There is no question that the benefits of plastic pedals are too many to list for the average street and park rider.
From their light weight to cool color options, it’s tough to find a better way to get more for your $15 than with a quality set of plastic platforms. While there are dozens of companies on the bandwagon turning milk jugs into pedals, there is one place where they all fall short after a few short sessions of riding and grinding: traction. Plastic pins don’t last long when up against hard concrete, and you probably don’t need us to tell you that a pedal bite from a pinless plastic pedal hurts just as bad as one from a pinned metal pedal, it just bleeds a little less. So we decided to show you a quick, easy and affordable way to add new traction to the ride side of your pedal, without compromising the performance of the slide side
1.) In the world of plastic pedals, it doesn’t take long before your favorite pedals go from this…
…to this. Even if you are careful, and your pedals still turn smoothly, traction will ultimately be the reason behind you kicking down for a new set, but does it really have to be?
We started with a new set of Eastern plastics, pedals well-known for their superior traction.
Two days later, this is what was left of the grind side of one pedal, as compared to our traction side, which was also taking quite the beating after a few tumbles.
Most metal pedals come with spare traction pins, which rarely get replaced because they often break off in the pedal, or strip out the threads. So in one hand, we hold replacement traction pins, or “set screws,” and in the other, pedals in desperate need of grip. Do you see where we are going with this?
While set screws can replace all of the plastic nubs, we chose to install them on one side of each pedal to retain specific grind and traction sides. A Dremel is a great way to remove any excess plastic, but a few more grinds will do the trick just as well.
When you are finished, your traction side should be just as smooth as your grind side. Why not just use your old grind side, you ask? Because the grind side is generally worn thin and is more likely to crack, so go with the thicker of the two sides.
Using a 7/64” drill bit, you can drill shallow holes wherever you would like to place a set screw. We chose to drill holes in the same locations as the original pins for a stock feel.
Depending on your pedals, some of the holes may pass all the way through the bridges, as you can see here. This is fine as long as you intend to put set screws in their place. If not, don’t drill the hole; you can always drill more later.
The set screws will be a tight fit, so use some of that muscle you have been working on at the gym to push and turn them into place. Keep in mind, set screws come in different lengths, and the longest ones hold best in the pedal body.
Since they are threaded, your new traction pins can be turned in or out to customize traction and feel. Don’t force the pins; remember, the threads are just plastic, so if you feel like the pin has bottomed out in the hole, you can always drill the hole a little deeper.
The finished product gives you a durable traction side and a smooth grind side for the best of both worlds, and for all you cheapskates out there, you just doubled the life of your pedals without spending a dime.
As we mentioned before, customizing your pin count is a cool benefit of set screws, as seen here side by side. No matter how you run them, the benefit of a plastic pedal’s light weight and smooth grinding surface with metal pedal traction is tough to beat and a great fix for the “low-buck” rider.
For you mechanical nerds out there, much like ourselves, we found another cool trick to more permanently position set screws. If you have the time, heat them up. Put the set screw on the end of your Allen wrench and hold it to a flame for 15-20 seconds. When it is nice and hot, carefully and quickly thread it into the pedal to the desired depth. Allow it time to cool, and it will melt itself into place for a permanent fit. Both methods work great, but the heated method has proven more durable in our tests, so the choice is yours.