Wahoo Speedplay Pedals
In my last article looking at installing Wahoo Speedplay pedals, I discovered that the cleat set-up procedure involved with my new Wahoo Speedplay Nano Pedals was surprisingly simple and highly accurate. Having now put around 1200 miles of riding on the pedals, this article will detail how I have found them while traversing the varied roads of Kent, here in the South East of England. As with the preceding article, I’ll continue to make comparisons with my old pair of LOOK Keo Blade Carbon Chromo Road Cycling Pedals to add in an important performance reference point.
I'll commence by looking at clipping into the pedals. With LOOK Keos, locating the front of the cleat into the pedal before dipping the heel makes the pedal spring snap into place. With Wahoo Speedplay, it's more a case of locating the cleat and pedal before applying a little downward force while wiggling the foot slightly. The actions are different, but I found there was little time needed for adaptation. An added plus to the Wahoo Speedplay lollipop format is that it's double-sided, so less time is spent trying to clip in when setting off.
As with LOOK Keos, to unclip from Wahoo Speedplay pedals, a quick outward flick of the heel is needed. Again, this is easy and takes no time to get used to. I would say that the unclipping tension of the Speedplay standard cleats is similar to that offered by the LOOK Keo Blade pedal when it’s used with a 12 tension carbon spring.
Lower Stack Height
One of the most valued benefits of the Wahoo Speedplay pedal system is the reduced stack height that places the rider’s feet closer to the pedal spindle. Once the Wahoo Speedplay cleat adapter plate is factored in, the stack height is around 4mm lower than with LOOK Keo Carbon Blades. Even though this seems a relatively small measurement, I feel as though I am more “in” the pedal stroke when using the Wahoo Speedplays, instead of being “on top” of it. This results in a sensation of smoother power production, whether climbing, sprinting or riding tempo on the flat.
The lower stack height of the Wahoo Speedplay pedal system did mean that I had to drop my saddle height by around 4mm. To keep my saddle to handlebar drop constant, I removed 4mm of spacers from underneath my handlebar stem. My new, lower position will have slightly decreased my frontal area, and this, coupled with the svelte profile of the pedal and cleat combination, may have reduced my aerodynamic drag. Admittedly, I don’t have my own wind tunnel to verify this, but it’s something that could be worth considering if you’re a second-chasing time trial rider or triathlete.
A Better Fit
I have found the micro-level adjustment available within the Wahoo Speedplay cleats to be particularly beneficial. I like my feet to be locked into position, so I ride without any float. Getting my foot position spot-on was always a touch hit and miss with LOOK Keo cleats, but it’s easy with the Wahoo Speedplay system, thanks to it isolating the fore-aft, side to side and float adjustments. This increased precision ensures a better alignment of my ankles, knees and hips, leading to a feeling of increased pedalling efficiency and fewer niggles on long or intense rides.
I always used a 20 tension carbon spring in my LOOK Keo Blade pedals as I like my feet to feel as locked-in as possible. The smaller springs of the Wahoo Speedplay standard tension cleats don't offer the same resistance to unclipping that I'm accustomed to with the LOOK Keo Blades, but I'm yet to experience any hint of spontaneous foot ejections, despite my most "mighty" out-of-the-saddle efforts.
The Sound Of Silence
I’m sure I’m not the only person to have experienced a bit of squeaking and creaking when using LOOK Keo Blade pedals. This doesn’t seem to be as much of an issue with the Wahoo Speedplay pedals. Whether it’s the metal-to-metal pedal-to-cleat interface on the Wahoo Speedplays, or something else, they certainly seem quieter in operation. This serenity can be affected by a build-up of dirt and grit, but normality is resumed with regular cleaning and oiling of the cleats.
At the Café
The Wahoo Speedplay pedal system not only performs admirably out on the road, but it also promotes composure at the café. The dimpled rubber cleat surrounds afford excellent purchase when walking across stone, wood and even polished concrete floors. This elevated level of traction guarantees a graceful transition from café counter to seat, even when carrying an oat milk latte in one hand and a slice of coffee and walnut in the other.
I have found the Wahoo Speedplay Nano pedals to be an excellent addition to my bike. Following the easier than expected but exact cleat set-up and combining this with the lower stack height, they have allowed me to feel more powerful, fluid and comfortable on the bike. Additionally, the adaptation phase that followed the switch from LOOK Keo Blade pedals was quick and easy. With all the benefits in mind, I wouldn’t hesitate in recommending the Wahoo Speedplay pedals to any performance-oriented rider, whether they compete against the clock, other racers or challenging climbs.