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Crankbrothers Candy 1 pedals review

Funky entry-level off-road caged pedals with a unique mechanism for shifting dirt

Our rating 
3.0 out of 5 star rating 3.0
GBP £57.00 RRP | USD $60.00 | EUR €60.00
Crankbrothers-Candy-1-01-71a7af9 copy

Our review

Bright, light, serviceable and budget-friendly, but may take some getting used to for SPD veterans
Pros: Fun colours; easily serviceable; good mud shedding
Cons: Pedal body not the most durable; can look dirty quickly; more expensive to switch between cleat types for release tension adjustment; engagement action significantly different from SPD style
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Crankbrothers’ entry-level Candy pedal, the Candy 1 features a plastic outer platform around its unique ‘four-sided’ entry mechanism, as seen on the brand’s Eggbeater pedals.

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This proprietary system is designed to aid mud shedding for filthy rides, whether that’s on gravel bikes, mountain bikes or cyclocross bikes.

Crankbrothers Candy 1 specifications and details

Crankbrothers’ four-sided entry, with release tension determined by the cleat chosen rather than pedal adjustment.
Katherine Moore / Our Media

The plastic pedal body of the Candy 1 gives a lightweight package, with a total system weight of 349g including the easy-release cleats supplied.

A chromoly spindle and stamped steel wings are used, while the spring itself is made from stainless steel.

Ribbing on the pedal body is designed to improve grip when unclipped.

Entry and release tension is set according to your cleat choice, rather than on the pedal. As well as your option of easy or standard release, you can also choose between zero float or six degrees.

Switching between cleat types will cost you £24.99 / €26.99 / $26.99 per set.

Crankbrothers Candy 1 performance

The Candy 1 pedals are available in four vivid colours.
Katherine Moore / Our Media

I struggled to adapt to the action of the Crankbrothers Candy 1 pedals, having spent so many years on SPD-style pedals. This issue was heightened on steep, techy climbs, when not being able to get clipped in straightaway was really off-putting.

Hopefully, the action would be something you’d get used to over time, but it certainly feels different from the popular Shimano mechanism that’s been adopted by other brands.

I’d be hesitant to opt for a zero-float cleat for injury prevention reasons (my knees aren’t the happiest), so the six degrees of float offered by the rose-coloured easy-release cleats included was much appreciated. These should be a solid choice for the majority of riders.

The rose cleats supplied are easy-release and offer 6 degrees of float.
Katherine Moore / Our Media

While this entry-level model uses a plastic outer for the platform, I’d be tempted to upgrade to the Candy 2 (£89.99 / €99.99 / $99.99) for a more durable alloy body that’ll stand up better to scrapes and being leant on the floor.

Though the bright colourways are a lot of fun, with grooves to provide more grip when not clipped in, these quickly become dirty and require more fastidious cleaning to keep them looking fresh. Perhaps they’re better suited to gravel riding on dusty California roads than muddy Devon bridleways!

Though mud has been magically hard to come by in recent months, the mud-shedding capabilities of the Candy 1 were put to the test on some sloppy Pennsylvania singletrack and came out on top.

Having said this, further testing through the winter will really determine whether these are a superior design to a more standard SPD for muddy rides.

Servicing is simple thanks to the slotted end cap, with no specialist tools needed. Instructions are also readily available online, as well as pedal refresh kits for when they need some proper TLC.

Crankbrothers Candy 1 bottom line

Servicing the Candy 1 pedals is a straightforward process.
Katherine Moore / Our Media
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While I admire the serviceability, reasonable price, mud-shedding capabilities and bright colours of the Crankbrothers Candy 1 pedals, I found the mechanism to be a significant change from Shimano, especially in terms of engagement technique, without sufficient benefits to make the change worthwhile.

How we tested

Gravel fire roads, dusty singletrack, back lanes and rocky bridleways; the best gravel bike pedals need to be able to cope with a wide variety of terrain. Therefore, we tested the pedals in a range of scenarios representative of off-road riding in the UK.

All pedals were tested using the same shoes – the Fizik Terra Atlas, a 2-bolt all-road shoe that’s designed for gravel riding, mountain biking and hike-a-bike.

We specifically paid close attention to the ease of clipping in and out, how secure the mechanism felt and the level of support offered by the platform, as well as how serviceable each set would be.

Product Specifications

Product

Price EUR €60.00GBP £57.00USD $60.00
Weight 303g – (claimed 294g); 46g cleats including shims
Brand Crankbrothers

Features

Features Cleats included: Crankbrothers proprietary easy release, 6 degree float (rose)
Other cleats available: Easy release, 0 degree float (bronze); Standard release, 0 degree float (silver); Standard release, 6 degree float (gold)
Colours: Blue, pink, red and black