6 Clip-In Trail Pedals Ridden & Rated

Jun 5, 2019
by Richard Cunningham  



Cycling jargon is rife with misnomers that should have been put to death years ago. "Clipless pedals" is one of the first I'd send to the gallows. It's doubtful that anyone living outside Portland, Oregon, would attempt a trail ride with shoes bound to their pedals with toe-clips, buckles and straps, so it's safe to say that every contemporary mountain biker rides clipless pedals, Whether they are flat, or have step-in bindings like the six popular trail pedals we compare in this tech feature, they're all clipless. "Clip-in pedals" sounds enough like "click-in" to make it the more accurate description on the street, so I'll use it here.


Six Clip-In Trail Pedals

"Trail pedals" generally share the same mechanisms as the brand's cross-country models with the addition of a longer, sometimes wider platform and quite often feature a modest number of adjustable pins. All of those added features play well with flexible, flat-soled shoes, which need more support. They also provide a more secure landing pad should you need to dab a foot and get back on the gas before you get your foot locked in.

Today, we compare some of the best examples: Shimano's XTR M9120, Crankbrothers' Mallet E, HT's T-1, Time's Speciale 8, Look's X-Track, and DMR's V-Twin. While there are many pedals to choose from, this selection represents a cross-section of the genre's trendsetters and, arguably, the top six performers presently on the market.
Shimano PD737 pedal with aftermarket titanium axles.
My vintage Shimano 737s (with aftermarket titanium axles), still working fine after 20 years.

Tribute to Shimano SPD

Almost every modern component maker has tried its hand at producing a competitive pedal mechanism and all of them owe a debt of gratitude Shimano.

The breakthrough step-in mountain bike pedal was Shimano's SPD M737, which co-introduced the micro-cleat, slotted two-track mounting system and, most importantly, the "tunnel" relief in the sole that guides the cleat into the pedal mechanism, and prevents the slippery metal bits from turning your shoes into ice skates on smooth surfaces. The legacy of Shimano's SPD system cannot be understated - it paved the way for every successful pedal and shoe system we use today and remains the most reliable and durable pedal of its kind.




DMR V-Twin pedal review

DMR V-Twin

DMR's V-Twin pedals fit Shimano SPD cleats, but come with a dedicated one that boosts the shoe's float angle from four to five degrees. The pedal's two stand-out features are its spring-loaded engagement mechanism that rotates about ten degrees to make it easier for the rider click in. (Shimano's old nylon-body all-mountain pedals had that feature and it worked great.)

The second is DMR's spacing system. V-Twin pedals ship with a number of thin spacers that fit beneath the platform's plastic inserts. Variations in the soles of shoes often require spacers be placed under the cleat to ensure perfect operation. DMR's solution allows you to leave your shoes alone, so they won't be dedicated to one bike or a single pair of pedals. Also, replacement parts are all stocked on the company's website, so your V-Twins could be around for a long time.
Details
• 95 x 80mm aluminum platform
• Adjustable platform height
• Adjustable release tension
• SPD-compatible, easy access rotating mechanism
• 4140 chromoly axle, bushing/ball bearing internals
• Colors: black, blue, gold, magenta, LemLime, grey, orange, red
• Weight: 560 grams (pair)
• Price: $159 USD
www.dmrbikes.com


DMR V-Twin pedal review
Platforms have seven adjustable pins. The mechanism rotates slightly at rest to expose the cleat engagement.
DMR V-Twin pedal review
Shims are shaped to tuck under the plastic trip on the platform.

bigquotesDMR's V-Twin pedals are a solid choice for riders in the market for a tough set of pedals with a larger platform underfoot. They're not light, and they're not cheap, but they are more customizable than other options on the market.From the PB review.

Pros

+ Easy entry spring-loaded mechanism
+ Fits readily available Shimano cleats
+ Generously sized platform
Cons

- Heavy
- Expensive




Look X-Track En-Rage Plus pedal review


Look X-Track En-Rage

Look's X-Track pedal is relatively new, but the French brand pioneered the clip-in concept back in the early 1980s under a road racer named Greg Lemond. X-Track uses the same cleat and a similar mechanism as Shimano, which deviates sharply from the Time lookalikes they sold for decades.

