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Verdict: 
Superbly engineered mid-price pedals; great alternative to hybrid SPD designs for commuting or utility riding
Weight: 
484g
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MKS Urban Platform EZY Pedals + Steel Half Clip
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MKS's urban pedals with steel half-clips are perhaps a little too glamorous for town hacks, they are a brilliant choice for everyday riding, or even touring.

These pedals resemble French brand Lyotard's classic MB23 pedals fed a steroid diet. For literally decades last century MB23s were the first choice of touring cyclists who wanted platform pedals so they could wear soft-soled shoes. The reborn design will be welcomed by anyone with a sense of history, and they're practical too.

They have broad bodies with 70 x 80mm platforms made from highly polished aluminium alloy with a pronounced 'flip tab'. This ensures feet and clips align perfectly for smooth, dignified pulling away.

They turn on super dependable chromoly axles and buttery smooth cartridge bearings. Triple seals mean replacements shouldn't be for several years, even in hard, daily service. I've felt no inclination to strip and repack them.

The clips are similarly stocky and fashioned from mirror polished stainless steel, which recreates chrome's shiny allure but won't succumb to the salt monster's bite. Soft Japanese cowhide covers complete the retro look perfectly and serve to protect smart shoes from unsightly scuffing. High quality hides tend to last, so long as they're treated with a decent leather preserve at monthly intervals.

Overall performance is superb; the huge dimpled platforms offer oodles of support, combating hot spots on longer rides and slippage when scooting round town in leather soled brogues.

The mountain bike pedal dimensions are a definite plus for convenience and those broad toe boxes will even entertain steel-capped safety boots, though my initial 70 miles confirmed they don't prohibit a decent cadence when wearing sportier touring slippers either.

Despite my tourer's widely spaced ratios, steep climbs with heavily laden trailer still demands occasional honking. The pedals have coped without flex or creaking despite being pummelled by my full 70 kilos.

Cornering prowess was pretty commendable along swooping back doubles and through concrete jungle alike. Flip 'n' go entry/release was equally intuitive, making split second dab-downs an absolute cinch in stop-start rush hour traffic.

Clip profiles were just low enough to prevent them scraping against the tarmac when putting along. Come to think of it, dirt roads haven't presented any hassles either.

Ground clearance did become an issue when I fitted them to a friends' fixer conversion with low slung bottom bracket and 172.5mm cranks. Roundabouts and S-bends demanded concerted efforts to avoid ground out. This is unlikely to be an issue for traditional road/touring/hybrid bikes or mountain bike derivatives.

The pedals, which cost £79.99 without the clips, feature MKS's EZY removable system which allows them to be quickly and easily taken off and put back on again without the need for a spanner, an adaptor staying attached to each crank. This is handy for storage and packing, and to prevent theft if your bike is parked somewhere public.

If you want to buy the pedals alone without the EZY removable system, they're £49.99. 

Verdict

Superbly engineered mid-price pedals; great alternative to hybrid SPD designs for commuting or utility riding

road.cc test report

Make and model: MKS Urban Pedal + Steel Half Clip

Size tested: Silver

Tell us what the product is for, and who it's aimed at. What do the manufacturers say about it? How does that compare to your own feelings about it?

"The Urban Platform is designed for use with MKS toe-clips or half clips, so when fitted the pedal will always fall at the angle required for easy foot engagement when setting off. A quick nudge of the accentuated pedal-flip and your foot is in the toe-clip – simple!

All the benefits of the half clip but with a hand stiched Japanese Leather cover on the clip that really protects your shoes from marks/scuffs.

The perfect commuter clip". Broadly agree-its a brilliant concept given a contemporary makeover.

Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?

70x80mm polished aluminum bodies turning on chromoly axles and triple sealed cartridge bearings. Clips are highly polished stainless steel with leather covers to protect fancy footwear from scuff/similar damage.

Rate the product for quality of construction:
 
8/10
Rate the product for performance:
 
7/10

Really convenient system that oozes refinement.

Rate the product for durability:
 
7/10

Should last many years with basic care. Periodic stripping and re-greasing, waxing of the polished aluminium alloy and stainless steel should keep pedals in rude health. Leather covers will require regular "feeding" with specialist preserve, especially on working bikes/in daily service.

Rate the product for weight, if applicable:
 
7/10

Quite portly but not outlandishly so.

Rate the product for comfort, if applicable:
 
8/10
Rate the product for value:
 
8/10

Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose

Overall, the MKS urban pedals and steel half clips are a brilliant concept brought bang up to date with high quality materials and buttery smooth sealed bearings. Offering ample support, there is some trade-off in ground clearance but this was only really apparent on more extreme combinations i.e. low bottom bracket and long cranks.

Engagement/release is laughably predictable for serene and dignified getaways, while the large platforms offer phenomenal support. Arguably the superior option to track pedals for stop-start commuting, their size isn't ideal for bikes with low-slung bottom brackets and long cranks.

Tell us what you particularly liked about the product

Great build quality, funky looks-pretty much everything.

Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product

Nothing.

Did you enjoy using the product? Yes.

Would you consider buying the product? Yes.

Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes.

