Look's updated Keo Blade Carbon pedals are light, offer a large surface area, and come with two sets of blades so you can alter the release tension, although there's more side-to-side rocking than you might want.
- Pros: Light, secure, the choice of two different blades
- Cons: Slight rocking is possible
The axle of the updated Blade Carbon pedals has been redesigned, the distance between the roller and needle bearings having been increased by 25%. Look says that this provides more rigidity to the entire length of the axle and, as a consequence, improved power transmission. Look also claims that its new axle design allows a gain of about 2 watts at 100rpm. Will you notice this in use? I can't say that I did.
Weather resistance has been improved thanks to an updated end plug with an o-ring washer and an internal, double-lipped seal. Certainly, no water had got inside during three decidedly wet winter months of testing.
The Look Keo Blade Carbon pedals come with a 20mm long pedal axle thread which means that even if you fit a washer/spacer next to the crank to give yourself a little more foot clearance, the axle will be supported fully. If you don't fit a washer, the end of the axle is likely to protrude very slightly from the inner face of the crank.
Clipping in is relatively easy. As with any other pedal system, you need to get the hang of positioning your foot in the right place, but after a few rides you'll have that dialled.
I've found that the pedals usually hang right to make this easier – with the back end facing down so that you can tip the front forward with the toe area of your sole and engage in one movement. Just occasionally they've not behaved so that when not looking I've put my foot on the wrong side of the pedal, but that's very much the exception rather than the rule.
When you press down, the cleat retention mechanism does its thing with a loud click. You always know whether or not you're clipped in.
The curved carbon blade provides the force that holds the cleat in place. The pedals come set up with 12Nm blades (there's no tension adjustment on the pedals) but you get 16Nm blades – ones that require more force to disengage – in the box. Pedals with 20Nm blades are available too, and you can buy a new pair of blades for £38.99.
Swapping blades is a straightforward job with a Torx 8 driver, a screwdriver, a torque wrench and a special little tool that comes as part of the package. Look has a YouTube video that shows you how to do it.
It's not impossible that the blade could get damaged if you crash but the fact that it's slightly recessed and sits well away from the edge of the pedal means that's unlikely.
The pedal platform is 67mm wide (Shimano Dura-Ace, for comparison, is just a millimetre narrower) and has a surface area of 700mm2 meaning that the pressure is distributed over a large area and you can get plenty of support.
I have experienced some side to side rocking of my foot in use, though. I'm not talking about float here, I mean that when you press down your shoe can tilt inward or outward very slightly because there's some slack between the cleat and the pedal itself. If your foot pronates or supinates to the same degree throughout the pedal stroke you probably won't notice this, but if it does different things at different points you could experience some movement and perhaps squeaking (applying a lubricant will usually sort it). This might be an issue for you, it might not. (Incidentally, Look does offer spacers that go underneath the cleat for flat soles. I experienced this rocking movement on soles that don't require a spacer.)
You do get float too (the degree to which your foot can move before the cleat becomes unclipped), the amount depending on the cleats you use. The grey cleats that come as part of the package offer 4.5°, but you can buy 0°/fixed (black) or 9° (red) cleats separately (£16.99 per pair).
The Shimano Dura-Ace R9100 SPD-SL pedals that we reviewed last year are about the same weight as these at 239g, but they're £224.99. If you're prepared to pay more, a lighter version of the Look Keo Blade Carbon with a titanium axle and a claimed weight of 190g per pair is available for £254.99.
Overall, the Look Keo Blade Carbons have a lot to recommend them, despite the fact that some people can experience slight rocking between the cleats and the pedals. They're light and secure and the fact that you get blades with different cleat retention levels is a bonus.
Light pedals with positive engagement and the choice of different release tensions, although cleat rocking is possible
road.cc test report
Make and model: Look Keo Blade Carbon pedals
Size tested: n/a
Tell us what the product is for
Look says, "Designed to win, the new Keo Blade Carbon improves the experience associated with the use of blade technology in a clipless pedal. This new version is the result of experience gained during years of development in the heart of our manufacturing facility and to continual improvements made thanks to daily input from the greatest of champions.
"Lightweight, aerodynamic, powerful, the new Keo Blade Carbon has all the assets to allow you to improve and optimise your performance until victory is yours. It is for these reasons that Keo Blade Carbon the unanimous choice of many champions who have made it a weapon of choice in the conquest of their greatest achievements.
"The Keo Blade Carbon has the best weight / power ratio in its class.
"Its new design completely integrates the blade for unrivalled aerodynamics. Equipped with a carbon body and blade, the Blade Carbon is available in a Ti version (titanium spindle) that weighs a mere 95g per pedal, or in a CrMo version (chromoly spindle) for a weight of 110g per pedal. It is available in three tension release levels: 12,16 and 20."
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Look lists these features:
SPINDLE Chromoly Steel +
THREADING 9/16 X 20 mm
BEARINGS 1 roller bearing, 1 needle bearing
STACK HEIGHT 14.8 mm
DISTANCE PEDAL SPINDLE / CRANKARM 53 mm
PLATFORM WIDTH 67 mm
PLATFORM SURFACE AREA 700 mm2
TENSION Pedals come installed with '12' carbon blades + additional '16' carbon blades ('20' carbon blades sold separately)
CLEATS Kéo Cleats grey
FLOAT 0 °, 4.5 ° or 9 ° according to the cleat color (Black, Grey, Red)
PEDAL WEIGHT 110 gr (288 gr per pair with cleats and screws)
ACCESSORIES 2 sets of blades +1 pair of Kéo Cleats-Gray + screws
WARRANTY 2 years
Well made with good weather sealing, although some people will find that the cleats can rock side-to-side on the pedals in use.
You can buy lighter pedal/cleat combos, certainly, but these are pretty light without compromising durability.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
They perform well generally although some people do experience a small amount of rocking under power. If you don't get this movement they're great pedals. If you do, they're not so good!
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Lightweight, effective sealing, a good price for something of this level.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
There is the possibility for the cleats to rock slightly as you pedal.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes
Would you consider buying the product? They're not my favourite pedals.
Would you recommend the product to a friend? They're certainly worth considering.
Use this box to explain your overall score
These are good pedals, the one potential issue being that the cleats can rock on them in some circumstances, leading to squeaking/creaking. These are still a strong design, they'd just be better if Look could sort that. The performance is good and so is the price, considering the level of these pedals. I think they warrant a 7.
About the tester
I usually ride: My best bike is:
I've been riding for: Over 20 years I ride: Most days I would class myself as: Expert
I regularly do the following types of riding: commuting, club rides, sportives, general fitness riding
Mat has worked for loads of bike magazines over 20+ years, and been editor of 220 Triathlon and Cycling Plus. He's been road.cc technical editor for eight years, testing bikes, fettling the latest kit, and trying out the most up-to-the-minute clothing. We send him off around the world to get all the news from launches and shows too. He has won his category in Ironman UK 70.3 and finished on the podium in both marathons he has run. Mat is a Cambridge graduate who did a post-grad in magazine journalism, and he is a past winner of the Cycling Media Award for Specialist Online Writer.