When we developed the Occult pedal we couldn’t have imagined how quickly it would become so popular. When Mike Kazimer included the Occult in Pinkbike’s “12 of the Best 2020 Flat Pedals Ridden & Rated” article, all he could find to complain about was that they were hard to get your hands on. Out of all the pedals in the article, Tenet was named the winner in the best value category thanks to the overall performance and industry leading Free Refresh Program. We were ordering as many pedals as we could at a time, but the COVID era supply chain issues meant we never had pedals in stock.
Fast forward to the present time: many productions have come and gone and thousands of pedals have been passed along to the hands of our customers for abuse. And boy did you all abuse them… Nice job by the way. As each batch of pedals moved into production, we were constantly working to improve the pedals and fix any flaws that we found, however minor, through running changes.
If you are unfamiliar with what running changes are, they are minor changes made to improve a product while it is in active production. Having worked in the bike industry for many years, we knew that there was a unique skill involved in mastering the art of the running change. Runnign changes can be quite difficult to pull off because there are many small parts involved in a platform pedal and a change to any one part can cause a ripple effect to other parts or the entire pedal and completely derail the train. Luckily Luke Beale, Tenet’s co-owner/engineer, is a veteran of this work. Having developed full suspension bikes and components for many brands for decades, Luke was able to reduce the ripple effect and keep things moving and more importantly improving from production to production. The changes to the exterior are quite subtle but significant in many ways. You might be familiar with the saying “It’s what’s inside that counts”, well that absolutely applies here.
Issue #1: Bent Spindles
A common theme that you might notice throughout these changes all stem from a high priority placed on a low-profile platform. We wanted to keep the platform as thin as possible to reduce pedal strikes while pedaling and cornering. This is very challenging when working with a bushing/bearing design as you still need enough tolerance in the thickness of the platform to ensure it won’t break under load. We also knew that we didn’t want to run an outboard bearing because we just don’t like how these pedals feel under foot as well as the crank use limitations that arise with carbon crank boots. So after reviewing a lot of other pedals on the market, we opted to settle with a 10mm diameter spindle as this was fairly common among other brands and FEA analysis and ISO testing showed it to be strong enough for mountain use. As many people will know you can test and model all day long, but nothing proves a product like real world use and people would put our pedals through the ringer resulting in more bent spindles than we were comfortable with, occurring in about 1% of our pedals.
We spent hundreds of hours designing, prototyping, and testing a wide variety of spindle designs and finally landed on what we believe to be the most optimized spindle shape we could possibly make given the design constraints of the Occult platform. By increasing the diameter to 11mm and drawing out the taper, we found that we could increase the fatigue life of the pedal without having to make the existing platform any thicker. We placed a very high priority on spindle strength, and we knew we could only trust one lab with validating our design: EFBE.
EFBE is an independent test lab located in Waltrop, Germany that specializes in highly accurate real world testing parameters. Not only do they certify products to the international ISO standard they also have developed their own testing parameters (Tri-Test) to better simulate real world impact and fatigue scenarios. This relationship with EFBE has allowed us to better understand how our pedals (and frankly all of our parts) will hold up to the rigors of aggressive mountain bike riding. After receiving a passing Tri-Test Gravity report for both the Occult V2 and Omen V2 we knew we had accomplished what we had set out to do, create the most durable and affordable pedal in the market.
Issue #2: Water Ingress
Our Free Pedal Refresh program gave us some valuable insight into another issue that some customers were encountering. After riding our pedals for up to a year, when the pedals were sent back to get tuned up (for only the cost of shipping), we noticed that there was more corrosion and wear than we would like to see. This typically occurred for riders in wetter climates – which we knew from correlating the pedal refresh to the rider’s shipping location.
We designed a new seal with significantly greater surface sealing and grease holding ability. There is slightly more surface friction with this seal, but the trade off is better sealing from the elements and longer service intervals. As an added bonus, your pedals won’t spin when you take your feet off to do that huge Superman seat grab Indian air at your local jumps;)
Issue #3: Bearing Life
Issues 2 and 3 go hand in hand. When we originally designed the Occult and Omen pedals, we placed an equal emphasis on durability and keeping the pedals as thin as possible while maintaining true dual concavity. To keep the pedals as thin as possible, we selected a 10mm x 6mm x 3mm sealed bearing that is used on many other pedals. These miniature bearings work well as long as they are operating in a clean, well greased, and water free environment. Since we were making other changes to the pedal assembly to increase the service life, we also looked into sourcing a larger, more durable bearing to improve the durability as much as possible.
Both the Occult and the Omen now use 3) 11mm x 6mm x 4mm sealed bearings in each pedal. That size difference might not seem significant, but the difference in the size of the actual ball bearings housed inside is actuallyrelatively large. The larger bearings require a small change to the platform shape near the outer edge of the pedal to accommodate them, but we feel this is a minor underfoot difference that we ourselves couldn’t notice and the upside was well worth it in the end.
Well there you have it. Probably way to much info regarding things you visibly can’t see but we are damn proud of the work we’ve done. We could have simply just told you “They are better, trust us” but as a company we think transparency is ultra-important and we hope that you as the customer can find value in that. The Occult V1 rose to its status because it’s truly a fantastic pedal. Thousands of people out there still use it today, Hell even we have them on our bikes. Making things better is what we do and we will continue to strive for the best, we promise you that.