Insight: Animal – BPE Pedal

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Last week when we dropped the Insight with Animal about their MTT Tire, we mentioned that part two would be featuring their new BPE pedal. Well, today is the day we drop this as promised! We caught up with Jay Dyer, Frank Lam and Jared Washington to talk about the pedal and what it took to make them happen! Let’s get into it now!

All right, so we’re taking a closer look at the new BPE pedals from you guys. When did you guys originally start talking about the idea and start doing some drawings?
Frank: The project was started back in early 2009. Dom Biro and Whiteboy, our designers at the time, came up with conceptual models and prototypes. It wasn’t until late 2009 that we really started putting work into it.

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First Prototype.

Other than Odyssey’s JC/PC pedal there really isn’t any other bearing less plastic pedals on the market. Where did you guys look for inspiration on this one? Who was the mastermind behind the design?

Frank: The inspiration came from looking at the biggest issue that we had seen with traditional pedals, bent spindles. The reduction in spindle OD made regular spindles prone to bending. The BPE spindle is 17mm in OD with a gradual taper to the end. No sharp steps means no stress risers. We also wanted to reduce the number of parts that could possibly fail while also increasing reliability.

There wasn’t really any one mastermind here. We all had input into the design.

Once you guys had all the ideas together and the drawings made, how long did it take to get the first prototype?
Frank: The first set of prototypes were made here in the U.S. by a machine shop in PA. We wanted to prove that the concept worked so that we could do the patent stuff without the fear of a large overseas manufacturer stealing it from us. Start to end, it took 2 months for prototypes.

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Second Prototype

How many different prototypes did you guys work with? Did you play with different kinds of plastics for the body and different metals for the spindle?
Frank: We had 3 sets of US made prototypes in Early 2010. 2 sets were being ridden and tested while the 3rd was held down as masters. We then approached Wellgo in early 2011 once we knew it would work. Their first reaction was along the lines of “that wont work, we’ve tried that already.” But we had the US made prototypes that we ridden for almost a year without any show stopping issues. They saw it our way and started the development process with us. We went through 2 design revisions on the spindle. We eventually settled on a 4140 Chromoly with a TiCN coating.

Looking at the pedal is looks like it’s almost based off a sliding hub axle or even two-piece cranks where the one arm is compressed to stay tight. How do you keep the spindle tight with the body? Does the cone on the threaded side thread on?
Frank: The body is held in place by tapers located on both the cone and spindle. The cone rides on the taper of the spindle when the pedal is tightened. This compresses the body and bushings to a predetermined width.

I’d imagine the team put these things through hell and back while testing. Did your guys run into any problems that lead to changing the design from the original concept drawings?
Frank: The only real problem that we ran into was keeping the cone from seizing to the spindle once it was compressed. We took care of the issue by putting a small amount of silver anti seize on the mating surfaces. All the pedals will come with a small packet.

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Second Prototype.

Jared, you have been running the pedals for a while now. What did you think of them when you first got on your bike? Did they seem bulky or different than a regular pedal?
Jared: I thought they were weird at first when looking at them. I have been running the Hamilton’s for so long everything else looks weird. Haha. After the first day I was sold on them, they feel really comfortable

How have they been holding up for you? Have you been able to blow any of the bodies up or bend any of those oversized spindles?
Jared: I put them on a week before I went to Frankfurt with Federal in early September and I haven’t replaced anything on them yet. They’re still good as new.

Did you make any suggestions for changes from the prototypes you tested? What are some of your favorite features of these pedals?
Jared: Yeah I made a few suggestions on them but pretty much everything I suggested was planned to be done on the final versions so I’m psyched to get some of those.

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Prior to these pedals did you prefer plastic or metal pedals? Could you ever see yourself going back?
Jared: Plastic pedals forever. I can’t do the metal. I went plastic before most companies even offered them.

How well have the pins and bodies held up to grinding and everything? How often do you have to change things up?
Jared: Well I usually avoid grinding on a plastic pedal because that’s just asking to ruin it. So these are still going strong.

Does BPE really stand for “Best Pedal Ever”? Because I’ve been saying that about the Hamilton pedals for years…
Frank: Haha, yeah it does. That was the name that we would all refer to it as in the office. I guess it stuck.

Jay: Even though BPE is something new, we aren’t going to stop the production of the Hamilton’s. It is a staple product and a more affordable option if you are tight on cash.

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I’d imagine you guys are pretty close to releasing these since the samples you guys have been giving people a chance to see look all dialed in. When can we expect to see these available in shops and mail orders? What color options will be available?
Frank: The pedals will be available by the 2nd week of Dec. You can get them through any mail order or shop that carries Animal. Colors will be solid black, smoke black, blue, red, purple, and clear.

How much will these retail for? I’d imagine since it’s pretty simple to take these apart you guys will be selling the bodies separately? How much will those retail for?
Frank: They will retail for about 50 bucks.

Jay: At first you may think $50 is a lot for a pair of plastic pedals, but what you are buying is a proven system. Once your pedal bodies are worn, you can easily swap out them out for a new pair for around $10. This helps the rider out by keeping the price more affordable rather than having to buy a whole new set for another $50.

Let’s say a shop or distributor wants to get these in their stores and warehouses, who should they get ahold of to make an order?
Jay: You can hit up our sales staff. Their contact info is on our website. (AnimalBikes.com). They will be sure to take care of you.

Let’s say somebody has general questions about the pedals. Who should they get ahold of?
Jay: Our sales staff knows everything about the new products, so they should be able to help you out. But if they are unsure, they will put you in contact with us directly.

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Is there anything I missed you want to say?
Jay: Check out our site (AnimalBikes.com) for more info. Soon, we will be posting a How-To install video on the product page incase there is any confusion.

We have a bunch of new products in the works so be on the look out for those as well.

Follow us on all social media sites! @animalbikes.

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