THE IMPORTANT STUFF
- A marriage of Look’s pedal heritage with SRM’s legendary power meter technology
- Straight forward installation and calibration procedure
- Simple connections to Zwift and devices
- Expensive compared to other power meter pedals
Look Exakt Power Meter Pedals – First (um) Look
We just received a set of Look’s new Exakt power meter pedals. The pedals are a joint project with Look and SRM joining forces. Look invented clipless pedals and SRM invented the cycling power meter so I’m expecting great stuff here.
The Exakt pedals are available in 3 packages – single sided power measurement on the right side, dual sided power measurement, and dual sided with an SRM PC8 Power Control head unit. All packages come with a charger and cable, cleats, and Exakt allen key (more on that later) and 19mm cone wrench (more on that later too). An SRM Speed Sensor is available as an accessory.
If you’re looking for a budget friendly pedal based power meter these are not the pedals you’re looking for. (To be fair power measurement isn’t really a place where budget friendly comes into play.) Pricing on the Exakt pedals: single sided pedals are $899, dual sided are $1699 and the bundle with dual sided pedals and the PC8 head unit is $2199. While considerably more expensive than Garmin and PowerTap Look and SRM claim a higher level of precision and accuracy than their competitors. Still, that’s a big chunk of money to throw at power measurement for most of us.
One of the most appealing things about a pedal based power meters vs. crank or hub based is the ability to easily swap the pedals between bikes. For the other pedals out there – like Garmin and PowerTap – this is simple. Remove the pedals from bike A and put them on bike B. That should take less than 5 minutes for nearly everyone. Exakt pedals complicate that a little bit as you need to mount the pedals in a specific way and then calibrate. I had read a couple of other reviews that were critical of the calibration process, claiming that it was time consuming and tedious. Maybe I got lucky but I was able to install and calibrate the pedals in under 10 minutes. (9:53 to be exact, yes I timed myself.) Connecting to devices was fast and easy.
Got in my first ride on the pedals on Zwift today. Getting things up and running was simple. There was zero messing around to get the pedals reconnected like there sometimes is with other power meters, my heart rate strap, etc.
If you want to geek out on the installation process open the Installation & Calibration module below. If not, read on below that.
A bit on the installation and calibration procedure. (You can see some videos and read the support docs on the Exakt Power site. Videos usually help me to understand a process like this so I figured I’d share the support stuff with you.)
Before installing the pedals you need to download the Exakt Power app. From there you start the installation like any other pedal installation. The pedal spindle takes an 8mm allen key so just spin the pedals in until they’re about finger tight. (If you haven’t installed pedals before this may not be a process you want to undertake. Cross threading pedals would make this a VERY expensive process so be very careful. Pedals should spin in easily by hand. If you feel resistance STOP. A little pro tip here – pedals BOTH spin toward the front of the bike when installing.)
Once the pedals are in finger tight you have to start paying attention. From the back side of the crank arm you want to take a look at the pedal spindle. You see a blue dot on the spindle that needs to point toward the bottom bracket. Pretty simple but you may actually need to loosen the pedals a bit to line them up as required. Here’s where the 19mm cone wrench comes in. On the outside of the crank arm you’ll find a locknut. You’ll hold the pedal still with the 8mm allen wrench and crank the locknut against the crank arm. Once you’ve done that check that blue dot again to make sure it is still pointing toward the bottom bracket. Yeah, this sounds confusing so be sure to watch the video from Look.
OK, now we get to the potentially tedious part – calibration. Make sure you have the phone with the app installed, that 19mm cone wrench and the funky curved Exakt allen key. (Since I received demo pedals that have already been in other hands I wasn’t supplied with either the 19mm cone wrench or the Exakt allen key. I used a cone wrench I already had and a Park Tool 8mm pedal allen key. No problems though I can see where the Exakt allen key would make things a bit easier.) You want your bike perfectly vertical and supported for calibration so either mount your bike in your trainer or have a friend hold the bike for you.
Calibration goes like this – Connect the pedals (via bluetooth) to the app. Once done you be calibrating both pedals for dual sided or the right pedal for single sided. In the app in the installation mode you’ll see either one or two half circle, um, not sure what to call them but sorta like little speedometers that you will be using to make sure calibration is right. Have the cone wrench and Exakt allen key on the pedal you’re calibrating. Now with one hand apply solid pressure on the pedal (kinda like your foot would make). Look calls for 10kg/22lbs of pressure. Not sure how to determine that but leaning on the pedal will make the needle on the little speedometer thingy move. (By the way, the video and support docs provided by Look are great and walk you through this step by step.) If you lean on the pedal and the needle doesn’t move at all go buy a lottery ticket because you got everything perfect on the initial install. Since that is unlikely to be the case you’re going to use the Exakt allen to move the pedal spindle a millimeter or so at a time to get that needle in the center of the speedometer. Small movements of the wrench are what is needed. This part could be a little tedious but I din’t find it too bad. Once you’ve got the needle centered check the backside of the crank to make sure that the blue dot is where it’s supposed to be – pointing toward the bottom bracket. If you’ve got dual sided pedals head over to the other crank arm and repeat the process.
This has taken me longer to write than it took me to perform. Maybe I got lucky but this process really wasn’t so bad in my opinion.
Connecting to your devices
Again, I found this to be fast and simple. Since it’s January in PA the pedals are likely to get most of their use connected to Zwift. I usually connect Zwift to a trainer that reads power. Since I want to test the pedals primarily with Zwift I removed the battery from the trainer and connected to the pedals. This was fast and easy. I clicked on Search for the Power source and the pedals popped up instantly. I did a quick test ride to make sure everything was working correctly and it was. I was already connected to the PC8 head unit was reading the same as Zwift as I’d expect.
Next I connected to my Garmin. If we get some reasonable weather I’ll take the pedals out on the road so I wanted to connect while I was setting up. Again, nice and easy. A quick test and everything was reading as expected.
One note about using the pedals on Zwift. Because of the way Zwift reads power you have to use the app to put the pedals into Zwift compatibility mode. This is effectively sending a single signal to Zwift. If you don’t do this you’ll be getting a reading about half of your actual power. Remembering to shut this off when NOT on Zwift could be a problem…
Installation was pretty straightforward and not as tedious as others have described.
These look like regular Look pedals. Nothing would tell you that they’re power pedals. Look claims that the power meter components add 20 grams to the pedals and the stack height is just 1.9mm higher. Claimed pedal weight is 155g and other reviews shows that the actual weight is within a gram or two.
Connection to devices was fast and easy.
Pricey but perhaps the legendary SRM accuracy and precision are worth the cost.
I’m not sure if I’ll even use the PC8 head unit. While it displays in ride data I’ll use Zwift and Garmin to give me my post ride data.
We’ll have the pedals to use for about 5 weeks. In that time we’ll likely test the pedals across a couple of our bikes.
I’m going to use the pedals for a week or so then switch them to Tara’s bike so I’ll have another go at installation and calibration. If we get some decent weather I may even throw the pedals on one of our road bike for some outdoor riding. Keep an eye out for a longer term review around March 1.