American company Speedplay are the newest company to enter the clipless road pedal market but have made a massive impact with both professional and amateur riders worldwide pretty much instantly. The key to their popularity is their light weight, closeness of shoe to pedal axle (more efficient power transfer, the offer of plenty of float (amount the cleat can move around the pedal without disengaging) and the adjustability of the angle of release of the cleat from the pedal.
The pedals themselves are very simple with a ‘lollipop’ shaped design with minimal parts to go get clogged up or go wrong. The clever bit is the amount of adjustment available in the cleat which can be set by the rider depending on their preference for movement within the pedal stroke. Don’t let the rather bulky looking cleat put you off, in reality the combined pedal/cleat distance is less than many other clipless pedal/cleat combos. The outer metal plate also protects the workings of the cleat and gives extra longevity to the system, you can also use the ‘coffee shop’ covers to protect the cleats when off the bike. Maintenance is straightforward and replacement or upgrade parts are easily available.
Many professional riders and teams use Speedplay pedals including Tour de France Green Jersey winner Peter Sagan and in the 2012 Olympics a certain British Knight of the Realm also used them to victory in the men’s individual time trial.