This article first appeared on BikeRadar.
Look and SRM recently announced the launch of Exakt, a power meter equipped pedal produced as a collaboration between the two brands that is built around Look’s long-standing Kéo platform.
How do the Look/SRM Exakt pedals work?
The pedals are an impressively small package
Unlike some other power meter equipped pedals, all the power metering components are housed internally around the spindle, giving the Exakt pedals a very normal pedal-like silhouette.
Two faces of the squared off spindle hold a pair of strain gauges
To accomplish this, Look/SRM developed a unique squared-off spindle that holds all the power metering equipment in an impressively small package.
Two pairs of strain gauges are mounted to two opposing faces of this spindle. These sit beneath a pair of lithium-ion batteries. The other two faces of the spindle hold the circuit boards, one of which is fitted with the antenna that, somewhat ingeniously, forms part of one of the internal seals.
For cadence, a nifty little magnet that is integrated into the underside of the pedal body is used to track the position of the pedal using sensors built into the spindle. This setup is said to be more accurate and reliable than accelerometers, which are commonly used in other power meter equipped pedals.
Adding all the power meter gubbins adds approximately 20g, resulting in a claimed weight of 155g/pedal, which is comparable to other power meter equipped pedals on the market. The pedals are claimed to be accurate within +/-1.5 percent.
The pedals can communicate via Bluetooth LE and ANT+, so they will work with pretty much any head unit on the market. Interestingly, there is also a ‘Zwift compatibility’ mode that allows the pedals to communicate directly with any Zwift connected device without requiring a head unit to act as an intermediary.
Jamming in all the power metering gubbins has not significantly increased the size of the pedals, with the stack height coming in at an impressively normal 11.9mm (for reference, an Ultegra R8000 pedal has a stack height of 10mm).
A bearing on the outside edge of the pedal is matched with a roller bearing in the middle
The pedals spin on one large ball bearing on the outside edge of the pedal, this is matched with a roller needle bearing near the middle. The bearings are not user-replaceable, but it is claimed that the new setup is more durable than Look’s other pedals. It is also possible, and supposedly very easy, for a dealer to replace the body of the pedal in the event of a crash.
On that subject, the warranty and servicing side of things will be taken care by whichever of the two brands has presence in the country the claim is filed in — so in the US, the pedals will be serviced by SRM’s facilities in Colorado Springs, while in France it would be handled by Look.
None of this will actually matter to riders as the consumer-facing website will be managed by a dedicated team that will organise exactly who handles what from the back end.
The pedals are rated IPX7 waterproof (30 minutes under 1-metre of water). This is accomplished using labyrinth seals and sealing all of the electronic components within shrink housing.
The pedals are charged via a hexagonal plug located on the inside edge of the spindle
The internal lithium-ion batteries are charged via a nifty proprietary six-prong magnetic connector located on the inboard end of the spindle. This hex-shaped plug will work in any orientation and connects to any micro-USB cable.
Under lab conditions, the battery is said to be good for 100 hours of ride time per charge. However, when pressed under questioning, one SRM engineer admitted this figure dropped down to something more like 80 to 90 hours in real-world conditions, which in any case will be enough for all but the most ridiculous of rides.
Among many other metrics, the app shows how well calibrated the pedals are
There’s a relatively simple setup procedure for the pedals. First you thread the pedals onto the cranks as normal with an 8mm Allen key until the notch on the inboard face of the spindle is aligned with the cranks. Then a 19mm spanner is used to lock down the pedals. A dedicated smartphone app is then used to complete the one-time calibration process.
SRM Look Exakt power meter pedal pricing and availability
The pedals will be available through dealers, click and collect channels and direct via the aforementioned website.
The pedals will be available in a number of bundles, including the dual-sided bundle that comes with a PC8 head unit
The pedals will be available in single-sided, dual-sided and dual-sided bundles, with pricing as follows (international pricing TBC);
- Exakt bundle (dual-sided pedals and PC8 head unit): €2,179
- Exakt dual-sided: €1,399
- Exakt single-sided: €799
To be clear, the single-sided version ships with a right pedal equipped with a power meter and a visually identical, but non-instrumented, left pedal.
The pedals are due to start shipping 1 July.
Look/SRM Exakt early impressions
Earlier this week, Look and SRM invited me to the SRM house outside of Luca in Italy — a facility used to house athletes and SRM employees who want to test products in sunny climes — to try out the new pedals and to speak to the engineers involved with developing them.
While speaking to the engineers was interesting, the data from my short 30km ride didn’t provide any useful insight. Without testing the Exakt pedals in tandem with other systems that we know to be accurate, I can’t draw any meaningful conclusions about the performance and accuracy of the pedals.
With that said, a cursory glance at my data from the ride didn’t show any unusual sudden drops or rises in power or overall unrealistic power numbers. But again, this is at best anecdotal.
BikeRadar's Ben Delaney is waiting to take delivery of test samples and he'll be back with a full review in the near future.
Will Look/SRM develop a MTB version of the pedals?
Speaking to one of Look’s head engineers he explained to me that, with a small bit of modification to the body of the pedal, it would be fairly simple to port the spindle used in the Exakt to one of its mountain bike offerings.
While this aspect may be simple, the issue comes with sealing the delicate electronics from the ravages of life on a mountain bike. The labyrinth seals as used in the Exakt pedal just wouldn’t survive repeated blasting from a jet wash and more work would have to be done here before a product could be brought to market.
Lastly, just how large a demand there is for a power meter equipped mountain bike pedal is not totally clear.
However, the possibility was not totally ruled out and we’ll be keeping a close watch on the pedals of riders who use Look pedals at the next XC World Cup we attend.