A change of pedals can lop a chunk of weight off your bike and
also give you a chance to switch to pedals that work better in other
ways such as providing a broader platform for your shoes or
user-friendly double-sided mechanism.
In the selection of lightweight, high-end pedals below we’ve picked
pedals designed to save weight but that also improve over regular or less
expensive designs in other ways.
For example, Look’s latest Keo Blade pedals have a very large steel
contact plate, which in theory makes the cleat — and therefore the shoe —
steadier on the pedal.
Hairsine ratios for these pedals are based on Shimano’s 330g R540
pedals, except for the Ritcheys which we’ve compared with Shimano’s 374g
Weight: 208g Hairsine ratio: 2.31
The Ritchey WCS Micro Road Pedals are lightweight, sleek pedals for
SPD-cleat users. At 208g (plus cleats), they’re are at the lighter end of
heavy; they’re almost certainly the lightest option if you want to use
shoes you can easily walk in.
Once clicked in they feel just as good as any other high-end SPD-style
pedal, with a decent amount of float, no fore-aft slop and clean
entry/exit even with grime underfoot. Being single-sided you have to look
a bit, and without the SPD-SL's large rear end they don't hang ready to
We didn't find flipping them over to engage to be any hassle, the
compactness meaning they didn't want to spin all the way over under their
own gravity. Double-sided SPDs might be a boon off-road where you are
clipping in-out frequently, but for even moderately-experienced road users
the single-sidedness of the Ritcheys shouldn't be an issue.
The Pro version we reviewed is no longer available, but the WCS model is
lighter and has recently had a bearing and axle upgrade to prolong its
Weight: 208g Hairsine ratio: 0.81
Those who love Speedplays rave about the low weight, adjustability, and
shallow stack. But it's undeniable they need more looking after than most
pedals, the large cleat is awkward to walk in (the new aero cleat is a big
improvement on the original naked cleat though) and they're susceptible to
clogging from even the smallest amount of dirt.
But if you have knees that are in any way fragile, or you want pedals
that are incredibly easy to enter and release but fit stiff-soled road
racing shoes, their free float and double-sided designs make Speedplays
well worth considering.
Weight: 228g Hairsine ratio: 0.70
Shimano's top-level Dura-Ace R9100 pedals offer loads of security and
stability and they're a few grams lighter than the previous version,
although still not quite as light as some of their biggest rivals.
The pedals feature an injection-moulded carbon composite body with three
small stainless steel plates across the centre to provide protection from
wear. These plates are moulded in and aren't replaceable (the screwed-on
plate of the previous generation Dura-Ace R9000 pedal wasn't replaceable
The pedal platform is 66mm wide – a little wider than previously – and
provides plenty of stability. That broad platform is one of the best
things about these pedals, and is especially welcome when you're riding
out of the saddle.
Weight: 184g Hairsine ratio: 0.82
Despite their conventional steel springs, these carbon-bodied Look Keo
clones from the upmarket arm of Taiwanese pedal giant Wellgo are very
light, thanks to their pared-down carbon fibre bodies and titanium axles.
Out on the road these provide you with a whole lot of stability. That
wide pedal body gives you a solid platform underneath your foot for
putting down the power, with no rocking from side to side. The mechanism
hangs on to your cleat securely, and if you wind up the tension there’s
virtually no chance of your foot disconnecting unexpectedly.
Weight: 180g Hairsine ratio: 0.81
This is the lightest incarnation of Look’s Keo pedals, and uses a
weight-saving carbon fibre leaf spring to provide the retention force in
place of the usual steel coil.
We like the less expensive Keo Blade and these have even more bells and
whistles, including a very large steel contact plate for stability (700mm2
rather than the Max’s 400mm2) and titanium axle.
The latest versions of the Keo Blade Carbon and Keo Blade Carbon Ti have
interchangeable leaf springs; they come set up with 12Nm springs, but
there's a 16Nm spring in the box, and a special tool to help make the job
easy. You can also buy a 20Nm spring, but Look warns that you shouldn’t
come crying to them if you crash because you can’t get out of the 20Nm
Weight: 140g Hairsine ratio: 0.63
The Time Xpresso 15 pedals are extremely light and clipping in/twisting
out could hardly be easier. The downside is the price, and the cleats wear
noticeably faster than those of other brands.
At just 140g for the pair, they're phenomenally light thanks to carbon
bodies, titanium axles, aluminium top plates and ceramic bearings.
Clipping in is very easy thanks to a spring mechanism that stays open
after you click out.
Weight: 120g Hairsine ratio: 0.39
At just 120g/pair these race-day-only pedals are Speedplay's
demonstration that the Zero design can be made extraordinarily light.
Speedplay has often displayed superlight bikes at trade shows; these
pedals help make bikes like those even lighter.
The low weight is achieved by the use of every lightweight material you
can think of: carbon-reinforced thermoplastic bodies; ceramic bearings;
titanium axles; titanium bolts; and aluminium top plates. The cleats have
been lightened too with carbon fiber replacing the plastic and aluminium
fasteners instead of steel. They're bonkers expensive, but you have to
admire the fanaticism.
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As far as possible that means recommending equipment that we have actually reviewed, but we also include products that are popular, highly-regarded benchmarks in their categories.
Our official grumpy Northerner, John has been riding bikes for over 30 years since discovering as an uncoordinated teen that a sport could be fun if it didn't require you to catch a ball or get in the way of a hulking prop forward.
Road touring was followed by mountain biking and a career racing in the mud that was as brief as it was unsuccessful.
Somewhere along the line came the discovery that he could string a few words together, followed by the even more remarkable discovery that people were mug enough to pay for this rather than expecting him to do an honest day's work. He's pretty certain he's worked for even more bike publications than Mat Brett.
The inevitable 30-something MAMIL transition saw him shift to skinny tyres and these days he lives in Cambridge where the lack of hills is more than made up for by the headwinds.