Yoshimura Chilao SS Flat Pedal

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Tested: Yoshimura Releases New Chilao SS Flat Pedal
Introducing a patent pending axle preload system to help keep sideloads away from the bearings.
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Vital Review
YoshiA2

Legendary moto aftermarket tuning company Yoshimura entered the MTB market four years ago now, with their Chilao flat pedal. There was a lot to like about that pedal, although our review noted a couple of small points of potential improvement at the time. Fast forward to present day, and Yoshimura is releasing a new version of the Chilao, dubbed the Chilao SS. The “SS” stands for Static Spring, which refers to a clever preload system designed to keep sideloads away from the bearings and help the pedal to feel fresh and free of any bearing slop (Yoshimura has been granted a patent pending application for this design). Yoshimura also made a number of smaller changes to the design, from the machining of the body to the length of spindle, all of which add up to a significant step forward overall. Keep reading to learn more!

Yoshimura Chilao SS Highlights

  • Newly refined ultra-thin Chilao SS body is CNC machined from 6061-T6 aluminum loosing 18 grams per set in Large compared to the previous Chilao pedal generation
  • New Chilao SS spindle features a 3mm increased Q-factor. They are made in house from proprietary alloy steel which is heat treated and ceracoated insuring they are strong and resilient
  • Machined concave profile cradles the rider’s foot “in” the pedal not on top of it
  • V-Ring dust seals
  • Triple bearings and one bushing per spindle
  • Ten 7075-T6 aluminum pins on each side provide superior grip and are designed to break away in the event of a pedal strike
  • Frontside rear-facing pins for improved bite
  • Countersunk 6061-T6 alloy end plugs are strike resistant
  • Large pedal body (110mm L x 107.25 W)
  • Small pedal body (100mm L x 95.5 W)
  • Made in Chino, California USA.
  • Type 3 - hard anodized finish for long lasting durability
  • Laser-etched Yoshimura branding
  • Every set is serial numbered
  • Available in YoshiKote, Pewter, Black and Ice (raw machine)
  • 360 grams per set (large)
  • Intended use MTB, Dirt Jumping, BMX
  • Fully serviceable. Service kits available separately
  • Limited lifetime warranty on Chilao SS (was 1 year on original Chilao)
  • MSRP: $229.00 USD (size L) // $219.00 USD (size S)

Initial Impressions

The new pedal looks a lot like the old pedal, having inherited the overall body shape from its predecessor. Closer inspection reveals a number of changes however, the biggest of which is found inside the pedal. With four years of experience behind them, the team at Yoshimura wanted to come up with a way to help keep the pedal feeling fresher for longer, which is how the “static spring” concept was born. By holding the pedal body in place with a spring against the outer bearing race, you avoid placing any excess side loads on the bearings, whether through preloading them with the retaining bolt or as a result of an impact from the side. This makes the design more tolerant of any machining inconsistencies and less sensitive to wear over time. The pedal has a little bit of lateral float when compressed form the side (~1 mm or so), before bottoming out on a dedicated flange on the spindle. The system also protects other components like the dust wiper.

New Chilao SS on top, legacy Chilao beneath it.

After collecting feedback from riders (and maybe taking into account Vital’s very own Flat Pedal Face Off criteria), Yoshimura decided to make the spindle 3 mm longer, to increase the Q-factor (and correspondingly, the “Pin-To-Axle” number, which is what we use here at Vital to measure the available effective platform real estate for your feet – it now sits at 108 mm compared to 105 mm for the original version). They also machined away a bit more material in certain places of the pedal body, without making any drastic changes to the overall shape. The effective concavity (lowest point of platform to top of pins) is now up to 4 mm (compared to 3 on the previous version), while the overall weight of the pair has dropped by 15 grams (it now weighs in at 360 grams, right up there among the lighter pedals currently in the market). The pins come from a new manufacturer; they have slightly sharper edges compared to the previous version. As before, they bolt in from the rear and are designed to snap off when abused. The finish is a high-quality anodized surface with new, laser-etched graphics.

Serviceability was also high on the list of requirements for the new pedal. Yoshimura makes service kits available to purchase, including the specialty tools required to pull the bushings or tap out pin holes in case they should sustain any damage. As proof of their confidence in this redesigned pedal, Yoshimura has upgraded the warranty on the Chilao SS to “limited lifetime”, an improvement on the 1 year warranty offered on the original Chilao. A couple of more neat little details; the flange on the spindle also serves to install new seals in the pedal body, and you can get end caps and pins in different colors to spice things up a bit.

On The Trail

On the trail, the pedal feels very similar to the original version, just with a bit more of everything. There’s a little more grip, probably thanks to the new, sharper pins, and the effective concavity really cradles your foot. The extra 3 mm of Pin-To-Axle real estate was very welcomed by this tester, who has pretty big feet and likes a wide stance on the bike. It certainly makes the pedal feel a little bit less cramped compared to the original version, although still not as generous as some of the biggest pedals we’ve tested. On the flip side, the compact dimensions and the aggressively sloping leading edge allow the pedal to sneak past certain trailside obstacles that might cause issues with a larger platform.

