Could it be true that road bike pedals can cost up to $625? And you only get 123 grams (4.33 oz) for your money! Of course, the low weight is part of the reason for the high price tag.
If the $625 is too rich for your taste, how about a pair of Look Keo HM Ti’s for $500? Or you can be like the rest of us and look for some really good pedals in the $200 range.
Here are some of the features to keep in mind.
Degrees Of Float In Road Bike Pedals
Once you click into your road bike pedals you’re essentially part of the bike. Problems arise in a lot of riders who don’t have perfect knees if there is no ‘give’ between the foot and the pedal, particularly in a lateral, twisting plane. This is called float.
Without float, your knees and hips are at the mercy of whatever angle the cleats dictate. With float, your leg can find its optimum angle and can even change the angle throughout the ride to get some relief in the way your knee is tracking.
It’s common for road bike pedals to offer up to 5 degrees of float.
Speedplay pedals are uncommon in their ability to offer up to 15 degrees of float. There are two limiting screws that can be adjusted to allow for between zero and fifteen degrees. In the Speedplay pedal system the mechanics of the float happen in the cleat, not the pedal. Because of a relatively short spindle and no width to the platform, speedplay pedals are noted for their cornering ability.
And now to reveal the winner of the high cost contest…the Speedplay Nanogram is the $625.00 pedal. And here are some features…
* 123 grams (for comparison, the Shimano Dura Ace 7810 pedals weigh 280 grams)
* Rider weight limit of 185 pounds
* Titanium spindles
* Body of pedal is carbon/resin
* Center plate is aluminum rather than stainless steel.
Adjustable Spring Tension
You’ll be having to twist your foot to get out of your pedals. Quality pedals can be adjusted to a variety of spring tensions to make it easier or more difficult to twist out.
If you want to impress your cycling buddies at the local Starbucks tell them how many newton-meters it takes to get out of your pedals. It takes somewhere around 10 newton-meters to get out of Look Keos. That’ll give you a point of reference so that you won’t sound like a total fool in your attempt to sound like a wise guy.
More Features…Stack Height
The closer your foot is to the road bike pedals, the better.
Sometimes I’ll imagine an absurd exaggeration to understand a concept. In this case, I imagine trying to ride a bike with platform shoes on. Obviously, that wouldn’t work too well.
And in the opposite vein, getting a pedaling system which puts you close to the pedal is preferable. Stack height is a function of several other factors as well, like sole thickness.
Stability Of The Platform
I first became aware of this factor when Shimano introduced their new 7810 pedals. They were being touted for the increased width of their platform, thus contributing to added stability.
Lost in all this talk about ‘clipping in’ and ‘float’ is the primary purpose of the pedal. That ‘lost purpose’ is a solid (stable) pedaling surface.
I know that they work well, but the Speedplay pedal certainly wouldn’t make claims to excelling in the stability department. However, Speedplay does make a good case for power transfer, because the sole of the cycling shoe rests just about on the pedal itself. See the Speedplay page for an explanation.
One pedal that excels in this feature is the Shimano Ultegra. The platform is now up to 65mm and there is even a triple row of bearings rather than a double row.
Look Pedals Are Confusing
It’s hard to get a handle on all of the Look road bike pedals. They’re all called Keo. It’s very difficult to keep straight; much like trying to make some sense of all the Billy Bobs in Arkansas.
There are five Look Keo models, starting with the $100 Look Keo Classic. All the Keo pedals use the same cleat and bearing set-up.
The body of the top of the line Carbon HM Titanium is a hand-laid high-modulus carbon that isn’t lighter than the less expensive models. But over all, the top of the line weighs 50 grams less than the rest of the line-up.
That’s just about as clear as the California state budget!
I hope you’ve gained a little insight into the world of road bike pedals. It’s all about float, adjustable spring tension, stack height, stability, and a variety of high tech materials.
Of course, there is extreme cost to be marveled at, too.
open for deep discounts at Amazon.
They have Look, Speedplay, Shimano, and a boatload of other road bike pedals!
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