According to Gusset, the Slim Jim Nylon flat is a nylon reinforced body version of its more expensive alloy Slim Jim flat but what does it mean by that? First off, this pedal is a copy of the company’s newest alloy Slim Jim, not the older version, which is important because the old pedal has a smaller platform and isn’t that much more expensive. Even then, nylon and new aluminum pedals are far from identical twins – the platform on the plastic pedal is a little taller and is also closed off at both ends. This adds some extra meat in this area for those times when you mistime a pedal stroke and put the edge into a rock.
The platform is also larger, but it weighs about 40g less per pedal on the scales. Lastly, depending on whether you see this online or in your friendly local bike shop, it’s also about 60 percent cheaper.
So how does the Slim Jim Nylon compare to the best cheap MTB flat pedals?
Design and specifications
If this is a nylon reinforced pedal, what is it reinforced with? That’s likely to be glass or rather a fine glass powder that’s mixed in with the nylon when the pedal is injection molded. If you look closely at the surface, you can almost see a fine particulate. Reinforcing the pedal in this way makes it stiffer, and also increases the surface hardness and fatigue strength, making it more durable.
Gusset runs a chromoly axle through the platform and this has a 6mm hex on the crank end for fitting. There’s a rubber lip seal there too to keep out the dirt and the axle runs on a mini cartridge bearing combined with an LSL bushing. I dismantled the pedal after several wet rides (using the 8mm socket included in the box) to check on dirt ingress and the inside was still as clean as a whistle. There was plenty of grease in there too and the bearings were silky smooth, which isn’t often the case with entry-level nylon models. Should you have an issue with the bearings, Gusset does offer a complete rebuild kit for £13.
I measured the platform size at 104mm (front to back) by 106mm (side to side), which is not as big as claimed but it’s still decent in the scheme of things. The platform is 18mm at the perimeter but steps down to 16mm in the center, creating dual concavity. There’s a little bit of ledge over the axle, which I could feel when riding. It’s a small detail but a smoother transition would let your foot sit a little deeper into the recess.
To boost grip there are ten pins a side. These are a 3mm set screw design and they bolt through the platform and are secured via a small lock nut. The pins have a fixed length, but you can reduce the height of the center pins by fitting small washers under those bolt heads. Eight spare pins are included with the pedal but unfortunately no washers.
Test-winning pedals like the DMR Vault and Nukeproof Horizon Sam Hill have a concave profile because this helps center your foot on the platform and allows you to push into the pedal for greater bike control. In this regard, the Slim Jim Nylon is pretty good. It has a good shape and is a big target to aim at when you take a dab or go no-footed over a jump – like we know you all do.
The problem with nylon is the performance drops off quite a bit compared to aluminum in the wet. Water seems to wet out on this pedal, a bit like a waterproof jacket does when the DWR coating has worn off. There’s a definite sheen on the surface of the pedal and obviously, that makes it feel looser. There were a few times when I went light on a descent in the wet and my feet would slide forward. Pushing hard into a berm also feels a little vague and off-the-bike work doesn’t help because you’re likely to be introducing a sheen of mud between the foot and pedal interface. To be fair this isn’t a criticism unique to Gusset – most of the nylon pedals I’ve tested feel the same in the wet.
In the dry, the Slim Jim does feel solid. It tends to glide marginally easier over rocks, which may be because the nylon is slippery. There’s a little bit of scuffing on the corners, which is to be expected after a couple of months of riding but the damage isn’t that obvious. If you smack an alloy pedal into a rock, you’re going to see the scars.
This nylon pedal is a cheap alternative to the aluminum Slim Jim but it uses the same pin bearings and axles as its more expensive brethren, so you’re getting comparable reliability for less cost. The nylon is also similar in shape and profile to Jim Senior and, in the dry, the amount of grip on offer is close but it’s a step back in the wet; there’s grip here but also a little bit of slip.
Tech specs: Gusset Slim Jim Nylon flat pedal
- Price: $54.99 / £44.99
- Platform size: 113 x 114mm, 18mm thickness
- Weight: 372g (pair)
- Colors: Black, lime or orange
- Materials: Reinforced nylon, steel hardware and Cro-mo steel axle