Speedplay Zero Chrome-Moly Pedal system  £114.99

8/10

Bags of float, lightweight and ease of setup makes the Speedplay's a top pedal system, particularly if you have dodgy knees

Weight 322g   Contact  www.i-ride.co.uk

by David Arthur   March 12, 2013  

Speedplay Zero Chrome-moly Pedal system

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Speedplay's £115 entry-level Zero Chrome-Moly pedals are the most affordable step into the company's unique world of clipless pedals. On the scales they're only a few grams heavier than the stainless version that cost over twice as much. Those few grams aside then, these offer identical functionality and performance at a fraction of the cost.

I made the switch to Speedplay pedals a couple of years ago. It was knee problems during the Cent Cols Challenge, a 10-day ride with 20,000 metres of climbing, that was the turning point for me. I've not experienced any further knee problems since I started using Speedplay's Zero pedals with their famous vast amount of float. That's good enough for me to consider changing back. You could say I'm now a Speedplay convert, and you'd be right.

The core attraction of Speedplay's lollipop-shaped pedals is they're dual-sided, so they're easy to clip in to. They're also far lighter, essentially because they've transferred most of the retention gubbins to the shoe. But it's the 15 degrees of float they provide that is their biggest attraction. Crucially the float is free, the cleat doesn't attempt to align itself, unlike other pedals with sprung float - where the cleat is pushed back into the neutral default position.

That doesn't happen with Speedplay, which means your feet are free to find the ideal and most comfortable angle for pedalling. And it's this, in combination with the 15 degree range, that makes them so good for anyone with dodgy knees. But they're not just for the knacked of knee, whatever state your knees are in they give you a lot more control over your pedal setup and are very adjustable.

They do require that you have a good degree of control over your limbs when cycling. The first few miles can on the pedals can feel very strange, with your feet floating about unrestrained. Soon enough it all becomes very natural and you find yourself pedalling quite happily. If you're worried that the float will cause your your feet to move around excessively when out of the saddle, whether it's climbing or sprinting, don't, that just isn't the case. Feet stay firmly planted in the right orientation. You only need look at the number of professional riders, like Fabian Cancellara, who happily pummel their Speedplays without any problems.

The range of float is adjustable, via two small Phillips head grub screws on the cleat. They're clearly labelled 'heel in' and 'heel out' so you can individually adjust them to suit your particular pedalling style. You could, if you wanted, zero out the float completely. I adjust my cleats to limit the heel out float, this is a level of adjustment that no other pedals offer.

Clipping in and out is easy once you've spent time adapting to it, once mastered it becomes very easy indeed. The cleats don't like it if any mud or grit gets in them, so if you've been trampling through the undergrowth on a mid-ride toilet stop, it's worth giving the cleats a couple of sharp hard knocks on the pedals to clear out any dirt that could prevent them from successfully clipping in.

Walking in the cleats, which have a metal external faceplate, can make for interesting slidey moments. You really really need to take great care not to end up on your bum walking on any tiled floor or polished floors. There are aftermarket cleat covers, but they're still a bit of a faff and of course an extra expense. I don't see why Speedplay couldn't add small plastic bump stops to the cleats to make walking, even if you don't plan on doing much walking, that little bit safer.

Aside from walking in them my only bugbear with the pedals is the level of maintenance required. Some pedals you can run into the ground with zero maintenance, but the Speedplay's need looking after. Inside are a row of needle bearings and a small sealed cartridge bearing, and they're not replaceable. What you need is a grease gun, some suitable grease and a Philips head screw driver. Removing the end cap allows you to fix the grease gun into the axle and the idea is to force all the old grease out the axle side of the pedal. Keep forcing it through until only clean grease is squirting out. As long as you remember to do this regularly, you'll have no problems with your Speedplays.

Setting up the cleats is a straightforward job. They're a four bolt design and an a adaptor to use on three bolt soles is included in the box. Place this adapter on the sole, line up the cleat and bolt it down into place. You have a range of fore and aft adjustment, but unlike other cleat systems you don't need to worry about the angle. That's taken care of with the 15 degrees of free float. Replacement cleats are expensive which is a downside.

You can choose from four axle lengths (50 to 65mm) for even further customisation.

The free float and adjustability, and ease of setup makes the Speedplay's an attractive package. Their price, cost of replacement cleats and high maintenance means they're not for everyone, but I'm prepared to overlook those downsides for their clear performance edge.

