Re: An ironic observation
... if you bought an old vintage pedal (like a Camco, or a Gretsch, or a Tama Flexi Flyer) and just replaced the sealed bearings in the posts, you'd have a new pedal - or at least how that pedal felt when it was brand new.
Well, it helps to replace main bearings, but that's not the only spot that wears on a pedal. The achilles heel of old skool pedals is their heel plate hinge and most are not replaceable.
Drum companies look at their stuff and (try to) improve on it, its how they roll. Take TAMA as an example, they looked at their CAMCO pedal and improved on it, stiffened the main posts, messed with adding eccentric cams for a mechanical advantage, improved the heel plate hinge, improved adjustability, all the things their CAMCO pedal fell short on.
As mentioned, since pedals don't produce sound, its the ease of use and durability that sets the new stuff apart from the old designs... and in related terms 'feel' can also be considered subjective.