MagLOCK Pedal - Interbike 2015

Sep 19, 2015
by Mike Levy  
Interbike 2015


The Magnet Powered Pedal

How do you help to keep your feet on the pedals if you don't want to clip-in and definitely don't want to use toe straps? Magnets could be the answer, according to David Williams, founder of Utah-based Wasatch Bike Components. Williams called on his mechanical engineering background to design the MagLOCK pedal that employs, you guessed it, magnets to help hold your feet in place. The basic idea goes like this: a number of rare earth magnets are located on the pedal, while a flat steel cleat is bolted onto the bottom of the shoe. The two components obviously want to be together, which means that your feet want to stay put on the pedals.


Given that they're stuffed full of rather heavy magnets, it's no surprise that a set of MagLOCK pedals aren't light - 974 grams for the prototype version that you see here, or 547 grams without the magnets. Williams knows that figure will make his pedal a no-go for many riders and he says that he's okay with that, but also that the more forgiving nature of his design means that some downhillers will look past the heft. He also explained that lower limb amputees have found that the design allows them to attach and detach much easier than with a more traditional clipless system due to what he says is a more natural, pronating motion to release the foot. Picture rolling your foot off rather then rotating your heel out.
Interbike 2015
The large steel cleat is held onto the pedal by ten powerful magnets.

Interbike 2015
Each magnet slides into cylindrical holes in the pedal body.
Interbike 2015
Riders can remove magnets to lower the attractive force between the cleat and pedal.


The aluminum pedal body has ten openings, five in front of the axle and five behind it, that serve as home to cylindrical magnets. The magnets slide in from either side, and a stainless steel plate (the clear option pictured here is also available) is bolted on over top that holds them all in place. Williams says that keeping all ten magnets in each pedal results about 30 - 35lb of attractive force that, while not holding your feet as securely as a true clipless setup, is said to be enough to greatly aid in keeping your feet in place when jumping or riding over rough ground. Riders have the option of removing the cover to slide out magnets in order to adjust the holding power, which could be handy for beginners or people who want even more freedom. The six screws that hold the plate in place also act as locaters for the cleat, making it a no-brainer to get your foot in the proper spot.

The other part of the equation is the steel cleats that bolt to the bottom of your shoes via a standard SPD bolt pattern. The 974 gram weight for a set of MagLOCK pedals doesn't factor in the cleats, which is clearly going to be heavier than a standard SPD version, although weight won't likely be too much of a concern for anyone considering the MagLOCK pedal. The cleat looks a bit ungainly in its current form, but Williams is working on that, including a design that would incorporate a spring-loaded steel section that would retract when the rider isn't on the pedal, therefore not interfering with walking, but be pulled out by the magnetic force when you put your foot over the pedal.


Interbike 2015
The MagLOCK pedal is neither thin nor light, at 974 grams for a set with all of the magnets installed.
Interbike 2015
Are magnets the missing link between traditional platform pedals and current clipless designs?


The MagLOCK pedal has a lot going for it, including plenty of free float, adjustable retention power and, according to Williams, much more forgiving performance than a standard clipless setup. That last point might make the pedal ideal for those just starting out, but also for riders who don't count grams and long ago swore off using clipless pedals but want a bit more security than what a pair of sticky soled shoes can offer. Williams isn't looking to license his patented design to other companies, he explained, instead preferring to steer the ship on his own. A successful Kickstarter campaign saw many funders sign up for the $120 USD dollar pedal, and they can expect to receive the first production examples within the month.

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164 Comments

  • + 282
 And you come down the hill full of nails and stuff
  • + 210
 Saving others punctures! Its f*cking genius!

