VP Harrier: Touring and Bikepaking Flat Pedal Review
The first thing I noticed when I took these pedals out of the package is that they are huge. These flat pedals are capable of providing support to riders who wear larger shoe sizes like me (size 12 US). The VP Harrier is 120mm wide and 110mm long, claiming a prominent spot in the oversized flat pedal segment. Here are a few reasons why I chose an oversized flat pedal and my long term impressions of the VP Harrier.
Choosing a Flat Pedal
Flat pedals are appealing to cyclists looking to do some bike touring or bikepacking. For one, there’s no need to wear SPD shoes, which are often clunky and impractical for on-foot explorations. Plus, no one likes walking around a local bar or grocery store sounding like a tap dancer. Another added benefit is the fact that you don’t have to take up extra room in your bags to carry another pair of shoes. Given the frequent need to stop and go while bike touring, platform pedals allow riders to easily and instantaneously release their feet from the bike. Flat pedals allow you to “touch-and-go” when approaching more technical sections on a fully loaded bike.
There’s a recent trend in companies offering oversized platform pedals to cater to taller rider’s needs but riders with average feet sizes (let’s say around 10 US for men) can also benefit from oversized pedals. Larger platforms provide more comfort on longer rides and are very forgiving when your feet unwillingly bounce off the pedals.
Construction and Servicing
VP Harrier’s 12mm flat profile is possible due to VP using bushings instead of the traditional ball bearings. Although there’s no noticeable bulge closer to the crank, the platform is slightly thicker in that area. The platform is completely flat, which goes against recent trends in concave platform pedals but I think this is compensated by the sheer size of the platform. 10 replaceable pins on each side provide extraordinary grip even when wearing shoes with non-sticky rubber (like your hiking shoes). The pins are made of forged steel and have proven to be very strong against wear and tear. There isn’t a single bent pin on the pedals I have been using for over a year. VP Component does sell replacement pins if you ever need a new set. The thin profile also helps prevent rock strikes at the same time it makes the bottom bracket feel lower.
Using an 8mm allen key to remove the pedals is much easier than the traditional 6mm hex key most pedals require. Most multi-tools include an 8mm allen key, so you should be covered when removing the pedals for traveling or extended hike-a-bike. The Harriers require an 8mm allen key and an 8mm wrench to be serviced. Servicing them is very straight forward. Remove the axle, clean it, apply some grease and re-pack it in, done.
You can see in the picture above that there is almost no gap between the pedal’s platform and the crank arm (narrow Q-factor). This feature comes at a price since it’s not possible to use a pedal wrench on them.
|SIZE||120mm x110mm x12mm|
|STREET PRICE||$100 - $130|
This set of pedals fits my style of riding just right. To me, part of the fun of traveling by bike is the opportunity to stop along the away and take pictures documenting the environment I’m in. Flat pedals allow me to instantaneously remove both feet from the pedals to reach for my camera. Also, I can wear my hiking shoes on the bike, this allows me to explore places on foot without having to deal with awkward SPD shoes. Mud can make your pedals feel squishy but these pedals shed mud extremely well. I never feel like I have to clean my muddy shoes before getting back on the bike. I have actually used the pedals to clean mud off my shoes before walking into a store.
Some reviews mention a small amount of play after the first few uses, but I have not noticed any play on the pair that I have. Servicing pedals is something that I usually dread, but I don’t feel the same way about the Harrier. I like having the peace of mind knowing that most shops around the world will have the tools needed to take the Harrier apart. I like having the confidence the large footprint provides when negotiating rough terrain. Finally, I don’t have any problems with numbness or sore feet I usually get from clipless pedals on longer rides. Overall, I’d recommend the VP Harrier to anyone looking for a flat pedal.