Look's contributions to the time-proven SPD design are a well engineered platform, shaped to be more stable and efficient when paired with flat soled shoes, and a modified cleat which provides six degrees of float. Two adjustable pins, located in the forward section of the platforms can be tuned for extra security, and for those who prefer to be locked in tightly over rough terrain, Look's latching tension can be set significantly higher than its Shimano cousins.
Details
• Forged-aluminum body
• Wide platform: 67mm x 92mm
• Chromoly axle W/bushing & 2 cartridge bearings
• 2 adjustable forward pins
• Adjustable release tension
• 6-degree float/13-degree release
• Cleat interchangeable with Shimano
• Weight: 450 grams (pair)
• Gold or black
• MSRP: $130 USD
• Contact: Look Cycle

Every part of the X-Track pedal can be disassembled for service or repair, and the body is built to take a beating and it sheds mud well. It's not quite as easy to enter or exit as, say a Shimano XTR or XT trail pedal, but we're talking less than a two percent difference, and in exchange you get a very secure feel at the pedal and a very smooth, predictable release, even at high latch-tension values.


Look X-Track En-Rage Plus pedal review
Look's X-Track pedals have more release tension available than Shimano XTR or XT trail pedals.
Look X-Track En-Rage Plus pedal review
Platforms feature a pair of adjustable pins and widened areas alongside the cleat to stabilize the shoe.

bigquotesI think SPD fans will also appreciate the way the tension builds up to the release point, which may be this pedal's defining performance feature. Look's new X-Track En-Rage pedal is a worthy competitor to both Shimano and, considering its enhancements, Crankbrothers as well.From the PB review

Pros

+ Smooth, predictable release
+ Six degrees of float
+ Wide platform engineered to support flat shoes
Cons

- Average weight
- Pricey




HT T1 pedal review


HT T-1

A number of the sport's top competitors are using HT pedals, and for good reason. They weigh only 366 grams for the pair, provide more lateral movement for your feet than most offerings, and the platform is one of the thinnest, which is critical to stabilizing your feet over rough ground. Inside, HT goes the distance, replacing the draggy bushing that we see in most pedals with a highly efficient needle bearing where the loads are highest. Outboard, where loads are minimal, a small bushing, combined with a ball thrust-bearing remove free play from the system.

T-1 pedals shed mud pretty well, and they telegraph
Details
• Aluminum body, chromoly spindle
• Dedicated cleat: X1 - 4° float, X1F - 8° float
• Two replaceable pins on each side
• Internals: Evo+ needle-bearing system
• Eleven color options
• Weight: 366 grams (pair)
• MSRP: $135 USD
www.ht-components.com
engagement with a loud "click." Release tension can be set higher than any pedal we've tried as of late, which is good news for anyone who has trouble staying clipped in at speed. The downside of that feature, though, is that entering and exiting the pedal are proportionally more difficult as tension is increased. Engagement resistance of Time and Shimano pedals, for instance, increases very little as release tension nears their maximum limits. That said, the security that HT's proprietary mechanism brings to the table may be key to its popularity among elite racers.

HT T1 pedal review
HT's cleat is specific to the T-1 pedal and allow either four or eight degrees of float.
HT T1 pedal review
T-1 pedals are only 17mm thick at the center of the platform, an important stabilizing factor.


bigquotesI didn't have any unexpected or inadvertent releases while using the T1's, and clipping in and out was trouble free in all but the muddiest of conditions... I actually ended up preferring the HT's release feel over Shimano. It's a little less on/off, which means there's a greater range of foot motion for those moments when you need to almost—but not quite—unclip.From the PB review


Pros

+ Lightweight
+ Widest range of adjustment
+ Thin platform

Cons

- Engagement tension increases proportionally with release tension
- Mud shedding is good, but not great
- Bearings don't have the longest lifespan




time speciale 8 pedal

Time Speciale 8

Time's simple engagement system has proven to be one of the most consistent and reliable options. Like Crankbrothers' pedals, the Time's Speciale 8 mechanism gradually builds pressure until the cleat reaches its release point and pops free. Many riders prefer its slower, more predictable nature over the precise, instant release characteristic of Shimano's SPD mechanism. Engaging the pedal requires a slight forward thrust of the shoe, whereas, with Shimano and Crankbrothers, you just need to place your cleat near the center of the platform and pedal. That said, clicking into the Speciale 8 feels intuitive and consistent in both clean and muddy conditions, which is why they've earned so many fans.

Disclosure: the $125 Speciale 8 is Time's second-tier pedal. Just so you know, their top-drawer
Details
• Aluminum platform, hollow alloy steel spindle, ATAC release mechanism
• Sealed ball bearing and DU-type bushing
• Micro-adjustable release-tension
• Reversible cleat: for 13° or 17° release angles
• 90 x 64 x 21mm platform
• Removable front pins
• Weight: 400 grams (pair)
• MSRP: $125 USD
• Contact: TIME
Speciale 12 has a slightly longer platform, but otherwise, shares the same weight, mechanism and features at an MSRP of $350 USD. I'll admit that it's a bit unfair to lump the '8 in with elite-level pedals from Look, DMR, and HT, but the existence of the Speciale 8 leaves little reason to buy the '12.

