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by Dave Rome
September 14, 2020
Photography by Dave Rome
E-bikes have widened my use of bicycles in everyday life. With sneaker-friendly flat pedals and a motor to ensure I don’t get too sweaty, I use an e-bike to casually run errands or ride to meetings while wearing whatever I was going to wear for the day.
The existing pedals on my e-bike feature a plastic construction with a grip tape surface. I like these relatively smooth-faced pedals because they won’t tear up my shoes or rip my pants like more aggressive options do. However, I’ve been longing for more grip underfoot. Introducing Look’s entry into the flat pedal market.
Look, the originator of the clipless road pedal, has just released a series of flat pedals with an obvious point of difference: they feature a Vibram rubber grip surface.
Like Gore-Tex is to rain protection, Vibram has long been one of the industry leaders in off-road footwear treads. New Balance, Merrell, The North Face, Giro, Specialized, Pearl Izumi and many more brands proudly display the Vibram name on the soles of their shoes. However, French company Look is certainly the first company to use the iconic rubber on a pair of pedals.
There are three versions of these new pedals, and they’re all aimed at utility and recreational use. They feature a moulded plastic pedal body construction that interfaces with replaceable grip plates. These grip plates are co-moulded with a Vibram tread and a hard plastic to add rigidity and a way to mount them. And yes, the grip plates come in a variety of different colours and patterns.
The Geo City Grip is shown on the left and the Trail Grip is on the right. The latter provides more traction but will likely dig into your shoe soles.
The Geo City Grip Vision, Geo City Grip, and the Trail Grip have a few key differences. The Geo City Grip (€59.90) offers the Vibram rubber for traction and little more. The Trail Grip (€59.90) adds little plastic pins to the Vibram grip plate to assist with traction. The Geo City Grip Vision (€119.90) builds on the City model with motion-sensing rechargeable LED lights in place of the built-in reflectors – they fancy.
I just got my sneakers on the Geo City Grip and the Trail Grip pedals, which weigh 536 and 540 grams respectively per pair. Replacing the Vibram rubber covers is simply done with four screws per pedal, although a T20 wrench is required for the task.
Early signs point to them offering noticeably more grip underfoot than other pin-less pedals. They’re comfortable to pedal with, and there’s certainly no edges felt when using inappropriate footwear (or no footwear, not that I condone this). The sealed bearings spin smoothly and there’s no play at the axle.
Plenty of grip here.
Those Trail Grip pedals may be pitched for off-road riding, however, the full plastic construction and rubber inserts are likely to get pretty beat up after a few direct rock strikes. And while the traction offered is quite impressive, the pedal thickness alone is enough to stop enthusiast mountain bikers from finding appeal here. For true mountain biking Look has released the Trail Roc, a pinned full-aluminium pedal (no Vibram feature).
Personally, the Geo City Grip is exactly what I’ve been looking to use on my e-bike commuter. The platform is grippy without being destructive to what it touches, the bearings run smooth, and the optional colours are fun. Of course, this also makes them quite attractive to put onto any recreational, utility or even kid’s bike.
Look’s entry into flat pedals is certainly different, and in a market saturated with me-too products, I quite like it.