The ETC pedals use the popular Look Keo design, which has been widely adopted by many companies as a way of offering a clipless pedal system. The benefits of the Look design are better ease of use, wide cleat availability and a low price, which is all ideal for beginners, although they are on the heavy side.
ETC has designed these pedals with a plastic body to help keep the cost very low compared to the fancier carbon pedals higher up the price scale, yet they don’t look cheap at all.
The pedal body has a large stainless steel metal insert to improve durability, though it’s not replaceable as on more expensive models. Inside is a chromoly axle with sleeved bearings, which ran smoothly out of the box after a little initial stickiness.
The spring-release tension can be adjusted using a small Allen key, enabling you to set the pedals up the way you prefer, from an easy release for those new to clipless pedals to a firm disengagement for more experienced riders.
ETC uses Look Keo-style cleats which are compact plastic three-bolt designs that are easy to set up on the shoes. The cleats are widely available so replacements are easy and cheap to source when they eventually need replacing, though cleat life is generally good.
The ETCs offer 4.5 degrees of float, which is smooth thanks to the stainless steel metal plate and feels nice and natural when pedalling.
Getting in and out of the pedals is as easy as with any Look Keo system. However, the pedals don’t settle at the best angle for really easy clipping in – you have to spin them around first before locating the cleat into the pedal body.
Once clipped in, these pedals have a secure feel that gives confidence when pedalling hard up hills or over crests. They’re perhaps not quite as solid-feeling during all-out sprint efforts and intervals up steep climbs as wider pedal bodies made from fancier materials, so performance-minded cyclists might want to look elsewhere, but that’s really nitpicking.
The ETC Keo pedals are an interesting option at this entry-level price. Although the weight is on the high side, you’re nevertheless getting stainless steel plates, which you don’t with Look’s entry-level Keo Classic 3 model. As a first foray into clipless pedals, they’re easy to set up and they deliver a generally good performance.
How we tested
You know you’re a serious cyclist when you buy your first set of clipless pedals, right? But with so many to choose from, it can be hard to know which brand is right for you and what you need to look out for.
So we picked ten of the best out there to help narrow down your search and you’ll find plenty more in our buyer’s guide to the best road bike pedals.
- HT Components Carbon PK01 pedals
- Look Keo Classic 3 Plus pedals
- Look Keo 2 Max Carbon pedals
- Shimano 105 R7000 pedals
- Shimano Tiagra R550 pedals
- Shimano Ultegra R8000 pedals
- Speedplay Zero Chromoly pedals
- Time Xpresso 2
- Time XPro 10 pedals