You may have heard that LOOK invented the clipless pedal. A legacy that extends back to 1984 when the ski binding that the company invented was adapted to cycling. If there was any doubt that the concept was revolutionary to the sport of cycling, Bernard Hinault snuffed it out when he used the new pedal concept to win the Tour de France in 1985. He specifically cited the clipless system as having prevented more serious injury, potentially saving his Tour, when he crashed earlier in the stage race.
But let’s rewind. The LOOK brand was not founded in 1984, nor was it founded exclusively as a cycling company. Like many cycling companies, the LOOK story has connection to the world of ski racing and extends all the way back to 1960. Founder, Jean Beyl, was an avid ski racer and forever changed the course of cycling history when he broke his leg in a high-speed ski crash.
The cause of the broken leg according to Beyl (apart from the crash) was the method of fastening shoes to skis with a lace system. After developing a plate binding system, the company was eventually sold to the Bernard TAPIE Sport Group in 1983. The resulting investments pushed the binding system to cycling, sponsorship of pro teams, and eventual trickle down to riders everywhere across road cycling, mountain biking, and other categories. It’s rare to see any semi-serious cyclist these days not using some form of clipless system.
In the years that followed, LOOK invested heavily in the cycling market – pioneering use of carbon fibre, power measurement, aerodynamics, and of course, refinement of their clipless pedals. They eventually sold their ski business and become LOOK Cycle, ushering in an era of additional focus on cycling at the top levels of the sport. LOOK pedals have been used by some of the greats of the sport, including, Thor Hushovd, Cadel Evans, and Alberto Contador to name a few.
Why NOMAD Loves Look Pedals
It’s probably enough to say that we love LOOK pedals because they invented clipless pedals and we can’t live without them in some form. That said, they didn’t just invent clipless pedals, but have moved to perfect them ever since. We’ve been using their road pedals since we started in the sport because they are reliable, lightweight, and offer great value, beyond being a top-end product.
We also love brands that sponsor World Tour cycling teams. We know they do that for the marketing benefits, but the push required to be relevant on the world stage ultimately benefits all cyclists, whether world champions or local legends. We’re certainly happy to enjoy the fruits of their labour.
While LOOK began their rise with road pedals, they have now developed bike pedals for every part of the market. So whether you are cycling on the road, trail, gravel, or around the city on your way to work, they’ve got you covered.
The road pedals continue to be a sweet spot with multiple variations of their KEO models from entry level Keo Classic 3‘s to top of the line Keo Blade Carbon Ceramic Ti, which really are amazing works of lightweight engineering magic. The pedals of today are radical upgrades from those developed back in 1984, providing the lightest materials, aerodynamic efficiency, and varying degrees of float to protect your knees and joints as you ride.
The mountain bike, enduro, and gravel line up has expanded dramatically in recent years to provide options for all genres of off-road biking fun. Do you need a large platform or the lightest weight? No problem, the X-Track range has an offering that suits you no matter how you answer that question. So whether you are hurtling down hill and need sure-footed stability and retention, a pure platform, or the lightweight carbon-Ti preference of cross-country racers, LOOK can help you meet your goals.
Of course, not all of us are out there to ride for pure joy. For the commuters out there (who we’re sure find enjoyment as well), LOOK also offers pedals that are well suited to city riding with all the starts and stops and unpredictable traffic. The Geo City and Geo Trekking series are perfect for life around home or on more meandering tours of your favourite travel destinations. We particularly like the Geo Trekking Roc Vision, which offers built in lights for additional safety as darkness closes in on your ride.