Although sold as a more cross-country pedal, a few weeks with Crankbrothers’ Candy 3 pedals led me to conclude they are being sold slightly short in that respect.
With tunable bumpers and roomy knurled plates either side of the twin bar mechanism they really did provide significantly more support than your average XC clipless pedal.
This allowed me to use slightly softer and more practical trail shoes without that discomfort of bending the sole around the axle or distorting off to one side.
This support did require a little more messing around than usual on first fitting to get the accurate combination of shims and pedal bumpers in place, so be aware this will need to be done – although the time spent setting them up is worth it.
Once in place, this tuning allowed unhindered twisting with clean cleat engagement and maximum contact patch.
Suddenly the Candy 3 made a lot of sense, even to those who are more used to bolting a cleat in and simply riding off.
I grew to really like the light yet secure action, with a positive entry and slightly spongy but detectable and consistent release.
As with the very similar Time setup, mud really didn’t have an impact on this action despite my best efforts to push it to the max, with only a few stamps needed to shift any lingering muck.
You can also tune your experience with standard 15-degree release or an ‘easy release’ 10-degree cleat option. Both of these are available with either zero or 6 degrees of float too, so just about every preference is catered for.
I ran both and preferred the 15-degree release, 6-degree float by a long shot for the extra security and freedom, but new clipless converts might want to try the 10-degree cleats until they are more comfortable.
Although Crankbrothers has taken steps to improve its bearing quality and seals, and even offer a five-year warranty on this level of pedal, previous experience suggests you should stay on top of maintenance in our wet climate.
That said, I had no trouble with this set during the test. Pricey, but effective for softer trail shoes than other cross-country models.