Originally patented in 1989, SPEEDPLAY pedals represented a clean slate approach to road cycling pedals and offered innovative features. Known as the lollipop pedals, SPEEDPLAY gained popularity with amateur and professional cyclists due to their dual-sided design and low stack height. However, in more recent years Shimano SPD-SL and Look Keo pedals have come to dominate the road cycling pedal market. Wahoo has decided to change that with their purchase of SPEEDPLAY and the newly introduced revamped SPEEDPLAY pedals. The new Wahoo SPEEDPLAY pedals retain the same iconic design but are updated with sealed bearings for easier maintenance, hex hardware, and a revised pedal body. Wahoo currently offers four versions of the SPEEDPLAY pedals: NANO (“ultralight performance”), ZERO (“race-grade performance”), COMP (“all-around performance”) and AERO (“streamlined performance”).
The differences between the models are the spindle and body material. The NANOs are the top-of-the-line option with titanium spindles and a carbon composite body while the lesser version use Stainless steel or Chromoly and Grivory bodies (a thermoplastic material). In this review, we’ll be looking at the SPEEDPLAY ZERO which represents that best value in the lineup. While the full lineup ranges from $449.99 for the NANO down to $149.99, the ZERO pedals have a retail price of $229.99 and stainless steel spindle. Wahoo has also simplified the available cleats to two options (each retail for $54.99): Standard Tension (included with everything but the COMP pedals) and an easier to use Easy Tension option (included with the COMP). The ZERO pedals also offer four different spindle length options allowing SPEEDPLAY retailers or bike fitters to match the pedals to your anatomy.
The Wahoo SPEEDPLAY pedals retain the innovative dual-sided lollipop design and walkable cleat design of the original pedals while improving usability.
|Measured Weight (in g)||220 (pedals) / 148 (standard tension cleats)|
|Likes||+ Low profile|
+ Dual sided design makes clipping in easy
+ Highly adjustable position and float
|Dislikes||– Expensive cleats|
– 3-bolt to 4-bolt Adapter required unless used with SPEEDPLAY specific shoes
– Release tension is not adjustable
|Where to Buy (US)||Wahoo|
If there is one thing Wahoo does right it is sleek packaging and graphics. The pedals come in a sleek box with reflective Wahoo logo and high contrast graphics. Inside the box you’ll find:
- SPEEDPLAY ZERO pedals
- Standard Tension Cleats w/ hardware
- Instruction manual
Note, Wahoo includes the Easy Tension with the COMP pedals instead of the Standard Tension cleats. Both cleats are compatible with all the SPEEDPLAY pedals though.
FIT & FINISH
What sets the Speedplay pedals apart from other pedals such as the Shimano SPD-SL or Look Keo pedals is the unique design. Rather than using the traditional design of integrating the spring and attachment mechanisms in the pedal body, the SPEEDPLAY moves them to the cleats. That leaves the pedals with a distinctive low-profile lollipop shape that gives the SPEEDPLAY pedals one of their best advantages – a dual sided entry. That means clipping into SPEEDPLAY pedals is quick and easy as you can confidently clip in without having to worry about flipping the pedals.
If you’re already familiar with SPEEDPLAY pedals, then the revamped Wahoo SPEEDPLAY Zeros will look very familiar. The signature bowtie metal plates can still be found on the pedals but now fully extend around the pedal to provide additional protection against scrapes. With the sealed bearing design there are no longer any grease ports on the pedal although the pedals can still be opened. The spindle also has a more modern tapered design as the pedals can only be installed with an allen wrench through the spindle body. The cleats have also received slight adjustments with the same multi-piece design: adapter plate for 3-bolt to 4-bolt (note SPEEDPLAY specific shoes don’t need this), C-shaped spring, protector plate and the plastic walkable cover.
The Standard Tension cleats offers adjustable float as well as release angle via two small set screws. The dual design means that not only can you adjust the float between 0-15°, but you can change the activation point for heel-out or heel-in by upto 7.5° which means you can customize the float to match your personal preference (Easy Tension Cleats do not have this adjustable float option). Other cleats such as Look Keo or Shimano SPD-SL require buying different cleats to achieve different float values. Note, there is no adjustable tension with theses cleats as they use a simple C-shaped spring instead of a traditional coil spring or replaceable components.
ON THE ROAD
Although setting up the cleats is a little more involved than other pedal designs, the combination of the adapter plate and spring plate allow for front/back and side adjustment to perfectly position the cleat even if your shoes have non-adjustable cleat mounts. Once the pedals are set up, the advantage of the SPEEDPLAY pedal is clear, the cleats are easy to walk with and have dual-sided entry. That means clipping in the pedals is easy as you don’t have to worry about the pedal orientation. Because the pedals use a simple C-ring spring, the pedals have non-adjustable clip in/release tension.
We’d recommend lighter (weight) cyclists consider the Easy Tension cleat option as the Standard Tension cleats require a significant amount of force to clip in. Curiously, unclipping the cleats wasn’t an issue and engaged easily. We also encountered some binding issues that made the right pedal particularly difficult to clip in. This was resolved by slightly bending up the protective plate on the cleat to prevent it from rubbing against the spring. Otherwise, the SPEEDPLAY pedals provide a secure and comfortable platform for easy tempo rides or sprinting. Despite the use of the adapter plate, power transfer felt direct while the adjustable float was easy to adjust to customize the feel. The walkable covers also make the cleats easy to walk on without fear of damaging the cleats or falling due to a lack of grip.
Overall, we found the Wahoo SPEEDPLAY ZERO pedals to be well designed and easy to operate. Wahoo’s several refinements and updates retain the dual-sided entry and innovative design of the original SPEEDPLAY pedals were known for while improving usability. The lollipop design not only looks sleek but results in a low profile and easy-to-clean design. While we found Standard Tension cleats worked well and provided a secure fit, clipping in requires a far amount of force. The other downsides of the SPEEDPLAY pedals is that the cleats are quite expensive at $54.99 compared to other pedal systems and SPEEDPLAY specific shoes are not common and most shoes require the provided 3 bolt-to-4 bolt adapter. With Wahoo investment into SPEEDPLAY and the upcoming power meter version of the pedals, we suspect that may change. If you’re looking for a dual-sided road cycling pedal and want a walkable cleat design, the SPEEDPLAY is the pedal to choose.
Disclaimer: The product for this review was provided by Wahoo. The views expressed on this website are solely those of the authors and are here to help people make an informed choice before a purchase. The authors or the blog itself does not get any monetary compensation from the product manufacturer or third-party websites/vendor links that are posted here.