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BUYER'S GUIDE

7 of the best high-performance lightweight clipless pedals

Improve performance and comfort too

Switching to a pair of the best high-performance lightweight clipless pedals can lop a chunk of weight off your bike. It's also 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.

  • For our purposes, high-performance lightweight clipless pedals means the lightest one or two models of each major clipless system: SPD, SPD-SL, Look, Time and Speedplay

  • Big, powerful riders should probably steer clear of many of these, especially pedals with titanium axles whose makers set weight limits

  • Most road bike pedals are single-sided but we've included double-sided models here too, from Speedplay, Crankbrothers and Xpedo

  • Factors such as the size of the contact area, the clip-in and release action and the amount of float are also important; see our guide to clipless pedals for more

7 of the best high-performance, lightweight clipless pedals

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.

The Hairsine ratios for these pedals are based on Shimano’s 330g R540 pedals, except for the Xpedo M-Force 8s and Crankbrothers EggBeater 11s which we’ve compared with Shimano’s 374g M520s.

>>Read more: Buyer's Guide — The best clipless pedals

Speedplay Zero Stainless Pedals — £150.00

Weight: 208g Hairsine ratio: 0.81

Speedplay Zero pedals

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, 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 design make Speedplays well worth considering.

Wahoo bought Speedplay in 2019 and a new Zero pedal is now available, currently only available direct from Wahoo for £199.99. For the extra £50 you get bearings with claimed better durability and less need for continual maintenance. A new version of the lightweight Speedplay Nano is also available at a claimed 168g/pr for £379.99.

Read our review of the Wahoo Speedplay Zero pedals
Read our review of the Speedplay Zero Stainless Pedals
Find a Speedplay dealer

Shimano Dura-Ace 9100 Carbon SPD-SL — £180.49

Weight: 228g Hairsine ratio: 0.57

Shimano PD-R9100.jpg

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 either).

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.

Read our review of the Shimano Dura-Ace 9100 Carbon SPD-SL

Xpedo Thrust XRF08CT — €204.50

Weight: 174g Hairsine ratio: 0.81

Xpedo.jpg

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.

Read our review of the Xpedo Thrust XRF08CT

Look Keo Blade Carbon Ti Pedals — £236.99

Weight: 180g Hairsine ratio: 0.63

2018_look_keo_blade_carbon_ti_pedals.jpg

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 version.

Read our review of the Look Keo Blade Carbon Pedals

Time XPRO 15 — €285.00

Weight: 175g Hairsine ratio: 0.60

Time XPRO 15 Pedals

The XPRO 15 pedals are the successor to Time's Xpresso 15 pedals and are your lightest option if you prefer the entry and release action of Time pedals.

At just 175g for the pair, they're very 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. If you have less to spend and can just about live with sacrificing ceramic bearings for steel, there's also the Time Xpro 10 that we reviewed back in 2018 (currently £129.99 at Tredz) and Time Xpro 12 (£255.99 at Tredz). 

Note: the price and link for the Xpro 15 above is for an EU-based retailer that appears to be still taking UK orders despite the current border and customs issues. They're £373.79 from Swinnerton Cycles.

Read our review of the Time Xpro 10 pedals
Find a Time dealer

Xpedo M-Force 8 Ti — €219.50

Weight: 215g Hairsine ratio: 0.80

xpedo M-Force 8 pedals

With the Ritchey Micro pedals discontinued, these are now the lightest pedals we can find that are compatible with Shimano's SPD system.

Xpedo is the the upmarket arm of Taiwanese pedal giant Wellgo, so there's a decent level of pedalsmithing competence there, and we liked Xpedo's upmarket road pedals when we tested them a few years ago.

Perhaps the biggest caveat here is that with titanium axles, these pedals have a rider weight limit of 85kg.

Crankbrothers EggBeater 11 — £341.99

Weight: 179g Hairsine ratio: 0.44

Crankbrothers Eggbeater 11 pair

If you want to ride in walkable shoes then Crankbrothers' mud-shedding pedal design is a viable alternative to Shimano's SPD system, and this is the lightest version.

However, they have a rider-weight limit of 90kg, and it's a really good idea to use Crankbrother's £8.99 Shoe Shields with them to protect your soles.

The 280g Eggbeater 3s (£99.99) are the cheapest version without a rider weight limit.

