cranktip-racing-pedal-hero-3

Free power and less fatigue. That’s every roadie and triathlete’s dream, right? As far back as 1898, inventors have been looking toward the design of the pedal as a means of improving performance on the bike. Looking quite a bit more advanced than that first Ramsey Swinging pedal, the Crank Tip Racing Pedal promises reduced fatigue and increased power all with a simple change of your pedals.

Utilizing a dual swingarm design, the pedal is able to float laterally during rotation. It’s this back and forth movement that Crank Tip claims is responsible for a biomechanical advantage capable of reducing a rider’s heart rate by “5-10 beats.” Slide into the details next…

crank tip pedals  (1) crank tip pedals  (3)

While they may look a little crazy, all that extra hardware simply allows the clipless portion of the pedal to float back and forth from the section attached to the crank. Think gliding chair or similar, while the fixed portion threads into your crank like a normal pedal would. The Crank Tip pedal uses what appears to be a fairly standard 3-bolt road cleat which should make clipping in and out familiar.

crank tip pedals  (4)

The main idea behind the pedals is twofold. First, the swinging action supposedly reduces leg fatigue since the pedal is able to slide back and forth. Crank Tip states that this movement lessens the feedback at the pedal which results in a smoother pedal stroke, and therefore less strain on the muscles. The other concept to the design is that when the pedal is approaching the 4 o’clock position, it results in a foot position that is 12mm lower, and 16mm further forward. Their claim is that this effectively increases the length of the crank arm gradually which provides increased leverage and torque at the key position in the pedal stroke.

Even if the pedals work exactly as claimed, there seem to be two major hurdles to contend with – weight and price. With a listed weight of 1.3 kg (1300g!), they are over 1000g heavier than something like a pair of Dura Ace PD-9000 pedals 700g (see Henk Vogels’ comment below). At $499, they are also almost double the price. However, the pedals do include a money back guarantee with the company stating they will refund all money including shipping cost if you are not fully convinced with their performance.

cranktip.com

Thanks to Eddie for the tip!

63 COMMENTS

  1. Ok, by studying the diagrams a bit more and watching the video, I think I get the idea a little better. Doesn’t seem worth it by a longshot though.

    Also, they would likely not be allowed in UCI (not that that matters much to us here), and it seems like it would create a disconcerting disconnect within the stroke, where you could move both feet independently in both directions while not pedaling. I’d try them out just for kicks, but it seems like it’d be strange. (deleted)

  2. just in case you don’t understand the concept, this is basically making the lever arm longer on the down stroke. so more leverage on the down stroke, but there’s definitely compromises like no power at the top and bottom (transition periods) and decreased leverage on the up-stroke (which if your a triathlete trying to recruit all your muscles seems like a bad idea), and putting the seat lower when your TT bars can’t will likely increase drag.

    that being said it’ll be noticeably feel easier to push a bigger gear.

  3. Isn’t this another take on the same concept as asymmetrical chainrings? Also the design of the asymmetrical chainrings work with the opposite logic, harder to push when you are at your maximum position on the crank revolution (this is easier to push on the exact same spot)

  4. Seems like it is a different angle on the non-round chainring approach. If you use longer cranks with non-round rings (eg. Rotor Q or Osymetric), then I think you get the same effect with far less weight. And the independent studies don’t show performance gains for non-round rings, though I use them and like the way they feel.

    I am not a scientist, but I suspect that the relatively low torque at 90-100rpm mostly eliminates the benefit of mechanical advantage, and your momentum carries you through the weak spot at the top of the pedal stroke. At 60rpm I can see there being an advantage, and my anecdotal experience is that the Q rings make more difference on the mtb, where on a steep, rocky climb you are going to need to apply torque all the way around the pedal stroke.

  5. Keep in mind, you get a mechanical advantage on the downstroke but you also have to move your leg that much further during that part of the stroke thanks to the larger circle you’re pedaling through at that point.

  6. Free power for nothing! When will cyclists learn?

    Pedals don’t produce any power and these certainly won’t produce “more”. All the power comes from your legs and you won’t go faster, easier. It’s a variable length crank arm and science has already shown that crank arm length does not significantly affect power output.

