Look Keo Blade Carbon pedals review
Look’s latest flagship road pedal trades in the usual wound steel spring in favour of a flexible carbon fibre ‘blade’. Though one might think the primary motivation for doing so is reducing weight, the main benefit is the difference in feel produced by the altered spring curve.
Even compared to Look’s own KéO 2 Max, the KéO Blade offers a much snappier engagement and release that’s noticeable from the first time you clip in. It’s not that the resistance is higher but rather that it comes on more immediately when the rear gate is flexed open.
As a result, you’re either very much ‘in’ or very much ‘out’ and there’s no vagueness in between, whereas with the standard system there’s a short period where the rear gate is flexed open and you’re still partially engaged.
The carbon blade system does carry with it some drawbacks, though. Look offer the KéO Blade pedals with either a 12Nm or 16Nm spring (roughly corresponding to the softer and harder settings of a standard KéO) but there’s no fine adjustment from there and users can’t easily switch between the two on their own (qualified dealers are equipped with special tools to make the swap).
In addition, while the blade is prominently displayed on the outside bottom edge of the pedal for all to admire, it’s also in prime position for damage in a crash. To be fair, it is a replaceable part, though we can’t help but wonder if a particularly bad wreck might damage the spring so badly that the pedal is disabled.
Otherwise, the pedal is simply superb. The titanium spindle rotates virtually drag-free on three silky-smooth cartridge bearings and longer threads afford a bit of stance width adjustment for those in need.
Up top, Look have further improved upon the KéO 2 Max’s wide stainless steel plate with an even bigger and wider piece on the KéO Blade that provides the expected gains in foot stability – those coming from older-style KéOs will notice a huge improvement.
Not surprisingly, the carbon fibre blade and long-fibre composite body and rear gate construction yield an impressive showing on the scales. Our test set weighs just 185g per pair, plus 74g for cleats and hardware.
Look even include two sets of cleats, too: one bi-density set for a silkier rotational float and smoother engagement, and another with grip material on the bottom for easier walking. In either case, cleat covers are included so you don’t slip and embarrass yourself on the way to picking up your macchiato at the counter.
Lack of adjustability and crash damage susceptibility aside, the Look KéO Blade’s biggest downside is its price – a whopping US$499 per pair. While they’re truly excellent road pedals, only the very well-to-do are likely to be able to justify their exorbitant cost.