Three weeks ago, I couldn’t handle the squeaking of my Look Keo Classic pedals any longer. The cleat bed was so worn I could only un-clip by pushing my heel in, towards the bike. They did last six years, so I definitely got my money’s worth, but they were unquestionably shot.
My three weeks ago Specialized Venge
Sadly, Look did away with their red pedals years ago so I was prepared to settle for a less than splashy black. I also wanted an upgrade, at least, to the Keo Max 2 Carbon. The Max 2 doesn’t have a plastic cleat bed like the Classic, it’s got a stainless plate so the bed won’t wear as the Classic did.
I contacted the shop owner and talked to him about options. He said he had either the Max 2 Carbon or the Cabon Blade but suggested I give the iSSi brand a look so I didn’t have to settle for black. He recently started stocking them.
They were fairly light (10 grams heavier than the Keo Max 2), but they were 1/3 less than the Keo Max 2’s price. The iSSi’s also came in red.
I could live with 10 grams to save $50… especially, because I didn’t know what was going to happen with COVID-19 at the time. I placed the order and paid for them just before the lock down hit.
First, they’re surprisingly light next to my Keo Classic pedals. The construction is solid and as you can see, the “Especially Red” is especially red. Also, the iSSi Carbon Road pedals are compatible with Keo cleats, so I didn’t have to change out my almost new cleats. Another plus is the size of the cleat bed. For this vast improvement, a photo is worth a bunch of words (maybe not a full 1,000, but a fair bunch):
That’s some square inches right there, baby… and at a considerable weight savings, no less. And they have a stainless steel plate for the cleat interface I wanted…
The installation was a little snug, but snug is never a bad thing with pedals. It seemed like the coating on the threads was just a little thick, even greased up. It was simple as the model it replaced with an 8 mm Allen key.
I clipped my shoes in and unclipped them by hand as a test and they worked as one would expect them to (if you can clip them in by hand, with your weaker hands/arms, they’ll be a snap with your feet/legs).
And there she is, in all her red-pedaled glory.
Now all that’s left is a road test, but that will have to wait for the weekend. We’re in the middle of a cold spell. It snowed yesterday. The Venge doesn’t see weather like that… except looking out the window.
Incidentally, the mount on my seat post is for my Garmin Varia. During our COVIDcation-2020 lock down, we now cannot group together with anyone other than those in our household… that means if my wife doesn’t want to ride, I’m riding solo. If I ride solo, I don’t leave the house without my Garmin radar.
UPDATE: After getting the pedals installed on my bike, I ran into a problem; the spindle is short, meaning the inside of my shoes rubbed the crank arms whilst pedaling, especially with toe covers on. This is not acceptable with a $550 crankset. Fortunately, there is a solution. First, I don’t ride the Venge in the cold, gnarly weather. That’s what the Trek is for, so I’m not worried about the toe covers. I slid my cleats, maintaining the alignment, of course, to the inside of the shoe, maybe three millimeters. This gave me the room I needed so my shoes don’t rub the crank arms. It also will give me additional room for foot covers on the Trek, so bonus.
If you have wide feet and don’t have any play in your cleats to the inside of the shoe, consider getting the black pedals with the +5 mm spindles.