Crankbrothers Eggbeater 3 Long-Term Review: Are They Reliable Now?

Last modified on September 28th, 2017  |  Written by
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Crankbrothers pedals are well known for their mud shedding capabilities, but also have a bad reputation in terms of reliability. That is why, since 2016, they have introduced new bearings and seals for all pedals. So, in order to check if it’s actually is an improvement, it was time for a long-term review. So after almost 4300km, 2 visits to a bike park and 6 XC races, its time to look back and see how well they managed.

VIDEO

Watch the full review video below or check out more MTB related videos at the MTB.guide Youtube Channel. Below this video you find the video transcription.

Features

The Eggbeater pedals are Crankbrothers its XC focused pedals. With the Mallet pedals marking the downhill and Eggbeaters marking the opposite cross-country segment, they also offer a wide range of options in between.

Within the Eggbeater range, the 3 is a mid-range pedal. With the high-end titanium model, the 11, cranking the prices also all the way to eleven. The 3 is at a more acceptable € 135 retail. While the retail price of the Crankbrothers 3 is € 135, the actual prices are often quite a lot lower and I bought these pedals for €84,90.

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Nearly no mentionable differences between the Eggbeater 2 and 3

The 2 and 3 cover the mid-range with nearly no differences between them except the wing material of the 3 being a bit more durable and weighing just 5 grams less. The claimed weight of 280gr a pair for the Eggbeater 3 is actually accurate.

The Eggbeater 1 is the entry model and has a less refined finish with stamped steel instead of cast stainless steel. You can’t use Tread Contact Sleeves with the 1, so you can’t finetune the contact between the shoe tread and pedal body. The weight difference for being an entry pedal is negligible, weighing only 10 grams more than the Eggbeater 3.

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Clipping out might feel a bit different than you're used to.

Main selling points for the Eggbeaters are the weight and mud-shedding capabilities. But also, the amount of float is one to consider. You have 6 degrees of float and depending on which way the cleat is installed you can have a release angle of 15 or 20 degrees and can release to both sides if needed. You also have 4 entry points on the pedal so the chance of clipping in the first time is pretty big.

The number of customization options and service items for Crankbrothers pedals are larger compared to other brands. For the eggbeater pedals you have the following items:

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Many options to customize and keep your Crankbrothers pedals running.

Getting the right fit

With a lot of options for the Eggbeaters, it would still be nice to work out of the box. And luckily, they do. But something that’s always an issue with these types of pedals are the wings digging in your shoes. Since I’m using carbon soled shoes I opted for the Shoe Shields. These stainless-steel plates protect the carbon sole of your shoes, but also adds some distance between the shoe tread and pedal. So that meant eventually also getting the Tread Contact Sleeves.

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Crankbrothers Shoe Shields preventing damage to (carbon)-soled shoes.
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Tread Contact Sleeves are installed to improve the contact between the shoe tread and pedal.

The pedals itself do not feature any adjustability. So you can’t set the spring tension. While you can set the release angle by switching the cleats from left to right, the amount of float can’t be changed without getting new cleats. And the only option you have besides the standard 6 degrees are the 0 degree float cleats.

The feel of clipping in isn’t that different compared to other pedals. However, many wing-style pedals do have guiding part, to guide your foot in position making clipping in easier. The Eggbeaters don’t have that, so you have to be a bit more accurate.

Clipping out of the pedals has a bit of a different feel. Shimano pedals have a clear point where the float ends and where you disengage from your pedal. With the Eggbeaters, you don’t have a clear feel where to float ends, the tension just starts to ramp up until you pop out of the pedal.

0 - 4287km

While I first setup the pedals without Shoe Shields, it became quickly clear that it was going to be quite damaging for the carbon soled shoes, while the fit was good.

After installing the Shoe Shields I really liked the feel of the pedal. The Shoe Shields were in direct contact with the wings of the pedals, meaning nearly no friction and a very smooth float feel. After just a few rides paint on the springs was already missing, but this wasn’t going to be an issue on the long term since the stainless-steel springs don’t rust.

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The gap between the shoe tread and pedal due to the Crankbrother Shoe Shields.

I rode about 1700km with the pedals like this, until the tension of the springs somewhat weakened and I had some wiggle from left to right when applying force. The issue was that the shoe tread wasn’t making enough contact with the pedal, and that gap meant some wiggle when applying force. To solve this, I installed the 1mm Tread Contact Sleeves and regreased the pedals during reassembly.

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The Tread Contact Sleeve create a tight fit but stable "platform".

The Tread Contact Sleeves create a tight fit between the shoe tread and pedal, but this also meant that there was friction when rotating your feet. So much in fact, that you have to consciously turn your feet with some force in the desired angle. After a few hundred km’s this became more acceptable again, but not great.

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The Shoe Shields show significant wear.

Nearing 3800km the same side to side wobble started to come back again, and upon further inspection of the Tread Contact Sleeves, Shoe Shields and cleats, they all seemed to have reached their end. The Shoe Shields show deep wear spots and the cleats show significant wear, where it connects to the pedal.

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The cleats also didn't make it unscathed.
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And the Tread Contact Sleeves were also ready for replacement.

