Used and Abused
Wellgo B25 pedals
Duration of test: April 2008 - February 2011 (first set) February 2011 - present (second set)
Cost: £40 rrp
- Not as thin as some
- Screwdriver fitting on the removable pins
- Would be nice to come with short and standard (long) pins
Wellgo isn't necessarily a brand you would associate with high quality pedals, what usually springs in peoples minds are DMR copies. However, Wellgo manufactures pedals for numerous other companies, who often simply stamp there name on and sell at an extortionate price for the privilege.
In essence buying a Wellgo pedal is like cutting out the middle man. They have a large range of models. Tested here is the sealed bearing, metal B25.
Before riding the first set I had only ran DMR V8s as an after maket option, often for around a year until they were smashed. What a pleasant surprise it was when I put these on! A much wider platform (even slightly larger than the Atomlab Trailkings on my 223) and a concave shape for your feet to fit into, and grip... In fact I found these too grippy for park, even having trouble removing my feet at times. I adjusted the grip by removing some of the pins and filing the others down to a less shin and shoe hungry length.
Fast forward two years and they were nearly as smooth as the day they were installed. Some play had developed (about as much as a DMR pedal would acquire after 3 months), but they were straight, un-broken and still performed as they should. Bare in mind that this was with no maintenance, and that I bent a Wethepeople Royal crank arm while riding them. I bought a new set as they were half price in a sale, and they have been faultless to date. The original set are now reserves.
My only small gripes are that the pins that come fitted are really long (although this would be good for grip off road), and that the adjustable pins do not have an allen key fitting.
Overall, a brilliant, and massively overlooked pedal, that probably outperforms much more expensive options.
Dobermann Molosse 24' 2009
Duration of test: April 2009 - June 2010
Cost: £400 posted direct from Dobermann, Canada (expect a £90 Fed Ex import tax bill on top). £450 from Balfa UK
Options: price included custom colour (raw flat shown) and serial number
- Light (5lb claimed, 5.2lb scale)
- Good geometry for street/ park and dirt
- Well designed in areas (dropouts and chainstays)
- Mid bb and BMX hub spacing
- Custom options are a nice touch
- price considering this is hand made in Canada by a small team
- Headtube area. Lack of reinforcement is a huge error.
- External headset. Internal headsets are a BMX standard for a reason
- Tyre clearance (1.85' max with a wide rim)
- Customer service when you have a problem
- not a fail, but a steeper head angle would liven things up even more...
Impressive. Coming from standard mtb geometry (Atomlab Trailpimp) this took a while to get used to, but in a good way. The dobermann spins and hops extremely well, and although it is targeted as a dirt and street frame, it handles beautifully on trails. The top tube length (21.5') is as short as it gets before encountering foot clearance issues with the front tyre on bar spins and x-ups. At 14.17 (360mm) the chainstays are some of the shortest on the market. The mid BB and BMX hub spacing offer opportunities for a dialled set up. Since many frames of this nature break at the chainstays, the huge chainstay junction at the top tube offers reassurance that this shouldn't be an issue here.
After the Honeymoon
I rode hard on this frame for just over a year. This frame has been ridden in Sheffield, Exeter, Plymouth, Spain and the south of France at numerous trails and park spots, including tight warehouses. It is easy to become very fond of this frame. As a friend said after some hop 360s 'its as easy to ride as my BMX', so in this respect Dobermann have fulfilled their objective in creating a MTBMX.
Following a large slam on a big double, which bent the steerer tube on my pikes, examination by Frank at Sidwell Cycles revealed a flared headtube. It was anyone's guess as to whether this was caused by the crash, or had existed for some time and was worsened by it. A deep(ish) cup headset was inserted with the hope the frame would hold out. A few weeks later it was evident all was not OK as a loud creaking could be heard from the headtube area while pedalling.
I rang Balfa UK, the importer of Dobermann. I was told that to have the frame repaired I would have to send it to them, where for £120 + postage and two weeks + wait they would fit an Across deep cup headset and bond the cup to the headtube. This may have extended the frames life, but as I was only going to settle for a replacement frame with headtube ring reinforcement (which would have cost £225 + shipping from Canada (£60) and extra for the custom modification (?££), I was left feeling cheated. I emailed the guys at Dobermann to explain my situation, and was told that they would come up with some kind of deal. When I asked what, I didn't receive a reply.
There is no denying that this is a good frame which rides brilliantly. Some key areas such as the chainstays have been well thought out. It comes as a surprise then that one of the most important structural areas of a frame, the headtube, seems to have been overlooked. As standard the headtube has no ring reinforcement, unlike the majority of mountain bikes frames on the market. Unfortunately customer care is also left to be desired. For anyone buying this frame, ask for ring reinforcement at the headtube. For shredders in Canada this must come in at a bargain, I also expect customer service is better there. Maybe in a few years time Dobermann will go against their current beliefs and use internal headsets...