Friday, September 2, 2011

The Phoenix Project - MKS Custom Pro Pedals

Background on The Phoenix Project is available here and here.

I love the looks of a classic road pedal.  But the nib most of them have on the outboard edge of the cage interferes with using street shoes when necessary.

Fortunately for us, MKS (Mikishima = "Three Islands") has a fairly new, very high quality release with a subdued, almost vestigial nib, called the MKS Custom Pro:

These pedals share the same body with the MKS Custom Nuevo:

Here are the hints of a nib:

The cages are bolted on, just like in the good old days:

Incidentally, the MKS site ( helpfully explains that in MKS-ese, sealed bearing indicates sealed cartridge bearing whereas sealed mechanism means good old fashioned loose cup and cone bearings with some sort of seal in the equation.

Street Cred

MKS has been making pedals for decades along the full spectrum from dirt cheap models up to very high end.  All have a stellar reputation for toughness, serviceability, and reliability.  I've never heard a complaint about them other than the cheap ones can be stingy on the grease when delivered from the factory.

Gizmo Lust

Other than the excellent finish, which includes much beloved chromed spindles, how excited can one get over pedals?

Well, when I unwrapped these and spun those precious chrome spindles, I was floored.  They spin as smoothly and evenly as some precision machine tool, sort of the platonic ideal of a rotating axle.  No resistance and no play detectable whatsoever, it is almost eerie.

They are also nicely, but not insanely, light at 293 grams.


With these pedals, it is official.  The 1985 Trek 620 has no traditional, repackable, cup and cone bearings in any component.

Tweed Factor

Tweedies love MKS, but are traditionally much more likely to go in for cheapo MKS Sylvan variants.

In recent years, MKS has been an enabler of the increasing weirdness in this quarter with things like these "Grip Kings":

If the stock situation isn't enough for you, there are little aftermarket screws to put in all those holes to make them into a real bed of nails.  This is just the thing for cruising around in the aftermath of an oil spill, I suppose.

Phony Accent

Racing pedals?  Cycling vanity, thy name is slow middle aged guy.

Lily Gilding

There is no excuse at all for the price I paid for these.

Honorable Mention

I really like Specialized Touring Pedals produced by MKS back in the late 80's or so:

These have a traditional road pedal look but with the support of a platform pedal.  Further, the rear cage and platform is slightly curved.  This conforms to one's foot and is supremely comfortable.

However, they had sealed mechanisms instead of sealed bearings.  Furthermore, they were a gross violation of the "no vintage parts" and I couldn't think of a reason to grant them a waiver.

I sure wish MKS would bring back a modern rendition of these.  The guy I sold my last set to is actually contacting MKS ( to inquire about this.  Maybe if enough readers out there in Fuji Otaku-land join him in this, we may see it happen.  It would be a great part to get back into production.

Another pedal I considered was the White Industries Platform Pedal:

I've been intriqued by these for a while.  But the urban/commuter vibe didn't quite fit this project.  Plus, I have some reservations about the durability of the extremely cantilevered flip tab when rendered in alloy.  That is in a pretty exposed position and one good whack seems like it would break it off.

Running Tally

$3981 USD

We bring forward $3839 USD.  The MKS Custom Pro pedals were a whopping $142 USD inclusive of shipping from

The Sausage Factory

Always grease those pedal threads, always.  Future generations of bike collectors will thank you.


Edward Scoble said...

I can tell you about the White Industries pedal is that they're extremely strong, I've been touring in them and riding everyday, I can safety tell you not to worry about the flap, as it's a lots stronger than the original French pedals.

Colin Ferrington said...

Like you, I am a fan of the Specialized touring pedals. I have had a pair for 20+ years and they are still going strong. Specialized even sent me a couple of dust caps free of charge. I can't understand why such a good product is out of production.