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Fun pedal project.

Old 07-19-17, 02:16 PM
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Fun pedal project.

Have a pair of VP 550 aluminum/magnesium alloy pedals. Nothing special, in fact they were standard issue on department store mountain bikes for years. Took the spindles out and repacked the bearings with fresh grease, and decided to see how much weight could be cut off of these pedals before they become compromised.
As you can see in the pics, these pedals were cast in a rather thick mold, so there is a lot to work with. First the "bridge" between upper and lower parts of the pedals was cut out and edges files smooth. Then some big gashes in the end of the castings from years of use were filed out. Next on to the drill press where a number of holes were drilled to remove more material. Two or three holes "blew out" the side leaving a C shaped hole, but that didn't seem to weaken the pedal.
The pedal on the left is stock and the one on the right is modified. Bottom line is the right hand side pedal weighed in at 260 grams before mods, and about 230 (actually less but that is as accurate as the scale used is). So a 30 gram savings on one pedal. These are pretty heavy duty pedals so there is a lot of material that can be cut off. Also filed the studs flat on top so they have sharp edges to help hold a shoe in place. Put both pedals on a bike and rode around a while. The unmodified pedal definitely let the sneakers I was wearing slide around easy, but the filed/modified pedal has much more grip. No slipping. Also, cleaning the bearings and races in solvent, repacking in marine grease and adjusting the bearing load made a huge difference in how the pedal feels. It spins really easy with no resistance to speak of.
Can't say what 30 grams savings per pedal amounts to, but it was fun. After dinner will do the other pedal. BTW, these are loose ball bearings. So if you go to repack a similar set of pedals, just watch out the BB's don't end up rolling away. These have 11 balls in each race.




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Old 07-19-17, 02:20 PM
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These are my "winter" pedals. The short days means I need the reflectors.
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Old 07-19-17, 02:27 PM
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BTW, On the VP website, they still have the VP-565 pedals, which are nearly identical to these old VP-550's. The specs for the 565 are 510 grams/pair. So modifying these results in a pair of pedals weighing in at 460/pair. Nice, no? I bet if you took a dremel tool to these pedals they could have another 50 grams each carved off.
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Old 07-19-17, 02:28 PM
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Originally Posted by 1989Pre
These are my "winter" pedals. The short days means I need the reflectors.
Reflectors? We don't need no stinking reflectors!!!
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Old 07-19-17, 02:29 PM
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Maybe a pant clip with reflector?
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Old 07-19-17, 02:30 PM
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Originally Posted by 1989Pre
These are my "winter" pedals. The short days means I need the reflectors.
Add Reflective Tape to the pedals and your shoes.
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Old 07-19-17, 02:56 PM
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Does such activity have any effect on your ride beyond your imagination?

I can assure you that I do know that moving 'up' from various butted steel frames things do get better but my settled weapon of choice has some rubbish $4.00 plastic pedals on it as fitted by myself. I am not inclined to go and adjust the bearings. They are probably equally rubbish and my legs will not grow muscles if I do.

It is not the perceived weight. It is the actual enjoyment.

I can visit the toilet in the morning and save about 1Kg vacating liquids and solids.

Then again if you get something from taking 50g off a pedal go for it.
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Old 07-19-17, 09:33 PM
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Originally Posted by chorlton
Does such activity have any effect on your ride beyond your imagination?

I can assure you that I do know that moving 'up' from various butted steel frames things do get better but my settled weapon of choice has some rubbish $4.00 plastic pedals on it as fitted by myself. I am not inclined to go and adjust the bearings. They are probably equally rubbish and my legs will not grow muscles if I do.

It is not the perceived weight. It is the actual enjoyment.

I can visit the toilet in the morning and save about 1Kg vacating liquids and solids.

