My first fray into clipless pedals were the Look Keo, then Look keo 2 max. Followed by time rxs pedals to speedplay to time iclic back to speedplay back to time rxs.
I really enjoyed all the pedals for different reasons. I liked the platform of Look and that was about it, the float never really worked for me, and I wanted to get something that wouldn't mess up my left knee. I never tried Shimano because they seemed too similar to Look and I moved to Time RXS.
Time was great and their float is some of the best available. Knee problems never went fully away and Speedplay was supposedly better. Long story short, I went back and forth between Time and Speedplay and never found something with the float feeling of Time, and adjustability of Speedplay.
Enter in Keywin
Keywin pedals have really been around for over 20-30 years. They really have been around since the beginning of the clipless pedal boom. They simply are a small business that never overly advertised, but were/are always well represented in Australia. Every year some local Kiwis come to the local track racing scene, and many of them use Keywins (which also offers one of the only pedals with a track adapter). Between word of mouth and a friend of mine using them I decided to ive them a try.
On the Chart...
I tried to pick the most current version of the pedals to compare numbers. I also tried to use companies websites to help find the "best" numbers. All the numbers are claimed weights. Although I could not find the cleat/pedal interface of shimano, I'd imagine they are par for course at 700, which is what it the current trend is trying to achieve.
Keywin pedals recently updated their CRM to Carbon as a newer model (2012-2013 I believe). The Keywin CRM (the one that was around for 20 years) became the Keywin CARBON crm. The main difference between the two being: carbon bodies (lighter) and also stack height. From the original CRM to the CARBON version, the stack height went from 17 to 14mm. They are both controlled radial movement (CRM) even though the CARBON does not include it in its name.
You can say weight doesn't matter but it does. At least in rotational weight it does to me. Frame weight (I am a steel guy) doesn't have the same affect as rotating your feet (pedals, cleats and shoes) thousands upon thousands of times on a ride. There are two important weights up there. Not just the pedal weight, but also the cleats and pedals, because well, they work in conjunction.
Speedplay often is considered the lightest, but in reality, they are not. The cleats are par for course for cleats (around 85-90 grams) but most people don't use speedplays without the 3 hole adapter which adds another 55 grams, putting them at or above the same price point for pedal systems.
Keywin is only second to Time Xpresso's in terms of total weight. The main problem with Time Xpresso is their new (iClic, same as Xpresso) cleat has notoriously broken (did for me x3 times) and not very durable. So although Time Xpresso is lighter, I don't believe in sacrificing durability for weight.
As I think is clear the cost per a gram is actually less for Keywin than any other brand except again, Time, but I already covered that. Cost per a gram may sound stupid, but did you buy Dura Ace or Ultegra? Rival or Red? Chorus or Super Record? because depending on what you bought, you paid a lot more to save some weight and it wasn't even rotational weight.
One of Speedplay's claims to fame (and rightly so) is offering different spindle lengths. Keywin has also been doing this for some time.
The concept is simple. You wouldn't just pick a helmet or handlebars, put them on your bike, or even saddle for that matter, you need the right size/fit for your body. Crazy concept.
Pedals should be the same. Graeme Obree chose a smaller q factor (or tread width) because it worked for him. Everyone is different so this varies. It even varies on correct spindle length based on the shoes you wear.
I was a long time wearer (2 years, believe me that is 2 decades for most people) of specialized shoes and they worked well for most standard pedals (which have a length of around 53-56 as standard--measured from where the pedal is in the cranks to center of pedal, depending on the brand).
When I switched to Bont shoes the drilling put my feet a little wider than I wanted/realized and when I tried Keywins in the -3 mm spindle lengths, I was amazed at the difference. And my body was pleased. Some of it is trial and error and other part is getting a solid fitter who knows what they are doing. Furthermore, changing shoes, inserts, and wedges definitely have more affect on the proper spindle length needed.
In this department Keywin and Speedplay win hands down with really 3 different options for either narrower or wider spindle lengths (a total of 7 options for spindles). I would call it impossible not to find something that works in this range. Also because they both rebuildable, you can buy different spindle lengths for different legs if necessary (which can save lots of money).
Other pedal companies are catching onto this and I believe it will soon become the norm. Shimano is finally offering pedals a 4mm wider option. Time has always offered adding 2.5mm of q factor by swapping the cleats left for right. Look now allows adding one or two 1 mm spacers to the spindle.
Tunable Float and Float all in one
To me most pedal's float feels like slop. It just feels loose. It lacks a connected feeling.
Time still has float but the float for TIME is built into the cleat. So it has a connected feel, but the only negative is that it will continually re-center on its original spot. It takes time to get just right but after that it generally is okay. That being said, re-centering isn't great for the body, at least theoretically it sounds off.
Time also has tunable float, 3 different settings that change how the float feels--tunable float. The float is still the same amount, but some people want the float to feel light while others like the float to feel tight. When I used Times, I had different settings for each foot.
None of the other pedals--shimano, speedplay or Look have tunable float. The speedplay float again is impressive with up to 15 degrees, but in my opinion if you are using all 15 degrees of float, you probably need a different spindle length. 15 degrees is a long way. And again, the float feels like slop.
All the brands, Shimano and Look offer float in their cleats, from 0-9.
Finally, Keywin does something no one else does. NO ONE. It offers float in the SPINDLE. As in the pedal and cleat move together move together. No slop. At first it feels weird. Here would be my challenge. Ride your current pedals with float that feels with what I am dubbing "slop" and then swap to Keywins. Then put your old pedals back on. Then realize you had slop in your pedal/cleat interface.
