“Multiply, vary, let the strongest live and the weakest die.”
If you’ve seen the marketing for DMR’s redesigned V12, you may have spotted a little of Darwin’s evolutionary wisdom. Now let’s be honest, there’s very few products out there that could pull off such a slogan. Time tested, sworn by within mountain biking, BMX and many other cycling circles, the former V12 was, and still is, adored for its signature concave and ride feel. Whether being pedalled through the trail, jumped through the air, or grinded down a ledge, the V12 has prevailed as an industry favourite and it’s not uncommon to hear stories of ten year old units still spinning.
It was 1997 when the first V8 and V12s began selling as an open mould unit. Two years later, exclusive tooling for the design as we know it today was put in place and shortly after the iconic design launched at Bike ’99, a show that has long since closed.
Aside from the launch of the magnesium V12 launch in 2003, there’s been quite a notable absence in updates to the platform.
Damian Mason, DMR’s co-founder, told BikeBiz: “There has been quite a substantial gap since the launch of the V12. That’s not to say we haven’t tried to tweak the design over the years, we’ve got loads of prototypes inspired by pedal trends that have come and gone over the years. Once you’ve got a recipe that just works and sells in large volumes, it becomes much harder to make up your mind on exactly what design tweaks would be genuine improvements and which would actually do more harm to a reputation than good.”
Having introduced the Vault in 2011 and subsequent mag version in 2013, Upgrade has catered for the weight conscious with a highly machined large body flat pedal. So, why finally has Upgrade chosen 2014 as the year to revamp the V12’s classic formula?
Olly Wilkins, the pedal’s designer and currently injured product tester, has had some time to contemplate how to re-invent a classic and one that’s still selling reasonably well.
He said: “The changes people will notice right away is the pedal body’s shape, which we’ve slimmed down from 25mm thick to just 16mm. The signature concave remains and we’ve dropped a pin from the front face to three pins.
“One of the reasons for the slightly arched layout of the front pins is to allow for a better pivot when the rider is turning into corners and adjusting their position. The pedal body now measures 100mm long by 95 wide, which we’ve found perfect for the type of riding typical V12 riders do.”
Weight is apparently another consideration, with the original tipping the scales at a no longer competitive 536 grams. Despite a larger surface area, the new versions will come in at 430 grams per pair for the standard aluminium body, while a magnesium version, due a little later in the year, will come in at 350 grams a pair. Titanium axles will in future further drop the weight. Making up the weight, the pedal spins on 4130 CrMo axles, clad with a sealed bearing and bush system with upgraded seals.
Dealers will of course want to know, in a market with plenty of other options, why does Upgrade think the V12 legend will live on?
“The price remains, even after all these years, just £49.99. That’s the same as when we launched in 1999. The mag version will cost £69.99,” said Wilkins. “Contact points have the ability to transform a bike’s ride feel and we think the revamp has given the V12 a shot in the arm, with certain design aspects borrowed from the top-end Vault, but featured on a fully sealed pedal at a significantly cheaper and very accessible price.”
You’ll see below an Alex Rankin produced promotional video to tie in with the V12s launch, featuring long-standing industry professionals such as Rob Warner and Steve Geal, both fans and one time riders of the DMR pedal.