Wahoo’s Speedplay Zero is a lollipop-shaped, double-side road pedal that offers full adjustable, non-centring float.
With walkable cleats, minimal maintenance requirements and backwards compatibility with previous Speedplay Zero pedals, the Wahoo Speedplay Zero is a brilliant pedal that retains the qualities that made the classic Zero such an enduring product.
Speedplay pedals are relatively expensive compared to more mainstream options, but they remain a great choice for riders seeking their specific features.
Wahoo Speedplay Zero design and specs
Wahoo’s acquisition of the Speedplay brand saw a complete revamp of the pedal range for 2021. It now comprises four road pedals, with a power meter model yet to be launched.
Where the original design required regular injections of grease to keep spinning, the Wahoo Speedplays use sealed-for-life bearings, and maintenance is limited to occasionally lubing the cleats.
The Wahoo Speedplay Zero is the mid-range option with stainless steel spindles. Functionally, it’s identical to the £134.99 / $149.99 / €149.99 chromoly spindle model, the Wahoo Speedplay Comp, but it’s a handful of grams lighter, prettier and less likely to develop rust on the spindle – this was always the issue with the classic Zero Chromoly.
The Zero pedal is essentially a small, round body riding on bearings, and the engagement mechanism is built into the cleat, which fits over the pedal.
Zero cleats are four-hole in their native state and there are (or at least, were) a handful of shoes on the market that accept them directly, but the vast majority of riders will be using the three-hole to four-hole adapters Wahoo includes in the box, with shims to fit the majority of road shoes.
The adapter plate affords a good amount of fore-aft cleat adjustment, while the cleat has a range of side-to-side adjustment.
Fitting cleats to standard three-hole shoes involves fixing the adapter plates to the sole of your shoe with the appropriate length screws (two options are provided), screwing the cleats to the adapter plates, and then fitting the walkable covers onto the cleats.
The pedals thread into your bike’s cranks with a standard 8mm hex key.
Claimed weight for the Zeros is 222g, and my test set weighed 216g on my scales. You need to factor in the weight of the cleats for comparisons however – the cleats alone weigh 82g, but with adapter plates, the default shims and the shorter mounting screws, they weigh 147g, making for a total system weight of 363g.
Clipping in and adjusting Wahoo’s Speedplay Zero pedals
There’s a knack to clipping into Speedplays. I’ve been riding them for over a decade so it’s second nature, but I remember struggling the very first time I tried, having not realised that you need to do a sort of mashing-a-bug push down on the pedal, rather than simply clicking in.
Once you’ve got it, they’re easy to use, and because they’re double-sided, your pedal is never the wrong way up as you set off – this makes them particularly good for getting off the line quickly, whether you’re racing or simply setting off from traffic lights.
Speedplays’ float is adjustable via two small screws on each cleat that determine the limits of travel. These use a small cross-head you won’t find on a normal multi-tool, but they’re not something you’ll be adjusting regularly.
You can lock the float right down, simulating rivals’ zero-degree cleats, or you can open it up to a maximum of 15 degrees.
Speedplays’ float is non-centring, meaning there’s no spring nudging your feet back to centre. I like this feature because it lets your feet find their natural position if that’s your preference, although you can use the float adjustment to counter this if you prefer.
Riding the Wahoo Speedplay Zero pedals
Despite their small pedal bodies, Speedplays feel stable and secure when you’re riding, and there’s never a sense that you could pull your foot out during a hard effort.
If you’re used to more restrictive pedals, you may initially find the unhindered float slightly disconcerting, but it’s a matter of getting used to it and adjusting the cleats to suit your needs.
While the float isn’t restricted by a spring, the limits of float are easy to feel, so you only clip out when you intend to.
In everyday use, the Zero pedals simply work. If there’s one area they fall down, it’s that they don’t like mud at all – it jams the cleat mechanism and makes it difficult or impossible to clip in.
This isn’t a problem for regular road riding, but it makes them unsuitable for gravel, and you should avoid putting a foot down on a muddy verge.
The old Speedplay Pavé was markedly better in this respect, but sadly it’s been discontinued under Wahoo’s ownership.
Wahoo’s updated pedal body has more metal on it and early indications are that it is indeed harder wearing than the old design. Whether this translates into accelerated cleat wear remains to be seen, but that’s not been evident thus far.
Classic Speedplays’ bearings were exceptionally durable, lasting almost indefinitely if you serviced them semi-regularly. We won’t know for years if Wahoo’s maintenance-free design can rival their durability, but they’re certainly less hassle to look after, and they suffered no discernable wear during my testing period.
The walkable cleats work really well too. The outer covers do show wear quite quickly – depending on how much walking you do, of course – but you can replace them for half the cost (£24.99) of a new set of cleats or buy new cleats for £49.99.
Wahoo Speedplay Zero pedals overall
Wahoo says it focused on making its new pedals more user-friendly and lower maintenance than their predecessor, and the brand has certainly succeeded.
The new Speedplay Zero pedals retain the best qualities of the classic design, with a few nice refinements.
While I don’t love sealed-for-life bearings as a concept because non-serviceable parts run counter to the culture of repairability I believe in, it’s a moot point if they live up to their claims of durability. I’ll certainly be disappointed if they don’t last at least five years of regular use.
In any case, Speedplays continue to offer a unique set of features that set them apart from the mainstream, and make them a worthwhile alternative to the likes of Shimano, Look and others.