Bike Forums

Bike Forums (
-   Road Cycling (
-   -   Aerolite pedals. Your experience! (

dgasmd 04-18-08 06:30 PM

Aerolite pedals. Your experience!
I am seriously considering these pedals. Currently ride on LOOK KEO Carbon with CroMoly.

Have you used them before? What is YOUR EXPERIENCE with them? Tell me all you know about them please. The good and the bad.

prendrefeu 04-18-08 06:39 PM

...caveat is that I haven't used them.

BUT: took a look at their website ( and my first thought was: "Where's the float?"
Second thought "Can you walk on those cleats? How long do they last?"
Third thought "Man, I really love my Bebop Deluxe pedals"

Then I did a quick search on Google. Looks like quite a few 'nay' on the verdict of Aerolites.

Strong Bad 04-18-08 07:58 PM

I used them for a couple of years when they first came out.
They were great for a first generation clipless pedal, but time marches on.
They might be super light, but....
I wouldn't consider them an acceptable substitute for any of the modern higher end clipless pedals, unless you can live with zero float, an extra inch of lift in the front of your shoe when you walk, and you don't ever need to sprint. They are more susceptible to pull out in sprints (I've done it).

Bontrager 04-18-08 08:25 PM

"They have the safest exit method by foot supination, a natural ankle motion."

For 1 thing they don't know their anatomy or how the ankle and subtalar joints work.

carpediemracing 04-19-08 12:53 AM

I used them for a long, long time, I think perhaps 10-11 years, from the time Look came out (they came out slightly before Look I think) to somewhere in 1995-1997 when my shoes wore out and I couldn't find or make any more cleat adaptors. I have a current set of pedals but haven't gotten around to installing them on shoes.

The company struggled for a while. They changed their name to Zerolite (new owners I think), then I think the original folks bought them back and it changed to Aerolite again. I'm pretty sure the guy was machining pedals as the orders came in, and he just had a huge stack of cleats and boxes. That was my impression anyway.

1. You NEVER accidentally pull out. I loved these for sprints. You only have to make sure they're tight. Too tight and you never get in either, they're that tight.
2. Super light. 38 grams for a pedal and hardware. I haven't confirmed it with a gram scale but it's in that range (Ti axle). Add some adapters and you probably double the weight. Now you're at a whopping 150 grams for a pair of pedals with cleats, adapters, everything. When I first started riding with regular pedals I felt like I was riding around with ankle weights on my legs.
3. Probably 2 degrees of float due to play in the pedal.
4. When you dig a pedal (at some insane angle - 38 degrees or so) you hit soft plastic cleat which is not structural. So you rarely (I've never) lift a rear wheel and you can pedal through anything your tires will grip enough for you to pedal.

1. Extremely difficult to set up properly. Should be easier with the SPD double screw cleat (which didn't exist when I had them). I drilled my shoes, put in the threaded insert that used to come with Look pedals (because shoes weren't "Look Compatible" back then), and used a plexiglass type adapter to mount the cleats. When I had wood soled Duegis it was very, very easy to set up, just had to be sure of cleat position first.
2. Hard to fine tune tension. You did this by tightening the 4 screws holding the cleat more or less. Too tight and you couldn't get in. Too loose and you pull out. My thing was to tighten them until I couldn't get in easily then loosen them just a touch. Eventually it's like derailleur limit screws - you know what every quarter turn of the screw does.
3. Hard to walk in. Cleats wear out somewhat quickly due to walking, but only on edges. Doesn't affect holding tension for a while, and if you do #2 somewhat regularly (weekly? monthly) then it's not a problem. I think I went through a set of cleats in a year.
4. Old versions of the pedals (off hand I can think of 3 versions prior to the "latest" one) all had some kind of reliability issue. Plastic screw to hold on sleeve (it broke after a lot of use, causing sleeve/pedal to shoot off pedal). Aluminum screw (plastic sleeve didn't shoot off but I think it loosened up). No bearings (Turcite) were more loose than bearing ones (which I preferred) but they didn't have large wrench flats yet. All of them were machined with US/standard threads, so they seized in your cranks after a while. Threads were too tall and/or too thick, but right pitch, so they threaded in very tight. In fact they were so tight the crank was extremely hot to touch once you were done threading it in. And they were chrome plated so I couldn't tap the threads to the right size. I still have a crank with a pedal axle seized in it. Newest pedal seems to have dealt with all these issues.
5. 2 degrees of float from pedal play. Can't increase it. You need to have relatively durable and/or adaptable knees. I never had a problem with it but I still tried to sketch out ways of installing float.

