An interesting poll would be one that asks for your vote on the biggest innovation in cycling over the last 20 years. Leading candidates? A few obvious ones come to mind: Index shifting, Integrated Shift/Brake levers, lightweight clincher tire technology. Our vote, though, would go to clipless pedals. No other innovation has even come close to bringing as much comfort, efficiency, and added power to our riding.
All credit is due to Look, as they invented clipless pedals. The only criticism we could direct their way is that they were so ahead of the game back in 1986 when they introduced their pedal that they've been slow to innovate over the last 2 decades. Yes, they've made some small improvements -- lightening their pedals with the use of carbon bodies, titanium spindles, offering things like variable Q-factor and float adjustability. At the end of the day, though, I think we can all agree that Look has been a bit guilty of resting on their laurels. But 2005 is here, and Look has finally come out with both fists swinging with the introduction of their new Keo pedal system.
The motivation behind the design of the Keo design is to rival Shimano's hugely successful Dura-Ace SPD-SL pedal. As such, Look had to accomplish 3 things: (a) Make the pedal light, (b) Get your foot as close as humanly possible to the axle of the pedal, (c) Ensure that the cleat would be squak-free. Based on our initial assessment of the quality of the Keo, we say "Mission Accomplished". For the first time in a long time Look is making us say "Wow."
The Keo pedal body is carbon. With its Cro-Moly spindle it weighs in at 230g for the set, coming in at roughly 40g lighter than Shimano Dura-Ace SPD-SL.
The Keo's carbon body is much thinner than past models, due in large part to the fact that Look decided to keep the Keo simple by excluding features like Q-factor and float adjustment. This being the case, Look had to redesign the cleats used for the Keo (these new cleats are incompatible with pre-Keo Look pedals). Thankfully, it's still a 3-bolt design so you won't run into any shoe compatibility issues. The cleat uses Teflon at the tip and the rear of the cleats to keep them quiet and to reduce both the force required to clip out and the wear/tear on your cleats.
One cool final touch to the Keo is that the cleats come with a "memory tab" that attaches to the sole of your shoe, allowing you to change cleats without having to trace around your old cleat with a magic marker to match its position.