While mountain biking with clipless pedals is definitely more efficient, it can be downright scary in technical terrain. So how do you get the security of clipless pedals with the freedom of flat pedals? The MagLOCK Bike Pedals appear to offer the best of both worlds–magnets secure your feet to the pedals so they don’t fly off, but you can easily put your foot down when the need arises. Although the company launched a Kickstarter campaign last year, they have continued to refine and improve the design for this new iteration.
Using a heavy-duty magnet in place of cleats is not a new idea–back in 2007, Silicon Valley company Proton Lock launched the same pedal concept and Mavic even produced a pair. Magnet bike pedals helped BMX rider and amputee Kurt Yaeger get back on the bike.
The MagLOCK Bike Pedal is a platform pedal that utilizes strong rare-earth magnets to secure your shoe to the pedal via magnetic inserts that attach the same way as an SPD cleat. To engage, simply hover your foot near the pedal and the magnetic pull will guide your foot in and secure it to the platform. To disengage, simply pronate your foot left or right to break the attraction–this is supposedly much easier to do than the twisting motion required to exit a clipless pedal.
For beginners or those wanting a lighter connection, you can adjust the strength of the force by adding or removing magnets in the pedal. Over time, you can incrementally increase the number of magnets until the desired force is reached.
Compared to the original version, MagLOCK Bike Pedals are now lighter at 974 grams (547 grams without magnets) and a bit cheaper at $120. The MagLOCK Bike Pedal spindle has a 9/16”-20 thread, the most common crank thread size and the steel shoe clips included with the magnetic pedals are compatible with pretty much any SPD shoe.