Obligatory blog links:

Ultimately I gave up on them two winters ago, I just didn't have the time or energy to experiment with shoes and such, and with us trying to get the house ready for the market, I didn't have time. We sold the house but I'm still on Keos.

I even ride the grey cleats on Keos as a step towards the minimal float in the Aerolites. I put some red cleats on a new pair of shoes (backups) and felt like I was on Speedplays. I am now thinking of buying black cleats for my Keos.

However, your post has got me thinking again :)


RelevantCycling 04-19-08 08:04 AM

Wow, taking me back. way back. I used Aerolites on my tri time trial bikes in the late '80's to early '90's. In fact I still have an old bike in the basement with aerolites on it - not that I have the cleats anymore.

The above captures the pluses and minuses perfectly. And I am surprised at that weight they don't get a little more airtime....

dgasmd 04-19-08 05:04 PM

I must say that in the 2 years on bike forum, this is probably the single thread I have started asking something, simple or not, and get so far nothing but positive, intelligent, and to the point answers. Very impressive.

I thank you all for the answers and comments. I will contact the company on monday and see what they say. I have a few questions and want to see what they have to say before I go ordering them.

yfoil 07-06-09 06:57 AM

Another problem with aerolite pedals is since they don't have traditional bearings the sleeve rides directly on the axle. This causes a pedal loosening effect causing the pedal to come unscrewed from the crank. So if you hammer down real hard and the pedal falls off the bike, guess what - your foot goes straight to the ground and you will most likely crash. It happened to me.

dgasmd 07-06-09 11:23 AM

Wow, flash from the past.

I've had these pedals now for 14 months of use in 2 bikes and I must say I couldn't be happier. I have come unclipped once by mistake in that time, which is far less times than with the Looks I had used in the past in one month. The lack of float has proven to be not only not an issue, but actually a blessing. I guess I did not realize how much inefficient waste of motion and energy I had with all the swiveling of my feet on the pedals. I guess it did make up for maybe the lack of proper cleat positioning, but it certainly was only masking that problem. Again, proper position is the key here. Most of us are too lazy to take the time to align our cleats right.

I have been using them with an adaptor, which has proven to be the current weakest link in this system. Aerolite, and even custom shoe companies like D2, will tell you the best and most efficient way to put the cleat is to bolt it straight to the sole of the shoe. Although it may be best and most efficient way, it is also the hardest way to do it right as it leaves no room for errors in position on the sole or leaves you with several holes in the sole before you find the perfect spot. I was not willing to drill several holes to the sole of my shoes, so opted for the adaptor. Also, some people like myself may be using bikes with ISP. Changing the stack height of your shoes/cleat considerably will cause you to have to adjust the height and fit of your bike. I was not willing to cut my seat tube again just for these pedals. The original cleat adaptors from Aerolites were in acrylic, which is an extremely poor material for this application. Eventually, they cracked. I had some custom ones made by D2, which although in construction and workmanship were awesome, they were made of the same material meeting the same fate of the original ones. I made my own with a dremmel tool and a cutting board (starboard material). They have worked incredibly well. It has proven to be the perect combo.

Another thing about the pedals is the since they have no bearing, they need no lubrication. Also, that means no breakdown. There is some minor wear over time, so the sleeve has to be changed over time just like you would change the cleats on your LOOK pedals (I just changed mine for the first time after about 10,000 miles). I found the pedals actually turn much easier and with far less resistance than the bearing pedals I have used in the past (several LOOK models).

Getting in and out took a bit of getting used to. Not because it was difficult, but because it was different. I still find it much easier to get out in a jam than the LOOK pedals, but at the same time I don't ever come undone by mistake. The issue mentioned above with the pedal becoming loose sounds to me like it was not properly tight to begin with.

Overall, I am extremely satisfied and would get them again. Again, the cleat adaptor remains to be the weakest link here. If you are willing to do a little trial and error and a little work to make the adaptors right, it is an extremely good system. Like many other things, it is not for everyone.

epenthetic 07-06-09 01:15 PM

Originally Posted by carpediemracing (Post 6546441)
Negatives: [...]
All of them were machined with US/standard threads, so they seized in your cranks after a while.

