REM FAQ

What are Rare Earth Magnets (REM)?

There are two types: neodymium magnets and samarium–cobalt magnets. Neodymium magnets – the ones used in our REMpedals – are incredibly powerful, permanent magnets made from alloys of rare-earth elements. Developed in the 1970s and 1980s, REM are the strongest type of permanent magnets made, producing significantly stronger magnetic fields than other types such as ferrite or alnico magnets.

How does the release force of the REMmagnets used in our REMpedals compare to clipless pedals?

REM are most powerful in a north/south (straight up/down) direction on the pedals. When you start to move east/west the force of the REMmagnets decreases and it is easier to step out. You’re never “locked in” as with a clipless pedal: Only magnetic force is holding your foot to the REMpedal, and you can pull off in almost any direction. So there’s no muscle memory that needs to be trained, and releasing is completely intuitive and natural, unlike clipless pedals.  

 

**Scroll to bottom for more in-depth tech on Neodymium/Rare Earth Magnets

Why are REMmagnets perfect for this application?

With the REM Pedal System’s REMmagnets you are connected to the bike, as with clipless pedals, but you also enjoy the freedom of a flat/platform pedal, because you are not locked in. REMpedals offer the safety of platform and the performance of clipless.

Do REMmagnets lose power over time?

NO! Neodymium’s magnetic charge will last a lifetime. You can even recharge traditional magnets with them.

Can I make it easier/harder to step off?

YES. By adjusting the number and position of the traction pins, the outsole will have less contact with the pin and will be easier to rotate/slide off of the pedal and vice versa.

Will they work with any shoe?

Sort of. Since REMpedals use a flat platform, you can certainly ride with any shoes – even your Oxfords or runners. But to get the full benefits of the system you’ll want to attach the REMplates, compatible with any two-bolt, SPD-specific shoes. The system works best with flat-bottom shoes with a rubber outsole – like those on DH or Enduro shoes, which will engage more completely with the pins on the pedal body – but any two-bolt shoes will work.

Do I have to twist to release? Or another movement?

Any sufficient pressure will release your foot – but since REMmagnets are most powerful in a directly-vertical direction, it’s always easier to twist, slide or angle your foot when wanting to release, rather than pulling straight up. Unlike clipless no single (and often unnatural) movement is required.

Do they allow any float and if so how much?

Rotational float is nearly unlimited because, unlike clipless pedals, your foot can rotate freely on the pedal body without affecting the magnetic force. And side-to-side float is also far greater than with clipless: While the magnetic pull decreases when the REMplate moves out of direct alignment with the REMmagnets, you’ll still benefit from the magnetic pull, albeit in a reduced amount.

What happens if I get mud/debris between the shoe and the REMmagnets?

Anything covering the magnets can decrease the pull force, but unless it’s a lot of mud, a stone or stick, etc., they’ll retain most of their power. But since the REM Pedal System has virtually no nooks or crannies to catch debris, and is highly effective at shedding mud and dirt, this should not be a major issue.

Do I have to step onto the REMpedal at any precise spot and/or angle?

No. As long as your foot is on the pedal, with the REMplate somewhat over the REMmagnets, you’re good to start pedaling, sending, etc. That said, the more directly over the magnets, the more pull you’ll get, so the safest, most efficient placement is centered over the mags. Overall the system allows for the widest range of step-in position and on-the-fly adjustments of any pedal system out there.

Do the REMmagnets keep the foot from sliding off sideways or is that all done with the traction pins?

While the magnets certainly help keep your foot in place, pull in that direction is limited, so the traction pins provide most of the side-to-side and rotational stability. That said, the magnets definitely add increased hold in that direction over standard platform pedals.

Does normal “wear and tear” and/or time affect the REM Pedal System’s performance??

Somewhat, but considerably less than clipless. Unless physically damaged, the REMmagnets’ pull force will last a lifetime. So to protect the magnets we coat them entirely in a nickel/zinc jacket and then cover both ends – where the REMplate contacts the REMmagnets – with stainless steel caps. If the magnets still manage to get chipped or otherwise damaged, and the neodymium is exposed, it may oxidize and become increasingly brittle. This is rare but can happen over time with excessive erosion from dirt and sand under the shoe, so keep an eye on the plating. 

Does rain affect performance?

