The "droit de réponse" is sacred, thus here is, via the one and only James Huang of Cyclingnews, the Crankie's response. But to put my suffering in perspective, this is the bike I should have ridden this weekend, but cannot, because I don't trust the pedals and cleats.
Here’s the response to your blog posting (and letter) from Crank Brothers:
Wow, that is strong feedback. Thanks for forwarding it. He's clearly passionate about the products he uses, and I seriously hope we don't lose a great customer like him due to appearance of the product. We welcome this kind of feedback and take it to heart. Carl, cranbrothers' co-founder and Senior Mechanical Engineer reviewed the photos and Gildas' comments with me.
Those are not cracks in the cleats. Rather, they are "knit" lines in the forging, which is where the material flows together during the forging process. In one of Gildas' photos, the forging is very slightly incomplete (looks like a crack but is just where the material didn't completely meet), but even this cleat will never crack there. Furthermore, these "cracks" as he calls them, are in non-critical areas. Carl and I don't think our company has ever seen a cracked cleat, as the brass alloy is very tough, strong, and not notch-sensitive. We do not consider the cleats pictured to be a danger.
Gildas is mistaken to think that we've ever made any of our cleats out of an "al alloy" (aluminum alloy). They have always been brass. But to answer your question, he is correct that the earlier cleats were prettier. Actually, the prettier cleats were made by our first vendor, but the brass alloy was not as long wearing as the slightly rough-edged cleats that were made by a second vendor. The rough-edged cleats are actually better, but for sure, they aren't pretty, and it's something we should - in fact, we have - improved. Our first vendor currently makes pretty cleats out of the longer wearing brass, so I don't think we'll see the ugly any more.
The ragged edge on the cleat is from where the forging excess was cut (stamped) off. Yes, it's ugly, but it's not a functional problem. With some use, any part of it that contacts the pedal bars will polish over time.
Regarding Gildas' comment regarding the ugly weld on the pedal, we'd need to see a photo of it to evaluate his comment, but we take what he wrote seriously and we are hard at work improving our pedals as part of our ongoing development. The welding process has actually been improved since the egg beater c first came out on the market. I actually wonder if Gildas may have a different model of pedal, such as the investment cast egg beater sl, that he's mistakenly comparing against the new set of egg beater c...
It is true that we now include the smaller race cleat with all of our egg beater pedals. There is no difference in durability. It just lightens the overall system weight, which we have found to be very important to the eggbeater user. It is made of the same strong brass same as we use in our premium cleat which were formerly provided with the egg beater pedals, and still offer separately and include with candys, mallets, etc. The only difference is the shape and weight, and with the premium cleat, there is a washer for adjustability which is not available with the more minimalist race cleat.