Shimano Ultegra PD-R8000 Road Bike Pedals
Labelled Ultegra, this pair of Shimano pedals is positioned just below the Dura-Ace, the top of the range of the manufacturer from Osaka. It is therefore a reference in terms of quality. These Shimano Ultegra PD-R8000 have been designed for the most demanding cyclists, in terms of performance, but also in terms of manufacturing quality and durability.
The body of these pedals is made of injection molded carbon composite. The support surface is large, for a better pedaling efficiency. This support surface is covered with stainless steel plates. Its role? To limit the wear caused by the friction of the wedge. Note that the tension of engagement and release is adjustable (mechanical spring system). It is also possible to shift the foot laterally by 2 mm depending on the shims used (yellow). This is a real plus in terms of comfort.
The axis, made of stainless steel, is located 14 mm from the sole. It provides excellent overall rigidity, coupled with increased durability. It is also possible to change this axle to another one, 4 mm longer, in order to play significantly on the Q-Factor (52 mm) … The bearings are relatively spaced, for a better distribution of pedaling force coupled with greater stability of rotation.
Three shims are available. The red shims are fixed, the blue shims offer only 2° of angular freedom, while the yellow shims offer about 6° of angular freedom, on the front and back of the foot.
Shimano SPD SL R550 Bike Pedals
This pair of pedals has been designed by Shimano, to federate the largest possible number of enthusiasts of the Little Queen. Between sport and touring approach, it is positioned at the level of the Tiagra group (i.e. just below the 105). It takes the main technical (and technological) characteristics that made the success of Shimano pedals, without making any particular effort on the weight. Indeed, the priorities here are simplicity and ease of use, for a maximum longevity and a moderate price (75 €).
The body of these pedals is made of injection molded composite material. The contact surface, although slightly smaller than the models located “on the upper floors”, is still important. The overall design of these pedals is very similar. This bearing surface is covered by an interchangeable stainless steel plate, which makes the pedal virtually eternal, at least with respect to the friction of the cleats. As with its larger siblings, engagement and disengagement is by adjustable constrained springs. It is even possible, while driving, to shift the foot laterally by 2 mm. The axis, made of CrMo steel, is located 16 mm from the sole. It ensures a very good rigidity of the whole. It is possible to replace it by a 4 mm longer axle, in order to play in a notable way on the Q-Factor (52 mm). The ball bearings, classic, are of excellent quality. Again, the longevity is maximized.
The three Shimano shims are available. Remember that the red ones are fixed, the blue ones offer only 2° of angular freedom, while the yellow ones offer 6° of angular freedom, on the front and back of the foot.
Look Keo 2 Max Carbon Road Bike Pedals
Since 1985, Look has established itself as one of the main leaders (not to say THE leader) in automatic pedals for road bikes. The Keo 2 Max Carbon is not the most technological pedal in the Look range, but it is certainly the most consensual of all.
The body of these pedals is made of molded carbon. The contact area has been increased by 25% compared to its predecessors. The engineers at the Nevers-based company took the opportunity to redesign the whole thing. The design is certainly not revolutionary, but it has been lightened somewhat. The bearing surface is covered with a stainless steel plate, which limits wear caused by friction from the wedges.
Engagement and disengagement is by adjustable constrained springs. The CrMo steel axle is located 18 mm from the sole. The overall rigidity is simply a reference, especially at this level of the range. The bearings, annular, prove to be remarkable. Very good quality, they optimize the compromise performance / durability. This is one of the reasons for the success of these pedals.
As for the whole Look range, two types of cleats are available. The grey ones offer no angular freedom. The red ones offer an angular freedom of up to 9°. The vast majority of racers and cyclists who use these Look pedals will find what they need.
Look Keo Blade Carbon Ceramic Pedals
If Look has allowed, since the mid 80’s, the generalization of automatic pedals, the Nevers-based brand has never limited itself to producing a single product. An adapted answer had to be brought to all practices and all budgets. This is still the case today and it’s a good thing.
These Look Keo Blade Carbon Ceramic have been designed for the most demanding riders, who are looking for the right compromise between budget, weight and aerodynamics. They should not be disappointed because, at this price level (189,90 €), no competitor offers such a complete performance.