Very slightly overall. While water itself on the REMmagnets will not affect magnetic pull, it will, of course, make the pedal body and pins more slippery, as with any pedal. And rain may increase the likelihood of debris gathering between magnet and REMplate which will decrease pulling force.

Is the holding power the same horizontally as vertically?

No. The Neodymium magnets used in the REM Pedal System are axially charged with north/south poles, so moving horizontally decreases (but does not eliminate) pulling strength – this is precisely why they are so much easier to release from.

More on Magnets:

 

What makes them different from normal magnets?

The magnetic field typically produced by Rare Earth Magnets can exceed 1.4 teslas (the name used in the scientific community to quantify magnetic strength), whereas ferrite or ceramic magnets typically exhibit fields of 0.5 to 1 tesla. They are stronger than natural magnets and are relatively inexpensive. Neodymium magnets, the most powerful of all permanent magnets, can lift more than any other type of magnet of the same size.

What other industries use them?

  • Computer hard disk drives
  • Wind turbine generators
  • Speakers/headphones
  • Bicycle dynamo hubs
  • MRI scanners
  • Fishing reel brakes
  • Permanent magnet motors in cordless tools
  • High-performance AC servo motors
  • Traction motors and integrated starter-generators in hybrid and electric vehicles
  • Mechanically powered flashlights, powered by a shaking motion or rotating a hand crank

Are they really rare?

The term “rare earth” can be misleading, as some of these metals can be as abundant in the Earth’s crust as tin or lead. But rare earth ores are unevenly distributed, not existing in seams like coal or copper, so in any given cubic kilometer of crust they are “rare”.

What makes them so strong?

This is primarily due to two factors: First, their crystalline structures have very high magnetic anisotropy. This means that a crystal of the material preferentially magnetizes along a specific crystal axis but is very difficult to magnetize in other directions. Second, like other magnets, rare-earth magnets are composed of microcrystalline grains, which are aligned in a powerful magnetic field during manufacture, so their magnetic axes all point in the same direction.

What is a NIB magnet?

Neodymium magnets, invented in the 1980s, are the strongest and most affordable type of rare-earth magnets. They are made of an alloy of neodymium, iron, and boron (Nd2Fe14B), sometimes abbreviated as NIB. Neodymium magnets are used in numerous applications requiring strong, compact permanent magnets, such as electric motors for cordless tools, hard disk drives, magnetic hold downs, and jewelry clasps.

What is the Pulling Force of a Magnet?

Pulling force is one of the measuring methods to rate the strength of a magnet. It is typically defined as the force to separate the magnet from a low-carbon steel plate for a direct touch and direct pull condition, where the steel plate should be 20 mm (0.787”) thick. The steel plate surface should be smooth and clean, and the force to pull off the magnet must be perpendicular to the surface.

Based on these factors, the pulling force will be smaller for any of the following situations,

  • The magnetic surface is less magnetic than low carbon steel
  • The magnetic surface is thinner than 20 mm (0.787”)
  • The magnetic surface is rough or not directly touched. For example, the surface is painted or there is debris on the surface
  • The pulling force is not perpendicular to the surface 

In most applications, the actual pulling force is smaller considering these factors.

Unlike Gauss and Maximum Energy Product, which are more scientific terms, the pulling force is used more often by amateur applications in choosing magnets.

What decides the pulling force of a magnet?

The Pulling Force of a magnet is decided by the Gauss ratings and the geometry parameters of the magnet. The higher the Gauss rating the greater the pulling force for the same size magnets. The Gauss rating is decided by the material the magnet is made of and the grade. For example, for neodymium magnets, the greater the N number, the higher the Gauss rating. So the grade N52 has a higher Gauss rating than N45, so is the pulling force for the same size magnet. At Hustle we use only the N52 Grade in our pedals.

Is Increasing the thickness of a magnet more preferable than increasing the width?

Generally speaking, the Pulling Force is proportional to the thickness of the magnet and the area of the touching surface. So increasing the thickness is better than increasing the width unless the thickness is equal to or greater than the width.

Are neodymium magnets brittle?

Neodymium magnets are brittle and fragile. Despite being made of metal, and the shiny, metallic appearance of their nickel/zinc plating, they are not as durable as steel. Neodymium magnets can peel, chip, crack or shatter if allowed to slam together. Do not remove magnets from nylon composite body.

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