Why bike fitters love Wahoo Speedplay pedals

The highly adjustable Speedplay pedal range gets improvements to increase durability

Promotional feature with Wahoo

Wahoo Fitness has bought Speedplay pedals, adding to its growing portfolio of trainers, smart bikes, computers, smartwatches and fitness apps. It’s just released a range of improvements to the pedals, while keeping the adjustability that has always made Speedplay pedals so popular.

Speedplay’s lollipop-shaped pedals have been the choice of many pro riders for years. They offer advantages over other pedal systems for a whole range of riders: from the pros, who value cutting edge performance, to the commuters, who value easy-to-use double sided entry.

The design has a low stack height for efficient pedalling and, for the racer, the Zero Aero pedals and cleats offer a streamlined profile and aero surface with golfball dimples. The area of the cleat-to-shoe interface in Wahoo Speedplay’s pedals is the largest out there, which helps improve power transfer.

But the main reason pros love Wahoo Speedplay pedals is their adjustability. With other pedal systems, you have fixed levels of float which can only be changed by swapping the cleats. With Wahoo Speedplay pedals, there’s up to 15 degrees of continuous, separate adjustability of heel in float and heel out float which you can fine tune thanks to the adjustment screws built into the cleats.

Wahoo Speedplay also makes its pedals with four different length spindles, so they will work for people with different stance widths. You can also add shims to cant the angle of the cleats on your shoes to suit your natural foot position.

Wahoo Speedplay

Ineos Grenadiers pro cyclist Owain Doull is a fan of Speedplay pedals.

"I’ve been very fortunate to have been riding and supported by Speedplay since 2014. With the new Wahoo Speedplay Zero pedal coming out it’s the latest in a long line of innovation and development which directly helps my performance on the bike," he says.

Poor pedal adjustment usually manifests itself in pain further up the leg, as the forces passing through the joints aren’t symmetric. All their adjustability means that Wahoo Speedplay pedals can be dialed in to accommodate biomechanical variations and they’re a top recommendation made by many bike fitters to improve riding comfort.

Expert bike fitter Phil Burt talks Wahoo Speedplay pedals

Phil Burt mid bike fit. Image: Andy Jones
(Image credit: Picasa)

We’ve asked Phil Burt why he recommends Wahoo Speedplay pedals. He’s the bike fitting guru who helped British Cycling to success in three Olympic Games and worked with Team Sky over seven Tours de France.

Cycling Weekly: Wahoo Speedplay pedals offer a high level of cleat adjustability, why is this important?

Phil Burt: Adjustability in the cleat is important because we all pedal in different ways. The way we walk, or our gait, is incredibly varied due to a host of factors such as biomechanics, flexibility, injury history and anatomical variation. Pedalling is the same. 

The ability to adjust the cleat to allow you to move your lower limbs in your preferred way not only is important for comfort and injury prevention but also enables optimal performance. 

Cycling Weekly: Speedplay offers adjustability of float at the pedal, why does this matter?

Phil Burt: The ability to adjust the amount we allow our feet to move - either heel in or heel out - is crucial to enabling an optimal movement pathway. If we imagine squatting or leg pressing a heavy weight, we would all place our feet in slightly different ways and orientations to complete the task. 

Being forced to place them in another way is what some pedal systems only allow for, but Speedplay allows you to dial in your ideal float, having as much or as little as you want where you want it, and left and right can be different. Think of it as bespoke float.

Cycling Weekly: The pedals can come with different axle lengths, who can benefit from this?

Phil Burt: Stance width is the one metric in cycling that never changes. From XS to XXL bikes the distance between the pedals remains the same. How can this be right? 

Some of us also want to drop our heels in as we push on the downstroke but can’t as they hit the crank arm. Crank rub is a clear indication that you ideally need a wider stance width, which is achieved with different width axles. 

Riders whose biomechanics mean their knees come too close to the top tube can also benefit, as well as those with knee pain due to being forced into too narrow a stance width. Longer axles can even resolve saddle pain for some people by allowing their hips to open up.

Cycling Weekly: What niggles/injuries can Speedplay pedals assist riders with?

Phil Burt: The most common beneficiaries from Speedplay are riders with knee pain caused by lateral structures in the leg, the ITB, becoming tight and altering the tracking of your knee cap. 

Simply put, Speedplay’s adjustability at the pedal, and therefore the foot, allows the absorption of forces which are otherwise passed up to the knee to deal with and which cause pain and tightness eventually.

They can also help resolve foot and hip pain and help riders who constantly feel that something is wrong with their pedalling or position, by allowing them to adopt their preferred movement pathway.

Cycling Weekly: What other benefits do the pedals carry alongside bike fit/injury avoidance?

Phil Burt: Speedplay pedals have significant performance benefits also. Aerodynamically with the aero cover they offer a significant drop in CDA for such a small component of the rider’s frontal area.

Because they also allow you to adjust your foot placement on the pedal so much, you can adopt your ideal movement pathway and therefore generate and deliver more power than other sub-optimal setups.

Updates across the range improve longevity

Wahoo Speedplay pedals

Wahoo’s latest changes to its Speedplay pedals are designed to increase their durability for longer, trouble-free service life. That includes new, maintenance-free sealed bearings and a more durable pedal body. The range has also been slimmed down to make it easier to navigate and there are improved fitting instructions.

You can easily fit Speedplay cleats to standard three-bolt road cycling shoes, using the baseplates provided with the pedals, which add even more cleat position adjustment.

Prices for the new Wahoo Speedplay pedal range start at £134.99 for the Comp, which come with Easy Tension cleats, and head up to £379.99 for the 130g a pair Nano. This summer sees the addition to the range of the much-anticipated dual sided Powrlink Zero power meter. 

If you experience aches and pains in your legs when cycling, you should consider swapping to Wahoo Speedplay pedals. They’ll make your bike look that bit more pro too.

Visit wahoofitness.com today to learn more.

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Paul Norman

Paul started writing for Cycling Weekly in 2015, covering cycling tech, new bikes and product testing. Since then, he’s reviewed hundreds of bikes and thousands of other pieces of cycling equipment for the magazine and the Cycling Weekly website.

He’s been cycling for a lot longer than that though and his travels by bike have taken him all around Europe and to California. He’s been riding gravel since before gravel bikes existed too, riding a cyclocross bike through the Chilterns and along the South Downs.