I am a mountain biker. And I’m always looking for ways to improve the mountain biking experience.
Inspiration has many sources, both good and bad. For me, my greatest inspiration arose from an injury that drove me (unwillingly) off the bike and into the lab.
One spring day in 2015, I was riding up a technical trail near my home in San Jose, CA. At a critical point, my front wheel hit a rock, stopping my forward momentum. The rest of the incident seemed to unfold in slow motion; I began to fall and, despite frantic efforts to unclip from my pedals, I remained locked to the bike. I extended my left arm to break my fall, but the force of the impact bent my hand back to the forearm, tearing all the muscles and tendons in my wrist and hand. The resulting, extremely painful injury took several months to heal.
This was far from my first “failure to unclip;” in fact, anyone who rides with clipless pedals probably has an amusing story about an embarrassing fall resulting from recalcitrant clips. My fall, however, wasn’t amusing. It was painful. And it led me to pursue a better, safer pedal solution.
I started looking at the available options. The main problem with clipless pedals, which require a special twisting motion to free your feet from the bike, don’t always work in an emergency, as I learned. Flat platform pedals are too easy to slip or bounce off of, and they don’t support the full push-and-pull pedal stroke. A third option, baskets and straps, aren’t as efficient as clipless pedals since they only secure the front part of the foot, and they break or stretch easily.
Clearly a new approach was needed. Working with Bob Glaspie, a brilliant mechanical engineer, we designed a new pedal system based on our patented True Release™ technology, which uses a spring-loaded mechanism to lower a comfortable padded cuff over the rider’s foot. Riders get the same 360° push-and-pull pedal stroke experience as clipless pedals—without physically locking them to the bike or requiring any special shoes or equipment. Slipping the foot out the back or side immediately releases the cuff, resulting in a faster—and safer—dismount.
Vectus Sport was born.
Although originally intended for outdoor use, it quickly became evident that indoor applications—on the spin, stationary and recumbent bikes used in home gyms and fitness centers—represented a significant potential market for the Vectus pedals. Bob and I modified the design slightly and developed the VFS-10 Fitness Series, which are currently in production and ready for purchase. Design work continues on the VTR-10 Trail & Road Series pedals for mountain and road bikes. We are also working on a version for rowing machines.
As inspiration strikes, we will continue to develop new solutions designed to improve and enhance the biking experience. Please visit www.vectussport.com for updates.