Find a Crankbrothers dealer

>> Read more: All road.cc pedal reviews

About road.cc Buyer's Guides

The aim of road.cc buyer's guides is to give you the most, authoritative, objective and up-to-date buying advice. We continuously update and republish our guides, checking prices, availability and looking for the best deals.

Our guides include links to websites where you can buy the featured products. Like most sites we make a small amount of money if you buy something after clicking on one of those links. We want you to be happy with what you buy, so we only include a product if we think it's one of the best of its kind.

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.

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You can also find further guides on our sister sites off.road.cc and ebiketips.

road.cc buyer's guides are maintained by the road.cc tech team. Email us with comments, corrections or queries.

John has been writing about bikes and cycling for over 30 years since discovering that people were mug enough to pay him for it rather than expecting him to do an honest day's work.

He was heavily involved in the mountain bike boom of the late 1980s as a racer, team manager and race promoter, and that led to writing for Mountain Biking UK magazine shortly after its inception. He got the gig by phoning up the editor and telling him the magazine was rubbish and he could do better. Rather than telling him to get lost, MBUK editor Tym Manley called John’s bluff and the rest is history.

Since then he has worked on MTB Pro magazine and was editor of Maximum Mountain Bike and Australian Mountain Bike magazines, before switching to the web in 2000 to work for CyclingNews.com. Along with road.cc founder Tony Farrelly, John was on the launch team for BikeRadar.com and subsequently became editor in chief of Future Publishing’s group of cycling magazines and websites, including Cycling Plus, MBUK, What Mountain Bike and Procycling.

John has also written for Cyclist magazine, edited the BikeMagic website and was founding editor of TotalWomensCycling.com before handing over to someone far more representative of the site's main audience.

He joined road.cc in 2013. He lives in Cambridge where the lack of hills is more than made up for by the headwinds.

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26 comments

Avatar
stealfwayne | 3 years ago
1 like

RItchey CYcles. Please bring back the WCS SPD pedal. I had them on all three bikes and now have mis-matched colours as they very slowly  wear out.  I've had to, ahehem, buy Shimano XT to avoid changing them over all the time. 

Avatar
Nick T | 3 years ago
0 likes

Rather annoyingly, Keo Blades no longer come with fitted with 12nm and another 16nm spring in the box - they're now 8nm with a spare 12nm. £30 for a slightly thicker bit of carbon is a bit much so now I've got 2 bikes I occasionally unclip from the softer pedals than I'm used to

Avatar
Sriracha replied to Nick T | 3 years ago
1 like
Nick T wrote:

Rather annoyingly, Keo Blades no longer come with fitted with 12nm and another 16nm spring in the box

They're probably in there somewhere, just too small to see with the naked eye.

Avatar
Xenophon2 | 4 years ago
1 like

Ditto about Speedplay.  I own their Syzr pedals/cleats.  Very easy to walk on (MTB-style shoes), perfect power transfer and the cleats last forever.  The free float feels strange in the beginning but once you got used to it, you don't want to go back.  For some reason they don't get a lot of good press but all I can say is that imo they're way better than what I tried from Look, Time and Shimano.

Avatar
froze | 4 years ago
0 likes

Your writers need some help!  You moan and groan about the Speedplay Zero quoting: "The large cleat is awkward to walk in"...Well if you were going to favor a pedal that uses cleats to walk in then you should have reviewed the Speedplay Frogs, those cleats disappear under you shoes if you're wearing MTB shoes, and you can walk around quite a bit without taking the cleats off, and the cleats for the Frogs is a lot smaller.  Do some research into the rest of a pedal company's line before you belittle a pedal because the cleats are large and you can't walk around in them comfortably.  I own a pair of the Frogs and I have no problem walking around.

Avatar
louismichaels replied to froze | 4 years ago
1 like

The Frogs are brilliant.

Beautifully simple design. And durable.

I use them on my commuting bike and my touring bike.

Alas Speedplay (now owned by Wahoo) have discontinued them. 
I would be keen to try the Syzr despite their cost, but I'm worried they're about to be discontinued too.....

Avatar
vjac | 5 years ago
2 likes

 

Being interested in the Xpedo Thurst 8, I checked the review from road.cc (link at the bottom of the Xpedo Thurst in this article).
Sadly, I found that the review dates back to ... 2011 and that all the information is quite outdated.

