Hands-on Gear Review

VP Components VP-Vice Review

VP Components VP-Vice
Best Buy Award
Price:  $95 List | $45.00 at Amazon
Pros:  Super versatile do-it-all pedal, cool industrial styling, bottom loading pins, strong stubby axle, no fancy tools required for service, affordable.
Cons:  Small-ish platform, some may want more grip, slight hump underfoot at axle.
Bottom line:  No matter where you ride or what you ride, the Vice has you covered.
Editors' Rating:   
  • 1
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  • 5
Weight per Pair (g):  415 g
Platform Dimensions (mm):  105x96
Platform Profile (mm) - not including pins:  14mm
Manufacturer:   VP Components

Our Verdict

The Best Buy Award winning VP-Vice is a super versatile pedal with bomber construction suited to a wide variety of riding styles. Throw them on your big travel downhill rig to smash descents at the ski hill or your trail bike for raging the local network with your crew. If you've got a bag of tricks, the 12 traction pins per side are lenient enough to allow for small adjustments and reliable release and re-engagement of your feet from takeoff to landing. The blend of eight bottom loading M4 bolts and four grub screws per side offered grip that wasn't over the top. The traction pin pattern was especially well thought out, placing the grippier grub screws around the slightly elevated portion of the pedal body where the axle passes through to counteract any loss of traction.

If you bash them on rocks, which you inevitably will, they can be easily replaced. At 415 grams per pair, you can upgrade the stout and stubby chromoly axle to titanium and shave 70 grams off your ride. You could easily pay a lot more for pedals, but consider donating the savings from these $95 pedals to your local mountain bike advocacy group. Read on to see how these pedals stacked up against the rest of the bunch.


RELATED REVIEW: The Best Flat Pedals for Mountain Biking


Our Analysis and Test Results

Review by:
Sean Cronin

Last Updated:
Wednesday
January 11, 2017

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The VP-Vice is neither immoral nor wicked, like its namesake implies. Unlike many guilty pleasures, this one is affordable to boot. We gave this pedal our Best Buy Award because it offered great versatile traction for a number of applications, ensuring us that it's the only pedal you'll ever need. It had a sturdy platform that held up marvelously to abuse from rock strikes and a thin enough 14 mm profile to avoid most trouble in the first place. If you dirt jump, ride downhill, race enduro, or just want a really sweet pedal to put on your pub cruiser, don't think twice. Give in to the Vice.

Performance Comparison


The Vice was a go-anywhere  do-anything pedal from the pub to the podium.
The Vice was a go-anywhere, do-anything pedal from the pub to the podium.

Grip/Traction


Each pedal had 24 traction pins (12 per side). Per side, eight of the traction pins were bottom loading M4 spec bolts and the other four were grub screws. The grip we experienced with this pedal was an excellent balance between the "locked-in" feel of pedals such as the Race Face Atlas and Blackspire Robusto and the floaty feel of the Funn Python. The mix of different traction pins gave the best of both worlds with good side-to-side foot retention from the grub screws residing on the far inner and outer edges of the pedal. These screws could also be fine tuned and brought lower or higher. The diameter of the other pins was a nice middle-of-the-road size. The broad pins of the Bonmixc 9/16" were too fat to penetrate the soles of our shoes very effectively, while the tall and thin pins found on the Blackspire Robusto sunk deep and held on tight.

Well protected  bottom loading pins are not exceedingly tall nor short with sharp edges that bite into shoe sole rubber.
Well protected, bottom loading pins are not exceedingly tall nor short with sharp edges that bite into shoe sole rubber.

Platform


The middle section of the platform along the axle rides a millimeter or so higher than the rest of the pedal body. Like the Deity Bladerunner, the axle could be felt underfoot, whereas concave designs like the Blackspire Robusto and Race Face Atlas allowed our feet to drop into the pedals a bit more naturally and offered increased foot retention. Our lead tester liked the way the 105 x 96 mm platform had plenty of fore/aft surface area for his size 12 feet. He stated the narrower width made performing freestlye tricks like can-cans easier for him, as he had less pedal to avoid when kicking about mid-air.

Some other riders we interviewed at the bike park admitted to liking a larger platform, stating it gave them a more secure feeling and better chance at landing on the pedals during tricks.
Our lead tester liked the slightly smaller platform size of the VP Vice for maneuvering about in the air.
Our lead tester liked the slightly smaller platform size of the VP Vice for maneuvering about in the air.

