Riding clipped in on a unicycle can be scary. What if I can’t get my foot off the pedal in an UPD? Hopefully you have good medical coverage or a set of MagLOCK Unicycle Pedals.
The MagLOCK comes stock with 10 neodymium N42 magnets that bring about 30-35lbs of holding power per pedal. With an allen wrench you can easily unscrew the metal cover and remove magnets until you find the hold you like. I’m using just 6 magnets in each pedal, that’s somewhere in the 20 lbs range. Yes the pedals are heavy, 510 gram for each pedal with all magnets installed and 99 grams for the metal cleat, but not heavy enough to make a considerable difference in my riding.
Unclipping is as easy as slightly tilting your foot, something that I seem to be doing unconsciously anyway, as I never felt very locked in to pedal when I started testing them. Only when I tried to pull straight up did I realize how much holding power these pedals actually produce. That scared me a bit but over the next few weeks I became very comfortable riding with them.
Due to habit, I mount center foot still. With cleats you keep your foot further back than I used to ride un-clipped. Moving the foot backwards is very easy as the metal cleat slides nicely over the pins on pedal. Once you hear the click when the metal cleat slam against pedal you know you are solid on pedal. It is a bit awkward, but nothing I can’t overcome with practice.
So far all I can say is these pedals rock. I ride faster and with more confidence clipped in than I ever did on my old platform pedals. I feel no risk of accidentally slipping foot off of pedal, once attached you stay attached until you purposefully decide to un-clip. And I feel no risk of being attached when I don’t want to be as un-clipping comes very naturally.
Can’t tell you the physics of why it works, I assume since you are pulling just one side of metal cleat you aren’t working against the full strength of magnets. The cleats are attached on SPD compatible shoes with two screws.
I had to try these pedals and have not been in the least disappointed. As a matter of fact, I was both surprised and delighted to discover how much they helped my riding. I ride almost strictly muni. If that’s you, I’m convinced you’ll have a lot of fun with these pedals and experience noticeable improvement in your riding.
Why do I like them? In short, I experienced an immediate increase in performance. I first tried them on a fairly technical trail I’ve ridden many times and cleaned several sections that have dogged me for years! I was shocked at the difference they made. Why? First, where I expected to be knocked off my unicycle by rocks or roots, I noticed to my surprise that my feet were still firmly attached to the pedals. I’d be thinking, “I’m coming off,” then notice that my feet were still on the pedals. Rather than a quick bail I was able to recover and power through some really tough sections. You’re not going to clear everything but it was great to avoid unexpected falling from loss of contact.
Secondly, for me they simply made tough uphill sections easier to conquer. For whatever reason I have a tendency to roll off my pedals when I have to dig deep to get up a steep ascent. Perhaps I need to exert greater arm pull on the seat to keep the pedals firmly affixed to my shoes while climbing. With these pedals this is simply not an issue. Not having to worry about roll-over or slippage seems to allow me to put every effort into powering up. Crazy.
Third, while waiting for the pedals to arrive, I took a couple of fairly long and grueling rides and noticed that, as fatigue sets in, I had a tendency to relax a bit too much and, once again, roll off the pedals with the slightest bump or jolt. It is difficult to maintain the arm pull and downward push required to keep your feet firmly attached to the pedals over an extended period of time. With these pedals, no worries. Feet always firmly planted. That’s the beauty. Anyone who rides cross country knows the importance of taking advantage of every opportunity to ride relaxed. The trick is to be able to rest without popping off from the smallest pebble on the trail. These pedals won’t let you pop off and, I suspect, will enhance stamina and endurance.
Fun bits? Riding rough terrain without seat grab—takes some getting used to but will almost certainly save energy. Also, riding really fast through rock garden/heavy rooted sections without worrying about UPD from loss of contact. There is also hopping without seat grab. Again, weird feeling, but something I can certainly get used to.
Who should get them? I’m an experienced rider and loved them. My son is just starting out and noticed an immediate improvement. I suspect for the neophyte, learning on MagLocks will revolutionize the way you learn to ride. Highly recommended for newbies.
A final note: after a bit of experimenting, I have been riding with all the magnets inserted—maximum holding power—and had no issues with face plants. If you ride hard (and isn’t that the point) then you are going to come off when you need to. I did not find sticking to the pedals to be a major issue.
