Race Face Chester Pedal
- Nylon composite body
- 8 Replaceable steel pins pins per side
- Fully sealed
- Smooth and durable sealed bearing and bushing system
- Co-mo axle
Stated Weight: 340 g
Size: 110 x 101 mm
Reviewer: 5” 4’, 120 lbs
Test Duration: 2 months
Test Locations: Whistler, Fernie, Cranbrook, Nelson, BC; Whitefish, MT
Race Face recently came out with their first nylon composite flat pedal, the Chester. While that sounds super exciting, more simply stated, nylon composite is just a fancy way of saying plastic.
Not many companies offer a plastic — “nylon composite” — MTB pedal, so riding the Chesters was my first opportunity to test nylon pedals on the trail. Having ridden on Race Face’s metal pedals, the Atlas and the Aeffect, I was curious to see how the Chester compared to its metal counterparts. The Chester’s low price is definitely a good starting point, and I was pleasantly surprised by the Chester’s performance and durability.
Construction and Build
The Chester’s Nylon body is running on a chromoly axle. The pedal uses a sealed bearing and bushing system, which is 100% serviceable.
The pedal uses 8 pins that are replaceable, which isn’t always the norm with nylon pedals. There aren’t any pins near the axle, like there are on some flat pedals, and I think this pin distribution is designed to give the Chester a more concave “feel.” Race Face states that the Chester is concave, and just looking at it, it’s ever so slightly concave along the axle, from left to right. This slight dip is barely noticeable when looking at the pedal.
The Chester has a fairly big platform at 110 mm long and 101 mm wide. It’s thin but not the thinnest of Race Face’s pedals at 18.4 mm at the axle, and I think the bit of added thickness is necessary for durability because it’s plastic, instead of metal.
The Chester is pretty light at a stated 340 g. The Atlas and Aeffect are 355 g and 375 g, respectively.
I ride flats quite a bit, and what I look for is pretty simple: does my foot stay on the pedal? Is it lightweight? Is it durable? Other features are a bonus, but as long as my foot stays put, I’m pretty satisfied. The Chester definitely delivers in terms of grippiness. The Chesters and my Five Ten Carvers work great together. It’s also really easy to reposition my foot.
The nylon material offers some benefits and drawbacks. On the one hand, the composite dampens vibrations, which is a good thing, but on the other, the plastic is more flexible than metal. This makes the Chester feel less responsive than metal pedals. That being said, there’s always a tradeoff: a more rigid pedal could dampen vibrations less.
One positive aspect of the nylon is that it slides off rocks better, whereas a metal pedal will sometimes hang up on them.
What surprised me most about the Chester is its durability. Though I generally try to finesse my way through the rocks, I’ve bashed the Chesters against rocks and roots more than a few times, and these plastic pedals held up great. However, I’m fairly small and with some vigorous pedal mashing and the right obstacles, someone larger might do more damage. The Chesters don’t have any significant gouges – so far just a small scratch and some scuff marks on the sides. Eventually, like with any pedal, I expect I’ll have to replace a few pins, but as of now the pins have held up.
The bearings and bushings on the Chester have the same durability I’ve found with Race Face’s other pedals: they’re still running smoothly, without any slop.
The Race Face Atlas and Aeffect both have more pins, which present an advantage in terms of grippiness. I didn’t personally notice any significant difference in the Chester’s traction; but with fairly small feet, fairly small mass, and a grippy shoe I don’t usually have problems with my feet leaving the pedals. More pins might be advantageous for a different rider (but your shins might disagree). The Chester is also slightly lighter than both those pedals.
This is a durable pedal, which keeps your foot on the bike, which is really all I’m generally looking for in a flat pedal. You might be sacrificing just a bit in terms of responsiveness with the Chester, but you’re gaining some comfort in terms of dampening vibrations. If you’re trying to save a few bucks for some new tires, or a set of grips, the Chester is a great option.
So far the Chester doesn’t present any serious disadvantages when compared to metal pedals. I’ll keep riding this pedal, even though I have the metal pedals as an option. I’m also curious about long-term durability with the Chester and will update with any significant findings.