Now what attracts dog shit?????
  • + 294
 My tyres!
  • + 24
 High iron content in the soil around here, hence the red color of some dirt, I wonder if you'd have a crap tonne of iron filings stuck to it at the bottom of your run
  • + 104
 Nope you just won't get any air on the jumps.
  • + 121
 So, no difference at all.
  • + 62
 On the upside you can rail berms like never before
  • + 5
 Exactly
  • + 61
 For good times...Reverse the polarity so the pedal rejects/deflects your feet...haha
  • + 18
 Now that's innovation, just hold your foot close to the pedal and it will pedal itself!
  • - 32
flag TFreeman (Sep 19, 2015 at 18:10) (Below Threshold)
 well... not really... you'd still have to apply downwards force... which would push the pedal down... 3rd law dude. every blah blah blah equal and opposite.
  • + 16
 that was pedantic, thanks. ha ha...
  • - 31
flag TFreeman (Sep 19, 2015 at 18:26) (Below Threshold)
 @upchuckyeager you understand he was suggesting that you would pretty much have created a form of perpetual motion... which is a big deal.
  • + 27
 even more pedantic, thanks TFreeman
  • + 23
 pedalantic
  • + 9
 i'm drunk, going home
  • + 8
 YES! im so happy to see this post, I saw this as a start up program a couple months ago and was hoping it would pull through but never thought it actually would.
  • + 6
 @TFreeman for the record, I understand that you can't hold your foot in one spot and have it pedal for you. That's what e bikes are for. Sadly.
  • + 14
 E bike slam for the win
  • + 9
 These pedals are quite attractive.
  • + 10
 Pulls all the nails out of a ladder bridge as you ride it!
  • + 5
 @loopie (15 hours ago)
" For good times...Reverse the polarity so the pedal rejects/deflects your feet...haha"

I laughed so hard at this! Hahaha
  • + 7
 Just to be super pedantic, you cant reverse the polarity of steel, its a ferrous metal so will be magnetic to either side of the magnet...
  • + 2
 Magnet to Steel = EnDuro.....Magnet to Magnet = Super MAGDuro !!!
  • + 2
 If the magnet was strong enough, it could theoretically accelerate the pedal through its entire stroke, requiring that person only move their foot in and out of the field of view of the pedal.
  • + 3
 what happens if you have pins in your feet? Sorry Ratboy...not for you.
  • + 40
 Only a matter of time before someone came out with it. I'd actually try this!
  • + 26
 Came out years ago. Mavic's EZ-ride. Lame back then, still lame today.
  • + 5
 Seeing as they're in Vegas, drive over to Utah, throw the pedal in that pretty red dirt and watch what happens. Desert people know magnets suck, there's a reason the dirts red, it's called iron
  • + 6
 Shouldn't be an issue in red desert soils. These soils, and the sandstones they formed from, are red because of hematite coating on sand and silt-sized quartz grains. Hematite is anti-ferromagnetic (not aligned with a magnetic field, and therefore not attracted to a magnet). Magnetite on the other hand is ferromagnetic (hence the name), so there might be the occasional grain stuck to the pedal. This could actually be more of an issue in certain volcanic soils...
  • + 20
 Gunna be ace on my boost, 27.5+, usd fork, carbon roadbike.
  • + 8
 With WTB "cut to fit" grips
  • + 2
 And magura wireless dropper post
  • + 9
 Except that wireless dropper is a solid idea and only costs a little more than Race Face's mechanical option.
  • + 13
 As someone who uses both clips and flats, I feel the concept is good but simply too heavy, light flats are 300g and some clipless models are lighter still so 974g seems far too excessive.
  • + 41
 What's your bmi?
  • + 14
