Bicycles

New magnetic bike pedals take a lighter approach

Maglock Vault pedals keep riders' feet in place using magnets
Maglock Vault pedals keep riders' feet in place using magnets
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Maglock Vault pedals have an estimated weight of 600 g per pair
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Maglock Vault pedals have an estimated weight of 600 g per pair
The Maglock Vault's magnets are drawn to SPD-compatible steel cleats mounted on the rider's shoes
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The Maglock Vault's magnets are drawn to SPD-compatible steel cleats mounted on the rider's shoes
Maglock Vault pedals keep riders' feet in place using magnets
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Maglock Vault pedals keep riders' feet in place using magnets

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.

The Maglock Vault's magnets are drawn to SPD-compatible steel cleats mounted on the rider's shoes
The Maglock Vault's magnets are drawn to SPD-compatible steel cleats mounted on the rider's shoes

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.

Sources: Maglock, Kickstarter

3 comments
Gary Bonney
They will only suit a very small niche of riders, when you are using full power you pedal through the entire stroke including upwards, these would guarantee your foot coming detached constantly and with very few benefits.
Stradric
I own a pair of the aluminum ones. I love them for a few reasons. They're easier to get in and out of, and the shoes are way more functional to walk around in without the SPD cleat. You can also twist your foot, which has certain subtle benefits. They're probably not ideal for elite power riders with massive upstrokes on high end road bikes. But on a mountain bike where a lot of times you don't want to clip in, it gives you the option without having to swap pedals. I actually use these on my road bike and have never had an issue where my upstroke caused it to pop out.
Cody Blank
Nope, still way too heavy. I wonder if that 600g includes that heavy looking cleat as well?