Review: Bythlon Pedal System

Cons: Easier release than other pedals. Cons: Needs 3-bolt road shoes, poor walking.

Review: Bythlon Pedal System

Richard Hallett reviews a clipless pedal that should eliminate foot-stuck falls

Bythlon £129

The Bythlon Pedal System is aimed at cyclists looking to move on from flat pedals but anxious about releasing their feet from ‘clipless’ pedals or pedals with toe-clips and straps. The pedals have a moulded body that houses a high-quality steel axle and sealed bearings, while the cleats fit to three-bolt road cycling shoes.

The body of each pedal is symmetrical and the same shape on both sides, with curved slots front and rear that accept similarly shaped bars on the underside of the cleat. Once the cleat bars are located in the pedal, the cleat (and shoe) can easily be lifted free but is prevented from sliding off the pedal. The cleat’s wider front bar is slightly narrower than the pedal slots, allowing the cleat a few degrees of rotation.


I’m used to clipless pedals, so assessing the system’s performance is tricky. The heel-twist-outwards exit movement does not work with Bythlon cleats, which must be lifted upwards to disengage. ‘Clipping in’ took a couple of attempts as there’s no lip to catch with the front of the cleat. Once the cleat is engaged, the system proves impressively secure unless you pull up on the upstroke, at which point you lift your foot off the pedal. As such, I did not feel confident riding out of the saddle.

The system requires ‘road’ cycling shoes. Although soft polymer tips on the cleat bars provide some security when walking, the cleats are tall enough to make the process as fraught as with other road cleats.

The pedals themselves are convex fore-and-aft and this, plus their low-friction material, makes them poorly suited for use with regular shoes. Perhaps Bythlon missed a trick: provided with a level, serrated surface this would be a dual-purpose design rather than an easier-to-use but less secure alternative to fully clipless
pedals.

Verdict

Slip-free pedalling without being locked in, the Bythlon system is hampered by hard-to-walk-in cleats and pedals that aren’t also suitable for regular shoes.

Other options

MKS Esprit Road Pedal £29.69 at the time of writing


Elegant and versatile aluminium pedal suitable for use with or without clips and straps. 

Restrap Pedal Straps £29 at the time of writing


Diagonally-mounted straps (horizontal also available) fitted to flat pedals to retain the feet while allowing easy exit.

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