 ^^^^ oh @phallic-menace I am sending you the medical bill since I was not wearing a helmet when I read your comment...fell out of my chair laughing!
  • + 2
 Why does pedal weight matter. On top of the pedal is a rider, a few grams doesn't matter.
  • + 11
 Yeah it's only a few. 500-600ish grams. That's only over half a kilo.......
  • + 7
 It doesnt matter THAT much. But I don't think anyone would want to run 15 miles with 4 pounds shoes. They'd rather do it with suuuper light spongey shoes
  • + 16
 Magnets, how do they work?
  • + 7
 no one knows.
  • + 9
 I do... its when one metal sucks to another metal
  • + 6
 Holy shit he's cracked it!
  • + 3
 It's my theory of everything sucks, it solves the gravity unification problem too. Hawking overthought the whole thing...
  • + 3
 What about ballons? Like, when you let go of the end, how does that work? Yeah it makes sense for gravity and magnets and shit, but now we need a ballon unification theory.
  • + 3
 Wait no, I get it. Everything sucks, and there is nothing in the ballon except air, which isn't really a thing, so the outside world sucks. It really does work!
  • + 1
 man, you got it! air is basically suck-free, but air will suck to itself
  • + 11
 Shimano makes cleats that release either way, and depending on where you set the spring tension on your pedals, you can pull out of the cleats in the same motion you pull your feet off a platform pedal. I've had a combined 12 knee surgeries, so twisting my feet to release with normal cleats is a no-go, but with these I get all the benefits of clipless pedals without having to twist 6 degrees to get out of 'em. I've got the tension turned up on my springs so it'd be difficult to pull a 'normal' cleat out, but with the easy-release cleats I can still pull straight out. And I have yet to get ejected out of my pedals when I wasn't wanting to. I think the 'problem' the above-mentioned pedals are attempting to solve, was solved a long time ago by Shimano.
  • + 6
 That would be the SH56 cleat from Shimano.
  • + 6
 Can't see how this would compare to cleats really. for me its more of "flats that stick better"
  • + 1
 It feels too much like Scalextric ha ha
  • + 1
 Can you bunny hop by just lifting your legs or not? Make them electro magnets with an on off switch on your bars.
  • + 8
 So if I understand it correctly, this is less of an easier-releasing clipless alternative, and more of a more secure flat-pedal alternative (particularly as the weight probably restricts it to gravity-only usage for most). It depends on whether the magnetic force is strong enough to keep your feet on the pedals when you're pulling straight up. If it is, then it'd be closer to clipless, but if it isn't, I can see some problems with people accidentally disengaging during hard efforts. Either way, I'm eager to give it a go.
  • + 25
 ".... less of an easier-releasing clipless alternative, and more of a more secure flat-pedal alternative.." Perfect description.
  • + 5
 This idea has been run around for the past 10+years. Kickstarter is the perfect funding for this idea. I hope one of my buddies gets some so I can try themSmile I know everyone wants to at least try them.
  • + 2
 less of more or more of less? that is the question...
  • + 2
 @khaki why is your flag always a question mark? This has nothing to do with anything, but I alway see you in the comments and your flag is a question mark. I haven't seen that on anybody else
  • + 3
 @dropoffsticks: I've been wondering the same thing. His profile says he lives in... Antarctica. Apparently there's no official Antarctican flag, so there you go. Own any fatbikes, @khaki? Wink
  • + 7
 Because:

1. I'm a libertarian so no flag applies;
2. I'm an international man of mystery and they're still trying to figure out which one to use;
3. They never anticipated anyone picking this location so never got a flag for it;
4. ...?

Btw, to me it just shows the word flag...

@Bluefire: Boost'ed sleds ftw!
  • + 11
 wait...you're a librarian?
  • + 2
 Something like that...
  • - 1
 less performance more money Thats the description I'd call perfect
  • + 5
 Having put many hours on the pedal, I will say that the weight isn't the most noticable, but I weigh 210lbs anyways, so maybe not the best comparision. The real innovation of the pedal, however, is for adaptive sports. The founders (Dave) day job is actually prosthesis development for amputees, and the maglock is perfect for those with adaptive needs. You can lower the attractive force and use a prosthetic foot, and have it stay on the pedal but still release when you need it. If you have a knee injury, the attractive force is around the entire pedal, so you can position your foot anywhere you want pretty much and at any angle you want, and switch it as you ride. Some guy had a calf issue where it would fatigue and enflame with traditional clipless, so he had to ride flats all the time. This gave him the ability to have a stronger integration into his pedal.
  • + 10
 Well, this isn't the worst idea I've seen all day. Seems like a lot of extra weight on the pedals and shoes though
  • + 2
 Yay rotational weight
  • + 10
 This is an attractive idea.
  • + 7
 Then you and I are poles apart.
  • + 7
 Put the magnets in the shoes. The magnets will be attracted to the steel axle. Ive thought about this using neodymium magnets that are about four mm thick and 30 mm in diameter.
  • + 6
 I'm still waiting for the spokeless electromagnetic hubs that work as suspension as well as supporting the rim....shut up, it would definitely work.
  • + 2
 if they can make a hoover board they can make this rad bike you post of
????? what SIZE wheels will it have ????????? 29.5 in front and 28.25 in the rear for sure.
  • + 8
 So what happens when you're foot has just been in a load of mud?
  • + 15
 Same issue you get with traditional cleats. Never been sat at the top of a run picking at them with a stick?
  • + 4
 Not with crankbros! Now I watch people picking at the bottom of their shoes and giggle to myself, remembering the days.
  • + 12
 I just stamp my foot on the pedal hard and the mud clears... never had an issue.
  • + 11
 that's not how magnets work
  • + 6
 That and my cleats don't constantly release on every peddle strike. Spd's for life.
  • + 7
 Everywhere I look people are using rare earth magnets. Why are they rare?
  • + 10
 "Rare earth" is an umbrella term for the elements the magnets are made of. They are called rare because they aren't usually found in big clumps in the ground. Instead they're thinly distributed, so you have to mine a lot of crap to get a small amount of what you want.
  • + 9
 Because you have to do this: www.google.dk/search?q=rare+earth+mines&rlz=1CAACAG_enDK657DK657&es_sm=93&source=lnms&tbm=isch&sa=X&ved=0CAcQ_AUoAWoVChMIo87Q1YGEyAIVBMMUCh0bkAC4&biw=1366&bih=633
to get the slightest amount of it. They use rare elements.
Example of article highlighting the environmental problems. science.time.com/2013/12/20/rare-earths-are-too-rare
  • + 8
 Don't tell that to the "environmentally friendly" e-car crowd...
  • + 1
 Could see this being used for people with a prosthetic leg/foot, and may help to enable an easier grip to pedal for people with such disabilities? It's too heavy for all the weight weenies so can only assume that it would benefit those stated first... Either way I think it's a great idea Smile
  • + 1
 I think they'll likely be future versions, improvements but I think it makes total sense. I think it might be even better with a low magnet strength in a usual softer freeride type shoe. Just enough magnet for some improved pedalling performance and a tad of stick to move the rear end one the bike easy but not enough to remove the need for flat pedal skills.
It is an odd idea but I ride flats and clips. I totally get a sore lower back riding clips. I think it's the pulling....
Clips are nice to keep my positioned on the downs and the routed or bumpy trails. But in general I prefer the feel of flats. Having said all this, I think I can imagine a combo of both.
This might be too much magnet but it maybe a good direction?
  • + 1
 Damnit! I had this idea a few years ago and even drew up sketches but did nothing with it. Good job MagLock, you beat me to it. That being said I would still love to try these, I think it would be a great middle ground between clips and flats, because when there are 2 sides to a MTB gear argument (formerly 26 vs 29) a middle ground always seems to be the answer.
  • + 1
 This ideas got legs ! maybe not this particular effort, but a more refined example. I'm in the target market for this, but that pedal looks gruesome + the weight issue. Wouldn't a flat shoe with a flat metal section be better ?? Allow a bit choice in foot position?? Interested to hear rider feedback
  • + 1
 1. Because it does not work for you does not mean it is a bad idea. 2. This does not work for me. 3. I teach kids mountain bike. This would help a lot of kids. 4. When is a kids bike version coming out!!
  • + 1
 isnt this the same as clipping in though? you obviously cant lift up so you would have to slide your foot of, destroying shoes. just ride clips with big platforms or ride 510 and good pedals
  • + 0
 i think they should be able to find smaller magnets which would decrease the weight. where i work, we have used magnets that were 1 cm x 1 cm x 3 mm. they were light and were the strongest magnets i've ever seen, especially for the size.
  • + 2
 Don't magnets weaken when you drop them or they hit something hard? What if you have a pedal strike? Do you need to buy new magnets?
  • + 3
 What happens if you have really iron rich blood? I'm having X2 flashbacks...
  • + 4
 magnetic pedals???, what's next??? grips that won't slip???
  • + 11
 Magnetic grips! Thanks, off to patent it straight away!...
  • + 4
 "WE WANT MATTLOCK" - Grampa simpson.
  • + 5
 Jesse Pinkman approves!
  • + 1
 Not sure this is a new idea, but next we will see Velcro pedals Would be interesting to try but do not really see this idea taking off?
  • + 3
 Electromagnets? Might be lighter
  • + 4
 But what about my electronic shifting/lockout control/whatever? Aren't magnets known to complicate electronics? Also with wireless electronic shifting so close, I know that this is somehow going to screw over Charlie Browns like me. #1stworldproblems
  • + 3
 And what happens if I get the metal plate in my head too close as well?
  • + 2
 Electromagnet might be lighter, but the battery you need to run it won't be.
  • - 1
 Am I the only one around here that realizes the could cut waaay down on weight if the put a magnet plate on the bottom of the shoe??They could then use a paper thin pedal that is attracted to it. I personally think its a good Idea in general, the magnet thing, as long as you're not a weight weenie.
  • + 2
 heavy magnets on the shoe and giant steel plate on your pedal is still gonna be pretty heavy. but I also think its a good idea.
  • + 2
 I had thought of that too (honest). But the only way to alter the pull of the shoe to the pedal would be to change pedal material for a more or less magnetic metal (right ?)

