In gravel riding, the pedal of choice is generally a small-bodied SPD pedal. The thinking goes: a gravel bike is plenty heavy, so use a minimal pedal to keep weight down. And even though a gravel bike looks a lot like a road bike, the threat of a little hike-a-bike makes the thought of running traditional road pedals a guffaw-inducing affair, kinda like when you first heard about the Segway.
To that end, I submit the X-Track En-Rage pedal from Look. This is an SPD-compatible pedal with a large body made from forged aluminum and is intended for trail and enduro riding. But I’m using it on a gravel bike. The obvs question is why. Generally the cool move is to use the most minimal pedal for gravel riding.
But. Most of my gravel shoes, like the ones I keep in Memphis, which are the Shimano XC-5s, have a sole that is more flexible than most cycling shoes because walking is a thing in gravel riding. If you want to find out just how much skin is on the back of your heel, hike for two miles in the stiffest MTB shoes you own. So with a more flexible sole, having a pedal with a larger body will help support that shoe better and provide more efficient pedaling and less foot fatigue.
The X-Track En-rage comes in three versions. There’s an $85 edition, a $130 version and a $270 version. The $130 version and the $270 version have the same aluminum body, and the same q factor; they differ in the fact that for more than twice as much money you can drop 50g off a 500g set of pedals and cleats. The $85 version features a narrower aluminum body and narrower Q-factor, making them attractive to more diminutive riders and pretty dynamite for roadies who are accustomed to less Q. It’s also as durable as a Beatles song. Tension is adjustable on all three versions and I don’t even have the tension dialed all the way up and to release I need to give a very firm twist of my foot.
Final thought: In a world buffeted by inflation, there are times when less (expensive) is more.