Review: Look Keo Blade 2 road bike pedals provide the snap, clickle & pop!

Look Keo Blade 2 CR road bike pedal review and actual weights

A quick bit about me. For many, many years, I was a Speedplay-only kinda guy. Coming from a mountain bike background, the quick and easy engagement of their Zero pedals just made a heck of a lotta sense. Just stomp and go, and beat everyone else off the line that’s trying to get the entry angle just right for their SPD style pedals.

Then I got a set of Shimano’s as part of the Ultregra Di2 group. Then the Keywins. Then I started really liking the broader platform those offered, even if it did take me a couple seconds more to get clipped in. The latest pedals that continue to sway me are the Look Keo Blade 2, and they provide the most satisfying click of any road pedal I’ve used. And they’re darn light and roll smooth.

We got off to a bit of a squeaky start, but the pedals and I have come love one another…

Look Keo Blade 2 CR road bike pedal review and actual weights

I tested the chromoly spindle models, which have a claimed weight of 110g per pedal. Mine, with a little wear on them, came in at 112g. The cleats and all mounting hardware were 33g. Total for the pair with cleats would be 290g. That’s pretty light, actually within 2g of the claimed system weight.

Look Keo Blade 2 CR road bike pedal review and actual weights

Beyond weight, one of the big selling points of the Keo Blade pedals is the oversized 68mm stainless steel cleat plate. It provides a very solid platform that eliminated any side-to-side rocking and has held up to quite a bit of riding.

Look Keo Blade 2 CR road bike pedal review and actual weights

The big weight savings come from using an injection molded carbon body with woven carbon fiber leaf spring. I tested the standard 12 spring, but you can opt for stiffer springs rated 16 or 20. Look recommends the 20 only for people that really, really need an overly strong connection to the pedal as they supposedly require quite a bit of force to get out of. Honestly, the 12 was just fine for me. I never once felt like they were too soft and never came out accidentally.

Look Keo Blade 2 CR road bike pedal review and actual weights

Another attribute is the aerodynamic design.

Look Keo Blade 2 CR road bike pedal review and actual weights

Once clipped in, the shape sends the air smoothly over the bottom thanks to the very low profile design. There’s just 13mm stack height, which is accomplished with an oversized spindle rolling on two sets of ball bearings and one needle bearing. After more than a year of riding in all temps and conditions, there’s not a smidgen of play in the axle and they’re still rolling quiet and smooth.

Well, they’re quiet now. For the first 12 to 15 rides, they had a consistent eenhee-eenhee noise that sounded like a couple having fun in an old bed. Then one day it just stopped, and it hasn’t returned…so I’m guessing it was just the seals breaking in a bit.

Look Keo Blade 2 CR road bike pedal review and actual weights

The cleats have rubbery patches front and rear to provide a bit of grip and protect the plastic from wearing down just from walking. The standard cleats are gray, which have a 4.5º release angle. Two others are available, as shown below with the rest of the hard numbers:

Look Keo Blade 2 CR road bike pedal review and actual weights

RIDE NOTES:

The pedals roll pretty freely on the spindles. There’s no discernible drag when pedaling, but the tail doesn’t automatically fall all the way to the bottom to make reentry easier from a standing start. That said, the shaping allow the cleat and nose to find each other easily enough, and the platform is big enough to at least waddle safely through an intersection even if you’re not 100% clipped in.

Once clipped in, the pedals are supremely stable. The cleats fit snugly in their slots and have no lateral play. The rotational freedom is there but not sloppy. The closure is quick and tight, and as mentioned in the opening, has a supremely satisfying click to let you know you’re in. Altogether, it makes for a confident, powerful platform on which to stand and sprint. And that’s where the “pop” from the headline comes in – the low rotational weight and firm grasp makes it easy to pop up and hammer on demand. The entire package makes for a compelling option among SPD-style pedals: light weight, smooth quiet performance and a stable platform.

Retail is $299, and a titanium spindle version is available for $399 with a claimed weight of just 90g per pedal.

