Product Review Afton Keegan flat pedal shoes & Joystick Emulator flat pedals

Discussion in 'General MTB Discussion' started by Dozer, Apr 27, 2018.

By Dozer on Apr 27, 2018 at 10:01 AM
  1. Dozer

    Dozer Heavy machinery. Staff Member

    Welcome to the next exciting review on products provided to us by our friends at Mountain Bikes Direct. We've teamed up with one of Australia's best online mountain bike stores to bring you in depth reviews on the latest and most intriguing parts and accessories you can purchase for your bike.

    The values shared by the staff at Rotorburn and Mountain Bikes Direct are the same; we have a huge passion for mountain biking! It's our pleasure to be in a great position to test, review and share our in depth details on some great products available from Mountain Bikes Direct.

    In this review, we thought it was worthwhile to test some sweet new shoes and pair it with some rad flat pedals. I've also chucked a video review in after some great feedback from the Rotorburn members.

    Item: Afton Keegan flat pedal shoe
    Purchased From: Mountain Bikes Direct (Click here for the page)
    Purchase Price (approx): $124.95 plus postage
    Mountain biking primarily but a great casual shoe as well


    Product outline: The Afton Keegan shoe is new to me. We've all seemingly fallen in love with the 510 offerings of years gone by and thankfully they have stood the test of time for me. That's what made this review so appealing to me; the chance to try something totally new. At this stage I've had the shoes for a few months and plan to add some long term info to the review but for now, this is what we've got.
    The shoes have that skate shoe look that doubles as a cool looking casual shoe as well. They come in two colours; the blue/black and the one's I have in this review; the grey/red. They certainly aren't a floppy thin piece of junk though, from the second you pull them on you know straight up that they are made to perform with a very firm toe and heal coupled with a rigid sole to avoid that dreaded shoe flex resulting in sore feet.
    The fit is great, I'm a US 14 shoe but got these guys in a US 13 and typically with a new shoe, they felt a little snug at first but your foot finds it's way and they are a great fit. The area of the shoe just below your ankle is pretty well cushioned and keeps your ankle from hitting your crank; thats a big time win for me as that has been a common issue I've had with flat pedal shoes over the years. I make note in the video review that I hope this cushioning stays puffed up and l stands the test of time.
    So the shoe is comfortable, the sizing is spot on and it looks good but does it grip your damn pedal? Yep, very much yes! The sole of the shoe is a good feeling 60A rubber compound where the grip of the shoe comes from the triangle dents in the sole, not protruding rubber blocks that is common on other shoes. The pins of my pedals locate themselves in these dents and binds to the rubber once located. It's bloody great actually, almost feels like a bunch of small cleats and your foot feels like it's touching more of the pedal as it's seemingly buried in the shoe.


    Summary: Those who know me know I ride clips, have done for 209 years. Why? Well, I want my feet to be in the same place when I ride and it keeps my ankles from hitting my swing arm plus I can steer my bike with my feet. I've ridden flats for certain types of riding like pump tracks, dirt jumps, "just riding along" but call myself a clips guy. I have a mate who travels with flats and clips and mixes it up on different trails primarily doing enduro style riding and that is so appealing to me, thats why I went for this review and I have no regrets, still a clips guy but very comfortable riding downhill and enduro on flats.
    The shoes are comfortable, they have great grip on your pedal, they breath well and I was never hot in the shoes and they feel like they are made entirely for riding your bike. They aren't flimsy and thin and lets face it, that stuff speaks so loudly when you're looking at shoes and you see these guys for half the price of some other brands. Personally, I don't have any intention of sourcing any other brand of flat pedal shoe.

    Pros -
    Cheap to buy, great fit, excellent performance on the trails, great to know they are constructed mountain bike shoes.
    Cons - Tight to pull on initially getting past the ankle cushioning, the grey/red shoes have lighter colours which may look ordinary after some use, a little slippery on wet smooth surfaces like the tiles at the pub.

