Bicycles

MagLOCK takes another kick at magnetic clipless bike pedals

MagLOCK takes another kick at ...
The new-and-improved MagLOCK pedals
The new-and-improved MagLOCK pedals
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The new-and-improved MagLOCK pedals
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The new-and-improved MagLOCK pedals
The amount of attraction between MagLOCK pedals and cleats can be adjusted by adding or removing magnets
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The amount of attraction between MagLOCK pedals and cleats can be adjusted by adding or removing magnets
The weight of the system is now down from 1,540 grams to 974 g per pair of MagLOCK pedals
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The weight of the system is now down from 1,540 grams to 974 g per pair of MagLOCK pedals

Last November we first heard about MagLOCK pedals – clipless mountain bike pedals that use magnets instead of springs to keep the rider's feet attached, and that can also be used as regular platform pedals. The product fell short of its crowdfunding goal, perhaps because the pedals were kind of clunky, but MagLOCK designer Dave Williams is now back on Kickstarter with a sleeker, lighter and less expensive version.

Unlike their predecessors, the new pedals have a low-profile cutaway design, with a body made from anodized aluminum. They still contain rare earth magnets that engage a steel cleat on the bottom of the rider's cycling shoe, although those magnets are now cylindrical.

The amount of attraction between MagLOCK pedals and cleats can be adjusted by adding or removing magnets
The amount of attraction between MagLOCK pedals and cleats can be adjusted by adding or removing magnets

As before, the amount of attraction between pedal and cleat – and thus the degree of shoe retention on the pedal – can be adjusted by adding or removing magnets via a stainless steel cover (the rider can release their foot simply by pronating it sideways). A maximum attractive force of 35 lb (16 kg) is possible, which is less than the original model's 50 lb (23 kg), although Williams claims that it's still sufficient to keep one's feet in place even on rough terrain.

The weight of the system is now down from 1,540 grams to 974 g per pair of MagLOCK pedals. By contrast, a pair of Shimano M545 pedals (which combine a platform and an SPD retention mechanism) weigh in at 567 g. According to Dave, however, MagLOCKs allow for more foot-float than SPDs, are easier to engage, and should be less intimidating to riders who are new to foot retention systems.

And yes, they're cheaper than the old version. Whereas pledge levels for the originals started at US$175, you can currently get a pair of the new ones for $120 – assuming they reach production.

Sources: MagLOCK, Kickstarter

2 comments
habakak
A good idea and refreshing to see a new approach. But they are still way too heavy and clunky for any half-decent mountain biker to consider. It's really not that hard getting used to clipless pedals. But I still think this is a great idea. Hopefully it comes to market and in a few generations the design will improve and offer a competitive alternative to existing solutions.
sk8dad
Anything magnetic is bad for mountain biking in the Western U.S. The iron rich environment will see the pedal and cleat accumulate particles to an unusable state within a single ride. In the least, it will likely cause unpredictable holding--not the kind of thing you want to think about when sending a long rocky descent.