Speedplay’s most popular pedal product is the Zero model. Based on their unique design, where the pedal is actually the cleat and the retention mechanics are attached to the shoe, this offering is their best yet. Prior versions offered endless lateral rotation for the foot – “pedaling on ice”. Some riders are able to adapt to this and some riders just aren’t. The consensus among other reviewers is that anybody can ride with these pedals while seated, but very few can adjust to the float while standing to sprint or climb aggressively.
This is where the Speedplay Zeros come in. Engineers at Speedplay developed a new retention spring (one C-shaped spring instead of two parallel straight springs) that has a tooth on the front and back of the contact points with the cleat that limits the amount of lateral float in the pedal. At most, you get 15 degrees of float. You can adjust that amount all the way down to – you guessed it – Zero. Or so they say.
In real life, there’s still a little bit of play left, even if you tighten the limit as much as possible. No big loss as far as I’m concerned. I don’t know of anybody pro or average Joe who has their cleat position nailed down so precisely that it’s a good idea to have absolutely no wiggle room.
One drawback about the Speedplay system is the bolt pattern. They rely on a 4-bolt pattern which is readily available but far from universal. They are very aware of this and come with a 3mm thick shim to attach to your 3-bolt pattern shoes. Bottom line, your position is now 11.5 mm above the axis of the pedals, whereas is would be 8.5mm with 4-bolt shoes. If you want to take full advantage of the lower stack height, be prepared to buy a new pair of shoes.
What you get with these pedals are more cornering clearance than you’ll ever need part of their characteristic design is that your feet are close to the cranks, allowing you to lay your bike WAY down in corners and still turn the pedals, several color options, and one of the lightest pedal and cleat systems on the planet. Their different spindle materials make the price and weight fluctuate a bit, but in general, they’re all very lightweight. They range from 334g (Chromoly pedals with 3-bolt pattern cleat and shim) to 232g (Ti pedal and 4-bolt shoe). That’s stupid light!
On the road, you can’t beat the micro-adjustability these pedals offer! The dual-sided pedals afford you the luxury of just stepping down on the pedal and going – no searching for the ‘right’ side of the pedal that you get with other manufacturers’ systems. For the most part, once you’re clipped in this system is the same as any other. You step down to get in and turn your heel out to exit.
One great feature that isn’t apparent the day you slap these on your bike is the ease of maintaining them. Speedplay did a great job with the built-in port for bearing grease. All you need to do in order to grease the bearings inside the pedal is loosen one screw and inject grease into the port on the outside of the spindle. It’s that simple. Once you’re done, replace the screw and ride on for the next thousand miles or so.
Bottom line, these are great, lightweight pedals with very intuitive design features, if a little selective about their compatibility.