Moving on, Time's cleat and pedal design sheds mud nearly as well as the bar-setting Crankbrothers Mallet. A twist of the shoe will clear the '8 of the most tenacious crud, otherwise, the pedal ignores the existence of slop. Platform thickness is this pedal's weak spot. At 21 millimeters, you'll feel it rock slightly unless you set your cleats well back in the slots.

time speciale 8 pedal
Similar to Crankbrothers's system. Time's engagement loops are forged, rather than formed wire pieces..
Time cleats
Time's ATAC cleats can be reversed for either a 13° or 17° release angle.

bigquotesI used the 13-degree cleat position. Time's dual-loop ATAC mechanism feels smooth and progressive, so I can anticipate the release and feel confident that I'm securely clipped in right up to that point.From the PB review


Pros

+ Can survive a massive beating
+ Smooth, predictable release
+ Excellent mud-shedding design.
Cons

- Thick body
- Platform could be 10mm longer




Crankbrothers Mallet E review

Crankbrothers Mallet E

Crankbrothers Mallet E showcase everything their designers have learned since the inception of the Eggbeater over two decades ago. Its platform is slightly concave in the flat-pedal tradition. Previous pedals often required adding shims beneath the cleat to operate properly. Now, "traction pads" - plastic inserts in the center of the platforms - can be used to shim the sole of the shoe to set cleat height. Six grub-screw pins on each side of the pedal can be adjusted to suit, and you can get the Mallet in two axle widths. The 'E measures 52-millimeters from crank-face to pedal centerline, while the longer-axle E LS measures 57 millimeters. Most riders prefer the LS model because it allows for enough angle to release with an inboard twist. The popular four-loop non-adjustable mechanism remains unchanged.
Details
• 6 adjustable pins per side
• Aluminum body, forged chromoly axle
• Two axle widths: 52 or 57mm "Q-factor"
• 88mm x 75mm x 18mm concave platform
• Replaceable "traction pad" shims
• Choose standard or "easy release" cleats, with either 0° or 6° float
• Internals: cartridge bearing, bushing
• Black, silver, red, or blue
• Weight: 425 grams (pair)
• MSRP: $165 USD
www.crankbrothers.com

Four cleats are also available: "Standard release" ejects the cleat at 15 degrees and allow the most lateral movement, while "Easy release" ejects with less resistance at ten degrees. Both Standard and Easy cleats provide six degrees of float, but if you like your feet to stay firmly in place while you pedal, both types are also sold with a zero-float option. Confusion aside, Mallet E pedals are proving to be the most durable and crash worthy Crankbrothers have ever made. Their forged chromoly axles rarely bend and the seals are much more effective. If you learned on flat pedals and want freedom of movement, or wish to ride with a more substantial feeling platform, the Mallet E can do that in any weather conditions.

Crankbrothers Mallet E review
Crankbrothers' four-loop mechanism rotates within the pedal body and can engage the cleat forward or back.
Crankbrothers Mallet E review
The platform is slightly concave, with angled reliefs that assist cornering clearance. Plastic pads above the axle adjust for cleat height

bigquotesI came to appreciate the extra float – the additional freedom of movement makes using the Mallets feel more like riding with flat pedals, allowing for more possible foot positions, which can be helpful when extra body language is required to wiggle through a tricky section of trail.From the PB review

Pros

+ Lots of pins and a concave platform
+ Predictable fore/aft engagement
+ Excellent mud-shedding
Cons

- A bit heavy
- Expensive
- Release can be vague with standard cleats




Shimano XTR M9120 pedal

Shimano XTR M9120

Shimano wisely left the best parts of its XTR pedal untouched, like its user-serviceable cartridge-type axle that screw in from one side of the pedal with a 15mm wrench, and its bomb-proof, step-on-the-pedal-and-go engagement.

