French brand, LOOK, creator of the pedale automatique has a new flagship, the Keo Blade 2.
Having spent a satisfied two years clipped into its forerunner, the Keo Blade, we’re looking forward to putting in some miles with this heavily revised version beneath our feet.
LOOK claim the new design is lighter, more stable, and offers greater security. The first of these we can confirm immediately.
With a pair of the original Blades to hand, we popped them on to our Park table scale and recorded a frankly unacceptable 114g. The Blade 2s, however, with chromoly axle, tipped the scales at a barely noticeable 112g – two grams lighter than their predecessor and just two grams more than that claimed by LOOK. Marginal gains? We’ll find out.
More significant development, however, can be found in the reconfiguration of the aforementioned ‘blade’, the strip of carbon used by LOOK in place of a spring to control the cleat retention mechanism. On the original Blade, this was mounted on the outside edge of the pedal and measured just a single centimetre wide. On the new design, the carbon strip measures a full 23mm, and forms the base of the pedal. It is this new design that underpins LOOK’s claims for quicker entry to the pedal and greater security once the cleat is engaged.
The ‘spring’, for this is the purpose served by the carbon blade, is available in three different strengths, colour-coded to indicate tension. We’ll be testing the ‘red’, or the middle of the three. The highest rating – ‘version 20’ – is colour coded blue, and is a new addition (only 12 and 16 were available with the original Blade). Changing the ‘spring’ requires a visit to an authorised LOOK dealer for use of a special tool.
The pedal platform, or ‘support surface’ is the largest of any LOOK pedal, a claimed 700mm squared, achieved in part with a plate that measures 68mm across (and on to which the word ‘LOOK’ has been laser etched in fetching style). The substantial width of the original Blade was its best feature, in our opinion, offering noticeably more support beneath the foot, and we’re expecting good things from its successor.
While we’re dealing with changes notable to the eye, the ‘block’, or the area of the pedal that houses the cleat, is notably smaller. LOOK claim its reduced size offers continuous contact with the cleat, regardless of pedalling angle; another weapon in the battle for greater foot security. We’ll find out how effective this is in the weeks ahead.
Most of the axle is concealed within the injection-moulded carbon pedal body, of course, but LOOK claim improvements here to the previous model, too. A lower pedal stack height is the most notable outcome, reduced to 13mm. The new axle – titanium or chromoly depending on your preference and pocket – are both oversized and revolve on two ball bearings and a needle bearing. They’re protected with a double seal.
Finally, the appearance. The Keo Blade 2 is smaller and sleeker than the original, and the glossy carbon blade creates an attractive contrast with the matt pedal body. The aforementioned laser-etched logos are easy on the eye, too.
Check back soon for a full review.
Price: £139.99 – chromoly axle; £249.99 – titanium axle