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Rico
Rico
7 years ago

How much taller is the stack on these compared to a speedplay stack? I guess it depends on the shoe to a degree with the speedplay specific soles available. I really want to try Looks again but don’t want to add a centimeter to my stack when I already have a 13 cm drop.

cstew78
cstew78
7 years ago

I have over 5000kms on the Ti version of these and am extremely satisfied. Super light and roll smoothly. I had the squeaking at first too, but similarly it just went away one day. I think it was caused by the cleat rubbing on the Stainless wear pad.

WERSTRIDER
WERSTRIDER
7 years ago

My eenhee-eenhee noise hasn’t gone away after a full season 🙁

Terry
Terry
7 years ago

do you think the extra 2 grams could come from the dirt? in which case the weights would match up.

Rico
Rico
7 years ago

Just found my answer at Speedplay site – I would have to raise my saddle 1 cm to use look pedals compared to the speedplays and speedplay specific sidi wire. To me that’s a big factor as I am already maxed out with seat post and huge drop.

Mohamed
Mohamed
7 years ago

My advise is not to go above the 12 tension spring.
After a summer of clipping in and out my ankle was so sore that I could hardly ride.
After talking to my LBS it seem that I’m not the only one.
I now use the Look Keo 2 Max with variable adjustment set at 9.
My foot never slips out.

Rico
Rico
7 years ago

Tx Tyler, I saw that too. They have a comparison chart that shows the difference in stacks. I am tall and thin like you and would love to use looks for the bigger platform. I am sick of the slop in the speedplays and constantly getting new cleats. The stack height increase is crazy though.

Ronin
Ronin
7 years ago

I had some spd look-a-likes to start of with (can’t remember the co.) on my mountain bike, back when front suspension was a novelty. At some point then Shimano SPD’s. With both, it’s a stomp and go experience. I did have them on my road bike for a while, but then moved to Dura Ace SPD-SL’s. Nice pedals for sure, so I wonder how they compare to these as they look a pretty similar thing.

If you’re riding all the time, you’re kung fu will be evident, and you’ll clip in like a Ninja. Have a few weeks off though and you’ll have to readjust for a while. It’s usually when I’m at traffic lights and the stakes are high, It’s clip in first time or die. Then you fumble, it’s the nerves and anticipation of launching faster than the cars (to 25 MPH anyway). It’s at that moment you wonder why you couldn’t have a double sided version.

Stack height is the other thing. Even wearing some thin soled footwear, and pedaling with SPD-SL pedals on just messing around, the connected feeling you have with the bike is lost with just 10mm of stack.
This is compounded with the shimano shoes I have (the ones that fit my feet). They aren’t the best model, but at least they fit. For some reason wide 48 is not wide 48 in the newer models. Not quite Herman Monster but you get the picture.

It’d be nice to hear from anyone with an array of experience with different pedals.

JayCee
JayCee
7 years ago

Nice review. Now go and try a pair of a Time xPresso and never look back.

mateo
mateo
7 years ago

Just to be fair, you should be referring to SPD-SL as Look-style pedals. Not Looks as SPD-style like you do at the end (which isn’t correct anyway unless you’re talking MTB pedals).

Shimano clearly copied the Look style pedals on the road side. Not the other way around.

Brian
Brian
7 years ago

I have been riding look blades on 2 bikes for a few years in the first and second version of the pedal with Ti spindles. I found the first version to be seriously flawed in durability with several warranties due to pieces of the carbon pedal body breaking off. And one time I cracked the entire body of the pedal. I also broke a blade but I can’t blame look for that.
On the new version reviewed above I haven’t had the same issues yet and I think they fixed some of the problems. You do need to be careful to never accidentally apply pressure on the underside of the pedal or the blade will break ( lesson learned)
You can eliminate the speaking noise by applying a dry lube such as rock and roll extra dry to the cleat near the rubber and on the metal pedal body.
I have found that the aftermarket cleats from Exustar lock in tighter and I don’t have squeaking noises and the cleat doesn’t require luve as often.

