Spiked pedals are a type of pedal that can be installed on an electric unicycle (EUC). They are an upgrade to the standard grip tape pedals that usually come with EUCs. Spiked pedals give riders more wheel control with their feet, lower body, and prevents slippage when riding off road, or on unpredictable terrain. They also prevent slipping when riding ing wet or muddy conditions. On the other hand, spiked pedals comes at the expense of comfort for some riders who might not enjoy being restricted from subtle foot placement movements during riding.
In this article, I will discuss the pros and cons of spiked pedals. I will also briefly review the reasons why I upgraded my Veteran Sherman pedals with the Gotway/Begode spiked pedals.
What are Spike Pedals for an Electric Unicycle (EUC)?
Spiked pedals for a electric unicycle (EUC) are similar to those on downhill mountain bikes. These spikes provide grip, preventing slippage when riding off road or in unpredictable bumpy terrain and they have more advantages over basic grip tape as their traction is not affected by wet conditions like snow or mud where riders’ shoes get soaked with water or mud that gets splashed up during rides through fields of tall grasses, puddles, or whatever gets in your glide path.
One limitation though is that spiked pedals can be too aggressive for subtle movements which many riders see as comforting such as shifting weight around while standing, or even seated on their EUC. Foot pain is a common and major complaint among electric unicycle riders.
Nuanced movement of your feet on your pedals can alleviate symptoms of prolonged EUC riding, such as burning, tingling, or stabbing sensations in your feet. Grip tape is not so aggressive that you can’t shift around without lifting your foot, or a shift, slide motion. Spiked pedals for the most part do not give you this flexibility.
And, in my experience riding with spiked pedals, I have learned that the trade off for better control, confidence off road, is less comfort for long-range cruising over smooth pavement.
Now it is possible that I just need more time riding. Though I’ve got more thousands of miles on my Veteran Sherman at this point. I have a feeling I may need better shoes, or a different riding style to help me with foot discomfort. This is certainly a topic for discussion in another article! But, overall, I don’t think spiked pedals are purely to blame for foot discomfort while riding an electric unicycle.
Are Spiked Pedals Worth It?
The answer is it depends. Oh, man that’s a cop out, right? Well, spiked pedals are expensive for one thing! So, let’s not dive into saying it is always worth it to upgrade your standard grip tape pedals.
You need to ask yourself what you’re doing with your EUC. Where are you riding? What kind of conditions, environmental or surface, are you riding in?
Answering these questions is crucial for deciding whether spiked pedals are for you. To be specific, spiked pedals are beneficial for riding in certain circumstances, such as off-roading or riding in the rain or snow. For commuters in an urban environment, you need to be prepared for bad weather or potholes. Spike pedals have the advantage in that they always give you better control over your EUC.
And, lets go further with this corner case. You’re riding to or from work. What kind of shoes are you wearing? The ideal footwear for riding an EUC is usually one with a firm rubbery sole to help you maintain grip on your pedals and stay comfortable. But, if you’re going to work, are you wearing your mountain bike flats or motorcycle boots?
If you’re wearing dress shoes for the office, then spiked pedals may help you push that control variable up for you to keep control over your EUC when those pesky sidewalk cracks come up and bite you.
Of course, let’s talk about sneakers, or softer soled shoes. You may find some shoes that you want to wear while commuting are super-painful with spiked pedals. The “spikes” in those spiked pedals often poke upwards of more than 2-4mm.
Imagine stepping on nails with your bare feet; this is the sensation you may have after riding spiked pedals after a few miles with bad shoes. The spikes on your pedal will dig into your shoe and cause blisters or uncomfortable pressure points against your foot.
Pros and Cons of Spiked Pedals
- Offers more grip than standard grip tape
- Spiked pedals may prevent slipping when riding off road, or unpredictable bumpy terrain
- Keeps your foot planted in place when riding
- More durable and long-lasting than the sandpaper on grip tape pedals
- They are an expensive upgrade from your standard grip tape pedal set
- Uncomfortable with poor riding footwear
- May limit a rider’s ability to subtly change their foot position on the pedal while riding for long periods of time
- May cause discomfort or injury if not properly setup
Why I Chose to Upgrade to Begode Spiked Pedals on my Veteran Sherman
Here’s why I upgraded the standard pedals on my Veteran Sherman to the Begode Spiked Pedals (CNC version). It’s for all the advantages of the reasons listed above.
