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Squeaking LOOK Keo Pedals

I have owned a pair of LOOK Keo Sprint pedals for about one year. Like all LOOK pedals, during pedaling they creak and squeak where the cleat contacts the pedal. The squeak comes from the tip of the cleat rubbing against the wall of the pedal lip. It is very, very annoying. I have tried most of the usual “remedies” and have now found what works for me.

First, it should be pointed out that there is absolutely nothing wrong with LOOK Keo pedals – it is not the pedals themselves that creak, it is the interface between the cleat and the pedal that causes the problem. LOOK claims that its newer teflon coated cleats do not squeak, but a quick trawl through the message boards shows this may not be the case. Incidentally, I wonder how much Alberto Contador annoyed the Parisians as he creaked his way up the Champs Elysee on his special yellow Keo 2 Max Carbon Pedals last month.

If the cleats under the shoes get loose they will cause noise. Make sure to tighten them fully. You may want to use a mild grade of thread locking compound (loctite) or grease on the bolts, but that’s not really the cause of most incidents of creaking. Some people, who I suspect are LOOK representatives posing as customers, claim that switching to red cleats, or black cleats, or gray cleats, or upgrading to teflon cleats solves the squeaking problem. It makes no difference what color cleats you use. They ALL creak.

Some people advocate spraying WD-40 or PAM cooking spray on the pedals where they contact the cleats. Yes, oiling the surface of the cleat does stop the squeaking, but the fix is only temporary. Some riders spray Armor All or silicon grease onto their cleats. Good luck with that – be very careful when walking or stepping down, else you’ll go arse over teakettle and wish too late that you’d taken your neighbor’s advice and worn your helmet. Cooking spray works well for three or four rides and you’ll get a nice covering of cooking oil all over the bottoms of your shoes and on your cleats which you’ll be able to track onto your mother-in-law’s nice clean carpet provided you’ve managed to skate your way over her hardwood floor first.

Other remedies include paraffin wax, candle wax and beeswax. All waxes will last longer than the oils, but be aware that waxy residue will attract grit and dirt and stuff to your cleats and pedals.

The most extreme suggestion that I have seen involves packing epoxy onto the pedal to completely close up any gaps between cleat and pedal and to eliminate the up-and-down play believed to cause all the noise – a belief that I disagree with, as I can get the squeaking with no vertical movement by twisting my foot from side-to-side over the range of the cleat’s play.

Many LOOK Keo pedal owners give up in frustration and switch to other pedal systems. As one rider says: “They actually don’t make noise when they’re off my bike!”

So what is my solution to creaking and squeaking pedals? Baby powder. I simply dust my cleats where they contact the pedals with baby powder (talcum powder). Talc, a mineral, is a dry lubricant that stops the squeaking without attracting grit or dirt. As talcum powder is not water soluble, it will stay on your cleats even in moderately wet conditions. I find I can easily go for a couple of months before needing to give my cleats another dusting. This is the no mess, no slime, no grease, no dirty residue, ecologically friendly and natural solution to the problem of creaking LOOK Keo pedals.

This article first published at

Source by Iain De Putney

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