Review: DMR Vault Pedals
July 16th, 2012
By Olly Forster
I can remember buying my first pair of DMR pedals back in 1997 after seeing Rob Warner and Tim Ponting sporting them in an issue of Dirt Magazine. They were bright orange with blue end caps and ruled! Back then, platform pedals of any quality were few and far between as the SPD had removed all traces of what lay before. But this was all before Sam Hill, quality suspension and sticky rubber shoes. DMR started a revolution back in the late 90′s that’s still going strong today…
Words: Olly Forster | Photos: Jim Newby & Olly Forster
The Vault’s are equally at home smashing down steep mountain sides on the big bike as they are slicing through muddy singletrack on the trail bike. Light weight, well designed and with an aesthetic edge that’s hard to fault.
Thankfully times have changed and the platform pedal movement has grown from strength to strength. DMR’s first pedals, the original V12′s proved so successful that they remained, to the untrained eye that is, very similar to their original shape and feel for the last 14 years! The Vault pedal is their latest offering to the platform pedal market and the first pedal to significantly move away from the V12′s traditional shape and more importantly, size.
The Vaults are massive! At 115 x 115mm, they dwarf everything DMR has previously released and stand shoulder to shoulder with their main competitors on the burly pedal front, but at 350 grams, they’re pretty light too. The main body is made from 6061 aluminium with a large concave foot bed to increase stability and feel while the overall shape aids in effortlessly shedding mud.
The Vault’s main body is also only 17mm thick, which obviously makes for a light pedal, but ultimately on modern bikes with their low BB heights, helps to increases clearance too. The Vault’s are also fully serviceable, running on a DU bush and a cartridge bearing, keeping them running smooth and efficiently. All of the pins thread in from the rear so if you lose one to a rock, no worries. There are also after market ‘Terror Pins’ to increase grip, ‘Flippins’ to adjust grip and of course, a Ti axle option to reduce weight even further.
On the Trail.
Straight out the box and onto the trail, the Vault’s feel great offering a positive feel through your shoes while not being too unrestricted when things get wild in the corners. Grip and control together represent a balancing act that some pedals fail to get right. For me, I like to feel what the trail’s and my bike are up to while being able to move my body weight accordingly. We all ride differently and knowing what works for our own personal needs is paramount to a dialed and dependable ride, but if your looking for pedals that feel great from the off, well, the Vaults became very instinctive, very quickly.
The pins aren’t so small that they become too ‘grippy’ and offer a degree of freedom that is superior over some of the more aggressive pedals on the market with their smaller, thinner pins. Having the ability to remove your feet and get them back on and in a good position, is exactly what you want. Heels and toes taking your weight over the rough stuff isn’t where you want to be unless that’s just how your ride…
Removing some of the pins to increase grip, should you want to, or adding the larger Terror Pins for rougher DH courses could be the ticket if your heading to the Alps, but too much grip can be detrimental for those who like to stay as loose as possible while maintaining good position on the pedals. Riding flats over clips offers a more connective feel to our bikes and one that encourages riding to be looser and ultimately more fun. The DMR Vault’s certainly did just this.
With a new RRP of £100GBP and coming in at twice the price of DMR’s standard V12, the Vault pedals represent a premium product with the feel, finish and features to compete in a market where perhaps, DMR weren’t before. With recommendation’s from every magazine and website in the land, the DMR Vault has well and truly landed and I think to an extent, catapulted DMR’s products in-front of a new and more discerning rider. No more are DMR’s pedals the sole premise of MBUK reading, dirt jump obsessed teenagers, as these are now well and truly the choice of the trail centre (Surrey Hills) regular, whizzing around on their custom built carbon Yeti and showing that both the brand and the product in question represents both high quality and quite importantly, desirability.
As far as construction and build quality goes, they don’t offer the indestructible feeling of say the Burgtec Penthouse Flats, but at £50 less than most premium flat pedals on the market, represent a viable option for those who don’t frequent Fort William or Val di Sole on a weekly basis. The thin body with it’s mud shedding design is there for a purpose and one that is performed flawlessly with only minimal weakness to rock interactions and very much at home on the wet and wild shores that influenced it’s design.
DMR are also offering a variety of after market extras including a pedal service tool for £16, ideal for all you budding mechanics out there, allowing you remove and install bearing to your hearts content and ensuring your Vault’s are running smooth and silky year after year plus a variety of spare parts including rebuild kits, pins and axles. All of these represent that DMR have issued a pedal that’s not going anywhere, but on bikes shredding trails week after week.
Overall, we’ve been very impressed with the Vault’s having used them on four test bikes over the last year and with a price that puts them well below the main competition without coming up short alongside them. With a new Brendan Fairclough signature model on the horizon (think flat black finish and big pins…), I’m sure we haven’t seen the last of this fine and highly recommended set of pedals.
For more information on DMR and the Vault pedal, I suggest you tap the logo below. Happy trails and remember, clips are for kooks!