Pretty but tough – Speedplay pedal review

Since riding in the Pyrenees, which was a real pinnacle in my riding over the last few years, it has all gone down hill. I’m working long hours and have slipped into that deadly routine of only riding once a week. I say deadly as in my current form, once a week means that I am still fit enough to really hurt myself but not fit enough to enjoy it.

Yesterday I thought I’d try to find a pretty ride as the weather and light are so good at this time of year. I went for the best view so off to Ditchling Beacon. Reading about the poor technique of the Schlecks and listening to my speed guru, Jes Wootton, I decided that I should avoid riding out of the saddle. I have spent the last year perfecting riding out of the saddle a la Contador. It worked fine in the Pyrenees where I could go for long periods out of the saddle with the aim of taking it easy. However, there is too much temptation to do this every time the going gets tough.

Despite the short distance I found yesterdays ride really tough. I was hurting all the way. Oddly the only part of the ride that went well was the climb up the Beacon. I decided to spin up the steep bits and only come out of the saddle (and this I hardly did at all) on the flatter sections, the opposite to my usual. It worked really well but I must confess to still using my 13/26 mountain cassette.

I spent a lot of time zig-zagging around Brighton trying to find our mechanic Paul’s partners café. I think I found it near Queens Park. By then I was late and had to rush home. Brighton to Worthing on a bike really is not very far….. unless you are riding into a head wind. It seemed to get windier and windier the more tired that I got.

The Kit: Speedplay Zero pedals.

I have got some new pedals. Speedplay Zeros. I went to I-Ride last week and Paul talked me into trying them. The fact that 7 out of the top 10 riders in the Tour de France buy these pedals for there own use certainly made me think about them. I’ve only used a road pedal with float once and swore that I’d never do that again but these pedals are different. First they can be adjusted from 0 to 15 degrees float, second you can’t inadvertently pop out. They seemed complex to fit to the shoe but that was only because I was reading the instructions, the right shoe was sorted in no time at all. The shoe plate can be custom fit to any shoe and can be adjusted if to suit any special angle.

They are easy to clip into but require a firm push, the pedal is double sided so there is no need to look down, twisting out is easy and, despite, the small size of the pedal the cleat is broad giving a good, wide and secure contact. In fact the pedal forms the function of cleat and the shoe plate serves the function of a traditional pedal. I rode with a few degrees float which I am sure allows for a better pedal action and will put lest strain on my joints. It is almost certain that if you go for a bike fitting, you’ll be recommended to change to these pedals.

Thoroughly recommended.  Look at the pictures and note that any part of the pedal or shoe plate, either visible or internal, is available should you wear out or lose anything to ensure years of use. One final feature is the fitting with a 15mm spanner. This is nice an easy, better than an allen key and the axle is drilled out to save weight – very practical.

Here is the ride, including a lot of searching in hilly Brighton

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