For those who haven’t heard of them, N8tive is a newcomer to the MTB market. They recently sent us the new Noax flat pedal. We’ve had a pair on test for the last few months and have formed a few opinions on how they perform.
The Noax are a side supported design with oversized bearings, they have an extra low profile.
With a large yet very low profile body, the main features of N8tive’s flat pedals are its one-sided axle, and due to the low profile thickness, the ability to lower the riders center of gravity. A tough build of T6 aluminum brings the pair in at a total of 420grams, which is pretty light. The pedals are concave and have multiple pin locations that can be easily removed or swapped out with a supplied tool if any pins become damaged or you need to adjust pin placement for comfort. With three colours available and easily replaceable bearings, it seems the aim of easy user maintenance is a key feature.
Close up features of the pedals show a solid well thought out construction.
Dimensions: 100mm x 100mm x 10mm (L x W x H).
Weight: 420g (pair) incl. steel pins.
Materials: High-strength 6066-T6 aluminum, cold forged.
Color: Gunmetal (grey), black, green (team edition) polished & anodized surface.
Application: Downhill, freeride, enduro, trail, all mountain, BMX.
Other: Replacement pins available in silver or black, industrial ball bearings, short axle.
On The Trail
We tested the Noax pedals in a variety of conditions focused around the trails of Punta Ala, Tuscany. The main focus were techy transfers and Enduro trails. We pedaled to the top on the Noax numerous times and then hit 3-4 km descents at speed, in rocky sections, smooth rolling trails, pretty much everything that a normal ride takes in.
Examining the side of the pedal shows less evidence of rock strikes.
We set the pedals up with the center pins removed as we found that they were too grippy with those pins in place. This is normal for flat pedals as the idea is to tune the feeling for the rider. With the supplied socket we could remove a pin in a few seconds, and find the optimal layout for our needs. As we were riding in in dusty conditions we felt that the concave and external pins were enough to provide grip. If conditions get muddy we would probably opt for the center pins again.
The general feeling we had with the pedals was comparable with our normal DMR Vault setup, which is a very good thing. Where these pedals differ though is in height, with the side bearing the profile of the bed of the pedal is slimmer. The outcome of this is that the pedal felt slightly lower to the ground. This small drop meant that when pushing in corners we had a slightly securer feeling and it occurred to us we would probably be able to fit slightly shorter crank arms. Additionally this lower down feeling meant when conditions became rough our feet did not bounce off or slip as we felt a little bit more planted than normal.
Mechanically we had no problems with the bearings, we initially thought that only being supported at one side would cause problems, but his was un-founded. The pedals did not bend or distort with rock strikes, but remained strong and fixed in place. The large bearing did actually allow us to concentrate our foot placement on the flat pedal, it was easier to adjust and know where you were on the pedal base, to have the strongest part of the foot and stroke in the correct position. The only down side is if you have a very (wide) large foot and ride on the toes more then you would need to readjust foot position by a small amount forward to take into account the bearing location.
The pedals do look slim at first glance.
The support is provided by heavy duty side bearings.
Trail 301 in Punta Ala was an optimal location to test these pedals.
Flat pedals are not necessarily the most used pedal style out there, but when you are looking for an ideal flat platform there are a few “standard” designs that tend to work better than other styles. The great thing about the Noax pedals is the concave grippy platform sucks the foot to the pedal and at no point do you feel like you are going to lose your position or slip. The low profile no-thru-axle design means that the rider’s center of gravity is lowered ever so slightly, That gives a more planted feeling on the bike compared to other various thru-axle designs we have tried and it aids in avoiding pedal strikes in rough, unpredictable terrain. The weight of these pedals is also competitive – they aren’t weighing your bike down.
Overall N8tive have created a pedal set that would sit up amongst the best flat designs out there. However, pedals are personal, it’s always best to try which style suits you best, we will now be including the Noax set as one of our go to options for technical rocky riding as the low profile design really made a difference when we had to negotiate tricky rocky trails which need extra clearance.