    It appears the pedals aren’t synchronized with the crank stroke so it doesn’t even work like the diagram says.

    Remember that if the lever gets longer, the foot has to get faster so your cadence must slow down. No comes for free.

    These ideas have been tried and failed over and over for a century.

  7. Riders who pull on the upstroke tend to ankle more, which would pull back on the pedals and give this an oval path. Seems to me the greater lever on the downstroke might be negated with the loss of efficiency from free play.

    But giving the rider a greater lever on the power stroke is definitely a good idea.

  8. From a leverage perspective it’s doing what non-round chainrings do but at the crank. At 90-ish degrees off, putting the higher leverage at the power stroke. So… biopace?

  9. Ok I am confused. I like the idea of a longer lever on the downstroke and a shorter return path. This would result in a smoother spin and potentially a smaller dead spot in the pedal stroke.

    *However*, looking at the diagram if the resulting pedal stroke is indeed circular you can get the same benefit by moving the bottom bracket down and forward. If you already have a correct position this would decrease power.

    *Correction* – moving the BB with regular cranks would result in the same pedal path, but the crank *leverage* would be less than the swinging pedal design.

    For those talking about non-circular rings, these do not change the crank leverage like you are with this pedal design. Having a shorter return path and lower leverage during on the back stroke could be good as you cannot generate as much power on the back stroke (no matter who you are) and the shorter leverage would make it easier to turn the pedals over at a higher rate with a bigger gear.

  10. Agree this seems analogous to oval chainrings, however, it seems like it’s more like biopace than all the new school versions. I.e. this gives more leverage through the power stroke, but why do you need more leverage there? Couldn’t you use more leverage through the dead spot instead?

  11. @Andrew- the circle is not larger, it is displaced, and presumably not perfectly round…

    I admire these guys for putting in the effort, and maybe it does feel good in a similar way to ovalized rings. Nonetheless I think it’s dumb… :-/

  12. I would compare it to Rotor’s RS4x cranks. I had a chance to ride those cranks for several years (video here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qwLLpd5c1M8)

    Lengthening the time between the 1 to 4 position during the pedal stroke while simultaneously shortening the 7 to 12 position opens the hip angle, provides the benefits of shorter crank arms during latter half of the pedal stroke while increasing the length of the lever during the portion of the pedal stroke when there is the greatest ability to transfer the rider’s weight into the pedal stroke. There is very little power produced during the latter portion of the pedal stroke (see research and Shimano’s reason for it’s 4 arm crank). Mechanically eliminating the ‘dead spot’ of the pedal stroke is advantageous. The RS4x did test favorably, effectively reducing lactate levels…. but the weight of the crank was significant. That was not a factor on flat courses. I for welcome Oval chainrings, and welcome even more ways of using eccentric mechanisms to change the effective pedal stroke to be more efficient. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11404667

    Eccentric cranks have been used in locomotives forever…

  13. My criticism: the limited eccentric motion created by this linkage design could have been accomplished by a much tidier single eccentric pivot. See the Ibis Mojo eccentric pivots as examples… and note that the different in opinions when when comparing a mechanically advantageous change in path of movement for suspension compared to pedal stroke – very interesting.

  14. Henk Vogels – The chubby guy in red – placed 10th in the 1998 Paris Roubaix. This is the fire time I’ve seen him do anything like this. Notoriously taciturn.

  15. I could see the benefiting people with short femurs but long tibias. That way…you’re crunched up less at the top of the pedal stroke but can get a good extension at the bottom. This would also be bad news if you have a short tibia but long femur bone.

    ***The weight is pretty off putting though, and whats the q factor going to be?

  16. Vista did something really pretty similar to this a few years ago with their Synchro cranks, whereby the pedal spindle was mounted eccentrically inside a large bearing at the end of the crankarm, which accomplished a pretty similar effect. Bearing wear on the crank-end bearing was supposed to be the ultimate flaw with them, from my understanding.

    Still, this sort of thing, oval chainrings or eccentric pedals is really interesting, a pretty direct way to turn calories into more forward motion.

