On entering the Newport velodrome the first thing I noticed was a bike mounted flush to the wall, on the one remaining crank was mounted a small lollypop shaped object. This small odd thing I was to find out later was a Speedplay pedal. It was another year or so before I got around to purchasing and fitting a pair. The reasons for opting for Speedplay were many, firstly I’m a weight weenie and the Shimano SPD-SL are a bit lumpy, the second is that if something is light I still want it to last and the Look Keo’s started to get play on the axle after 3 weeks of use and finally all the systems I had used previously caused a degree of joint pain after 50 miles or so in the saddle.
The Speedplay pedal system has a lot going for it, light weight that appeases the weight weenie in me, the lowest profile resulting in the highest cornering angle of any pedal and due to the unique design they are super stable. If you spend time on the Speedplay web page you can learn lots about them and what makes them so special but the thing I have found the most important is you can have anywhere between 0 and 15 degrees of adjustable float at the cleat that is not spring centred, so if your feet want to move they can and at no loss of power. This means happy feet and happy knees. The big thing to remember is that all the bits that clip on to and let you get of your bike are attached to the cleats, if you’re going to walk about in them try to remember the cleat covers as this will stop dirt ingress and keep them smooth, this isn’t as much of a problem with the walkable type but it’s better to be safe than sorry.
The Speedplay’s can be fully serviced, all parts are available and at a starting price of £150 for the chrome-moly axle ones you would hope they are, and to keep them running smooth they are fitted with one roller bearing and two normal bearings per pedal. I did say this was a long-term test and I have been using Speedplay now for just over three years, and in that time apart from wearing cleats out I have had no issues to mention, I do inject them with fresh grease every other month. I do know from other people who have had them, that if you don’t do this the bearings will fail and ruin the axles. In the time since I started to use them I have slowly fitted Speedplay's to all of my road bikes and have also started to use the new walkable cleats that are being supplied with all new Speedplay’s, this should make the cleats last even longer.
If you want pedals to be fit and forget and never have to service then these are not for you, if you want a pedal that’s kind to your joints, are light with a stable platform that seems to have been designed for fast hard cornering and hours in the saddle then give them a go.
Chrome-moly £149.99, 348 grams total weight
Stainless £199.99, 344 grams total weight
Titanium £374.99, 302 grams total weight
Nanogram £699.99, 268 grams total weight
Custom length axles are available and so are cleat shims if required. And if you want to go lighter then the V2 cleat does save 20g over the walkable version.