“Holy shit, these things don’t have bearings!” Those were my exact words when I took apart one of my Odyssey Grandstand pedals to try and figure out why it was loose. Now, I don’t mean that I rode the things so hard that the bearings disintegrated and there was nothing left. What I’m saying is that these things really don’t have bearings, not in the traditional sense at least. More on that later, first let me bring those of you who aren’t familiar with Odyssey’s newest pedal up to speed.
The Grandstands are Tom Dugan’s signature pedal that feature a 105mm wide dual concave design that is just 17mm thick in the center. The thin center and large dual concave design allows your foot to settle into the pedal, thus maximizing the grip. A lot of thin pedals sacrifice strength by reducing the spindle diameter in order to achieve their thin design. That’s something that Odyssey was not willing to do, so they specced the Grandstands with a large heat-treated 14mm spindle. Think about that for a second; the center of the pedal bodies are only 17mm thick and the spindle is 14mm. That doesn’t leave a whole lot of room for bearings, now does it? In order to make this work, Odyssey had to design a completely new bearing and spindle system. What they came up with is like nothing that I’ve seen before.
Basically instead of traditional bearings, the pedals ride on conical plastic bushings. Two of these get pressed into each end of the pedal body and the angled face of the spindle and conical lock nut mesh up with them allowing the pedal to spin. So instead of the pedals relying on the moving surfaces of bearings to rotate, they rely on the low friction interface between the metal spindle and lock nut, and the plastic material of the conical bushings. Just what kind of plastic that is, I don’t know. Probably something derived from black magic cooked up in Odyssey’s lab. Though it’s a different system than what you’d find inside other pedals, the procedure for adjusting any play they develop is exactly the same. As far as how well they spin, when properly adjusted you wouldn’t even know that there wasn’t a traditional bearing system in there.
Now that I’ve gotten all that technical stuff out of the way, here are my thoughts on the Grandstands after running them for the past five months. I had Odyssey’s venerable Trailmix pedals prior to making the switch to the Grandstands. I was perfectly happy with them but the Grandstand’s larger surface and dual concave shape seemed pretty appealing. The first time I put my feet down on them I knew that there would be no going back to the Trailmix pedals. The dual concave shape was both extremely comfortable and grippy, which is exactly what Odyssey was going for. Like I said earlier, that shape allows your foot to settle down into the pedal, which increases the pressure your foot has on the traction pins. As grippy as they are, it’s not so much that you can’t reposition your foot if need be.
I really don’t have anything negative to say about the Grandstands. The shape is super comfortable, they have plenty of grip, and the only problem I’ve had with them after five months is that one loosened up a bit, and that’s nothing that I wouldn’t expect from any other pedal. The only thing I kind of don’t like about them is the dust caps. They’re pretty difficult to get off if and when you do need to service the pedals. A pair of needle nose pliers will do the trick though. On a positive note, you definitely don’t have to worry about them falling out when your riding. I think Odyssey hit home run the Grandstands. Will they have the staying power that the Trailmix pedals did, we’ll see. I don’t see myself running any other pedals though.
The Grandstand pedals retail for under $35 and are available from Odyssey Dealers worldwide.