Clipping in while you're riding has many benefits. When you're clipped in, your foot is always in the optimal pedaling position, so it will increase your pedaling power and efficiency. Your feet will never slip off the pedals either. The X-Track Race Mountain Pedals by Look are a composite pedal with a Chromoly spindle that are designed for cross-country racing. They are lightweight at only 360 grams per pair and are SPD compatible.
I haven't ridden these Look X-track pedals for very long but so far, they are the best CX/MTB pedals I have ever tried. And yes, I have tried several pedals in the last three years. I started with Shimano XT SPD as my old standby but decided to see what else was out there. I rode Crank Brothers Eggbeaters and never liked the engagement or feel under my shoe. I rode Time Attacks and broke two pairs. I rode Speedplay Cyzr and could not unclip in dry conditions. I rode Wellgo W-01 SPD and they actually felt like Shimano with less platform support. I had actually switched back to my Shimano XTs (M8000) and was not happy with how loose the tolerances were when I saw that Look was coming out with these X-tracks. When I pulled up on the XT pedal, there was a looseness. My cleat would make a clicking and popping sound. The pedals had low miles, my cleats were new and my shoes were in good shape. I tried to resolve the issue but never could. So I decided to try the X-tracks. If you love Shimano SPD, these X-tracks are one step above. I haven't even put the Look cleats on my shoes yet but with my slightly used Shimano cleats still installed, the X-track pedals are solid. Oh yes, they are compatible with Shimano cleats. I can pull up on the X-track pedal with no movement, no more clicking or popping or looseness. The small platform of this X-track pedal is also very stable. My foot does not move around very much in the pedal and while pedaling, feels planted. Power transfer feels better, more connected. I really like these things and if you like Shimano MTB pedals, you will probably like these too. Durability has not yet been tested but they feel solid. The composite looks durable. My only complaint is the price. The "Race" level pedals are not light and the upgrade to the "Carbon" shaves minimal grams for basically the same exact pedal. Even further, stepping up to the Ti version gets crazy expensive. I would love to do the Ti for CX racing but I think the "Race" level is the sweet spot between price and performance in this range. All the pedals appear to share the same design apart from different materials being used. If you want just a little more out of your SPDs, give these a try instead of Shimano.
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