by Clifford Lee
Last fall, I reviewed the Look S-Track pedal using the standard, included cleat. The new S-Track pedal has a two-bail cleat attachment similar to the Look Quartz pedal that it replaces, though the cleats are not compatible, and required a whole new system. The pedals come in three models ranging from titanium to steel with aluminum to a base steel version. At the time, I was unaware that Look produced an alternative “Easy” version of the DCS cleat for S-Track until an astute reader brought it to our attention.
Considering one of my primary complaints about the S-Track in that review was of difficult entry, this would seem the perfect solution. Look immediately sent us a pair for review, and I used them through the remainder of the 2013 season. The Easy DCS cleats are not included with the pedals, only available as an aftermarket option for $24.99
Since the S-Track pedal does not have adjustable retention, changing the cleat profile will alter entry and release. I set up the cleats identically to the original review, using the same model shoe and included 0.5mm spacer. Since the cleat-to-pedal interface provides the stability, the cleat is broad with plastic “tread” inserts. Two additional sets of inserts are included with the cleat set so as the treads wear and the cleat to pedal interface loosens, it can be brought to “as new” condition by replacing the inserts. After the third pair, it’s probably time for new cleats altogether.
The Easy DCS cleats are not exactly “easy,” but indeed easier to engage than a new set of standard DCS cleats. Exit seemed similarly firm, but then again, I never had a problem with exit. As the DCS cleats wear, both engagement and release ease slightly, but retain a consistently firm interface with the S-Track pedal. The Easy DCS cleat, easier from the start, became smoother with break in, but was still firmer than other pedals I’ve used. Though less frequent than with the standard DCS cleat, there were occasions that required extra effort to clip in, with a slight twist of the foot, or a repositioning of the pedal, or a shift to a higher gear to aid pushing against the pedal to engage.
With use, you get accustomed to anything, and as I became used to the pedals with the Easy DCS cleats, I gave less thought to them. I felt less nervous that in dicey situations, and stopped worrying that I would not engage and would slip off the pedal. If I pause and think about it, the engagement is still firmer than other pedals I’ve used, but I like the solid interface that is arguably the best in the industry.
Release is never a problem, always predictable but firm. The design changes that differentiate the Easy DCS cleat from the standard version are subtle, but palpable in use. For most cyclocrossers who need consistent entry and release since those actions are so frequent in our sport, I would recommend the Easy DCS cleat with the Look S-Track pedal for a system that provides a firm shoe to pedal interface and excellent mud clearance.
Look Easy DCS Cleat Specs:
More info: lookcycle.com