How Are Carbon Bike Pedals Made? | Look Cycle Factory Tour

How Are Carbon Bike Pedals Made? | Look Cycle Factory Tour


– What is the most important
innovation in road cycling? Well, there have been a
few, but without doubt, one of the most important innovations is the clipless pedal. They’re widely used now, but
this wasn’t always the case. It wasn’t until 1985 when Bernard Hinault won the Tour de France
using clipless pedals that the world actually
started to take notice. And he did so using a
pair of the now legendary LOOK Pedal Automatic. So we’ve decided to come and make a video about the development of clipless pedals and to see how they’re made today. And to do so, we thought who better to team up with, than the
clipless pedal pioneers, LOOK. LOOK has a really impressive
history and heritage in clipless pedals. The interesting thing here,
is that LOOK’s history prior to this was actually
in something else. Ski-bindings. And the company was looking
for another revenue stream for when, well, it wasn’t winter. And so it turned to cycling and since then, LOOK
has continued to develop and innovate clipless pedal technology and well, hasn’t looked back since. So, no pun intended on
the repeated use of look. The next key design was this, the LOOK Carbo Pro which
has an aluminum body which made it really good
in terms of durability and longevity. But it was quite weighty, so LOOK wanted to make
lighter pedals if possible ’cause cyclists are always
obsessed with the weight of their parts. So then, they made this, the CX7 which came out in 1993 and this was a really cool pedal ’cause it actually featured
a carbon fiber body and was the first pedal to do so. And it was really adjustable as well, you could actually adjust the q factor, and also the tilt on this pedal as well which is really interesting. But, it wasn’t a huge
commercial success for LOOK, ’cause it was really expensive to produce. They then brought out this, the LOOK Keo and that used the smaller Keo cleat, rather than the bigger delta cleat that was found on the older pedals. This also had a carbon fiber body and it’s really really light. Then technology continued to improve all the way to the current day and they eventually
moved away from springs and brought out this, the LOOK Keo Blade and the first one you can see it’s got the carbon leaf
spring sort of on there instead of the metal spring
in the back of the cleat. This particular one
also has a titanium axle to make it even lighter
and it’s really light. And then that takes us all
the way up to the present day the current current LOOK Keo Blade Carbon and now you can see that
the blade is actually bigger and fills the back of the pedal, because this makes the
pedal more aerodynamic and it’s better for the
airflow coming underneath. And in case you’re wondering what the difference in
weight is between this and this. Well this weighs about
90 grams, and this weighs well, well over 200 grams. So, yeah, quite a big difference. Clipless pedals might seem
like quite a simple object, but there’s actually a
really impressive amount of engineering that goes into them. So, here I have all the
individual components that make up the LOOK
Keo Carbon Blade Titanium which is LOOK’s most advanced pedal that they currently make. So first up we have this, which is the main body of the pedal and it’s an injection molded
carbon composite body. And then it has a steel alloy
baseplate on there as well that’s fixed in place. You’ve got the back of the pedal, which is the bit that
holds your cleat in place and that’s secured by this
sort of axle if you will. And then there’s the spring which is the Keo Carbon Blade
that gives the pedal its name. And they have different numbers on, corresponding to the
strength of that blade and it gives a different spring tension depending on the number that’s on there, so the higher the number,
the more the tension and you can swap them out. Then there’s the other bits as well, so we’ve got some various washers, we’ve got the bearing, and
then we’ve got the axle which, on the lightest pedal
LOOK does, the Titanium, is a titanium axle. It really is light. And then that just slots in place here. But to see how this all fits together we’re gonna have a look behind me now ’cause there’s a load
of really cool machines that, like, slot all the bits together, so let’s go have a look. (gentle jazz music) The first step is the injection molding of the main pedal body
which I’ve got here. And then the next step is to get the LOOK logos
and little decals on there. And the way they do that
is in this printing room. So they start like this, with nothing on them and then using this machine, they can print LOOK
logos on them really fast and all the other little logos as well. If you look on these
two trays, this is cool. That tray is yellow,
and that tray is blue, and that’s a really simple way that LOOK separates the
left and right pedals, so the left pedal’s are all blue, and the right pedals are all yellow. That’s how they keep everything separate throughout the entire production process throughout the entire factory. Pretty simple, but cool. (gentle jazz music) The next component that goes in the pedal is that all important blade spring. Now this is one of the few components that’s not made in France, it’s actually made in Tunisia
in LOOK’s factory over there so I think we should
teleport over to Tunisia and see it being made, now. Oh, that was quick. So, the raw carbon
arrives here in Tunisia, in the form of massive rolls and it’s pre-impregnated
with an uncured resin. Now what happens is, is
the rolls are then cut into sections, and then multiple layers
are combined together and pressed together in a big press, to make these thicker laminate
sections like we have here. These laminate sections
are then rolled by hand in this room here to give it that predefined
