While outwardly the R73s look like a multitude of other Look Keo-compatible pedals, they feature some neat touches that elevate them above many other budget designs.
The CNC-machined chromoly axles spin super-smoothly on a combination of standard bearings and LSL – Lightweight Self Lubricating – rollers. The tolerances here are tight, the benefit being that it makes for little or no play and little space for ingress of water or grime.
The body itself is broad and features a central stainless wear plate that’ll help them last. The downside is the painted finish; while it looks good, and gives you a choice of colour options (white, red, or black), it can get chipped and scratched, and lead to the occasional slip when trying to engage in foul weather. VP aren’t alone in doing this, but we prefer pedals unpainted.
What we do like is the cleat itself. It splits into two with the use of a jigsaw-like keyed section. The two pieces click together and lock into place with no play between them.
The advantage of this becomes apparent when it’s time to replace them; if you’ve gone to the trouble of getting your cleat position just so, either at home or from a bike fitting, it can be tricky to get new cleats into exactly the same place. With these you simply undo the two rear bolts and prise the rear section out, snap a new piece in and tighten up, repeat for the front, and your new cleats are spot on in the right position. It’s such a brilliant but simple idea.
VP-R73 road pedal: VP Components
At the price there’s little to match these. They weigh 320g a pair, are well put together, have easy entry and exit just like the KeOs they’re based on, and better adjustability than Look’s base model thanks to the platform-mounted 2.5mm hex bolt that gives a wide range of spring tension.
Replacement cleats (0 and 7 degrees) are just £16.99 – £3 cheaper than Look’s.
This article was originally published in Cycling Plus magazine, available on Apple Newsstand and Zinio.