After a hiatus of more than 10 years, Coombe Engineering is back in the highly competitive road bike pedal game with the Millenium II. It’s quite light, apparently very secure, and elegantly designed both inside and out – and creator Bill Coombe hopes this second-generation model earns as loyal a following as the original.
Nearly every other pedal on the market uses some sort of spring mechanism to connect the cleat and pedal body, but the Coombe Millenium II instead employs a simple dovetail-like arrangement that has no moving parts. Simply hook the back end of the cleat on the pedal, push down, and twist slightly to engage the interlocking pieces; rotate your foot in either direction past the small step in the cleat pocket to release. Built into the system is +/- 3 degrees of rotational float.
The Coombe Millenium II pedals use a simple dovetail-like rotating interface to lock the pedal body and cleat together
Durability and longevity are clearly high priorities on the Millenium II. The pedal body and axle are both made of ultra-tough stainless steel, and each small ‘+’-shaped body spins on two needle and one radial ball bearing. Thanks to that steel construction, the pedal body itself ingeniously serves double duty as the outer race for all three bearings, which helps lower the total pedal-plus-cleat stack height to just 10mm (claimed).
Two O-rings seal up the bearing mechanism from dirt and water. When maintenance is eventually needed, you can simply inject grease into the pedal using a port hidden inside the spindle. No disassembly is required; nor do the pedals have to be removed from the cranks.
The internal design is quite ingenious
In stark contrast to most other pedal systems, even the Millenium II’s cleats are meant to be long-lasting items. Instead of using some sort of plastic, Coombe makes the cleats out of bronze, which is somewhat heavy but extremely tough. Moreover, they’re still slightly softer than the stainless pedal bodies so as not to induce wear.
Meanwhile, small rubber pads positioned on the front and rear edges of the cleat make for easier walking. They’re easily replaceable when needed and since the retention mechanism has no moving parts, Coombe claims the pedal won’t be as sensitive to contamination as the similar-looking (but fundamentally different) Speedplay Zero.
The standard cleats are made of durable bronze, not cheap plastic
Those cleats don’t come without a few interesting quirks, however. For one, they’re compatible with standard three-hole shoe patterns but don’t allow for any fore-aft, lateral, or rotational adjustment – a consequence of the cleat’s ultra-thin shape and strength targets. Instead, Coombe offers cleats in one of three fixed fore-aft positions, all of which are slightly more rearward than most other pedal designs.
Claimed weight for the pedals is 220g per pair. The cleats add another 110g, although riders hyper-sensitive about weight can opt for race day-only alloy ones that save about 60g.
Stack height for the complete system is said to be just 10mm
Retail price is on the high side at US$359 (for just the pedals themselves) plus another US$68 or US$56 for the standard or aluminum cleats, respectively. All of the major components are being built at Coombe’s shop in Boulder, Colorado.
Time will tell if these next-generation Coombes will catch on but we’re certainly keen to try them. We’ve got a test pair inbound so stay tuned for a full review in the coming months.
For more information, visit www.coombe.com.