Review: Look X-Track En-Rage Plus Pedal

May 10, 2018 at 16:16
by Richard Cunningham  
Look X-Track En-Rage Plus pedal review


Look's new X-Track En-Rage pedal comes in two widths: 63 millimeters for trail and 67 millimeters for gravity and enduro applications. We review the Plus here, which is the wider of the two options. Look makes no apologies for the likeness to Shimano's SPD trail pedals, and in fact, the French brand utilized the same basic engagement mechanism and their X-Track pedal cleats are interchangeable with Shimano cleats.

Those are good things. They began with a design that has never been exceeded for reliability or durability - and, according to Look, their X-Track En-Rage pedal also touts some substantial performance improvements over Shimano's gold standard trail pedal.
X-Track En-Rage Plus Details:

• Purpose: AM/enduro
• Forged aluminum body
• Wide platform: 67mm wide, 92mm long
• 2 adjustable forward pins
• Adjustable release tension
• 6-degree float/13-degree release
• Cleat interchangeable with Shimano
• Weight: 450g/pair
• Gold or black
• MSRP: $130 USD
• Contact: Look Cycle

Look X-Track En-Rage Plus pedal review
Weight savings, in the form of CNC-machined pockets and a threaded plastic end-cap seal.


Features

Before most mountain bikers were born, Look pioneered what would become the most successful clipless pedal design for road racing, and later, fielded the first dedicated clipless MTB pedal. That said, Look has since produced a handful of off-road pedals that never managed to capture the imaginations of mountain bikers. Their latest X-Track Series pedals, however, could reverse that trend. For starters, Look followed Shimano's lead on both the engagement mechanism and the cleat. That means you should be able to bash X-Track pedals mercilessly into rocks without phasing their ingress or release pressure. It also means that you'll be able to adjust your release tension, and like Shimano, Look offers an easy release cleat that should make mid-corner foot dabs easy shmeazy.

Larger platform: Look has a lot to say about their expanded platform. Reportedly, the widest Plus option sports 664 square millimeters of contact area for the shoe - which Look claims better supports the rider and makes for more efficient pedaling and control.

Compared with a Shimano XTR pedal, which measures 62 by 92 millimeters, Look's En-Gage Plus is 67 millimeters wide and the same length. Shimano's pedals protrude 87 millimeters from the face of the crankarm to the outside of the platform, while Look's measure 88.4mm. Look's platform is slightly thicker at the mid-point: 21.6mm compared to Shimano's 17.8mm thickness - so Look's cornering clearance is marginally less. Look's wider platform centers your cleat within half a millimeter of an XTR trail pedal, so the Q-factors are essentially the same. The Look pedal's wider dimensions add 30 grams for the pair over XTR.
Look X-Track En-Rage Plus pedal review
Extended support on either side of the platform helps to stabilize the shoe.

Innovative details: Mechanically, you'd be hard-pressed to see the differences between their engagements, but Look has a few outstanding features worth noting. They added a steel runway, which extends along each side of the platform where the cleat engages, presumably, to better support the cleat laterally, and to ease rotation forces when releasing from the pedal. Hatch marks on the sides of the aluminum platform suggest there may be more grip to keep the shoe in place, and a pair of Allen grub-screw pins at the forward ends of the pedals provide additional security as needed. Like Shimano, the X-Track pedals are completely serviceable. The engagement mechanisms are retained by Torx screws, so if you do manage to smash one, you can replace that side.

Look X-Track En-Rage Plus pedal review
Steel runways straddle the cleat for additional lateral support.

Look X-Track En-Rage Plus pedal review
Threaded pins on the forward end of the platform.
Look X-Track En-Rage Plus pedal review
Countersunk Torx screws fix the mechanisms to the platform.


Three bearings: Chromoly steel shafts rotate on three bearings: One inboard bushing and a pair of sealed ball bearings near the outboard end of the platform. A plastic thread-in plug on the outer end ensures no junk can enter there, while a contact seal protects the inboard side of the shaft. No surprises there, and like most pedals that use a similar arrangement, you should expect the snug-fitting bushings and contact seals will take a few rides before the pedals will spin freely.
Look X-Track En-Rage pedal

Performance

Setting up the Look pedals was reduced to adjusting the release tension. The Look mechanism felt a bit grabby for the first two rides until the sharp edges wore down, but it's smooth as silk now.

