Look Keo Blade. Sharper than sharp.
France has been good to us:
Bordeaux wine, sexy French lingerie, the new Look Keo Blade Chromo pedal. A serious road racer will take the Blade over a bottle of Saint Emilion Grand cru.
The Blade weighs in at 230 grams or about 115 per pedal. It’s carbon, beautiful, pricey at $300 and might be worth every penny depending on your need for the best.
The techno-thrill is that a carbon blade replaces the traditional spring. This instantly changes the design equation, saving enough weight to widen the platform. Even compared to the old Keo, the Blade is 17% wider and sports a 31% greater surface area. (More on your bonus shortly)
The first thing every review notes is the on-off quality of the pedal engagement. We like the definitive snap of the Blade when we clip in. There’s never any doubt about your degree of in-ness. The exit was just as exacting, but without a loud sound effect signaling departure. Pulling out of the Keo has a simple and muted feel. It’s also good to know that should you ever damage the carbon blade itself, fear not — it’s replaceable.
No slip & slide
The Blade is an evolution of the Keo. What we like in particular is the wider platform, a claimed 62mm landing pad that spreads out foot pressure. We’re fans of wide platforms and extra stability when we jump out of the saddle. An increase in power to the drive train without doing more hill repeats is always a good thing.
The platform benefit is noticeable at the end of a climb, that last hard ramp when your legs are dead. You’re fighting the bike and you’ve lost the fine points of control — your feet are sliding right and left on the pedal. We felt confident we weren’t suddenly going to slip-slide off a narrower pad.
The point is the point
Spend time and money working with a bike fit specialist and one of the first things they investigate is the points of contact between you and machine. Pedals and cleats are not only a chance to trim weight, the bigger goal is comfort, a wattage boost and bio-mechanical fluidity. We think the Keo Blade will prove to be an upgrade in terms of knee and foot happiness.
Depending on your color choice of Keo cleat, you have a range of floatation devices — the grey is 4.5 degrees, the red with 9 degrees and the black is zero float. Our test pedals had the grey and that minimal float felt comfortable but habit made us wish for red and more freedom of motion side to side.
There are actually two blades to chose from depending on spring rate. The 12Nm and the stiffer 16Nm setting. A mechanic for a Pro Continental team told us that in reality, there ain’t much difference. Then again, he ain’t you.
The chrome – ti conundrum
We once broke a Ti pedal spindle near the top of a climb two hours from home. We decided that Ti, for all its seduction, would no longer be joining our next pedal. We’ll take the meaningless weight penalty in return for the knowledge that when we crank, we won’t snap. The Keo Blade chromo spindle is 12mm, a number that says structural integrity and the absence of a rider weight restriction. If you’re a flyweight, by all mean, ti. (That tariff however will bring the Keo Blade to around $500.)
Any questions about spindle diameter affecting stack height have also been engineered out of the discussion. The stainless steel wear plate means that the pedal body underneath could be slim and trim. Weigh loss without the height gain. If you eye-ball the Keo Blade, you’ll see the extra width is on top, not the bottom. Cornering clearance gets an upgrade. Maybe you’re not a crit guy trying to pedal too deep into a corner, but it’s still nice to know you’re in the clear.
Look invented the clip-less pedal back in 1984 and were one of the first frame builders to invest in the incredible potential of carbon fiber. Taking the Look Keo Blades out of the box is an almost giddy pleasure. Sure, there’s a price-n0 object quality but there’s also no mistaking the quality, style and technology behind these carbon pedals.
Verdict: Blades first, then Bordeaux, then lingerie.
$295 at C0lorado Cyclist