I would trust this “everything is perfect and nothing is wrong” testimony a little bit more if it wasn’t the very first post of a new member.
It sounds like an ad (I’m not saying that it is, Bob O seams to be a legit member of the unicycle comunity), nothing about the danger of staying stuck to the pedals during an UPD when you can hop with those pedals without even holding the seat, really? Totally safe? Humm…
I’m not sure to buy this.
If it’s so powerful with all the magnets, I can’t help but see at least a form of danger that every user should warn people .
Martin Charier, world unicycle champion, uses some soft clipless pedals that can be compared with the magnet pedals, he was very confident with those until he had a bad upd recently, leading to some face injuries that could have been worst.
Magnet pedals are like pedals with strong pins, there certainly is some advantages but you can also read some bad stories here because of them.
It can’t be 100 percent win/win.
Don’t you thing so?
Yes, you’re absolutely right. I do think so.
I joined the list in order to post (busted!) and posted because I was surprised to find how much difference the pedals made. They seemed like a pretty good idea so I took a chance and bought some to find out for myself. I wanted to describe my experience so others could at least have something to go on to decide whether they thought it might be worth trying. I’d say yes, not because they are completely safe (don’t believe it!) but because of the way I found that they enhanced my riding experience. All I can say is, so far, surprisingly good. Warning: past performance is not a guarantee of future results. That said, past performance has been surprisingly great.
A couple of points of further clarification:
You can hop with them, but only so much. You can hop right off the pedals if jump to hard. So yes, even with all the magnets they will release. Will they always release when you want them to and never when you don’t. No such luck. But then you can always add or take out magnets to your taste. They’re like ski bindings (in fact they remind me of my old spademans with the plate in the middle of the ski boot!): guaranteed to work as desired…most of the time. If you ski often enough you know you’re going to get hurt.
I can’t say that these are safer than “soft clipless pedals” but they are different. They do seem like a good compromise between conventional pedals and traditional clipless pedals. Of course you’ll have to judge for yourself.
I’m not telling anyone to go out and buy these pedals. I’m simply reporting what I experienced: I took a chance and was very surprised that I was able to ride with relative ease through technical sections that have busted my butt for years. Perhaps the pedals will eventually bust my butt (or more likely teeth).
I’ll let you know.
Hmm. I think there’s a reason magnetic pedals haven’t “stuck” in the bike market. I can think of at least two other versions that don’t seem to be around anymore. One of them was from Mavic, who as a large player in the industry probably had a bit more support behind the product.
Aside from the ridiculous weight, the main thing I took away is they are slippery and rely almost totally on the grip of the magnets. The fore aft position is too fixed while the slipperiness allows too much rotation of the foot.
Some were critical of the bearing quality.
Some seemed to want to like them and thought they were great idea … for someone else’s ride.
I think I would rather stay with SPD pedals with ‘cheating’ multi release cleats. I have been using them for nearly 2 years and do not intend to revert to pinned pedals.
With SPDs, you have to get used to a little extra foot rotation. With the maglock pedals, I do not believe that the magnetic interface would hold the sheet of steel attached to the bottom of your shoe firmly forcing the pedals to have pins keeping your feet in position. This would hinder safe pedal release for a unicyclist as upwards release IMHO is a UPD only method.
Also, the pins at the front and back would hinder the extremely easy foot positioning to change gear when using a schlumpf.
Another advantage of SPDs is that it is possible to fine tune the tension which holds your shoes to the pedals. This is not possible with magnetic pedals without replacing magnets (not exactly a fine adjustment).
I don’t think someone that uses SPD pedals would change, all you would add is weight. They are excellent as an alternative to SPDs for those who might be afraid of clipping in mechanically.
Unlike SPDs where you twist your heel outwards to release the MagLocks release when you twist your foot at ankle. In a UPD the twisting at ankle seems more natural than the twisting out of heel.
The pins does not really play a part when you use your bike shoes, I believe they are there so you can also ride them with other shoes as a simple but heavy platform pedal. The float when attached is quite noticeable and might actually help with shifting gears on a Schlumpf.
I think you might be right on this but I’m not sure it makes much of a difference. I haven’t found myself needing to fine tune my Mags.