The body of these pedals is made of carbon composite. The 70 mm2 of support surface is in the upper middle of what we find on the market. But this is not the main interest of these pedals. Indeed, they are equipped with a braided carbon plate on the side that is not used for the engagement, which, without affecting the weight of the whole (233 g the pair), comes to play in favor of aerodynamics.
The engagement and the release are carried out thanks to a blade of carbon pre-stressed, which proves to be as effective as precise while showing an excellent resistance to time. The CrMo steel axle is located 13 mm from the sole. The overall rigidity is remarkable. The bearings, ceramic, are simply exceptional, especially in terms of performance / durability.
As with the entire Look range, two types of cleats are offered. The grey ones do not offer any angular freedom. The red ones offer an angular freedom of up to 9°.
Wahoo Speedplay Zero 20 axe stainless Steel
Speedplay pedals were created in 1995 by American Richard Bryne, but it took until 2007 to see them arrive in France. Wahoo, the American specialist in home trainers and connected electronics for cyclists, bought the brand in September 2019, renaming it Wahoo Speedplay.
These pedals stand out from the competition with a design that is totally out of sync. Indeed, they adopt the shape of a lollipop (the support surface, minimalist, takes the form of a round pad) double-sided, since they engage indifferently on one side or another. This makes putting on the shoes much easier without affecting the removal of the shoes. See our review of the Top10 Cycling Shoes Review article.
But the main originality of these pedals lies in the location of the engagement and adjustment mechanism of the angular freedom. This mechanism is not in the pedals, but in the cleats. It allows angular freedom of the front or rear foot, which can vary from 0° to 15°, with a lateral position that is determined when the cleats are attached to the shoe (Q factor of 53 mm). This is where the Walkable anti-slip system comes into play to protect the cleat when walking.
The body of these pedals is made of Grivory (a polyamide material) with removable stainless steel support plates. These plates allow to minimize the impact of the friction of the cleats. They are particularly effective. The axle is also made of stainless steel. The bearings are cartridge and triple needle sealed.
The distance between the axis and the base is one of the smallest on the market. It does not exceed 11.5 mm! In terms of pedaling performance, this is a real plus. Note that an insert for three-point anchoring is available.
Wahoo Speedplay Comp 20 axe Chrom-Moly
Directly derived from the Wahoo Speedplay Zero 2.0 stainless steel axle, these Wahoo Speedplay Comp 2.0 Chrom-Moly axle pedals are designed for racers and cyclists who are looking for stiffness without being obsessed with weight. More accessible in terms of price, they offer very good performance.
In the cleats, we find the mechanism that allows angular freedom of the front or rear of the foot, which can vary from 0° to 15°. The lateral position is determined when the wedges are attached to the shoe (Q factor of 53 mm). This is where the Walkable anti-slip system comes into play to protect the cleat when walking.
The body of these pedals is made of Grivory (a polyamide material) but the axle is made of Chrom-Moly. The bearings are cartridge and triple needle sealed. The distance between the axle and the sole is one of the smallest on the market. It does not exceed 11.5 mm! In terms of pedaling performance, this is a real plus.
Time XPresso 7 Road Bike Pedals
In the wake of Look, Time has established itself, since the 80’s, as one of the world’s leading specialists in bicycle pedals, especially for road bikes. From the beginning, the other manufacturer from the Nièvre region differentiated itself from its rival by offering a large angular freedom (5° or 0° with fixed cleats) and the possibility of a lateral displacement of 2.5°. Likewise, Time has always considered that the support surface should be important. This XPresso 7 is no exception to these principles!
Located in the upper middle of the Time pedal range, they were “lowered” to a higher level a few months ago when the new XPro pedals arrived, which are to succeed the XPresso series.
The body of these pedals is made of molded carbon with a thin removable stainless steel plate to limit the impact of cleat friction on the pedal. The claimed bearing surface is 70 mm2, which makes it one of the largest on the market… just after the Xpro (72.5 mm2). The shaft is made of steel and the bearings are ring type. The engagement system is based on a pre-stressed carbon plate (three levels of tension adjustment), which can be easily changed in case of problem. But, let’s face it, this rarely happens! Note that the distance between the axle and the sole is quite small, since it is only 13.5 mm.