Verdict

Bags of float, lightweight and ease of setup makes the Speedplay's a top pedal system, particularly if you have dodgy knees

road.cc test report

Make and model: Speedplay Zero Chrome-moly Pedal system

Size tested: n/a

Tell us what the product is for, and who it's aimed at. What do the manufacturers say about it? How does that compare to your own feelings about it?

The performance features of the Speedplay Zero Pedal System read like a pro racer's wish list.

No other pedal comes close to offering the superior adjustability or cutting-edge specifications of the Zero. Compare the key features of Zeros to any other brandand you'll find that other pedal systems are no match. By thinking 'outside the box'we created and patented the most technically advanced clipless pedal system available. Only Zeros offer fore-aftside-to-sideand rotational foot positions that can be adjusted independently. Unlike the inexact set-up of traditionalone-piece cleatseach of the three adjustments of Zero cleats can be set or changed without affecting the position of the other adjustments. This feature also eliminates guesswork and misalignment when replacing cleatsa concern of all cyclists from consumers to top professionals.

Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?

Zero to 15 degrees of micro-adjustable float

Easy cleat set up and adjustment

No complicated spring tension adjustments

No fumbling - dual sided entry

Half the weight of most clipless systems

Excellent cornering clearance

Weight (each): 108g

Spindle length: Chrome-Moly 53mm

Rate the product for quality of construction:
 
8/10
Rate the product for performance:
 
9/10
Rate the product for durability:
 
7/10

Remember to regularly grease the bearings, and they'll be fine

Rate the product for weight, if applicable:
 
8/10

They're light because they've shifted the retention mechanism to the shoes

Rate the product for comfort, if applicable:
 
8/10

Even if you've never had any problems with your knees, the range of float, which is fully adjustable, makes them very comfortable

Rate the product for value:
 
6/10

There is not getting away from the fact these are premium priced pedals. The replacement cleats are pricey too

Tell us what you particularly liked about the product

The range of float and how adjustable it is. Nice free float and easy setup

Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product

The high maintenance and cost of replacement cleats

Did you enjoy using the product? Yes

Would you consider buying the product? Yes

Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes

Overall rating: 8/10

About the tester

Age: 31  Height: 180  Weight: 67

I usually ride:   My best bike is:

I've been riding for: 10-20 years  I ride: Every day  I would class myself as: Expert

I regularly do the following types of riding: road racing, time trialling, cyclo cross, commuting, touring, mtb,

 

15 user comments

Oldest firstNewest firstBest rated

Great pedals.

Last night I would have considered trading a very loud baby for a really nice bike.

posted by notfastenough [3310 posts]
12th March 2013 - 21:28

7 Likes

Love mine... but look after the bearings, otherwise it gets expensive. Crying Oh and you can get a bearing replacement kit off ebay for £20

Carpe Diem ab absentis: seize the day off

Coodsta's picture

posted by Coodsta [99 posts]
12th March 2013 - 23:09

4 Likes

However good they are, they need a pair of cleats, which weigh an extra 70g or 118g (for 4 or 3 hole fitting). For comparison Look cleats are 72g/pr.

I love my bike's picture

posted by I love my bike [41 posts]
13th March 2013 - 1:08

7 Likes

still on my original zero cleat ... 2 years now Smile

According to sources on the "net"
dura ace + cleat = 338g
zero stainless + cleat = 324g
zero ti + cleat = 282g

still on the 3rd switch-back of Bwlch !

posted by therevokid [725 posts]
13th March 2013 - 9:16

6 Likes

Also love mine but have a rocking issue on the left side - maybe I just started noticing it suddenly as had, ahem, zero problems for 1.5 years! Surprise

Anyone had similar things? Worried

http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/ValentinKokorin

London2Paris24: 450km, 24 hours, 5th-6th July 2014

I will miss TdF in Yorskhire!!! Please donate! Big Grin

koko56's picture

posted by koko56 [333 posts]
13th March 2013 - 11:23

5 Likes

That sounds like a bearing that might be going. Best take apart, clean and regrease and see if that improves things.

posted by boardmanrider [69 posts]
13th March 2013 - 14:33

5 Likes

" On the scales they're only a few grams heavier than the stainless version that cost over twice as much."

Ehh where did you get your prices? A quick check on Wiggle, the Chrome Moly are €119 and the Stainless Steel variety are €163 - only €44 in the difference.

As for the pedals, I've ridden them 10 years plus, never any issues and would never go back anything else.

posted by boardmanrider [69 posts]
13th March 2013 - 14:36

4 Likes

My only niggle with the chrome-moly versions is the axel looks tired very quickly as the paint rubs off, whereas the stainless look great for ever. That said, it wasn't enough for me to opt for stainless and in every other regard they are superb.

