Best clipless pedals review
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Best clipless pedals for triathlon

3 of this year’s best clipless pedals, tested and rated by our expert reviewer

Already a convert or thinking about foraying into clipped-in comfort? Either way, Rob Banino has clicked on the cleats and tested three sets…

Why are clipless pedals called clipless?

What are the advantages of using clipless pedals?


Clipless (or, more accurately, clip-in) pedals attach to your cycling shoe, keeping your feet firmly on the pedal and therefore allowing you to use energy more efficiently.  Weight differences between pedals tend to be so small that it’s not worth the extra cash for high-end models; most manufacturers use a very similar mechanism on all their pedals, with the only change being the materials used. 

Shimano 105 SPD-SL Carbon


Shimano’s 105 SPD-SL Carbon pedals are the biggest and heaviest here at 274g. Their broad bodies have been built from carbon but they still end up over 20g heavier than the Look Keo 2 Max Carbon pedals. The steel spring mechanisms mean most of their weight is at the back so they hang at a convenient angle to make entry easy. It takes less pressure to get your feet into these than into the Look pedals but they need more of a push than the Time Xpressos.

Foot retention is rock solid, however, and although the yellow-tipped cleats supplied allow 6° float, it feels like less than that. You really notice the retention when it comes to unclipping – you’re not in danger of slipping out of any of the pedals here but getting out of the 105s takes noticeably more effort. Which is something to bear in mind when you’re approaching T2.

Verdict: bigger and heavier pedals that are easy to get into but harder to get out of 80%

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Look Keo 2 Max Carbon


Look’s Keo 2 pedals have had a facelift. The steel faceplates on these carbon-bodied pedals have been stretched outwards and upwards, giving them their broad appearance. The new shape is to provide a bigger platform to push against and results in a faceplate 60mm wide, an increase of about 3mm over the previous model. Any difference it makes is imperceptible through your feet, however, and in a practical sense it’s intangible.

The new Keo 2 Max are a smart pair of pedals, nevertheless – they make an unmistakable snappy click upon entry, use steel springs for simple tension adjustment and weigh 253g. The worst you can say about them is the carbon body only saves a few grams over the cheaper plastic-bodied pedals and the facelift has deprived them of their distinctive looks.

Verdict: positive entry and exit but the new look offers little improvement 83%

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Time Xpresso 6


Swapping steel springs for carbon blades saves enough weight to make Time’s Xpresso 6 pedals the lightest here – 218g for the pair. It takes next to no pressure to engage these good-looking pedals but they’re by no means the easiest to get into. The main problem is that they’re too evenly balanced so they don’t hang at a convenient angle and often need to be flipped about to get them into a suitable position. The other gripe is that entry feels vague and sounds dull compared to the other pedals here – the only indication you get is a soft ‘thunk’, rather than the snappy clicks produced by Shimano and Look. Once you’re in, though, your feet are perfectly secure in Xpresso 6 pedals and comparatively free to move about – laterally and rotationally – without disengaging. In short: great in use but getting into them can be tricky, especially if you’re rushing out of

Verdict: light and plenty of float but they’re not the easiest for gaining entry 75%

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For lots more of the best tri kit currently available, check out our triathlon gear guides


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Really? A pedal review/ranking without Speedplay? I appreciate the inclusion of Time, and Look are a no-brainer... but Speedplay are growing in popularity in leaps and bounds. Next time?

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