By Eric Hall, Sr. Editor and Bryan Bosch, Publisher
You’ve probably heard the saying, “Stock sucks!”. But, we’re not sure that’s always the case. Many of the factory components found on today’s bikes are rather good. However, when it comes to factory footpegs, more often than not, they can best be described as “adequate”. Most are simply too small, offer limited grip, and are not especially strong for off-road use. Footpegs simply aren't key points of evaluation for buyers, the manufacturers know this, so most don't seem to spin too many development cycles in this area.
Consider this; your footpegs are a primary connection to your motorcycle, having an impact on your ability to position your body as well as accessing your foot controls. Adventure specific footpegs are typically larger because bigger (and heavier) bikes require more input, thus more time on the footpegs. For leisurely riding, “adequate” performing footpegs will surely do the job. But, if you’re pushing the performance envelope a bit or doing longer trips (especially off-road) on a 500+ lb. adventure motorcycle, we think that footpeg upgrades make a noticeable difference in terms of comfort and control.
The most obvious common trait of aftermarket adventure bike footpegs is size; they are noticeably bigger, both in their width and depth. They also typically include a more open design to aid in the clean out of mud and snow as well as a variety of cleat materials, shapes, and lengths that offer better grip in slick conditions. Some aftermarket footpegs are lighter than stock (typically machined aluminum), but can be less crash-worthy than some stock steel units. Others made from cast stainless steel are stronger and even heavier, but none so much that you'd ever feel the difference. You'll likely pick up more weight from lunch. There are also ergonomic benefits for riders with legs and feet that have dimensions that fall outside the "normal" ranges.
The purpose of this article is not to determine which is the best performing aftermarket footpeg for you, but to showcase some of the aftermarket offerings and to highlight their more standout design features. Be sure to refer to the product attribute matrix below for a quick comparison of the brands covered. In no particular order:
Knight Design is a small, family owned manufacturer out of Corvallis Oregon. Their specialty is high quality lowered footpegs (drops of up to 1 ⅛”) that provide more rider comfort. Sure, you’ll lose some clearance (depending up footpeg selected and make/model), so factor this into how and where you’ll ride your bike. However, their drop values are in sync with the range of adjustability of the stock shift & brake levers, so control access and functionality is not compromised. Long legged adventurers will likely appreciate the less cramped sitting riding position more than any loss in footpeg clearance.
KD footpegs feature a replaceable footbed that comes in two distinct patterns for off-road capable motorcycles. The Hunter footbed pattern uses boot friendly pyramid shaped teeth while the pin style teeth of the Trakker footpeg are taller to reach through dirt/mud for better grip. Both use an open design to shed mud, but somewhat more closed as compared to some in the segment.
In speaking with KD, very soon they’ll be shipping their footpegs with replaceable footbeds made from stainless steel for increased durability. They also said that they are growing quickly and adding new models regularly.
Fastway is a brand owned by ProMoto Billet (PMB) who manufactures their products in Nampa Idaho. Their “Adventure” footpeg is claimed to be the strongest and most adjustable billet aluminum footpeg on the planet.
Keep in mind that stock steel footpegs might actually be slightly stronger than even the best billet aluminum units. However, PMB still tests their Adventure footpegs (and competitive offerings) to failure using a hydraulic press, so they are confident that the product is far stronger than whatever force a rider can put on them and likely stand-up to most trail abuse. It took “several tons” of down force before their Adventure footpeg cried “uncle!”.
In terms of adjustability; this is where the Fastway Adventure footpeg shines:
- Patented reversible collar system allows footpegs to be run in the standard or “low boy” positions.
- Choices in cleat styles (shapes), cleat lengths (10 & 12mm), and even how the cleats are oriented/installed on the footpegs three rows. These options allow the rider to dial in the level of traction, impact on soles, & foot freedom for how they ride and what feels right.
- Patented FKMS Kamber bolt allows the rider to set the amount of inward “tilt, either for increased rider comfort or to put you in a better for position for squeezing the bike when riding rougher terrain.
Fastway Adventure Footpegs come in a variety of anodized colors (at an extra cost), but some options may take a bit longer to get depending upon popularity. We’ve tested these footpegs, so click HERE for a more in-depth review.
SW-Motech is a German manufacturer who distributes its products in the US through Twisted Throttle. While not the most feature rich footpeg in the line-up, it’s value priced and represents a nice upgrade over most stock hardware.
It retains its street cred by including removable rubber isolators with a textured top and a slider tip on the outside lower edge for riders that peg drag their ADV bike. Pop out the isolators and the footpeg is ready for the dirt.
SW-Motech footpegs are made from high-grade, corrosion resistant stainless steel and its teeth are a boot friendly series flathead and x-shaped teeth. On some models, the footpeg bed is not fat, but convex in shape, allowing the rider more room for the bike’s foot controls and a more natural feel when getting over the front or rear of the bike.
This footpeg is height adjustable, offering a stock and -15mm position.