Pedal Mobility


This pedal featured a forged and heat treated Chromoly axle. A 6 mm allen key removed the exterior dust cap that actually served much greater purpose than a simple dust cap. The dust cap was approximately 20 mm long and took up space at the end of the axle within the housing. This allowed for a shorter axle, which reduced the lever arm at the crank. A shorter axle is less apt to bend under severe loads.

The axle remained true and straight throughout our test period despite taking some pretty good hits. The pedal did feel a touch grainy moving around the axle when compared to something buttery smooth like the Blackspire Robusto, but it was not something we detected during riding. When our feet left the pedals during tricks, we were happy to find the pedals right where we left them to help us land confidently.

The platform of the VP Vice was large enough to provide a fat landing zone  but a few millimeters narrower than the competition.  The narrower platform allowed him to not worry as much about getting his size 12 feet hung up while airborn.
The platform of the VP Vice was large enough to provide a fat landing zone, but a few millimeters narrower than the competition. The narrower platform allowed him to not worry as much about getting his size 12 feet hung up while airborn.

Servicing


This pedal had what we felt to be a pretty robust internal design. Just inside the dust cap towards the end of the axle are two sealed cartridge bearings which can be removed by using a 6 mm allen wrench as a punch. The LSL self-lubricating bearing on the inboard side of the pedal is removed with a half-inch tap. All the tools required for a rebuild of VP pedals are non-proprietary and can be found at most hardware stores.

The inner axle seal is a step-down seal that nests snugly to keep grease in and dirt out. It was a better design than the more typical O-ring type seal used on some other pedals. Rebuild and pin kits are available.

Weight


Weight was pretty average at 415 grams per pair; the Spank Spike was closest in weight. In fact, we debated long and hard over which pedal was more worthy of our Best Buy Award, but settled on the VP-Vice for its lower price, equally balanced grip, and versatility. If weight is a top priority, you can pimp these pedals with a titanium axle upgrade and shave 70 grams per pair. With that upgrade (not tested or verified for actual weight), the pedals would drop to 345 grams per pair. That would make them just 10 grams heavier than the 335 gram Bonmixc 9/16", the lightest pedals in our test.

Do-it-all performance at a pretty respectable weight.
Do-it-all performance at a pretty respectable weight.

Best Applications


Our lead tester particularly liked this pedal for freeride applications. Lift-access ski resort riding always seems to end far too early around Labor Day or early October. That's usually when the dirt starts getting much needed precipitation and the riding is at its best. With the lifts shut down and a full summer spent riding the local Tahoe trails, he set out for the Nevada desert.

Bring your pickup truck, your dog, your guns and your bike. Here he hiked loose, rugged mountainsides and found a way down the ridges. The balanced grip of the VP-Vice offered plenty of grip to keep him from tap dancing off his pedals, but enough freedom of movement for the constant body-position adjustments required from such unpredictable terrain.

Riding spines in the middle of absolutely nowhere Nevada on the Best Buy Award winning VP Vice.
Riding spines in the middle of absolutely nowhere Nevada on the Best Buy Award winning VP Vice.


Value


At $95, these pedals hit that super appealing price point of being "less than a hundred bucks" which for anything involving mountain bikes, feels like a bargain these days. For the price, you get an ultra-versatile pedal that is great for pretty much all types of bike riding. VP describes this pedal as great for "dirt jumping to all-mountain trails and even commuting or the occasional pub crawl." We'd add BMX, freeriding, and enduro to that list. Whatever your favorite discipline, the Vice will suffice.

Conclusion


You don't always want to be glued to your pedals. While you might appreciate a locked in feel through rough and rugged terrain, unless you're always rocking a full face helmet and riding a lift, it might be a bit much. Our author who typically rides clipless pedals felt most comfortable on these pedals when he opted for flats. The grip was not overkill, but allowed small adjustments of foot position similar to the amount of float offered by many clipless pedals. Rock solid construction we could work on (with tools we already had in our toolbox) made us smile. Whether hitting the bike park, riding epic high elevation singletrack, or bombing rocky descents in the tall pines, these pedals will get the job done.

Accessories


VP Components Forged Titanium Axle Upgrade
VP Components Forged Titanium Axle Upgrade
  • Cost - $58
  • When used with VP Vice Pedal, shaves 70 grams off total pedal weight
  • Also compatible with VP-69 pedal
Sean Cronin

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Most recent review: January 11, 2017
Summary of All Ratings

OutdoorGearLab Editors' Rating:  
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 (4.0)
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