What about that spring-loaded, floating axle system then? Well, you can’t really feel the side-to-side float in action, and there is no noise to speak of when riding either. If you sit on your bike and push the pedal from side to side on the spindle with your foot, you can see the 1 mm of movement and you can hear a tiny little “thunk” when the pedal bottoms out on the flange, but as stated, this is not something you’ll notice while riding.

The pedal feels super smooth under your feet, spinning freely, and always solid in action. We did wonder at first if the float would be bothersome at all, but our fears were soon proven to be unfounded. It seems to be a pretty smart solution to increase bearing longevity, and also to keep the pedal feeling fresh for longer, since it eliminates the negative effects of the side-to-side float that can occur in other pedals as the bearings wear out. We’ve only been testing the Chilao SS for a couple of months at this point, but so far the system does indeed seem to be working as intended. Time will tell how it performs with more miles on the clock.

What’s The Bottom Line?

Yoshimura has taken a good pedal and made it better. The Chilao SS offers a little more room for the feet, improved grip, and most importantly, an innovative (patent pending) axle system that all but eliminates the effect of sloppy bearings and worn-out bushings. The price has gone up a bit, but the attention to detail, the finish, and the performance provide excellent value for money. If you are after a pedal that offers a secure and positive feel under foot with a compact form factor that can still squeeze past trailside obstacles, the Chilao SS is well worth a closer look. Check it out now in Yoshimura Cycling’s online store (Yoshimura is also opening up for business through select retailers looking to be part of Yoshimura’s cycling saga, so keep an eye on your LBS too).


About The Reviewer

Johan Hjord - Age: 51 // Years Riding MTB: 19 // Weight: 190-pounds (87-kg) // Height: 6'0" (1.84m)

Johan loves bikes, which strangely doesn’t make him any better at riding them. After many years spent practicing falling off cliffs with his snowboard, he took up mountain biking in 2005. Ever since, he’s mostly been riding bikes with too much suspension travel to cover up his many flaws as a rider. His 200-pound body weight coupled with unique skill for poor line choice and clumsy landings make him an expert on durability - if parts survive Johan, they’re pretty much okay for anybody. Johan rides flat pedals with a riding style that he describes as "none" (when in actuality he rips!). Having found most trail features to be not to his liking, Johan uses much of his spare time building his own. Johan’s other accomplishments include surviving this far and helping keep the Vital Media Machine’s stoke dial firmly on 11.

Photos by Johan Hjord and Darina Privalko

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Specifications

Product
Yoshimura Chilao SS Flat Pedal
Riding Type
Dirt Jump / Slopestyle
Downhill
Enduro / All-Mountain
Freeride / Bike Park
Trail
Body Material
Aluminum
Body Material Details
CNC machined 6061-T6 alloy, concave profile
Large pedal body (110mm length x 107.25mm width)
Small pedal body (100mm length x 95.5mm width)
Bearing Type
3 roller bearings and one static bushing per side
Spindle Spec
Heat treated and ceracoated alloy steel
Pin Spec
10 pins per side, rear loading, 7075-T6 aluminum
Colors
Type 3 hard anodized finish with laser-etched Yoshimura branding: YoshiKote, Pewter, Black, and Ice
Weight
Size L per set (including pins): 0 lb 12.7 oz (360 g)
Size S per set (including pins): 0 lb 11.8 oz (334 g)
Miscellaneous
Chilao SS (Static Spring patent pending) uses a spring to preload the outer bearing against the pedal’s endcap making side load static regardless of wear and installation torque tolerances. The result is a minimized friction point, normally the result of bearing preload in conventionally designed pedals.

The Static Spring design also minimizes side load to other components in the pedal including the dust seal and bearing races. Once the lock nut is tightened fastener torque has zero effect on the bearing’s side load.

The spindle design includes an Impact flange directing side pedal strike load through the body and spindle, so these impacts don't affect the bearings.

Precision spring bearing preload eliminates “play” in the pedal regardless of wear for its normal service life.

The new Chilao SS spindle features a 3mm increased Q-factor.

V-Ring dust seals ensure maximized protection, durability, and performance.

The pins are designed to break away in the event of a pedal strike.

Frontside rear-facing pins bite harder into the rider’s shoe with increased pedal stroke effort.

Countersunk 6061-T6 alloy end plugs are strike-resistant.

Fully serviceable (service kits available separately)

Made in Chino, California USA

Limited-Lifetime Warranty
Price
Size L: $229.00
Size S: $219.00
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Where To Buy
Free shipping on orders over $50 (continental U.S. only).
International shipping available. Some exclusions apply.
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