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review

Wahoo Speedplay Zero pedals

9
£199.99

VERDICT:

9
10
A genuinely excellent upgrade on already top quality pedals, worth the initial outlay
Adjustability
Durability
Low stack height
Easy to walk in
Initial expense...
Weight: 
222g

The Wahoo Speedplay Zero pedals have picked up where the old Speedplay Zeros left off and improved the few elements that could be, with a huge amount of adjustability, a low stack height, and ease of use. They are an expensive outlay, but given their increased cleat durability and walkability, the high price is justifiable.

After selling to Wahoo in 2019, the cycling world has been waiting patiently to see what the new Speedplay pedal line-up would look like. As it turns out: pretty similar to before.

> Find your nearest dealer here

This is not a bad thing because, rather than reinventing the wheel, Wahoo has just taken what was good about the original Speedplay Zeros and built on them. In fact, the only noticeable differences are that the cleats are black instead of yellow and the pedals are more of a complete circle rather than having gullies and lines on them. Plus the Wahoo logo, obviously.

2021 Wahoo Speedplay Zero pedals - cleats.jpg

The basics of the pedal system have remained the same, with most of the mechanics sitting within the cleat rather than the pedal, just as they did in the original Speedplay system. This means the pedals themselves are little more than notched discs. With Shimano and Look systems, the cleats themselves are essentially just shaped plastic and all of the mechanicals sit in the pedals.

2021 Wahoo Speedplay Zero cleat fitted 3.jpeg

One thing Wahoo has added is some kind of standardisation, so rather than needing spanners, star keys and screwdrivers, you can do everything with a set of hex keys – a welcome simplification.

Setting up the cleats does take a little longer than others, but I had things set up and comfortable within 10 minutes. 

You first have a three-bolt plate with changeable inserts so it sits flat against the bottom of the shoe. You then you have a four-bolt system on top of this for the cleat itself – this allows you to position your cleat with even more precision. You can then change the float using a hex key to adjust how far you want to be able to rotate your foot before unclipping. Then all you have to do is add the walking cover.

2021 Wahoo Speedplay Zero cleat fitted.jpeg

Another big improvement is in the bearings – a major bugbear of the previous generation. Gone are the days of the awkward grease ports to grease the non-replaceable needle bearings. Wahoo has updated the bearings, sealed both ends and even removed the grease ports, because greasing of these pedals is a thing of the past.

2021 Wahoo Speedplay Zero pedals - 1.jpg

Clipping in and out is done in broadly the same way as Look and SPD: find the pedal in the right position under the cleat, push down with enough pressure to clip in, then rotate the heel to unclip. The pedal holds the cleats very well once clipped in, and there were no situations where I unclipped unexpectedly.

The Zeros come with standard tension cleats, but you can also pick up easy tension cleats (which also come with the Comp version of the pedal).

2021 Wahoo Speedplay Zero pedals - boxed.jpg

One thing that is slightly more challenging than the Keos I have been using more in the past few years is that these take more practice to get the hole in the cleat in the right place, to clip in. For the first few rides it took me two or three attempts to clip in properly, but it gets easier.

I have always used Crank Brothers Eggbeaters over winter, so it's always a little jarring coming back to road pedals where I can only clip in on one side, but the Zeros are double sided. This not only makes it easier to clip in, it also means additional weight hasn't had to be added to make them hang a certain way for easier clipping in.

2021 Wahoo Speedplay Zero fitted 2.jpeg

Adjustability

One element of Speedplay pedals that has made them so sought after is their level of adjustability, something that Wahoo has maintained with these. With a hex key you can adjust the float up to 15 degrees. As somebody who is currently overcoming a knee injury this is very noticeable and very much appreciated.

Adjusting is just a case of loosening or tightening two bolts once you remove the walking cover from the cleats. Similarly, you have more adjustability from left/right and fore/aft movements as you secure a plate to the sole, then the cleat itself onto the plate, so you can micro-adjust more easily as you can essentially adjust positions twice.

