Bike Shoes and Pedals

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Look Quartz Carbon Pedals

Look Quartz MTB Pedal Review – What You Need To Know

This is a review of the Look Quartz Carbon MTB pedal. Click here for deals on Look pedals.

Look Quartz page here.

Requires supplied Look cleats & 8mm Allen wrench for steel spindles and 15mm for Ti spindles.

Look Quartz Pedals – What is it all about?

In 2009, Look released the current version of their Quartz pedal line designed for MTB and cyclocross riding with upgraded steel bars to fix premature release problems. The pedals come in three flavors – top of the line Titanium, Carbon, and Quartz. The Ti model features a carbon body and titanium axle weighing in at a svelte 120 grams per pedal. The Carbon model has the same body as the Ti version but replaces the titanium axle with a Chromoly axle, adding 10 grams to the equation. The Quartz model adds another 10 grams for a total of 140 grams by substituting a glass reinforced body for the carbon body. Cleat attachment is via a statically sprung metal bar on both sides of the pedal. Finally, two bearings make for a robust, smooth turning pedal designed to take on the elements.

On the bike shoe side, cleats come with a set of shims in 0.5, 1.0, and 2.0 millimeter thicknesses. The shims enable a proper pedal fit among a wide variety of shoe manufacturers, plus protect the soles of your bike shoes from wear grooves by the metal bails. Two sets of cleats are included enabling either a 15⁰ or 20⁰ release angle, and a lateral float of 1.5⁰.

Look Quartz Pedals – What I likeLook Quartz Pedal

These pedals are stylish and have about the best mud shedding capability going aside from perhaps the Crankbrothers Eggbeater. The pedal features a nice wide platform on either side of the bar making your shoe feel quite secure once you clip in, and the bar itself is robust enough to provide a good solid cleat attachment. The composite construction seems tough enough, and despite hitting the pedals hard on a number of occasions, they held up just fine despite the non-metallic body.

The Quartz line is also quite light comparing favorably against other brands such as Crankbrothers Eggbeater and Time Atac XC, especially when taking into consideration the size of the pedal platform.

Look Quartz Pedals – What I Don’t like

My primary beef with these pedals was the non-adjustable release tension and the mushy-feeling cleat engagement. Unlike other pedals with positive feedback such as Shimano SDP or Crankbrothers, there was no satisfying click when my cleat engaged the pedal. Several times I wasn’t sure if my cleat was actually clipped into the pedal or only partially engaged. I also found the release prone to jams, and using the cleats with the 20⁰ release angles required a substantial amount of torque to disengage my foot. Friction was high between shoe and pedal making it relatively hard to unclip with new cleats, but should loosen with ride time. Because of the one-size-fits-all tension, the lateral float was not too evident either, although over long-term use I am sure this would improve somewhat with cleat wear.

Cleat adjustment is a fiddle with the shims, and you need to get it just right for the sole of your shoe to sit firmly on the side platforms. However, once you have it dialed, the feel is much more stable than pedals such as Crankbrothers Eggbeaters. The Look website also had a shoe lookup table to help you figure out what shims to use with your shoes.

The price for these babies is quite steep with the Ti model pushing $300, although they can be found much cheaper if you poke around the net.

Look Quartz Pedals – Overall Thoughts

When these pedals showed up on my doorstep, I was excited to put them through their paces and wasted no time installing them on both my 29er and cyclocross bike.

It was probably a mistake on my part to use the cleats with the 20⁰ release for the first time on a technical mtb ride as I found it difficult to release my foot. This resulted in several nasty spills at spots where I was totally committed. Falling hard is no fun and even more so when it could have been avoided by getting my foot out of the pedal.

In continuing to ride these pedals over several months (even with the 15⁰ release cleats), I couldn’t help but notice the continual lack of feedback from the pedal when clipping in and out. Unless I was totally committed to the release, they tended to jam up periodically at about 10⁰ release. I also found I was hunting for the clip-in sweet spot much more than others such as Crankbrothers and Shimano. Needing to hunt like this makes it disconcerting, especially while racing having to think about pedal engagement.

Once my feet were clipped in securely, the ride was stable, and there was no slop in the mechanism. Only several times did my foot ever pop out unexpectedly, and this was usually due to rough ground where I was out of the saddle while my body was twisting.

Talking to other riders who use these pedals the consensus seems to be they either love em or hate em. I would suspect cleat and shoe setup may be a factor here, but when I hear of elite sponsored riders giving up on these pedals, I do wonder!

Ok let’s cut to the chase. If you need a light XC or cyclocross pedal with massive mud clearance and sturdy build, then this may be your pedal. If you like good pedal feedback, snappy engagement and disengagement, plus tension adjustability and larger float than a few degrees, you need to keep looking.

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