The Tread Contact Sleeves, that seemed reasonable well, also had some wear and didn’t make good contact with the shoe tread any more. At this point, I felt a very slight wear in the bearings, but no noticeable play and I expect them to have lasted about 1000km more before producing some annoying noises or roughness. At 4100km I took everything apart to replace and service. And at the making of this video I’m nearing 4300km with the replaced and without issues.

Ease of service and warranty

Upon closer inspection of the pedal body, it became clear that the wings of the pedals were also wearing down. The softer brass cleats would normally prevent that, but since I’m also using the stainless-steel Shoe Shields on the stainless-steel wings, this also causes wear on the edges of the wing.

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Contact Sleeves cause a bit more wear to the wings.

Due to the new double lip seal, no dirt came inside the pedal while the outer seal of my pedal was torn. Combined with new bearings you can say that Crankbrothers improved the reliability and durability. But it’s only a part of the pedal that it affects.

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Rust under the paint.

In my case the part of the spindle that is not affected by the improved seals, showed, what in my opinion was, slight abnormal wear and rust. The paint is really thin and seems to come off quite easily but there were also indications of rust under the paint. While I normally wouldn’t bother about it, I now genuinely had a way check Crankbrothers’s warranty. Since they have a bad reputation regarding the reliability of these pedals and now offer 5-year warranty, they should back-up their promises. Bearings, seals and such are not covered by the warranty, but the spindle should.

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Rust exposed.

I first contacted the webshop where I bought the pedals from and they told me it was a regular wear. Rust on a part that you can barely touch and rust under the paint aren’t in my opinion things that you can just account to regular wear, especially when I used them for less than a year and have a 5-year warranty. I had no issues with previous warranty claims with this webshop, so I contacted Crankbrothers directly for a second opinion.

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Quick response from Crankbrothers customer support and received within almost a week replacement spindles.

They quickly replied and told me that some damage appeared to be caused by wear, although other parts do not. Since I sent only pictures they couldn’t really make a clear statement, but (in short) they wanted to meet me halfway by sending me replacement spindles. This seemed to me like a reasonable solution. So, they arranged that a local distributor that would send me the spindles. From the first contact with Crankbrothers about the issue to receiving the replacement spindles, even including a new pedal refresh kit, took 8 days. Which is not the fastest, but definitely not bad for a warranty claim.

Conclusion

The Crankbrothers Eggbeater pedals have a few nice features that make them worth considering. And those are the mud clearing capability and weight, and for that I would use them again for cross country racing in the winter period.

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Now clean, but they work just as well in the mud.

These pedals look pretty good as well, as long as the paint stays on. The non-anodized parts have a thin layer of paint and lose it quite quickly. For the spring, it’s not an issue since its stainless, but the spindle is made of chromoly steel, which rust pretty quick when exposed. I hope that they change that in the next iteration. The spring lost a bit of tension in the first 2 thousand kilometers, but didn’t feel to weaken any further along the way.

The amount of customizability for the eggbeater pedals is great, but creating a situation that you need it in order to use the pedals isn’t great. Fortunately, they do work well out of the box and with the included spacers you should be able to make it work for you.

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Easy to maintain, also check out the Crankbrothers Eggbeater maintenance/repair.

Ease of service is always a good point, but the need of regular service is not. Shimano pedals set the bar extremely high with pedals that seem to go forever. In my opinion, a yearly service of your pedals sounds reasonable. Unfortunately, these pedals need it more often and then maintenance costs start to come into the picture as well.

At about 4000km I needed to replace the shoe shields, tread contact sleeves and cleats. The bearings weren’t completely worn, but the outer seal was, so I also used the pedal refresh kit to replace the internals all at once.

So let’s say you ride about 8000km a year on the MTB, have the same setup as me and continue riding on the same bearings for that distance. That would result in the following maintenance costs:

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Maintenance cost can be quite high depending on your setup and milage.

That makes a total of about €120 a year. These are retail prices, but actual prices aren’t that much lower as is the case with the pedals. Even though reliability has improved, these are still high maintenance costs and it’s definitely cheaper to run XT pedals, what I consider a competitor in this price range. I would have also mentioned Time ATAC as an alternative for reliability, but recently they aren’t what they used to be.

UIf you’re looking at the Eggbeater 1 and maybe even the 2, it can actually be cheaper to buy new pedals every year than maintaining them, since a new set of cleats is also included with the pedals. The difference between the Eggbeater 2 and 3 is essentially the difference between a steel or stainless-steel wing. Not having tested the Eggbeater 2 I can’t say for sure that the wing will rust within a year, but it’s definitely something to note if you consider buying them. Warranty and customer support of Crankbrothers seem to be pretty good in case you have an actual issue with these pedals. But I wonder why they chose a fast rusting material like chromoly steel and apply such a thin layer of paint. Nearly all other parts on the Eggbeater 3 are stainless, so why not take a stainless steel that can cope with the forces as a spindle?

In the end I do think that, looking at the pros and cons, that the pedals are an improvement and that they can suit XC riders well. But Crankbrothers still have to step up their game with the Eggbeater pedals to be really competitive.

MTB.guide rating   4 star rating


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