Maybe a changeable metal flat shoe insert on a standardised magnetic pedal , pick the metal with the level of pull that suits.

Anyone with a brain fancy expanding on this one ??
  • + 1
 I would rather have common magnets that weight less and change them when they wear off, rather than been stuck with the heavier rare earth.
  • + 1
 I read the whole article and there is not any information on the shoes to match these platform pedals. Does this mean that most shoes have ferromagnetic material in them?
  • + 1
 they use a normal spd style bolt pattern I thought I read
  • + 3
 Very strong magnet weight!
  • + 1
 "May the (magnet) force be with you!"
  • - 1
 I cant believe people who are committed to spending thousands of dollars on bikes and identify with it as a sport that helps to define them- don't have the ability to, or willingness to develop the simple skillset required to unclip from their pedals. and to run away from the issue people come up with this shit. might I suggest you take up something like archery, or golf or fishing- they all have tons of stupid pieces of kit you can waste your money on instead of practicing the fundamentals as well.
  • + 1
 Instead of the Plexiglas why not use a steel screen type plate. I see issues such as slipping with Plexiglas and wet conditions.
  • + 1
 R n D money is so hard to come by and seeing a waste of inventive cash is depressing. Put that cash into something a MOUNTAIN BIKER would want not diss.
  • - 1
 A solution looking for a problem. The only upside of a clipless pedal (or a magnetic solution), if you can actually do it, is the advantage of being able to slightly unweight your upswing leg. Notice how I said slightly unweight, because most humans don't really apply any meaningful up force using clips so why bother at all? Just did a cyclocross race with flats and 510s. Makes for snappy mounts and dismounts. Magnets?
  • + 3
 I'm for flats all day long, but I'd say plenty of riders use clipless to their advantage while airborne. Definitely lots of meaningful force being applied there
  • + 3
 Yeah that maybe true for roadies and XC racers but clipless for gravity is more about foot positioning and bike control than pedaling efficiency.
  • + 3
 I agree on the little up-force during normal riding...but when I sprint I pull quite hard up.
  • + 4
 Actually, the amount of power, uh, 'humans' are able to put through a clipless pedal gives them a marked advantage over using platforms. Obviously you have more power in your Quads than you do in your Hamstrings, but it's not like you're substituting your Hammies in place of your Quads. You're using them in addition to. You're able to power through 360 degrees of rotation, compared to only 180 degrees with platforms.
I imagine somewhere on the internet there's a mathmatical computation explaining how much time they're worth in a given distance, but even a really old mo-fo such as myself can tell the difference the second I hit a hill.
DH is a total different story for me. I regularly lose traction to the point where I have to get a foot down mucho-pronto, or else I'll be on my head in mucho-pronto+.02 seconds later, and having to maneuver 200+ pound MX bikes in the air for the better part of 35 years without the aid of clipless pedals, has made a 40lbs DH bike feel like it weighs nothing in the air.
I just wish it'd also feel that light when I'm pushing the thing back up-hill.
  • + 2
 Slides from the Mornieux and Korff studies Part 3:

teamboriscycling.com/styled-13/styled/styled-7/index.html

But have a look at the article overall.
  • + 1
 One of my favorite mtb-related articles ever. I've recommeneded to many people before. Thanks for posting it.
However, "Being Pro-Flats Doesn't Mean I am Anti-clipless" is what's most important from all of this
  • + 1
 All crap: you do pull as well with flats if you pedal in nice circles. Maybe not all the 360 degrees but surely like 300 and the 60 you dont are where you are least efficient anyway and the other leg is pushing most. I only slip my pedals when shifting under load and forgetting to ease off the instant of the shift. You have to be more disciplined and clean but in return you get all the freedom and awesome control. Only place for clips is in the heat of racin when your brain and coordination are so cooked and you get tired and sloppy. Else even bumpy terrain cam be handled if you remember to keep your legs reactive.
  • + 1
 Bingo, I'm not anti-clipless. In fact, for snow biking I use clips because of an. Not my first choice, but it is what it is.
  • + 2
 Is it bad that I wouldn't mind testing these out? Lol
  • + 1
 I would definitely try these over normal conventional clip pedals. If only the weight could be reduced.
  • + 3
 I don't see why they couldn't have gone for a plastic/resin pedal since the pins are secondary to the magnets.
  • + 2
 True, he's in the middle of developing a plastic version I believe, just takes a lot of cash to get the tool built for injection moulding such a part so if he sells enough of these we should see one in the future. I've backed em on Kickstarter and am expecting my set this month, have a dodgy weak right leg that doesn't like clipping out or in so gonna give these a try.
  • + 2
 conhayes, please make sure we hear how they are.
  • + 1
 Stay Tuned ------Tomorrow its Velcro (AKA Hook and Loop fasteners) pedals and shoes
  • + 2
 Perfect pedal for Ellsworth Dare.
  • + 1
 Or Bender
  • + 2
 hope some of that $120 goes to paying Mavic royalties...
  • + 0
 over 2lbs of pedals is a "fill a gap" innovation? but I understand, they touched on certain topics that got some of you all emotional.
  • + 2
 Must be for ironman's bike
  • + 1
 cool idea. what happens to the magnets force after a few rock strikes? force decreases.
  • + 2
 Next time you will see Gorilla Glue Faltform pedals
  • + 1
 I think Kerry King from Slayer uses the same technology in his shin guard. It is always full of nails...
  • + 3
 Dat weight though!
  • + 2
 Seriously, over 2 pounds?!? I thought I was taking a hit adding 1/2 pound going from flats to Time clips....
  • + 2
 "POUNDS BABY, POUNDS" ( Frank Rizzo )
  • + 1
 What if the shoes are full of dirt ? Thks for coming MagLock
  • + 1
 Can I still keep my 3 1/4 floppies in my sock or will this erase them?
  • + 1
 It is going to create flux
  • + 1
 a kilo for a set of pedals!!!!
  • + 1
 Magnets in grips and gloves to reduce arm pump..........
  • + 1
 Magnetic pedals! what next 26" wheels.
  • + 1
 @Kioer well out idea has been taken
  • + 1
 Either gonna be the sickest shit ever or a total flop
  • + 1
 Best not to keep your Iphone close to it Wink
  • + 1
 reading this article and its comments makes me feel bipolar.
  • + 1
 I'll bet you're a riot at partys.
  • + 5
 no but he's a party at riots
  • + 1
 Riot... Party... I'm attracted to both.
  • + 1
 pretty cool
  • - 1
 Stick around more worthless items to come.
  • - 2
 Impossible to put your foots on the pedals if magnets inserted wrong.....
  • + 41
 That'd be true if there were magnets on the shoe too. A steel plate cleat, however, will be attracted to the magnets regardless of the orientation of the poles. Smile
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