  17. “Still, this sort of thing, oval chainrings or eccentric pedals is really interesting, a pretty direct way to turn calories into more forward motion.”

    This doesn’t say anything at all. Bicycles are a way of turing calories into forward motion. So is walking and it’s even more direct.

  18. I think the oval chain-ring set are more effective than these heavy pedals. you can take the doval chain-ring set on ebay, lighter, cheaper and more simple.

  19. The red/green circle diagram makes it seem like these accomplish want is essentially a change in geometry (ST angle and length). I know that is not what is actually happening, but the diagram is poor at depicting this since the swing pedals maintain a perfect circle, as shown in green.

  20. Like normal, mass skepticism. OK, fair enough. But these guys are not unknown riders. They’ve got pedigree, and Henk is nobody’s fool, in particular. If they think it works, I’m already interested. However, I’d like to see power meter output to know for sure. Biomechanically, the leg is not designed to work in circles (as per normal crank action), hence the interest in systems that emulate the leg’s natural action more closely (oval rings). No doubt, this design could be significantly reduced in weight and in price with mass production, so don’t even bother getting caught up in that. Let’s see if it works first – every innovation is greeted with similar negativity, and the bad ones go away, so time will tell…

  21. I don’t know why everyone is equating this device with oval chainrings – it’s almost the complete opposite. Oval chainrings give you a bigger gear in the powerstroke, making it harder to pedal – but because you’re in the powerstroke that’s ok.

    This device gives you a longer lever with the same gear, making it easier to pedal in the powerstroke. That may be why the racers are so impressed with the pedal – your legs fly through the stroke – you feel more powerful. And it also quickly gets you through the deadspot up top.

    (someone may have broached this already but l didn’t feel like reading all 34 comments)

  22. I already use a variety of rotor rings which seem to do that same job this pedal does. However, with all the miles I put in on multiple bikes it may be less costly running these pedals and round chain rings. I’ll have to check them out.

  23. I still ride with the Vista magic x pedals, which use the same idea. I do not know or care if they add any power, but the feeling of smoothness of the pedal stroke was instantaneous when I first installed them.

    The Vista pedals weigh 125g apiece, and used to cost about 200$ (do not recall the exact price). Yet Vista is out of business.

    Downsides: the ball-bearing sits next to the crankarm and pushes the foot out, widens the stance by maybe 8-10mm on each side. The foot sits lower, so higher risk of pedal strike in corners, but also lower center of gravity which is a bonus on fast descents.

  24. I dont know what you guys are talking about, I have bought a set of these pedals and I know they feel better, why cause when I replaced them and return to my old pedals they felt like I had two left feet and i had to constantly check to make sure I was in the right gear at certain points in my ride as the bike felt harder to pedal, also they do not work in any way like roto rings. I dont know what you guys are saying cause the pedals cannot move back and forth independently that much that you can feel it, they cushion the rotating force at the bottom of stroke and at the top stroke your hip is better placed as its lower and less stressed. These are my experiences and I will not ride anymore without them.

  25. @Stephen who wrote on 01/09/15 – 1:21pm
    “Just imagine if Crank Tip were to team up with MagLOCK…those would be THE ULTIMATE BIKE PEDALS!!!”

    You forgot to add Nikola, might as well have your foot flopping around all over the place and side to side too while you pedal. Now that combination is ULTIMATE!

  26. CrankTip, if you’re reading this, send me a set and I’ll review them and put this argument to bed… 🙂

    Send a set to GCN and ask them to test them at Bath University. In the video above, I’m not sure those two guys would just straight out lie, so let’s just wait ’til the reviews come in.

  27. “Biomechanically, the leg is not designed to work in circles (as per normal crank action), hence the interest in systems that emulate the leg’s natural action more closely (oval rings).”

    This is complete nonsense and oval rings don’t change the foot path anyway. You still pedal in circles with oval rings and I’m amazed at the stupidity of this repeated claim.

    “Let’s see if it works first…”

    We already know it doesn’t because it’s based on a premise that have been disproven.