Xpedo has a newer model which happens to be lighter at 170 gr. and also cheaper at about 160€ online.

So, please guys, try to publish more recent information instead of relying on 8 year old reviews sad

Thanks anyway for all the ahrd work!

Avatar
maviczap replied to vjac | 5 years ago
0 likes
vjac wrote:

 

Being interested in the Xpedo Thurst 8, I checked the review from road.cc (link at the bottom of the Xpedo Thurst in this article).
Sadly, I found that the review dates back to ... 2011 and that all the information is quite outdated.

Xpedo has a newer model which happens to be lighter at 170 gr. and also cheaper at about 160€ online.

So, please guys, try to publish more recent information instead of relying on 8 year old reviews sad

Thanks anyway for all the ahrd work!

Link to this latest Xpedo pedal, and do they work with Keo cleats well?

Had another brand of Keo compatible pedals which I couldn't get my foot out of, which were bloody dangerous

Avatar
vjac replied to maviczap | 5 years ago
0 likes
maviczap wrote:

Link to this latest Xpedo pedal, and do they work with Keo cleats well?

Had another brand of Keo compatible pedals which I couldn't get my foot out of, which were bloody dangerous

 

Link to latest version at 170 gr:

https://www.bike24.com/p293052.html

Keo cleats: yes.

Avatar
Secret_squirrel replied to vjac | 3 years ago
1 like

Those pedals are down as 22 weeks delivery on that link and out of stock/unavailable in most places I quickly checked.

My guess is that these are ex-parrots.

Avatar
Westy | 5 years ago
0 likes

Have had two sets of Look Keo Blades, nice at first but in both cases water got into the bearings and made them rough as hell (I never pressure wash, just rain and road water and ordinary washing was the cause) - I only bought the second pair because I thought the first time it was just bad luck. My DA9100’s on the other hand are now 18months and two winters old and turning as smooth as the day I bought them.

Avatar
fennesz | 5 years ago
2 likes

Speedplay's recent price increases are making me think about changing.  MRRP for walkable cleats is now £70.  You can find them at £50, but still - £50!  

Avatar
fukawitribe replied to fennesz | 5 years ago
1 like
fennesz wrote:

Speedplay's recent price increases are making me think about changing.  MRRP for walkable cleats is now £70.  You can find them at £50, but still - £50!  

If you like the pedals and cleats, I be tempted to say just don't buy the walkables - no need - I know I won't be. Old style cleats and KeepOnKovers here, price is reasonable, clipping in is even easier and they last for years.

Avatar
Simmo72 replied to fukawitribe | 5 years ago
1 like
fukawitribe wrote:
fennesz wrote:

Speedplay's recent price increases are making me think about changing.  MRRP for walkable cleats is now £70.  You can find them at £50, but still - £50!  

If you like the pedals and cleats, I be tempted to say just don't buy the walkables - no need - I know I won't be. Old style cleats and KeepOnKovers here, price is reasonable, clipping in is even easier and they last for years.

 

I've purchased some Ali express speedplay cleats.  $12 inc shipping and another $6 for rubber protectors that you can leave on whilst riding.  they work just as well, been using for over 6 months, no issues.  Design of the cleat is so simple.

 

I've not seen any rapid wear on speedplay, they outlast shimano spd's by at least 3 to 1 and as for clogging, I've not had any issue at all.

Maintainance is a bit exaggered.  once a year regreasing, a 2 min job and a bit of dry lube on the cleats every now and then, hardly a hardship and more than happy to take on.  

Look - killed my knees

Time - snapped 2 RXS pedals, never again

Shimano SPDSL - Fantastic, bullet proof, can't fault except would be nice to get the cleat further back, just needed speedplay to assist with injury and haven't gone back.

 

Avatar
rct | 7 years ago
6 likes

Can you not list the weight of the cleats and hardware so it is possible to compare the complete system?

Avatar
jkretsch replied to rct | 6 years ago
5 likes
rct wrote:

Can you not list the weight of the cleats and hardware so it is possible to compare the complete system?

I agree.  This can make a significant difference.  Case in point - Speedplay.  Light pedals, relatively heavy cleats.

Avatar
pfwestende | 7 years ago
0 likes

Any idea on the weight saving by  inserting Ti spindle, roughly the cost and how to go about it?

