Every now and then…I am scrolling through my Facebook feed and something interesting pops up. I am a member of several vintage and 90’s mountain bike groups because that is when my love of the sport really took off. I still remember getting my first “real mountain bike”. It was a Raleigh M80 with Shimano STX components and I switched out the fork to a RockShox Quadra 21R with a matching yellow Control Tech stem.
My first real mountain bike also meant…first clipless pedals. As I was scrolling yesterday, a person in Europe put up for sale some NOS Onza HO clipless pedals.
You never forget your first set of clipless. They are the ones you learned on, fell over with and probably cussed out several times until you got used to the heal release motion. The Onza’s were unique in the fact that the adjustment for the tension was actually interchangeable bumpers by color that made the release mechanism easier or harder.
That’s right…you had to actually disassemble the pedals to do any adjustments. On top of that…the bumpers are rubber which also meant they wear and get looser over time. There was one plus side. There were no springs or other moving parts to squeak, break or cake up with mud. It was a simple design that was very durable, cheap and light. However, the overall design was a pain in the ass and not very consistent. That is probably why you never saw anyone ever integrate similar mechanisms ever again.
This made for a very unique first clipless pedal experience. You had to start with the middle stiffness bumpers to start to do your testing. If you couldn’t get out and fell over on your wrists a lot in the front yard, it was tear down time with the lighter bumpers. Then – as you got better – you would work your way up with the stiffer bumpers. There was also zero ability to adjust for cleat wear or make any adjustments on the trail. Other than being light and cheap…there were not a lot of redeeming factors but those Onza HO’s will always carry fond memories for me as the first clipless pedal experience on my first legit mountain bike. Thanks for all of the sore wrists and wrecks Onza! They will never be forgotten.