Once upon a time, I rode a set of pedals that resembled large lollipops. I recall admiring them for their simple, clean design and ample platform, which represented a nice departure from the otherwise clunky, bowling ball nature of most pedal systems back then.
Around the same time, there was a similar minimalist pedal being offered by a company called Coombe that was shaped like a cut-away cross.
By comparison, the Coombe possessed a much more elegant and artisanal design than the other brand. However, they were far more expensive and somewhat elusive, which kept them outside of my grasp at the time. Then, all of a sudden the company seemed to vanish.
In recent years, there were signs that Coombe was readying itself for a return, only for the company to disappear once more.
Well, I’m pleased to say that the Coombe brand has truly reemerged, not only offering a revised version of their original pedal, but a new model called the Millennium Pro, which I have in my possession.
As you can glean from the images, the pedal boasts an altogether new design, featuring a larger platform, dual-row stainless steel bearings and an innovation cleat system that upholds Coombe’s inimitable attention to detail.
Despite the fact that the mercury continues to plummet here in New England, I’ll be riding the Coombe Millennium Pro’s regularly over the next few weeks with a full review to follow.
In the meantime, here’s some technical information from Coombe to digest …
COOMBE MILLENNIUM PRO pedals are fast and easy to engage by simply pressing straight down on either side of the dual sided pedal body.
The cleats are a two piece design consisting of a high strength, light weight, carbon fiber reinforced cleat insert that securely retains the walking/retention pad to the sole.
The cleat pad is made of a resilient grade of high tech Dupont Hytrel polymer, which is wear resistant, non-slip, aerodynamically shaped and easier to walk on than other road pedal cleat designs.
The cleat pads incorporate front and rear inwardly projecting tongues which securely snap into engagement with the rims on the pedal body.
The cleat inserts are right and left handed, providing either 3 degrees of float to the inside or to the outside from center, depending upon which shoe they are installed on.
The cleat inserts are marked with white dots to show which way the heel will float from center. In the picture above, the lower left dot indicates that the heel will float inward. This is also true if this insert is rotated upside down, since the dots will still be in the same place. Therefore, for heel-out float this same insert would be installed on the opposite shoe, thus putting the lower white dot to the outside.
Unlike most other pedal systems, the pivot point of the heel-in/out float is directly in the center of the cleat, beneath the ball of the foot, thus reducing how far in or out the heels move per degree of float. This makes the feet more solid and stable on the pedals than other pedal systems, such as Look and Shimano, which position the float pivot point in front of the ball of the foot, closer to the toes.
The resilient cleat pads firmly squeeze the pedal bodies, so there is no free play or looseness in the connection, providing maximum power transfer without any clicking or creaking.
The tongues of the cleat do not require lubrication, but it is recommended to apply a light coating of dry cleat lube to make it easier to engage and disengage the pedals during the first few rides.
A noteworthy design feature of the retention mechanism is that when pushing down on the pedals, the heel-in/out float range is positively stopped, because the downward force prevents further rotation. This can be beneficial in a sprint where there may be a tendency for excessive heel-in/out movement.
With the feet unweighted, the pedals can be disengaged by rotating heel-in or heel-out, with enough force to cam the cleat up and away from the pedal body.
However, the pedals can also be disengaged by rolling the cleats sideways in a supination manner. This “roll out” method of release is quite natural with practice and potentially safer in an accident. The best way to do this is to push the knee a little to the outside, then roll the foot to disengage.
The “Competition” cleat pads work well for most competitive cyclists. However, stiffer “Track” pads are available for exceptionally strong cyclists and track riders. These pads provide some resistance to floating even when they are dry lubed.
Additionally, more resilient “Commuter” pads are also available. These pads are the easiest to engage and disengage, making them ideal for commuting around town. They also work well for Junior cyclists and light weight riders, weighing under about 120 pounds or less, as well as elderly and physically challenged cyclists who may have difficulty engaging or releasing from other pedal systems.
Built to last a lifetime, COOMBE MILLENNIUM PRO pedals incorporate dual rows of full complement drawn cup needle roller bearings, having a load rating of 900+ pounds each, in conjunction with an outer row of ball bearings.
The dual rows of roller bearings are located side by side, beneath the ball of the foot, to enable these bearings to carry the entire radial load applied by the cyclist, such that the outer row of ball bearings only carry the relatively low, side to side, thrust loads, thus providing balanced loads on the bearings.
The patented design is extremely compact, yet provides low friction and maximum durability, with more than double the load carrying capacity of most other pedals systems on the market today.
The axles are precision manufactured in the USA using high strength, heat treated aircraft grade stainless steel. They are generously sized for maximum rigidity and power transfer to provide greater efficiency, with less deflection under load, than most other “high end” pedal systems.
Note: while some pedal companies offer pedals with titanium axles, when these are made to the same dimensions as steel axles, titanium axles are only about 60% as rigid as steel, so the small weight savings is more than offset by the energy lost due to the increased flexing of the axles.
The Millennium Pro pedals are installed by using a 6mm hex key. The left pedal has a groove in the end of the axle for simple identification, and the pedals are supplied with 3mm axle spacers (not shown) to increase the Q factor when desired. Longer axles are also available as described further below.
Greasing the pedal bearings is quick and easy by simply unscrewing the lubrication port screw and injecting grease into the port with a conical tipped grease gun. With regular lubrication intervals, of about every two to five thousand miles, depending upon the conditions, the bearings will last for life.
COOMBE MILLENNIUM PRO cleats are designed to put – maximum power to the pedals.
The cleats can be mounted in three different fore-aft positions, yellow, green and blue, depending on which cleat insert is used.
The “green” line insert mounting holes are drilled on center as shown in the side image. This positions the axles in-line with the bolt hole centers of the shoes, providing higher efficiency, with less ankle strain than the once traditional red-line positioning.
An optional cleat insert is made with the mounting holes drilled 4mm offset from the center. This cleat insert can be flipped to provide either the yellow or blue line axle positions.
The cleat inserts provide 3 degrees of float, either heel-in or heel-out from center, depending upon which shoe they are installed on.
In the picture above, the lower right hand dot is to the outside, so the heel will float 3 degrees from the center to the outside, away from the crankarm.
If this same insert is put on the other shoe, the lower white dot will be to the inside, so the heel will float 3 degrees towards the crank from center.
Cleats sets are typically sold mirrored, such that both feet float either heel-in or heel-out. However, they can also be ordered matched for cyclists who ride with one foot heel-in and the other heel-out.
This side image shows the approximate line of force with an axle mounted in the once traditional red-line position (2). This position is the number one cause of “hot spots”, and provides virtually no arch support, making custom shoes and orthotics mostly ineffective, since the arch of the shoe is essentially floating beneath the foot, not pressing up into it.
The axle (1) corresponds to our blue-line position which reduces pressure on the ball of the foot, while providing greater arch and ankle support.
For many cyclists, particularly triathletes, this is the most efficient and comfortable position, as it keeps the lower legs fresher for the running stage.
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