Preview: e.thirteen Staccato 8 Pedals

5/28/2008 : sicklines
, Preview: e.thirteen Staccato 8 Pedals

e.thirteen debuted their Staccato 8 pedal (pl. stac·ca·tos) at the U.S. Open this year and it drew quite a bit of attention. With shoe technology improving, more and more riders are picking flat pedals in every cycling discipline. e.thirteen has announced that their new pedal is due out late 2008.

Interestingly enough, the top 3 pro men at the U.S. Open all ran flat pedals on what most would deem a clipless friendly course. These may seem like completely new pedals to most, but these pedals have been on the back burner so to speak for awhile now but are more refined. Details inside.

“Platform pedals have mainly used the same design since the 1980’s. Keeping with the team’s core principle of structural efficiency, e.thirteen has re-thought the bicycle pedal, and in the process, has come up with something truly unique and special. Since 2002, flat pedals have been a vaporware project at e.thirteen. Prototypes have been built, tested, and shown, but until now, none have been intended for sale. The Staccato 8 project is the result of several years of research and collaboration with some of the world’s top riders.” – e.thirteen

, Preview: e.thirteen Staccato 8 Pedals

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e.thirteen was showing off their prototype Staccato 8 pedals and while all the details are not engraved in stone, they brought a pretty complete prototype to the U.S. Open to show off.

, Preview: e.thirteen Staccato 8 Pedals

Staccato 8 pedals (click to enlarge)

The current spec list includes:

  • Patented bearingless axle system (patent pending)
  • Custom waterproof seals
, Preview: e.thirteen Staccato 8 Pedals

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  • 17mm thin
, Preview: e.thirteen Staccato 8 Pedals

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  • Under 450g
  • Concave in both directions giving an anatomic foot centering shape (patent pending)
, Preview: e.thirteen Staccato 8 Pedals

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  • 5mm thread traction pins
, Preview: e.thirteen Staccato 8 Pedals

pin detail (click to enlarge)

  • Colors!
  • Adjustable spin control (patent pending)
, Preview: e.thirteen Staccato 8 Pedals

spin control detail (click to enlarge)

The pedals as you can see in the pictures and video above show how thin the pedals are and much more. You can see the allen bolt nested inside that adjusts the spin control as well as many other details of the pedals.

The pins feature a 5mm thread and use a 2.5mm allen to remove the pins that are nested in the pedal body and plate.

, Preview: e.thirteen Staccato 8 Pedals

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The pedal body is concave in both directions in order to better hold your foot while riding. The plates are made out of the same bashguide plastic e.thirteen uses for their chainguides. They are replaceable and swappable so you color matching/color blind people can mix/match to your hearts content even more now.

, Preview: e.thirteen Staccato 8 Pedals

(click to enlarge)

So far this is just a prototype and there is a lot that can still be changed and tweaked. They plan on offering a wide variety of colors, different pins, multiple sized platforms, and much more.

We asked e.thirteen a few questions about these pedals and have put them in a question and answer format below for those looking for some answers to questions we had!

, Preview: e.thirteen Staccato 8 Pedals

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Is there a finalized pedal platform size? (or what sizes are you considering?)

e.thirteen: We’re planning on offering the pedal in more than one platform size, the platforms themselves will be interchangeable so riders can choose the size that they want to run on their bike. Some times a larger platform is going to be good for jumping and DH use, but for tighter DH courses and all-mountain use, a smaller platform can be a good thing too. Also, the design offers the flexibility for riders to choose a platform size that fits their foot size a little better, after all, not everyone has the same size feet. This design will really let riders choose what works ideally for their individual preference, riding style, and foot size.

Weight? (everyone wants to know weights or targets)

e.thirteen: The Staccato 8 uses a heat treated 4140 spindle and an aluminum body. The complete prototype set weighs in at a pretty ridiculous 448 grams. I’m sure that the weight will change a little bit here and there for production, but we’re hoping that it is going to get lighter.

