Speedplay Aero Cleat

Either no one has any stock - OR - they have stopped producing the standard Speedplay Zero cleat... you know the one, yellow plastic and bronzed metal plate with the distinctive hole in the middle and four pozidrive bolts. I need a new set of cleats, so hell - lets get a set of the 'aero' ones and have a look see about what is different.

I clung onto using Look Delta for the longest time. I saw the prices drop, then start to climb again. At that point I changed. I changed all of my bikes to the Speedplay platform (Something in my mind says that it used to be Bryne Speedplay - I am guessing they dropped that part - big more Richard Bryne).

Despite apparently being great for knees - I was instantly rewarded with knee pain. The float is huge in comparison to Look Delta of old - and more vitally - it is not sprung - so there is no forced return to a central point between the two releases. Upsides I like are this (once you have them set up nicely), and their ease of maintenance - take out the grub screw - inject in the grease - replace the grub screw. Happy days.

Downsides are essentially two fold - one, that there is a metal plate underneath which may as well be made of PTFE marbles on a layer of ice if you want to walk on tiled floors, or mossy concrete. The other is a 'feature' of the design - there is a big fat void underneath. Furthermore, if you are not using cleat converters, the void has no place for anything that goes in there to go when the pedal connects. This is bad. Not since the Adidas invented the yellow dog-bone-like 'torsion bar' on their 90's trainers (dubbed by this bunch of teenagers at the time as Adidas Turd Collectors) has anything been so prone to collecting sheep / dog / cat / fox (for the love of god - fox?!!) poo - or just plain old detritus - pine needles, mud, or sand (sand... is like the worse - and have had some notable meltdowns out on club rides after having no option but to walk through sand in Speedplay cleats). FML.

So - anyway. I resolved the first of these issues with 'cafe cleats' or whatever you want to call them. The issue is - you forget to take them off. You do. Sometimes they are hard to get off too. Pulling at something attached to your feet is like something you would see in a cartoon - half expecting you to spin around several times in the insane arc you have created as you tug away at something that ideally you should be standing on... to no joy... and the great amusement of others. The things we do for our art. Next up was the Keep On Cover - which are just plain fantastic.

Keep on covers are just that - you clip them on - you can walk on them, however there is a hole in the middle - you can stamp on the pedal and you are off. They are also great to walk on - making them better than Look Keo and the Shimano copies. Winning.

So - enter dilemma - new pair of winter boots - needs cleats, looks around - and no one has any cleat stock for Speedplay Zero. Fail.

So - begrudgingly I get a set of Speedplay Aero cleats. It transpires that these are actually quite the re design.

It all looks pretty much the same - with the assumption the yellow dimpled sections are just covers, then on closer inspection you see the design has changed.

The adaptors for 3 point to 4 point and flat mount are the same - unchanged - however the cleat is a very different shape, colour, format.

The most striking change is the metal plate. Rather than a lightweight alloy construction, there is a thicker more resilient plate. The plate is not flat either, and this confirms around the stock yellow cir-clip retainer. The screws are dome headed, and are are no longer large flat heads - however curiously seemed easier to use.

The yellow 'fairing' as it where clips in from the axle side, and then secures around the rest of the cleat by catching a retaining lip underneath.

The fairing however does not sit flush with the shoe if you are using the converters - which makes things look a bit odd - then the penny drops... I would wager that 'Aero' is what marketing added after an engineer found a way for them to produce their own "keep on covers".

So rather than fronting for a set of cleats, and a third party cover, they have raised their costs a little, possibly cheapened but improved the design, and hidden the more fugly appearance with a cleat cover.

So lets have a look over them. On initial fitting onto pre existing adaptors (seemed silly putting them on winter boots, so they go on the summer shoes, and winter boots get old cleats with keep on covers) - you can see the smaller bolt heads that are now on a tougher metal (steel as opposed to lighter thicker alloy?). Other notable differences are the number of indents in the yellow ABS plastic - and the locator plastic coming through from the layer below - this time proud to help the cover engage.

Here we have the old cleat side on showing the thicker allow, and the flat format - as well as the larger bolt heads.

Is it possible that these are actually LOWER profile? The thinner stronger (bent to shape) metal also has a bridge piece to assist in strength.

As you can see here the two side by side. Function over form - always - however the flatter blacker cleat - well it just looks uglier to me - but hey - do I care - what I want is good clip in, heel float, and retention... so let the function do the talking. However - I think this kinda spells out the difference between these well.

I appear to have failed to take a picture with the cover on - however - its just a cover - yellow, dimpled, and unlike the keep on cover (flat and box) it is curved, and thus more conducive to walking.

Oh - and there is more - There is a plug that goes in the hole! Great success - assuming you have them with you in your back pocket - no more going Harambe when someone leads you on a route that involves 20 meters of sand on the way back from the Sychnant Pass. Huzzah!

Do I think they are going to make the slightest bit of difference to aerodynamics? Hell no.

Do I think they will save you buying keep on covers? Sure.

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