LOOK Keo 2 Max Blade

Blade technology applied to the Keo 2 Max: new clip-in/clip-out sensations, aerodynamic profile

Large and wide platform (400 mm² / 60 mm) for excellent pedalling stability and good power transfer

New spindle system providing reduced platform height (14 mm)

2 clip-out tension settings: 8 / 12

A more aerodynamic integrated composite blade pedal

Quick and secure clip in / clip out

Maximum optimised stability and power transfer

Very light

• COMPOSITE MATERIAL BLADE

The Keo 2 Max Blade is made of injection-moulded composite fibreglass material providing cleaner engagement than a Keo 2 Max pedal but less radical than a Keo Blade 2. Two blade versions are offered for 2 different tension levels: version 8 and version 12. Integrating the blade into the pedal body gives the Keo 2 Max Blade and aerodynamic profile for optimal air flow.

• VERY LARGE PEDAL PLATFORM AREA

With a 400 mm2 stainless steel platform, the Keo 2 Max Blade is positioned between the Keo 2 Max and the Keo Blade 2 providing excellent stability and very good pedalling efficiency. This efficiency is also made possible by permanent cleat-stop contact: the shape of the stops at the rear of the pedal has been designed to fit the shape of the rear of the Keo cleats.

• TOP QUALITY SPINDLE SYSTEM

The spindle system used on the Keo 2 Max Blade is the same as that used on the Keo Blade 2: 2 ball bearings and one needle bearing thus ensuring high product reliability, besides passing tests in excess of standards* that LOOK commits to having its products subjected to

2 million cycles at 100 rpm with a 90 kg load on the centre of the pedal and eccentric rotation (the standard requiring 100,000 centred rotation cycles with a 65 kg load). This is the equivalent of a 1,700 watt sprint by Mark Cavendish at 100 rpm for 333 hours!

• Q-FACTOR ADJUSTMENT

The new LOOK spindle’s 14 mm thread length enables Q-Factor to be adjusted by 2 mm using a special spacer available as a spare part.

This increases from 53 to 55 mm.

(Part number: DTPD/0153100).

 

The new Keo 2 Max Blade (yes, their naming strategy is a little confusing) is really a hybrid of the Keo Blade 2 and the conventionally-sprung Keo 2 Max. Here the spring blade is a glass-fibre composite instead of carbon, available in a couple of versions, with an 8Nm and 12Nm engagement torque respectively.

Unlike coil-sprung pedals, there’s no adjustment screw, so the only means of changing the engagement stiffness is by changing the blade. The Keo 2 Max Blade pedals are supplied with Keo Grip cleats (compatible with other Keo pedals), with the included grey version giving a 4.5 degree float. Black (zero float) and red (9 degree float) versions also available. Pedal axles are chromoly and each pedal spins on three bearings – two ball bearings and one needle bearing.

Compared to the Keo 2 Max pedals, the platform is marginally wider (60mm as opposed to 57mm) and what Look calls the “platform area” is increased from 340 to 400 mm2. This is the contact area between the cleat and the pedal – the more expensive Keo Blade 2 has a whopping 700mm2. Greater width and a large contact area mean that the load is spread better, and certainly these pedals hold your foot very stably indeed. You could argue that with the huge stiffness of modern carbon-soled shoes this is arguably less significant than it would once have been, but the absence of side-to-side rocking on the pedal is certainly reassuring.

Like most of Look’s pedal range, there’s a stainless steel plate covering the main contact area, to prolong its life. Unlike Shimano Dura-Ace pedals, this plate isn’t replaceable, however, although I’d expect it would be a long while before the plastic cleats make much of an impression on it,even with the addition of road grit in the equation. Stack height (the distance from the centre of the pedal axle to the sole of your shoe) is 14mm, a minor reduction from Keo 2 Max’s 15.7mm.

Engagement and disengagement are pretty trouble-free and will be familiar to those who’ve used other Keo pedals; the shape of the jaws are pretty similar through the range. Unlike the coil-sprung models, the weight of this pedal isn’t so concentrated at the rear, but they hang at a similar angle so it’s relatively straightforward to clip in without looking, something that can be an issue with Time Xpresso pedals, for example. One thing that I really liked about the blade design is that the underside of the pedal is flatter and less treacherous than most road pedals if you put your weight on it having missed the clip-in.

The 12Nm spring fitted to the test pedals kept a vice-like grip on my cleats, even when climbing or sprinting. Releasing the pedal sometimes required quite a firm twisting motion but this will likely relax a little as the pedal and cleat wear together. Lighter riders will probably prefer the 8Nm spring option.

The composite body and absence of metal spring makes for a fairly lightweight pedal – we weighed them at 125g each (Look claims 308g for a pair including cleats and screws). That puts them right on a par with Shimano Dura-Ace pedals, which have a considerably higher RRP but can be found for a similar price. If that’s too heavy for you, the posh Keo 2 Blade comes in at 190g a pair and top-end Time Xpresso pedals are lighter still, although not without their issues.

The spindle and bearing assembly is not serviceable, setting it at odds with a lot of the competition. Look say that it’s been tested to withstand two million cycles at 100 rpm with a 90 kg load on the centre of the pedal, or the equivalent of a 1,700 watt sprint for 333 hours, so it should be okay for a while with the sort of loads that you or I are likely to put on it. Certainly the sealing shrugged off the wet conditions we’ve had lately without any issues and the pedals are still spinning smoothly.

The bottom of the pedal is completely closed-in by the spring blade, with only a slim gap down each side. This makes them a bit more of a dirt trap than more open pedals, but I didn’t have particular problems with them clogging up, even when I had to walk through mud.

Look has developed a Keo Fit system where suitably-equipped dealers can get your cleats set up just so, and also give you specific advice about which of the float options best suits you. I didn’t try this as I already had Keo cleats set up on a pair of shoes so just used them as they were, but it could be a useful service if you’re changing over.

Verdict

Super-stable pedals bring Look’s leaf spring to a lower price; decent weight and pretty easy to live with