There’s no doubting the aesthetic beauty of these MKS clips and straps. Their mirror polish, the coveted NJS (Nihon Jitensha Shinkokai, the Japanese Bicycling Association) stamp of approval, the supple luxury of the tan hide... these are features guaranteed to unite traditionalists seeking the finishing touch to period road/path, track and touring builds and ultra trendy urban fixers alike. Herculean sprinters will doubtless prefer twin strap designs for maximum security while vegans/strict vegetarians and bikes in daily service will be relieved to know there’s a plain version too.
Prising them from their packets, there’s no chrome to pit, peel or tarnish – the clips (and fittings) are stainless steel, requiring little more than a quick once-over with a lint free cloth to keep the sparkle. Leather toe sections aren’t purely decorative-they’ll protect swish handmade shoes, providing welcome cushioning on longer rides but there’s a trade-off in terms of entry/exit wearing beefier trainers/winter road booties.
Sturdy steel retains its shape and seems tolerant of both manipulation and careless feet but entry/exit can prove temperamental wearing beefier trainers/winter road booties so, if in doubt go a size up. That said, our large pair proved spot on with most styles of size 45-46 road and touring shoes with sufficient ground clearance even with 172mm cranks. However, those with bigger feet turning longer cranks or riding bikes with lower bottom brackets may find the clips tickling the tarmac-especially through town, but this made little impression through the test period.
The straps are made from the finest quality Japanese cowhide and weaving them through some pedals required some gentle cajoling using needle nose pliers, which saw the faintest touch of wear on the outer edges. Proofing them beforehand certainly helps this and achieving a really snug fit and the good quality stainless fittings make for snappy tensioning/slackening at the crucial moments.
Beautiful and very sturdy old school clips and straps but leather detailing requires care
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Make and model: MKS Leather toeclip and strap
Size tested: Tan
Tell us what the product is for, and who it's aimed at. What do the manufacturers say about it? How does that compare to your own feelings about it?
"Strong Steel full Toe Clip, Leather covered for shoe protection.
NJS/Keirin approved. Made from Japanese leather with a tough stainless steel buckle, you know that with the MKS logo these toe straps are of the highest quality. A fantastic finish for your toeclips and pedals"
Sizes Available: M-XL
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
NJS approved (stamped) stainless steel clips, leather scuff guards/Japanese hide and stainless fittings.
119g pair (clips and straps)
Not cheap but high standards of materials and workmanship.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Performance has been excellent, resisting scuffs, scrapes and carelessness while retaining the feet securely at all times, although the toe section is very narrow and, in keeping with the breed, can lead to numb feet over prolonged periods. However, the scuff guards offer additional cushioning and will ensure expensive shoes retain their beauty. In short, these are the icing on the cake for pretty/period old school track/road/tourers. However, ultra powerful sprinters will need double straps.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Superb quality materials.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes
Would you consider buying the product? Possibly
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes, for their intended purpose i.e. not for the hack bike.
Anything further to say about the product in conclusion?
The only small words of caution are "Toe-clip overlap". Generally only problematic on older frames and those such as the Holdsworth running a modern carbon fork but worth checking/avoiding where possible.
Age: 36 Height: 1m 81 Weight: 70 kilos
I usually ride: Rough Stuff Tourer Based around 4130 Univega mtb Frameset My best bike is: 1955 Holdsworth Road Path and several others including cross & traditional road
I've been riding for: Over 20 years I ride: Most days I would class myself as: Experienced
I regularly do the following types of riding: cyclo cross, commuting, touring, fixed/singlespeed, mtb,
Shaun Audane is a freelance writer/product tester with over twenty-eight years riding experience, the last twelve (120,000 miles) spent putting bikes and kit through their paces for a variety of publications. Previous generations of his family worked at manufacturing's sharp end, thus Shaun can weld, has a sound understanding of frame building practice and a preference for steel or titanium framesets.
Citing Richard Ballantine and an Au pair as his earliest cycling influences, he is presently writing a cycling book with particular focus upon women, families and disabled audiences (Having been a registered care manager and coached children at Herne Hill Velodrome in earlier careers)