When it comes to platform pedals, the current crop of thin pedals make for a big upgrade over the clunky flats of yesterday. Low profile pedals offer a lower center of gravity making corning easier, offering an in the bike feel. (as opposed to on top of it) Being closer to the axle also means your foot is less likely to roll off the pedal; plus you’re less likely to smack them on rocks due to the additional clearance. And obviously less material means they’re generally much lighter than whatever you’re replacing. The only drawback to the new designs is durability, longevity, and of course the price.
The pedals currently available on the market aren’t exactly inexpensive. Models from PointOne, HT, Canfield and others average upwards of $150, making each pedal strike that does happen a bit worrisome.
With thin pedals becoming popular, it’s just a matter of time before the price points come down. Last year at the SF Bike Expo we came across the VP-59 pedal and it struck our fancy with it’s relatively slim height, easy to replace pins and price, so I picked up a pair the first chance I had. With a retail price of about $70, they’re reasonably priced for a sealed bearing pedal. At 17mm or so tall, they aren’t the thinnest pedals around, but because of the design, they’re 13mm at the edges. Either way, I thought I’d give them a go.
According to VP Components, these pedals are optimized for the current generation of sticky rubber pedals. With new 5.10 sticky rubber shoes, they are often so sticky you can’t move your foot once you place it on the pedal. Those shoes with these pedals for all mountain riding would be a great combination. However, with a minimal amount of pins, we found the grip of the pedals to be a bit lacking. After trying the pedals on a few different bikes in various conditions, I found that running these pedals meant choosing your shoes very carefully. The VP-59 with the Teva Links shoe on a high speed DH/FR jump trail resulted in a slipped pedal and cut on my ankle. However, running Links shoe for street riding on a hardtail where you want to be able to move your foot around was a decent combination. Running them with my mostly worn out 5.10 Impacts wasn’t great either. I have a pair of newer 5.10 Karver shoes that fared much better. Of the various shoe combinations I tried, the one I preferred the least was the pairing with 5.10 Freeride shoes. They have a more flexible sole for riders that offer a lot of terrain feedback. The flexible sole with the minimal pedal platform had a feel I could never get used to or get comfortable with, and in the end, I elected to pass the pedals on to my brother who was in the need of a fresh set of pedals. (we’ll be updating this post with his feedback as it comes)
The VP-59 is a solid, well constructed pedal, that should hold up for most riders, but we recommend you try (in the shoes you plan to wear) before you buy. In the meantime, my search for a thin platform pedal that won’t break the bank continues.
- Listed Weight: 382 grams
- Height: 17mm at the axle, 13mm at the edges
- Easily replaceable pins thread in from the back
- 110mm x 106mm
Looking for thin platform pedals? A few choices to consider: