A little over a year ago I was sitting on the trail pissed off at the lack of support I was getting from my shoes and pedals. Like a lot of you, I constantly had to deal with the compromises that came between a stiff soled shoe for performance and a pliable soled shoe for comfort. As a flat pedal rider I also dealt with the constant adjustments I felt like I had to make to get my foot just right on the pedal and how easily it could get knocked out of that position.

I really think this will change the way we think about pedaling and moving on our bikes.

As I sat there I wondered to myself why don’t I need a stiff soled shoe to squat or deadlift in the gym? As a strength coach I often worked out barefoot and encouraged clients to train the same way, or at least with minimalist shoes.

I knew that the foot was a wonderfully strong and stable platform to move from but for some reason it turned into an unstable, unbalanced mess on the bike.

Suddenly it hit me – in the gym the ground supports both ends of the arch of your foot. The arch is one of the strongest forms in nature but only if it is supported on both ends.

Once you support both ends of the arch the foot is strong, stable and balanced. This is why you don’t need stiff soled shoes in the gym and good coaches will actually tell you to drive through your heels.

At that moment I knew I had to see if I was on to something. Every pedal ever designed has been made from the assumption that you need to push through the ball of the foot. However, this is an outdated view of the pedal stroke.

Like I point out in this article, since the foot stays in contact with the pedal during the pedal stroke you don’t want to push through the ball of the foot when pedaling. Plus this study (J.R. Van Sickle Jr, M.L Hull/ Journal of Biomechanics 2007) showed no difference in power or economy between the ball of the foot and the mid-foot position…however it did show an important difference in how that power was produced. But more on that next week.

My point is that I realized that if anyone was going to create this pedal is was going to have to be me. So I started slowly with a 3D model to see if there was something to this idea. There was a noticable difference and so I had a quick and dirty aluminum version made that I lovingly call “the tanks”. I really liked what I felt on the trail with them and so I moved to a rough “production” prototype, which performed wonderfully and I have been running them for the last 8+ months.

The Catalyst Pedal family tree
The Catalyst Pedal family tree

At the end of all of that is the Catalyst Pedal, a pedal that I really think will change the way we think about pedaling and moving on our bikes. By looking first at how the lower leg and foot optimally move and then applying that knowledge to the bike, I’ve created a pedal that supports your foot the way that nature intended for your foot to be supported. This design will give you more power and efficiency than a normal flat pedal and more stability than any pedal out there, flats or clipless.

The end of a long journey.
The end of a long journey.

So after 14+ months of working on it I am almost ready to place my first order and start the process of getting them into everyone’s hands. But first I need you help.

Before I can make them available for pre-sale next week I need to figure out which colors I am going to offer. I have a set number of colors I can choose from and I would like to know which ones you would be most likely to buy.

I also have to answer a final question on the pin placement for the pedals. I’m not sure if people would rather have a lot of pins and the option to take pins out and customize their pin placement or if they would just rather have a set pin pattern.

This means that I need you input and help in finalizing the design of the Catalyst Pedals. If you could take a minute and answer 3 short questions on this survey I would really appreciate it. If you leave your name and email address I’ll even enter you into a drawing for 1 of the 3 free pairs of Catalyst Pedals I’ll be giving away.

Click here to the survey and help me finalize the design for the Catalyst Pedals

Your input is important to me and I’d really appreciate your help. I hope that this pedal is able to help a lot of you improve your performance, comfort and confidence on the bike and I’m really glad to be able to get your input on the final design.

BTW, before I get a ton of emails asking the Catalyst Pedals will be ready for pre-sale some time next week. I also plan on holding webinar where I’ll present my thought process and the science that led to the design and answering any question that anyone might have.

I’ll be in touch Monday with the winners of the free pedals and more info on when you can order yours. In the meantime take a minute to fill out the survey and help me figure out the final details of the design.

Click here to the survey and help me finalize the design for the Catalyst Pedals

Until next time…

Ride Strong,

James Wilson

MTB Strength Training Systems

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