The MKS Prime Sylvan track pedal is basically an uprated version of the much loved Sylvan (Capagnolo Pista copies) last used to good effect aboard my Raleigh fixer conversion some 20 years ago. Unlike some old flames, the magic lives on only this time with sensibly sealed bearings and a rich electric blue cage proving the perfect complement to the Holdsworth’s livery. However, before we get swept away with their blend of retro charm, impressive ground clearance and comfortable platform (whether riding in carbon soled road shoes or old school pumps), let's remind ourselves they face fierce competition from emerging brands with superior bearings.
What we have here are an alloy body, Cro-moly axles and sealed cartridge bearings-pretty standard fare by modern standards, although thoughtfully there’s a choice between Allen key and old fashioned 15mm pedal spanner fitting. Mirror polished finish and rich anodising are certainly better than I’ve come to expect from this end of the market and initial impressions suggest they’ll keep their looks with some basic care.
It’s been 15 years since I rode regularly in clips, straps and old fashioned cleats but I soon remastered the knack of flipping the pedal and seamlessly engaging the foot while enjoying the fact, there was no risk of accidentally unclipping, thus ruining a graceful track stand. In many respects, clipless pedals have overtaken traditional types and none more so than clearance- there’s a few extra milimteres to spare with Spuds, although you’d have to be riding gonzo-track or tarmac to ground one of these.
An 81 inch fixed gear and a long climb that saw me out of the saddle and dancing on the pedals for every last ounce of momentum couldn’t cajole any unsettling clicks or creaks and the intially arthritic bearings seem to bed in after the first hundred miles, although stripping and repacking with marine grease provides imnstant refinement and would be my first job-especially for track or winter training duties.
Nicely finished classic pedals but face stiff competition from emerging brands.
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Make and model: MKS Sylvan Track pedal
Size tested: Red
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?
"With polished body, end cap and axle the Prime Sylvan Track pedal is smoother and more sophisticated than the standard Sylvan. For those that appreciate performance and great looks.
With allen key axle tightening and stunning anodized cages in Red/Blue and Gold for all those fixie fashionistas out there."
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Polished alloy body (and internals), anodized cage, sealed bearings, cro-moly axles with either Allen key or traditional 15mm mounting.
Will last a long time with periodic strips and re-greasing.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
As a track/road fixer pedal the Sylvans are something of a design classic, combining comfort and ample clearance (albeit less than SPDs)for all but the most aggressive of riding styles. Arthritic bearings aren't nearly so noticeable on the bike, improve with age and are at least well-sealed so shouldn't require more than annual strips/regreasing. Similarly, cro-moly axles might lack titanium's wow factor but offer good strength to weight ratio. An eighty-one inch fixed gear and a long climb saw me out of the saddle and dancing on the pedals for every last ounce of momentum but couldn’t cajole any unsettling clicks or creaks.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Great all-round traditional pedal with nice touches and wallet friendly price tag.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
Bearings. Cartridge type would be a marked improvement.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes
Would you consider buying the product? Yes
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes
Age: 36 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)