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Tour Tech 2017: pedals of the peloton

Find out which models are most popular in the Tour de France

Whereas you’ll see a huge number of different saddles and handlebars used in the Tour de France, there are comparatively few different types of pedals. The vast majority of riders in the pro peloton use either Shimano or Look pedals because those two brands sponsor most of the WorldTour teams. 

Plus, some teams like to have all of their riders on the same pedals so that a domestique can give a team leader his bike in the case of a mechanical emergency.

Tour Tech 2017 - pedals Chris Froome Shimano DA 9100 - 1.jpg

Race leader Chris Froome uses the new (well, still fairly new) Dura-Ace R9100 SPD-SL pedals. These pedals feature an injection-moulded carbon composite body with three small stainless steel plates across the centre to provide protection from wear.

The pedal platform is 66mm wide and provides plenty of stability. 

We weighed Shimano’s top-level road pedals at 239g (for the pair; Shimano’s claimed weight is 228g) when we reviewed them recently. That’s not as low as some rivals but it’s still pretty light.

Read our review of Shimano Dura-Ace R9100 SPD-SL pedals here. 

Tour Tech 2017 - pedals Philippe Gilbert Shimano DA 9000 - 1.jpg

Many pros are still on 9000 Series Dura-Ace SPD-SL pedals, just a few grams heavier (a claimed 248g for the pair) and with a single stainless steel wear plate across the middle. In terms of performance, the difference is somewhere between negligible and non-existent. These are Philippe Gilbert’s pedals, for instance.

kittel pedals - 2.jpg

And these are Marcel Kittel’s. 

The most popular Look pedals in the peloton are the Kéo Blade Carbons. As you probably know, the tension that retains the cleat is provided by a carbon leaf spring, or — in dramatic marketing-speak — a blade. Unlike the Shimano pedals (above), there’s no tension adjustment although you do get to choose from three different carbon blades which require different amounts of force to release.

Find out about Look Kéo Blade Carbon pedals here. 

Tour Tech 2017 - pedals Aru Look - 1.jpg

Fabio Aru has the version with a cromoly axle (above). These have a claimed weight of 220g for the pair.

Tour Tech 2017 - pedals Voeckler Look Keo Blade carbon - 1.jpg

Tommy Voeckler, on the other hand, has the version with a titanium axle. Posh! These have a claimed weight of just 180g. 

Tour Tech 2017 - pedals Greipel Look Lizard Skin tape - 1.jpg

Andre Greipel uses Kéo Blade Carbon pedals too, a strip of Lizard Skins bar tape added across the central stainless steel plate to avoid the possibility of unwanted movement.

Check out 10 of the best clipless pedals here. 

Tour Tech 2017 - pedals Fortuneo Oscaro Look - 1 (1).jpg

These look like much cheaper Look Kéo 2 Max pedals on Brice Feillu’s time trial bike, a traditional metal spring providing the tension. They have a claimed weight of 260g.

Tour Tech 2017 - pedals Astana Look - 1.jpg

Dmitriy Gruzdev has them on his TT bike too, as do quite a few other Astana riders.

keo power - 1.jpg

Fortuneo-Oscaro use Look Kéo Power Dual Mode pedals. Eight strain gauges in the axle of each pedal enable the system to calculate a rider’s power output. The data is sent to a head unit via Bluetooth or ANT+ from a small pod that sits next to the crank arm.

The Kéo Power Dual Mode Regular pedals used by the pros measure each leg independently although an Essential version is available that measures just the left leg.

Learn how to ride road clipless pedals here.

Tour Tech 2017 - pedals Speedplay Dimension Data - 1.jpg

Reinardt Janse van Rensburg’s bike is fitted with Speedplay Zero pedals whereas all the other Dimension Data bikes we’ve seen at the Tour de France have Shimano.

Speedplays are different from other brands in that there’s no cleat retention mechanism on the pedal itself, the locking mechanism is in the cleat. The pedals can also be engaged on both sides.

Some people like Speedplays because of the amount of float (foot movement while remaining engaged) that they offer – up to 15°. 

Check out all of our pedal reviews here.

Time? Where are Time pedals in this roundup? Well, we didn’t see any on our tour of the teams prior to the start of the Tour de France, although there could be Time users that we didn’t spot.

Click here for loads more Tour de France tech stories. 

Mat has been in cycling media since 1996, on titles including BikeRadar, Total Bike, Total Mountain Bike, What Mountain Bike and Mountain Biking UK, and he has been editor of 220 Triathlon and Cycling Plus. Mat has been technical editor for over a decade, testing bikes, fettling the latest kit, and trying out the most up-to-the-minute clothing. We send him off around the world to get all the news from launches and shows too. He has won his category in Ironman UK 70.3 and finished on the podium in both marathons he has run. Mat is a Cambridge graduate who did a post-grad in magazine journalism, and he is a winner of the Cycling Media Award for Specialist Online Writer. Now over 50, he's riding road and gravel bikes most days for fun and fitness rather than training for competitions.

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