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Eurobike tech: Look leaves Quartz behind with S-Track mountain pedals

  • By Caley Fretz
  • Published Aug. 30, 2012
  • Updated Oct. 11, 2012 at 4:51 PM EDT


FRIEDRICHSHAFEN, Germany (VN) — Five years after it first debuted its Quartz mountain bike pedal, Look has taken another stab at the dirt market with its new S-Track. The revised model is based loosely off the Quartz’s dual-spring design, but features a number of updates intended to resolve the old pedal’s persistent issues.

The Quartz saw a bit of adoption at the highest level of cross-country racing, and Jaroslav Kulhavy recently raced it to Olympic gold, but the pedal never caught on in a market dominated by Shimano and Crank Brothers. Setup was always a pain, as the Quartz required careful cleat shimming to avoid an overly floaty feel, and was prone to involuntary release if not set up correctly. For consumers keen on ease-of-use, it wasn’t the best option.

Look says that those problems are now gone. The new S-Track is designed to eliminate that floaty, soft feel even without any cleat shimming, and should a rider decide to take the time to perfect the setup (and thus provide the best possible contact area), the cleat shims are now exceptionally easy to use. It is easier to create good contact between shoe and pedal, but that contact is no longer required for the pedals to function.

The specs

Look claims that the S-Track has the largest surface area on the market at 460mm2. Look has improved cleat-to-pedal contact, which is what eliminates the careful shimming necessary with the Quartz. The contact area is stainless steel, and the cleat itself uses elastomer pads for a stable feel and optimal power transmission, according to Look.

The torsion bar, which supplies the pedal tension, is S-shaped and is now more rigid. Look says the shape offers up better mud evacuation as well.

The new cleats and pedals won’t retrofit with the Quartz models. Both the cleats and pedal surface get what Look calls the “Dynamic Cleat System,” basically grooves and shapes in both surfaces designed to provide optimal mud evacuation. The new cleats will retail for the same price as the old model: $22 a pair.

In a nod to the more adventurous, the S-Track will be available with a removable cage, either in composite or aluminum, depending on the model.

Speaking of models, three will be available: The regular S-Track, the S-Track Race, and the S-Track Carbon-Ti.

The S-Track is the star, at least in my eyes. At only $109.99, it has a Chromoly axle, weighs 320 grams, and features composite deflectors. The Race version is more than twice the price at $209.99, and contrary to its name is intended for extra durability rather than racing. It features a Chromoly Plus axle, weighs 326 grams, uses an injected carbon body, and features aluminum deflectors.

The Carbon-Ti drops the weight down to 280 grams, features an injected carbon body and titanium axle, plus carbon deflectors. A pair will run $369.99.

An aluminum cage is available for $99.99, weighs 296 grams, and comes in black or red. The composite cage is $49.99, weighs 148 grams, and only comes in grey.

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FILED UNDER: Bikes and Tech / MTB TAGS: /

Caley Fretz

Caley Fretz

Tech Editor Caley Fretz can usually be found chasing races along the backroads of Europe or testing bikes and gear in the mountains outside Boulder, Colorado. If you can't find him there, check the coffee shop across from VN World Headquarters.

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