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VP Components VP-Aim Flat Pedal

Vital Rating: (Very Good)
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Tested: VP Aim Flat Pedals

Rating: Vital Review

Review by Nick Zuzelski // Action photo by Carl Gray

Flat pedals come in all shapes and sizes these days, and almost every model boasts some feature that sets them apart. Those features will cost you a pretty penny, however. After having lots of luck with VP's higher end flat and clipless pedals in the past, we threw on a pair of their budget-minded Aim platforms and hit the trails.

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VP Aim Pedal Highlights

  • Die-cast aluminum body
  • Forged and heat treated CNC machined chromoly axle
  • LSL and sealed cartridge bearings
  • 105 x 105 x 18mm platform
  • 425 grams per pair
  • Replaceable steel traction pins
  • Rebuild kit available
  • Colors: Black (tested), Silver
  • MSRP: $60 US

Initial Impressions

The Aims feature a classic platform shape. At 425 grams per pair, they don't float away by any means, but feel like they are built to take a good beating. They feature a die-cast aluminum body, painted finish, and eight pins per side. The pins are removable and thread outwards from the platform so it should be easier to replace after they get mangled by rocks, though they may require the use of pliers to grab hold since the pins aren't accessible from the backside. The whole platform has a slight concave curve of about 1.75mm per side, but the most dramatic concave profiling comes from the middle platform strut/spindle area. This gives an approximately 1mm lower surface to give the platform profile an even more concave contact area with the sole of your shoe. They measure close to 20mm at their thickest on the leading and trailing edges of the platform.

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The Aims certainly don't have a flashy expensive billet machined look with their cast body construction, but at a very affordable $60 price point you can't expect a machined beauty of a product. The pedals have a smooth, controlled spin thanks to internal LSL and sealed cartridge bearings.

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On The Trail

Let's get real - running flat pedals and getting a little more drifty is something to get excited about, and VP's Aim pedals are an affordable way to ditch the clips and get that free feeling. Once mounted up on the bike, the Aims provided a nice platform for my size 11 US feet - not too large but not too small. Some oversize pedals hang up more on rocks while pedaling or threading a tight line through a rock garden, and we didn't feel these were susceptible to this.

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The shoe interface with the pedal is comfortable, though the concave shape is very minimal feeling once standing. The slight amount of concavity doesn't provide a major difference in comfort or feel, maybe just a slight perceivable difference from a true "flat" platform profile.

When things get chunky on the trail, the Aims do a decent job of keeping our feet planted. They're far from the most grippy set of flats we've ridden, but will offer adequate traction for most riders if paired with a sticky-soled shoe like the Five Ten Freeriders we tested with. While our feet weren't slipping off, there's certainly room for improvement compared to other pedals. This is especially true when trail conditions get wet or muddy.

Things That Could Be Improved

Despite a pretty solid design, we feel the Aims could benefit from another pin on the outer edge of the platform. The rounded profile of the pins could also be an area for improvement, as thinner threaded pins tend to provide more grip.

Every rider has played the weight game when spec-ing components for their bike, and at 425 grams they're a little hefty in the weight department. Then again, when you look at the price there has to be a tradeoff.

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Long Term Durability

We've had several hard impacts with rocks due to poorly timed pedal strokes, and besides some scratching the pedals have held up well. The pins are quite durable, and their wide base seems to help prevent them from being bent or pulled out. All pins are intact at the time of this review, and can be unthreaded if needed.

Inside, the LSL and sealed cartridge bearings are still smooth and free of play after several months of use in a variety of wet and dry conditions. VP offers rebuild kits if you'd like to refresh the bearings and seals.

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What's The Bottom Line?

The VP Aim pedals have proven to be a decent set of flats with good durability. It's rare to see a set of metal pedals with sealed bearings slot in at $60 or less per pair, which may offset shortcomings in weight and grip for less discerning riders. The Aims don't redefine the pedal market or set any new benchmarks, but instead give budget-minded riders a trusty set of flats without breaking the bank.

Visit www.vp-usa.com for more details.


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.

Specifications

Product VP Components VP-Aim Flat Pedal
Riding Type Trail, Freeride / Bike Park, Downhill
Body Material Aluminum
Body Material Details Dual Concave Design Die-Cast Aluminum
Bearing Type LSL and Sealed Ball
Spindle Spec Forged and Heat Treated CNC Machined Cromoly Axle
Pin Spec 8 Replaceable Steel Traction Pins Per Pedal Side
Colors Black or Silver
Weight 0 lb 15 oz (425 g)
Miscellaneous 105 x105 x18mm Platform
Rebuild Kit Available

Price $60
More Info

VP Website

Already covering the high end of the spectrum with the premium VP-Harrier pedal, the VP-AIM is a new lightweight, thin and affordable option.

The VP-Aim was developed at the request of FMB Diamond tour and FEST Series rider Sam Reynolds who wanted a pedal that had a large platform for landing tricks, but also had a traditional dual-concave shape for grip.  The VP-AIM is for use on any bike that uses platform pedals including commuter, city, BMX or mountain bikes.

The Aim features a die cast alloy body with a dual concave pedal shape.  It has a forged and heat treated CNC machined Chromoly axle that spins on LSL and Sealed cartridge bearings. Combined with a low 18mm stack height, the pedal looks better and feels better. The platform size is quite large, measuring a square 105mm with 8 replaceable steel traction pins per side.  In addition, the pedal's bearings are located apart as far as possible in the body for added support. The Aims weighs 425 grams for a set.

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