Look MTB Pedals S Track
Quest For The Perfect Pedals | Product Review – Look S-Track Race
In my quest to fine tune my cyclocross/gravel bike I’ve been making some tweaks and upgrades this year. The latest obsession has been my quest to find the perfect pedals. There are only three places where I make contact with my bike; the bars, the saddle, and the pedals, so each of these need to be perfectly tuned.
Being that I primarily use this bike for gravel grinding and some singletrack I need pedals that provide adequate power transfer and stability similar to a road pedal. Naturally I turned to my local network of bike shops who pointed me toward the pedals that are now on my bike, Look S-Track Race pedals, landing in the middle of Look’s line of MTB pedals.
Once you’ve settled on pedals its hard to make the switch so I’m sure you’re asking what makes the S-Track Race worth the investment and the change. Here are some key features and functional differences that make these a good selection for my current cycling disciplines.
Why The S-Track Race?
1. Fast and Accurate Clip-In
Can a pedal with 2-sided entry be more effective than with 4-sided. 4-sided may sound better but in reality, if you miss the clip-in it doesn’t matter how many sides you have, you either have to take another shot at clipping in or attempt a reverse clip-in.
Though the clip-in process is similar to its popular 4-sided competition I believe it offers more accurate clip-in due to its design, being that you should be able to feel immediately if the pedal is in a vertical position at first contact, allowing you to make a simple foot position adjustment to hook the torque bar for seamless clip-in. There is no need to look down and carefully spin the pedal forward or backward to line up the cleat.
2. Wider Platform with Greater Stability
Look hypes the “Double Contact” feature of these pedals, where the sole of your shoe actually makes constant contact with the pedal. I initially thought this sounded cumbersome, but after spending a few hundred miles on these pedals and experimenting with the different shims provided (.5mm-2mm) I believe this feature makes these more than just MTB pedals. This will benefit riders who want a combination of the on and off-road experience. And this just happens to be one of the fastest growing disciplines in cycling in the US, so I think Look is on to something here.
The additional surface contact instils confidence when entering loose gravel and dirt corners while shifting weight to regain the traction needed to accelerate. When set up like this these pedals virtually eliminate accidental clip-out.
That being said, it’s important to note that with a greater surface area comes more tension in the clip-out process. This isn’t really a concern for me on gravel, where I spend most of my time hammering down fire roads. However; if you’re riding steep, punchy and technical terrain, or traditional cyclocross racing where clipping out often is a concern then I recommend you use the included shims to find your ideal tension.
So I’ve talked about how these pedals rock, but are there any drawbacks? I would say there are 2 things to be aware of but no deal breakers.
1. Little to No Float
At first I didn’t like this but after a few rides I began to really like the more snug fit. I was able to tweak the cleats just enough to allow my heels to be turned outward just slightly. This may really depend on how customizable your shoes are, but giving my heals that slight outward angle makes for a more comfortable ride given that these pedals do not allow for more than about 3 degrees of float.
2. They Show Damage
The pedals are of superior design structurally and functionally. There is some rubber incorporated into the design which prevents dirt buildup; however, these areas are sensitive to scratching. So if you’re super picky about your gear showing wear, expect that these are going to show damage once you make contact with rocks or if you drop the bike. But why buy the best gear if you’re not going to ride it hard?
All in all though, the Look S-Track Race pedals are solid competition for any other pedals you’re using now, or have used before.