Clipless road pedals have been around for decades, but just how easy are they to use? Clipping back in at every stoplight can be a pain. Speedplay "flipped the script" and put the binding elements in the cleats, rather than the pedals.
Richard Bryne -the inventor of Speedplay pedals- looked at how clipless pedals could be made easier to use, as well as making them light and adjustable. Cleat "float" (the ability of the cleat and the shoe to move slightly while still engaged in the pedal) has been determined to be beneficial for nearly all riders looking to improve comfort and resist injury. The Speedplay Zero pedal has an adjustable float on the cleat, allowing the rider to change the inboard and outboard float independantly. Multiple cleats are not needed to change the pedal's float to match the rider's fit needs. The pedal is double-sided, making every pedal engagement easier at every stoplight and stop sign. The stainless steel "bowties" on the pedal body are what holds the cleat on the pedal, not chunks of plastic. You don't have to crank down on a tension adjustment screw to stay in the pedals during a hard effort like sprinting and climbing. Cornering clearance is very high: 37 degrees! In comparison, old-style LOOK pedals from the 80's were around 29-30 degrees. Stack height for Speedplay Zero Stainless pedals are a mere 11.5mm, allowing the rider to feel more connected to the bike.
Installing the cleats onto road shoes may require shims (included) to match the curve of a shoe sole. A printed guide for shoe/cleat installation and compatibility comes with every pair of pedals. Nearly all 3-bolt bolt pattern shoes will work. 4-bolt Speedplay-specific shoes are, of course, much better for installation and even lower stack height, but require a stainless steel wear plate (sold separately) to be installed under the cleats.What more needs to be said? How about wins at the Tour de France, Giro d'Italia, Paris-Roubaix, Amstel Gold, Paris-Nice, World Time Trial Championship, Hawaii Ironman World Championships, and the countless other races that have been won by champions using Zero pedals.
Delivering the rider's power to the drivetrain is the task of every pedal out there. Shimano's Ultegra pedals just do it better than most.
Reducing rotational weight is something Shimano wanted to do with the new R8000 Ultegra pedal as well as provide a stiff platform. They used short-fiber carbon fiber material for the pedal body, reducing weight a further 12 grams/pair. Stainless steel wear plates keep the pedal looking fresher for longer, and are lighter than the 6800-series pedals. The stainless steel axle resists flex even further, ensuring no power loss in the drivetrain. An 8mm hex wrench is needed for installation, and a classic pedal wrench won't work as the Ultegra pedal has no wrench flats for further weight reduction. The tension of the retaining binder at the back of the pedal is adjustable with a 2.5mm allen wrench. The stack height is .7mm less than the 6800-series pedals, allowing the rider to feel even more connected to the bike. Shimano's SPD-SL cleats (included) offer 6 degrees of float. The Ultegra pedal comes with a 2 year manufacturer's warranty.