2021 Wahoo Speedplay Zero cleat fitted 2.jpeg

From an anecdotal level, I have had pain in one of my knees for over six months that I have been riding through and I found these pedals a huge help in reducing that pain while in the saddle. I can't give specific medical advice, but these have made a big difference to me.

Stack height and easier walking

Another benefit of having the mechanism in the cleats and the way the cleats attach to the sole is that the stack height is noticeably lower than equivalent rivals. Look Keo Blades, for example, have 14.8mm, and Time XPro 10s 13.5mm, while Speedplay is just 11.5mm; millimetres may seem like tiny increments, but when you have less material to contract, you can put more direct power through the pedal. I'm very used to using SPDs and Keos, and the difference seems huge – you can really feel it.

2021 Wahoo Speedplay Zero on bike.jpeg

When people think of Speedplays, the large cleat is the thing that stands out; this shouldn't come as a surprise given that the mechanism exists here rather than in the pedal. However, what this also means is that because the pedal sits within the cleat, rather than the cleat within the pedal, the cleats don't need the kind of overhangs and abrupt edges like Keo and SPDs require in order to connect securely to the pedal.

This allows for a much more curved and gradual shape, making walking in these significantly easier. As the pedals also come with a walking cover to reduce slipping, I can safely say that these are, by some margin, the best dedicated road pedal system for walking that's widely available. John took a look at these walkable cleats when there were released in 2016 and it's great to see they have become standard with the new Zeros.

2021 Wahoo Speedplay Zero cleat fitted 2.jpeg

In addition to allowing you to walk more easily, the walkable covers also have a significant additional benefit – they protect the cleats. Where I would normally expect to change my plastic Keos or SPDs every six months or so, these will last considerably longer. That's good because they are not cheap – replacement of the entire cleat is £49.99, with the cleat cover coming in at £25. However, I would expect the covers alone to last a good year or so, and the entire cleats to last for as long as you continue to replace the covers... so they are likely to be an investment that pays off.

> Buyer’s Guide: 10 of the best clipless pedals

The Speedplay Zeros sit in the middle of the current three-model range, coming in at £199.99 (a fourth, Aero, is 'coming soon'). If you wanted to, you could go all-out and spend another £180 on the Nano versions and save 54g, an extra £3 per gram. Or you could save yourself £65 over the Zeros with the Speedplay Comps, which weigh just 10g more. They all come with the walkable cleat, which is a nice touch that helps to justify the prices.

The differences in the line-up come down to material – the Comps body is Grivory (a trademarked thermoplastic, 'the proven material for metal replacement' according to its maker) with a chromoly spindle, the Zeros also have a Grivory body but a stainless steel spindle, while the Nanos have a carbon composite body and titanium spindle. The Nanos also have an 82kg rider limit, while the Zero and Comp have no limit.

Value

At first glance the Speedplay Zeros look expensive, but when you take into account their durability the price becomes easier to swallow.

The Look Keo Blade Carbon Ceramic pedals are £20 cheaper, though 10g heavier and with cleats that wear considerably faster and so will need to be replaced sooner (at a cost of around £20). After six months that initial £20 saving is negligible.

The Time XPro 10 pedals come in £50 cheaper and 7g heavier, with cleats that might be slightly more durable than Look Keos, but still no match in terms of durability for the Speedplays.

Conclusion

Overall, I was very impressed with these pedals. They offer a really impressive level of adjustability, they don't weight much at all, and the stack height means you can genuinely feel the increased power being put through the pedals. There is no getting away from the fact that these are expensive pedals, even if they aren't the most expensive within the range, but when you take into account their weight, adjustability and durability, the price on paper is perhaps not reflective of value in real life.

Looking back at the bugbears Dave Arthur had with these pedals when he tested them back in 2015, when he gave them 8/10:

- The bearings need regular greasing

- The cleats are difficult to walk in

- The cleats need to replaced often

Wahoo has directly addressed each of these points and has taken what were weaknesses and made them their strengths.

