The Bike List

Look Kéo Classic Road Pedal £50

Tested by Jonathan Manning, tester for The Bike List

The most significant performance improvement I have ever achieved through buying new kit was an upgrade to clip-in pedals and cleats. Forget the four-figure sums splashed out on a new bike, or the hundreds on new forks and wheels, the £25 invested in my first set of base-specification Shimano SPD pedals delivered a genuine transformation in both the transmission of power and the smoothness of my cadence to the drivetrain.

IMG_0738Fast-forward almost two decades, and I've switched my Shimano loyalty to Look for my road bike at least. It's not all been plain sailing, but in the Keo Classic I've found a pedal that suits my needs, budget and riding style.

The Keo Classic offers a large contact area to push against, significantly bigger than my former SPDs, that is perfectly allied to the rigid sole of road shoes. Clipping in at the start of a ride is easy, and as confidence grows you can tighten the ratchet for a closer attachment. Unclipping simply requires a quick twist of the ankle to break free. If you've never ridden with cleats, it's a process that requires only a few minutes to practise.

The difficulty, however, arises when you try to clip-in when under pressure, such as at traffic junctions or hill starts. Here, the Keo Classic has a tendency to hang the 'wrong' way up, making it more difficult to clip in (especially if you're used to the double sided SPD system). On countless occasions I've slipped off the pedal and grazed or bruised my shin by failing to make proper contact between cleat and pedal, and after almost 1,500 miles the situation has barely improved.

IMG_0735In their favour, the pedals show scarcely any wear after covering that distance, and to the touch they feel stronger and better engineered than their 'plastic' appearance suggests (they're made from polyamid). They're also impressively light, weighing just 135g each, which is only 40g more than the elite Look Keo Blade Carbon Ti Pedals which carry a £225 price tag.

The cleats show much more significant signs of wear, with the rubber strip (about as thick as a rubber band) that protects the cleat from the ground wearing away within a very short time. As a result, I now take off my shoes as soon as a ride has finished, even to walk to the shed to store my bike.

Overall, this sounds like a lukewarm review of what is essentially an excellent pedal system. If you can watch how you clip in your free leg at junctions, and take care of the cleats, you'll have a pedal that will transmit all the power you can generate with efficiency and comfort, without breaking the bank.

Buy from www.chainreactioncycles.com

Look says:

The Keo Classic has been developed with strength and lightness in mind as well as high performance and durability. The pedal features two In-Line bearings and a cromoly axle. The pedal is made up from injected Polyamid, which makes the pedal both very light, and also very stiff.

  • Use: Road, Tri, TT, Track
  • Float°: 9
  • Weight (g): 280
  • Sole Fitment: 3 bolt fitment
  • Axle material: Steel
  • Cleats Included: Yes
  • Thread: 9/16 X 20 MM
  • Warranty: 2 years

Find out more www.lookcycle.com

At a glance

Verdict A great value clip-in pedal for road bikes, but not without its flaws
Value
Performance