Shimano’s top model trail pedals are beautifully made, easy to use and shed mud well thanks to their Teflon coating, but they’re not cheap.
We reviewed and liked Shimano’s Deore XT M785 trail pedals a while back and got to wondering whether the world really needed an XTR version, given how good is the Deore XT edition. Turns out you do get some useful extra features for your money, but you pay a lot for them, unless you shop around a bit.
The idea of Shimano’s SPD trail pedals, as opposed to the compact race SPDs, is to provide more surface area to support the sole of your shoe. It all began with the big red M636 pedals back in the 90s. These were the first pedals with a pop-up mechanism surrounded by a platform and were extremely popular with downhill racers. The current M647 DX pedals similarly provide extreme riders with a more stable platform than a compact SPD.
But those pedals are overkill for most riders, who want some extra support but not the 568g heft of the DXes. With trail centres featuring more 'interesting' obstacles on their loops, the reassurance of some extra support underfoot is useful, and that’s where the Deore XT and XTR trail pedals come in; they provide some extra support but without the weight and mechanical complication of the pop-up mechanism.
As usual, Shimano launched the XTR pedals first, and the Deore XT incarnation came not long after. These XTR pedals are £40 more expensive than the Deore XT version, at least if you pay full price, so is it worth investing your hard earned cash in the higher spec model?
You certainly wouldn’t spend the extra just to save weight. The claimed weights of the Deore XT and XTR pedals are 408g and 398g respectively. The XTR pedals have a teflon coating to reduce the amount of muck that clings on, and after using them in very grotty conditions we can say does exactly that. The XTR pedals get their weight saving from hollow axles and we suspect the exra machining accounts for most of the extra cost.
We tested the Shimano XTR trail pedals over a few weekend trail sessions and an enduro race. It quickly became obvious that these are a very usable pair of pedals. Your foot finds the engagement point far quicker than on compact SPD pedals and the platform gives improved support for extra stability. The Teflon coating did a great job of inhibiting dirt attachment and the sleek looks complete the aesthetics of any bike.
There are some other differences ‘under the bonnet’ between the Deore XT and XTR trail pedals in areas like bearing surface coatings and materials. The finish and looks of the XTR pedals are just spot-on and who doesn’t like to get envious comments from riding mates?
The cost remains an issue, but as we mentioned, do a bit of searching and you can find deals around 25 to 30 percent off from the usual online suspects - or you can pay £165 from one eBay seller we found, if you’re a complete mug!
If you think your bike deserves the best, the Shimano XTR trail pedals are worth every penny.
More information: Shimano PD-M985 XTR trail pedals
Clears mud fast
Only 88g heavier than non-cage version
Quite a bit more expensive than Deore XT option
88g heavier than non-cage version