The simple ball bearing would have to be one of human kind’s greatest achievements. All of a sudden anything that rotated or spun saw huge performance benefits, and they’re still in use hundreds of years later. Well, not everywhere. In the case of VP’s new EPB (Economic Polymer Bearing) axle system, the venerable ball bearing is no more. In it’s place is a new dual bushing system that claims to provide sealed bearing performance at loose ball price…
For the unfamiliar, inexpensive pedals often rely on loose or unsealed ball bearing systems which are effective, but not as smooth as higher end cartridge bearing systems. The highest end pedals often rely on a combination of sealed cartridge bearings, needle bearings, and even IGUS bushings to provide a thin, durable pedal that spins with that high end smoothness. What VP has done here is figured out a way to get close to that high end smoothness, at an entry level price.
The dual bushing design is also quite thin which allows for thinner pedal bodies and lighter overall weights on pedals like the VPE-506 above.
Offered in their VPE pedal line, you probably won’t see these pedals for sale on store shelves. Instead, as low cost OEM options, you’ll probably see these wind up as the stock pedals on entry to mid level bikes. On display, there was a noticeable difference between the EPB pedals and the loose ball alternatives, suggesting a wave of smoother pedaling coming to a bike shop near you.