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Riding comfortably with SPD pedals takes a degree of skill which can be a hazard when riding in the city. I use my gravel bike on all commuting roads, disused railway line beds and some trails. A small, rounded SPD pedal allows for quicker riding, more ground clearance and purchase if you want to go for a Strava PB.
You don’t need to think about records when you are cycling to work or study. SPD pedals use a clip-in system with cleats you attach to a shoe. This requires a certain amount of dexterity. Repeated clipping in and out is rare on long road rides and trails without traffic or traffic signals.
MOTO Reflex Flat Pedal
A lightweight and robust plastic-platformed pedal with Griptape for improved grip and comfort. It offers a large surface area, sleek profile, and reflective tape for visibility. It is suitable for urban commuters and leisure riders, and its design allows for servicing and modular replacement. It is easy to install and provides sure-footedness for frequent stops and comfortable journeys. Recommended for those who want a grippy and comfortable base for their cycling shoes.
- Grip across most of the forefoot
- Comfort and reliability when stopping and starting
- Reflective tape more than some pedals offer
- Pricey for a pedal with a plastic platform
City riding requires you to put your foot on the ground regularly. It’s not common to see a cycle specific shoe in the urban environment. A platform pedal feels more appropriate.
When riding in the city, I felt I needed:
- As much contact with the pedal as possible
- Support for resting the bike on kerbs
Some bike pedals come with orange reflectors but many bought off the shelf don’t have any at all. So any extra visibility offered would be a bonus.
After only having used SPD style pedals in the last 15 years but having ridden platform pedals on hire bikes, I was keen to see how my own bike rides would adapt with the MOTO Reflex Flat Pedal.
MOTO says their pedal is light and increases visibility and offers premium weather resistant grip in a simple form. They say it’s their best-priced model to date. It’s not cheap for a plastic-platformed pedal, at £59 / $74.
The MOTO Reflex Flat Pedal is perfect for urban commuters or leisure riders who want a grippy, comfortable base to secure most of the forefoot when riding.
Unlike traditional platform pedals which leave gaps and have pointier edges, this pedal is sleek, with a large surface area and slim profile. Reflective tape helps improve the rider’s visibility.
The model allows for use with many shoe types and provides security when used in any conditions unlike clipless pedals which are less helpful in the urban environment. The large surface area would suit e-bike users too, providing more comfort in those moments of pedal assistance.
First impressions and fitting
The pedals arrived with simple fitting instructions and a guide to how they are constructed. A 3mm Allen key is supplied which allows for servicing and adjusting the distance from the pedal to the crank arm to suit your shoe size.
The first thing you notice is the flat surface area. The whole body of the pedal feels like one unit. It’s shallow in the cross section too, compared to other platform pedals.
The other thing you notice is the Griptape which covers the whole surface. Your whole forefoot should be able to fit across the pedal and stay in position.
Pedal installation is not necessarily intuitive even though the only tool you need is an 8mm Allen key and some grease. Instructions are clear and the non-drive side pedal is marked with a groove.
The weight of the tested pedals was 348g and they looked robust and with a minimalist design. Mine came fitted with two white reflective strips on each side from a choice of colours. MOTO calls these Reflex Tapes.
Custom Griptape pads and pedals straps are options too. The styling of these options is perhaps a nod to the founder’s BMX background.
The two half-shells of each pedal are made from honeycombed fibreglass-reinforced plastic supported by a machined stainless steel axle. Whilst the shell material feels light, the strength from the honeycomb design and axle provides stability.
The design incorporates straightforward servicing, maintenance and replacement of the component parts. The Griptape surface can be replaced when one wears down.
The grip and comfort levels of the MOTO Reflex pedals are the first thing you notice. I wore the same sneakers as I use with my Shimano SPD pedals and they really felt grounded on the broad surface area of the platform.
I’m a size 7/41 and felt that the widest part of my foot was always in contact with the pedal. The surface has a grit-like, sandpaper feel which makes for a lot of traction but you don’t feel trapped in one position.
Because more of your foot is on the pedal than with an SPD version, the comfort levels are high in any form of footwear. The grit of the surface might scuff the sole of certain types of shoe more than others. In the gum sole of my sneakers the grip was awesome and had a pleasant rebound over bumps, without losing any form.
It was a dry day when testing but the grip – think like a skateboard if you haven’t handled sandpaper – promises functionality in wet conditions. Some riders say that unclipped pedals are less effective going uphill but I felt no discernible difference in the pedal power I obtained on local urban gradients.
The pedals were just fine in the city. Stopping at lights with a foot down was a breeze as the broad surface easily came to rest on the kerb if required. When parked up, the Reflex proved to be one of the most stable pedals I’ve had to prop the bike up.
There was comfort and reassurance when setting off again. I felt better in all stages of a commute and there was no pressure on a specific part of the sole of my foot. Setting off from lights is one of the most disconcerting aspects of urban riding, so it was pleasing to be so sure-footed.
The plastic held up well when I tried to ride harder and there was no additional discomfort when moving the bike around by hand. I’ve had a few sharp digs in the ribs and thighs from a stray metal pedal.
There would be no problems in taking these pedals out of the city and onto light trails or canal towpaths. Their surface area and dimensions might cause them to grind against certain tree stumps if you were trying out technical twisting paths, like most platform pedals.
Are they the next level?
MOTO manufactures a high-quality pedal which is hand-assembled. They do not feel like ordinary stock plastic pedals which often come as an afterthought.
Day-to-day city or leisure riding with its frequency of stops will be where the Reflex performs best. Moving away from a standing start is sure-footed and journeys feel more comfortable.
The cost reflects the design principles, materials and modular replacement within the unit – not something that can be said of other plastic pedal offers.