|*Image from VP found here|
The VP pedals measure approximately 112 x 97 mm, being slightly more wide than long. They are also thin compared to many other options, measuring 13mm thick and making it easier to avoid pedal strike in turns or over bumpier/rockier terrain. Weighing in at about 350g for the set, they are lighter than some (even many) platforms, but definitely heavier than the average clipless sets found on many bikes. Of course, if weight is a huge issue to the rider, s/he likely wouldn't choose this sort of pedal at all. The axle is made of forged chromoly, and a foot strap can be used with these, if it is to the riders preference.
|*Image from VP found here|
Thirteen replaceable pins on each side of the foot bed offer traction in both wet and dry conditions, and they are spread out evenly/appropriately across the pedal so as to not have slippage in any area. In fact, they are almost too grippy, if that's possible, especially when they are new. On one of my early rides out with these I was surprised to find my shoe attached more completely to the pedal than I'd expected, which caused a brief and very minor hiccup when stopping. Today, almost a year later, this feature is actually quite welcomed, and I haven't had any incidents with having my shoe too stuck to the pedal.
As stated earlier, my first purchase of these pedals went on the Rivendell. At first, they were outstanding and I was thrilled to have made the purchase, but as time went on, I started noticing a clicking sound emanating from the right pedal. I thought little of it, and assumed it had to do with my bike being dirty and needing a good cleaning, but as time wore on and it was cleaned, the clicking sound remained. It grew more constant and predictable as well, which was not at all to my liking.
Of course, I assumed that the pedal simply wasn't attached properly or tight enough, but after a thorough check and inspection, there was nothing found to be wrong. Frustrated, the pedals were removed and checked again. These are self-lubricating, sealed bearing pedals, so there shouldn't be an issue - particularly as neither set of pedals have seen enough mileage to justify bearing replacement. But, after reattachment, the problems on both sets have remained.
There are bearing replacement sets available, and even a titanium option for some of VPs pedals, but trying to figure out if it is a worthwhile investment to do the work and spend the money is something I have questioned. If the company cannot manufacture the pedals correctly the first time, how can I be sure that the bearing replacement will resolve the issues? It's a bit frustrating, as the rest of the pedal is fantastic for my purposes.
My use thus far with these pedals have been on bikes that get me around town, travel longer distances, and rides on dirt and gravel roads in all types of weather. I ride flatter terrain and hillier, and they provide a nice balance of weight and comfort under foot. I am not a "rough" rider, so for me pedals should last quite some time.
At the date of this writing, I am still using one of these sets, but I don't know if I will continue to do so, which is a shame because theoretically they are all that I'd hoped to find in a platform.
Overall, I would love to give these a high star rating, but I'm just not prepared to do so. The strangest thing is that if a search is made for reviews on these pedals, it's difficult to find anything negative. I don't know if the reviewers speak too soon before problems develop, or if I just so happened to be the unlucky recipient of two bad sets.
My frustration with completely recommending these comes in the reality of having received two different sets of pedals at different times that both have a mechanical problem that developed quite early in their use. If the idea of a constant clicking or having a clunk with each pedal revolution doesn't bother the rider, these may be an option to consider; otherwise, I stand by my fondness of the MX80 Saint pedals. They don't have sealed bearings and do require some looking after, but they just haven't created the headache these VP Thin Gripsters have caused - and at the present date they can be found for the same price.
If you've tried these pedals, I'd appreciate hearing your experience. I still want to believe that these are the pedals I've searched for, so anything positive over longer term use would be great to hear. Have you replaced bearings or axles in a pedal in the past? Did that work out well? Did you use another manufacturers replacement parts, or the same manufacturer?
**Update** I wanted to add a quick update to this post because after more fiddling and disassembly of one of the bikes, I believe that the second set of pedals that were making the clunking noise may have been due to the bottom bracket on the bike and not the pedals themselves. The original set of pedals continues to make the clicking sound, however. If the clunking sound returns to the pedals after some time, I'll be sure to come back and re-update the post.
**Update #2** Several weeks after this post, I was riding the bike with the second set of pedals and the right side came off mid-pedal stroke. This was a bit alarming as it was in the middle of a busy intersection and I had to limp off to the side of the road. When I reached the side, it appeared that I had lost a bolt; however, upon closer inspection at home, it was easy to see that the connector had stripped and released the pedal from the axle. This was likely the noise I continued to hear while riding. I still don't know if I've just happened to receive a blem in the bunch, but I don't know if I'll be purchasing these again in the future.