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Flat pedal REVIEW

Crankbrothers Stamp 1 Flat Pedal

Words Andrew Major
Photos Andrew Major
Date May 16, 2019

Stamp 1 Soothsayer

Testing well-designed injection moulded glass-filled nylon, plastic or 'composite,' pedals is a real treat. They're relatively cheap as mountain bike products go, generally around 50 USD, and that means I'm reviewing a product that a fair number of riders can realistically experiment with, and provide feedback on, which often makes for interesting conversations.

Testing these Crankbrothers Stamp 1 pedals this winter was an exercise in affirmation for me as I'd been recommending folks check them out since the pedals were released for a few reasons beyond my affinity for the modern plastic pedal:

1) My aluminum Stamp 3 pedal experience has been great and they share a similar shape.

2) The inexpensive to produce bodies result in pedals that share the same guts as the company's forged-aluminum platforms, at half the price.

3) The Stamp 1 uses the same guts as Crankbrother's clip-in pedals which means the internals are excellent and readily available from any bike shop or online, and they're dead simple to service.

4) I find the screw-through nut style pins used offer superior bite compared to more expensive aluminum pedal options.

5) Two sizes* of pedals means almost everyone is well served by a 111mm x 114mm or a 100mm x 100mm pedal body.

*I cannot fathom why Crankbrothers doesn't make a third smaller size of the Stamp 1 for kids. Top performing flat pedals with quality guts for 50 USD - I can't be the only one who wants a pair for my kid.

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Between the Stamp 1 and Stamp 1 LE there are currently 7 colours available.

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The colour match with frame, fork and wheels on the Growler 40 wasn't planned but it's tight.

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Based on my Stamp 3 experience I knew I'd prefer the Large platform. I wear a size 42.5/43 shoe.

Small body or large body, between the Stamp and Stamp LE there are seven colour options available. The standard colours are Crankbrothers' go-to Black, Blue, and Red. The limited edition colours are turquoise, orange, citron yellow, and purple.

For the rider who's all about the matchy-matchy, those LE colours are obvious fits for a surprising number of 2019 model year bikes.

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The measurement that matters - sole to rock strike - is 16.77mm on my calipers.

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The body thickness, what companies generally list, is 12.55mm at the edges.

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Some concavity based on measuring pin heights vs the raised center but I find the feel, like the Wah Wah 2, is very flat.

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Chromag says go concave. One Up says go convex. The Crankbrothers pedals I've ridden felt like neither.

Crankbrothers' gets huge kudos for consistent internals through most of their pedal line. Between flat pedals and clip-in options only the unnecessarily thin all-IGUS Stamp 11 and Stamp 7 flat models are without the tried-and-tested combination of an Enduro brand cartridge bearing on the outside and an IGUS bushing at the pedal axle.

The two flat pedals in the Crankbrothers lineup I'd consider are the 100 USD forged-aluminum Stamp 3 and the composite Stamp 1. Both of these pedals use the readily available standard Crankbrothers rebuild kit.

An Interlude For Max Grip Riders

Personal preference in the flat pedal and shoe realm is so varied that you are unlikely to align with any of your riding buddies. There are those who prefer soft shoes and a reduced number of short pins, those who want all the grip with the gummiest rubber and the max number of long flesh-tearing spikes. On the other end of the spectrum you have riders who prefer a firmer sole with either of the above combinations. And there are the goldilocks types in some range toward the middle.

I used to be a max grip sort of a rider. I spent something like 14 years riding flats exclusively after forsaking SPDs in the huck-to-flat era, and Fiveten Impact high tops were the only shoe I'd wear, using shin eating pedals.

I've spent the last five years riding mostly Shimano trail SPD pedals while occasionally going to back to flats more recently. I'm heading into one of those stretches now so I gave the Stamp 1 platforms a shot. Despite my size 11 clodhoppers, my preference is for the smaller version so I spun those in (I find the grip a little better using size S - at least for Stamp 3s - and they are less likely to hook up or get stuck in narrow spots). My shoe preference has shifted now that I have periodically returned to flats as well. I've been riding some Ride Concepts Livewire shoes which have stiffer midsoles and firmer outsoles than I used to use. It turns out my return to spuds has made foot position more important than grip, so I'm very happy with the Livewires which allow me to reposition without sitting down without much grip compromise.


Here you can see that, on the size small Stamp 1 pedal, the centre pins are no taller than the channel, while the outside pins are slightly more than 1 mm higher. For me, based on my medium-to-high grip shoes, the weight taken by the channel compromised grip too much. Photo - Cam McRae

My first thought when I placed my foot on the Stamp 1 was that they would not work for me. Sitting in the saddle, the raised axle channel felt too high and took some of the weight of my shoe, compromising grip. Of course descending happens out of the saddle so I reserved judgement, but optimism was low.

The grip was adequate with my Ride Concepts shoes on the climb but on the way down the raised channel made it difficult for me to get adequate purchase on the pins. While the outside pins are higher than the channel, the centre pins on my small Stamp 1s are even with the channel.

While the grip was better than I expected on the descent, it wasn't adequate for me. When I weighted one pedal I could feel my forefoot moving excessively and I simply couldn't dig in adequately. Which means if you appreciate moderate-to-high grip I wouldn't personally recommend these pedals. The excellent Stamp 3 on the other hand is my current favourite - in size small.

And now I'll hand this back to Andrew.

Cam McRae

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The Stamp 1 shares a rebuild kit with the Eggbeater.


And also the Mallet series. It's bone simple to install.

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An outboard spacer between the 8mm axle nut and end cap make it work.

