Saturday, August 6, 2011

Hail To The Cheap: VP-565 Pedals

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?

9 comments:

Scott Loveless said...

Four or five years ago I wanted to try toe-clips. The LBS had some plastic pedals with clips and straps in a retail box for less than 20 worthless Americanos. They may have been WellGo or Dimension or Pyramid. I don't recall. These were the all plastic cheapies. Plastic bodies, plastic cages, plastic clips, nylon straps. Most comfortable pedals I've ever owned.

bikelovejones said...

I am slowly but surely converting nearly ALL of my bikes to flat BMX pedals. The holdout is my touring bike with drops, which still seems to prefer toeclips and straps; but everything else has those big, clunky platform pedals -- including the singlespeed mountain bike that I race short-track and cyclocross on. Friends on clipless pedals roll their eyes at my pedals but I did quite well on them this summer. Sometimes comfort trumps performance where the former more than makes up for the latter.

Steve Fuller said...

I had my first experience with a wide platform pedal a week or so ago. I ended up getting a set for the big dummy and a set for the Mukluk. They are going to be perfect for use with big sets of snowboots this winter.

Anonymous said...

I bought these VP-565 pedals 3 years ago and I ride the bike almost daily(cross-country or a sort of "go anywhere bicycle)...
Even to this day they work PERFECTLY , I opened them up ONCE to see if "they're done" , but they look almost as good as new!
Don't know who manufactures these pedals but I must congratulate them; they've done a wonderfull job at a very good price!

Anonymous said...

Hi, I have a set of these (fantastic btw) but need a service. How do I get in them?!
Thanks.

Ricardo Escobar said...

They're called Victor VP-565, you can find them here

http://www.mec.ca/AST/ShopMEC/Cycling/Pedals/PRD~4013-710/victor-vp-565-pedals.jsp

I have the same, and they're really tough, and I have no mercy with bikes.

Michael B. said...

These are used as the factory pedals on the Yuba Mundo cargo bike, and they are tough as nails. I own two Mundos, and thus two sets of these pedals. I expected that I would want to replace the factory pedals, when I bought the first Yuba, but I absolutely love them and intend to make these my "go to" pedals for MTB/Urban use.

I've put over 2000 miles of abusive city riding on one set of these and they are indistinguishable from new in both appearance and function.

I have, however managed to slightly bend the axle on one pedal of the other set, but not enough to really notice -- maybe 2 degrees, which is impressive considering the reason it got bent -- a nasty collision with a road barricade at about 20mph. The pedal was able to survive even though the crank arm it was attached to, the crankset and bottom bracket didn't.

Anonymous said...

Love the review - I'll be trying some of these after I knocked most of the pins off of the plastic pedals that came with my low end GT.

David Sloop said...

I just found a purple set of these on a cheap Walmart Bratz lowrider bike I got for almost free. I was impressed to find aluminum pedals of this quality on a Walmart bike. The bike is getting parted out, but these pedals may end up on my daughters 24" Trek mountain bike. (Chameleon paint with purple anodized bits here and there)