04 October, 2006

Three Island Factories or MKS -- UPDATED


As you probably know, MKS is a major Japanese pedal manufacturer. The actual name of the company is Three Island Factory. It was started in 1943 to manufacture airplane parts. In 1946 they started making bicycle pedals. Today they have 75 employees and two factories and make auto parts as well as at least 41 models of pedals.

Though most of the MKS pedals imported into the US are the mid-range Sylvan pedals, MKS also makes some of the best and most expensive pedals in the world. This is not to say that there is anything wrong with the Sylvan touring, track, or road pedals; they are very well made and an excellent value. At Interbike I was very impressed with the quality of their best pedals. With sealed bearings, replaceable cages, and a mirror-like polish they outclass even TA and Campy pedals.

In the bottom row of the photo above you see the Nuevo Record Custom Wide which we may carry. This is the pedal with the wider cage for us big-foots. The cost will be around $130. In the middle of the bottom row is a track pedal that, if I understood correctly, can only be released by reaching down and flipping a lever. We might not stock that model.

The photo on the right shows the MM-Cube, a pedal I use and like. But this pair uses a quick release mechanism between the pedal and crank making the pedal easily removable to prevent theft, for air travel, or for rinko. Several MKS pedals are available with the quick release mechanism.

Have a look at the MKS site and let us know if there are any other products we should carry. The pedal catalog is the first link in the second section on the left; there are 4 pages of pedals and accessories.

UPDATE: MKS touring pedals, which have been in short supply, should arrive today (Thursday) as will MKS half clips. Stronglight A9 headsets are also on the way.

25 comments:

david_nj said...

I think it would be great if they could make up some sets of the black or white block-style pedals but without reflectors, for city bikes. Obviously the reflectors are practical but there is a certain type of elegant city bike for which they'd just spoil the look.

Neil M Berg said...

David's right, reflectors always give things a slightly Walmart look.
I like the second one down on the right column on the MKS site. The Promenade? (except w/o the quick release). I'm looking for a city bike pedal (actually two)with a little better finish than the Sylan. Unlike David, who's always on the look for really nice functional items, I'm just looking for ways to spend more money.

Neil M Berg said...

I'm wrong. The Promenade has even cooler cage. I like the look a lot.

Anonymous said...

Chris,

Glad you are doing this. May I suggest for you to carry MKS Sylvan lite. It can be use with toeclips, powergrip. Weight with Powergrip is 350g, same as most Shimano SPD.

Ron

Chris Kulczycki said...

Neil, Have a look at pedal page 2 and 3 on the site. The Touring Lite might be what you want. knock off the last two zeros of the price in Yen and you have a rough idea of the selling price here in dollars; that will help you judge the quality.

David, The 300R on page 4 is a block pedal. The 300S mentioned below is the same pedal sans reflectors. 722 grams...hmmm.

I have a print catalog with photos so I can say that both those pedals look nice.

Neil M Berg said...

Yeah. I still like the look of the cages on the Promenade better.

Alan said...

Pedals for big, wide feet! Yeah! Is there anywhere that lists the dimensions of the various pedals? Or, put another way, how much wider is the wide pedal from the touring pedal that you sell now?

Chris Kulczycki said...

Alan, I don't know the width (next year I'm bringing a tape measure to Interbike), but a sample pair should be on the way soon. Another nice thing about that pedal, other than that it's wide, is that it's close to the best quality pedal I've ever seen.

C said...

When I worked at American we had a few pair of the lock in pedals. Very similar in concept to the old Cinelli pedal. Great for the track but probably extremely dangerous on the road! We also had a few pair of the quick release pedals which were extremely nice. Nicer than the folding style of pedals you see on some travel bikes.

Don Rogers said...

Chris,

I like the looks of the IC-Lite and CT-Lite. They'd be great modern city bike pedals. I appreciate the curved cages on 'em; something a little different. And I value built-in reflectors on certain functional bikes. A little function with your form...

But I *really* like the MT-E: an updated quill design with grippy cages. It's the descendant of the old Atom and Lyotard cyclocross pedals, which I love dearly for no-retention riding.

Anonymous said...

The Royal is a nice pedal. Old time looks but with modern sealed bearing.

Anonymous said...

