The pedal market is a large one, with various brands touting their offerings and why you should buy them. Is there truly one pedal that is the best for everyone? Like most things in cycling – NO. The secret to riding faster is down to how comfortable you are on a bike and consequently how much time you spend turning those pedals.
What I use:
I overcame a long term Achilles injury after changing pedal systems over to Keywin. Within a few weeks, my injury of two years dissipated. I now use the Keywin Carbon with -3mm titanium axle. Total system weight of 212g for the pair, which was the lightest pedal system available in the market when I purchased them.
Things you should consider with your next pedal purchase
Float: Float is the amount of free movement that your cleats have when clipped in. Depending on your pedalling efficiency and style, the amount of float available can help you pedal more freely without being forced into any particular position. Depending on the brand, some have float built into the pedal (Keywin, Time) or built into the cleat (Shimano, Look, Speedplay).
Q Factor or stance width (essentially how long the pedal axles are): The Q Factor or stance width should match your pelvis as closely as possible as well as matching the natural movement of your hip-pedal-foot. Your stance width can be adjusted in a few ways:
1. Axle length: Some brands offer their pedals in multiple widths (ie: Speedplay, Shimano).
2. Cleat horizontal movement: As it suggests, some cleats have a greater level of adjustability than others. Time, for example, has two fixed adjustments, changing your stance by 2.5mm.
3. Shoe bolt placement: Some shoes have a small amount of adjustment available to move cleats horizontally to change how close your instep is to the crank arm.
Adjustment: Fore/aft (forwards and backwards) movement of cleats is limited by your shoes. In general, the more forward your cleats are placed, the more ‘responsive’ and easier it will be to sprint as you can use your ankles to help propel you forward. And the further back your cleats are placed, the more power you will generate sitting (better for time trial/triathlon). Generally, somewhere in the middle is a good place to start with placement of your cleats.
Ease of clipping in: Most pedals are ‘clipped’ in by toe first, and pushing down vertically to engage your cleat into the pedal, like Shimano and Look. Some, like Speedplay, offer a dual-sided clip-in, which is great for first-timers or those who struggle to clip in and out. Others offer a ‘pre-engaged’ clip-in, which is tension-loaded and requires no effort like Time and their i-Clic system. Then there are others like Keywin, where clipping in is done by sliding your foot onto the pedal, offering a solid platform that does not have any cleat/pedal movement.
Platform size: It’s a debatable topic, whether having a larger surface area for your foot to attach to can improve power and efficiency. As an example, Speedplay pedals are tiny with minimal surface area whilst Shimano, Keywin and Time all have large platforms to maximise pedal transfer. Whether you believe this theory or not is up to you.
Maintenance: Often an overlooked aspect when purchasing pedals. Aside from replacing your cleats frequently (ie: 3000km at the upper end), the level of maintenance of your pedal system should be taken into consideration. If you are a tinkerer and clean your bike fastidiously, then a system such as Speedplay will be a good option. However, if you are one (like me) who would like to install and forget, then having a low maintenance pedal system, such as Keywin, Time, Look or Shimano are probably the way to go.
Weight: When discussing weight of a pedal, it is important to pay attention to the entire pedal/cleat system. Whilst some brands may boast ultra lightweight pedals, their cleat is heavy and not a true reflection of the additional weight it will carry to your bike. At the end of the day, this is one of the last things you should look at when selecting a pedal. The difference in weights will be +/- 150g in total.
Hopefully this will get you going in the right direction when you are looking to replace your pedals. If you’re still in doubt, ask for help from a Pushy sales rep and they can help point you towards the best pedals for you.
By Ricky Swindale – Pushys Sponsored Athlete