LOOK TRAIL FUSION FLAT PEDAL REVIEW
Review by Robert Johnston
We’re beginning to see more and more plastic flat pedal offerings on the market, and for good reason. Cheap to buy and lighter in weight than their metal cousins, they have a lot going for them for certain riders. LOOK is a brand that has been slowly increasing their mountain bike range, first by expanding their clipless pedal offerings, and now by adding a plastic composite and revised metal flat pedal to cater to the full spectrum of mountain bikers. They sent us an appropriately colored set of their TRAIL FUSION plastic flats to put to the test, read on to find out how they performed.
The TRAIL FUSION is the budget flat pedal in LOOK’s lineup, coming in at $60/£50 to make them accessible to most riders in the market for a new flat pedal. They’re made in France, something that LOOK is very proud of, from a plastic composite material that keeps the weight down to an impressive 327g per pair (measured). The shape of the TRAIL FUSION pedals has been tailored to give what LOOK claims to be a 25% increase in width over a standard OEM flat pedal, though their 107mmx105mm dimensions are quite typical of what we’re used to seeing on a modern flat pedal.
The body sits close to the crank, keeping the overall width down to just 110mm. It tapers from 18mm thick around the axle to 12mm at the ends, and the platform shape tapers in from the 107mm width at the axle section down to 70mm at the leading and trailing edges. Each side of the pedal has 8 replaceable thread-through pins to provide the grip. The pins on the leading and trailing edges sit at 6mm, whereas those in the mid-section are 4mm. The body spins on a chromoly steel axle, with the classic setup of two outboard cartridge bearings and an inboard bushing. LOOK offers the Made In France TRAIL FUSION pedals in a choice of 5 colors – black, or a range of bright colors to match your ride or stand out.
As plastic composite pedals go, the LOOK TRAIL FUSION pedals feel of a notably high quality when you look closely. There’s clearly been a lot of work performed to optimize their weight and strength, with lots of angled faces and cutouts, and it shows in their low overall weight.
Flat pedal feel can be very dependent on personal preference, but it’s becoming quite unanimous that a concave profile will offer most riders a secure and comfortable platform to stand on. There are outliers who rely on a convex profile, but concave tends to be the go-to and is certainly my preferred approach. Unfortunately, the TRAIL FUSION bodies have a large step around the axle, which when combined with the thinner leading and trailing edges gives a convex profile, but not one which feels natural. To combat this, the pin heights are varied between the leading and trailing edges and the mid-zone, however once they have sunk into the soft rubber of a good flat pedal shoe, it results in a very flat feeling pedal that leaves you supported mainly by the axle bump. After just a couple of runs I was reaching for a hex key to pull out the middle pins in a bid to lower the stack height in the middle, but it was to no avail.
The lack of concave platform feel carries over to the level of grip on tap, at least with the Ride Concepts Tallac and Five Ten Impact Pro shoes they were tested with. Unfortunately, the LOOK pedals just don’t quite have the security and confidence in grip that aggressive riders seek, especially when compared with excellent plastic options like the OneUp composite or SQlab 5OX. This lack of overall foot security led to a few too many foot-related issues during the initial 8 or so rides, so I decided to conclude testing earlier than usual. Unfortunately, I can’t recommend the LOOK TRAIL FUSION pedals to riders looking to attack rough and rugged terrain. For riders not seeking great traction, who favor a narrow q-factor and lightweight pedal, or perhaps those looking to add a touch of flair to their pedals on a relatively low budget, they may be just fine.
The Wolf’s Last Word
The overall shape and feel of the LOOK TRAIL FUSION composite flat pedals produce levels of grip and security that fall short of many alternatives, and crucially short of my demands for riding aggressive trails with confidence. For this reason, I can’t recommend them, but if their overall flat feeling profile suits you, then they seem like a good quality and decently lightweight option.
Price: $60 /£49.90 /€ 49.90
Weight: 327g (pair)