- Shimano PDM520 pedals
Shimano's top-end PDM-959 SPD pedals have been around for a while. Their mud-shedding design, with a revised retention mechanism, cut-away body and Teflon-coated bindings, did what it said it did, the action was super-slick action and the whole thing was all sleek and lovely.
Despite appearances, this isn't a 959. This is the nigh-on identical PDM-520. What's different? The axle unit is the familiar cromo/plastic collar unit from entry-level SPDs, complete with the axle flats that the 959 does without for the sake of added sleekness - you can do these up with an Allen key round the back too, if you like.
The binding mechanism is, as far as we can tell, exactly the same as the top-end pedal only without the Teflon coating. The 520 comes in a choice of black or silver - no posey Ti-esque grey here - and, er, that's about it.
None of these little differences make much impact on performance. The bearings are perhaps not quite as smooth, but you'd only notice by spinning the axle in your hand which you never do. And the absence of the Teflon coating ought to mean that the mud doesn't fall off quite as easily but we couldn't tell. The action is just as good as the 959, with the cleat clunking in with authority and clicking out when you want it to and not before.
Sure, the 520 is a whole 30g heavier than the 959 (whoo...) but more importantly it's less than half the price at under thirty quid. And that's a bargain...
Positives: Work 99% as well as Shimano's top pedal for 40% of the money
Verdict: When it comes to solid performance for sensible money Shimano often come up trumps, and the 520 is another example of that. When you can get something that works this well for thirty quid, why pay more?