I love my MKS touring pedals. If the Nuevo Record Custom wide pedals are as wide as the touring pedals I'll definitely get at least one pair.

Anonymous said...

Chris,

I can't seem to get to the MKS webpage from work. But was wondering if MKS makes a short touring version with quick release. Also, does the quick release version of MM Cube increase the Q over the non-quick release verion?

Carlos

Chris Kulczycki said...

Carlos,

They make a pedal called the Promenade with a quick release that would work well for touring. The quick release does seem to increase the Q-factor, but I'm not sure by how much.

Chris

Lesli L said...

With all this talk about MKS pedals my thoughts turn to the TA brand.. Any news about the broken mold and future delivery date of the quill road pedals?!

david_nj said...

Wait, I looked at the site, and those quick release pedals are REALLY COOL! It would be amazingly great to be able to swap out toe clips for clipless pedals in ten seconds. I do it all the time because now I'm down to one road bike. I'm afraid all that screwing and unscrewing into the alloy cranks is eventually going to result in bodged threads.

Joe PGH said...

Hey davidnj,

Check out this MKS QR Promenade-to-Clipless pedal conversion how-to... best of both?

=- Joe

Neil M Berg said...

I agree with David. I have an extra set of Sylvans that migrate to whatever I want to ride to work. It's not a killer to switch pedals, but a pain.

Neil M Berg said...

I've thinking more about David's problem. It strikes me that MKS has it backwards. They sell extra female sockets so you can switch your pedals from bike to bike, but they don't seem to have a clipless pedal that adapts. We need to be able to swap pedals on a bike, not move one set of pedals to various bicycles.
David- The ultimate answer is that you obviously need more road bikes. I complained because I had no Cinelli SC, then I met a man who had only one road bike.

neil m berg said...

Ahhhh. Nevermind.

david_nj said...

joe pgh:

Thanks, but it would be impractical to ride around on such things with toe clips attached.

Neil, it's fun to have just the one real road bike. Now I just have a Kogswell "P" (having sold my Peugeot to a very nice person who indeed participates in this blog sometimes). I've found that by keeping two wheelsets and two sets of pedals (toe clips and speedplays), I'm ok in most situations. I went on a very fast group ride this week and clearly no one knew what to make of my bike, what with fenders etc. It's not clear to me that the fenders make it any slower, although they must catch a lot of air when you're in front. What was funny is that I had left my fat 32mm commuter tires on the bike rather than my 23mm racing tires, and it rode fine. Indeed the additional suppleness was most welcome. Not really sure, in retrospect, why I used to race with such skinny tires.

(I also have made up a low-discount porteur-style bike out of an old PX-10, and it's kinda neat but by no means suited for covering long distances fast.)

neil m berg said...

David,
I recently shared emails with a nice person who recently purchased a Peugeot. I was telling him that I once met a serious tourer who was riding a fendered Cinelli SC with a huge seatbag across the country. I don't think the chasm between fast touring bikes and the older racing bikes is a great as we sometimes pretend. If you're fast, your Kogswell will be fast. I'm slow and so my Colnago is slow.

neil m berg said...

David,
I recently shared emails with a nice person who recently purchased a Peugeot. I was telling him that I once met a serious tourer who was riding a fendered Cinelli SC with a huge seatbag across the country. I don't think the chasm between fast touring bikes and the older racing bikes is a great as we sometimes pretend. If you're fast, your Kogswell will be fast. I'm slow and so my Colnago is slow.

david_nj said...

Neil, highly agree that it's a matter of setting up a good position, choosing correct gearing, and then one's strength, fitness and souplesse takes over. Not that I have tons at the moment; just enough.

On the Kogswell, I rook the same drive train from my racing bike, so it feels identical from the POV of shifting and such. Basically, on my alu compact-framed racer you couldn't mount fenders or have carriers, etc., which was just ridiculous given that I don't race any more, so I stripped it and sold the frame and bought the Kog.

(To read the press, you'd think a sport-tourer would ride like a sofa compared to a racing bike. In point of fact the difference is almost imperceptible. The only place I could see a material difference would be in very hilly conditions at race speeds. I honestly don't think one's results would be better or worse on one bike vs. the other, at least under most non-pro conditions.)

Chris Kulczycki said...

Lesli, No TA news yet. I get e-mails asking about those pedals almost every day so I we have a big order in.