iSSi Pedals are a part of the QBP empire that also includes the Salsa & Surly brands. They offer both clipless and flat pedals for gravel, MTB and road use. As well as the wide range of colours (a novelty for clipless pedals) they also offer pedals with different axle lengths. This allows riders to fine tune their q-factor.
The pedals we have on test are the II Triples. The triple tag denoting that they run on a triple set of sealed bearings. With increasing numbers of pedals employing DU bushings instead of bearings, this is a welcome spec choice. Despite the CroMo axle and triple bearings, their compact size and allow body keeps the weight down to 300g a pair. This undercuts a number of typical rivals.
None more black…
The clipless mechanism employed by iSSi is Shimano SPD compatible. The cleats, and how the pedals operate, will be familiar to anyone who has used SPDs before. There are no spanner flats on the axles so make sure you have a beefy set of hex keys to fit them! While their settings don’t go up to eleven, everything bar some subtle branding is finished in black. There are three stripes on the axle to remind you that you’ve got triple bearings.
On the bike
Fresh out of the box the iSSi’s rotated smoothly and the clipless action has just enough clunk to let you know you’re secured. The supplied cleats are to all intents and purposes identical in appearance to the original Shimano design.
In typical UK winter weather the iSSi’s worked as well as any SPD pedal I’ve used. For a change of scenery and conditions the iSSi pedals were also fitted to my Cutthroat for the Atlas Mountain Race. Inevitably as the miles wore on, the black finish wore off the bodies and mechanism. More of a concern was their performance in the desert. On more than one occasion the fine dust caused the pedals to jam leaving me to fall like the proverbial sack of spuds! I had immediate flashbacks to my first SPDs back in the 90’s!
Obviously desert sand won’t be a massive issue back here in the UK, but the last thing a tired rider wants is the anxiety of whether they can unclip. To solve the issue I got into the habit of regularly flushing the pedals with water, less than ideal when reserves are low in a desert!
Another mark against the pedals was that the rubber seal between the axle and the body refused to stay put. After pushing it back a few times I simply gave up bothering. The bearings don’t seem to have suffered so after a thorough clean I’ve put in a dab of grease to help the seal, and used a cable tie to prevent the seal creeping back out again.
In their favour the iSSi pedals are smart looking, lightweight and in certain conditions have a smooth clipless action. While I haven’t ridden in Morocco before, there are numerous desert stages on the Tour Divide and I’ve never experienced a pair of pedals jam up quite so frequently. The rubber seals inability to stay put didn’t cause any issues in the bone dry conditions of Morocco but their long term prospects in the UK can’t be good. The cable-tie is holding up but I fear it’ll eventually chew the seal up as the pedal rotates.
It’s difficult to recommend these pedals over a Shimano offering. iSSi have replaced the II with the Trail model so it could be they’ve dealt with these issues.
Last modified: 29th April 2020