These aren’t some kind of once and done type product either, they are designed to take a huge amount of abuse. A large part of the reason behind using Tuffmax in the platforms is to absorb and distribute impact forces in the pedal just like our Supercharger bashguards do for our chain retention systems.

There are also a few other simple ideas that we employed to make them light and strong. One thing that always annoyed us about extruded pedals is that their manufacturing process requires that they be designed heavier than they need to be. An typical extruded pedal has “arms” that extend from a round center part that holds bearings. On the extruded pedal, the arms, usually 3mm or so thick, form the platform surface and the structure of the pedal at the same time. Hold a piece of paper in your hand and you can see that it is easy to bend towards the ground when you hold it so that the surface is flat to the ground, but impossible to bend towards the ground when standing on it’s edge. The same goes for metal, so we used that engineering principle and turned the Staccato 8’s arms perpendicular to the forces in the pedal. This let us cut out a great deal of weight, while at the same time making the body stronger than a normal extruded pedal. The platforms themselves then just need to absorb impacts and help your foot stay planted and comfortable. It let us optimize both structures for their specific duties.

Will you offer an optional Ti version? Mag?

e.thirteen: For sure we will offer a ti spindle / aluminum body version called Staccato 16. The Staccato 16 prototypes weigh in at 392 grams as of today, we have also prototyped a mag bodied version that we are testing, and those are light enough to make you laugh when you pick them up, in the 340 gram range for a pair..

Everyone always wants to hear about the warranty. What will e.thirteen offer?

e.thirteen: Its a little early to finalize warranty, as these are the first complete prototypes that we have built, but we have been talking about offering some kind of long term warranty on the bodies themselves. The pins are a custom design, much like a shoulder bolt, that uses an M5 thread to attach to the body. (No, M5 is not a typo, they’re almost 2X larger than typical M5 threads.) We wanted the threads to be huge to eliminate the age-old ripping threads out of pedal bodies issue, so we designed it to be what it needed to be, not to be what everyone else was doing.

Say part of the plastic pedal platform were to break, would the entire system be compromised until the plastic was replaced? The plate is keyed and it would seem that since it is grooved, it depends on the entire plastic being in tact to perform properly.

e.thirteen: Nope, the platform is grooved, but just enough to key into the body. The body lends structural integrity to the platform, but on its own, the body itself is stronger than most pedals that we have tested. It all goes back to the simplified structural engineering strategy that we employed in the design. The use of removable thermoplastic platforms means that we don’t need to be held down by any manufacturing process. We can optimize the design for the greatest strength and lightest possible weight at the same time. Its all about structural efficiency here.

A big concern with pedals using bushings is squeaking. Do the Staccato’s squeak? What have you done to address this?

e.thirteen: Nope, no squeaking, believe me I know why you are asking this too. I have been riding a LOT of pedals over the last year and a half and for sure some of them squeak. It makes me crazy, I ride flats for XC as well as DH, and there is nothing worse than having a squeak for 2 hours on an XC ride. It messes with my head. The pedal uses a pretty interesting bushing design that we have tested in several iterations dating back to 2002. The bushing design is pending patent currently and uses custom designed IGUS brand bushings, some of the best in the world. They are designed to be run without grease, but if we want to run grease with them there is the option. We’ve eliminated squeaking in a couple ways. First, we designed a custom exclusion type seal, just like the ones found on tractor axles to keep the dirt out. Then we used two of them in tandem. You can power wash the pedal and dirt and water still can’t get past. Unlike other pedals the entire bushing system is sealed, and there is only one sealing surface, the other side of the axle hole is capped. A couple of other innovative features of the axle design include the ability to control the pedal spin rate by tightening or loosening a specially designed compression bolt. This way riders can really dial in the pedal’s feel to exactly what works for their style. Also, there is no physical way for the pedal body to separate from the spindle like some other pedals can. We’ve tested these features heavily over the last few years, they are already dialed.

Will there be optional pins (tall / short / sharp / etc)?

e.thirteen: We’re going to offer a few different pin lengths, and the pin design will change a little for production. We’re working on adding traction ribs to the outside of the pins and a couple of other features too. We’ll have an option for basically everyone.

