Magnetic Pedal Review: Magped ENDURO

for Gravel and Fat Biking

by | Apr 16, 2022 | Gear, MAIN SLIDER | 4 comments

INTRO

This is a “first rides” review with magped’s ENDURO magnetic pedals on my gravel bike and my fat bike.  My fat bike also doubles as my year-round mountain bike and bikepacking bike when I swap my fat tires for a 29+ wheelset.

In my 30-year cycling ‘career’ I’ve mostly ridden mountain bikes and primarily with flat pedals. However, lately, I’ve been on my gravel bike more than my fat bike and have been using clipless pedals with my gravel bike.

But no matter how much I practice I have a difficult time clipping in and out. In one particular “emergency” stop, I couldn’t get unclipped and hit the ground just feet away from a rattlesnake.

I’ve been curious about magnetic pedals for a while because they are designed to have a margin of safety over traditional clipless pedals.  They have better ease of entry and exit with the advantage of more grip than flats.

Magnetic pedals seem like an ideal solution for riders like me who would like to gain efficiency but retain the safety of flats.

 

DESIGN

Magped has four different types of pedals for mountain biking/enduro, gravel, and road. The ENDURO and ULTRA2 pedals come with a choice of 150N or 200N magnet size, while the SPORT2 pedal is also available in a 100N magnet size. The 100N is designed for riders under 110 lbs, the 150N is recommended for riders under 185 lbs and the 200N is for those over 185 lbs – or for riders who would like maximum grip. The ROAD pedal is engineered to work with a 200N magnet only.

The pedals range in weight from 270 grams for the magped ROAD to 530 grams for the double-sided ENDURO. The pedals are equipped with three sealed, high-quality industrial bearings. Pins can be exchanged if required. The high-performance magnet is adjustable via the integrated rubber damper unit that the magnet sits on.

Depending on your pedal of choice, expect up to 15 kg in pulling force. The force of the magnets is primarily vertical, enabling you to effortlessly release by moving your foot sideways. However, if you find yourself about to crash, you can release by pulling your foot up vertically too.

For the magped SPORT2ENDURO and ULTRA2 you should use a 2-hole SPD shoe. The pedals are shaped like a traditional flat pedal so a shoe with a flat sole works best to grip the pins. For the magped ROAD, you need a 3-hole road bike shoe.

The shoe plates are made of rust and dirt-resistant steel and are compatible with all SPD shoes. The plates are easy to install in a couple of minutes with the provided screws and you’ll also find the “walkability” of your bike shoe will be significantly improved compared to traditional clipless pedals. Check out their shoe recommendations here.

I tested the magped ENDURO pedals with the 150N magnet. The ENDURO pedals are $179 to $189 depending on which strength magnet you choose.  Replacement magnets can be purchased separately.  You can also add strong plates for up to 30% more pulling power if you are looking for even more efficiency.

Magped ENDURO pedals

ENDURO pedal

Magped describes the ENDURO as their “best-selling, rugged double-sided magnetic pedal designed for downhill riding. The ENDURO is CNC crafted from one aluminum block and our latest model features an enhanced spindle design, bearing system, and more options for plate strength and position.”

 

FIRST RIDES

 

GRAVEL BIKE
I tested the magpeds with my Pearl Izumi X-Alp Summit shoes on my Surly Midnight Special.  Surfaces were gravel roads, two-track roads for ATV’s and single track with some snow and ice.

My first ride was on well-maintained gravel roads near Lander, Wyoming. I used the standard shoe plate but found that my foot would disengage too easily from the pedal with an upward stroke when climbing. Also, I didn’t take enough time to place the shoe plate, which likely contributed to the issue.

There are clear instructions that come packaged with the pedals and on the website so I encourage you to take your time setting up. I was excited to get on my bike (it was almost 60 degrees on a Wyoming winter day) and I should have spent more time on the setup. I installed the recommended number of pins in the recommended positions as a starting point.

For my second ride, I swapped the standard shoe plates for the strong shoe plates and readjusted the placement on my shoe. Ride number two was in funkier conditions than my first test run. I was in sand, mud, and up to 10” snowdrifts. I made a game of trying to plow through the snowdrifts on my “skinny” tires. Whenever I stalled out or was about to fall I was able to ‘unclip’ in a heartbeat.

Magped magnetic pedals for gravel and mountain biking on Surly Midnight Special

Riding conditions on two track and single track.

I didn’t land in sagebrush or cactus once.

When climbing I didn’t inadvertently pop off the pedals like I did with the standard shoe plate that came stock with the pedals. There was a short downhill section of very steep, loose two-track that I considered hiking down but I rode it – without thinking about the pedals.

If you are not thinking about your gear then it’s a good sign that your gear is dialed in.

Riding in challenging conditions and knowing that I could disengage quickly made my ride a goofy amount of fun. If I’d had my traditional clipless pedals I wouldn’t have had the mojo to clip in for most of this ride.

