Editor’s Note: This is the last pedal to be introduced in the Round-Up series which Grannygear is producing for Riding Gravel. There will be a follow up on this specific pedal and a final word on the Round-Up to come. Now let’s see the last contender is and what Grannygear has to say about it.
The Riding Gravel Pedal Round-Up: Look X-Track- by Grannygear
Look started it all, this clipless pedal stuff, at least that is what I have read. I was not cycling on the road then, so skinny tire related products were not on my radar. But to be the ones’ that started it all is pretty cool really, and to still be in the bicycle pedal biz all these years later is even more so. In fact when you say Look pedals, well, it is nearly the road pedal equivalent of saying Kleenex for tissue. But when it comes mountain bikes and Look pedals, not so much. In fact I never have seen anyone using a Look pedal on a mountain bike. Maybe it’s been a Euro thing…dunno. I have seen models from the recent past that took a similar approach to the Time ATAC with twin steel bars and a very open structure, but those are gone and today the Look MTB pedal is all about X-Track. From the Look press release and website: https://www.lookcycle.com/en/mtb-pedals/
NEW X-TRACK MTB PEDALS
LOOK HAS ENGINEERED MTB PEDALS WITH THE BEST WEIGHT / CONTACT SURFACE RATIO ON THE MARKET
The leader in clipless pedals launches the X-Track range of pedals. X-Track is dedicated to off-road riders who want to be able to jump on their bike and enjoy the ride no matter the conditions knowing they can rely on their pedals for functionality and performance.
In designing the new X-Track, LOOK engineers concentrated on the interaction of three major factors: contact surface, weight, and the entry/release mechanism, thereby creating a “ready-to-ride” pedal that is easier to use.
• Tested by the best riders in the worst conditions
• Developed to maximize pedaling efficiency
• Best power to weight ratio in the XC pedal category
• Optimal contact surface: 515 mm2
• Intuitive positioning / easy to engage
• SPD Compatible
LOOK’s X-Track series includes a full lineup for recreational riders to professional
athletes competing at the highest level, from aluminum weighing at 195g at the
lowest price point, to carbon and titanium and the lightest weight option at 150g at
the high end.
• X-Track Race
• X-Track Race Carbon
• X-Track Race Carbon Ti
LOOK continues with model variations for each off-road category with
corresponding contact widths
- Cross Country // X-Track Race // 60MM
- Trail // X-Track Rage // 63MM
- Enduro // X-Track Rage Plus // 67MMAnd the pedals have already produced winning athletes in U23 World Champion Samuel Gaze, Simon Andreassen, Cristoph Sauser and Maxime Mariotte.
Pricing info here by model:
• X-Track // $49.99 // 195 grams
• X-Track Race // $89.99 // 182 grams
• X-Track Race Carbon // $129.99 // 174 grams
• X-Track Race Carbon Ti // $249.99 // 150 grams
• X-Track Rage // $74.99 // 227 grams
• X-Track Rage Plus // $129.99 // 218 gram
I have to say that I never even thought of a pedal having a power to weight ratio, but there you go. Regardless of that, the new X-Track pedal is a good looking piece of work and we have a sample of the X-Track Race Carbon to put through the paces. The X-Track line-up begins at the lower end with the aluminum bodied X-Track model priced at $49.99 and weighing in at a claimed 195g. The top of the heap X-Track Race Carbon Ti (titanium spindle) lists for $249.99 and is a quite light 150g. The X-Track Race Carbon (steel spindle) that we have lists for $129.99 and is claimed to weigh 174g.
I weighed the X-Track Race Carbon pedals at 346g a pair (so that is pretty much 173g each) with no cleats. To compare that to a Shimano SPD MTB pedal, the X-Track Race Carbon is at the weight of the M8000 XT Race pedal (claimed 343g).
The X-Track Race Carbon at $129.99 (suggested) is comparably priced with the M8000 Race pedal listing at $120.00 but I found the M8000 SPDs for half that on an online site I use in the US. Will we see the Look pedals at a similar discount? I doubt it, but perhaps.
