VELO ORANGE TOURING PEDALS
240g (pair) Silver $64 (c.£51.41 at the time of writing)
I often associate Velo Orange with retro styling, so was struck by their Touring Pedals modernist take. Their Road Pedals pay a distinct homage to Campag of yore, but the Touring Pedals owe more to the needs of the general leisure rider than the flashy retro stylist. So, in the context of general riding – especially when SPDs or such like have to be abandoned, or just aren’t your cup of tea – they have proved very effective.
Pros: supremely grippy.
Cons: narrower than some.
Made from CNC milled alloy, sealed-bearings, standard 9/16ththread, alloy spindle, should mean minimal maintenance and durability. The clean lines help keep muck off, and have certainly made cleaning easy the sandblasted, polished finish probably helps, as does the lack of falderols and curlicues: a definite plus on multi-day rides, or for those who don’t like wielding a brush.
The platform measures 90x60mm. First impressions were that this was a small pedal, but a closer look showed it is roughly the same area as Genetic’s Heritage Cage Pedal (94x59). Having said that, for cyclists like me, with wide feet, size does matter – even a few millimetres. Mind you, I've note experienced any discomfort over fifty miles plus. Equally, there should be little problem with low-slung bottom brackets or longer cranks. The Touring Pedals are distinctly light for flats.
Grip should be enhanced by six serrations on each forward and rear edge. Not many compared to some, however, they are shaped to fit with the tread on trainers or approach shoes. There are also two small, removable nipples on each outer edge which should further aid sound engagement.
Design-wise, apart from the clean, rather jet-age lines of the body, the spindle tapers neatly and alloy dust-caps keep things tidy. On that front, these are tightened by an 8mm Allen (Hex Head) Key.
In line with UK and US law, amber reflectors are already in place. Some naughty cyclists will pop out one set on each pedal and put toe-clips in their place. Shocking though such behaviour might be, VO Touring Pedals are designed to be toe-clip and strap compatible.
As hinted above, those interesting serrations and nipples offer great tenure. More specifically, wearing trekking/approach shoes with a stiff rubber style sole, they were solid as a rock. Pulling the Surly Ted Trailer, loaded with the weeks shop, there’s been no hint of slip even when pulling away or manoeuvring up-hill round awkward obstructions. I’d rate this higher than any other serrated platform pedal I have tried – without toe-clips. That includes riding on canal towpath, setts, and occasional rough patches of cycle track. Having said that, they haven’t the width for positional adjustment and fierce honking sometimes required for real off-roading.
Civvy shoes have held their place very well, though not so well as those approach shoes. The Touring Pedals were much more secure than the old Brompton pedals, for example. Needless to say, the left-hand one won’t fold; on the other hand, no need for a pedal spanner, so removal is easy enough without carrying hefty tools about.
Needless to say, things are even better with toe clips. Fitting the MKS Steel Toe-clips, and donning trad leather touring shoes, tenure was even better with increased power. Sans clipless pedals, I’d opt for toe-clips on longer, hiller rides, or multi-day rides.
Whilst these are touring pedals, there are times when almost any rider is going to need to push hard. No problem there, even on the Brompton and aboard loaded tourer there’s been no hint of flex. Mind, I’d expect that at this price point.
Velo Orange Touring Pedals are certainly the grippiest I have used without toe-clips. Genetic’s Heriatge Cage Pedals look more the retro part and function very well, but I found them much less grippy on their own, and they don’t offer the same café swank.
At a similar price point, Soma’s Citoyen du Monde Pedals, offer a little additional width and. are hard to fault for style and quality of construction – similar could be said of the VO Touring Pedals – even if the style is a little different. You could also say that they are lighter than the above.
Putting this all together, I’ve really come to enjoy riding with these, after some initial scepticism. Supremely grippy, amongst my collection of flat pedals, with good stiffness, these make for jaunty commuting or leisure riding. SPDs are not always order of the day, and the smart, minimalist look mixes civvy-style and cycling efficiency very well. Pushing hard on ascents or speeding down the other side, things have been spot-on. Having said that, SPD/clip-in or toe-clips will always offer that bit more efficiency on long or fast rides. On the other hand, when going long and remote, there’s a lot to be said for pedals that can be pushed in any footwear – especially if you are likely to be spending a lot of time exploring on foot.