Review: Keywin’s Unique Floating CRM Carbon Road Pedals
Keywin’s CRM (Controlled Radial Movement) Carbon Pedals use a completely unique design that puts the float in the pedal rather than cleat.
More specifically, the pedal floats on the spindle, letting the cleat lock into the pedal completely and use the full surface area. As weird as it sounds, it feels perfectly normal. Maybe even better than normal. They post the surface contact area at 3045mm², which they claim is more than any other clipless pedal system out there. The result is a rock solid platform for pedaling, and it doesn’t seem to add any weight.
Pedal through and see how it all works…
WEIGHTS & DETAILS
The complete pedal pair with cleats (shown here clicked in) is 267g with steel spindles. They also offer a titanium spindle version that claims to be 54g lighter for the pair.
Mounting hardware (lower left) adds 34g for a 301g system weight. That’s just 2g heavier than the claimed weight. Individual component weights are 111g per pedal and 22g per cleat. The plugs on the top right are the zero degree float limiters that come inside the package.
They come with 6º float plugs installed.
These plugs give the axle room to move fore-aft within the pedal body. The zero degree plugs have ridges on the inside that sit flush against the spindle’s end bolt to keep it from shifting, thus eliminating float.
The white piece encircles the spindle and is captured at the rear inside an elastomer, which provides resistance to the float. It’s also a custom bushing that’s made with extremely tight tolerances, so it serves two functions. Between it and the axle is a custom grease that’s super thin.
The resistance is adjustable using the screw shown above. At left, the pedal is “floated” with toe out, and at right with toe in. The amount of movement of the elastomer is clearly visible.
Shown from below, you can see the pedal body sitting askew on the spindle at either ends of it’s float range. Here’s what it looks like in video:
Clicking in is easy enough. Despite the rather unique method of capturing the cleat, it feels essentially the same as an SPD-R or Keo road pedal.
The top pic in the post shows the pedal body’s wear after several months of use. The cleats are also showing plenty of scrapes and scratches. Keywin recommends keeping them pretty clean to avoid having gravel and grit unduly wearing away the materials, but in the real world, stuff gets in there when you stop mid-ride, traipse through the grass to pee in the woods and run into the C-store for a snack.
I tested the standard length spindles, but they offer a wide range of spindle lengths, as well as angled stack plates, to get the fit just right. More on those parts here.
I’m a Speedplay fan. As such, I’m used to quick, brainless entry and plenty of float. So it’s always with some bias that I review “normal” road pedals. The limitations of one-sided entry notwithstanding, the Keywins are pretty darn nice.
The huge platform and rock solid cleat/pedal interface makes for confident hammering. I never once clicked out accidentally, but exit is extremely easy when it’s intended.
The float is really what sets these things apart, and it feels good. It’s a bit noisy, as you can hear in the video, but the feel is superb. While riding, the noise actually sounds quite a bit like a Di2 front derailleur auto-trimming itself. On quite a few occasions I looked down to see if, indeed, a ghost in the machine was shifting randomly only to realize it was the pedals. Thankfully, the noise is only really audible when you’re wiggling your heels through the entire range of float, not during the normal minute movements that naturally occur during pedaling.
What’s simultaneously remarkable and unremarkable is that the float feels perfectly natural. There’s no weird sensation because the float is based around the axle. And, fortunately, there’s no undue play around the axle. They spin freely and smoothly, yet the intended float works as advertised.
The cleats are nylon plastic, and they say it should last longer than others. Just looking at the scratches, I’d be worried not knowing the material is supposedly quite hard. Keywin’s US rep says they’ve known several people that have gotten more than 3,000 miles out of a pair. On the pedal, the hook that catches the cleat is quickly replaceable, and the entire pedal body is rebuildable should any one piece fail. Oh, and most of the parts are pretty cheap, too.
The Keywin Carbon pedals tested here retail for $199, making them not only some of the lightest pedals available, but also a relative bargain among high end models. The Ti model is $299.
Am I ready to give up my Speedplays? Hmmm…the jury’s still out, but the fact that Keywin’s actually making me consider it says quite a bit.
Check ’em out at KeywinPedals.com