the best internals and no fancy lightweight materials. This is what 95% of MTBers should be buying in all their gear.

  26. Interesting to read but maybe luck of the draw at times! I’m looking at buying another set of Crank Brothers pedals to add to a new CX type bike, something that I can use while wear with MTB shoes. I already have a set of Candy 1 that I have been using for around 10 years and a set of Candy 2 for around 3 years. I have never had any issue with either set of pedals although admittedly I haven’t done a lot of miles on them as both sets are fitted to secondary bikes. I’m surprised at the troubles some people are having to be honest. Since 2008 and my first Garmin purchase I have logged in the region of 95,000 miles and I NEVER had any issue with any pedal nor have I EVER serviced a pedal. I did once break a Look pedal before this but that’s the only one I have ever broke and it had done lots of miles through all kinds of weather.


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