Shimano's XT clipless pedals debuted all the way back in 1990, but it wasn't until late last year that an XT-level flat pedal was added to the mix. Of course, Shimano's no stranger to manufacturing flat pedals, it's just that they were usually part of their downhill or BMX product lines. The M8040 pedals could certainly be used for DH riding, but they're also intended to work for all-round trail riding as well.
Shimano offers two different platform sizes in order to allow riders to pick the shape that best fits their foot. The smaller platform measures 100 x 105mm, and is aimed at riders with shoe sizes between 36-44, while the larger platform is 115 x 110mm, for shoe sizes 43-48. The pedals come with two sets of replaceable pins, although the smaller ones are pretty stubby - for actual off-road riding the 5mm high ones are the way to go.
XT M8040 Flat Pedal Details
• 10 pins on each side (two heights included)
• Platform dimensions: 110 x 115mm (tested) or 100 x 105mm
• Aluminum platform, chromoly spindle
• Cup and cone bearing system
• Weight: 490 grams
• MSRP: $100 USD
While many flat pedals use a combination of bushings and tiny cartridge bearings, the M8040's use the same cup and cone bearing system found in Shimano's clipless pedals. Looking for a splash of color to brighten up your bike? You won't find it here - the XT flat pedals are only available in grey. MSRP: $100 USD.Performance
The M8040's wide platform is very comfortable, and the fact that there's no inboard bearing bulge means there's a bit more room for your foot right next to the crankarm. There's plenty of grip on tap, thanks to the concave shape and the tall pins, and even when I was wearing shoes that didn't have Five Ten's tried-and-true sticky rubber I didn't have any keeping my feet securely planted. I'd say the overall amount of grip falls in between Crankbrothers' Stamp pedals and DMR's Vaults, or slightly above average on my grip-o-meter.
The race to create the thinnest pedal possible seems to have died down a bit, but it's still worth noting that the M8040's are a little thick for a modern flat pedal, measuring 18mm in the center and 20mm at the leading and trailing edges. Whether or not that's an issue has a lot to do with bottom bracket height – on some bikes I never gave it a second thought, while on others I found myself wishing for a few more millimeters of ground clearance.
I've smacked these pedals on all sorts of rocks and roots, dragged them through deep dust, and fully submerged them in mud puddles on countless occasions. In other words, they haven't had an easy life. Other than a few scuffs and some squashed pins they've handled it very well, and they're still spinning smoothly without a hint of play. I'm a fan of Shimano's bearing system – I've found it to be more reliable than cartridge bearings and bushings, and it's super easy to adjust and re-grease when the time comes.Issues
I wish Shimano had gone with a rear-loading pin design, something similar to what's found on their Saint flat pedals. Having pins that threaded in from the underside of the pedal body would make it possible to fine-tune the height with washers, and make it easier to replace them when they inevitably get broken or deformed. I've already mangled a few pins past the point of accepting an Allen key, which means I'll have to bust out the vice grips at to remove them.Pinkbike's Take