Reviewing a group of high-end, North-American-made pedals is, perhaps, best compared to reviewing a group of gourmet cheeseburgers: They are all going to be delicious, and you’ll need a pretty distinguished pallet to pull a lot of the finer details out—is that a Wisconsin smoked cheddar or Vermont? Ok, maybe I’m getting a bit off the rails here with the comparison, but the reality is: Just like two people may have differing opinions on what makes the best burger, each pair of these pedals has its own slightly distinctive flavor that may satisfy one rider more than another, or, even the same rider on different trails, bikes, or conditions.
Made in British Columbia, Canada
Weight: 501 grams
The Blackspire Brutes are, without question, the best-performing pedals for the price in the test. They come in at roughly half the cost of the other pedals and have arguably the best warranty plan of the bunch. All of Blackspire’s aluminum pedals have a lifetime factory warranty on the bearings and bushings. Basically, the owner pays for shipping, and Blackspire will recondition the pedal with no charge for any replacement parts installed in the factory. Blackspire has return shipping listed at a flat rate of $24.20.
Note: The weights shown throughout are what I measured on my kitchen scale.
The grip and feel were on par with what I’d expect from a high-end pedal. The large platform and needle-style pins provide a solid connection with the pedal. The Brutes were the widest underfoot of the test group. While this provided some excellent support, it came with the price of some additional pedal strikes, especially along the leading and trailing edges.
As perhaps the name itself implies, the Brute’s aren’t as refined as the other pedals tested here—they, I would say, are the equivalent of a 30-pack of domestic beer, where the others are perhaps best compared to, well, a top-shelf wine. And there’s nothing wrong with that. These pedals get the job done and are going to be able to withstand some abuse. The Brute’s are the heaviest in the bunch clocking in at 501g per pair on my scale. They are also the only pedals tested that can be removed using a classic 15-millimeter pedal wrench.
If you’re looking for a bomb-proof pedal that’ll take a lot of abuse and prioritize price over shaving grams, the Brutes will not disappoint.
Lifetime Factory Warranty
Solid grip and platform feel
Heaviest in the bunch
Not as refined as others in the test
Made in British Columbia, Canada
Weight: 447 grams
The North Shore Billet Daemons are the most expensive pedals in the group, but they are also the most transparent with where each piece of the pedal comes from. All the raw materials for the body, axle, and pins are sourced from the USA, then machined beautifully in British Columbia, Canada. The only parts that don’t originate in North America are the IGUS bushing (Germany), Enduro bearings (Taiwan), and end nut (Vietnam)—big props to North Shore Billet for the transparency here.
The Daemons offer a pretty large platform with 10 pins dealing out grip duties per side. The slightly-tapered needle-style stainless steel pins provided ample grip, while still allowing easy micro foot-position adjustments on the trail. I appreciate that the pins thread in from the top of the pedals via a hex end on the bottom of the pin. That way, if a pin gets bent or damaged, it can be easily pushed out without having to worry about damaging the threads on the pedal body. The pins also seem to shear off nicely as well. During the test, I had one particular rock strike shear off two pins on the outside of the pedal. Both pins broke clean off right at the pedal body without bending/deforming any of the threads.
From a ride standpoint, the Daemons perform better blasting down chunky descents than they do working their way back up technical climbs. It’s not that they don’t climb well, but a gravity bias is definitely present with these. I attribute this to the needle-style pins being less grippy when pedaling circles than threaded grub-screw-style pins. If I lived in an area where a majority of my climbing was on fire roads, these would likely be my top pick.
Smart pin design
Absolute transparency on where every piece of the pedals are sourced
No pin height adjustment
Made in Colorado, USA
Weight: 411 grams
The Tectonic Altars are the most uniquely designed pedals of the bunch. Their most notable feature is their shuttle-style through pins. Basically, each pin has two business ends that protrude out both sides of the pedal body, and, instead of threading directly into the pedal body, is anchored from the side via another bolt. The idea is you’ll avoid ruining the pin-to-pedal-body interface when you inevitably smash the pedal into an obstacle. These special pins are specific to the Tectonic pedals, and are made from super-hard Hitachi stainless steel—think high-end Japanese knives. The edges of these pins are very sharp, which helped make these pedals the grippiest in the group, too.
