YOSHIMURA CHILAO PEDAL REVIEW
A NEW FAVORITE?
Review by Cole Gregg
When you hear the name Yoshimura, the first thing that comes to mind is likely full-throttle action, whether it be motocross or that dude on a GSXR pulling a wheelie past you on the freeway. Now you can add MTB to that list, where Yoshimura hopes to inspire some full-throttle mountain bike riding. Yoshimura has gone out and created a flat pedal to give the rest a run for their money, bringing decades of manufacturing experience to their Chilao pedal which really shows in the final product. Flat pedal connoisseur Cole was stoked to put a set to the test.
The Chilao pedal is CNC machined in California from a 6061-T6 billet block of aluminum and comes in two sizes. The small measures 100mm long and 95.5mm wide with a weight of 340 grams per pair, and the large (tested) comes in at 110mm long by 107.25mm wide and weighs 375 grams per pair. Regardless of the size, the platform features a concave shape to let the foot sit “in the pedal” and increase the amount of mechanical grip.
The spindle on the Chilao is a proprietary alloy steel which is heat treated to ensure it stands up to the rigors of the most aggressive riders. The platform sits closer to the crank than many, bolstering the strength further and keeping your foot and leg in line closer to the bike helping with power delivery.
The 7075-T6 aluminum pins are all screwed in from the opposite side of the pedal which we love to see – there’s no need for a pair of vice grips to replace a sheared off pin. The large size pedal features 10 pins per side while the small has 7, and Yoshimura offers these in 5 colors to add a touch of flair to the Yoshikote or Pewter body color options.
Aside from the beautiful CNC work on these pedals, Yoshimura has paid attention to longevity to ensure it is a pedal you can swap onto new bikes for years to come. Yoshimura recessed the alloy end plug to help keep debris and rock strikes at bay, ensuring it’s always easy to get access for servicing. The axle runs on two outboard sealed cartridge bearings and one inboard bushing, which should provide smooth rotation and a long-life span as they are completely weather sealed for those that ride year-round. On top of that there are additional dust seals adding to the longevity of this pedal. Should you have any issues there are service kits available to make your pedal good as new.
With a price tag of $199.00 for the large platform and $189.00 for the small, these “Made in America” pedals are not a budget option. That said, do they pack the performance to justify the price? Find out below.
Opening the Yoshimura Chilao pedals for the first time, instantly the detail and finish of the CNC’d platform stood out. With size 12 feet, it was a no brainer to ask for the large body size to test. When on the dirt, the concave shape of their platform made my feet feel at home, meaning that there was little time needed to acclimate myself to the feeling of the pedals. I have spent the last 4 riding seasons on the similar Deity TMACs when not running clips, so I’m no stranger to the benefits of a concave platform on a flat pedal. The Chilao platform is slightly wider than the TMAC which was a nice addition having such large feet, and within a few laps I felt right at home.
The pin layout is second to none, I really dig the center pins on the Chilao, if you don’t quite have your foot centered on the pedal there is still plenty of traction to keep your foot locked in. The only downside I found with the pin set-up came when my foot was on the outer edge of the pedal, there was a noticeable loss in grip when compared to the TMAC’s. This is likely due to the Chilao’s only having four pins on the outside compared to the six pins on the TMAC’s. This was rarely an issue but still something to be aware of.
I really like how close the Yoshimura’s Chilao pedals sit to the crank. When hitting jumps, I am often riding with my foot pressed up on the cranks to give me more stability and control over the bike. If you are not picky about your foot position this may not make a difference either way for you, but for me it’s a standout design feature with this pedal. While this is not an issue for me, some riders may have issues with rubbing on the crank when wearing bulkier shoes.
Having the option from the factory to choose your pin color is rad, why more companies don’t offer this baffles me, after all custom is king! On my build the Pewter pedals with red pins matched my RockShox Zeb perfectly. Yoshimura also gives you the option on their website to order these pins individually in each color should you need a replacement, which is great to see.
During my time on these pedals the spindles have remained tight and did not require any tune ups which was to be expected, as the sealing seems to be very effective thus far. I do not see myself needing to replace the bearings anytime soon on these, though I am not an overly heavy rider at 175lbs with gear, so heavier riders in more aggressive climates may see slightly shorter service intervals. We will see how the rest of the winter goes but I am confident they will stay in tip top shape. Their construction and professed strength give me no worries about bending or breaking them, and even the pins have held up remarkably well under my abuse thus far. They’re certainly a large chunk of money but seem to pack the quality and longevity to justify it.
The Wolf’s Last Word
Will these Yoshimura Chilao pedals replace the excellent TMAC’s as my go-to? The answer is a firm yes. Offering a slightly larger platform with more usable grip in many foot positions, I was a fan on ride number one. Besides the ride quality, the CNC work on these pedals is outstanding and is a great way to finish off a custom build or spice up your current bike. I would like to see Yoshi come out with some more pedal color options, but for their first entry into the MTB market they knocked it out of the park.
Price: $189.00 (Small) / $199.00 (Large)
Weight: 375 g/pair (Large)