At only 3mm thick, the Tatze Blade is part of an new concept where the pedal bearing is integrated into the crank. Traditional pedals house the bearings within the pedal, rotating about a spindle that often runs the full width of the platform. The size of the bearings has limited how thin, and by default, light, the pedal platform can be. A few brands have addressed this by moving to a larger bearing right at the crank arm, but few have modified the crankarm itself.

While this design certainly reminds us of the original FlyPaper pedals, Tatze Bike Components looks to have improved upon it with an even thinner pedal, without a protruding shoulder at the crank arm. Their “Integral Standard” houses the pedal bearing within the crank, meaning the platform can be much thinner. We are fortunate enough to have access to some images of the prototype.

Tatze Blade 3mm Pedal

tatze-blade-flat-pedal-thin-3mm-bearing-in-crank

In the Tatze Integral Standard, the components of a pedal – axle, bearing including seal and pedal body – are rearranged, with the crank being included in this system. The bearing is integrated into the construction space of the crank, allowing for a one-piece design that is extremely thin. The need for a specific crankset to run the FlyPapers seemed to lead to their downfall, so it will be interesting to see how Tatze copes with a similar design.

tatze-blade-mtb-pedal-thin-3mm-thick-flat-prototype-bearing-in-crank-arm-integral
All photos courtesy of Armin Hofreiter, founder of Tatze Bike Components

Shown on an e-bike, this could be one of the best uses for the system where increased ground clearance is greatly appreciated. It also allows Tatze to easily manufacture their own crank arms where Momentum Bicycle was relying on modified crank arms from brands like FSA.

At 3mm thick (beating the FlyTraps by 0.7mm), the Tatze Blade undercuts everything that has existed before and sets a new standard. Such a thin platform evidently posed a problem for the mounting of pins. Tatze solved this by developing pins that thread all the way through the platform, protruding from both sides simultaneously. Just one thread is required to support two pins, effectively.

tatze-blade-flat-pedal-mtb-3mm-thick-integral-standard
The Tatze Blade measures 9mm thick at the crank insertion point, thinning out to 3mm thick at the platform edge

Not only will a 3mm pedal platform offer heaps more ground clearance leading to reduced pedal strikes, it will also lengthen the effective crank length. Whether this will increase pedal efficiency or not will very much depend on the leg length of the rider and their style of riding.

Details on the Tatze Blade are still thin on the ground. What we do know is that this product will be sold as pedal and crank together, as it is one system. It will be interesting to see what crank length(s) they offer, the longevity of this design and how easily serviceable they’ll be.

thin-mtb-pedal-flats-ground-clearance-mountain-biking-trail-riding-longer-efficient-crank-length

No claimed weight has yet been specified as Tatze are still in the prototyping phase of the design process. But, they do give a weight breakdown by material; 42CrMo4 150g, Titanium 100g, Aluminium 85g.

Tatze say they are currently in the middle of the development stage for series production and will use the summer for extensive product tests. They plan to present the entire system, i.e. crank plus pedal and probably a new and improved chainring holder at Eurobike 2020.

Tatze-Bike.com

23 COMMENTS

  1. The Shimano Dura-Ace Ax Dynadrive pedals were the first (I believe) to put the bearing in the cranks. Those however put the platform below the bearing center. I believe they suffered from extreme bearing wear. That’s all to say that it’s not a new concept.

    • I wouldn’t call myself an expert on them, but I’ve worked about 4-5 of those AX Dynadrive pedals in the last 26 years. Not my fave thing to overhaul, but I never noticed a particularly poor amount of bearing wear in the handful of pedals that have passed through my hands. I have definitely seen more than a couple cranksets that cracked through the pedal eye though, and at the time I was told by older mechanics that that was a common occurrence for that design.

  2. A lot of work for very little gain IMO. They will have to overbuild the crank arms to support the pedals. The torque on those bearings will kill them in no time.

  3. Hey look, it’s a Flypaper Pedal… again. Flypaper could engineer it right, but it was too expensive. Tioga couldn’t engineer it right, but at least it was cheap-ish. Meanwhile Straitline Defacto’s continue to be enormous and indestructable.

    • fly papers were the first thing i thought of too, but it least they didn’t require a proprietary crank. still outrageously expensive, they were over $400 MSRP i believe. those didn’t last long. i remember around the same time some other company was showing off a similar setup as this (bearing in the cranks), can’t remember the name of them but they never made it to production.

  4. Good clearance on the pedals, but how about that monster bulbous crank end? They even left it silver so it would be less noticeable when you bash all the color off it.

  5. Seems like moving the bearing this far inboard would subject it to bottom bracket-type loads. Before any other consideration you really have to wonder if there is any number between the minimum size for reliability and the maximum size that improves ground clearance.

  6. Ummm… Pedal thickness doesn’t change the effective crank length.

    This is because your foot is always on top of the pedal.

    Your feet will move in a circular motion offset some distance (1/2 pedal thickness+sole thickness) above the spindle.

      • You have to be correct. Going from pedal to pedal people often overlook the seat height will change. Back in the day Time with a Time/Carnac/TBT sole would let you lower the seat 6mm or so. Even shoe to shoe, while less important for folks who want to ride a flat pedal to begin with, it is still a measurable variance.

    • Yeah, I’m not too sure what the figure means by a longer “efficient crank length,” but it’s no different from a regular height pedal if you compare foot distance from the spindle at 3:00 and 9:00 positions- where crankarm length is most important for power and leverage.

      I also question how flexible such a pedal will be, both because of the thin platform and leverage due to the bearing placement if there is ANY radial play in the bearings. Actually, with the latter, it’ll feel like a loose, tilting pedal, not necessarily flex.

    • It’s claims like this that make one question the rest of their design and engineering. I’m not saying it’s bad, but if they really thought it was altering the effective length…

  7. Whomever thought that “the thinner the pedal the longer the crank length” is mistaken.
    The axis of the pedal axle is unaffected by stack height, i.e. pedal thickness.

  8. let’s see – a dubious marginal improvement vs a compromised and proprietary standard. Let me think long and hard about this.

  9. Fly papers did need a proprietary crank, assuming you count a very specific 3rd party crank that had to be modified to accept bearings as proprietary. I think it was an FSA model, which was the only one that had enough metal around the pedal holes to mill out, while still retaining sufficient thickness.

    Tioga had a model like this too, which didn’t need a proprietary crank, and instead attempted to locate the bearing between the platform and the standard crank thread attachment. Is that the one you were thinking of?

  10. My previous comment was meant as a reply to Captain Derp above, but for some reason posted as a new independent comment.

  11. I will be sure to never buy this. Expensive proprietary parts, bearings that will wear out quickly, inneficient design for no good reason. Watch those plates crack in half if the material is hardened and watch them bough it is isn’t. To me this looks like crap all around.

  12. Damn, get your pitchforks people someone’s trying to innovate…
    I’m all for this kind of design. Sure it needs a bigger crank arm end than normal but most of the scrapes on my pedals are on the outside edges from riding in ruts and gaps between rocks.
    Can’t say I’m a huge fan of this embodiment though, the screw-in bearing holder looks like a waste of valuable space and the end of the crank looks delicate as a result.
    I’m sure we’ll end up at a design like this as standard one day but this probably won’t be it.

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