Every time a manufacturer hints at a new product the bets start flying here at the Aerogeeks HQ. Depending on the manufacturer, debates are sparked on whether the news pertains to an existing product update or—even more exciting—something completely new. But when TriRig began hinting at a new product in late 2012, our guess was as good as anyone’s. With the Omega, TriRig had already demonstrated the ability to take a number of existing ideas (aero, adjustability, and strong stopping power) and turn them into a truly unique product. So we had our doubts that this was merely an update to one of their existing lines.
The first teaser shot was a CFD showing a curved surface with a cylinder-shaped depression running down the middle. An otherwise obscure drawing, except for the fact that our chief editor had recently seen a set of Aerolite pedals (and their cleats) and recognized the similarity. So now we knew TriRig was getting into the pedal business.
TriRig started with the base concept behind the Aerolite, a spindle-style pedal, and added a whole host of new innovations to create Mercury.
At its core, Mercury’s spindle-style design is simply a sleeve over a solid spindle. The sleeve rotates freely over the spindle and the cleat simply grips down over the sleeve. That’s about as simple as you can get when it comes to pedals.
Speaking of the cleat, Tririg has gone with a 3-bolt cleat for the Mercury. This alone is a major design update since it will work with almost any road or triathlon shoe on the market. The Aerolite pedals are designed to be used with a 4-bolt pattern. So if you want to use a 3-bolt pattern, you need to affix the cleat to the rear two holes, which pushes it farther back than you would normally affix a cleat.
The cleats themselves feature 3mm of fore-aft adjustment (versus a more typical 7mm). While we didn’t find this to be a problem with our position (we typically have our cleats fairly neutral), it may be a consideration if you have a position that is fairly aggressive in either direction.
Mercury’s simple spindle-style design lends itself to a few great benefits. First is an absurdly low weight – just 48g for an individual pedal and 18g for a cleat. For comparison, a Keo Blade 2 comes in at 110g for the pedal, while a Speedplay zero titanium is a claimed 82g per pedal and 118g for a 3-bolt cleat.
The design also features a stack height of just 10.5mm (stack is the distance between the center of the pedal axle and the bottom surface of your shoe). Look Keos have a stack height of around 17mm while Shimano SPDs are around 14mm. Speedplays can get you to 8.5mm with a 4-bolt cleat (but the 3-bolt adapter gets you back to 11.5mm).
With Mercury, TriRig also added variable Q-factor to the spindle design. For now, we are going to avoid the whole definition of Q-factor versus tread-width debate and simply state that Mercury’s Q-factor adjustment allows you to adjust the distance between pedal center and the crank. TriRig’s design allows you to adjust this distance by 9mm. When measured from the outside face of the crank arm to the center of the pedal body, this gives you a variability from 47mm to 56mm. Compared to a Dura-Ace pedal at 53mm, this gives you the ability to go either a bit narrower or wider. For those looking to truly fine tune their fit, this is a huge feature.
One of the design aspects of Mercury that may catch someone by surprise is its no-float design. Float is the amount of mobility your foot has when it’s locked into the pedal. Most pedal systems have a range of float from 5 to 15 degrees. Some companies, like Look, allow you to adjust float by using different cleats, while others let you make adjustments to the cleats themselves, like Speedplay. Mercury offers zero float. While TriRig believes this is the optimal choice for both power and injury prevention reasons (when properly fit to the rider), they know this is not for everyone. This is one of the reasons that Mercury ships with a 6-month no-questions-asked return policy. If it doesn’t work for you, just ship them back.
This was actually our first time with no-float pedals (we’re typically used to 4-5 degrees of float), and we rode away fans. In fact, when switching between pedals with float and without, we found that we actually started to find the pedals with float to feel a bit insecure. However this will definitely be a personal preference as some may find the completely “locked in” feel to be a bit intimidating.
Anytime we make a major change to a test bike, our first few rides take place on the trainer. We do this for two reasons. First, it allows us to make quick adjustments if needed (often important when swapping saddles or aerobars). And second, it’s the safest option since we want to concentrate on the road—not our set up. With Mercury, we had the additional concern of pedal engagement and disengagement. We didn’t want to spend minutes at a stop light trying to clip in, and we definitely would rather avoid ending up on the pavement if we couldn’t disengage the pedals. In all honesty, the latter was one of our biggest concerns with Mercury.
Let’s start with the disengagement since this turned out to be the easy one. To disengage, all we had to do was roll our foot off the pedal from the inside edge outward. It may sound complex, but it was incredibly easy and natural. There wasn’t a single ride where we were at risk of hitting the pavement because we had difficulties disengaging.
Engagement was a bit trickier. To engage, TriRig says that all you need to do is stomp down. And with a lot of practice, that may be true. However, at first, you are probably going to take a few seconds to get situated. What you don’t want to do is clamp the cleat over the far end of the pedal (this piece is actually the retainer that keeps the sleeve on the spindle). If you do that, you may end up rotating the spindle itself as you pedal rather than the sleeve. This can result in the whole pedal becoming removed from the crank arm. To resolve this, you want to place the inside of the cleat up against the bottom of the spindle and then stomp down. Again, this does become second nature, but it took us a few trainer rides to get comfortable.
Once we got riding, we found the pedals to be both rock solid and effortless. Mercury’s spindle runs the full length of the pedal body, attributing to an incredibly stiff pedal. The nylon pedal body rotates effortlessly over the spindle. Overall, it felt like one of the smoothest pedals we have ridden.
Our second big question with Mercury was whether we would encounter any accidental disengagements when we really rocked the bike. So did it happen? The short answer is both yes and no. So let us explain. Through our typical workouts (standard time trial riding with limited sprinting and a small amount of climbing) we never saw it happen. However, given that we wanted to see how hard we could push it, there were some cases where we were able to rip the cleat off during single pedal drills. Although we do think it’s worth mentioning that, on close inspection of the cleat, we discovered that we had bent it by stomping down on the end of the sleeve. And there’s a chance that this bending could have contributed to the disengagement. The Mercury does ship with an oversized bearing that may be used to avoid unintended clip outs; however, we think what we really needed was a replacement set of cleats. As we said above, take some time learning how to clip into the pedals the right way and we don’t think this will be an issue.
With Mercury, TriRig has found two types of potential buyers—those looking to have the lightest bike out there and those looking for the most adjustable pedal systems. For each of these buyers the Mercury may be an ideal option, and at $249.99 it’s priced extremely well (specifically when compared with other super lightweight options). And with TriRig’s 180-day return policy for Mercury, you have an almost risk-free option to give them a try.