by Nick Zuzelski
VP Components has grown their VX pedal product line with the new Adventure Race pedal. Aimed at the enduro and gravity crowd, a larger platform offers more support and a larger landing pad for your foot when you clip out and need to get back on the pedals and put down some power as fast as possible. The increased platform is said to match up better with today's gravity and trail shoe designs using a SPD compatible binding design. After throwing these on the trail bike for a few months and getting a fair share of riding, racing and abuse in, we might not ever take them off!
VX VP Adventure Race Highlights
- Weight - 460g/pair
- SPD compatible (cleats and hardware included)
- Aluminum body with full platform for max stability
- Adjustable release tension
- Roller and double sealed cartridge bearings
- Forged, heat treated, CNC machined chromoly steel axle
- Heat treated steel VX bindings
- MSRP: $130 USD
Setup was easy and painless. After installing the pedals on the bike, I installed the cleats in my trusty Five Ten Hellcats using the provided metal spacer plate initially. After my first ride, I removed the plate and now just have the cleats installed directly against the plastic sole of the shoe for the best feeling setup.
I have been a long time user (when I am not on flats) of the Crankbrothers Mallet series of pedals, and I noticed the differences right away. A consistent engagement/disengagement into and out of the pedal keeps you certain of whether you are clipped in or out. A reassuring mechanical click and your cleat is secured, and a twist of the foot provides a repeatable and consistent release. No guessing games here.
On The Trail
After a few rides, clipping in has never been more easy and consistent. Relying on pure muscle memory, it has become truly second-nature. I have found myself unclipping in tight loose corners and stabbing my foot back in easier than I have ever experienced with any other pedals. The pedal's platform size has been comfortable and left nothing to be desired as far as more foot support goes. Compared to the Crankbrothers Mallet, I also felt like I had more of a predictable pedal surface when I was unclipped and riding on the trail. This might be due to the fact that there is no rotating mechanism in the center of the platform that can roll your foot forward or backwards.
Pedal strikes seem to have decreased thanks to the cleverly shaped profile and perfectly sized platform - not overly big, just right. I can now lay my bike on its side and no pedal contact is made with the ground, with less material showing to snag rocks, roots and ruts in those tight, narrow lines. Even after some enduro race stages that had me pedaling like a mad man through some rocky chunder and smacking the pedals, these are still holding up very well and show no signs of giving up yet.
Things That Could Be Improved
As of now, the pedals have performed great with no negatives to report. A possible material option/upgrade for lighter overall weight could be made available, although this might affect the strength and durability. At 460 grams per pair, these are on the heavier side of the clipless pedal equation, but only by a litte bit.
Long Term Durability
The pedal bearings are just as smooth as they were on day one and the pedals have not needed service nor adjustments. When the day comes that they need some love, the VX's are user-serviceable and VP offers rebuild kits. The provided cleats are also holding up well after hiking rocky transition sections and climbing around Moab and the rocky east coast.
What's The Bottom Line?
VP's VX Adventure Race pedal has exceeded my expectations. This is now my pedal of choice when I want to be clipped in, which seems to be more and more these days after this overwhelmingly positive experience.
For more information, head on over to: www.vpcomponents.com.
About The Reviewer
Nick Zuzelski began riding motocross at a young age, a sport that would eventually lead him to the world of downhill. As a Colorado native, racing downhill, dual slalom, or a chill dirt jump session was never far away, and he eventually worked his way up the ranks to the Pro level. Now residing in Eastern Pennsylvania, he recently changed it up from the Rocky Mountain dust to East Coast loam, world class dirt jumps, and rocks... lots of rocks. If a trail has fast flow and some fun gaps, he is grinning ear to ear and getting after it. Living by the assumption that basically everything feels better with a short stem and wide bars, you can count on him keeping it real with a laid back attitude and flat pedals most of the time. Mechanical Engineer by trade, rider by heart, he enjoys riding it, finding out how it works, and making it better.