Review: Wellgo LU987 Flat Pedals

It's all about the grip pins and the concave platform

Let’s just get something straight. This isn’t a product review in the bike-mag sense of the word. Yet in a way it’s more valid – as it’s based on long term use and the level of ‘buy-in’ that only emerges once you’ve stumped up the cash and lived with a product.

I’ve been using Wellgo’s budget flat platform pedal, the LU987, for around 18 months and feel I’m in a good position to comment on its usefulness for all kinds of cycling.

The LU987 is a large cast aluminium platform pedal, running on standard ball bearings, with around a dozen grip pins on each side. They mimic the classic Shimano DX BMX pedal from the 1980s, with a parallelogram shape and a large concave platform. The LU987 also has provision for clip on reflectors and drillings for mounting toe clips. However, I seriously doubt you’ll need the latter, for reasons I’m about to extol. The LU987 sits near the bottom of Wellgo’s flat pedal hierarchy, which includes models with removable pins, sealed cartridge bearings and other delights. However, in these cash-strapped times of ours, I think I’ve stumbled upon an everyday gem of a pedal.

Another view of the pedal - yes I know - I could have cleaned them before I took the shot... The pins are replaceable and they accept toeclips (if you really feel the need)

Why? Well firstly, the level of grip that the pins (allied with the concave platform) provide is astonishing. Wet or dry, just team them with a rubber soled shoe of any kind and you’ve got grip that’ll make you seriously wonder why you ever entertained the idea of toe clips or SPD (clip-in) pedals. I’ve used these pedals in all weathers, on road, off road, commuting and on long cyclosportive rides and I’ve never once missed the security and (alleged) ability to ‘pull-up’ that clip in/strap down systems are purported to provide. Unlike clip-in/strap-down systems, alongside the ‘grip-aplenty’ scenario, you’ve got the ability to quickly remove your feet should you and gravity have a difference of opinion.

These pedals allow you to wear any shoes you like, saving the bother of getting in and out of cycling shoes. The ability to just jump on your bike in normal shoes is not to be underestimated. Suddenly errand running and bike commuting become a whole lot simpler.

Another reason why I’m sold on these pedals is something quite subjective and that’s ‘pedal feel’. I don’t enjoy the feeling of using stiff ‘cycling specific’ shoes on a bike – they lack feedback – in my opinion you get no sensation of grip. However, the Wellgos, in conjunction with a fairly thin, flexible soled trainer (e.g., Adidas Samba, Gazelle, Converse Chuck Taylors, etc) give masses of feedback without a hint of discomfort. This might fly in the face of the ‘you must wear stiff shoes’ maxim so dear to pedal/shoe system manufacturers, but it works for me.

Durability is also a huge plus. Like I said before, I’ve had these pedals on my all weather, all terrain, all purpose bike for 18 months and the bearings are just getting sweeter and sweeter with each ride. They’re not cartridge bearings and they’re not sealed – however, this doesn’t seem to stop them working well in spite of wet weather riding, off-roading and general neglect.

Lastly, they’re cheap – seriously cheap – I paid around £10 for mine – at the time I had a second bike (A Dahon D7 folding bike) and I got two pairs. The Wellgo’s instantly transformed the ride of the Dahon, giving me way more confidence than the slippery rubber folding jobbies that came as standard.

Any downsides? If you’re commuting in dressy shoes, you might want to sacrifice some grip and go for a rubberised pedal that won’t mar the leather soles of your brogues. Some may not appreciate the looks of the pedal on a classically-styled town bike like a Pashley, but once you try these pedals out, it’s hard to feel secure on anything else.

Availability – pretty much everywhere. If you can’t find the LU987, there are many others out there with the key features, which, to recap, are:

  • Large format
  • Grip pins
  • Concave platform

If you want to go upmarket, there are a number of options, including the DMR V12 which is a CNC machined version with super smooth cartridge bearings. However on an all-duty bike, I regard pedals as a consumable item along with chains, cassettes, tyres and tubes, and I’m happy with the real-world performance of the Wellgos.

Advertisements

16 thoughts on “Review: Wellgo LU987 Flat Pedals

  1. Pingback: Sydney Cyclist Records Near Misses With Helmet Cam |Bus Blog Australia

  2. Chris Thompson

    Great review. I read this posting right before visiting my local bike store at lunchtime and getting a similar pair. The only thing i disliked about my new bike was the clip pedals and now that problem is solved. Better yet, the store owner swapped them out for free!