BG Bicycles
BG Bicycles
7 years ago

Rico:
Your bike must be too small, or suffering from ” overly aggressive setup syndrome”, to not have 1 cm in adjustment. SpeedPlay is a flawed pedal, personally warranty tech support I have found is non-existent. Get a pebble, rock, etc, and oops, ya can’t clip in. The best float, stack height and ease of enter/exit is the Time Expresso. We have even measure angles as hitting a corner, and low and behold SpeedPlay wasn’t better.

Rico
Rico
7 years ago

BG no, my bike is not too small. And your statement and quote is total nonsense unless you assume I am a grandma with one bike. What are you even quoting there lol? There is no good reason to leave adjustment room in stack height so that you can change components. Also, I have multiple bikes that serve different purposes and I don’t need to leave wiggle room in my racing bikes. Yay I’ll go put a 1cm spacer under my stem to change pedals, really sweet fitting job for the sake of a different pedal. The logic is missing.

Rico
Rico
7 years ago

I’ll also add that center of gravity is effected by this as well. And one centimeter is huge. Consider a geo like the Argon 18 bikes that promote their 75mm BB drop as a feature because it LOWERS the center of gravity. That’s only 7mm lower than the standard road racing frame’s 68mm BB drop, and it make a big difference in handling.

Adding 1cm stack to pedals is just weird, and imo a step away from a good racing fit. It reminds me of when people taped wooden blocks to the pedals of my neighbor’s kid’s bike. Better fit for little Johnny… yeah.

Jake
Jake
7 years ago

I ride the 16 tension spring with no problems. If your ankle is hurting, you likely have a misadjusted cleat and your foot and/or ankle is trying to correct this by pressing against the release point, either inboard or outboard. With the gray cleats, free movement is enough to disguise alignment problems until you start having physiological issues. Both the grey and red cleats can also allow enough twist that you can be rolling your ankle without knowing it, again until physiological issues arise. I use the black cleats, because alignment is much easier to get right and there is far less twist in the cleat. If you absolutely need some free movement for knee comfort, replace them with the grey or red after you have nailed alignment with the black cleats. And I think the cleats with the rubber pads are worthless, except for the few moments when you might need traction on a slick floor. Use the bi-material cleats, whichever color you end up using. You won’t fall down, and the attachment to the pedal will be more stable.

Clive
7 years ago

Having used Speedplay, Look and Shimano it surprises me how Speedplay remains popular at all. The stack height advantage is minimal if it’s there at all. The Speedplay specific shoes are now hard to find given most shoe brands who offered them for 2013/14 are not offering it in 2015. Speedplay bearings are troublesome and in our shop we have more failure for Speedplay then for all other brands combined. Then there is the issue of dirt in the cleat, with Shimano and Look it’s a noisy inconvenience. With Speedplay it’s you sitting on the side of the road trying to get the dirt out so you can ride further. Not to mention all the attention on larger bottom bracket bearings and spindles only to compliment them with a set of tiny bearings way on the outside of the axle.

Look Keo and Shimano SPD-SL systems are better systems than Speedplay.

David
David
7 years ago

Good info in the article and thread…I’m getting Looks. I’m done with Speedplays–the cleats wear out super fast due to walking (and I do very little), they’re hard to engage after not too long due to dirt and wear and now with my newly purchased Sidis, I’d have to buy extended base plates to make them work for my met-heads locations.

Danno
7 years ago

Time Expresso’s as mentioned… wonderful on all counts ‘cept I found the Q-factor too wide. Anyone else found this? The Blade 2 looks a great pedal but I’m sure as many people would go for an 8Nm version as the 20Nm… pity they don’t offer this.

bob
bob
7 years ago

Squeaking is probably from the rubber padded cleats, so I don’t use them. I’m happy with the 16nm.
After 2+ years I seem to have worn the spring mechanism in the left pedal, the one that I always unclip, to where I can’t hear or feel it clip in & am afraid it might come out…