Verdict

A genuinely excellent upgrade on already top quality pedals, worth the initial outlay

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road.cc test report

Make and model: Wahoo Speedplay Zero Pedals

Size tested: One size

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 Speedplay Zeros are the mid-range model for the new Speedplay lineup, offering racing level performance and weight.

Wahoo says: Built to take on anything, the SPEEDPLAY ZERO road pedal is uniquely qualified to withstand the demands of everything from all-out racing to the epic grind of a double-century. The stainless steel pedal and integrated cleat system offer peak power transfer and exceptional durability. The customized fit and dual-sided entry will allow you to crank on the pedals in confidence and comfort.

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

Physical Dimensions: 3.9" x 2" x 2"

Shipping Weight: 1.22lb

Box Dimensions: 5.9" x 2" x 3.9"

Country of Origin: Vietnam

Weight: 222g per pair

Stack Height: 11.5mm (3 hole) 8.5 (4 hole)

Q Factor: 53mm

Body Material: Grivory

Spindle Material: Stainless Steel

Bearing Type: Triple Sealed Cartridge & Needle Bearings

Cornering Clearance: 39°

Max Rider Weight: No restriction

Cleats: Standard Tension Included

Release Angle: Micro Adjustable from 0° to 7.5°

Pedal Float: Adjustable from 0° to 15°

Cleat Fore - Aft Adjustability: Up to 13mm

Cleat Left - Right Adjustability: Up to 8mm

Walkable Cleat: Yes (adaptor included)

Rate the product for quality of construction:
 
9/10

Very well made pedals and cleats, with a lot of thought that has gone into the durability of every part.

Rate the product for performance:
 
9/10

They offer a genuine difference in the feel of power transfer thanks to the low stack height and adjustability throughout the cleat.

Rate the product for durability:
 
9/10

The cleats will hardly wear at all thanks to the walkable covers.

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

Comparable to some of the lightest pedals on the market today despite being made from Grivory and stainless steel.

Rate the product for comfort (if applicable)
 
10/10

The amount of float available means they are very comfortable, causing no knee pain.

Rate the product for value:
 
6/10

The initial outlay is high, but the added durability means these are likely to offer high-end performance for a long time...

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

Very very well, these are a very impressive pair of pedals – Wahoo took already good pedals (Dave A gave them an 8 last time out) and improved the few issues they had. It's genuinely difficult to find fault in them now.

Tell us what you particularly liked about the product

The float; long rides went from riding through gritted teeth and swearing at NHS physio waiting times to as comfortable as the day I first clipped in.

Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product

The initial outlay is high.

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

The Look Keo Blade Carbon Ceramic pedals are £20 cheaper, though 10g heavier and with cleats that wear considerably faster and so will need to be replaced sooner (at a cost of around £20). After six months that initial £20 saving is negligible.

The Time XPro 10 pedals come in £50 cheaper and 7g heavier, with cleats that might be slightly more durable than Look Keos, but still no match in terms of durability for the Speedplays.

Did you enjoy using the product? Yes

Would you consider buying the product? Yes

Would you recommend the product to a friend? I already have.

Use this box to explain your overall score

There was not much to improve on from the previous models as Dave A mentioned when we last looked at them, but Wahoo has managed it. They're excellent.

Overall rating: 9/10

About the tester

Age: 32  Height: 6 ft  Weight:

I usually ride: CAAD13  My best bike is: Cannondale Supersix Evo

I've been riding for: 5-10 years  I ride: Every day  I would class myself as: Expert

I regularly do the following types of riding: commuting, club rides, sportives, general fitness riding, fixed/singlespeed, mtb,

George spends his days helping companies deal with their cycling commuting challenges with his company Cycling for Work. He has been writing for Road.cc since 2014. 

When he is not writing about cycling, he is either out on his bike cursing not living in the countryside or boring anybody who will listen about the latest pro peloton/cycling tech/cycling infrastructure projects. 

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