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.
Superbly engineered mid-price pedals; great alternative to hybrid SPD designs for commuting or utility riding
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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.
Really convenient system that oozes refinement.
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.
Quite portly but not outlandishly so.
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
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes.
Would you consider buying the product? Yes.
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes.
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)