Then and Now: Suntour XCii Vs. MKS XCiii Pedals


Then and Now: Suntour XCii Vs. MKS XCiii Pedals

With the pandemic driving up prices of vintage mountain and road components, many people are turning to modern recreations of these staple parts to finish out their build projects. Whether it’s a Salsa Pro Moto stem or in this case, Suntour’s legendary XC “bear trap” pedals, there are modern components inspired by these classic components but how close are they to the original? In this post, John looks at what makes the XCii so unique and how close the XCiii comes to the original…

Side By Side

The Suntour BMX MP-1000 pedal was the pedal of choice in the late 70s and early 80s for the burgeoning MTB scene. Joe Breeze, Tom Ritchey, and Cunningham all used the MP-1000 pedal with toe clips and straps. Back then, BMX, moto, and touring components populated the first mountain bikes because there were no mountain bike components. Magura moto brake levers, Huret derailleurs, T.A. Cyclotouriste triple cranks, BMX cruiser 26″ rims, road/BMX hubs, and Mafac “four-dot” Tandem cantis donned these early fat-tire bikes.

It only took a few years for component makers like Suntour to address this new movement and thus, the XC pedal came out. Early riders didn’t take kindly to these larger platforms, which clipped rocks and dragged on cornering. Thus, the OGs in the scene often stuck to the MP-1000 as their pedal of choice throughout the 1980s. Things changed though and with all the new riders finding fat-tire bikes, the XC pedal quickly became a favorite.

At first glance, the XCiii (left) looks pretty close to the XCii (right) with the most notable difference being a cage support found on the XCii but one on the XCiii. If you look at both pedal bodies, only the XCii has a bar running behind the pedal cage, connecting the two support arms together.

What’s interesting about this is the original Suntour XC (PL-5100) pedals also lacked support for the cage. It was added due to the popularity of toe clips. Remember, this was before clipless systems. The XC PL-5100 pedal came out in 1981 and was loose-ball bearing. The XCii came out in 1983 and was a cartridge, aka “sealed” bearing.

Subtle Differences

As you can see, the XCii (right) is taller than the XCiii (left). There are also two bolts on the Suntour pedals, securing the cage to the pedal body, whereas the MKS has a simplified single bolt holding the cage to the body. MKS also uses larger bolts. The cage itself still has teeth that sit proud of four other lower teeth. This ensures a secure pedal grip if you’re not using toe clips.

Both pedals are made in Japan. Yet, the MKS doesn’t have the word “Patented” on it. Here you can see the subtlety of the cage’s teeth. Also, it’s impossible not to scratch these!

While the distance between the dust cap and the pedal cage is about the same on the two pedals, the spindle is much longer in the MKS version. Both the Suntour XCii and MKS XCiii uses a cup and cone system.

Take Away

The biggest difference between the two pedals is the cost! The MKS XCiii will run you about $60, while NOS (new old stock) XCii pedals can run up to $700. A used set can be bought for about $100 at swap meets or $150-250 on eBay.

If building an 80s or 90s MTB is on your mind and you’re more interested in maintaining the aesthetic, rather than making every period correct, the MKS XCiii pedals are a great option.

Crust Bikes currently carries all colors of the MKS XCiii for $60.