The Q factor is 54 mm, but depending on the positioning of the wedge on the shoe, you can easily choose a Q factor of 51.7 mm or 54.3 mm. This is a real plus, especially in case of pathologies…
Time XPro 10 Road Bike Pedals
Even before the end of the 1980s, Time had established itself as one of the key players in the bicycle pedal market, especially in the road bike pedal market. The Nevers-based brand has always strived to offer a large support surface and increased angular freedom compared to what was previously available. The latest series of Time pedals, XPro, is simply an “updated” extension of these principles.
While the axle to sole distance remains strictly unchanged (13.5mm), the “standard” Q factor has been slightly lowered to 53mm (compared to 54mm for the XPresso). And as on the Time XPresso (the previous generation), depending on the position of the wedge, the Q factor can be 51.7 mm or 54.3 mm. A lateral displacement of 2.5 mm is also possible. The angular freedom (5° with conventional wedges) can be reduced to 0° with fixed wedges.
The body of the XPro 10 is made of carbon, with two thin interchangeable stainless steel plates to limit the impact of the cleats on the pedal. The aero type underside can be easily removed with two Phillips screws. The axle is made of steel and the bearings are ring-shaped. The engagement system is based on a pre-stressed carbon plate (three levels of tension adjustment) that can be easily changed in case of problem. Rest assured, this rarely, if ever, happens!
Favero Assioma Duo Road Bike Pedals
With Favero Electronics, the road bike pedal takes on a whole new dimension. Indeed, with its Assioma Duo, the Italian brand offers a high-level power sensor, hidden in a pair of Look compatible pedals, for a reasonable weight (a little over 300 g the pair) and a price (695 €), relatively accessible for this type of accessory.
The sensor system, located inside the pedal axle (against the crank) collects information with the in-house tool, IAV Cycling Dynamics, for an accuracy of +/- 1%, above average. Indeed, an integrated gyroscope measures the real instantaneous angular speed, at each crank turn! Two advanced measurements are possible with the IAV Rider Position. Thus, each user of the system can know his time spent sitting or standing on the pedals. The IAV Power Phase measures the segment of one crank revolution. Comparing this measurement to a recorded ride helps to determine the optimal way to ride, especially when accelerating.
The body of the pedal is covered with a thin stainless steel plate and is made of carbon composite, for a contact surface comparable to that found on Look. The cleats (the black ones are fixed, the red ones offer 6° of angular freedom) are Look compatible. The axle is made of steel. The Q factor is, with 54 mm, in the standard of what we find on the market…
Shimano PD-ES600 Cyclo SPD
Shimano, the Japanese giant of cycling equipment, has built a solid reputation, for all its productions. Whatever the level of range concerned, it is never usurped. The quality is always there. With these PD-ES600 Cyclo SPD pedals, the Osaka brand is targeting cyclotourists, hikers, and even occasional cycling enthusiasts.
They have been designed for easy engagement and, above all, easy release. The classic spring loaded system is adjustable. This is a real plus, especially for seniors. By turning the tension adjustment knob towards the “+”, the system is engaged and disengaged more clearly and more firmly. Of course, the “-” setting softens things up considerably.
The other great interest of these pedals is that they can be used with cleats that can be integrated into the sole of the shoe and, thus, allow walking, without impacting the performance of the cyclist in the pedaling phase.
The body is made of aluminum and the axle of CrMo steel. As with most of Shimano’s “leisure” pedals, the Q factor is 53 mm.
Choosing a pair of road pedals should be based on a combination of criteria, not just one! Competitors, especially when they leave no stone unturned (!) will give much more importance to weight than to angular freedom. Because most of them prefer zero angular freedom… On the other hand, hikers and bike riders will be more interested in the durability of the pedals and the fact that they can walk properly when they get off the bike. Between these two “extremes”, in the middle of the pack, we find the mass of competitors and cyclosportifs, who like to deal with different parameters and, sometimes, have to deal with different pathologies… The question of engagement and disengagement comes, whatever the practice, to complicate the task, at the time of choosing its pedals! And then, there is the delicate and subjective question of the system used or the more down-to-earth question of the budget… All the manufacturers on the market have arguments to put forward, at all price ranges.