Avatar
barongreenback replied to pfwestende | 7 years ago
1 like
pfwestende wrote:

Any idea on the weight saving by  inserting Ti spindle, roughly the cost and how to go about it?

 

https://youtu.be/cnrnat3IYM8

 

loads of eBay sellers. I had them in an extended length. Beware of rider weight limits though (90kg I think)

 

i also replaced my bearings using using these guys who were great

https://www.rullabearings.com/

 

instructions included with the bearings.  I would recommend buying a decent pair of pliers for the retaining spring washer.

 

Avatar
Nixster replied to barongreenback | 7 years ago
0 likes
barongreenback wrote:
pfwestende wrote:

Any idea on the weight saving by  inserting Ti spindle, roughly the cost and how to go about it?

 

https://youtu.be/cnrnat3IYM8

 

loads of eBay sellers. I had them in an extended length. Beware of rider weight limits though (90kg I think)

 

i also replaced my bearings using using these guys who were great

https://www.rullabearings.com/

 

instructions included with the bearings.  I would recommend buying a decent pair of pliers for the retaining spring washer.

 

Titanium bow tie plates and bolts are also available on EBay (the alloy ones are too but don't expect them to last long). My 'stainless' zeros are now down to 150g at a cost that compares extremely well to Speedplay's Ti version. 

The Nanogram version is insane, not only do they use alloy in wear areas but the axles are shorter too. More for looking at than riding on.

Avatar
barongreenback | 7 years ago
2 likes

You can buy replacement titanium spindles for Speedplay and all the spare parts you'll ever need from Chinese eBay suppliers. The quality is excellent and a fraction of the price. 

Avatar
DrJDog replied to barongreenback | 7 years ago
3 likes
barongreenback wrote:

You can buy replacement titanium spindles for Speedplay and all the spare parts you'll ever need from Chinese eBay suppliers. The quality is excellent and a fraction of the price. 

 

Yes, I got a pair of Ti spindles and nearly halved the weight compared to having the stainless spindles. Bearing sets are easy to find, too. Plus dismantling and re-assembling them is much easier than Speedplay make out.

Avatar
rjfrussell | 7 years ago
2 likes

BEWARE-  the Ritchey "SPD" pedals don't always play nicely with Shimano SPD cleats.

Avatar
bobrayner replied to rjfrussell | 3 years ago
0 likes

It's specific to certain models. Most Ritcheys are interchangeable with mainstream SPD, I've mixed and matched various combinations, but the main difference is that Ritchey Micro Road pedals (now discontinued) used a special low-profile cleat design to get better stack height & contact area, so conventional SPDs would locate but wouldn't lock in.

The main difference is that the Micro cleat had curved cutouts at the sides to allow it to wrap around the pedal axle (ie lower stack height). A regular SPD cleat can't get that low, so the sprung clamp at the back of the Micro pedal couldn't engage.

As a 2-bolt system but with lower weight & lower profile than XC pedals, I think Micro Road was perfect for gravel - shame to see it discontinued just as gravel becomes the big new trend.

Avatar
RobD | 7 years ago
2 likes

I love the Time pedals, I've got the expresso 4, a little bit heavier but a whole lot cheaper. Just watch the back of the pedal body, it can be a little bit sharp on the corner angle (as I found out when I miss clipped and spun the pedal round into my leg! a tiny bit of light sanding rounded the corners off just enough.

Avatar
Gasman Jim | 7 years ago
1 like

R.E. Dura Ace pedals.

1. The steel plate is now moulded in and therefore isn't replaceable.

2. The included cleats with Dura Ace pedals are the blue +/- 2 degree models, not the yellow +/- 6 degree version.

I don't know much about any of the other pedals you've reviewed, but I do wonder how many factual errors those reviews contain!

Avatar
Butty replied to Gasman Jim | 7 years ago
0 likes
Gasman Jim wrote:

R.E. Dura Ace pedals.

1. The steel plate is now moulded in and therefore isn't replaceable.

2. The included cleats with Dura Ace pedals are the blue +/- 2 degree models, not the yellow +/- 6 degree version.

I don't know much about any of the other pedals you've reviewed, but I do wonder how many factual errors those reviews contain!

 

Exactly.

It looks like the 9000 SPD-SL review just badly updated for the 9100.

The 9100 is the same weight as its predecessor and the 9100 platform is now wider at 66mm.

But then this is all in the link provided in the review. Doh!

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