Essential for road riding, racing and sportive participation, here we look at some of the clipless pedal systems available for cyclists

When anyone first starts cycling, it’s advised that they buy – after the bike of course – a pair of cycling shoes and clipless pedals. The benefits of using these over flat pedals in terms of comfort and efficiency are huge.

Toe clips should be avoided as they are an unsafe and unrecommended middle ground.

>>> Cycling shoes: a buyer’s guide

Buying cycling shoes and pedals does not need to be a big investment, with many brands offering low cost shoes to get you going.

>>> The best cheap bikes: ridden and rated

With a little bit of research, you can find the best pedal system for you. Put the clipless pedals on the bike as soon as it’s bought, and using them should soon become second nature.

Our pick of the best clipless cycling pedals

Look Keo, Pedal test

Look Keo Classic

We test out the Look Keo Classic clipless pedals

Score 9

Shimano, Pedal test

Shimano 105 SPD LS

We test out the Shimano SPD-SL 105 clipless pedals

Score 9

One 23, Pedal test

One23 RO-96B

We test out the One23 RO-96B clipless pedals

Score 8

Wellgo, Pedal test

Wellgo

We test out Wellgo clipless pedals

Score 6

look-keo-blade2-pedal

Look Keo Blade2 pedals

Our test Blades came with the cromo axle, 16Nm spring and a weight of 224g for the duo, which, given More…

Score 9

Time, Pedal test

Time RSX Speed

We test out the Time RSX Speed clipless pedals

Score 9

Ritchey, Pedal test

Ritchey PRO V4 Micro

We test out the Ritchey PRO V4 Micro clipless pedals

Score 9

Verdict

This test confirmed for us that choosing a pedal is a really personal decision. Hence, there are lots of high scores but no 10/10. All offered pros and cons, and each tester had a favourite.

However, there was no consensus and plenty of disagreement. We all agreed that the Speedplay allowed the most personalisation and is the only pedal with adjustable float that doesn’t impact on release pressure.

The Time came a close second in terms of adjustment, which at the price was a stand-out feature. Others preferred the easy clip-in of the Look Keo, even though cleat set-up needs more care, while the Shimano 105 SPD SL scored highly for its proven durability and value.

Check back in May when we’ll have an update on which systems are best for the coming summer. 

  • John Jackson

    I really don’t understand this review throwing in one small platform mtb pedal. I’m a roadie but got fed up of falling on my arse, destroying indoor floors and walking like a duck when wearing ‘road’ clipless pedals plus how quickly the cleats wear out. So I changed to Crank Brothers Quattro (the top of the range pedal was used by a Continental Pro Team), big platform and lots of float, two hole cleats and carbon soled mtb shoes. All the previous problems eliminated and NO fall in performance – my 10 and 25 TT times were unchaged. Yes, I know they are no longer available, sadly, but the Shimano Clipless Spd A600 Pedals are nearly as good and weight: 286g (per pair).

    Why people still ride ‘road pedal/cleats’ amazes me – why?

  • James Roberts

    I use speedplay zeros on all bikes, summer (Ti), winter (cromalloy) and track, well on the track bike.

    So easy to use, no fumbling at lights or junctions. High ground clearance so better cornering and light weight.

    Only down side, a must is to use cleat covers as wear is a pain in the A**e to sort!