Shortly after Sea Otter, Look sent us their latest clipless pedal, for testing – the “X-Track En-Rage Plus”. Unsurprisingly, it’s aimed at…you guessed it – Enduro! Cheap shots aside, they fall somewhere between a caged DH pedal and a minimalist XC pedal. They have a mid-sized aluminum body housing two adjustable traction pins up front. At the heart of things, the engagement system has adjustable tension and SPD compatibility. After a few months of shared time with flat pedals and a set of Times, here’s how they worked out…
Platform width – 67 mm
Platform length – 92mm
Float – 6°
Spindle – Chromoly
Body – Forged aluminum
Cleats – SPD compatible
Warranty – 2 Years
Weight – 450 grams (pedals only, verified)
Price – $130
The body is forged, with machined relief for shape and weight savings. A plastic endcap allows you to access the axle for tension adjustments and rebuilds.
The two forward “traction” pins are adjustable via an allen key. At the center section there is a grid pattern section that looks knurled, offering an extra bit of bite.
Interestingly, when you’re clipped in, the traction pins aren’t actually touching the sole of your shoe. Rather, the idea is that they’ll help in unclipped situations.
The “cage” is mid-sized at 67mm X 92mm. It offers a bit more stability and is easier to find than a standard XC pedal, but isn’t quite DH pedal big. It’s worth noting that if the gold-ish bronze color isn’t your thing, the X-Tracks also come in a foolproof black anodized colorway as well.
The standard, included cleat is SPD compatible and offers 6º of lateral float. Look offers the X-Track “easy” cleat. A picture is worth a thousand words, and looking at the right photo above, compared to the left photo will give you an excellent idea of how the two cleats compare.
On the trail
I should preface this review by saying that I’m an unabashed Time pedal loyalist. When it comes to product testing, I’m up for trying anything. After all, that is my job. That said, crashing when you can’t unclip from unfamiliar pedals is less pleasant than having a sore ass from testing a saddle that doesn’t really agree with your anatomy. Anyhow, these pedals never caused me to crash, but I wanted to be up front about what I typically ride.
So, having ridden SPD style pedals a handful of times, the Look’s felt familiar enough in terms of engagement. They were very easy to “find” and get into; the pressure necessary for the cleat to engage requires less force than Times, even with the tension cranked up. I mainly rode the X-Tracks before conditions got nasty here in Santa Cruz, California, where we just started getting our first rains of the winter. While I do think that the pins and broad cage make the pedal more supportive and comfortable, as well as easier to get into, I don’t think they were all that to easy to ride unclipped. For what it’s worth, I have the same criticism of the Time Speciale’s and most DH clipless pedals for that matter.
While I got along well with these pedals, one thing that caught me off guard was how easy it was to accidentally unclip by twisting my feet inboard, when snapping off a turn or getting slightly sideways mid-air. The cleats are not right/left specific, and therefore the release feels the same whether you try to unclip by twisting your heel toward or away from your bike. I got used to that after a few rides and it wasn’t really an issue – certainly the norm with any SPD style pedal anyway, but it stuck out and seemed worth mentioning. Generally speaking, I got along with the X-Tracks much better with higher tension. Once engaged, they felt very secure and supportive under the foot. In a few months of on and off riding, I never experienced any problems with the axle loosening or developing any play, so they seem to be in it for the long haul.
Look has jumped into an emerging segment of the pedal market with a very viable option. Not everyone wants the bulk of a full on DH pedal and not everyone wants an anorexic XC pedal either. For riders those familiar with and partial to Shimano’s “feel”, but maybe not their current pedals’ layout and cage design, the X-Track could be the way to go. At $130, the price is quite good, they’ve held up well and seem built to last.