- The Begode Spiked Pedals offer more grip than the standard Leaperkim grip tape pedals
- Spiked pedals prevent slipping of my feet when I ride on unpredictable terrain or off road, which I started doing a lot with my Veteran Sherman EUC
- At cruising speeds over 20-25 mph, small bumps in the road can throw you off your wheel or cause your feet to slip sideways, leading to a dangerous loss of control. Grip tape helps keep you safe, but spiked pedals are better!
- I realized with my mileage on the Veteran Sherman that my grip tape pedals would eventually wear out. The sandpaper was wearing off in some spots, and others filling with dirt, making it less effective overall. A spiked pedal upgrade future proofs my need to change the sandpaper/grip tape.
- Finally, the Begode Spiked Pedals are slightly larger, which I wanted for even more control and comfort. They are the CNC version (not diecast), so although they cost more, they are sure to last and endure my abuse riding over everything and anything that gets in my way.
Would I buy the CNC Begode Spike Pedals Again?
Let’s say I needed a 2nd Sherman, or had another Begode or Gotway wheel on the way. Would I get these spike pedals again? Yep, 100%!
Fast on your feet and sharp at the pedals? Begode new “Begode: Honeycomb/Hex Pedal Set, CNC” is for you. With a larger surface area for those longer feet (comfy for US size 8 and up), and a studded hex screw surface to keep your damn foot firmly planted. The 4mm hex spike studs are not-adjustable height wise, but easily replaceable and provide awesome traction so that you are more in control when you hit those off-camber roots or even when you cruise silently along with everyone else. Most importantly though, they look way better than any other set on the market, imho!
Here’s the #1 Reason Spiked Pedals Should be Standard on Future Performance EUCs
One of the most common arguments for upgrading grip tape pedals with spiked ones is that they offer more grip than standard grip tape; although, it’s worth mentioning the latter can have a high degree of traction as well. Spiked pedals are often most beneficial for riding off-road or in light to heavy rain, snow, or sand.
But, for a performance EUC that is designed to either ride fast, e.g., speed wheels, or off road, e.g., suspension EUCs, the spike pedal is a key safety feature in both cases. Safety is the #1 reason why I think spike pedals are valuable and a worthwhile upgrade on performance electric unicycles.
So much so, that I think spike pedals should come standard. And, I think the market is going in this direction with new EUC releases. The S20 and Begode Hero suspension electric unicycles both come with spike pedals, which tells you a lot about what the community wants (and needs) on their EUCs for high performance riding!
If you’re regularly using your EUC off road through vegetation of dirt trails that have rocks and roots underneath them–then you are going to want spiked pedals. In this case, they will give you the added stability and control over your EUC in unpredictable terrain.
But, Spiked Pedals are Not For Everyone
Yeah, I just mentioned that spiked pedals should be standard on performance EUCs. But, that also implies that I don’t think every EUC should be considered a “performance wheel”.
As such, I will note that it is important to say that spiked pedals are not a one-size-fits-all solution either for control and safety. There are going to be cases where spiked pedals will be overkill and other cases where they are simply impractical.
As mentioned above, footwear is important if you’re upgrading to spiked pedals. You’re going to be literally “locked out of” wearing certain shoes, e.g., no flip flops or bedroom loafers. You’ll need solid, firm soles or you’re gonna get hurt.
Two Other Ways to Stay in Control on Your Electric Unicycle
1. Power pads (Jump pads)
Attach power pads or jump pads to the sides of your EUC to keep your legs and feet locked while riding. There are many types of power pads. The best power pads for your electric unicycle and your body ergonomics will depend on a lot of factors.
A suspension system on your electric unicycle will give you more traction over uneven terrain. When your wheel can absorb the bouncing dynamics of riding over uneven terrain, it will maintain surface contact ultimately keeping you from bouncing off your EUC at higher speeds. Check out why a suspension EUC may be in your future.
As you can see, spiked pedals are a great way to get better traction with your feet on pedals when riding your electric unicycle over all sorts of terrain, and in all kinds of weather.
A downside of spiked pedals is that they can be too aggressive for subtle movements that allow riders comfort while riding as well as restricting foot placement during long periods of time with poor footwear–which may lead to discomfort or even injury. Spikes are often sharp, ouch!
Do you use spike pedals on your EUC? Are you looking to upgrade?