After a bike fit I have all the float zeroed out, but I still wouldn't go back to look-style systems, these are just so easy to use. As for maintenance - twice a year and a 5 minute easy job. Hardly a great burden!

posted by sorebones [110 posts]
13th March 2013 - 14:54

4 Likes

sorebones wrote:
As for maintenance - twice a year and a 5 minute easy job. Hardly a great burden!

Maintenance?! My 12 year old Dura Ace pedals are lucky if they see a wash down hose and they spin like new Wink

posted by Ducci [61 posts]
13th March 2013 - 16:49

4 Likes

Did not mention it's the cleat on pedal rather than pedal itself.

Clipped shoes in and checked - right one has a tiny bit and never really gets felt whereas left has a noticeable amount. I actually noticed it after installing new cleats and pedals. Just asking as many people as I can to see if they've come across it and found a solution.

(might have to make a thread Blushing)

http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/ValentinKokorin

London2Paris24: 450km, 24 hours, 5th-6th July 2014

I will miss TdF in Yorskhire!!! Please donate! Big Grin

koko56's picture

posted by koko56 [333 posts]
13th March 2013 - 17:04

3 Likes

I get this...on the left cleat too Thinking had it for a few months now - I didn't think much of it as it didn't cause me any problems, but the other day the metal spring(?) in that cleat snapped Sad I can still ride with it apparently - replacement cleats are on back order at my LBS.

I do lube the cleats religiously and (nearly) always use the cleat covers.

Hope yours isn't about to do the same!

posted by Joegooner [3 posts]
13th March 2013 - 18:42

5 Likes

I've recently made the switch as I have a dodgy knee and thought these might help. Only a couple of rides so far and I'm still undecided. Loving the float and half way through the first ride I didn't notice it (a good thing). My leg with the bad knee had put itself into a natural position and all good. What I didn't like was the 'skating on ice' feeling when out of the saddle. But I'm a big guy and to be honest I mainly sit in the saddle and grind it out! I think it is something I just need to get used to.

posted by othello [291 posts]
14th March 2013 - 11:16

6 Likes

othello wrote:
I've recently made the switch as I have a dodgy knee and thought these might help. Only a couple of rides so far and I'm still undecided. Loving the float and half way through the first ride I didn't notice it (a good thing). My leg with the bad knee had put itself into a natural position and all good. What I didn't like was the 'skating on ice' feeling when out of the saddle. But I'm a big guy and to be honest I mainly sit in the saddle and grind it out! I think it is something I just need to get used to.

Somehow when I first got them I don't even remember getting that floating on ice feeling, but after I used SPDs for a bit and went back to speedplays there was definitely that feeling, but only for a short time. In other words, you'll get used to it and won't feel it! Big Grin

http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/ValentinKokorin

London2Paris24: 450km, 24 hours, 5th-6th July 2014

I will miss TdF in Yorskhire!!! Please donate! Big Grin

koko56's picture

posted by koko56 [333 posts]
14th March 2013 - 12:19

6 Likes

This is pure theory but you may have a worn baseplate (the plastic bit that fits to the shoe which the yellow part of the cleat then screws in to. I too have the problem and on inspection the plate has worn a bit. To be fair they are 2 years old and it is significantly worse on my left shoe — the one I disengage whenever I stop.

I have a replacement but the the screws have corroded inside the shoe so I'm having to wait til I can get into my Dads garage and use his drill and then replace. But pretty sure by methods of deduction it must be causing the problem.

Hope that sheds light on the problem.

posted by leejdavies [4 posts]
20th March 2013 - 12:48

6 Likes

I wish it did Crying.

Honestly - checked everything, and tried new base plates.

The only thing is that the metal plate itself has a groove worn in one part of the cleat and my previous cleats did not have anything worn in at all after several months of use. I mean even if that was the problem it does not explain why I had it with new pedals and cleats. I even tried leveling out the left cleat as much as possible with a shim made form an alu can but that did not really work. Both cleats are actually not sitting 100% flat (flush but not flat - slightly twisted) against the shoe but it was always like that and did not have rocking before. I'm almost inclined to think that I had it even with the old pedals but did not notice it, but just not sure.

http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/ValentinKokorin

London2Paris24: 450km, 24 hours, 5th-6th July 2014

I will miss TdF in Yorskhire!!! Please donate! Big Grin

koko56's picture

posted by koko56 [333 posts]
20th March 2013 - 21:09

7 Likes

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