Bicycles

Nikola pedals are designed to let you cycle like a skater

Nikola pedals are designed to ...
A pair of Nikola pedals at Interbike 2014
A pair of Nikola pedals at Interbike 2014
View 2 Images
A pair of Nikola pedals at Interbike 2014
1/2
A pair of Nikola pedals at Interbike 2014
Each Nikola pedal platform is able to move laterally along its axle, by up to 25 mm
2/2
Each Nikola pedal platform is able to move laterally along its axle, by up to 25 mm

When Nick Stevovich analyzed speed skaters and cyclists, he noticed that the two groups use different sets of muscles to propel themselves forward. It occurred to him that if cyclists could use both of those muscle groups, their pedaling power might increase. The result is the Nikola pedal, which slides out to the side in order to help bring that skating movement to cycling.

Each Nikola pedal platform is able to move laterally along its axle, by up to 25 mm. The idea is throughout each pedal stroke, this will allow the rider's leg to glide slightly to the side, naturally engaging those skating muscles. As with other clipless pedals, the rider's shoes remain securely joined to the pedals until disengaged.

Each Nikola pedal platform is able to move laterally along its axle, by up to 25 mm
Each Nikola pedal platform is able to move laterally along its axle, by up to 25 mm

Ohio-based Nikola Innovations has conducted Wingate anaerobic tests at the Human Performance Lab of Cleveland State University, in which the pedals reportedly produced a peak power improvement of 7 percent, and an energy efficiency increase of 2.1 percent.

Additionally, by letting the rider's hips and knees move more freely, the pedals are said to offer an ergonomic advantage over their conventional counterparts.

Stevovich plans to bring the pedals to market later this fall (Northern Hemisphere), and will offer them in two versions. A set of stainless steel Nikolas will sell for US$339, while a pair in titanium will go for $549.

You can see them in motion, in the video below.

Source: Nikola Innovation

A Revolutionary Natural Way to Pedal

7 comments
David Clarke
I would imagine the percentage improvement in performance would be almost undetectable by the user, so to spend a small fortune on these pedals is a triumph of snake oil salesmanship.
DarkSymphony
@David I dunno, 7% power and 2% efficiency are probably better numbers for the money than some of the insanity you get in road cycling components these days. All about marginal gains at the top end of the price spectrum these days.
wle
completely pointless should sell approximately 0 units plus or minus 10%
too expensive too heavy no real gain maintenance/longevity nightmare
0 units
wle
Will Latinette
Maybe 'snake oil' for non-elite riders but when already spending $5-6K on a cycle the additional 10% expenditure giving a 7% improvement (if true) is significant. Some said that carbon fiber frames were snake oil, also almost any technological improvement which was initially expensive.
Rob Preece
For ordinary cyclists, it sounds like minor tweaking would be a better value. If the percentage increases are demonstrable in the real world, though, I'd expect pro cyclists to be all over this product. A 7% increase in peak power would be huge for a sprinter. A 2.1% improvement in efficiency could make a big difference in a time trial. Since we're not hearing endorsements from pro cyclists, I'm a bit skeptical that this isn't just another of those weird ideas that sound great but don't really work in the real world. Then again, perhaps we'll hear those endorsements in the future.
Intellcity
Not the first to make a claim for increased power with a sliding pedal:
"According to BioConform, riders can choose to pedal using a skating-like motion. Additionally, besides reducing the risk of injuries, the pedals are also claimed to work a wider variety of leg muscles than conventional pedals, potentially allowing for more power."
The BioConform pedals have springs which resist the lateral motion which seems to be more like skating.
I wonder how just having a pedal slide sideways allows you to apply more muscles to the needed circular motion. I wonder if they were able to test and measure the performance increase they are claiming or if it is a theoretical determination based on the probable increase in the number of muscles used. A 7% power increase and an energy efficiency increase of 2.1 percent are huge in the world of top professional racers.
Skaters are doing things a little bit different but the two activities translate better than most. Eric Heiden tried bicycle racing after the Olympics. He was in great shape but each sport has specific physical and mental requirements. He was very good but not as great at cycling as he was at skating.
pmshah
This I would really like to see. "anaerobic" tests - dictionary meaning "without air" - Really ????