Mavic Magnetic Bicycle Pedals
Mountain bikers and cyclists have long had to choose between two less-than-optimal types of bike pedals. Traditional flat or platform pedals are an inexpensive solution that don't require any additional purchases or adjustments. Just jump on the bike and go. Of course, these pedals also waste a lot of your energy since you only push down on the pedals, essentially throwing away half of your motion. And if you've ever slipped off the back of your pedal to have it go spinning full throttle and claw into your shin bone, then you are quite familiar with the other major downside of the platform.
Enter the clipless pedal. By securing your shoe into the pedal, the clipless pedal provides increased efficiency, allowing you to pedal in circles and pull the pedals up in addition to pushing them down, maintaining a constant, fluid pedaling motion. Clipless pedals also keep your feet in optimal position and don't allow the irritation or injury of sliding feet.
Of course, clipless pedals aren't all roses. They're more expensive, especially when you factor in buying compatible shoes. They are also a bit difficult to get out of, so if you suddenly find yourself tumbling over, there's a good chance your tumbling over with your bike, which can often be more dangerous and painful than falling independently.
In seeking to close this pedal divide, Mavic has introduced EZ-Ride Evolve pedals. These innovative bike pedals use a magnetic-based system that is not quite as shifty as open platform pedals and not quite as rigid and binding as clipless pedals. The center magnet holds the magnetic shoe sole in place, keeping it in position much the way a clipless pedal would. Instead of having to twist your way out, however, you simply step on and off, so the magnetic interface shouldn't cause issues in detaching the shoe from pedal. It doesn't appear likely that the pedals offer the full efficiency of clipless pedals, but it would be interesting to test them out to see just how well the system splits the difference between clipless and platform.
As a longtime mountain biker, I am quite excited about this particular innovation and am considering purchasing the system. I've always avoided clipless pedals because I find platforms more forgiving and more fun to ride. However, I realize that I'm losing out on some power and momentum when it comes to pedaling uphill. A system like this would be well-suited to riders like me who don't want to be locked onto their bike, but would like a boost in pedaling.
For those thinking about trying it, the Mavic EZ-Ride Evolve pedals cost $60 and the shoes (only Mavic shoes will work with these pedals) run $90--not exactly much cheaper than clipless, but an intriguing option all the same.
EDITOR'S UPDATE: The Mavic Magnetic Evolve Pedals are currently unavailable. We are not aware of any magnetic bike pedals currently in the market.