New magnetic bike pedals take a lighter approach
While many cyclists use clipless pedals (where a cleat on the bottom of the shoe engages a spring-loaded receptacle in the pedal) other riders hate the idea of being mechanically attached like that – plus they may find it difficult to "click in" to the pedals. That's why David Williams and his team first created Maglock pedals, which simply use magnets to retain the rider's foot. Now, he's back with a smaller, lighter and less expensive version known as the Vault.
The new pedals work exactly the same as the original Maglocks, now known as the Fort Knox model …
Each pedal contains 10 cylindrical neodymium magnets, which together create approximately 30 lb (14 kg) of magnetic attraction per pedal. If that's too much – and it probably will be for most riders – some of the magnets can be removed by taking off a stainless steel cover plate on the pedal.
The magnets are drawn to an SPD-compatible steel cleat mounted on the rider's shoe. As long as the cleat faces directly onto the pedal, the two stick together. When the cyclist needs to get their foot off, they simply twist it sideways – not unlike they would on a mechanical clipless pedal.
Tipping the scales at approximately 974 g, however, the original Fort Knox pedals are definitely on the heavy side. By contrast, a set of mid-range Shimano SPD clipless pedals weigh in at around 380 g. That's where the Vault pedals come in.
They're physically smaller and sleeker than their predecessor, and their main body is made from a plastic composite instead of aluminum. As a result, the final production version (which is still in the works) has an estimated weight of 600 g per pair – keep in mind that's with all the magnets, which most people likely won't use.
Plans also call for them to be cheaper. While the Fort Knoxes currently sell for $165 a set, the Vaults should go for $110. In fact, they're currently the subject of a Kickstarter campaign, where they can be had for $65 – assuming everything works out, that is.