I have a terrible weakness for contact points, especially pedals and handlebars (I go through intense saddle searches from time to time but tend to find a winner and -- like Potsie -- just sit on it). In the non-clipless pedal arena, though, I think I've found a winner, and it fits my ever-increasing category of "very cheap things that work surprisingly well": the VP-565 BMX/platform pedal.
I bought some 565s after breaking my leg, when I was in a "very wary of clipless" phase. I think they were all of fifteen bucks tops -- cheap enough for an experiment (Googling turns them up for ten Canadian bucks, which -- at current exchange rates -- is three chickens and a goat, as the U.S. economy heads toward a feudal barter system). They have kinda heavy aluminum bodies, not the nicest steel spindles, cast pins (whereas nicer BMX pedals will have screw-in replaceable ones) and some not-terribly-smooth cup and cone bearings. But again, $10 Canadian bucks/three chickens and a goat, so whaddya want?
As I grew more attached to these pedals you don't attach to, I started to give in to the all-too-common fallacy in cycling: If you spend more, you'll be happier. Thus, I popped for the much-pricier Wellgo MG-1: shockingly light magnesium bodies for their size, screw-in replaceable pins, swanky chromoly spindles, and buttery smooth cartridge bearings. And if you actually followed my links and compared them to the photo above, I think you can deduce the results. Yep, that's the humble, cheap 565 actually mounted on a bike while the swanktacular MG-1 looks up enviously from the garage floor, enjoying a tantalizing moment near a bike before going back to the depths of the parts boxes.
I wish I could explain it. By all rational means of comparison, the MG-1 absolutely kills the 565. But when I put my fat foot down, I want a 565 under it. Something about the shape of the body and the way those cheap cast pins interfaces with my shoes is just heaven underfoot. The MG-1 is good, don't get me wrong, but it's not perfect. I have to think about keeping my foot on it (even in dry conditions), whereas the 565 just sticks, come rain or come shine. It even comes with reflectors -- which, I admit, are dorky, but the next time you're following a cyclist at night who happens to have pedal reflectors, try to ignore them. I bet you can't. Someday when I'm feeling extra-bored, I'll open them up and load them with grease to see if I can smooth them out, but the wattage I'm losing to bearing drag is so miniscule compared to what it takes to move my corpulent arse through the air, I doubt I'll notice a difference.
In a nutshell, happy feet. I've got those happy feet. Anybody want to buy some really expensive, lightly used BMX pedals?