    A flat pedal shoe review is useless without testing it on a recent model flat pedal yeah? Check out the Joystick Emulator!
    Item: Joystick Emulator flat pedals
    Purchased From: Mountain Bikes Direct (Click here for the page)
    Purchase Price (approx): $169.95 plus postage
    Usage: Mountain biking


    Product outline: The Joystick Emulator flat pedal is an alloy pedal with a cromoly axle. You can chuck these pedals on any bike you have and you're sorted. A pedal can't be packed with features? Think again, these guys have tons of adjustable pins, are a light yet super impact resistant CNC machined alloy and a serviceable cartridge bearing on the cromoly axle.

    Fitting: The first thing that hit me was the lack of spacing to tighten the pedals with a 15mm spanner, you can't. You tighten the pedal from the backside of the crank with your allen keys. The thread is the common 9/16" but always keep in mind your tightening direction is different on your drive and non drive side cranks.

    Summary: First up, I took a few hits on these things that I cringed at, I thought I may have wrecked a pin or put a decent dent in the material but nope, nothing other than a few scrapes of rock debris that buffed the finish a little, thats a good start! The platform is a pretty big area ad your entire shoe should cover it nicely. The positioning of the pins is clever enough that if you are a bit buck wild and end up with just a part of your foot on then you're at least in touch with something pretty solid on the pedal. I've used some pedals in the past where the bulky axle chamber is too much and paired with a crap pair of shoes means you feel like you're bending your shoe to cover it. These pedals are almost the opposite with your foot binding to the pins first then settling into place with your contact totally surrounding the outside of your forefoot.
    I have a gripe though. The pedals do have a large surface area but I miss the half an inch that some pedals stick out to house the area on the axle where you can use a spanner to tighten them. On these pedals there is no gap between the crank and pedal and I often find that my foot is only two thirds on the pedal as I need to keep my heel from touching the swing arm on my bike. That is one of the reasons I fancied giving clips a go all those years ago. It is something I adjusted to though and found a sweet spot on some rough trails where I adjusted my toe angle so I was almost pigeon toed on the pedals to make sure I wasn't hitting the frame. Admittedly, that was probably all in my mind more than in practice and I just got over it and felt at home on them.
    The pins aren't going to destroy your legs as much as others but they do their job perfectly. I rode them in mud, in dust and in some sandstone and didn't have any build up in the pins or any other part of the pedal. They don't clog up and stay tidy.


    Pros - Great sized face, tons of pins in the right spot, they look great and are finished with a professional CNC finish.
    Cons - The lack of spanner fitment may be an issue and may stop you getting on a crank holder trailer, you'll be doping well to get a spanner or socket on the axle bolt which may mean some specific tools, not a big deal but they only come in black.

    All in all, I'm chuffed. The shoes are great and I hope they last as long as dearer shoes on the market. The pedals reminded me of some of the demons of using flat pedals but once I had my head around it, they were flawless and bring the fun out in the right situation.
    I hope you enjoy the small video review paired with the written text and photos. ;)

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    Scott and Flow-Rider like this.


Discussion in 'General MTB Discussion' started by Dozer, Apr 27, 2018.

    1. TheAzza
      I bought some Keegan’s a while ago, but returned them.
      I wear a 9.5 in 5.10s (Impact Vxi) so ordered the same size. I have a pretty wide foot and found they were way to tight so had to pay to return them. I decided that by the time I shipped a couple of pairs back, due to incorrect sizing, I might be better off to just order a new pair of 5.10s as I know the fitment. In the end I did neither. Haha.

      Really nice shoes though. If the first pair had of fit I would have worn them 100%.

      You reckon the pedals will be shuttle crank holder friendly?

      Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk Pro
    2. camo71
      Cheers for the reviews, Good to know about the shoes , I've only just started using 5/10s , ( freerider canvas ) the grip is great though I'm not loving the flex , especially after full rigid shimanos so I've been scoping out what I'll buy that will offer the grip without so much flex -and the price is right . They look pretty good to .
    3. teK--
      After using 510 Stealth Rubber I just cannot imagine using anything else.

      How do you find the Keegan soles compare? Not only on the pedal but also for gripping on the ground and climbing up granite rocks etc.
    4. Knuckles
      Doubtful, that inboard bearing looks very similar in size to the spanks I have. And while it is amazingly stiff, just won't work with crank holders. That's why I stick with the nukes for shuttles.
    5. Knuckles
      Might have to give the shoes a crack.

