Pedal choice has always been a divisive one for mountain bikers. Some swear by flat pedals while others clutch their cleated kicks tightly. Flat pedals are easier to use and don’t equate to a loss of “freedom” or an increase in fear because riders might not be able to unclip in the event of a crash. Clipless pedals equate to secure foot placement and possibly better pedaling efficiency.
The idea of a hybrid pedal that mixes the attributes of flat and clipless pedals isn’t new. At least two other brands — Magped and MagLock — have made similar systems with the idea of lowering the learning curve that riders usually face when transitioning from flats to clipless while also offering a secure pedal without the feeling of being locked into it. The Hustle REM offers a new take, however.
First, Hustle is using Rare Earth Magnets (REM), also known as Neodymium magnets, which are said to be the strongest on earth. They are placed in the center of a flat pedal and rotate over the pedal axle. This makes pedal entry easier and offers “virtually unlimited float,” says Hustle.
The pedal body is made from aluminum, with a hardened Chromoly steel axle and the magnets are housed inside a Nylon composite material. Each magnet has a 68lb pull force, so with two magnets in each pedal it takes almost 140lbs of pull force to disengage.
I checked these out at Outdoor Retailer, and it took a lot of force to lift the shoe from the pedal, as demonstrated in the Instagram video above. Obviously, there is a greater amount of muscle and leverage in the leg and foot, but it doesn’t seem like a rider’s foot would lift or slip off too easily. Hustle says that flat pedal users will have an easier time getting used to the engagement of the REM, because the movement pattern isn’t the same as a clipless shoe.
The REM Plate goes on any two-bolt clipless shoe, but Hustle says it works best with a gravity-minded shoe like the Ride Concepts shoe pictured here. There is more flex in the sole and the tread and cleat pattern are more compatible with the REM Plate.
My only worry here would be hike-a-biking with a slippery metal plate right under the ball of my foot. Even the metal from a cleat can create some slip when you’re hiking up rocky surfaces.
The weight, price, and availability of the Hustle REM pedal hasn’t been finalized yet, but the brand is trying for the spring or summer of 2020. Will this hybrid gain more traction than others of the past? It’s too early to tell at this point, but they’re off to a good start. Hustle won an Outdoor Retailer Innovation Award at the show last week, before the product even hit shelves, so expectations are already set pretty high.