Further aiding in the traction department was the massive platform of the Altars. As soon as I unboxed them, I noticed just how large they were in the front-to-back length department. Once on the bike, this extra length created a massive amount of under-foot stability, which really helped create confidence while riding tricky terrain. The extra large platform also allowed me to ride confidently on shoes I normally don’t like to ride on. Even in floppier shoes like my canvas Vans or (reluctantly admitting) Crocs, I didn’t get the feeling that my foot was wrapping around the pedal at all. I probably wouldn’t ride serious trails in these shoes, as my trails are pretty rocky and I like shoes with a bit of toe protection, but for bike-packing, gravel grinding, or tooling around town, I am really impressed at how comfortable they felt under more street-oriented shoes.
This massive platform, combined with the through-style pins does have one drawback: They are tall and long, which leads to increased pedal strikes. I definitely found myself clipping these pedals more frequently than some of the others in the test. That said, I was quite surprised that, even after slamming them off some very solid stones, I’ve yet to break or bend a pin.
Tectonic also decided to forgo the bushing in favor of using four sealed cartridge bearings for the pedals to spin on. This made the Altars the lowest friction in the bunch, but also made them, at times, slightly difficult to relocate during foot-out moments, as they would spin more freely, and out of their original plane than the other models I tested.
Loads of grip
Makes floppy shoes feel great
Low spin friction
Large profile means more pedal strikes
Pin height not adjustable
May spin too freely for some
Made in Washington, USA
Weight: 458 grams
The Tenet Omens are essentially fancy clones of the company’s popular Taiwaneese-made, 115-dollar Occult pedals. For the Omens, the “if it’s not broke, don’t fix it” methodology really shines through. The internals are the same, but instead of starting with an extruded aluminum body, they are fully CNC’d out of 6061 aluminum in Bellingham, Washington. This process allows Tenet to craft pedals with an objectively nicer looking, shiny anodized finish, and have a claimed stiffer pedal body, but do gain just a bit of weight, compared to the Occults (418 grams per pair).
The ride feel of the Tenets is the most customizable out of the box than any of the others in the test. They come with both needle and grub-screw style pins, and also spacer washers to adjust the height of the needle pins, so you can mix and match to suit your style and preferred grip feel.
This amount of customization makes them really adaptable, and it’s really hard to find any faults with the pedals—overall feel, grip, durability, and aesthetics are all fantastic. If I have to nitpick something: Their square profile and fairly wide q-factor make them a bit prone to clipping rocks and roots, so extra care needs to be taken when dropping heels in steep rock gardens or in rougher pedaling sections.
Tenet also offers a pedal refresh service, which for US customers, is free (except for shipping) for the first service, as long as it’s within a year of purchasing the pedals. Otherwise, the price is a very reasonable $30 for the refresh (again, excluding shipping), which includes replacing the spindles, bearings, bushings, hardware, end caps, and pins. If you’d like to do the work yourself, or just don’t want to be without your pedals, the rebuild kit goes for $25. It’s also nice that the pedals come with the required long-reach 8mm socket—a tool that may not be in the average cyclist’s toolkit.
Multiple pin style options included
EFBE Tri-Test Gravity Certified
Lifetime crash replacement program
One free pedal refresh (for USA customers)
axle nut socket is included.
Seemed to get a few more pedal strikes than others
Wolf Tooth Waveform (Large)
Made in Minnesota, USA
Weight: 393 grams
Wolf Tooth embraces the Spinal Tap methodology with its large-sized Waveform pedals and turns it up to 11. Pins that is, which is, of course, one more than the others in this particular grouping. Are the 11 pins any grippier than the 10-pinned pedals? The short answer, from me at least, is mostly no. Don’t get me wrong, they are absolutely adequately grippy, but when put up against some of the other pedals here, especially those with threaded pins, they feel a little less locked in.
