I recently picked up a set of iSSi pedals because my Look Keo Classics were shot. I wanted red pedals because they look fantastic on my Specialized but Look discontinued theirs years ago. The price was right on the iSSi’s, too.
First, I’d like to take a minute to gush about iSSi’s cleats. They’ve got a split design so you can replace half of the cleat at a time, ensuring exact spacial replacement of the cleat every time. You literally can’t mess up replacing the cleat. This innovation is a game changer and I’ll never by Look’s cleats again. Moving along…
I was stoked to take my Venge out the other morning with the brand new, impressively sharp Especially Red iSSi carbon road pedals. I aired up the tires, and wheeled the Specialized steed out the door. I clipped in to take a small test loop before my wife waltzed out the door… and the inside of my foot hit the crank arm on the first half-stroke. I hadn’t even clipped in my left foot yet. I stopped and removed my toe cover… still rubbed, but just barely. I ended up switching to the Look’s from my rain bike for the ride, figuring I’d have to take the iSSi’s back.
Later that day, after my ride and I was cleaned up, rather than take the pedals back because the spindles are too short, I adjusted my cleats inboard as far as I could – three millimeters (making sure to keep the same alignment[!]). This gave me the clearance I needed. The 55-mm spindle black pedals would fix this but I didn’t know about all of that before I purchased the red pedals I wanted in the first place.
I also had to adjust the tension spring to release the cleats a little easier, but once that simple step was done, the pedals are butter. At 266 grams, they’re light – only 10 grams heavier than the competition, and two-thirds the price. They’ve got an exceptionally wide cleat bed and a stainless steel plate to prevent wear on the pedal bed (the problem that led to my Keo’s demise).
After my first real ride on them, there’s a lot to like. They solidly attach to the cleat – better than look pedals. With a Look pedal, they feel like there’s a little bit of slop that I’ve never liked. The iSSi’s provide a solid connection with no slop – and somehow they managed to make the float work better at the same time. I can’t explain how they made the improvements, but I definitely like them!
I’ve gone for several long rides, both on the Venge and my rain bike, with the cleats pushed to the inside of my shoes to allow for the required clearance and I haven’t noticed any change in “feel”. I do like the additional space I’m afforded for shoe covers, though.
With just a few rides into them, less than 200 miles, I can say without question that I like the pedals and considering the cost and weight, I feel like I got a heck of a good deal. I love my red pedals on my Venge, but I’m happiest about feeling like I won with the purchase. In the end, that’s what buying something is all about.
UPDATE: After a few rides, I got the funny feeling my saddle was too high – which didn’t make sense, of course, because I haven’t changed the saddle height on my Venge in almost seven years. Still, I couldn’t shake the feeling so I pulled out the tape measure and sure enough! The iSSi pedals ride about 2 mm lower than Look Keo Classics.