Nikola pedals are designed to let you cycle like a skater
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.
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
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too expensive too heavy no real gain maintenance/longevity nightmare
"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.