      I love my Sombrios, but they're impossible to get any more, unless you're comfortable paying double purchase price on shipping, and wearing something that looks like a teletubby threw up on.

      I have 5.10s that I got when they were stupid cheap at MTBDIRECT a couple of years ago.
      Probably worn them a total of 3 times, and only when I couldn't get the soms dry enough to wear in time. Just wish Dirt Bags had a stiffer sole. They're awesome, and are my everyday shoe, from the office to weddings. Just don't work with aggressive pedal pins.

      The Keegans look like they'd be a great back up shoe, at the very least.
    6. spikenet
      What are these like for width? Looking for pair of shoes for my wife who has size 43 foot but very narrow. 5.10s are all to wide for her.
    7. Dozer
      There's no doubting it, the 510's are awesome for grip on most surfaces and I'm pretty sure that sole is based on the 510 climbing sure? As for the Afton, I used it in wet and dry and pushed back up a few trails; one of those was the wet slippery rocks we have at the top of the hills in the forest's around Coffs Harbour and it was fine. In comparison, I am always slipping on those same rocks in industrial work boots when I work on the trails and the Afton was totally fine even pushing the bike.
      teK-- likes this.
    8. Dozer
      Hmm, hard to say if it'll suit her narrow foot mate but I can say that I didn't feel like my feet were too squished at any stage so you'd have to consider these shoes are not too narrow.
    9. Flow-Rider
      The Five Ten Freerider Pro is way narrower than the others, I know because I've have wide feet and had to buy a few sizes bigger than my other Five Ten's.
    10. camo71
      Bit o/t but can I ask is this compared to a freerider canvas ? The pro was on my short list as its supposed to be more rigid than the canvas which seems to be actual normal size for me so if ordered be good to know if I should go up 1 size .
    11. Flow-Rider
      I haven't owned the canvas ones but they're a fair bit more rigid in the sole than the last Free riders I owned and even the Impacts.
    12. camo71
      Ah ok cheers
    13. spikenet
      I just got some new freerider canvas, $77 from CRC with a discount! The sizing is similar to my impacts which are the same "shoe" size at 44. They are a little narrower but I'm sure with some use they will stretch. They are not as narrow as my Danny Mac 5.10 shoes.

      Not sure what to do about the missus, her foot is to long for womens shoes they usually only go to 42, and to narrow for mens. Currently she wears joggers that fit well but are slippery AF.
    14. camo71
      Awesome deal there , if you can get the pros for a top deal might be worth a punt for the wife if they are narrow compared to the others ...
      Pushys and mtb direct are out of stock in my size and colour ATM ( cheaper than crc by the looks to ) but if I end up getting them anytime soon ill let you know how they are width wise to the canvas , and If I don't decide to just try these , but gotta say I imagine that the stealth rubber is hard to beat for grip . Always a gamble with online shoe ordering .... Win some lose some .
    15. Flow-Rider
      It's no drama returning shoes back to pushys for exchanging to another size, I done it many times. You just need to follow their directions and procedures online, if you're not a pain to their backside they will let you drive into their warehouse at Salisbury, Bris. and exchange them. Saves you time and postage.

      MTB direct use to do similar but they've changed the way they work these days but they still have a good return policy but you might have to pay for postage.
    16. Ultra Lord
    17. camo71
      Thanks for the info , pushys have always been good to deal with though didn't know you drop returns back , that could come in handy .
      By the way there's a vid on the page ultra lord linked , man that's one the best and funniest I've ever seen ... Def worth a look imo .. It's a crack up and amazing riding
    18. Flow-Rider
      They don't like telling people but you can buy over the phone with credit card and pick up yourself. It takes a few hrs for them to sort your order and they send you an email when it's ready for pick up, don't abuse the system though it will wreck it for the rest of us. ;)

      I don't live far from them and they send my stuff out the same day normally even with the free mail service.
      camo71 likes this.
    19. russthedog
      interesting you found the grip was good - i got a pair of the Aftons and returned them after a few rides and nearly died due to no grip on the pedals. Back to my trusty 5.10s. May be my complete hack riding style...
      camo71 likes this.

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