Nathan, the interesting thing is that Wellgo, who says they make the Issi pedal, advertises their 98A cleat pedals to be 100% compatible with Shimano.
iSSi Pedals Offers Colorful, Spindle Length Alternatives to Shimano SPD Clipless Pedals – Updated
Stroll around Quality Bicycle Product’s Frost Bike expo and perhaps the two things you see the most in booths are tires and pedals. For cyclocrossers, that’s probably a good thing, as these also happen to be the two things that are most likely to get you to head into your local shop, for a fresh set of rubber for racing or training, or a new set of cleats (or pedals) to ensure your dismounts and remounts are as smooth as Nys.
Today we’ll look at iSSi’s pedal options. All three we’re showing off new pedals that they are positioning for cyclocross and mountain bike racers. First up is iSSi.
iSSi is QBP’s newest brand, and its mission is to provide bike shops with an alternative to Shimano SPD pedals. QBP distributes Shimano components to independent bike shops, but Shimano has recently decided to go dealer-direct with its pedals, opening up an opportunity for QBP to fulfill retailer demand with its own brand.
The new pedal line offers up some interesting differentiations from Shimano SPD pedals. First, and most noticeable, are the colors.
The first model to hit the market, shipping to your local bike shop now, is the $75, XC and CX-oriented Pedal iSSi. There’s no less than eight color options for the style-conscious racer: Brilliant White, Hi-Vis Yellow, Hi-Vis Orange, Tru Blu, Really Red, iSSi Pink and the “standards” of Bright Silver, and Intense Black.
The pedal offers one sealed bearing and one bushing, and are rebuildable both in terms of bearings and bushings (via the spindle rebuild kid) and also the black plates and retention clips (via small parts kit).
Coming in the new few months are spindle length options, with two spindles that are 6mm and 12mm longer, should you require a wider stance (Q-Factor). These longer-spindle options are targeted to be just $5 more, at $80, as seen below.
The company also has a Pedal iSSi Duro in the works. This model features triple sealed bearings, and is designated by three laser-etched lines on the body near the spindle. The Duro is expected to be ready by summer.
Also in the works is a trail option. A prototype of the Pedal iSSi Trail just arrived at QBP this week, and is shown below. It should also come in the same color options.
One additional differentiation offered up by the iSSi pedals that may not be appreciated by cyclists, especially cyclocrossers, who are already invested in Shimano SPD pedals, is that iSSi says their pedals are not Shimano SPD cleat compatible. Instead, the pedal uses a Wellgo 98A cleat, and iSSi strongly recommends not trying to force an SPD cleat into the pedal, as float and retention (and thus safety) are greatly compromised without the correct cleat. [Update: Although iSSi warns against it, many people have reported that Wellgo 98A cleats and SH-51 cleats are interchangeable, and one early iSSi rider has reported success after some initial troubles. YMMV. ]
This pretty much rules out the pedal for anyone who already rides (and likes) Shimano pedals and just wants to outfit another bike with one of the colorful or longer spindle options offered by iSSi. But new cyclocrossers and cyclists certainly have plenty of color and spindle length options to choose from while buying what might be their first cyclocross bike.
With iSSi, along with some other QBP brands, strict pricing is enforced, and all retailers will be selling the Pedal iSSi at $75, with no third-party (Amazon, eBay) online sales allowed. That hopefully will get you into your local shop to check out the color options, and back to them to pick up replacement cleats.
More info: rideissi.com
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Corey Spilman, yes, it's a confusing term though, as CrankBrothers says their cleats are SPD compatible too (shoe): http://www.crankbrothers.com/support/cleatsetup_candy.php It could be a question of liability or misinformation, but two Issi reps confirmed that they'd work with only 98A cleats. Issi's documentation says, "iSSi cleats and pedal parts are only designed as replacement parts for iSSi pedals. iSSi cleats are compatible with all standard TW0-bolt SPD shoe drillings"
I will also say that the standard spindle is awfully short, or at least shorter than most shimano's. I had to adjust my cleats to eliminate shoe rub on the crank. Now if I clip into shimano's, my feet sit further out. YMMV
we'll get an official response from iSSi but if you search 98a and sh-51 many people report no issues.
thanks Route 66 Bicycles, not surprising given what we wrote earlier: https://twitter.com/cyclocross/status/438043798321373185
i have ridden the silver iSSi pedals for a couple rides now. with shimano cleats. oh no~!! warranty void! initially, clipout was weird, then I adjusted the cleats sideways a bit, and they seem to work fine now. I visually compared the two brands of cleats, and they are absolutely as close to carbon copies as they could be, on every surface.
"one sealed bearing and one bushing" Pfff. Cup and cone 4 lyf. I wish Shimano did long spindles for their SPDs though.