    “I don’t know why everyone is equating this device with oval chainrings – it’s almost the complete opposite.”

    mudrock is right about this. These have more in common with Biopace than with modern oval rings. They are, in fact, most like the Rotor RS4 crank mentioned earlier except that they are times opposite of those cranks and therefore work against you. If this kind of contraption worked at all, and it doesn’t, they have gotten it backwards.

  28. these dont make the crank arm/lever arm longer. they may change where your foot is, but there is still the same pivot at the crank’s pedal threads. this offsets the foot to the crank’s pedal threads down and forward, similar to the aforementioned Vista pedals and Shimano’s old Dura Ace AX(?) toeclip pedals, essentially creating a “negative stack height” to your foot. on top of that, this system has a small parallelogram “hammock” for the platform, what that does, who knows. but it certainly does not make any lever longer.

  29. I wonder what would happen if you mixed the Rotor RS4x crank, Osymetric chainrings, and crank tip pedals….
    Would you even need to pedal? Do three wrongs make a right?

  30. If you run oval chainrings and these pedals you will get double the power. You could essentially go from Cat 4 to Cat 1 just by spending $1000.00. I would rather spend the money on a Stages crank and a subscription to Sufferfest just so I don’t look like a dork riding with my club.

  31. greg, you write that the “pedal threads down and forward”…. “FORWARD”

    So, you recognize that the pedal moves forward of the pedal insert on the crank. How is that not creating a longer lever?

    Also, why the negative reactions to a mechanical solution to the pedal stroke, one that creates a longer lever during the pedal position where the rider can put more of their body weight into the pedal stroke and minimizing the lever during the portion of the pedal stroke when there is little to no power contributing to forward movement while also minimizing ‘bunching up’ at the hip…., but no negative reactions to suspension designs like DW-link that mechanically change the path of swing arms through the use of parallelograms and eccentric pivots?

  32. Hi guys Henk vogels here , yes I’ve been in a good paddock , but i started on these pedals 2 years ago , firstly there is a mistake on the website the pedals do not Weigh 1.3 kilos there are 700 grams for both , sorry about that
    Quite simply these pedals give you more TORQUE , simply more torque , and the testing we have done is quite remarkable , on a 330 metre track 185 metres gained at the same heart and conditions over 10 laps , you simply are able to generate more power at a lower HR , we are seeing a minute Quicker over a 40klm TT
    Haters are going to hate , i get it , try them you will NEVER go back
    Money Back Guarentee , ill stake my reputation on it.
    Henk Vogels
    CEO of Cranktip

  33. Way to go Henk, with my damaged cartilage, Cranktip pedals are much easier on the joints, less tiring and more speed , easier to get up hills, will never go back to old style pedals again.
    Don’t knock it until you have tried it and seen your improved times.

  34. Is it April 1 already?

    Someone needs a lesson in physics. If the pedal swings on free pivots and the foot moves forward, the amount it moves forward is due to a force acting in line with the crank. The drive forces applied to the crank are generally perpendicular to the crank. (x and y axis forces) You are not effectively lengthening the crank, your effective x axis forces will always be applied as such at the point where the swinging pedal attaches to the crank arm which is still a fixed distance from the bottom bracket. All the swinging pedal does is show you how out of perfect your power stroke is.

  35. @rs4x,
    Foot placement has nothing to do with it. Lever arm is from bb center to pedal system pivot. You’re saying that if you move your cleat, the lever arm length changes, which is incorrect. The pedal does not extend the length of the lever if the lever has a free moving pivot in the middle.

  36. Hello All,

    For the open minded people……!

    I am not usually one to post on forum topics that attract negativity such as this, however, I believe the Cranktip company deserves someone who is prepared to take the time to post their positive thoughts on this product.

    I have been watching these pedals for some time now and I actually understand the “Below Centre, oblique triangular pivot and dual rotational combination” principle of how they work.

    I am highly trained in the field of mechanical design. I believe that every mechanical principle is purely theory until proven. I also believe that sometimes the simplest ideas are often the best.

    Yes Craig I have had many a lesson in physics and a lot of physics have been applied to this design.

