The Pros, The PAVE and Speedplay
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August 18, 2014 – The professionals of the World Tour ride what they are told to ride. Rare indeed is the component that flourishes on the World Tour because the riders ask for it, and in some cases demand it, but that is exactly how Speedplay pedals arrived and thrived at the pinnacle of the sport. Riders embraced the funny looking, dual sided lollipop pedal like no other component.
Ben Edwards/Yuzuru Sunada/Speedplay
The original design continues to succeed because it looked at what it takes to attach a shoe to a crank in a completely new way and essentially mastered every task required of a performance pedal – easy entry, light weight, power transfer, durability, biomechanics and even aerodynamics. As the pedal spread like wildfire among the pro peloton, some of the greatest riders in the world began to embrace it, from sprinters to climbers to time trial riders to the hard men of the northern classics, which brings us to present day and the just released Speedplay PAVE.
Richard Bryne, Speedplay inventor and founder, had watched the Northern Classics for years and when standard Speedplay Zero’s placed first and second at the 2004 Paris-Roubaix with Magnus Backstedt and Tristan Hoffmann, Richard took a closer look at exactly what it takes to win at the classics.
“I knew the harsh conditions could play a part in determining the outcome of the race. My goal was to give our riders the best equipment possible for those conditions.” said Bryne.
By removing body material in strategic places Bryne was able to retain the key contact points but ensure quick and easy entry and release in the maelstrom of mud and rain typical on the cobbles. The body itself was made out of heat-treated steel to ensure durability. Both these changes proved critical in an environment where crashes and wheel changes are common.
The new pedal first saw duty in 2006, and immediately went to the top of the podium with Fabian Canellara’s first Paris-Roubaix victory. Spy shots soon flooded the web, ‘What was this new pedal?’ As a very expensive, CNC machined pedal, it was strictly Team Issue and never intended for riders with less than a World Tour motor. This became a difficult strategy to stick with when the pedal kept winning – 2007 Roubaix with O’Grady, the 2010 Roubaix with Cancellara, Gent Wevelgem, Strade Bianchi, the list goes on and on. The pedal’s easy dual sided entry in bad conditions actually helped save O’Grady’s 2007 victory after a crash. Cancallara had a similar story after a sliding on the cobbles and having to unclip for a quick dab as he launched his winning attack.
‘The coolest part of making the classics pedals was to see how the pedals actually helped riders like Fabian and Stuart to win. He (O’Grady) later told me the double-sided entry was the difference between winning and losing. That made me feel good.’ remembers Bryne.
With all that success, all that press and the explosion of gravel riding, it was only a matter of time before Speedplay reengineered the manufacturing of the pedal and launched it for everyday riders, now called the PAVE Zero. Like all of its Stainless and Titanium pedals, the PAVE Zero is hand built in San Diego, or as Bryne likes to put it, ‘Assembled in San Diego, but tested and proven in the world’s toughest races.’ The Stainless and Ti versions have respective weights of 230 grams and 188 grams per pair and are available for mere mortals for the first time.
PAVE Zero Price: $400 w/ Stainless Steel Spindle $500 w/ Titanium Spindle PAVE Cleats: $50