The only thing that was a challenge was learning to place my foot correctly on the first try. But this was a small inconvenience compared to the frustration I have when trying to clip into my clipless pedals since clipless pedals require perfect placement to engage.

I was really pleased with the second test run. The next day my muscles were sore in new places which is a good sign that I was getting a complete pedal stroke instead of my usual pedal mashing.

My subsequent rides have been just as successful as I get accustomed to foot placement.

FAT BIKE

In the 10 years that I’ve been fat biking, I have always ridden with flat pedals. Fat biking is about constantly changing and unpredictable conditions. There’s a fair amount of hike-a-bike and a good chance that you’ll make some snow angels.

I tested the magpeds with 45NRTH Wolvhammer boots on my Salsa Mukluk. I rode on semi-groomed single track and on a groomed road (that had been churned up by snowmobiles in places).  Snow conditions ranged from hard-packed to soft to drifted.

Snowy singletrack in Sinks Canyon near Lander, WY

Temps were in the 20s and the day coincided with the First Annual Roll and Slide Poker Run for our small town of Lander, Wyoming. It was a fun day with a lot of stopping and visiting with friends on the trail.

If you are a veteran fat biker, you’ll know that once you are stopped, it can be a challenge to get traction in soft snow to start again.*

My method is this: stand on toes of left foot and slide onto the saddle. Position foot on the right pedal just shy of vertical. Lift my left foot onto the pedal and punch my right foot forward and hope that I’ll gain traction before I lose my balance. And….repeat.

Seasoned fat bikers also know that oftentimes you need to baby the bike forward in a low gear to gain traction. In other words, the pedal punching method will often cause you to spin out.

An unexpected and big improvement with the magpeds is that I can baby the bike forward.

My new magped method: stand on toes of left foot and slide onto the saddle. The right foot connects with the pedal by lifting it and I can ease into the pedal stroke. The pedal engagement gives me a picosecond more time to gain traction and allows more degrees of rotation on the first pedal stroke. I can use a more measured and even pedal stroke which also increases my chance of gaining traction.

With both the gravel and fat bike rides if the shoe plate has snow, ice, or mud on it will still engage with the pedal, albeit a weaker connection until the gunk clears. I had an ice ball form on the bottom of my shoe after a couple of falls in a drifted section. Not realizing I had an ice ball when I put foot to pedal the ball was so thick that my sole didn’t connect with the pins and my foot slid forward off the pedal. However, I was able to kick some of the ice off with a backward scrape over my pins.

Magped shoe plates on 45NRTH Wolfhammer boots

Ice ball on magped shoe plates on 45NRTH Wolfhammer boots

Conclusion

Pros

Foot placement. I don’t have to place my foot precisely on the pedal to be “clipped in.” Finding the right placement is becoming more natural. I was lousy at clipping in with traditional clipless pedals and it was frustrating to have to find the sweet spot to connect.

Easy to disconnect. Popping out of the pedals is a sideways motion, similar to getting out of clipless pedals but easier.  With enough force (i.e. adrenaline!) I found that I could disengage with an upward motion. This happened on my fat bike when a friend’s dog jumped in front of me at the poker run.I was happy to not think about disconnecting.

For my purposes, I don’t need and would prefer not to have a firm mechanical connection such as with standard clipless pedals. My gravel riding often veers onto sketchy single track and the sport of fat biking is squirrelly enough for me to not want to be “locked in.”

Gained efficiency on the fatbike. In addtion to gaining traction on the first pedal stroke, I am no longer afraid to “clip in” in the snow. I have always ridden in regular winter boots while fat biking. Clipping in while riding in snow didn’t make much sense to me because of the nature of fat bikiing so I have been reluctant to buy an expensive pair of dedicated riding boots.

Stay tuned, once I get an entire winter season under my belt I will have a more detailed review of the Wolfhammer/Magped combo!

I found the 150N strength magnets with the strong shoe plates to be a good combination.  For reference, I am 135 lbs.

I’m looking forward to riding dirt on my fattie this summer to see if I can gain some technical advantage with the magpeds. I also look forward to greater efficiency while bike packing.

The magpeds are meant to be the“best of both worlds” between traditional clipless pedals and flats. If your riding style is similar to mine, you will probably love the magpeds. It strikes a balance of gaining pedaling efficiency while being able to confidently and safely enjoy your ride.

Cons

I occasionally and unintentionally disengage but this is a very small inconvenience compared to the measure of safety, confidence, and efficiency that I gain.

Magped offers a 30-day satisfaction guarantee. If they are not for you, you can return them for a full refund.

 

*A dropper post is helpful when riding snow but mine never worked below 22 degrees and the company went out of business so my LBS couldn’t warranty it. I miss my dropper and recommend a dropper for fat biking!

 

 

Happy Trails my friends!

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