A change of pedals can lop a chunk of weight off your bike and also give you a chance to switch to pedals that work better in other ways such as providing a broader platform for your shoes or user-friendly double-sided mechanism.
In the selection of lightweight, high-end pedals below we’ve picked pedals designed to save weight but that also improve over regular or less expensive designs in other ways.
For example, Look’s latest Keo Blade pedals have a very large steel contact plate, which in theory makes the cleat — and therefore the shoe — steadier on the pedal.
The Hairsine ratios for these pedals are based on Shimano’s 330g R540 pedals, except for the Ritcheys which we’ve compared with Shimano’s 374g M520s.
Weight: 208g Hairsine ratio: 1.34
The Ritchey WCS Micro Road Pedals are lightweight, sleek pedals for SPD-cleat users. At 208g (plus cleats), they’re are at the lighter end of heavy; they’re almost certainly the lightest option if you want to use shoes you can easily walk in.
Once clicked in they feel just as good as any other high-end SPD-style pedal, with a decent amount of float, no fore-aft slop and clean entry/exit even with grime underfoot. Being single-sided you have to look a bit, and without the SPD-SL's large rear end they don't hang ready to clip into.
We didn't find flipping them over to engage to be any hassle, the compactness meaning they didn't want to spin all the way over under their own gravity. Double-sided SPDs might be a boon off-road where you are clipping in-out frequently, but for even moderately-experienced road users the single-sidedness of the Ritcheys shouldn't be an issue.
The Pro version we reviewed is no longer available, but the WCS model is lighter and has recently had a bearing and axle upgrade to prolong its service life.
Weight: 208g Hairsine ratio: 0.85
Those who love Speedplays rave about the low weight, adjustability, and shallow stack. But it's undeniable they need more looking after than most pedals, the large cleat is awkward to walk in (the new aero cleat is a big improvement on the original naked cleat though) and they're susceptible to clogging from even the smallest amount of dirt.
But if you have knees that are in any way fragile, or you want pedals that are incredibly easy to enter and release but fit stiff-soled road racing shoes, their free float and double-sided design make Speedplays well worth considering.
Weight: 228g Hairsine ratio: 0.76
Shimano's top-level Dura-Ace R9100 pedals offer loads of security and stability and they're a few grams lighter than the previous version, although still not quite as light as some of their biggest rivals.
The pedals feature an injection-moulded carbon composite body with three small stainless steel plates across the centre to provide protection from wear. These plates are moulded in and aren't replaceable (the screwed-on plate of the previous generation Dura-Ace R9000 pedal wasn't replaceable either).
The pedal platform is 66mm wide – a little wider than previously – and provides plenty of stability. That broad platform is one of the best things about these pedals, and is especially welcome when you're riding out of the saddle.
Weight: 184g Hairsine ratio: 0.82
Despite their conventional steel springs, these carbon-bodied Look Keo clones from the upmarket arm of Taiwanese pedal giant Wellgo are very light, thanks to their pared-down carbon fibre bodies and titanium axles.
Out on the road these provide you with a whole lot of stability. That wide pedal body gives you a solid platform underneath your foot for putting down the power, with no rocking from side to side. The mechanism hangs on to your cleat securely, and if you wind up the tension there’s virtually no chance of your foot disconnecting unexpectedly.
Weight: 180g Hairsine ratio: 0.67
This is the lightest incarnation of Look’s Keo pedals, and uses a weight-saving carbon fibre leaf spring to provide the retention force in place of the usual steel coil.
We like the less expensive Keo Blade and these have even more bells and whistles, including a very large steel contact plate for stability (700mm2 rather than the Max’s 400mm2) and titanium axle.
The latest versions of the Keo Blade Carbon and Keo Blade Carbon Ti have interchangeable leaf springs; they come set up with 12Nm springs, but there's a 16Nm spring in the box, and a special tool to help make the job easy. You can also buy a 20Nm spring, but Look warns that you shouldn’t come crying to them if you crash because you can’t get out of the 20Nm version.
Weight: 140g Hairsine ratio: 0.62
The Time Xpresso 15 pedals are extremely light and clipping in/twisting out could hardly be easier. The downside is the price, and the cleats wear noticeably faster than those of other brands.
At just 140g for the pair, they're phenomenally light thanks to carbon bodies, titanium axles, aluminium top plates and ceramic bearings. Clipping in is very easy thanks to a spring mechanism that stays open after you click out.
Weight: 120g Hairsine ratio: 0.41
At just 120g/pair these race-day-only pedals are Speedplay's demonstration that the Zero design can be made extraordinarily light. Speedplay has often displayed superlight bikes at trade shows; these pedals help make bikes like those even lighter.
The low weight is achieved by the use of every lightweight material you can think of: carbon-reinforced thermoplastic bodies; ceramic bearings; titanium axles; titanium bolts; and aluminium top plates. The cleats have been lightened too with carbon fiber replacing the plastic and aluminium fasteners instead of steel. They're bonkers expensive, but you have to admire the fanaticism.
The aim of road.cc buyer's guides is to give you the most, authoritative, objective and up-to-date buying advice. We continuously update and republish our guides, checking prices, availability and looking for the best deals.
Our guides include links to websites where you can buy the featured products. Like most sites we make a small amount of money if you buy something after clicking on one of those links. We want you to be happy with what you buy, so we only include a product in a if we think it's one of the best of its kind.
As far as possible that means recommending equipment that we have actually reviewed, but we also include products that are popular, highly-regarded benchmarks in their categories.
Acknowledged by the Telegraph as a leading cycling journalist, John Stevenson has been writing about bikes and cycling for over 30 years since discovering that people were mug enough to pay him for it rather than expecting him to do an honest day's work.
He was heavily involved in the mountain bike boom of the late 1980s as a racer, team manager and race promoter, and that led to writing for Mountain Biking UK magazine shortly after its inception. He got the gig by phoning up the editor and telling him the magazine was rubbish and he could do better. Rather than telling him to get lost, MBUK editor Tym Manley called John’s bluff and the rest is history.
Since then he has worked on MTB Pro magazine and was editor of Maximum Mountain Bike and Australian Mountain Bike magazines, before switching to the web in 2000 to work for CyclingNews.com. Along with road.cc editor Tony Farelly, John was on the launch team for BikeRadar.com and subsequently became editor in chief of Future Publishing’s group of cycling magazines and websites, including Cycling Plus, MBUK, What Mountain Bike and Procycling.
John has also written for Cyclist magazine, edited the BikeMagic website and was founding editor of TotalWomensCycling.com before handing over to someone far more representative of the site's main audience.
He joined road.cc in 2013 and these days he lives in Cambridge where the lack of hills is more than made up for by the headwinds.