Look Exakt Power Meter Pedals Review
Our friends at Look USA gave us a set of their Exakt power meter pedals (with SRM technology for the power measurement) for review and testing. We’ve had the pedals for a bit over a month and have had time to give them quite a few rides and look at their power numbers against a couple of verified trainers.
Overall the pedals were pretty darn good. The Look pedal platform has been around for a long time and is stable and secure. You won’t have to hunt for special cleats – these take any of Look’s Keo cleats. Once set up and calibrated getting the pedals to sync with our Garmin 935 watches was fast and easy, same goes for Zwift. The pedals transmit over both ANT+ and Dual Bluetooth Low Energy so connecting to just about any device should be simple.
We were able to verify the power figures being sent to the SRM PC8 head unit against a couple of other platforms including a Wahoo Kicker that had been verified against Quarq and Stages power meters. We did this verification after the numbers on Eric’s Kurt trainer were inconsistent with what the PC8 was showing. The power numbers looked equal at warm up and low zone 2 power levels but then appeared low on the PC8 when compared to the numbers the trainer was sending to Zwift. Testing against a verified power meter showed that the trainer was the culprit. The verified Wahoo and the numbers on the PC8 were in complete agreement.
Accuracy isn’t something that we’re able to test and, really, what’s important is consistent measurement and reliability. With SRM behind the power measurement we can safely assume that the accuracy is as good as it gets. We didn’t see any funky behavior over our test period which speaks to the reliability factor.
The Exakt app makes calibration fairly easy (more on that below) and provides a ton of data. We didn’t use the app a ton during our testing but all of the data transmitted by the pedals – power, cadence, torque, power balance, etc. – is available in the app. That data is also sent over to Garmin Connect for all of your data geek needs.
As we said in our First Look article, installation can be a bit challenging for some folks. For us, the reason we’d want power meter pedals is the ability to quickly change pedals between bikes with minimal hassle. Look’s pedals won’t quite tick this box. Set up and calibration requires quite a bit of attention plus a couple of tools. The short version of the procedure is that you have to ensure that a point on the pedal axle is in line with your cranks. From there you tighten down a lock nut for which you’ll use the included 19mm cone wrench. Once that’s done you’ll begin the calibration. That requires you to have the Exakt app open while you lean on the pedal with your hand and use Look’s special 8mm hex wrench (also included with the pedals) with the other hand. You’re shooting to center a needle in a little meter within the app. Sounds easy but, again, you’re applying pressure to the pedal with one hand while making tiny adjustments with the 8mm hex wrench with the other hand. The initial set up took me about 10 minutes but other reviews I read found that it took much longer. I’m pretty mechanically adept and maybe that helped me get through the set up faster. If you’re scared of tire levers you’re probably going to want to have your bike shop do this set up for you.
An installation update – When letting Look know that I was sending the pedals back they told me that the installation process has been refined a bit. In particular, it appears that the 19mm locknut doesn’t have to be torqued down quite as hard making the process a bit smoother. The draft of a new installation that they sent shows that the final calibration only requires the 8mm hex wrench to get the final calibration right. This should save time on installation and likely will help to reduce frustration.
Pricing – There aren’t really any cost effective power meters out there yet. The Look Exakt pedals are at the upper end of the current power meter pricing range. Given that we’re talking about Look pedals and SRM power measurement you’re paying for quality, accuracy and experience. Still, $899 for single sided power measurement and $1699 for dual sided measurement is a big chunk of change for most folks. (The bundle with the SRM PC8 head unit brings the price up to $2199.)
So, overall we’d give the Look Exakt pedals high marks for their functionality and ease of connection to devices. Set up and calibration requires at least some technical skills and patience. You’re going to want to set aside some time to set the pedals up. Don’t think you can throw these on your bike a couple minutes before heading out for a ride. If price is factor in your power meter decision you can find lots of options a good deal cheaper than these. If the ultimate in accuracy and power meter heritage is what you’re after then the Look Exakt pedals fit the bill for you.
Thank you to Look USA for trusting us to review these pedals. It looks like we’ll have the opportunity to play with some more Look products in the near future so stay tuned for more…