What is the pin material used?

e.thirteen: Good ‘ol 4140 chrome-moly steel.

Will there be optional plates to allow for different pin setups?

e.thirteen: Yup, the production versions will have additional pins compared to the prototypes and options for a bunch of different pin arrangements. That way rider’s can really fine tune the pedals for the way that they ride. The optional plates will also come in different sizes like we talked about earlier. The optional plates all use the patent pending anatomical contour design, which basically consists of two slightly “bermed” tapers that let the rider feel location front to back and side to side without looking down at the pedal. The berms are really subtle, easier to feel than see, but nothing like a dual concave BMX style pedal.

Are the pins engineered to sheer off at the heads in a hard hit(helping to save the body)?

e.thirteen: They aren’t specifically engineered to shear off yet, but you bring up an interesting question. The pins are removed by screwing them out from the backside, and use a pretty huge 2.5mm allen head to do that so rider’s can’t strip out the heads. The design of the pins and body are such that the threads are protected inside the body and below the platforms, so its a cinch to remove the pins when they get chewed up over time.

Are there any shortcomings with the pedals?

e.thirteen: I hope not too many, I think at first glance rider’s may not see all of the reasons behind the design, they may look at them and think that the removable platforms are just for changing colors and overlook the structural benefits. All in all though, I think that those things will become apparent after people start riding the pedals.

Why is it called the Staccato 8? Will e13 be using a new naming convention for products?

e.thirteen: Staccato 8 is actually the specific name of the 4140 spindle, aluminum body pedal. You are right on about this being the start of a new naming convention, that’s exactly what it is. Moving forward e.thirteen product is going to be broken down by a product name and a group. That way we can offer families of products at different pricepoints, and eventually this will let us combine multiple different components together into gruppos. We chose to use musical terms to define our pedals and groups because all of the members of the company are into artistic creativity.

For this first pedal, Staccato, a musical term, was perfect fit for the family name. Staccato literally means detached in Italian, and we thought that was perfect for a pedal where a major part of the concept was detachable platforms.

The 8 actually stands for an eighth note. The ti/aluminum pedals will be called Staccato 16, the 16 stands for a 16th note. The higher the number, the faster the note, and the higher end the product associated with the note will be. All in all its pretty simple and people with no musical background should be able to pick it up no problem. The higher the number, the higher end the product, that’s all there is to it.

These pedals have quite a few new ideas going on, have any of the new features been patented?

e.thirteen: We’ve applied for patents on our axle design, the spin control feature, aspects surrounding the idea of removable platforms, the foot centering contour shapes of the platforms themselves, and some aspects of the pin design. It was a heck of a lot of work to write all of the patents, but we spread it out over a few years time. Its a lot more fun spending time riding bikes, but we’ve learned first hand that the cycling industry is out of control with “borrowing ideas” so it has become an unfortunate necessity to patent ideas if you want to stay in business.

Have you considered making the pedal body black or in other colors instead of silver?

e.thirteen: yeah, definitely, so far no stock colors have been picked yet, but black or colored bodies are certainly not out of the question. We’ll work on getting them 100% dialed performance wise, then work on making the colors pretty.

What are the dimensions of the pedals?

e.thirteen: The platforms themselves are 108mm front to back by 99mm wide. We used data on the ergonomics of the human foot to shape the platforms and the contours of the platforms so that we could help keep the ball of the foot in the optimal positions for pedaling efficiency and bike control. We made the platforms as thin as possible, they are 17mm thick at the axle, 14mm thick at their thinnest point, and 19.5mm thick at their thickest. The dimensions are still being tuned with pro rider feedback. Pin locations were placed using a nonlinear FEA analysis of common shoe soles and through looking at how pin locations deformed the soles and affected stress distribution in the shoe. From there a pin arrangement that evenly distributes force in the shoe sole was chosen. For production we’ll offer additional pin layouts that will let riders fine tune for their preference.

, Preview: e.thirteen Staccato 8 Pedals

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[e.thirteen Staccato 8 Gallery] [e.thirteen Website]

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