    Chris

  3. theeverydaycyclist

    Free is always good. Glad to be of assistance. Rivendell sell a similar MKS model (unavailable here in the UK) which look nice too. Hope you get on well with them. My feet have never slipped once. I use Adidas Sambas for most of my riding and they grip like Spiderman.

  4. I use JC Odyssey with sealed bearings (that have the same characteristics you’ve mentioned) on my Surly LHT and I love them! I can cycle to work in boots and then jump on wearing Crocs to go get the paper (no accounting for dress sense). If I had a car I wouldn’t have to limit or think about my footwear, so, I don’t want to on my ‘everything’ bike either. The big, fat platforms are sooo secure with the pins and, if you’re like me, you get to wriggle a lot on longer rides. 🙂

    1. theeverydaycyclist

      I’ll have to take a look at the Odysseys you mention – and yes – the ‘wriggle factor’ – how could I forget?! The ability to move your feet around to a degree really helps to alleviate pressure hot spots on long rides. For someone who’s suffered clipped in pedals and the accompanying typically narrow, uncomfortable SPD shoes, this is a real plus point. Your car analogy is also really pertinent – Imagine having to slip on your driving shoes every time you jumped behind the wheel, or perhaps your special ‘popping out to the shops for a paper’ shoes for those highly technical trips to the newsagent!

  5. dexey

    I don’t know about this. I reckon the ‘upstroke’ that you get with an spd is well worth having. Shimano do two spd’s that included a platform but I tend to change into my cycling shoes every time I use the bike. I learnt to ‘ankle’ when I started cycling in the early ’60’s and coupled with spd’s mean that you use your muscle power more efficiently, or am I wrong?

    1. theeverydaycyclist

      The real world benefit of being able to ‘pull up’ is difficult to measure. The only time when I’ve been able to effectively pull up is when I’ve been caught on a steep hill in too high a gear. In my opinion, when you’re spinning at 90rpm, the most you can hope to do is unweight the rising foot, which you can do just as effectively on a flat pedal. I read recently (in Cycling Plus if think) that a leading sports scientist has studied the pedal stroke in detail and has found that any attempt to pull up results in a net power loss, as it detracts from the main downward power stroke.

      For me however, it isn’t really about power and efficiency – it’s more about being able to ride my bike in any shoes I like. I’ve ridden Resurrectio with his flat pedals on gruelling sportive rides around the country and found myself happily spinning past clipped in riders on steep Dartmoor hills – and I’m an 88kg rider riding a 14kg bike!

  6. dexey

    Kent Peterson says much the same as you. I’ll have to investigate but I’ll stay spd’d on my recumbents, I think.
    For touring on the Dahon I’d like to be able to wear Teva walking sandals.

    1. theeverydaycyclist

      I think a recumbent may be one bike where I would swerve my strict ‘no-clips’ policy – I can see a positive advantage on a bike where the ‘downstroke’ is effectively a forward stroke – i.e. without the assistance of gravity. But wait, this is starting to sound too ‘sports-sciencey’ for my liking 🙂

  7. cliplessmeansplatforms

    Currently using Wellgo V1s whiich seem identical – less than £10 delivered! Same opinions about them. I was a die-hard clip-in person until I started using low gears (19″ to 104″), but with these I just sit and spin (although I can stand and pedal in circles for short bursts).

    So my theory is that most people who aren’t racing are simply pushing too big a gear if they need to stand and ‘pull up’ to get by.

    1. theeverydaycyclist

      I’ve recently swapped bikes and the Wellgos have come with me, replacing the usual crappy one sided clips and straps pedals that come with new bikes. They’re possibly even worse than SPDs. With toestraps they’re a liability. Without, they’re just an inconvenience. Big platform pedals in place – foot comfort restored.

      Thanks for commenting.

  8. Alex Harvey

    I bought pairs of these for my wife’s and my commuting bikes. Both pairs’ bearings were to tight and therefore very rough out of the box, and required slackening off of the nuts to be smooth.

  9. Dermot Ryan

    I started using these by chance years ago; it was the first pair of flat pedals I found in the shop while looking for a replacement for the resin-bodied flats that came with the bike.

    My experience is pretty much yours. I’ve never tried any foot retention mechanism, but I’ve never felt the need to, so good are these with rubber-soled footwear.

    I like your red bike with the mudflaps too!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s