cross section shape of the final blade spring. The shaped laminate section is then placed in this heated press for seven minutes at 150 degrees. And after that, it’s then
placed in another oven where it cures the resin further. And the result is this stiff-shaped plate I’ve got here. But this is still far removed
from the finished article we see in the blade pedal. So this is now shipped
back to Nevers in France so that it can be finally
transformed into the spring. So, these are the pieces, well the blades that come as they do from Tunisia, and then this long sheet here is cut unto 12 individual blades that fit into a pedal. Then it’s polished so that it has a nice finish on it and the transfer is applied to it as well that says the Keo Blade and the, also the number referring to
the stiffness of each one. Cool. (gentle jazz music) We’re now in the main room
where LOOK assembles its pedals and there’s two lines so here you have the spring zone which is for LOOK’s Keo
pedals with a spring actuation at the back, and then just over here you’ve got the blade zone which is for LOOK’s Keo Carbon Blades that have the blade
spring system in there. And you can see, there’s two, well, the assembly line
is split into two halves we have that continuation
of yellow on the right and blue on the left to
keep the pedals separate so left hand pedals on this side, right hand pedals on this side all the way to the end down there where they package the pedals and that’s the only point
which they come together. The first step of the
assembly is to take the body, the blade, this back part here and then this rod and this
machine pushes it all together and slots it into place. Much better than my hands are
trying to do it right now. Mid-way through the assembly
of each Keo Blade Carbon is a quality control test where they put it in this machine here which sort of pushes it
forwards and backwards 60 times to stress test it. And if it’s not of the standard it will fail and break during this test. After the stress test, the next step is the axle assembly within the pedal and that’s done using this machine here, which sort of presses
everything into place. It’s really quick and impressive. The axle is pressed into place,
the bearing goes in as well and then an end cap that seals it all up is also pressed on at the end as well. Which you can see here. So there’s one without the axle in place and you see the end cap there. Cool, huh? The last manufacturing process
is putting the pedal spindle through inside the pedal and
there’s an end cap as well. And that’s actually glued in
place and then lock tighted on. And then it predetermines
with a predetermined torque screws on the end cap on really fast. It’s like a formula one pit lane gun, it’s really cool. We’re almost at the end
of the production line. But, we’ve reached a hurdle
which needs to be overcome by every set of pedals that LOOK makes and that is quality control which is something that LOOK
absolutely prides itself on. So in this box, are pedals which haven’t passed quality control for different reasons. And they’re all assessed and they’re given a
different color coded sticker depending on what’s wrong with them. So what LOOK will do is take this away, it’ll recycle all the
parts that aren’t faulty and put them back into the production line and the ones that are, well they’ll just get rid of them. But in order to make sure that LOOK’s products pass quality control, they have a really cool room which I think I should
go and show you now. So jet lift power right. This is the first test and this machine cleverly
simulates a cleat going into a pedal, unclipping, and clipping back in again. And what they do to test the pedals is they make this work for 24 hours and that simulates three
years of intensive pedal use. All in 24 hours. Amazing. We’ve managed to lose some of the noise because the LOOK mechanics have
gone for their lunch break. I’m sure the screaming
pedals will be delighted. So onto the next test which is to test the bearings
and the axle of the pedals. So the pedal is placed
in this machine here. It then has a load of
90KG pulling down on it and then it goes through 2 million cycles and that’s placed also at an offset within a cam of 5MM so it puts more stress on the spindle and the bearing, rather
than just spinning it round on it’s center axis. They also do an offset of five degrees, so the pedal’s actually
wonky as it spins round in the cycles as well. And to do 2 million cycles
in both of these tests, it takes two weeks to do 2 million cycles. That’s amazing, and a huge
amount of stress on the pedal. It’s in there, screaming, for two weeks. It doesn’t end there though. These pedals really do
get a tough time at LOOK. This machine is actually
testing the bearings and the spindle of the
pedal and even more. And again, they have to
be able to survive this in order to pass LOOK’s
test and go into production. Now that we’ve been satisfied
that quality control has been taken care of we can head back to the packaging zone. I’d like to say that no pedals were harmed in the making of this
video but that’d be a lie. We’re now at the end of the line which is packaging of the
final completed pedals that have also passed quality control. So we’ve got all these boxes here. These empty boxes, well
the packaging’s designed by LOOK and it’s made in
Nevers as well in France and just driven down the road. The completed pedals are put in there and they are put in their
finished complete boxes which I think you’ll agree,
wraps things up nicely. So, I hope you’ve enjoyed this video and found it useful. And if you’d like to watch another video, then why not check out
our LOOK factory tour where we go to visit
LOOK’s bike frame factory in Tunisia and see how carbon
frames are actually made. It’s really cool.