The S-Track replaces the Look Quartz pedal as Look has switched to a whole new design direction with this new off-road pedal. Look wanted something with more reliability, consistency, bigger contact patch and versatility for All Mountain use.
A first look at this pedal shows there is much more refinement compared to the Quartz. The cleat itself is more roboust. Much like a Shimano cleat, it is thick and made of a very hard metal. But it is also channeled for debris flow and it is impregnated with rubber to aid in the contact feel with the pedal.
The pedal too looks pretty slick with a clean, minimalist design. There is no cage but the axle body itself has a platform to maximize surface area for the contact points
Video: Demonstration of click in and out action of the S-Track Pedals
The S-Track was designed to have a very reliable, consistent and positive click in and out mechanism. And at the end of the day, that is the ultimate test of a clipless pedal. How is the clip in and out action of the pedal? How easy is it to find the pedal and click in? How consistent is it when clicking out? We rate the S-Track the highest in all these categories. The spring is tight and positive and it gives a very audible click when clipping in and out. The cleat is made of a very hard metal to give it that positive feel and maintain durability over the years. Yet, they were able to merge rubber material to it to improve the mating with the pedal.
The pedal spring tension is not adjustable but it seems to be set just right for experienced riders. There is +- 3 degrees of float and it takes 15 degrees of rotation to click out. There are shims provide with the pedals to achieve the perfect mating with the shoe sole. The sole does not need to contact the pedal body but riders who want the maximum power transfer and comfort can play with the shims to ensure that the shoe sole and the pedal body contact perfectly when the shoe is clicked in.
The removable cage
This pedal is versatile as it is perfect for a cyclocross bike but it was also designed for All Mountain bikes. For All Mountain duty, a platform cage can be added as it sandwiches the normal S-Track pedal. An option for $49, the 74 gram/pair composite cage will increase the contact area to 870 square mm. The cage will be available in the US by February and we will update this review when we test it.
The pedal looks like it has no surrounding cage as it's similar to a Crank Brothers Candy without the wraparound body. This is done to minimize interference with mud and debris that can clog it up. In our testing, this was indeed the case as we were able to click in ride in the muddiest conditions. Look said they designed the cleat to evacuate mud as well by giving it an exit path to flow through. Well, we can't attest to that as sticky mud just built up on it just like any other cleat. But a quick tap on it and a click got us in ok. What really helped is the very postive click in action of the pedal.
This is where the pedal really shines as Look is able to achieve good contact area even with a small cleat and without a surrounding pedal cage. What they've done is maximize the mating surface between the pedal and the cleat. They measured it at 200 square millimeters and we won't argue with that. And for the so inclined, optimizing the shoe sole to pedal contact area with shims will yield a total contact area of 460 square millimeters. Does it matter? Yes! Pedal contact area and shoe stiffness determine power transfer and rider comfort. On our test rides on a cross and road bike, these pedals felt very responsive and we had no hotspots in our feet.