    There are three pivot points in the design concept of this pedal in a triangular format. I am of the opinion that the distances and calculated angles are critical to how this pedal works. Combine this with a below centre forward foot position and two points of rotation and there you have it, a substantial amount of extra downward torque [Fact}. This pedal simply would not work if one of these areas of consideration were missing. I can’t believe this has not been thought of before. Your foot circle is exactly the same as if you were riding standard pedals too. Clever…..!

    Elliptic Chain rings – Nothing like the principle of this product, not even close.

    Longer Crank Arm – Yes, more torque for hill climbs but your leg needs to follow a bigger over the entire crank rotation – No Thanks! My pedal circle is comfortable as it is. Also nothing like the principle of this product.

    Before I form a conclusion on these pedals I will purchase a set and try them for myself instead of “hypothesising”.

  37. Three pivot points make a triangle, which is a rigid structure. The diagram shows four pivot points, the pedal hanging/swinging. But more importantly, all the pivot points act on the mounting point, the usual pedal hole. If you draw a basic force diagram and balance the vectors you’ll find that the true point of leverage is the same distance from the point of crank rotation. The force applied is a constant and dependent on the cyclist’s fitness/strength. There is an x and a y component to it. If you “pivot” that force forward and quantify it and then translate it to the point of actuation, you are getting the same x and y components transcribed from the point of application (the pivoted pedal) to the point of actuation (the pedal hole in the crank) with no benefit to the cyclist. The usual limits of physics apply, to get more torque you need a longer lever. To achieve this you would need mechanical connections at the crank arm that physically extend the pedal forward through the power stroke and then move it closer to the point of rotation (bottom bracket) for the upstroke. The free swinging pedals don’t achieve this.

  38. Craig,

    Thank you for your input.

    I will never draw conclusion to anything unless I have physically test the device.

    I personally will keep an open mind to this product, as I have, every other product to be introduced to the cycling community. I will purchace a set and try them, that way and if in fact they do give the cyclist some advantage then I will not be left behind the eight ball from the beginning nor will I have the embarrasment of having to retract any negative comments in the future.

    Maybe you see something I don’t, maybe I see something you don’t…..Here is to the test!

    I look at it this way. “Nothing Gained – Nothing Lost” but “Something gained – A step forward”

    I will post again when I have had the opportunity to ride with this product.

  39. This is a review of my first ride with the new Cranktip Pedals after their installation today. If I could rate these as five stars out of five if I would. The quality of workmanship is excellent and the pedals do what the marketing material says they do.

    Today’s ride was 63 miles in south Florida with the final 30 miles “uphill” on a Florida hill (aka 30 miles into a 20 knot headwind–groan).

    It took me a while and several e mails with customer support before I was able to successfully order the pedals. When I selected “create an account”, it would NOT let me proceed to checkout unless I confirmed that I owned a bike shop or a parts supply house. The “solution” was to checkout as a “guest”, and that worked fine. They may have made this process more intuitive by now.

    Payment at checkout uses Paypal. If you do not have an existing account, you can enter your credit card data and complete the process.

    The pedals were shipped direct from Taiwan via DHL and I received an e mail from DHL letting me know they were enroute and allowing me to track the shipment. DHL defaults to requiring a signature for delivery, but their website will allow you to authorize DHL to deliver without a signature, if desired. The pedals arrived three days after the order was accepted.

    The box with the pedals inside is a very nice package and high quality. The pedals and associated installation equipment is all packaged in a foam insert. The pedals exhibit a high degree of workmanship and look very nice. The instruction booklet is well written and easy to follow. You may need a pedal wrench to remove your existing pedals. The Cranktip pedals use an Allen Wrench inserted from the back side of the crank to install. There is a bushing to install on the thread spindle before installing on your bike, but the material clearly shows how to do this. The box includes a set of cleats and installation bolts as well as a smaller Allen Wrench for the cleats.

    I installed these on a Trek 750 hybrid, steel bike with 700X20 road tires.

