The Speedplay company was bought by cycling tech’ giant, Wahoo in September 2019. However, the pedals are still widely known as Speedplays…
Before the Pedals
Speedplay company owner and product designer, Richard Byrne spent a lot of time developing ideas before his mind turned to pedals. As well as a stationary (home) trainer, Byrne developed a forerunner to the aero bar to help his friend compete in the Race Across America – unfortunately this was not pushed commercially by Byrne at the time. He also developed a bike frame with adjustable geometry and dabled in Human Powered Vehicle (HPV) speed records. Byrne held the IHPV speed World Record for prone HPV’s before it was broken by another athlete / inventor, Graeme Obree in 2013.
Love of Lollipops
Byrne came up with the early ‘lollipop’ design for the popular road pedal in the early 1990’s. However, the pedals were so different that no existing bike manufacturers would produce them under licence. After asking 22 bike part makers and having no takers, Byrne began production himself, the original ‘X’ road pedal was released in 1991. As well as road pedals, Byrne also produced MTB pedals too. The Frog off-road pedal was popular with riders who required a wide range of float with a recessed walkable cleat. The Frog was replaced by the Syzr pedal system.
Lot of Thinking
To come up with the design took a lot of ‘different thinking’ on how the foot attaches to the bike. Popular pedal systems used a ski binding attached to an axle, as they do today. The Speedplay X system had a platform on the pedal axle and the ‘springy-clicky’ gubbins housed in the cleat. However, to come up with this in a workable reliable format took a while to perfect through clever design.
Why Choose Speedplay?
With the Speedplay pedal and cleat system, it is easy to dial-in the level of float required. Speedplay road pedals are light, even when you include the cleat (where the mechanism is housed) – they are amongst the lightest options for pedals. Speedplay pedals tend to be loved by riders who have knee issues with other pedal systems.
See the full range of Speedplay at Merlin here