Monday, July 2, 2012

Look Keo Blade Ti Pedals

Just arrived... even the box is nice!

As I hinted in my previous post, there have been improvements made to the Cervelo during the long months (years?) during which this blog was... erm... dormant. Wheels, components here and there... Including a set of Look Keo Blade Ti pedals. A bit of history - I had been an early convert to clipless (and that meant a set of Look PP65s!) and absolutely loved them. Upgraded over time to whatever was latest and greatest. But sadly all was not perfect in my clipless world. My last pair of Look Deltas, though, were less than impressive. Silly squeaking no matter what I tried, poor quality bearings and the requirement to change pedals often due to the wear and tear caused by minimal walking made me consider other options. So as an unrepentant Campagnolo fanboy, I quickly decided on Campagnolo Pro-Fits. The advantages of the Look system, but done right with Campagnolo quality bearings, metal inserts in the cleats that last forever, and much nicer finish. So I have 3 sets on each one of my road bikes.

Campagnolo! Aesthetically, can any other component maker even come close?

Not only are they good looking, but they are pretty much fit and forget. Having said this, around 2 months ago I decided to change again - the Pro-Fits do have some drawbacks: they are heavy and have a relatively small cleat platform. And speaking of cleats, the price for purchasing the full clear set (plastic cleat plus the metal bits) was absolutely outrageous.

Looked (pardon the pun) around for an option, and came across the Look Keo Blades, with the carbon fiber mechanism, as well as an ultra light option with a Ti axle. Did a bit of research and most also stated that the issues that had turned me off Looks had been resolved. I was intrigued by the adoption of the carbon fiber blade (as opposed to a traditional, and far heavier spring) as the mechanism that engages the cleat. Given that they could be found for a very decent price (as opposed to the ridiculous MSRP), I decided to take the plunge. First thing I noticed when I took them out of the box... they are feather LIGHT, appear to be well made (I like the metal plate - this will lengthen the life span of the pedal significantly) and have that "built for a purpose" look that I quite like.

Nice looking, well thought out. So far, so good.

Did I mention that they are light?

Yes sir, 187 grams for the set!

Have now been riding these pedals for around three months, and have absolutely nothing negative to say. They are light, the 16nm carbon blade model that I chose has the right amount of resistance (I would suggest going for the lighter 12nm only if you are a lightweight), are easy to install (Allen key/hex wrench as opposed to dedicated pedal wrench) and look good on any bike, given their understated finish. Plus you have all the availability of Look replacements (thinking cleats here) at very reasonable prices through your local bike shop, favorite online retailer or that online auction site we all know and love.

I have heard of some issues with bearings, but have been keeping a close eye on mine with no negative issues so far. Will update this review if something occurs. Final conclusion: if you are looking for a well established pedal system that is light, not unreasonably priced and that works well, you should consider these. Remember that the model pictured is the top of the line, there are other versions that weigh more (although the functioning remains the same as long as they are Blades) but also cost far less.