To say Speedplay have taken the pedal world by storm would perhaps be a bit over the top, what they have done though is take a good long look at Look, Shimano and Time’s pedal system and improved on it with their own unique design.
On comparing a Look cleat and Speedplay cleat you’ll see that the Speedplay cleat has the ‘locking’ mechanism inside the cleat, the pedal is merely something to attach to. This is the opposite to the others where the pedal has the mechanism and the cleat is a rigid piece.
There isn’t a lot of info around on Speedplay as a company, mainly because the company itself came to life in only 1991. The Zero has been in existence since 2002 and is the Keo/SPD-SL/RXS of their range. Their popularity has come from Pro teams such as Cervelo Test Team using Speedplay and the pedals have now featured on many bikes in the Olympic games and World Championships.
Unique Design: with this inverted system of the cleat holding onto the pedal the Zero and Light Action have very low stack height, this is measured from the middle of the pedal axle to the sole of the shoe. The lower the stack height the better, because it places your foot closest to the axle centre for the best possible pedalling efficiency.
Another important feature is the adjustable float which is great for people who have/have had knee problems. Rather than just running a set amount of float like on a Look pedal the Speedplay cleat can be tailored to allow as much or as little float as you feel comfortable with.
Thirdly, the cleat is made of metal – more than up to short walks (though quite slippery on cafe floors) and with no moving parts you don’t have any issues with having to service them.
Previous victories on Speedplay:
A quick scan of the news archive on Speedplay.com soon gives you an idea of just how well regarded these are:
- Jacopo Guarnieri (Liquigas-Doimo) wins Stage 1 of the Tour of Poland on Speedplay Zeros.
- Kristen Wild (Cervelo TestTeam) wins women’s World Cup on Speedplay Zeros.
- Cervelo Test Team wins women’s World Cup team time trial on Speedplay Zeros.
- THOR HUSHOVD (Cervelo TestTeam) wins Natourcriterium Roeselare on Speedplay Zeros.
- ANDY SCHLECK (Saxo Bank) wins 2nd Place Overall in the Tour de France on Speedplay Nanogram Zeros.
- FABIAN CANCELLARA (Saxo Bank) wins Stage 19 Time Trial of the Tour de France on Speedplay Nanogram Zeros.
- ANDY SCHLECK (Saxo Bank) wins Stage 17 of the Tour de France on Speedplay Nanogram Zeros
This is a selection of a list 10 times larger and is a testament to Speedplay.
The pedal range:
Within the Zero you can then choose a specification: Chromoly or Stainless Steel.
As you progress up in price you gain a more exotic spindle material and with that less weight. The cleat remains the same, a Zero cleat will fit any Zero pedal.
- The performance features of the Speedplay Zero Pedal System read like a pro racer’s wish list. No other pedal system comes close to offering the superior adjust-ability or cutting-edge performance features of the Zero.
- Featuring your choice of either a fixed position or up to 15 degrees of micro-adjustable float. Once you compare the features of Zero pedals to any other brand, you’ll find that other pedals systems are no match.
- DUAL-SIDED ENTRY: The symmetrical double-sided pedal self-locates just by stepping down into the cleat whether the pedal is right side up, upside down or anywhere else in its rotation. No kicking, no fumbling, no looking; just step down and go.
- THE LOWEST STACK HEIGHT: The Zero cleat positions your foot closer to the top of the spindle for improved power transfer.
- 11.5 mm stack height for 3-hole mounting.
- 8.5 mm stack height for 4-hole mounting.
- UNBEATABLE CORNERING CLEARANCE: The thin pedal profile of the Zero pedal lets you power through corners where your rivals coast.
- Stainless – 37 degrees.
- Titanium – 39 degrees.
- QUALITY WITHOUT COMPROMISE: Zero pedals use precision cartridge and needle bearings – three of them instead of two found in most other pedals.
- FITS MORE SHOES: The Zero cleat fits any shoe with a 3-hole or 4-hole mount.
The Light Action:
This model looks similar to the Zero but is designed for the serious enthusiast or first time clipless user. Named Light Action after its unique low-force, high-security latch mechanism, the new Speedplay Light Action Pedal System provides the easiest and most intuitive entry and release functions ever offered in a clipless pedal.
Again you have a choice of axle material. It’s well worth upgrading to the Stainless Steel if you can, this won’t rust and won’t scratch like the Chromoly one.
- EASY DUAL-SIDED ENTRY: The symmetrical Light Action pedal is always in the right position for engagement, whether it is right-side-up, upside-down, or anywhere in between.
- SELF-LOCATING CLEAT DESIGN: The Light Action pedal is automatically guided into the recessed cleat-cavity during engagement. This makes the pedals extraordinarily easy to find by feel and eliminates the need to look down.
- 15 DEGREE RANGE OF NON SPRING-RECENTRED FREE FLOAT: Free float without spring recentring tension allows feet to find their natural float range during the pedal stroke and eliminates knee strain.
- EASY CLEAT SET-UP: Set-up is easy because no complicated adjustments are needed.
- FITS MORE SHOES: The Light Action cleat fits any shoe with a 3-hole or 4-hole mount.
Coffee Shop Caps: cleat covers for the Speedplay road cleats – will save you embarrassment when transferring coffee and cake to table.
Cleat fitting: Speedplay cleats will fit all shoes with 3 or 4 bolt pattern sole. 3 being the regular shoe and 4 being a shoe with a special Speedplay sole.
The Northwave Galaxy:
The Northwave Galaxy Cycling Shoe ensures that you foot stays cool and comfortable with its their AirFlow system, as well as the 3 carbon layers which reduce thickness whilst the Ultra Light Carbon Sole enables maximum power transfer.
Speedplay specific cleat pattern for use without adapters which keeps Stack height to a minimum (save 3mm and a bit of weight over using an adaptor).
With the ability to heat mould the shoe at home you get the very best in fit and convenience.
To check the compatibility of your current shoes click here.
If colours are your thing, then Speedplay are your manufacturer:
If you are considering some new pedals then give Speedplay a proper look, they have numerous benefits – float, ground clearance and low stack height with only the relatively heavy cleats letting them down. We have a full range at PBK and are constantly re-stocking on the spares and are on the look out for more 4-bolt pattern soled shoes. The Northwave Galaaxy cycling shoes are brilliant shoes but don’t come cheap!