Throwback Thursdays: 1999 WTB MP250 Stealth Clipless Pedal "Project"

06 August, 2014

I once met a wise man who told me he worked for WTB on the MP250 Project.  Project.  Hmmmm.  That's certainly a curious word choice.  Why not say I worked on the MP250 pedals, or the Stealth pedals?  The wise man's name was Cameron Falconer and he chose that word with a great deal of thought, like all things he does.  Here's why he chose it:

Because everything around that pedal created a project.

They were sweet and not so sweet at the same time.  Here's why they were sweet:

- Themoplastic

Thermoplastic

THERMOPLASTIC

Here's why they were not so sweet:

- Themoplastic

Thermoplastic

THERMOPLASTIC

RoboCop probably used thermoplastic.  I like RoboCop.  Thermoplastic was so cool, I had no idea what it actually meant, but back then, I wanted it.  I knew that part.  GT made an LTS bike in thermoplastic, here it is:

This photo was found under the curious and obscure suspension section of MTBR.

I'm fairly confident they don't  make that bike anymore.  Notice where the shock is, ahhhem, in relation to where one sits.  Then have a quick look at that rear wheel.  Yes it is carbon, carbon wheels aren't new, no carbon doesn't sound as cool as thermoplastic.  Rumor was, that rear wheel could flex its blades of carbon fiber, creating a more compliant ride.  Even more rumor was, they could explode.  Imagine if that rear wheel exploded - would the rear shock revolt and eject skyward, much like an upset automotive engine "throwing a rod" when you redline it?  If so, it would violate the rider.  Violate them like RoboCop.

It wouldn't happen.

The MP250s were sweet because with thermoplastic, aside from just having thermoplastic, you could make things lighter.  They were only 250g, even though the press release below says 260g.  No matter what, that's incredibly light, even for today's standards - that was 250g without a Ti axle.  They also were pretty easy to get into and didn't really pull out when you were hammering away, those of you who hammered (luckies.)  The bearings were smooth and beautiful and lasted.

The problem was, depending on who made them, they could crack.  Early versions were machined locally while overseas production of the pedal seemed to have a very difficult time getting the thermoplastic just so, and as a result, some cracked.  It was a real pity because there was so much potential and if a pair didn't break, they were great.  Several people worked to try to iron out and address the issue, it never could be resolved.  One of those people was Cameron, and that's why he called it a project. 

So next time somebody boasts to you about something carbon they recently purchased, go ahead and give them pause, ask them why they didn't opt for thermoplastic.  RoboCop likes thermoplastic.

The MP250 Stealth Clipless Pedals first appeared in the 2000 WTB catalog.
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