The Great Equipment Mystery: Pedals

And thus continues one of the stranger equipment dichotomies I see at the IRONMAN World Championships annually. Speedplay remains mired in 5th place among pedal brands used by the rank and file in Kona, but is the most-oft used pedal by the pros. And, the better the pro, the more likely Speedplay is the pedal.

If you look at the top 7 women’s finishers in last year’s race, I believe only Lisa Norden (5th place) was not on a Speedplay (she rode Shimano). I’ll place a note at the bottom of this article if I subsequently find that this is not the case; I’m not 100 percent sure what pedal race winner Chelsea Sodaro was riding. So to be on the safe side, 5 or 6 of the top 7 women finishers. Among the men not quite so dominant but, still, Speedplay was used by half the top 10 (and that excluded the injured Jan Frodeno, a longtime Speedplay Aero user). Overall, by a nose Speedplay remains the most used pedal among the pros in Kona by my count, Shimano coming second.

What did surprise me is that so few of the pros – only 2 of them and notably Lucy Charles-Barclay – opted for the Wahoo Speedplay POWRLINK ZERO. A solid majority of the pros who ride Speedplay choose the Speedplay Aero.

Meanwhile, above are what the rest of the Kona athletes choose for pedals. Shimano is the top pedal used followed not far behind by Look. Then it’s a pair of power pedals – Garmin and Favero Assioma – and that again causes me to wonder why not more POWRLINK ZERO. If you want your power meter in your pedal – and a majority of Slowtwitchers do – then that pedals seems to me a likely marriage of core function and electronics data delivery.

We have a kind-of gender count available to us, in that when we counted pedals we could list day-1 and day-2 totals. Here the totals are above, with the understanding that certain males raced on Thursday with the women in Kona.

There are clearly now only 5 pedal brands of current note among users in that race. In fact, our counters identified 4,660 pairs of pedals in the race belonging to Shimano, Look, Favero, Garmin and Speedplay, and the rest of the pedal brands combined totaled just 159.