After a successful Kickstarter Campaign in Europe, founders Paul Wessiack and Harald Himmler developed, patented, and produced Magped magnetic safety bike pedals and have now brought the product to North America. Currently geared towards mountain bike and e-bikes, the magnetic pedal is designed to enable the rider to quickly release their foot, but still have extra climbing power and connection to the pedal like clipless pedals. The Magped product video shows the pedals in motion and explains the innovative magnetic setup.
Looks like a flat pedal right? Wrong. Magped uses a super strong magnet to hold your foot to the pedal almost like a clipless show integration.
The current Magped product available for retail and tested in this review is the “Classic” pedal with choice of either the Sport AL15 or Sport AL10. Both pedals are made from light cut aluminum and have an attractive and modern design. Magped has announced that they are in the process of creating several new products for the 2018/2019 season. Three future products to come are the free rider pedal “Flow” (targeted for fall 2018), downhill/enduro pedal “Vortex” (targeted for 2019), and a road bike race pedal (currently in development).
The shoe plate is a simple design made of anti-corrosion treated steel, with a key feature being that it is not sensitive to dirt. The plate is compatible will all SPD bike shoes and it fits slightly below the sole, improving the walkability of the shoe.
The Magped system can connect to all SPD bike shoes, but shoes with a fine to medium coarse tread are recommended.
The body of the pedal is made from high quality light CNC cut aluminium with a CrMo spindle. The weight, including the magnetic system, is 452 grams (100N magnet) or 474 grams (150N magnet) per pair.
The Classic pedal magnet can provide up to 15 kg in pulling force, giving riders more grip and pulling force than a traditional flat pedal. Stronger magnets (200N magnet) can be interchanged into the pedal should the rider require additional strength. While the magnet offers a strong connection to the rider’s shoe plate, the pedal is still safe to release and has been designed to release easily at any point of time in any direction.
The high-performance neodymium magnet is adjustable in height by means of an integrated polymer damper unit, allowing the rider to fine tune the pedal’s overall connection and fit to their bike shoe.
The platform pedal has pins installed on both sides, like a regular flat pedal. The magnet is on one side making for a lighter pedal and giving the rider the option to ride as a regular flat, or with the added magnet connection. Each pedal is also equipped with three sealed high-quality industrial type bearings.
The design of the pedal allows the foot several degrees of twist/swivel from left to right (i.e. pedal float), which will put less strain on the rider’s ankles and create a more comfortable position during the ride. The system also ensures a continuous circular motion by activating the extensor muscles (70%) and flexor muscles (30%) for maximum riding performance.
Magped recently released a second version of pedal that has two integrated magnets rather than just the one as found on the classic version. This solves the problem of not being able to easily connect your bike shoes to the magnet side of the Classic Magped Pedal. This new version is called the Magped Enduro or "Vortex" Pedal and is for those who ride harder and don't mind a little extra weight for a whole lot more convenience.
When I watched the Magped video on Facebook, I was intrigued by the innovative design of a magnetic pedal that has pulling force similar to a clipless, but also has the complete flat setup with pins. I am an intermediate cross-country/all mountain cyclist and I currently ride clipless. I have been considering going back to flats this past year, as I am more comfortable on technical downhill rides with a full platform, and I feel my technique has been getting a bit lazy riding clipless all the time. These pedals seemed like the perfect in-between option.
Setup & Fit:
The magnet can be adjusted up and down for a better connection to the shoe plate and there is an optional spacer, which you can insert between the shoe and plate for a better fit to the pedal. The setup was straightforward, and Magped also offers an instructional setup video on their website. I recommend watching this video, as you may need to adjust the magnet or take out the spacer to fit your bike shoe properly. I recommend following the fine to medium coarse tread shoe advice outlined on the Magped site, as my first test was with a high tread cross-country shoe and the magnetic pedal connection and fit to the shoe was minimal.
First ride impression was not as magically magnetic as I was hoping, mainly due to testing the pedals with my stiff high tread SPD shoes that I currently use with my clipless setup. As the Magped pedals have pins on the platform, you should only use a fine to medium tread shoe for a better connection and overall fit to the pedal. Even after adjusting the magnet, I found that my cross-country shoes did not connect well with the pins/magnet on the pedals and my feet would slip off over steep hills, roots, rocks, and other key sections where it is essential that they stay on the pedals. I decided to gear myself up with finer tread shoes for another test run and right away I noticed a better connection with the pins and magnet, which undeniably improved my riding experience with the pedals. The rest of the review is based off of riding with the finer tread SPD shoes.
Another reviewer tested their set of Magped Pedals with the Gyro Rumble VR cycling shoes which provide clipless pedal compatibility and a grippy Vibram® outsole for walkability. Not unlike a comfortable light hiking shoe, the Gyro Rumble VR’s have a supple, synthetic upper with plenty of mesh for breathability and an injected inner shank which helps transfer with power transmission to the pedals.
Off and on the pedal:
It took me awhile on my first couple rides to get used to unclipping from the pedals. I am so used to twisting my foot to the side, which works with these pedals, but it is not necessary. The pedal releases your shoe easier and quicker if you lift your foot up and then to the side. The lift and to the side motion is not as jarring and may benefit people with ankle or knee injuries.
I occasionally have trouble clipping in on steep sections where I need to get back on my bike and I was hoping these flat magnetic pedals would offer a bit more ease starting on tricky sections. The pedals would have potentially met my expectations if they had a magnet on both sides. I found my right foot naturally pushing the pedal forward and connecting to the magnet side but when my left foot went to connect, I would step down on the pedal instead of coming up behind it to push forward to connect to the magnet side. In these situations, my left foot would continually end up connecting to the unmagnetic side. After multiple rides I have been able to connect my shoe more often to the magnetic side by consciously adjusting my technique; however, I still find myself sometimes looking down at my feet when getting going and not always connecting to the magnet side. This frustration possibly could be resolved if there was a magnet installed on each side of the pedal like most clipless pedals have. In saying that, I am happy to hear that Magped will be releasing the Vortex pedal in 2019 that will feature a magnet on both sides of the pedal, potentially solving this issue and providing an easier and more efficient connection to the pedals.
On the trails:
The pedals performed quite well on the downhill and my feet stayed connected around every turn and over every drop, rock, and root. Having the platform and extra connection with the magnet was great for downhill riding and I felt more confidence during the descent of my ride. The magnets have great strength, but the pulling force is not as strong as clipless. While riding, if you were to pull your foot up it may slip off the pedal. The pedals are geared to increase your efficiency, but with a circular motion– more like you would ride uphill with a flat. I found that my technique was forced to change slightly, and even improve while riding with the Magped pedals. Once I dialled in and adjusted my pedalling technique, climbing and connection to the pedal was more consistent. When I switched back to riding with clipless, a surprise benefit was that my overall performance and technique with my clipless pedals had also improved. I see a benefit of switching back and forth between my clipless and the magnetic pedals, depending on the type of ride.
Clipless, Magnetic, or Flats?
If you are not comfortable moving to clipless and being mechanically attached to your pedals, but want that extra pulling force not offered with flats, then these may be a good in between pedal option. If you are a rider that is comfortable with clipless pedals and expect that same pulling force, then the Classic pedal may not meet your expectations. However, one of the future Magped pedals options may be more suitable. The Magped Classic pedal is not intended to be a replacement for clipless or flats, but to be a third option, as they have qualities designed from both.
Magped Sport AL15
Weight: 474g / 16.7oz
Magped Sport AL10
Weight: 452g / 16oz
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