Where I think the extra pin does make a bigger difference, however, is in the pedal feel. For me, the Waveforms provide the best overall pedal feel in the group. The pin patterning, low q-factor, shape, and concavity all work together to create a fantastic feel underfoot. To further dial this in, Wolf Tooth now offers two different pin lengths for these pedals: 4.5-millimeter pins, which come standard, and 3-millimeter pins for riders who prefer the feel and grip of shorter pedals, or those looking to adjust the height or level of concavity of the pedals. I liked the stock configuration and found it easy to make on-the-fly foot position adjustments while still feeling confidently planted on the pedals.
The Waveforms are tied with the Yoshimura Chilaos for the thinnest pedals in the group, and, also like the Chilaos, sport a well-tapered leading edge to help avoid or, worst case, deflect rock strikes, which I definitely appreciated.
While all the pedals in this group are very rebuildable, and all pretty easy to do so, I really like the approach that Wolf Tooth takes with these pedals (and all its products). The company fully embraces the right-to-repair methodology, offering each bit and piece of the pedals as a single purchase option on the website. Wolf Tooth also offers a factory service option for the Waveforms: For $30 you’ll get fresh bearing and bushings and up to 5 pins replaced (return shipping in the US is included).
Best-in-class pedal feel
Pin length options
Center pins allow for a customized grip
Easy to order one-off replacement parts
Tapered edges help curb pedal strikes,
Grub-screw-style pins might provide more grip
Made in California, USA
Weight: 375 grams
Yoshimura, known originally for its high-end moto exhaust systems, made some big noise when it entered the cycling world in 2020 with its flagship Chilao pedal, gathering rave reviews across different bike media platforms, this one included. It’s no secret that our fearless founder, John, loves these pedals (read John’s stand-alone review of the Yoshimuras). That feeling carries over to my experiences with the Chilaos.
The Chilaos almost takes the top spot for pedal feel but are barely edged out by the Wolf Tooths (the shape of these two pedals are very similar). I did, however, find that the Yoshimuras offer just a bit more grip, especially on slower technical terrain, and while climbing than the Wolf Tooths. Foot adjustments are easy and consistent thanks in part to the pins in the center of the pedal.
I was happily surprised by the traction that the aluminum pins provided. They are made from the harder 7075-T6 alloy (compared to the 6061-T6 alloy the pedal bodies are made of), which allows them to stay sharper, and, due to the nature of this alloy, should sheer off instead of being ripped out of the threads like steel grub-screw style pins. That noted, steel pins will likely hold their sharpness longer.
Like a few of the other pedals here, Yoshimura offers a factory refresh service, or as they call it: A ‘Pedal Spa Day’. This $50 service covers cleaning, new bushings, bearings, spacers, seals, locknuts, replacing all the pins, and 2-day return shipping.
Lightest weight in the group
Aluminum pins wear out quicker than steel
I can honestly say I’d be happy to run any of these pedals just about anywhere. But certain pedals shined brighter in certain categories:
If value is a priority, the Blackspire Brute is unbeatable, especially considering the lifetime factory warranty. At basically half the price of the other pedals here, it’s not even close. The Altar V2 from Tectonic take the top spot for maximum grip with the threaded-pin-equipped Tenet Omen V2 nipping at their heels.
The Altar is also the most supportive and are my top choice as a touring/gravel/bike-packing pedal.
It’s super close between the Waveform and the Chilaos. I went back and forth between the two, but ultimately felt that Wolf Tooth’s design had an overall better feeling underfoot.
All the pedals in the group are super service friendly. For factory service, Blackspire takes it, from a pricing standpoint. Tenets are close behind in price as well. From a self-service standpoint, I really like how you can buy one-off bits from Wolf Tooth.
Most North American
It’s tough to say entirely, but the transparency of where everything on the North Shore Billets is made is pretty telling.
Gosh, this is a tough one. Tenent’s Omen V2 and the Wolf Tooth’s Waveform both do everything really well, and there’s something about the looks, feel, and raw Canadianness on the North Shore Billets that I just love, but if I was forced to pick just one pair to rock everywhere: I’d probably have to go with the Yoshimura Chilaos: The slim profile, and steller all-around feel, and consistently solid grip is the perfect recipe for me.