I prefer a more moderate release pressure than most riders who transitioned from flat pedals do. A number of Shimano fans, however, ride their XT and XTR pedals with the adjustment screws bottomed out and still wish for more release tension. If that's you, Look's En-Rage Plus offers a higher maximum release threshold. My XTR setting is four clicks out, but I needed to back out two more clicks to match the same release feel. Turn the screws all the way in and disengagement is substantially stiffer.
Look X-Track En-Rage Plus pedal review
Look increased the release tension over Shimano's and the adjustment screw has a larger, 3mm hex.

On the subject of releasing, Look's mechanism builds up tension before it lets go, similar to but in a more positive way than a Crankbrothers Mallet does. By comparison, an XTR pedal's release is quicker and more positive, but with less warning. I liked the feel of the Look much better in all situations while riding, but when a crash was eminent, I remembered why I have become fond of Shimano's instant escape action. I had to search for it, but yes, thick mud has minimal effect on engagement or disengagement - similar to, or perhaps a tiny bit better, than XTR's muck performance.

Six degrees of rotational play seems about right - not so much that a twisting foot can build up enough momentum to break free of the mechanism, but enough to provide me with some wiggle room when I was bashing through rock gardens. Add the six degrees of float to the Look's gradual release action and you'll rarely have an unplanned escape. The only times I did was when I bashed a pedal into a fixed object at speed. When I needed to unclip to dab a foot, getting back in and on the power was at least as smooth as with my Shimano pedals - which is pretty seamless.

Look En-Rage Plus pedal vs Shimano XTR
Shimano's XTR and Look's En-Rage Plus pedals share the same cleats and have similar mechanisms, and their MSRPs are within $10 of each other. Look's design upgrades Shimano's time-tested trail pedal with key features that cater to new-school all-mountain riders.


I could take or leave the screw-in front-pins and in fact, when my shoe is on the pedal or the cleat is engaged, the sole of my foot does not contact the pins at all. I did not experience a defining moment where I said to myself, "Damn! I sure am glad I have those pins." I ride in Specialized 2FO flat-style shoes, which have stiffer soles than Five Ten's, so that may have been a contributing factor.

The bike I am riding now has a low bottom bracket, so I have been bashing the pedals far more often than I'd care to. That said, the Looks are holding up well. The axles are arrow straight and, while the corners are getting banged up, gold is still the predominant color. More importantly, they spin smoothly and my feet pop in and out when I want them too - every time.


Pinkbike's Take:
bigquotesI applaud Look for adapting a proven pedal design and building in improvements like additional release tension, and adapting the platform specifically for flat-style shoes. I think SPD fans will also appreciate the way the tension builds up to the release point, which may be this pedal's defining performance feature. Look's new X-Track En-Rage pedal is a worthy competitor to both Shimano and, considering its enhancements, Crankbrothers as well. With those rivals heavily discounted on the web, the only hurdle that stands between Look and a busload of happy customers is the pedal's $130 USD asking price.RC







