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review

Look Keo Classic 3 Plus

7
£59.00

VERDICT:

7
10
Smooth and easy to clip into with good range of adjustment, but the bearings could be a weak point
Hang perfectly for easy engagement
Grippy cleats
Good range of tension adjustment
Play in the axle from new
Cleat rocking possible
Weight: 
278g

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The Look Keo Classic 3 Plus pedals have a wide, stable platform, a good range of tension adjustment and pricing that stacks up well against the competition. But even out of the box the bearings show some play – it's worth fixing the near total lack of grease in the axle from the off, as replacing the bearings when they die is not straightforward.

The main difference between these and the standard Classic 3s (£39.99) are the extra stainless steel plates on the body, with Look claiming an increase in stiffness and power transfer as a result. Otherwise, they're effectively the same, meaning you get a chromoly spindle and a composite plastic body with a 400mm square platform. The Q-factor is 53mm, which is identical to all Look road pedals.

The stack height is 17.8mm (11.5mm for the pedal only), and ours weighed 278g – a little more than the claimed weight of 260g.

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Supplied with the pedals are a set of Keo Grip cleats, which feature a layer of TPU to reduce slippage. It works very well. The cleats are the grey 4.5° release angle versions, with 0° (black) and 9° (red) also available separately.

Before riding I noticed some play within the axle – although small, this is not a great sign for brand new pedals. They did spin very smoothly on the bearings, however, which was more promising... although perhaps they spun just a little too freely, implying a potential lack of grease around the assemblies. Opening them up revealed almost zero grease on either one, leaving the lube inside the bearings to fend for itself against water or dirt ingress.

2021 Look Keo Classic 3 Plus - top.jpg

Throughout testing the play increased, to the point where rocking the pedal produced a slight click. Look doesn't sell replacement bearings, but they are standard sizes (6701-2RS and HK0810) available elsewhere – a quality set and some grease will do wonders come service time. However, it's not a simple job as you need a blind bearing puller to get the needle roller out, and to remove an easy-to-damage plastic collar to slide the cartridge bearing off.

The 8Nm to 12Nm range for the release pressure is generous, and very easily adjusted via a little hex bolt near the back of the pedal body. I found the full range useable, with the lowest setting still providing a secure platform – while I am by no means a top sprinter, at no point did they feel like releasing accidentally despite being relatively easy to get out of. Meanwhile, the 12Nm setting gives a very secure feel.

2021 Look Keo Classic 3 Plus - underside.jpg

The weight balance seems absolutely perfect for creating easy engagement. They sit angled backwards slightly, rather than perfectly vertical, and this makes catching the end on the cleat very easy and instinctive.

> 10 of the best clipless pedals – click in from as little as £30

At £59 they are £14 more than the 'standard' Keo Classic 3 pedals (which are an almost identical weight at 276g), and £20 less than the Keo 2 Max (260g). Shimano's similar R550s are £76.99 and heavier at 309g, while Keo-compatible pedals such as the Bontrager Elite are more expensive still at £84.99, and only save a small amount of weight at 252g.

Overall

While these spin smoothly and prove very easy to use, the seemingly cheap bearings and lack of protective grease is a disappointment – especially as replacing the bearings involves specialist tools. Even so, performance from the wide platform and adjustable mechanism is good, and they're priced well; despite the bearing issues, they are still good value pedals.

Verdict

Smooth and easy to clip into with good range of adjustment, but the bearings could be a weak point

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road.cc test report

Make and model: Look Keo Classic 3 Plus

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?

Look says: "What is the difference between a KEO CLASSIC 3 and a KEO CLASSIC 3 PLUS? The material used for the contact area. The little extra, stainless steel rather than composite, optimizes pedal stiffness and hence the transfer of power from you to your bike. As for the rest, we stick to what works: fast clip in / clip out and easy tension adjustment."

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

Look lists:

Spindle material:

Chromoly

Technology - Spring

Body material - Composite

Platform material - Stainless steel

Platform area - 400mm squared

Platform width - 60mm

Total stack height (pedal + cleat) - 17,8 mm (11.5 + 6.3 mm)

Q Factor - 53 mm

Retention - 8 to 12

Cleats - KEO grip

Weight:

Pedal - 140 g

Weight pair + cleats - 350 g

Rate the product for quality of construction:
 
6/10
Rate the product for performance:
 
8/10
Rate the product for durability:
 
5/10

Ours had a small amount of play from new, and developed a clicking on the axle within a few hundred kilometres.

Rate the product for weight (if applicable)
 
7/10

Reasonable for the price.

Rate the product for comfort (if applicable)
 
8/10
Rate the product for value:
 
5/10

Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose

The pedals turn smoothly, although do feel undergreased. They have enough adjustability to suit most riders, and the Look Grip cleats and definitely less slippery on and off the bike than some other Keo compatible cleats.

Tell us what you particularly liked about the product

The angle the pedals fall at when trying to engage makes these easy to clip into.

Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product

The slight play from new is worrying, and ours developed a clicking too. They spin freely and extra grease can be added, but you can't rebuild them or easily replace the bearings.

How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market, including ones recently tested on road.cc?

The standard non-Plus Keo Classic 3 model is £39.99, and George liked them. For £69.99 Shimano has the PD-R550, which shares a similar build but is a little heavier.

Did you enjoy using the product? Yes

Would you consider buying the product? Probably not

Would you recommend the product to a friend? Maybe

Use this box to explain your overall score

While their immediate function is excellent and value is good, the bearings are not great, and there's almost no grease around them for protection from water or dirt ingress. That, and the slight awkwardness with servicing in the long term, stops them scoring higher.

Overall rating: 7/10

About the tester

Age: 35  Height: 168  Weight: 62

I usually ride:   My best bike is: Cannondale SystemSix

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

I regularly do the following types of riding: road racing, cyclo cross, sportives, mtb, Lots of gravel style riding

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