    It was easy to clip into the pedals for the first time, although the process is a little different from normal road pedals. The pedals will naturally always end up with the insertion side face up due to the weight of the device. The difference is that the front of the pedal tilts about 15 degrees down. My road pedals usually fall with the tip of the pedal up, so inserting is easy. For Cranktip, you need to tilt your foot down to insert the front edge of the cleat first. This required a conscious movement for the first half of my ride, but after about 30 miles, muscle memory set in such that I did not have to think about it. Clipping out for a stop is just like any pedal.

    I can say that after 63 miles, I had less leg fatigue than I normally experience with regular road pedals. I can’t say that I had more power in pedal stroke, but that is possible. What did notice is that with regular road pedals, when I get tired I have to think about pedaling in circles or I default to a less efficient piston pumping up and down motion. That is NOT the case with Cranktip pedals. The motion seems to be more natural and looks like it has you in a more efficient pedal stroke naturally. I never needed to think about my pedal stroke.

    The literature states that these pedals may have less ground clearance in turns than normal pedals, but I did not notice that at all. Maybe if cornering fast that might become an issue, but I did not experience anything close to a pedal strike in my ride.

    I really like these pedals and would recommend to anyone thinking of purchasing.

  40. Henk, with all due respect, I just weighed these and they came in at 796grams. Brand new out of the box. Just saying.. I am yet to install them.

  41. Conceptionally these perform much like the original Rotor Crank. Just as these pedals do the cranks were forward offset from the bottom bracket. My only real issue is they are not (yet) compatible withe other pedal systems. Wish too they were made in Australia rather than Taiwan.

  42. I am 78 years old and after having shingles last year, I have been unable to keep up on club runs especially on hils. this was using dura-ace. my son asked me to try out cranktip pedals.
    my first reaction was they are far too heavy.So I put them on and thought this is a fluke I was able to stay with the group on three different outings 60 miles 78 miles and 58 miles.I must be just getting over shingles and am going better. took them off and put my lighter pedals back on.shxt dropped again and time trialing back on down the hills again.So put them back on last sunday 75 mile run and stayed with the group.
    Biggest problem is they hit the ground even trying to remember to stop pedalling,also belfast is covered in road bumps and i have hit them also.will try them in a time trial next week.If I do a pb he is not getting them back.

  43. Reading many of the comments below leads to one of my favorite statements. There are a lot of people on this planet who think they know what they are talking about. In reality there are very few people who actually do know what they are talking about. These pedals in there 360 degree rotation produce a variable length crank, using a method vastly different to elliptical chainrings. These pedals lengthen the crank on the down stroke (power stroke) & shorten the crank length on the up stroke (non power stroke) as compared to crank length at Top dead center & Bottom dead center, Elliptical chainrings effectively lengthen the crank on both the down stroke & the upstroke as compared to top dead center & bottom dead center.
    Force gives power (produced by leg strength), crank length gives torque, by increasing crank length through the power stroke of the pedal gives more mechanical advantage (torque) for the same power, by reducing the crank length on the non power stroke the up stroke, reduces the (torque) resistance of returning the pedal to the start of the power stroke, this is how the efficiency gains are produced. Simple really. The new school of pedaling theory is based on the fact that our legs are not designed to lift large mass by pulling up, our leg muscle groups are set up to push down, by developing muscle groups to pull up reduces the effectivenes of the muscle groups that push down, these pedals will allow minimal effort to be used on the return (up stroke) of the pedal for the same power output, they will also reduce the arc length of the pedal on the upstroke thus returning the pedal to top dead center at a slower linear speed. With increased torque from the power stroke (opposite leg pushing down) thus over time developing the muscles we should be using & reducing the strength of the muscles we should not be using this will develop the correct leg muscle groups to produce the most force (power), this will create further efficiency gains, in the riders legs. This is the theory behind the design of these pedals, putting theory & design into practice is a different story, I am sure some riders will be able to adapt to these pedals and experience worthwhile gains, others will not be able to adapt for various reasons. I have just been given a set of these pedals to try for a month, I will try to keep them for 3 months as I recon it will take that long for my legs to properly adapt to this new pedaling science. It will also take a bit of input from my brain to reduce to the minimal the pull up force on the return stroke of the pedal.

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