If the pedals fit then use them, and the Stamp 1 series works for me. They combine well with my favourite Shimano GR7 flat pedal shoes for consistent, predictable, and excellent but re-positionable traction. I've also used the pedals with Bontrager Flatline shoes with okay results and I will note that I don't love Five Ten shoes so I have no feedback there.

Pin placement, and the sharp bite, on the large 114mm x 111mm body makes for a fit very similar to the 120mm x 110mm body of my beloved Wah Wah 2 composites and I go back and forth between both pedals without any adaptation time.

Whether the small or large body works best for your feet, as long as the Crankbrothers shape works for you, you can't go wrong with the quality guts and solid bite for 50 USD. My only real complaint is that there isn't a third XS size for groms.

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+1 IslandLife
Tjaard Breeuwer  - May 16, 2019, 5:21 a.m.

I was reading this and 2/3 of the way down I thought: great! I’ll get a pair for my 8 year old daughter, I bet they have an extra small size..


Andrew Major  - May 16, 2019, 11:02 a.m.

As far as I can tell the Chromag Radar is the only legit kid/youth pedal on the market. 

Not cheap but also not expensive amortized over hopefully ~10-years in my case.

Of course, now that I’ve bled the bike fund for a pair every company on the market will have a  good ~70mm x 80mm-ish nylon-composite pedal out this summer.


DanL  - May 16, 2019, 3:59 p.m.

My 10 yr old is enjoying the Deity compounds - they happened to be in the shop when we were looking for pedals so I went for them without having wah wahs etc to compare but they were a good price for kids pedals. Not sure about rebuildablenessitude though. These look like a great deal for most riders.


Tjaard Breeuwer  - May 17, 2019, 7:07 a.m.

Until now my daughter has actually been riding on the previous version of the CB Mallet E. They were a BAD pedal, the steel spring/cleat cage pulled out of the alloy body, making them non functional as clipless pedals.

I removed the springs and they are a nice concave body pedal, just the right size for kids feet,  with grippy but low pins.

They are a bit heavy though for such a small pedal, and they need a rebuild after a winter of riding salted roads, so I was looking for some decent plastic ones instead.


UFO  - May 17, 2019, 3:27 p.m.

I went all yolo and dove into the Radars as well. Supporting a local culture building company I tell myself


+1 Andrew Major
ackshunW  - May 16, 2019, 7:09 a.m.

Nice review, Cam, Andrew. Out of this one, the Kona plastic, and the OneUp plastic, which is your favorite? I’m leaning towards the Konas because the shape looks good and because of nostalgia for my first real mountain bike, 1995 Cinder Cone. But I could be swayed.

Cam McRae  - May 16, 2019, 8:30 a.m.

I haven't ridden either of the other two, but I tend to go for aluminum pedals generally. I like them thin and in most cases - not here however - they come with more durable moving parts.


Andrew Major  - May 16, 2019, 10:51 a.m.

What size feet do you have?

Composite Kona Wah Wah 2, like the Stamp, shares the high quality guts of its 2x priced aluminum sibling but it’s a big body. I’d say size 43 shoe minimum and even then you have to prefer a large platform to love them. 

I haven’t ridden the OneUp.

Before making a final statement on what composite pedal I’d buy, I’d need to ride the Chromag Synth. It’s modelled on the Scarab, which is a favourite of more riders I know than any single other flat pedal and has the same high quality guts.  

In the past (pre-Wah Wah 2) my favourite pedals have always been notably concave and the mix of the glass-nylon body, high-end guts, shape, and still reasonable price ($75 CAD) lead me to think this would be my favourite. I haven’t so much as set eyes on them at this point though. 


As an aside, Chromag, it guts me (and my bike-fund) that you don’t do a Synth-esque version of the Radar pedal.


ackshunW  - May 17, 2019, 7:24 a.m.

Thank for the feedback! Size 47 shoe, so I’m exited about the new trend towards larger pedals. Currently on some forgettable Wellegos that are actually shockingly nice, but on the smaller side. 

The Synth looks grippy and tough- that’s my only reservation about the Konas, they look a little fragile. 



Andrew Major  - May 17, 2019, 7:50 a.m.

I know lots of folks on the Wah Wah 2 composite locally who’ve beaten them for a year+ with zero complaints. If you’re really concerned I’d probably suggest the piece of mind if the aluminium body as I’ve heard, on the internet, of a few smashers who’ve killed them prematurely.

That said, I’ve seen plenty of broken aluminum pedals over the years too.

Size 47 - I’d guess you’d love the Wah Wah 2.


+3 jaydubmah AJ Barlas Cam McRae
THELEGENDMTB  - May 16, 2019, 8:28 a.m.

I had a feeling that raised section was going to be an issue when I saw the first images, glad to hear my suspicions were not wrong. I'll stick to my OneUp pedals.


Jenkins5  - May 16, 2019, 5:31 p.m.

OneUp’s are convex though, so isn’t the “raised section” even more pronounced? I tried them and they were alright, but I prefer a concave pedal for sure.

Cam McRae  - May 16, 2019, 9:21 p.m.

It seems like a different situation to me J5 because the pins are raised above the widest section so you may be able to dig your shoes in effectively. I haven't tried them yet though so this is simply speculation. 


+1 Cam McRae
THELEGENDMTB  - May 17, 2019, 9:27 a.m.

Not really, at least for me on the OneUp, using a mid foot stance, the foot bends over the raised middle and grips quite well. With the CB Stamp1 because the pins are even with the raised center, the shoe just sits flat on top of the pedal. The slight bend of the shoe for either convex & concave seems to contribute to the grip, whereas the CD doesn't really have that so I can't see how it would feel as planted. Like Cam said speculation, as I haven't tried the CB, but the logic make sense.


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