GIMMICK OR INNOVATION? AVERY REMTECH MAGNETIC CLIPLESS PEDAL REVIEW

A new way to connect

AVERY REMTECH PEDAL

Ideas for new products can come from anywhere, and an idea can strike when you least expect it. That was the case for the founder of Hustle Bike Lab, Craig Payne. He was riding down a narrow section of trail with a straight drop-off by his side. Carrying too much speed into a corner, Payne bounced off a rock. He could not get out of his clipless pedals fast enough and ended up holding onto a boulder hanging over the edge of a cliff. He survived, but after this near-death experience, he decided it was crucial to design a system with the security and pedaling efficiency of traditional clipless pedals and the performance and freedom of a platform pedal.

Tech features

His idea came to life with Hustle Bike Lab’s Avery REMtech pedal. These pedals feature a 6061-T6-series aluminum alloy body with a 430 stainless steel axle that utilizes a sealed bearing with a roller bearing sleeve to rotate on the spindle. There are up to 15 pin slots available per side to dial in a clipless shoe’s contact with the pedal, but Hustle Bike Lab recommends nine per side for the best performance. The pedals are more rectangular than square, measuring 95mm x 120mm (3.7 inches x 4.7 inches). Jumping on the scales, they are certainly not the lightest option, coming in at 805 grams for the set with all pins inserted on each side. Adding a bit more weight, the ferrous metal REMplates that bolt to your shoes are 53 grams each (totaling 106 grams for the set) with bolts, washer and no shim. The weight might be a deterrent for some, but there are advantages.

What sets these pedals apart is how the rider connects with them. Avery REMtech pedals use neodymium N52 magnets with a stainless steel cap. The grade, or “N rating,” of the magnet refers to the maximum energy product of the material that the magnet is made from (or the maximum strength that the material can be magnetized to). This set of pedals uses the strongest available magnet, which is approximately 50 percent stronger than an N35-rated magnet. With a pull force of 100-plus pounds per pedal, we were eager to see if Hustle Bike Labs met its goal of blending pedal platforms.

Field test results

To start off, we’ll be blunt; we’re not fully convinced this is the new pedal that everyone needs to use; however, the REMtech pedals do offer some advantages. Just as with a clipless system, the template can be attached to any two-bolt mountain bike clipless shoe. It may take you a few adjustments and a combination of shims/pins configurations to dial in your preference, but a very similar set of steps would need to be taken with traditional clipless pedals, too.

It takes time to get used to the way the pedals gravitate to your shoe and vice versa. It is surprisingly easy to reposition your foot after clipping in, but the release can be iffy at first. Sometimes our shoe would come right out, just as with a normal pedal, while other times there was a slight delay. While adapting to this new system, we did think about the way traditional clipless pedals have always provided a consistent release with a twist of the heel. After practicing and learning how the magnets responded, we tried them on multiple bikes in various conditions throughout our testing.

Connecting to the pedal feels similar to clipping in. Once your shoe is secured, however, it is a different experience. For example, you cannot solely use your feet to pull up the bike for a bunnyhop or flick of the rear end like riders do with a clipless system. The REMtech pedals do not bind the rider to the bike; instead, they hold the rider on the pedals with a free range of float and the ability to shift positions like with a flat pedal. If you do not like your foot position, simply step off and step back on to readjust. We noticed your shoe can be pretty far away from the center of the magnets and still be attracted to the REMplate with enough traction over the pedal pins. In our first few rides, there was some squeaking between the pedal and shoe plate when dry dirt interfered, but this seemed to vanish with more use. Worth noting was that the more rectangular shape also gave us more room to place our foot further forward or backward depending on the terrain.

Yes, they are very heavy pedals because of the magnets that are inside, but there is an advantage on the downstroke of pedaling for certain riding scenarios. Riding uphill or on level ground is surprisingly good, as good as with regular clipless pedals according to our testers, but these pedals don’t offer the best power transfer if out-the-saddle sprinting efforts are required. Due to the extra weight, these pedals won’t appeal to weight-weenie cross-country racers, but we appreciated how well these pedals performed in downhill terrain where weight is less of an issue.

Overall, this is neither a clip nor a platform pedal; it is a special blend of the two for a completely different riding experience. Although we will likely see more versions/models for different bike categories, the current style is not just for those looking to add uphill efficiency. While we did stay connected for our climbs, it was on the downhills that the Hustle Bike Lab’s pedals demonstrated their strength. In the future, we’d like to see variable magnet strengths. As it stands, the Avery REMtech system is a great match for downhill racers, electric mountain bike riders and even some enduro riders. These pedals are also a great option for anyone who is newer to clipless pedals; they won’t have to conquer old riding habits developed using traditional clipless pedals. In some ways, the pedals were polarizing. Some testers simply couldn’t come to terms with the feel of the release; however, there is no doubt the technology will continue to progress, and there will be new iterations of this innovative approach to staying connected.

HITS:

• Increased efficiency over flat pedals

• Easy to “clip in”

• Unlimited float and configurations to suit a rider’s preference

MISSES:

• Debris that gathers on surfaces can cause noise between the contact plate and magnets

• Weight is excessive

• Some didn’t like the feel of the release

• Still need to buy and use clipless shoes with the system

STAR RATING:

★★½

Price: $219

Contact: www.hustlebikelabs.com

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