Hustle Bike Labs magnetic pedals give mountain bikers a solid bike attachment point and quick bails.
Hustle Bike Labs specializes in magnetic pedal and footwear design and manufacturing. In January 2021, the brand will launch its patented Hustle REM Pedal, which utilizes neodymium, a rare earth magnet (REM).
The magnet is extremely powerful, permanent, and made from limited, precious elements. The magnet offers a critical solution: Riders have a robust foot-to-pedal bond that’s also seamless to disengage.
Magnetic pedals are not a new concept. MagLOCK Bike Pedal and Magped likewise build magnetic pedals. “At least five companies are in the patent archives,” Hustle Bike Labs founder Craig Payne told GearJunkie.
But the Hustle REM Pedal has excellent qualities that drew several accolades at January’s Outdoor Retailer Snow Show 2020. Those awards include the Outdoor Retailer Innovation Award and GearJunkie’s Best in Show.
Naturally, I was excited to give the Hustle REM Pedals a spin this month on trails in the Gunnison-Crested Butte Valley.
First Look: Hustle REM Pedal
I took the Hustle REM Pedals for a couple of mountain bike rides at Hartman Rocks Recreation Area in September. Our crew was full of industry journalists, athletes, and brand representatives.
On singletrack and dirt roads, I accrued nearly 7 miles and 1,300 feet of ascent and descent. The route conditions varied from dry sand and decomposed granite to slush, mud, and puddles following a surprise autumn snowstorm.
I typically ride clipless, so I immediately noticed the broad platform of the Hustle REM Pedal. The foothold is a hollow, non-symmetrical octagon shape made of aluminum alloy. It measures 3.7 inches at its widest point and 4.7 inches long. Two Neodymium N52 magnets are housed side by side in an oval alloy insert, in the pedal’s center. The insert is held and suspended by two spindles. The result?
“The magnets float — they’re not stagnant, which helps with your connection to the bike. When protons and neutrons shake, entropy is created. Energy is built with every pedal stroke,” explained Payne as we stood in the northeast base area of Hartman Rocks.
Tenacious Connectivity, Easy Eject
I mounted my bike and hovered my right foot, coated in muck and tiny pebbles, above the pedal. Snap. The magnet rapidly pulled my shoe into place thanks to the REM Plate attached to the outsole, beneath my forefoot.
The metal disc is less than 1.5 inches wide by 2.5 inches long and compatible with two-bolt SPD footwear. The magnets provide 128 pounds of pull force, so the foot-to-pedal connection was firm. I made an upstroke, pulled hard, and couldn’t disconnect. Instead, I rolled my foot sideways toward the pedal’s outer edge to sever the hold.
I snapped both feet into place and ascended a sloppy, wet trail. My shoes maintained their sync with the magnetic pedals despite their plunge in thick sludge and puddles.
When I pedaled through slush, the tires slipped sideways — and my heart spiked. But compared to my clipless setup, my feet released faster from the magnets, so I caught my falls. My feet never lost pedal traction on speedy, bumpy descents down steep dirt roads and slippery trails. And the longer I pedaled, the stronger the attachment became.
‘Tunable’ Pedal Traction
Beyond the magnet’s strength, the rider’s pedal connectivity is tunable. Each pedal holds up to 15 pins per side. Hustle developed two pin shapes: the “canine” is a pointier, longer silhouette for aggressive grip, and the “traction” is a stubbier flat-top pin.
The pedal’s approximate weight is 1.4 pounds per set. By comparison, most clipless pedal sets weigh less than a pound. Some long-distance tourers and bikepackers might not prefer the heaviness. Personally, I didn’t notice the extra ounces. Being able to free my foot fast and on the fly took precedent — especially in slip-n-slide terrain.
Heads up: These mighty pedals can attract your bike pump, tools, and smash fingers.
The flipside: They connect to a variety of campground fire rings, signposts, and truck beds to help hold the bike upright.
The Hustle REM Pedal bundle — pedals, pins, and plates — costs approximately $190. A second iteration (around $100) will feature a nylon-composite housing for the magnets, held by two sealed bearings. Effectively, the latter will not provide float but will still maintain the pull force.
The pedals will be available for preorder at hustlebikelabs.com in January 2021.