iSSi Trail pedals review

Taking on the pedal giants

BikeRadar score3.5/5

In the world of mountain bike clipless pedals, Shimano has a pretty tight stranglehold on the market. The iSSi brand comes from Minnesota-based and local bike shop parts distributor Quality Bicycle Parts, and is a sister company to 45NRTH, Heller, All-City, Salsa, Surly and others. With that connection, the iSSi line of pedals is primarily sold in bike shops.

iSSi Trail pedals have the ambitious goal of taking on Shimano's trail pedals
iSSi Trail pedals have the ambitious goal of taking on Shimano's trail pedals

iSSi Trail pedal specs

  • Chromoly spindle, ED-coated
  • 8mm hex head for install
  • 52.5mm spindle length with +6mm and +12mm options available
  • Black chrome hardware
  • Sealed cartridge bearings and bushings
  • Adjustable spring tension
  • 4º cleat float
  • Eight colors available
  • Weight: 420g

Similar yet different

The Trail pedals from iSSi use the familiar SPD style retention and are compatible with Shimano cleats. The float is around four degrees and the release angle 14 degrees, which is a bit less than Shimano at six and 15-20 degrees respectively. The platform surrounding the pedal is very close in size and shape to Shimano's Trail offerings. An 8mm hex wrench is used to install both iSSi and Shimano pedals.

Where iSSi differs from Shimano is in offering three spindle lengths. The stock length is 52.5mm, which is 2mm shorter than Shimano's standard length. But fear not those with big, wide feet or fat bike riders with bulky, insulated boots. iSSi offers 6mm and 12mm extended spindles so everyone can pedal happily.

Eight colors are offered, although the finish can wear quickly when smashing around om rocky terrain
Eight colors are offered, although the finish can wear quickly when smashing around om rocky terrain

A bounty of eight colors is one thing iSSi Trail pedals have going for them. While color can seem inconsequential, for some folks it's hugely important, just ask Chris King or Industry Nine. One thing Shimano doesn't have is much color. The component giant is typically very business like, content with dignified, inoffensive shades of gray and black.  

Out on the trails

I rode the iSSi Trail pedals on my hardtail and full-suss bike, both with SRAM carbon cranks. I typically rode in Shimano AM9 shoes, and occasionally busted out the bulkier Shimano AM45s, as well as some mega-stiff, full carbon soled Pearl Izumi XC race kicks. Clipping in and out felt remarkably similar to Shimano pedals, there's thankfully no learning curve. The platform surrounding the pedals is fantastic, especially while wearing the flexy downhill-oriented AM9 shoes.

Durability and function has been perfect so far, with zero issues, even though the hi-viz yellow finish is definitely showing some scars from rock hits. The retention has quite a bit of adjustment. It can be cranked up to ankle-breaking levels if you're into that sort of thing, which I'm not, but for riders who blow out of Shimano clipless pedals, iSSi pedals are absolutely worth a look.

They've seen use, and lots of rocks on my hardtail
They've seen use, and lots of rocks on my hardtail

As mentioned earlier, three spindle lengths are available; the 6mm and 12mm are an extra $5, or available separately for $52. The stock 52.5mm length definitely caused my size 46 Shimano AM45 shoes to rub my carbon SRAM crankarms. It was less noticeable wearing the more svelte AM9s, and even less of an issue with the XC-racer Pearl Izumis. However, all three did have some shoe to crankarm rubbing, where I don't notice any when riding Shimano pedals. 

iSSi Trail pedals pricing 

  • 52.5mm spindles: £69.99 / US$100 / AU$105
  • 58.5mm spindles: £N/A / US$105 / AU$110
  • 64.5mm spindles: £N/A / US$105 / AU$110
  • Spindle kits: £32.99 / US$52 / AU$N/A
Russell Eich

Tech Writer, US
Russell fell head over heels in love with bikes in the '90s, and has been involved in the bike industry ever since. Between wrenching in bike shops, guiding professionally, and writing about bikes, Russell has honed an appreciation for what works, gained knowledge of what doesn't, and can barely contain his enthusiasm for what comes next. His two-wheeled passion continues in the Rocky Mountains high above Boulder, Colorado.
  • Age: 39
  • Height: 6'3"/190cm
  • Weight: 175lb/79kg
  • Waist: 34in/86cm
  • Chest: 42in / 107cm
  • Discipline: Mountain, road, cyclocross
  • Preferred Terrain: High altitudes, forgotten singletracks, bike parks, roads without cars
  • Current Bikes: Custom Meriwether steel hardtail, Specialized S-Works Enduro 29, Kona Jake the Snake, Trek 69er, and a bunch more
  • Dream Bike: Yeti SB5c, Intense Tracer 275C, Black Cat custom road
  • Beer of Choice: Gin + Tonic
  • Location: Rollinsville, CO, USA

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