31 Comments

  • + 18
 While I am a full believer in any SPD system as they do not chew up the soles of your shoes like the rails on crankbrothers pedals do and hence will provide a slop-free interface, the most underrated feature of Shimano's pedals is that the bearings have been indestructible. I haven't had to maintain or buy new pedals for my mountain bike in 6 years... Before I was trashing a set of CB's every season.
  • - 13
flag JacobSpera (May 18, 2018 at 10:33) (Below Threshold)
 If you run max tension the SPDs will wear out in a season and that's not including bent spindles. No pedal is safe unless it weighs twice the weight of what the "standard" is.
  • + 5
 Somewhere out there, the 747s I was the third owner of, ran for years, and passed on to someone else, are still going strong.
  • + 6
 @CourierSix: I think i have them now. Looks a little rough, but work like new! Smile
  • + 8
 Fun fact: The Deore level trail pedals can be had on Chain Reaction for $30, they also weigh a total of 6 grams more each than the Xt. When your cleats need replacing just buy new pedals.
  • + 1
 @JacobSpera: Um... No
  • + 1
 Using shimano dx spd pedals for dh, I was constantly buying new cleats as they'd start pulling out of the pedals within a few months, possibly due to having to run them at full tension sp I had some kind of security,as well as bearings shitting themselves within a year. So a few pedals down I gave in and got ht x2, still on the original cleats, no hints of pulling out. Only have to run 2 clicks in from minimum tension to feel more secure then dx ever did and only had one pedal bearing overhaul in the 2 and half years I've been running them.
  • + 2
 @CourierSix: Still using a set. Almost 25 years, and still good
  • + 5
 How dos it make sense to have pins on spd pedals. So you either have a harder time rotating out of the pedals or tear your shoes up rotating out of the pedals. If this is actually a non-issue then I question the usefulness of the pins to begin with.
  • + 1
 Easy option, take them out
  • + 2
 I also wonder about this. I'm assuming must be there for much increased security when you haven't managed to clip back in on a rowdy section
  • + 3
 On my ht x2 pedals they help in high g situations. Where before with pedals like dx you load up the pedal in a g-out or heavy landing and because it's metal on metal they like to rotate and you end up blowing a foot of the pedal. Where as with x2's the pins dig in not letting your foot rotate when you least want it to and keeping you nice and secure. But when it comes to ubclipping there is enough room to lift up and rotate your foot when you want without the pins engaging.
  • + 7
 How are my medal winning flat pedal shoes supposed to stick to those?! Two pins?!
  • + 7
 Don’t be so en-raged
  • + 7
 "the tension builds up to the release point" oh yes daddy
  • + 2
 No mention of whether or not the wider contact "platform" feels any different or offers any advantage over Shimano Trail pedals, just the fact that "Look claims [that the contact platform] better supports the rider and makes for more efficient pedaling and control". Hmm.

I still might consider these or small Nukeproof Horizons when my current XTs' mechanism gets sloppy (probably another 2 years) if the price isn't much more than XTs at the time.
  • + 2
 I see these as possible replacement for my (also spd compatible) DMR VTwins. I ride in relatively flexible shoes, and really appreciate the ability to "roll" my foot into something solid on either side of the cleat.
  • + 1
 @jpcars10s: keep your DMR V twins!
  • + 1
 @HITNRUN: I've been less than impressed by them. Play in the axle out of the box, mismatched internals, no grease, poor customer service.
  • + 1
 Im in a similar boat with pedal options. I’m currently running some Oneup flats, because I finally hit too many rocks with my last pair of Time MXs and they just release awkwardly now even with new cleats. When I do go back to clipless, my current most likely options are likely the new Saint SPDs, these Looks, or the Nukeproof. The Nukeproofs look really cool but are near impossible to see in person in the States. After running some bigger sized flats, I want something you can really feel the support under foot. The Time MXs were decent, I just want a little more traction when I’m pressing down hard. I think some pins may help with that.
  • + 4
 I stopped reading past seeing the picture of them looking near identical to M530 and costing $130 usd.
  • + 2
 Seriously though, good review. Very curious how those with more flexible shoes would rate the support too.
  • + 2
 @RichardCunningham if these crashes were indeed "eminent" we need some footage! sorry, admitted word geek here Wink
  • + 0
 Shimano needs to take the M647 and add a larger plastic platform around it. They might be a little heavy but I have still never had a better set of clipless pedals. Just bought another pair recently for less than $60!
  • + 3
 I like the look
  • + 2
 Well, would you Look at that.
  • - 2
 When you compare this to the XT 8020 pedal, you have to ask yourself why the f*ck it exists? XT pedals can be had for under 70$, they work flawlessly, and they're 50 grams lighter per pair.

And it sure makes you trust these reviews when they don't point out this painfully obvious comparison even in passing.
  • + 3
 M8020 MSRP is $120. Wait and see what the Looks actually go for in sales.

Also the non "Plus" version of the Looks are more directly comparable with the M8020s. Those weigh 6g more per pedal compared to the M8020s have a 40% lower MSRP than the Plus version so might end up selling for less than the Shimanos.
  • + 4
 @jedidiah, We use the official MSRPs for comparison. I believe that your comment is sufficiently addressed in the conclusion.
  • - 2
 WOW, LOOK...another SPD style pedal with pins... mind blowing!
  • - 1
 It does not matter if it has pins or a strap... it is an “innovation” for the clueless

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