Overall rating: 8/10

About the tester

Age: 41  Height: 1m 81  Weight: 70 kilos

I usually ride: Rough Stuff Tourer Based around 4130 Univega mtb Frameset  My best bike is: 1955 Holdsworth Road Path and several others including cross & traditional road

I've been riding for: Over 20 years  I ride: Most days  I would class myself as: Experienced

I regularly do the following types of riding: cyclo cross, commuting, touring, fixed/singlespeed, mtb,

 

Shaun Audane is a freelance writer/product tester with over twenty-eight years riding experience, the last twelve (120,000 miles) spent putting bikes and kit through their paces for a variety of publications. Previous generations of his family worked at manufacturing's sharp end, thus Shaun can weld, has a sound understanding of frame building practice and a preference for steel or titanium framesets.
Citing Richard Ballantine and an Au pair as his earliest cycling influences, he is presently writing a cycling book with particular focus upon women, families and disabled audiences (Having been a registered care manager and coached children at Herne Hill Velodrome in earlier careers)

18 comments

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Okinawa [65 posts] 2 years ago
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I find the phrase "utility rider" rude. Being a bento box carrier in the heart of Tokyo, I work my bollocks of. And what thanks to I get? Classed as a Utility rider. Like I'm some crappy water board company.

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Okinawa [65 posts] 2 years ago
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I've just finished work, 1 am Europe time. Sitting in a yakitori bar drinking sake with fucking Prime Minister Abe (and I know you liberal Europeans won't believe me), this ancestor of some murdering Daimyo, telling all Japs abroad via email not to, after the recent ISIS thingy, to make a show of ourselfs in foreign lands, to give opinions. Well I will give you an opinion Abe: come near me and I'll ram my bike up your arse

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Okinawa [65 posts] 2 years ago
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Hiphipshake.co.jp

Get your legs over these beauties

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mylesrants [373 posts] 2 years ago
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they are kinda lovely

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Grizzerly [362 posts] 2 years ago
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I'm not sure anyone ever rode Lyotard 'platforms' in soft soled shoes, they had a steel ridge across them to locate a shoeplate. If you rode more than about 10 miles in street shoes, they cut through the sole and wrecked the shoes.

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andybwhite [250 posts] 2 years ago
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Look decent. However have we come to expect less durable components?

"replacements shouldn't be for several years, even in hard, daily service. I've felt no inclination to strip and repack them."

I should hope not!
Just how many miles has the tester done? 70 was mentioned somewhere. Any component showing signs of wear during these short tests should be consigned to the scrapheap.

At this price point I would expect the bearings to last for many tens of thousands of miles before any hint of wear or need for regreasing. I still regularly use my well used steel Campag pedals from the early 80's and they are still silky smooth and have never been disassembled.

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happy_otter [9 posts] 2 years ago
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How is a hundred quids for a pair of pedals "mid-price"?

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edster99 [338 posts] 2 years ago
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I've had some like this before (no shoe plate fitting) and they were great for getting about in normal footwear. Haven't seen any like this for years, unless I've just been looking in the wrong place. Ideal for my 'grocery' bike. £100 is a bit spendy, but they look good. Does anyone other than MKS make something you can fit straps to and dont have the pointy pegs on, with a large flat area to push on? Something like these

http://i3.photobucket.com/albums/y64/HarrieH/Vintage/P1070936.jpg

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CasperCCC [43 posts] 2 years ago
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So much less practical than the double-sided SPDs I've got on the fixed. But so, so much more beautiful. Would match the skinny steel tubes and leather saddle so nicely.

I never thought I'd feel lust for a pedal. I think it's time to admit that I've got a problem.

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crikey [1251 posts] 2 years ago
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Pah.

If you want to get all retro and cool, at least get proper clips and straps rather than get something that says 'urban' like it's a compliment. Getting into clips is a skill, not a fashion statement.

...and Lyotard pedals with double clips (for cyclocross...) were £15 in 1991....

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CasperCCC [43 posts] 2 years ago
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crikey wrote:

Getting into clips is a skill, not a fashion statement.

Speak for yourself....  1

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rjfrussell [362 posts] 2 years ago
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£100 "mid-price" for a set of pedals???? WTF?!???!??

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chokofingrz [407 posts] 2 years ago
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How much for the road-legal version (i.e. with pedal reflectors on)? £200 sounds fair...  26

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don simon [851 posts] 2 years ago
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Everything that's wrong and right with the cycling industry at the moment. And they are quite beautiful.

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jacknorell [969 posts] 2 years ago
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Pretty, on the short list for when I win the lottery.

In the meantime, I'll buy a £25 pair of SPDs and spend the difference on some nice Giro shoes.

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gazza_d [469 posts] 2 years ago
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I was around in the Eighties, before SPD, when pedals like this were commonplace and reasonably cheap. I knew a few female riders that rode them.

Seems they've now been "hipster-ised"

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bashthebox [752 posts] 2 years ago
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I've got some of these on one of my bikes - and they are indeed lovely to look at. Think they're the same as a far more expensive Whyte Industries pedal. Still, I'm sure I spent maybe 50 quid on the pedals and another 20 quid on the toe clips.
On my other commuter, I've got the far more affordable MKS GR9 pedal: http://www.evanscycles.com/products/mks/gr-9-pedals-ec005316
It's functionally the same, and has a similar, though slightly less pretty, aesthetic.
As a freelancer I don't like to turn up to my clients dressed in bike, so flat pedals and normal shoes are best for me. These are the best I've found for my commute.

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Tin Pony [73 posts] 2 years ago
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Gosh these are pretty little things ! I can see a lot of vintage enthusiasts and retro racer put these on there must have lists. Beautiful
www.tinpony.co.uk/shop/