Review: Keywin’s Unique Floating CRM Carbon Road Pedals

Keywin CRM Carbon Pedal review and actual weight

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

Keywins pedals review and actual weights

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.

Keywin CRM Carbon Pedal review and actual weight

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.

Keywin CRM Carbon Pedal review and actual weight

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.

Keywin CRM Carbon Pedal review and actual weight

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.

Keywin CRM Carbon Pedal review and actual weight

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.

Keywin CRM Carbon Pedal review and actual weight

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.

RIDE REVIEW

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

Comments

Canucklehead - 11/02/12 - 1:27pm

Is there a weight limit to the Ti spindles, like there is for Speedplays?

Yeahaaa!!!_ - 11/02/12 - 2:20pm

Sound nice and no more expensive then anything else out there. Sounds like a winner to me!

M4rcassin - 11/02/12 - 3:42pm

Don’t waste your money. Worst bike thing new zealand has ever produced. I’m working in a LBS around Rotorua for the season and I was surprised and curious when I saw the those pedals for the first time but it’s a big piece of s***. The kiwis are buying it because it’s kiwi not because it’s good and one more thing: if you think CB are not very reliable then go for such pedals (the keywins) …

Steve M - 11/02/12 - 3:54pm

These dont pass my personal sniff test but good on you for thinking about alternatives.

Craig - 11/02/12 - 4:02pm

I have been fitting Keywin pedals to riders bikes for quite a few years and from your video there needs
to be some additional lubrication inside the pedal, which would normally be done at time of factory assembly, as they are not meant to squeak like that. Although these are the new carbon ones the CRM float works the same as the plastic bodied CRM pedals.

Also engaging is actually quite different than other pedals. As shown in your video the rider clips in with a slight inward twist of the heel, this is unique. The force required to clip into a Keywin is lower than that of any other brand.

The combination of the low pedal/cleat stack height and cleat design with long bolt mount slots means a rider can achieve a more rearward cleat position on the shoe with Keywin pedals. This decreases lower leg strain as less muscle recruitment is required to stabilize the foot during pedaling. For triathletes especially, this means being able to get off the bike and run faster.

I don’t work for Keywin but I do sell them because I really like them for not only the above reasons but also because they make available all spare parts and different axle widths. I just want other people to know of the additional benefits of trying Keywin pedals. And yes of course I do use them myself.

bob - 11/02/12 - 7:28pm

Over 15 yrs I’ve used nearly all other systems and find I keep coming back to the Keywins suit me as they seem to have the largest platform. They won’t be for everyone, just like a lot of folks would not like the saddle I use, but “thumbs up” from me.

ascar larkinyar - 11/02/12 - 8:49pm

yeah i can’t see these things lasting any longer than crankbros. all that play is just gonna wear out that part faster.

Jones - 11/03/12 - 12:30am

I’ve been using Keywins for around 20 years now. They came out before Look and you had to nail or screw the cleats on before the look 3 bolt system came out.

Each part is available separately and when they went to Look three bolt I just got new bodies, kept the same axles, bearings etc. The cleats last a long time and the bodies don’t wear because the cleat is not moving against the pedal as it floats, only when you unclip.

I have the Ti ones now days (I’m 85kgs/187 pounds) and they are super strong. They are very popular with the track guys as there is a lock kit that makes them impossible to clip out of if you don’t flick the lock open.

The set on my training bike is 7 years old (around 125,000 km/79,000 miles) including a couple of crashes and still perfect. They are much cheaper to maintain than Look, much lighter than Shimano etc.

Jones - 11/03/12 - 12:33am

The only part I have replaced on the Keywins is the cleat, the float mechanism doesn’t seem to wear out. I usually replace the cleats once a year out of habit – they are cheap enough to do that. You can get a couple of years out of them easily if you want.

PLee - 11/03/12 - 11:00am

I’ve used SPDs and have tried Speedplay and another pedal, whose name I can’t remember, that has free float like the Speedplays. I much prefer the Keywins and have them on all of my road bikes. They’re rock solid and last forever. The locking interface is actually isolated from the parts that wear, so the pedals and cleats can look wretched but still work perfectly fine. I’ve changed shoes more often than I’ve replaced cleats – I move the used cleats to the new shoes . . .

Pedal Bike - 11/03/12 - 2:17pm

I’ve been riding a pair for 4 weeks now and love them. No noise. Super smooth float. Huge platform.
I previously rode Speedplay Zeros…As a shop owner and bike fitter, I’m generally reserved with new product, but these things are solid. The associated fit case is unbelievable. The varus wedge system is the best I’ve seen….ever! They’re lighter than anything comparable for a full cleat/pedal system. I’m always humored by comments from the peanut gallery who have never tried them…some of the above comments are from the village idiot!

Geoffrey Stone - 11/03/12 - 3:54pm

I am besotted with Keywin pedals. After using just about everything else in my 26 yrs of cycling, these pedals are the best I have ever used. I am using the CRMs now but will be transitioning to the Carbons when I get my new frame sorted. I have my stem slammed on my current bike and won’t be able to drop it, along with the saddle, to compensate for the 3mm lower stack height between the CRM and Carbons.

Awesome pedals!!

Rob - 01/22/13 - 8:37am

I’m trying a set right now too, I’m very impressed, I love how solid they, no sloppy engagement, after you retrain your brain they are suprisingly easier to clip in than Look, Since I have installed them I have ran a back to back comparo with my Keo’s and there is an uncomparable amount of contact and positive engagement with the Keywins. Also they are tunable in everyway that you would need a shoe/pedal adjustment, so none of this one size fits all as with other pedals.

BTW I dont sell these, dont own a shop, and have paid full price for them, to the others above if your going to post negative comments, please add some reasons why. The reason you dislike them, may be the reason I love them, or anyone else for that matter.

Antipodes Gerard - 05/17/13 - 6:22am

I’ve used Keywins for the last decade (55 years old now; been riding and occasionally racing since I was 15) and have replaced bearings just once, last year.

They’ve proven durable, reliable and comfortable. I haven’t tried enough others for long enough to have a view on them but, as a professional engineer, they’ve got my vote.

Geoff - 11/08/13 - 7:51pm

Tyler,

You mentioned that you were a Speedplay fan. What are you riding these days – the Keywins or back on the Speedplay? I’d be curious to hear an update on your impression of the Keywins. And if you’ve reverted to the Speedplays, what do they do for you that the Keywins don’t?

Cheers,
Geoff

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