The LOOK X-Track RACE CARBON pedals feature a simple design and promise to offer an efficient power transfer. LOOK rely on the Shimano SPD system and their own cleats. Is the tried-and-tested clipless system and large contact area enough to make them good all-round pedals? We put them to the test to find out.
The French company LOOK were the first manufacturers to bring clipless pedals to the market in the 1980s. To do so, they transferred their know-how about ski bindings to bicycle pedals. Today, LOOK pedals are predominantly found on road bikes. Can the French brand put their knowledge to use on gravel pedals? Read on to find out.
Sporty performance: LOOK X-Track RACE CARBON
The € 114 LOOK X-Track RACE CARBON are the most affordable pedals in the test field, and they rely on the Shimano SPD system with an adjustable spring preload tension. However, their look and feel aren’t on par with those of the other brands on test. Compared to the XTR pedals, they offer a larger contact area, resulting in more support and better power transfer. However, since both pedals share the same clipless mechanism, they feel very similar.
LOOK offer their own cleats, which have 6° of float instead of the usual 4° of Shimano cleats. That said, the system is compatible with all standard SPD cleats, offering a 13° release angle with a Q-factor of 53 mm. You can also get easy multi-release cleats that allow you to unclick in almost any direction. This is supposed to prevent newbies from meeting the asphalt at the traffic lights and it’s generally good to have solutions that make things easier for beginners. However, simply having a smaller release angle – as offered by Crankbrothers, for example – makes more sense. They let beginners learn to unclick the right way from the start, making it easier to transition to other cleats by relying on muscle memory. Moreover, being able to unclick by pulling up makes it much more difficult to pull up on the pedals without coming loose unintentionally. So, in a sprint, these cleats might end up actually robbing you of confidence, which is the opposite of what you want for a beginner.
Due to the relatively large contact area, the LOOK X-Track RACE CARBON pedals live up to their name, providing the raciest feeling. With these gravel pedals, the efficient power transfer resembles the feeling of a road bike most closely. But also in the negative sense because the pedals have the worst self-cleaning properties on test and even small amounts of dirt or mud are enough to clog them, making it much more difficult to click in.
|Brand||Model||Weight||Price||System||Float||Release angle||Q-factor||Stack height|
|LOOK||X-Track RACE CARBON||350 g||€ 114.00||SPD||6°||13°||53 mm||16.8 mm|
Our conclusion on the LOOK X-Track RACE CARBON
The LOOK X-Track RACE CARBON pedals live up to their name, giving your gravel bike that race feeling. Due to the relatively large contact area, they offer the best power transfer of all the pedals on test. However, they don’t feel as high-quality and their self-cleaning is poor, which severely restricts their versatility. Gravel racers or ambitious riders who usually ride in dry conditions will enjoy these pedals, allowing them to convert their pedalling input into maximum propulsion.
- efficient power transfer due to the large contact area
- poor self-cleaning
- easy cleat multi-release concept doesn’t make sense
- look and feel isn’t high-quality
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Words: Simon Kohler Photos: Simon Hänle