When you first pick up the NumberNine Titan pedals by Syntace, the first thing you notice is the lack of heft— they’re ridiculously light. Especially when you hold another brand pedal, and do the ‘ol hand waving comparison test. After bolting them to a few of our bikes and a few months of pedaling around on them, they’ve proven to fulfill their intended purpose extremely well.
The drawback? Their price.
There are quite a few offerings available nowadays when it comes to looking for a high performance after market pedal. If you’re looking for the best budget pedal for the buck, resume your internet searching— this isn’t the pedal you are looking for. However, if you have the resources, disposable income and the desire for the best money can buy, it’s definitely worth taking a close look at the Syntace NumberNine Titan Pedals.
Syntace is German company known for their quality components. While they aren’t as popular here in the states, it’s not uncommon to find their stuff bolted to bikes of top riders in the know. Although the company isn’t known for being flashy or a marketing giant, they consistently design and produce products that are extremely well thought out. The NumberNine is clearly a pedal made by engineers that know their stuff with input from folks that ride.
The pedals feature cartridge bearings at three bearing locations. After several months of use, they’re rolling as smooth as they did when they were first handed to me. They don’t spin freely, with a slight bit of friction built into them. If you do any dirt jumping or take your feet off drifting turns, this is a nice feature, as the pedals stay in the position they were in when you remove your foot.
They’re thin too. According to my calipers, the pedals measure a minimal height of about 13mm or so tall. Thin pedals lower your center of gravity and offer additional rock strike clearance. Compared to my ever-reliable Shimano DX platforms, (which measure in at about 24mm tall) swapping out to the NumberNine Titan is like lowering the bottom bracket a full 11mm. (Sorry DX pedals, you are now dirt jump only)
Since I’ve had the pedals, I’ve tried them on several different bikes, doing different types of riding. Dirt jumps and pumptracks, all mountain trail riding, and full blown DH and Bike park riding. During this time I found the shape of the pedal felt good, and natural. I never had to get used to them, just bolted them on and off I went. The slightly concave profile helps allow rotation of your shoe when you unweight your feet slightly. It doesn’t feel as concave as some of my other pedals, but I found the pedals to have a great feel regardless of which shoes I was running. In testing we rotated between the Teva Links and FiveTen Freeriders, and the FiveTen Karvers. I first tried the shoes with the Teva Links shoe. The Links quickly became my favorite dirt jump shoe due to the comfort and heel cushion in the sole. If you’ve ever bruised your heel casing a big double, these shoes are worth trying out. They are stiffer than the Freerider, and while they are grippy, they don’t come close to the grip of 5.10’s sticky rubber. However, used with the Syntace pedals, I never had issues with my feet slipping at the local jumps or pump tracks.
The Freeriders were a similar experience, with a bit more grip. The Freerider shoe is thinner, and you get a lot more feedback from the trail, but they are a bit grippier. For local freeriding spots this has been my go-to combination. Bigger jumps on the 8″ travel bike require a bit more grip, and the pairing worked well for me. For full blown DH riding I chose the Karvers for the best combination of grip, sole stiffness, and ankle protection.
We just wrapped several days in Whistler, and paired with the 5.10 Karvers the pedals were great on everything we encountered from Blue Square flow trails to double black gnar-gnar. To be honest I didn’t really think about them at all, I just rode bikes, and had a blast doing it. That’s always the best result with good gear in my book anyway. Our test set is the size medium, and I don’t recall really smacking them hard on any rocks. The ridiculously high bottom bracket height of my big bike (even with an angle set installed) played a large part of that, but the low profile of the pedals certainly helped. Although I slipped my pedals once or twice over three days, (the back of my right leg will attest to that) it was primarily due to fatigue/ rider error after 10 days of non-stop riding with minimal recovery time, and mostly on warm up runs where my legs were still stiff.
My current long travel bike is a Santa Cruz Driver 8, which has a high bottom bracket that makes the bike corner like crap. An AngleSet and the low profile of the pedals where helpful in getting my bb down to a more manageable height. (next up is an offset bushing) I don’t want to imagine how much worse the high speed cornering would have been without these little tweaks.
The NumberNine pedal isn’t the most grippy of the pedals I’m currently running, but for the riding I’ve done they’ve never left me wanting. These days, with all the various shoe durometers and pin options it’s possible to get as much or as little grip as one needs for their riding style. I had a few runs at Whistler when I was tired, and moving my foot around was tricky in that condition, so I definitely wasn’t suffering for a lack of traction.
If you’re the kind of rider that does bash a lot of rocks, the pins are easy to replace when damaged, (or remove— which is a common issue with a lot of my current pedals) which is more than one can say about many pedals available. If the pins are broken off, they are still easily removed— unlike a lot of other pedals I’ve run— due to the flat collar. Syntace even offers several recommended setups in regards to pin setup. For all around use, they recommend the stock all alloy setup. For DH riding and additional durabilty, they recommend replacing the 6 outer pins with steel ones. If you find the pedal is “too grippy” in stock form, they include 5 spare pins and hex key driver for changing the pins. Out of the box, the pedal comes with 56 alloy 7075 T6 pins, plus 5 spares. If you continue to find yourself striking the pedals on rocks, you can also opt to swap out all alloy pins with more durable steel versions, available separately (in packs of 10).
- 288g (size med) including pins
- 28 pins
- Titanium axle
- 7075 T6 Aluminum