The latest Look Kéo Blade Carbon pedals may appear similar to the older model, but under the skin, Look has made a number of changes to its flagship pedal system
The Look Kéo Blade pedal uses a leaf spring under the pedal body to close the cleat, rather than the more conventional coil spring found in the Kéo 2 Max pedal and all of Shimano’s pedals.
Look says that this is around 40% lighter than a conventional spring – pedal weight for the Look Kéo Blade Carbon certainly undercuts all Shimano’s pedals except the new Dura-Ace. You can save another 30g per pair of Kéo Blade pedals by opting for a titanium spindle, although this bumps the price up by £100.
Look has recently upgraded both its Kéo Blade and Kéo 2 Max pedals. The latest Look Kéo Blade design, used in the Kéo Blade Carbon and Kéo Blade Carbon Ti, comes with a 700 square millimetre engagement platform that is now 67mm wide. There’s also an entry level Kéo Blade with a composite body, which continues the previous design.
Look claims that the increased platform area increases foot stability, although you’re unlikely to notice the difference, as the stability of the previous version was already very good.
Although it’s hidden from view, the pedal spindle on the Kéo Blade Carbon has been redesigned too. It comes with a new end-cap and improved double seal to the inboard side, to increase resistance to water ingress.
The redesign has also increased the distance between the inboard roller bearing and the outboard needle bearing by 25%, which should add rigidity and improve power transmission. Stack height is just 13mm.
Another advantage of the carbon leaf spring is that it makes for a streamlined profile to the underside of the pedal. Look’s pedals are also narrower than Shimano’s. They’re a popular choice among pro cyclists, with users including André Greipel, Romain Bardet, Nairo Quintana and Fabio Aru.
Other advantages of the blade spring are a firmer foot hold once engaged and faster action when you unclip. You don’t get the adjustability of a coil spring though. The Look Kéo Blade Carbon comes with a 12Nm blade fitted, a spare 16Nm blade and the specialist tools required to change them. You can buy a 20Nm version too, while the cheaper entry level Kéo Blade comes with an 8Nm and a 12Nm blade.
In practice, the 12Nm blade has quite a light engagement tension, so it’s easy to clip in. Engagement is very positive too, with an audible click, even if your cleats are a bit dirty. Clipping out seems to need a slightly different technique to other pedals and I found it took my left foot a while to get used to this. Strangely, my right foot was quite happy though.
In the dry, the Look Kéo Blade Carbon is sweet and quiet. But on wet and muddy roads, I found that it could develop a creak when climbing or riding hard. It’s not too annoying and disappeared once I upped my cadence again, but I did start to wonder if my bottom bracket bearing was the worse for wear.
The Look Kéo Blade uses Look’s standard cleat design. It’s available with different degrees of float. It’s narrower than a Shimano cleat, but does suffer badly from wear if you do much walking on it.
The Look Kéo Blade Carbon provides a nice refresh of Look’s blade tech. You’d be hard-pressed to notice the effect of the increased size of the engagement platform, but the changes in bearing placement should lead to increased stability and longevity. But the Kéo Blade Carbon is prone to creak, unlike a design with an enclosed spring.