Then again if you get something from taking 50g off a pedal go for it.
And this little rant adds to the thread how?
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Old 07-20-17, 10:36 AM
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Originally Posted by Mark42
Have a pair of VP 550 aluminum/magnesium alloy pedals. Nothing special, in fact they were standard issue on department store mountain bikes for years. Took the spindles out and repacked the bearings with fresh grease, and decided to see how much weight could be cut off of these pedals before they become compromised.
As you can see in the pics, these pedals were cast in a rather thick mold, so there is a lot to work with. First the "bridge" between upper and lower parts of the pedals was cut out and edges files smooth. Then some big gashes in the end of the castings from years of use were filed out. Next on to the drill press where a number of holes were drilled to remove more material. Two or three holes "blew out" the side leaving a C shaped hole, but that didn't seem to weaken the pedal.
The pedal on the left is stock and the one on the right is modified. Bottom line is the right hand side pedal weighed in at 260 grams before mods, and about 230 (actually less but that is as accurate as the scale used is). So a 30 gram savings on one pedal. These are pretty heavy duty pedals so there is a lot of material that can be cut off. Also filed the studs flat on top so they have sharp edges to help hold a shoe in place. Put both pedals on a bike and rode around a while. The unmodified pedal definitely let the sneakers I was wearing slide around easy, but the filed/modified pedal has much more grip. No slipping. Also, cleaning the bearings and races in solvent, repacking in marine grease and adjusting the bearing load made a huge difference in how the pedal feels. It spins really easy with no resistance to speak of.
Can't say what 30 grams savings per pedal amounts to, but it was fun. After dinner will do the other pedal. BTW, these are loose ball bearings. So if you go to repack a similar set of pedals, just watch out the BB's don't end up rolling away. These have 11 balls in each race.





Cool. Looks like fun.
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Old 07-20-17, 11:44 AM
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Looks cool, but those are some mighty thin pieces of aluminum around some of your holes.

Cool project though, not entirely practical. There are much easier ways to save weight off of pedals. (Like buying pedals that aren't huge )

If I had to guess, I'd say you're probably break your pedal pretty quickly if you took it on a normal mountain bike trail. Commuting, it'd probably last a while.

It does look cool though! Drillium is back? haha
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Old 07-20-17, 01:36 PM
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I like what you've done. It's all about having fun with the hobby.

Most of the pedals in my collection and parts bins are plastic or steel/plastic. I'd like to find some of these alloy pedals, just because they look cool.
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Old 07-20-17, 06:37 PM
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Pedals are ROTATING MASS... every pedal stroke must accelerate all rotating mass... reducing that mass increases power put into moving the bike/rider forward...

you shed about 14% of the pedal's mass.

how light are your wheels/tires? that is also rotating mass...

are the chain rings aluminum?

you WILL notice a difference in your bike by reducing rotating mass... it will feel more responsive to each pedal stroke.

go for lighter tires/tubes next.... and there are MTB pedal sets with magnesium cages, and titanium spindles... on my road bike, i swapped on some really light resin pedals with Ti spindles, and a pair of plastic toe clips... i noticed the mass reduction immediately... felt like i'd shaved 3 lbs. off of the entire bike... and the old setup wasn't exactly a heavy one... suntour superbe pedals, and christophe clips....

Last edited by maddog34; 07-20-17 at 06:43 PM.
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Old 07-21-17, 01:01 AM
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260grams down to 230 per pedal, OK

30grams is not much, if you a Really that concerned with weight reduction that you're counting grams to this degree.
then Perhaps you'd be better served by getting lighter pedals to begin with?

!152grams! per pedal (308/2):
Helva | 45NRTH

When stuff that light exists right off the shelf, then I just don't see all the labor with drilling being worthwhile.... so much work, but still not even coming close...
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Old 07-21-17, 05:16 AM
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You saved 60 grams. Your bike with rider likely comes in at 80kg or so. That comes to a savings of .075% in weight, which only affects inertia and rolling resistance. As a nod to Maddog let's up it to .1% for rotating weight, although that's a huge allowance.

If you had spent the time riding instead of obsessing over weight you would have been much better off in every respect, except you would not have an art project to post.

