SOMA CITOYEN DU MONDE PEDALS
391g per pair Deluxe Chrome plated (as tested) $61.99 (£46.17 at time of writing)
With a fashionable retro-look - and deluxe options available - Soma’s Citoyen du Monde pedals are perfect for putting the finishing touch to your favourite period machine. You’d expect them to be good, coming from the MKS stable on behalf of Soma: and they are good, with some real plus points, though at a higher price than some retro-styled contemporaries.
Pros: very well-made, authentically stylish, and wide.
Cons: heavier than some retro rivals, and pricier.
Materials and design
Inspired by a vintage French pattern, “Citoyen du Monde” means “Citizen of the World”. There are two versions. Deluxe, as tested here, or the Standard. Both are made by MKS, who have an enviable reputation for high end pedals and there’s a definite Lyotard/Campy flavour. The boxes look the same.
Both use aluminium alloy bodies, although Deluxe is polished to a higher lustre. They also sport higher quality cones and bearing races. The Standard uses simpler cup 'n’ cone types, which are easily stripped, serviced and rebuilt as required. I’ve added a touch of grease prior to fitting and given a quick wipe after forays along dusty or muddy - good old British climate - country lanes.
The additional weight, compared to some (they are around 30g heavier than the Genetic Heritage Cage pedals we tested a little while back), boils down to size. A good bet for those with wide feet or who just like a more stable platform, they are bigger than the aforementioned Genetic model and my older Kyoto Top Race period pieces.
They’ve definitely got style on their side, too. Standard - all silver, or with black or copper front and rear plates; Deluxe models can be copper or chrome plated (and come at $24 dollars more). A few curvy cut-outs draw the eye - and have been the subject of some compliments at cafe stops.
Needless to say, there are the traditional rat-trap serrations for grip, and suitable placed holes for attaching toe-clips or, for the law-abiding citizen, reflectors - or, indeed, both (toe-clips front, reflector rear). Incidentally, I’ve paired the pedals with Soma’s Deep Four Gate toe-clips and MKS Steel toe-clips. Both fit beautifully, aesthetically and technically.
In my opinion - a very humble one, too - I think they looked great on my mystery-mongrel nineteen-forties single-speed, but were probably a bit too chunky for the 1976 Carlton Clubman. Others might disagree, of course, and from a purely practical outlook, these are well-made, fully-functioning pedals, and not a decorative extra. They have provided a good platform on my tourer, too, but would not be my first choice as I love SPDs for long non-Eroica--retro days out.
Well, lets start with the beautifully smooth rolling. To be honest, I’d expected silkiness, but its always nice to have expectations met. Likewise, tenure of shoe was very good, without toe-clips, when wearing trainers or, even, brogues. Yep, very much Sunday-go-to-meeting stuff, but none the worse for that. I have read that some have found the Standard versions take a little running in time, but nothing to be concerned about.
Most folk will look to add toe-clips. Needless to say, leather touring shoes of the traditional ilk needed these. Properly adjusted, I was impressed with the solid-feel given by the extra width of the pedals gave my broad feet when honking on the single-speed (a sadly frequent occurrence). No hot spots or uncomfortable edges, with a little bit of wiggle room.
Additional axle length is not significant enough to cause any scrapes on sharp bends, rather cornering is confident. Having said that weight conscious speedsters may be looking elsewhere already, if comfort is your priority then there’s a lot to be said for the bigger platform.
Through muck and dust, not to mention the inevitable ford, rolling has remained smooth and silent.
Legal eagles will always point out the lack of pedal reflectors. A standard set will pop in should you wish to ruin the generally beautiful look in the name of compliance with the letter of the law. Equally, matching these up with the Soma’s Double Gate Toe-Clips makes for a precise fit, as one would hope. However, other brands went on equally neatly. As you would expect, too, they take both single and double straps.
I have not got round to servicing yet, but there seems to be every reason to expect a long wait before delving round for the relevant tools.
Very stylish retro pedals, which will appeal aesthetically to enthusiasts who don’t want to go the fully authentic route. I like these a great deal. They’ll be staying on my single-speed cafe-gentle-spin bike. I might try to go lighter if taking on a big retro century. Being a few grammes weightier than some is the pedal’s only drawback (a few kilos is only one of the tester’s demerits, by comparison), and you’ll pay a little more for them than some other candidates, though they might not have those enticing curves.