It is over a quarter of a century since the original Look clipless pedal made its debut at the Tour de France courtesy of 1985 winner Bernard Hinault.
Testimony to the rightness of that first pedal is the fact that the latest design from Look, along with many of its competitors, differs only in detail – materials, bearing technology,cleat dimensions.
Pedals – road and mtb – still comprise the bulk of the Look business despite the success of the company’s frame and fork manufacturing operation and there’s an exciting power-measuring pedal under development in collaboration with Polar of HRM fame.
Unsuprisingly, then, when I was provided with a bike for a spin around Look’s home town of Nevers, it was fitted with the firm’s Keo Blade pedals. Which are very fine.
To be honest, however, I was more interested in the bike itself, which was a SRAM RED-equipped 695. The model, top of the Look road range, features a full house of technologies: C-Stem, HSC7 fork with Head Fit 3, ZED2 crankset and, er, E-Post.
And it was good. This was my first chance to ride the all-carbon one-piece crankset, which offers three crank lengths depending on the orientation of a tri-lobed insert in the crank. Not wanting to cut the integrated seat post just for one ride, I stuck with 172.5mm to get a reasonable leg extension.
One thing’s for sure; the ZED2 crankset is stiff. Smooth, too; the huge bearings must contribute something to a ride notably lacking in noise, looseness or anything else untoward. Except the front Mavic Cosmic Carbone wheel, which made a slight swishing noise. May have been the glue under the tub, but it prompted Look’s Arthur Espos to swap front hoops. Which is why I had to overcome a deep-rooted phobia and ride a while on non-matching wheels and tyres.