What's Cool In Road Cycling

KEO: Look’s New Carbon Pedals On Test

Look have been around for as long as there have been Clipless Pedals. They had the first Tour winning click-able shoe grabbers and were designing cool stuff long before that (and will be around for a while…). In fact, back in 85’ and 86’, the only thing that Greg Lemonde and Bernard Hinault could agree on is that Look products were gonna help em whoop each others (and everyone else’) ass…

Fast forward to 2004 and you get the Look KEO Pedals.

Over the past few years, Look have built a few other models too. The standard bearer PP series gave way to the A5.1 and CX’s, and that led them to the new KEO.

What Look do a nice job of is step by step improvement to a product that has been a standard for quite a while, but keeping an eye on what works more than making big changes for the sake of change. To that end they have gone new from the ground up, keeping the same general shape and a similar design, while addressing things like better (slower) wearing cleats, cleat squeak, stack height, weight and slick Float. That’s a big damn list… so Lets get to it.

There is a family resemblance but you’ll notice a broader nose and trimmer booty. The Keo’s obviously been on a diet…

The Pedal it’s self is an all carbon platform. Look go with injected Carbon (lots of short fibers in a resin mix) for durability and so that, while the pedal is light and strong, it’s not as brittle as carbon parts built in a fashion that most folks associate with cycling gear (thin walled carbon fiber, like tubing or handlebars). The pedal body is extremely light but remains durable.

The booty is where all the mechanical stuff is on the KEO, as with lots of Look pedals. A simple adjustment can be made to the KEO’s release tension with a Hex wrench.

The KEO comes in chromo or Ti axle and both feature a lifetime warranty. Something that some other super light guys won’t do is offer their lightest set of pedals to people without supplying a rider weight limitation. That’s not a problem for the KEO though, and it’s Ti Axel version is within 12 Grams (pedal and cleat combined) of my Speedplay Ti (that have a max rider weight of 185).

Quite a bit of stack height is eliminated from the pedal body with the KEO when compared to past Look models. The cleat is not only thinner than in the past but has also been reshaped. Together with the lower profile pedal, the pair make a nice tight package.

The cleat its self is a very nice advancement for Look. The Red Cleat Body is in Nylon and is now also co-molded with Teflon in the toe and heel areas.

The Teflon helps ease entry and exit and helps free up the float (red cleats float 9 degrees, Black are fixed). Maybe best of all, it helps get rid of Cleat Squeak! The White material will also serve as a wear indicator. And a continued benefit is that the Cleats don’t cost an arm and a leg…

And if you noticed the little black part in the middle, good eye. According to Veltec, it is for making cleat swapping easier by getting screwed in place to the shoe in a future 4 hole system. The idea is to help you put the replacement cleat in just the right spot. It will require a shoe makers to add a fourth hole, and also add hardware (and weight?). I used to mark the sole of my shoe with two tiny black dots when replacing look cleats, and never had a problem in a swap, so it will be interesting to see if shoe companies are willing to punch another hole in and add hardware to their shoes in order to fix a problem that’s not really much of a problem. My guess is they have something better than that in store for us…

On the road…

It’s no secret if you’ve been looking at the bike reviews at Pez that I ride another brand of pedal. Be that as it may, I LOVED the new Keo’s when I tried them out at Veltec Sports media event.

It’s been a couple of years since I have been on my PP396’s, but Look have definitely been at work in the design shed, as the design tweaks over the past few years have produced a really nice pedal with better entry and release and a more free float. I say “more free”, because it’s not as loose feeling as what I am on now, but the Keo’s are far less sticky than Look pedals of a couple of years ago. I guess at a combination of shape change and the Teflon in the cleats as the reason, but what ever it is I like it.

Tech Update! I screwed up with my initial take on the float being “not as loose as what I am on now” (Sorry Ming!). That’s solved however, as with a couple of sets of pedals in house now, and with cleats on 3 different brands of shoes, I can say that the float is in fact true free float. I have no clue what caused the first test set to not float completely free, but that stuff happens when you get test gear ahead of product release from time to time. Bottom line is that these float free (Red cleat) and also give you a nice big platform. You’ll see em on the bikes I test from now on… Tech. Ed

Look are single sided, but clipping in is just plain easy. I had not been on a pair of looks in 2 years and I clipped in right away, like I had never left. In fact, it’s easier than I remember it, and it was never hard… The front of the pedal tips up when disengaged (actually, the back is heavier, so it rotates down), and presents a surface ready for engaging.

Yes double sided pedals are easy to get into, but you have to flatten the pedal out before stepping down sometimes (which is also very easy). Single sided VS double would be the last thing I would consider on a road pedal, and even then it would be a “what-ever”…

Last but not least is the stability in the Look pedals that I had forgotten about until getting back on a pair.

I like it…

I like my current pedals, but trying the new Keo’s opened my eyes a bit to the planted feeling your feet have with the Keo’s. The fact that my feet find a happy place in the float very easily didn’t hurt the impression I have either. Add the benefit of the reduced weight, the durability (no rider weight limits) the inexpensive and improved cleats and the lower overall profile (as the new Serotta bottom bracket is a touch lower than some others) and it adds up enough to have the new Looks find their way on to the test bike that just showed up…

Go get em.

Look Bicycles forks pedals and the like come from the folks at Veltec sports. Take a peek at VeltecSports.com. And try not to drool on the screen if they have pictures up of the new 585…

In fact, screw it. Drool

Where To Get ‘Em:

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