So with Keywin there is still float but you never lose that connected feel to the pedal and feel no slop. The float you will feel is from the pedal/cleat moving on/around the spindle up to 6 degrees and even an option to switch to 0 with a quick plastic piece switch.
|Small, easy to remove plastic piece with 6 can be changed to 0|
|Small tunable float with use of phillips head screwdriver|
I think stack height and pedals is slightly misunderstood. Shoes and socks probably have a more adverse affect on stack height than the pedals themselves do. Certain shoes have a large amount of carbon and material between the cleat and bottom of sole. More stack height. Oh wool socks today instead of light ones. More stack height. Different size insoles, more or less stack height. There are a lot of variables. A lot.
But because these are comfort items, let's just look at the numbers.
Every pedal company has now dropped their stack heights to closer to 13-14mm in the past two years. Speedplay ends up being ahead IF you use a 4 hole shoe and NO adapter at 8.5. Otherwise, Speedplay with an adapter is 11.5 which is still a solid advantage, but remember you are clipping a cleat AROUND the pedal and not into it. That feels much different than most.
If something breaks on a pedal, or bearings wear out, you should be able to replace them. I guess I think that for all bike parts. Bicycle parts are expensive and having to buy a new (insert item here) because the bearings wear out or a small piece breaks off is just silly. For many pedals this is simply the case, you must buy a new or almost completely new pedal set.
Keywin and Speedplay are the only companies who you can buy every single one of their parts and replace them relatively easily. You can make an old pair of keywins or speedplays like new without having to buy a whole new pedal in many instances.
Before the last topic, here is a chart of the high high end versions.
|This is the -3 or 52mm version of the TITANIUM keywins, weighing in at 161 grams|
VERSION OF THE SAME PEDALS
|keywin carbon ti||171 grams||245||$300.00||yes range of spindle lengths||yes||0 to 6 on the spindle||14||yes||3045|
|spedplay nanogram (with adapters, subtract 55 grams w/o 3 hole adapter)||130 grams||273||$630.00||yes range of spindle lengths||no||0 to 15 adjustable on cleat||8.5/11.5 adapter||yes||750/4 hole mounting 568/3 hole|
|shimano dura ace pd sl 9000||212 grams||298||$400.00||no||4 mm longer axle||cleat options 0,1,3,6||13.7||no||n/a|
|look keo blade2 ti||180 grams||258||$400.00||no but yes, can put washer spacers on axle from 53<-->55||no||cleat options 0,4.5,9||13||no||700|
|time xpresso 12 titan||152 grams||238||$400.00||no/adjustable q factor by swapping cleats||no||5 deg||14||no||700|
|Lof socks sneaking into review|
|ti spindle shown here|
Last and certainly most important. Your pedals transfer power. That's where it all happens. You should want a solid connection and the most of your cleat touching the pedal so you don't waste energy.
Keywin wins. By quite a margin. Every company this year is boasting around 700 mm squared for their new high end pedals for cleat to pedal interface.
Keywin has over 3000mm squared. Almost 4 times the amount of surface area connected. Why/how is this impossible? No slop.
When I imagine what the perfect system for a pedal would be it would be a shoe and cleat build as one and pedal attached to it. Obviously this design is impossibly flawed since shoe sizes and cleat placement would be nearly impossible (or at least cost prohibitive to build).
With Keywin you get as close to that as possible. You step in and then turn your shoe towards the crank and you are in. You are cleat and pedal are totally connected and there is no movement between the cleat and pedal (to unclip you turn your foot out like normal). It is a totally different feel than any other pedals. Therefore the surface area is constant. You are always connected.
It actually takes a few rides to get used to. At first I wasn't sure about it and put my Time pedals back on, and was instantly surprised at how much I felt like I was "losing" power. Because the connected feeling was gone. I put the Keywins back on and have never looked back.
A couple of notes before I make up some cons
I never liked Speedplay and the way it connects via lollipop, it just doesn't work for me. And never felt 100% stable. The Keywins with their large platform, with a connected feel, solve this problem for me. The cleat also have ample room for fore/aft adjustment of cleat. The left to right movement is given through the spindle.
I am a closet weenie with a steel bike. I like light parts. But they usually come at an astronomical price. Keywin finds the right balance of almost the lightest and below the competitive cost of others. Hard to do as a small company, but they do it.
A made up list of cons
Turning the foot inwards to clip in. For Keywins it is simply how you clip in and how the system works. It is worth the difference in feel. So it's a fake con.
The cleat isn't made for walking. Oh yeah, neither is my road bike. If I wanted to walk, I would not take my road bike, I would go walking. Fake con number two.
The clipping out is probably a *touch* harder than other brands, but just like anything you get used it (and wonder why it is so easy to unclip other pedals).
They take time. The cleats and spindle take a little bit of time to get used to. Also, you should try different spindle lengths to make sure you have the best one. Or find a fitter that knows what they are doing. If you ride them once and take them off, I would encourage you to compare them very closely to the pedals you were using.
I have been using these for over a year and half now and love them. Simply love them.
Dodgy knees, yeah you should try these.
Hip problems(often back too), try spindle lengths differences.
Oh you want more power out of sprint, yeah you should try these because they have the largest platform.
Climber, want to push cleats back further, try these. Every type of rider would benefit from them.
This made me realize, I want others to try these too. I have benefited from them, so should others. So I became a dealer of Keywins. One of the few in the United States. You should try them.
They are so good, that I am offering folks (people who I trust), the chance to try them for free, no obligation. If you don't love them (in a proper spindle length), I will buy you a beverage and/or pay for the shipping both ways. Seriously.
Cheers and happy riding.