A group of Dutch cyclists is using Kickstarter to launch a new road pedal system called 3ax. The system is claimed to be more efficient and more comfortable than standard pedals thanks to a pedal body that sways laterally on the spindle.
Although the product is still in prototype form, 3ax has done a fair amount of testing, and the current iteration weighs a claimed 188g per pedal.
Similar to the Nikola pedals highlighted on BikeRadar in December, the 3ax pedals move laterally in relation to the bike, traveling perpendicularly along the pedal spindle on bearings. Unlike the Nikola models that move 25mm linearly along an oversized spindle, the 3ax pedals have a bit of a concave, rocking motion in relation to the spindle. The pedal body moves about 2mm on a pivot point above the spindle, which 3ax says makes them feel stable.
The idea is that by allowing the pedals to adapt to the rider, instead of the rider adapting to a fixed pedal, the whole machine is more efficient, 3ax's Taco Bos told BikeRadar.
"We designed 3ax out of frustration with conventional clipless pedals," Bos said. "The evolution of road bikes over the last decades has been really impressive — lighter materials, better bike fitting, improved electronics — and we just felt pedals were lagging."
3ax claims that the majority of cyclists tilt their feet either inwards or outwards while riding, with the amount of tilt differing throughout the pedal stroke. 3ax studied this with high-speed cameras, as well as measuring pressure underneath various points of the foot. With the foot locked into a standard pedal, the body has to adapt, often with knee movement, according to 3ax.
"3ax pedals allow your feet to tilt sideways, and still feel stable thanks to our patented sway-mechanism," Bos said. "We got great reactions from our test team and we’re very excited about our test results."
3ax tested knee movement and even oxygen consumption. Using 10 riders, 3ax tested Shimano SPD-SL pedals against their own, with the protocol being to ride at a wattage equal to 2.5 times bodyweight in kilograms. 3ax claims that, on average, their pedal system resulted in 3.3 percent less oxygen being used by test riders at the same wattage over standard pedals.
The project launched Wednesday on Kickstarter, and within 24 hours it has reached $20,000 in backing towards its $50,000 goal.
To find out more, or to see a video of the pedals in action, check out 3ax's Kickstarter page.