How could they even sell them with such a significant design error? Standard dimension threads in in a metric pitch?

carpediemracing 07-06-09 01:59 PM

Originally Posted by epenthetic (Post 9228210)
How could they even sell them with such a significant design error? Standard dimension threads in in a metric pitch?

15mm is the same as something (9/16"?). The threads are close, but not that close. Apparently the original company could only get the US threads cut, not metric. Or they cut it metric, had them chrome plated, and then they were too big. Whatever it was, it was definitely a significant design error. I was looking through my crank bin the other day and found not one but two crank arms with seized Aerolites in them.

btw the original Aerolites had roller bearings. They didn't loosen up, partially because of the standard size threads (vs metric). The Turcite bearing pedals were machined much smaller and fit loosely in the crank. I think that's why they loosened. I didn't like how they fit so I stuck with the older roller bearing ones.


dgasmd 07-06-09 02:26 PM

Well, I can't say that is an issue with either of my sets. They fit no different than any other pair of LOOK pedal I have own before. No seizing either with my Ti ones. I know because I have taken them off a couple of times already. More info on the adaptors laters as I spoke with them earlier.

yfoil 07-13-09 07:53 AM

I can say that I didn't get a lot of experience with the aerolites, but that is because they failed before I could get any miles in. I tried attaching the cleat to the spd holes to have float, as directed by the manufacturer. Really the way you get float with these is by not tightening the screws. How can anyone feel safe riding on cleats that are not tight? Especially in a sprint! So I gave up on that and actually sent my shoes and cleats to the manufacturer so he could install the cleats permanently. I got them back and didn't even make it out of my driveway before the entire left cleat came loose from the shoe, if he can't install his own cleat than I have to wonder what else he is inept about. So then still not ready to give up on the light weight pedals, I re-installed them with the four permanent screws myself. As other posters have mentioned, yes this is a difficult and tricky process to get right - both for correct positioning and so that it is possible to even clip into them. This time I got 2 miles down the road when the right pedal came unscrewed from the crank right when I went to stand for a hard effort. My right leg and foot when straight to the pavement with a lot of force causing me to lose control and crash. Luckily my injuries were mostly just road rash, but the bike suffered a lot of scratches and the front wheel - an expensive Rolf Elan was completely ruined. As I mentioned in another post, these pedals will come unscrewed from the crank easily because of the lack of bearings. If you don't understand why, think about it more or ask an engineer. You will realize that bearings create an opposite force in the tightening direction. The manufacturer 'sort of' admitted this, and his answer was to find a really long wrench to tighten them beyond any normal expected torque on a bicycle. Another issue I had was one of my feet would pull out of the pedal on the upstroke on a regular basis. Maybe this was my own technique, or maybe it is because I use power cranks with weights on a regular basis, so my up stroke may be a lot stronger.

dgasmd 07-13-09 01:42 PM

I don't know what to tell you man, but it sounds to me as if "some" of your issues are somewhat of an easy fix. Maybe not. I don't know what to tell you.

yfoil 07-20-09 06:59 AM

Maybe so, but I can't that much time trying to get something as simple as pedals and cleats to just work for me! I switched all (7) of my bikes over to Speedplay X pedals a couple of years ago. This is an excellent system. Very easy to install the pedals, and cleats. Very easy to clip into and out of. In fact, I still see at least half of the racers in a mass start struggling to get clipped in sometimes causing havoc at the start line! Lightweight is great, but I'd spend the money on lighter wheels and/or tires.

JohnDThompson 07-20-09 08:24 AM

Originally Posted by carpediemracing (Post 9228539)
15mm is the same as something (9/16"?). The threads are close, but not that close. Apparently the original company could only get the US threads cut, not metric.

Umm, ISO pedal thread is 9/16" x 20tpi; metric pedal thread (rarely seen since the demise of the French component manufacturers in the mid 80s) is 14mm x 1.25mm.

All times are GMT -6. The time now is 06:50 AM.

Copyright 2018 MH Sub I, LLC dba Internet Brands. All rights reserved. Use of this site indicates your consent to the Terms of Use.