LOOK X-TRACK EN-RAGE CLIPLESS PEDAL REVIEW
Review by Robert Johnston
As the inventors of the first “automatic” clipless pedals, it’s safe to say that French company Look Cycle have gained a vast amount of experience over the years with how a cyclist’s footwear and pedal interact. Look’s X-Track EN-Rage Clipless pedals have been in their lineup since 2018 but we had yet to put them to the test. How do they stack up as a clipless trail to enduro pedal in a stacked field?
The X-Track EN-Rage is Look’s idea of the perfect trail to enduro clipless pedal. They’re built around Look’s SPD-style X-Track engagement mechanism, which offers adjustable tension to tune the mechanism’s resistance to clipping out. This is performed with a 3mm hex key, with a tension range of 6-14 on Look’s scale. This mechanism is designed to be self-cleaning for use in muddy conditions, and the body features a knurled design around the mechanism to increase friction between shoe and pedal for grip in these wet and muddy conditions. The X-Track mechanism is surrounded by a forged alloy body to offer support for the shoe, offering a 63mm wide and 82mm long platform. The body has a notably asymmetric shape, with a taper that drops the platform away from the middle of the cleat towards the front of the pedal.
The alloy body spins around a chromoly axle on the classic inboard bushing and dual outboard cartridge bearing setup, with a plastic cap on the outer end to keep out crud and facilitate easy servicing, and an inboard rubber seal. The X-Track EN-Rage pedals have a Q-factor of 53mm, or roughly the same as Shimano’s trail offerings. The X-Track EN-Rage pedals are supplied with Look’s 13-degree release, 6-degree float cleats that will only release with a twisting motion like a Shimano single release cleat and are cross-compatible with Shimano cleats should the need arise. The Look X-Track EN-Rage pedals tip the scales at 420g per pair, with an extra 50g for the cleats, and retail for $85 /£70 /€70.
Coming from a flat pedal background, I’ve been working my way down the scale from a full platform gravity clipless pedal, and the Look X-Track EN-Rage pedals were to be the most minimal looking I’d tested yet. They’re not far departed from the Shimano XT or XTR trail pedals I’ve put some good time on, however their narrower platform with a 63mm wide footprint compared with the 77mm of the XTR M9120’s was apparent from the second I pulled them out the box.
Since there are no pins and limited interaction between the sole of the shoe and the platform unless under hard compression, setting the tension to a comfortably secure feeling level proved to be interesting for me. I’m used to a clipless pedal that retains some rotational stability thanks to pins or the platform interacting with the sole, or a cleat with less float that allows for the mechanism to engage with the cleat sooner and give some resistance that way. So the 6 degree of completely unhindered float threw me off initially on the gnarlier descents. Swapping Look’s cleats out for a set of Shimano’s SH51’s helped slightly with their 4 degree float, but it was practice and time that helped the most, tweaking my technique to work with the unhindered float. Once you’ve twisted your foot past the float point, the mechanism begins to support the twisting, and so the tension comes into play. I initially had them dialed in quite loose, but as they bedded in and the ease of entry improved I was able to ramp up the tension and benefit from the increased support once the cleat contacted the mechanism. This improved my comfort in the pedals considerably, letting me push harder and put them to the test on my slightly less gnarly rides.
Releasing from the Look pedals is the same in principle (but slightly different in feel) to a Shimano SPD, with a slightly less abrupt resistance before they pop loose and instead a wider window of ramp-up. The lowest tension they go to is slightly higher than a Shimano pedal’s minimum, but the maximum is considerably higher than anything I’m yet to test, and proved to be too much for my previously injured ankles and knees to cope with. Riders who seek the most secure and vice-like connection between cleat and pedal will appreciate the Look pedals, but this sort of tension is certainly not for everyone. Thankfully that’s what the adjustment is there for, and most riders will find a comfortable setting without issue. Getting into the Look pedals is smooth and relatively easy, even at higher tension settings, with the platform helping to guide the foot into position.
On the trail, the narrower width didn’t prove to be problematic, with ample real estate to give some appreciated support compared with an eggbeater style pedal, especially when trying to get clipped in. The shape of the platform is interesting though, with the support falling away in front of the cleat and a relatively tight radius curve directly behind it, letting a more flexible shoe flex quite notably. To remove this sensation that had led to discomfort in harder compressions, I ran the stiffer shoes in my kit bag. Unfortunately one shoe – the Fizik Gravita Tensor – met its demise under some rough and rugged enduro riding, with a hard compression giving enough load to snap the shank in the relatively concentrated area of pressure that the Look pedals produce. I don’t believe this could have occurred with a pedal platform that is more supportive either side of the cleat, so it’s a consideration to make for the harder hitting or heavier riders. Similarly the relatively tall profile of the pedals had me raising my saddle a touch, and I was somewhat concerned for ground clearance to the mechanism. However pedal strikes were few and far between since the body is not as wide as some.
Over the course of testing the Look pedals have seen some good mileage, though often at lower levels of abuse than I’d normally subject kit to. The reason for this…I didn’t (and still don’t) feel particularly confident running these pedals for more than a trail ride. It’s not that I don’t trust their strength, but that I feel as if my feet require some more support from the platform than the X-Track EN-Rage pedals offer, as evidenced by the broken shoe shank during testing. Through this mileage the smooth spinning and general operation of the pedals hasn’t faltered, only my bravery in the situations to run the Look pedals in.
Comparing the Look pedals to the options they’ll surely be compared with – Shimano’s XT and XTR trail pedals – the feel of the Look pedals when clipping in and out is slightly nicer in my eyes, and of course the maximum tension can go a few notches higher, but that’s about where the benefits end for me. The platform shape of the X-Track EN-Rage gives considerably less support when it’s needed the most; there’s slightly less real estate to give support when trying to get clipped in, and the mechanism sits lower to the ground and is therefore more susceptible to damage. In terms of value, or at least the sticker price, Look undercuts these comparable Shimano offerings by a notable amount, but for an enduro pedal I’d be saving up the extra pennies.
The Wolf’s Last Word
Look’s X-Track EN-Rage pedals are clearly well built, offer impressively high cleat tension if desired, and provide an appropriate level of support to be appreciated by trail riders. But their “EN” moniker and suggested usage up to enduro riding is somewhat misleading in my eyes. I’d suggest opting for a more supportive alternative if you’re a hard pushing rider on some gnarly terrain.
Price: $85 /£70 /€70
Disclosure: Our team selects all of the products we review and do so with honesty and objectivity in mind. Some of the products we receive come directly from Competitive Cyclist, who also value our readers and have offered them a 15% discount (exclusions apply) on their first purchase by using LOAMWOLF15. Through this program we may also receive a small commission at no cost to you. Thanks for your support, TLW.
General build quality
Cleat tension range
Lack of shoe support
Limited rotational stability
LEAVE A COMMENT, WIN FREE SWAG!
Want to win some free schwag? Leave a comment and vote up the most thoughtful comments and each month we’ll pick a winner. The person with the smartest and most helpful replies will earn some sweet new gear. Join the Pack and get the latest news and read the latest reviews on the top mountain and electric mountain bikes.