An M9000 XTR Race level pedal is more costly than the X-Track Race Carbon at $180.00 (but is less than the Ti version) and the XTR Race is light at a claimed 310g a pair. But if the ‘Power to weight ratio’ claim has any merit to it, then we need to consider just how the surface area of a pedal, basically the area your shoe is in contact with (or is NOT in contact with), affects how efficiently we pedal our bikes. And it only takes a cursory glance to see that there is very little to stand on with the XTR pedal aside from the area right at the cleat. It is lighter because there is less of it.
The X-Track Race Carbon is a bit more of a full figured gal in that sense and we shall endeavor to determine if that makes a difference I can feel. The pedal weight of the X-Track Race Carbon is still quite good at only 60 grams or so heavier than the Time ATACs we tested. So, basically, a couple of ounces.
My first impression of the X-Track Race Carbons when I unboxed them was “Those are good looking pedals”. They look kind of high tech with the mix of carbon-y looking parts and shiny metal looking parts…am I getting too technical here? The mechanism that you click into looks very SPD-ish for the lack of a better word. Of course that is all just an impression, but they look like a quality item and they spin smoothly in the hand with a nice bit of drag that portends a good sealing system. The wider ‘wing’ sections where you rest your shoe are composite with a metal plate to take care of shoe to pedal wear issues. I do wonder how that carbon composite would deal with a good rock strike, but in the gravel world I don’t think that is as much a concern as with a trail bike. As well, Look has some versions with an external cage to buttress things up a bit for more rowdy bike pursuits.
I have them on the gravel bike now and my first impressions have been quite good. I will be checking on SPD cleat compatibility too as I have heard these play well across the formats. We shall see. More to come after a good bit of riding and mud puddle stomping.
Note: The LOOK X-Track pedals were sent to Grannygear for test and review on RidingGravel.com at no charge. We are not being paid nor bribed for this review and we will strive to give our honest thoughts and opinions throughout.
About The Author: Grannygear hails from SoCal and spent most of his cycling days as a mountain biker from the formative years of mountain biking all the way up to the present day. His day job is in the tech sector, but he has spent time writing about off road 4X4’s, 29″ mountain bikes, and cycling in general. Grannygear and Guitar Ted have worked off and on together since 2009 after a chance meeting at Interbike. With gravel cycling on the rise, Grannygear has been exploring how this genre’ works in SoCal and now does guest pieces for RidingGravel.com in his spare time.
6 thoughts on “The Riding Gravel Pedal Round-Up: Look X-Track”
I’ve always been skeptical if shoe to cleat contact space actually matters. If your shoe has a stiff carbon sole wouldn’t the same force be applied to a spaghetti noodle?
Shoe contact does matter. I was riding Wellgo W01 ti pedals with carbon soled shoes for about 5 years and never thought shoe contact mattered. Those pedals have almost zero contact with the tread of the show. I went through two pairs of Wellgo pedals in that time frame. Those pedals are awesome in terms of durability and performance but the pedal spring would lose its tension over time and wouldn’t clamp as tight as I wanted. I rode those pedals because they were super light and were a great value. Last time the spring wore out, I was in the middle of CX season and wanted to squeeze a few more watts out of my arse but had none in there. I had heard from friends that a more stable pedal platform can gain you pedaling efficiency, which equals free watts. I’m not actually that obsessed with watts but I thought I would just try the new Shimano XT pedals with the wider platform. I am riding them now and have to say, the difference is obvious. Even if I’m not faster, my feet feel more planted in the pedals, which I like. The tread on your shoe is what makes the engagement with the platform so your results may vary depending on your shoe. Based on my XT pedal experience though, I have just bought a pair of the Look X-track Race pedals for my MTB to see if they feel even better. If they do, I will swap them onto m CX bike. I’m not looking for miracle or anything but surprisingly, the wider platform really does feel better.
@Volsung… I have no rebuttal for you. I am not sure I can tell any difference either using a stiff racing shoe. However, irregardless of power transfer, one thing I have noticed using these is that my foot feels more stable with less ‘rolling’ from side to side, especially when I am out of the saddle. Does it matter in any quantifiable way? No idea. But I have to admit I like it.
You’re not going to review Crank Brothers?
@Ron Reed…I approached Crank Brothers with a phone call and a follow up email but they never responded. You dance with who shows up, you know?
Would be nice to have these compared to Mavic Crossmax SL or Time Attack pedals.