Is there a more important component for converting power to propulsion than pedals?
The chain and crank are fundamental, of course, but perhaps no other constituent part of a bicycle’s mechanical identity is so central to converting muscular energy to forward motion as the humble platform beneath the sole of the rider’s foot.
LOOK claim the widest platform on the market for their Keo Blade, and this, its Ti-spindled incarnation, is the model’s most noticeable feature when in use. I was conscious of a far greater support than offered by their predecessors on my winter bike, the down-scale Keo Classic. My foot felt more securely located, which inspired greater confidence, particularly on climbs, to apply full power. The other considerable difference between the two LOOK offerings is the weight, the Keo Blade tipping the scales at 94g per pedal, a saving of some 35g per pedal over the Keo Classic. Sad to report, the minute performance advantage accruing from such a reduction passed undetected during tests conducted on a steel-framed cycle with modest finishing kit.
Immediately noticeable, however, was the pairing of the supplied, and therefore brand new, cleats, with the stiff carbon blade which gives the pedal its name by replacing the conventional steel coil spring as the method of controlling the release mechanism. The superior performance afforded by new cleats is significant. The supplied units (LOOK’s standard, three-hole configuration, compatible across the Keo range) snapped assertively in and out of the pedal.
The lightweight, titanium axles revolve on needle and cartridge bearings protected from the elements by a double seal. Our test rides have been completed on admittedly dry, but frequently grimy roads, coated variously in road salt, mud fallen from tractor tyres, and animal slurry. As might be expected this early into a test, the performance of the axles and bearings has thus far been unimpaired. We’ll continue to use the pedals in the months ahead and report issues if and when they arise.
Nearly 30 years after the invention of la pédale automatique, LOOK is preparing to release another game-changing platform with its Keo Power model. For those unconvinced by or uninterested in pedal-based power meters, the Keo Blade Ti is a high-performance option that combines low weight with a broad platform and positive interface. At around £200, they aren’t cheap, but given the importance of the pedal to forward progress discussed above, they may be an investment.