Look Trail Grip pedal review - a great option for the adventurous commuter
Impressive grip, but the lugs are not up to the demands of rigourous off-road riding – the 'trail' title might be a bit misleading...
These are well-made pedals with striking aesthetics. Their 'trail' title is a tad misleading, as they are certainly better suited to a utility or commuting bike; the lugs are not as effective as conventional MTB pedal pins. If you are looking to upgrade your flat pedals to something grippier and quite enjoy the occasional off-piste forray, these would be a great investment. That's not to say there aren't cheaper options though.
Grippy but not aggressive
Not as good as a pedal with pins
While Look are classically associated with road racing, in recent years they’ve diversified somewhat to offer MTB gear, including a range of flat pedals. I’ve previously tried out the Geo City Grip Vision pedals and loved them for urban commuting; Paul Grele also tried the Geo City Flat not too long ago.
I was keen to see how the Trail Grip compared, and performed, on a variety of terrains.
Look Trail Grip: construction
The pedal is a result of a collaboration with Vibram, a company well-known for outdoor footwear soles; Vibram is to hikers’ boots as carbon fibre is to road racers’ shoes. The Vibram Activ Grip inserts use a specially developed vulcanized rubber with composite studs.
The interchangeable insert sits a top a 107mm x 103mm platform and the composite body boasts integrated reflectors at the front and rear.
The pedals spin on a chromoly axle combined with Look’s ‘race-winning bearing and bushing system’ and weigh in at 530g per pair. They are serviceable, with spares available from Look.
Look Trail Grip: the ride
The Trail Grips have made their way onto three different bikes during the test period: a commuting/utility e-bike, a gravel bike and an MTB. Fitting is easy with an 8mm Allen key; there's no option to use a spanner.
In terms of looks, I’d say the e-bike carried them well. They look a bit clunky on the gravel and mountain bike, and at 265g per pedal they aren’t so light.
We’ve had some horrific conditions for testing and I can confirm that Vibram Trail Grip pad offers a secure platform for urban riding in the worst of weather, including through deep floods; I’ve not suffered one slip while riding around in both trainers and hard soled boots. A decent sized platform of this grippy stuff means that missing the pedal simply doesn’t happen.
The integrated reflectors add to the Trail Grip’s urban appeal as one of the best commuter bike pedals.
My experience with the pedals on the trails hasn’t been amazing; they simply don’t compare to a pedal with full pins. Admittedly, they have their pros; they won’t shred your shoes or shins, the Vibram is durable in comparison to nylon alternatives and the bearings run smooth.
However, if you are serious about off-roading – or looking to get serious – Look’s Trail Fusion or Roc could be better choices. Ultimately, the Vibram isn’t as robust as an alloy when it comes to handling impacts and pedal strikes. You can see this from the photo below.
They certainly offer better traction than the Geo City Grip pedals that I mentioned, and the flat ones that Paul tested. An adventurous commuter or anyone dipping their toes into off-roading on trails and towpaths will appreciate this.
I’ve also had a spare set of pads to try out. Swapping the supplied black ones for the lime green ones was a piece of cake. The necessary T20 hex key and 8 spare screws are included. It’s a matter of unscrewing two bolts either side of the pedal, pulling the insert out, lining up and screwing in the replacement.
Look Trail Grip: value and conclusion
At $75.00 / £64.90, these are certainly not falling into the budget category, even the replacement pads will set you back $44 / £38. If you want a less aggressive pedal for your shins and shoes but still need a reassuring level of grip, DMR’s V6’s for $32.40 / £20 might be an option.
They are very much budget, coming with a bushings rather than bearings, and are non-serviceable. HHT Components PA03A MTB pedals for $55.00 / £39.99 are somewhere in between and demonstrate that Look’s aren’t the best value option.
The Trail Grips are well-made and, given Look’s reputation, I’d have no questions over the actual pedal and its bearings. However, despite the Vibram insert being supremely grippy, expecting to them to perform on a par with a pinned pedal on the rough stuff is unrealistic. They could perhaps be better named ‘Urban Adventure Grip’.
Look Trail Grip: specs
- Body material: composite
- Q Factor: 63mm
- Grip: Vulcanized rubber activ grip & composite studs
- Platform area: 107 x 103mm
- Weight: 265g per pedal
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Emma’s first encounters with a bike were in between swimming and running. Soon after competing for GB in the World Age Group Triathlon Championships in Edmonton in 2001 she saw the light and decided to focus on cycling.
With a couple of half decent UK road seasons under her belt, she went out to Belgium to sample the racing there, spending two years with Lotto-Belisol Ladies team, racing alongside the likes of Sara Carrigan, Grace Verbeke, Rochelle Gilmore and Lizzie Deignan. Emma moved from Lotto-Belisol to Dutch team Redsun, working primarily as a domestique for Emma Johansson. When Redsun folded, Emma was offered the opportunity to ride with a newly formed Belgian team and home to the first year senior and budding rider Anna Van Der Breggen.
After retiring, Emma returned to teaching, setting up her own tutoring business. When not coercing kids to do maths, she is invariably out on two wheels. While the road bike remains her true passion, she has also developed an addiction to touring, with destinations including Iceland, Georgia and Albania, to mention just a few. There have also been sightings of Emma off-road, on mountain and gravel bikes… As if all of this isn't enough, she's been working as a freelancer since 2005, testing and reviewing the latest kit and sharing her insight into the sport.
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