Source: bike shops, catalogs
Weight: 335 grams/pr., including cleats & bolts, for steel axle version
How obtained: sample from company
RBR advertiser: no
Tested: 2,300 miles (combined Jim and Fred)
I’ve been riding Look pedals since 1985 when Bernard Hinault hand delivered the premier shipment to Bay Area bike shops while he was racing in the Coors Classic. That long history is why I was excited to try Look’s latest, the Keo Carbon, which the company touts as the first complete redesign of its trend-setting clipless pedal system.
At first glance the Keo, which is Latin for “key,” as in the key to pedaling efficiency, looks like previous Looks. But as soon as you pick one up you feel the gossamer weight of the injected-carbon body in a new low-profile shape. Keos are the lightest Looks yet at 335 grams per pair, including cleats and bolts. That’s for the chromoly-axle version. The titanium-axle version is 40 grams lighter. This makes Keos among the lightest road pedals in the ’05 market.
One way Look saves weight is with light plastic cleats. Keo uses a unique cleat that’s slightly smaller than the standard model for other Look pedals, yet thanks to clever engineering it actually offers more support. It’s also a little thinner. Combined with the lower-profile pedals, this means you need to reduce saddle height by about 6 mm.
Keo cleats have several clever innovations.
Wear indicators tell you when it’s time for new cleats. That’s a handy detail because walking on them causes quick wear, making me wish Look threw in cleat covers with the Keo pedal system.
There’s also a self-alignment device that works with certain shoes. When you install new cleats you don’t have to worry about losing your carefully refined position.
Look has addressed the squeaking problem of previous cleats by incorporating Teflon into the tip and tail to permanently lube the pedal mating surfaces. I didn’t hear any squeaking from my test pedals. RBR’s Fred Matheny says his pair of Keos began chirping during the first thousand miles, then stopped after the cleats wore a bit more. We agree that the Teflon makes the 9 mm of lateral float so smooth that resistance is nearly imperceptible. As with previous Look pedals, floating and fixed-position cleats are available (red and black, respectively).
I wish Look had redesigned its cleat bolts, too. The slotted screws provided with the Keos are soft metal and they’re slightly long, making it iffy to tighten the cleats securely. Fred had the same problem and replaced the stock bolts with shorter ones. Precision allen bolts would be more in keeping with the otherwise stellar quality of these high-tech pedals.
Made to Last
Inside a Keo pedal there are two sets of needle bearings, one close to the axle and one in the middle, an impressively heavy-duty design for such featherweight pedals. The axles are covered by a limited lifetime warranty. Look recommends servicing the bearings twice a year, which is done by removing the axle with a standard 18-mm wrench.
On the road, Keos are as user-friendly as pedals can be. Entry and exit are effortless and can be adjusted to whatever spring tension you prefer. There’s no slop during pedaling, and the wide platforms and low-profile design feel comfortable and super efficient. That’s true if you’re seated or standing and whether you’re cruising or hitting it as hard as you can.
Keos look great, making them a perfect complement to any bike right up to a 15-pound full-carbon dream machine. If you’re a longtime Look lover or just getting your first clipless road system, you’ll find it hard to beat these pedals.
Jim Langley is RBR’s Technical Editor. He has been a pro mechanic and cycling writer for more than 40 years. He’s the author of Your Home Bicycle Workshop in the RBR eBookstore. Check out his “cycling aficionado” website at http://www.jimlangley.net, his Q&A blog and updates at Twitter. Jim’s streak of consecutive cycling days has reached more than 8,000. Click to read Jim’s full bio.