Pivot Pegz is a company out of Australia making footpegs since 2000. Their main point of differentiation is that they… guess what? They pivot! The benefit of pivoting is this increases comfort and aids in control. It also leads to less wear on the soles of one’s boots. There’s a spring that returns the footpeg to a level position as well as another spring that will return the peg if it were to fold up.
Pivot Pegz have been run in Dakar twice, so they are tested and proven. This is the footpeg that I’ve had on my ‘11 GSA for four years now and their stainless steel polished surface looks nearly as good today as when I pulled them out of the box.
Some say the pivot makes for an easier transition from seated to standing (maybe tired knees will appreciate) and that you always have contact with a full platform. However, it can also make gripping the bike with your knees difficult as well as pivot away towards the back when you're trying to weight that outside peg and expect it to stay put. Some riders will rig the peg so it only pivots forward.
Moose Racing is offering a couple of models of adventure touring/dual sport footpegs that are likely an upgrade over the typical stockers at a very budget friendly price. The Onyx and Onyx ½” offset come in at $89.95 and the slightly upgraded Hybrid model is just $10 more.
Both models & variants of each are made from durable, cast 17-4 stainless steel, but the Hybrid model is given a solution based annealing treatment for more strength & longer wear. All models use the same 90mm X 57mm platform that is slightly convex (center teeth are a little taller) that give good grip, but allow for easier foot repositioning & controls access. Also, both models are offered in a ½” rearward offset to compensate for their increased depth, maintaining stockish distance to foot controls. However, they are not lowering footpegs.
The Hybrid footpeg uses a more aggressive cleat that is shaped somewhat like a philips head screwdriver. These will offer better traction in muddy conditions, but with increased boot sole wear. If you don’t ride in these conditions, the less aggressive Onyx cleats will likely be the better choice.
Lasty, both models are finished with black powder coating, but the outer edge of the Hybrid model is polished stainless, adding a little bling bling.
What doesn’t Touratech make? Many big bike riders will probably buy this footpeg, having never escaped their labrynthian on-line catalog that they’re so well known for, but one could do much worse. This footpeg (Works model) has a very open design that probably has the best clean out properties available. Rather than being lowerable, the Works peg comes in a standard and lowered (20 mm) model.
IMS is one of those long standing dirt racing companies founded back in the 70’s in Southern California. They make a variety of off-road bits, mostly larger fuel tanks, reinforced shift levers and yes, footpegs. Their Adventure II footpeg (one of five models available) is probably their most distinctive, as it has kind of an extra "lobe" that comes off the back end of the footpeg. IMS is a big believer in using high quality 17-4 stainless steel and claims an aluminum footpeg will break too easily as well as teeth wearing too quickly. Some model fitments are lowered more than others. They’re made in the USA and come with a lifetime warranty.
A couple of drawbacks may be that some riders have reported difficulty being able to get their weight to the back of the bike with so much platform on the back of the footpeg, as well as possibly getting in the way of putting a foot down in a hurry. That said, these footpegs have been used by some very impressive names in off road racing.
Black Dog Cycle Works (BDCW) is a company out of Sandpoint, ID headed by Kurt and Martha Forget. BDCW is probably best known for their skid plates. This footpeg is one of the larger ones out there and may hit the sweet spot for size as even just an inch of your boot hanging over your footpeg can noticeably reduce your comfort and ability to control your adventure bike.
BDCW was the first manufacturer to come out with an ADV footpeg that has an integrated bottle opener; a key selling point for those who like a frosty one at the end of the trail. BDCW interestingly reports they sell more of the lowered model footpeg than standard height, which tells you that it’s probably not a bad feature to consider for your next footpeg. BDCW’s footpegs are also Dakar tested by Kevin Muggleton as well as in the Mexican 1000 by Chris Vestal.
Probably most well known for their off-road wheel sets, Warp 9 now offers an interesting design for Kawi & Suzuki dual sports and KTM ADV machines. Warp 9 uses a two piece design that uses a Ceracote coated Chromoly steel pivot for what they refer to as the “ultimate in strength”. The pivot is then bolted to the replaceable 7075T6 Aluminum platform that is a very wide 5” X 2.5” deep.
The cleats are not individually replaceable, but they are made from stainless steel for long-lasting performance. The platform is a little on the closed side, so if you ride a lot of mud, they might pack a bit more than some. Stock height is maintained and hey, who doesn’t like the bottle opener in the bottom of the platform as well as the choice of 4 anodized platform colors? Nice touches.
In talking with Kevin Tanis @ Warp, soon they'll be releasing footpegs for the Yamaha Tenere and Triumph Tiger models. Good to know.
We think that footpegs ARE a critical part of your bike's controls and because of this, it's worth the time and effort to investigate the different options out there, finding a pair that suits your particular needs. Increased rider comfort, more positive braking & shifting, and more bike control, all from from a relatively affordable, bolt-on product. It's one of those items that you can live without, but once you've ridden on any one of these footpegs, you'll likely never go back to most stock units.
If you do have any experience with these products, if you would, please give them your rating in our Review System. We'd love to have your thoughts and thank you in advance!