Last edited by cny-bikeman; 07-21-17 at 11:13 AM.
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Old 07-22-17, 04:09 PM
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Originally Posted by maddog34
Pedals are ROTATING MASS... every pedal stroke must accelerate all rotating mass... reducing that mass increases power put into moving the bike/rider forward...

you shed about 14% of the pedal's mass.

how light are your wheels/tires? that is also rotating mass...

are the chain rings aluminum?

you WILL notice a difference in your bike by reducing rotating mass... it will feel more responsive to each pedal stroke.

go for lighter tires/tubes next.... and there are MTB pedal sets with magnesium cages, and titanium spindles... on my road bike, i swapped on some really light resin pedals with Ti spindles, and a pair of plastic toe clips... i noticed the mass reduction immediately... felt like i'd shaved 3 lbs. off of the entire bike... and the old setup wasn't exactly a heavy one... suntour superbe pedals, and christophe clips....
260g -> 230g =/= a reduction of 14%....

May want to recheck those elementary school mathematics.
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Old 07-23-17, 09:35 AM
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Originally Posted by maddog34
Pedals are ROTATING MASS... every pedal stroke must accelerate all rotating mass... reducing that mass increases power put into moving the bike/rider forward...
Well, not exactly every pedal stroke, unless the pedals stop completely between strokes. Once the pedals, cranks and chainrings are rotating, the only additional energy required is to increase speed and overcome friction in the bearings.
Wheels are rotating mass as well; they don't have to be accelerated every time they revolve once. Angular momentum rules!
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Old 07-24-17, 07:51 PM
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What part of those pedals is magnesium?
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Old 07-24-17, 09:06 PM
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Originally Posted by corrado33
260g -> 230g =/= a reduction of 14%....

May want to recheck those elementary school mathematics.
then again, i may not... it was a quick estimate, and "about", not exact.

about 12% sound better to you? :-)

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Old 07-24-17, 09:20 PM
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Originally Posted by sweeks
Well, not exactly every pedal stroke, unless the pedals stop completely between strokes. Once the pedals, cranks and chainrings are rotating, the only additional energy required is to increase speed and overcome friction in the bearings.
Wheels are rotating mass as well; they don't have to be accelerated every time they revolve once. Angular momentum rules!
Steve
even maintaining chain tension would require momentary acceleration of the mass involved.... and you overlooked aerodynamic drag... think: spokes... and tread, if present.
as long as we're nit-picking the OP's fun project to death.

ever bought a hollow pinned/slot plate chain? less than an ounce less compared to solid pinned/plate chain... that spec. is "about", btw.... ;-)

drillium chain rings.... drillium crank sets(NOT an option for me!)...drillium derailleurs(ever seen that one with the custom Ti springs and such? WOW!!! est. cost of $27k?, including labor, of course)... FD cages with holes in them.... those heavy seat rail clamp bolts, seen those get drilled, too... and i found a hollow BMX stem draw bolt that fit my old steering stem, after i drilled the stem a bit( i drilliumed the wedge, too)... the present DA stem looks so much better.... wonder where that old stem went... hmmmmmmmm... hollow der. hanger bolts , standard on most rear ders.... saw a drillium seat post the other day....... and i've seen drillium brake calipers on FB.... YIKES!

to the OP... i've seen hollow Ti spindles for some MKS pedals... worth a search, eh? never hurts to search.....

it ALL adds up, you know.... my Trek went on a diet at the same time i did... i lost 40 lbs(about 20%)... the bike shed about two(about 10%).... not including the cable lock... the Trek goes with me into stores, or i don't shop there. ;-)

can't seem to justify swapping out that DA gooseneck, though....... i DID find a Ti draw bolt for it that might fit... still on the list.... wonder if i can drill it out some... hmmmm..... the gun shop has some boring tools that might work....

Last edited by maddog34; 07-24-17 at 10:09 PM.
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Old 07-25-17, 05:16 AM
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Originally Posted by maddog34
even maintaining chain tension would require momentary acceleration of the mass involved.... and you overlooked aerodynamic drag... think: spokes... and tread, if present.
as long as we're nit-picking the OP's fun project to death.
Yes, you have to be careful when making approximations to simplify a problem!
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Old 07-25-17, 06:22 AM
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The rotating weight effect is marginal at best, and not worth even considering at the radius of pedals and chainwheels. Wheel Performance
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