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Tested: New Look Keo Blade Ceramic Pedals

Made in France and now lighter, slicker and far more refined than ever, we ride LOOK’s new Keo Blade Ceramic pedals.

LOOK has made significant updates to their Keo Blade Ceramic pedals, the changes not only enhancing performance but just about every aspect of the iconic pedal. But before we look at the latest from the 70+ year old Franch manufacturer, let’s look back at their past.

Up until 1984 just about every pro rider used old school straps and toe cages to stay secured to the pedals.

Frenchman Bernard Hinault broke tradition by turning up at the 1985 Tour de France with a revolutionary new pedal system adapted from the sport of snow skiing. Using the ‘PP65’ pedals, Hinault stood out from the bunch … but all didn’t go to plan when he crashed heavily during the Stage 14 sprint. 

After crossing the finish line with a fractured nose and blood all over his face, Hinault spoke to waiting journalists. 

“I still have both my legs, both my arms and I think that is the most important fact,” he said. “Without the PP65, the fall would have been a lot worse and I probably wouldn’t have been able to start the next day. This is the most important technological evolution of the last 30 years.”

And guess what? That year, Hinault went on to win the Tour.

Jump forward nearly 40 years and LOOK have released what’s effectively the latest incarnation of the PP65’s.

Biniam Girmay of Intermarché–Wanty with the updated pedals from LOOK.

Recently test riding a pair of these carbon-bodied pedals, which rank second from the top in the LOOK range, reveals notable improvements.

The new Blade pedals feature streamlined and reshaped frontal and under-pedal surface areas. This, according to LOOK, has reduced aerodynamic drag by two per cent. Additionally, the new Keo Blade’s boast a revamped stainless steel contact plate that at 705 square millimetres is wider for enhanced stability.

Despite these changes, the pedal’s Q-factor and stack height remain consistent at 53mm and 14.8mm respectively, while the cleats (included in the box) maintain their original design.

The Blade technology offers four tension levels: 8, 12 as tested, 16 and 20, with each set of ‘blades’ sold seperately and easily changed.

Reducing friction is crucial for the best possible efficiency. The ceramic bearings in these pedals provide perfectly spherical, durable bearings, decreasing resistance by 18 per cent and – again according to the company – extending the life of the pedal by four to six times compared to conventional steel bearings.

The frontal shape of the pedal has been streamlined to aid aerodynamics and optimise overall balance.

Other than the bearings, LOOK say every aspect of the pedal has been optimised for ‘maximum speed and minimum effort’, and we’d have to agree that they are a comfortable, direct, and very secure feeling pedal / cleat combo.

One criticism of LOOK pedals in the past has been weight distribution and ultimately how the pedals hang at rest. The French company say they’ve put a considerable amount of work into this, with our test pedals sitting in approximately the 5/11 position (on a clock face) at rest.

Test pedals with a blade tension level of 12 have shown a firm and definite clipping in experience, providing a feeling of solid security once connected. Weighing 115 grams each, the combined weight of pedal and cleats is 300 grams.

The pedals feature ceramic bearings for longer life plus a replaceable ‘blade’ system that creates the cleat tension.
The standard blade has a tension level of 12, with 8’s, 16’s and 20’s sold seperately.

Cleat wise, LOOK now include their grey Keo Grip cleat variant in the box. Looking (sorry) closely at the cleats, and the darker grey, softer density plastic pads feature small indentations for improved grip and stability. The cleat shape remains unchanged, with different colour options available for varying degrees of float.

Summing up, the new LOOK Keo Blade Ceramic pedals a feel of a more refined and enhanced riding experience. Clipping in feels a little more definite and precise, and they do seem to spin slightly smoother. The aero improvements are very difficult to feel or substantiate, but the sleek design, positive feel when clipped in, and solid underfoot security via the grip all make for an impressive pedaling system.

The pedals have an RRP of $399.95, however we’ve seen them selling for around $340.



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