The major improvement is its wider and longer platform. The platform itself is a work of art. It has been profiled with organic curves and angles, derived from real-world testing to maximize cornering and pedaling clearance. The inside has been hollowed noticeably in the quest to shed mud and crud. Cup-and-cone ball bearings may seem dated, but Shimano uses them because they allow for a larger-diameter shaft, and more balls (22 of them) to share the load. There's also a bushing in there to protect the bearings from hucks to flat.
Details
• Aluminum body, heat-treated alloy steel axle
• Larger, 98mm x 68mm x 16mm platform
• Two adjustable ball bearings, one overload bushing
• Adjustable tension
• 4° of float
• Standard SM51 cleat, optional SM56 multi-release cleat
• Black/silver only
• Weight: 398 grams (pair)
• MSRP: $179 USD
Shimano

The new platform design trickles down to XT later this year, which should knock $75 off the XTR's asking price for near identical performance. How does it feel? "Solid" was the word PB's reviewer used. It actually feels larger than it is, and having that larger target makes it quicker to get back on the gas after dabbing a foot. Shimano did not make any provision for pins, which is fine for me. If you need them, Shimano's new Saint pedals have two on each side. For too long, Saints were the only option for aggressive riding Shimano fans. The redesign of the XTR trail pedal addressed the need for a similarly capable, lighter-weight option.

Shimano XTR M9120 pedal
XTR axles spin on a pair of adjustable ball bearings, backed up by a small bushing that prevents overloads.
Shimano XTR M9120 pedal
This contact seal wiggled out of its track. Shimano says they already have made a running change and fixed it.

bigquotesI keep the XTR pedals on my personal bike. We're always testing new pedals, and every time I think some other pedal has won me over, I ride these again... They're so consistent. I never think about them and they last for eternity.From the reviewer

Pros

+ Larger, longer platform
+ Same SPD mechanism
+ Improved mud-shedding
Cons

- No pins for flat-pedal fans
- Expensive





Picking a Winner

Two well-established camps, riders who place a high value on pins and platforms and those who don't, make choosing one pedal to rule them all nearly impossible.

Camp One put Five Ten's sticky rubber flat shoes on the map, and most of those folks learned to ride on spiky flat pedals way before they transitioned to clip-ins. If this was a popularity contest, Crankbrothers would have won it before the first word of this review was typed.

The Mallet E checks all the boxes: generously sized concave platform, six pins per side, class-leading mud shedding, and its cleat accepts either forward or rearward engagement. The Mallet E wins this
Crankbrothers Mallet E review
category, but it would not have had a chance against the second place DMR V-Twin if Crankbrothers had not exorcised the daemons of anti-quality that plagued the Mallet's predecessors.

DMR's V-Twin wins the Most Features in a Trail Pedal award. It's rotating SPD-type mechanism is the standout, and surrounded by its innovative outboard shim system, extra wide platform, and a small forest of adjustable pins, the V-twin challenges the throne of the mighty Mallet. Riders who prefer SPD-style pedals and want old-school flat pedal features will not find a better alternative, but it falls short of the Mallet E in both weight and price.

Camp Two is all about seamless entry and exits. Consider that pins exist to prevent the shoe from moving on the pedal - and that the act of unclipping from the pedal requires you to twist the sole of your shoes on the face of the platform... You see where I'm going here? Trail pedals with minimal or no pins and a convex shape - the opposite of Camp One's darling Mallet E's - offer the fastest and most efficient ingress and egress from the pedal. Shimano's new XTR 9120 wins this one, with
Shimano XTR M9120 pedal
step-on-and-pedal engagement and a generous platform, contoured to maximize cornering clearance and minimize rock strikes. That said, we had an issue with a wandering contact seal (reportedly fixed), and it costs $179 USD - so let's look at the runner up:

HT's H-1 is an ass-kicking pedal. It's the lightest in this group. Its hybrid mechanism shares the adjustable precision of Shimano's SPD, with the smoother, more gradual release of a thick wire loop forward-trap like the Time and Crankbrothers pedals. HT's platform design is similar to XTR's and it has two pins on each side to satisfy fence sitters. HT's T-1 has a greater range of cleat tension adjustment than the XTR 9120 pedal, but we didn't like that entering the pedal grows equally more difficult as exiting tension is increased.

What about the French pedals? These are the top six trail pedals available, so the performance spread between the winners and losers is only around five percent. I could easily be happy riding Look's X-Track En-Rage or Time Speciale 8's for the rest of my life. If anything, the takeaway from this Ridden and Rated is that the two perennial favorites, Shimano and Crankbrothers, have been successfully challenged for both technology and performance.





246 Comments

  • + 199
 Firstly, top stuff for calling them "clip in" .
I was around before the first spd and used to ride in toe clips, then came clip in pedals but because they did not have toe clips they were called "clipless" that made sense to us. . . . . Back then. Now we have a bunch of the younger generation riding bikes who think how the fukc can a clip in pedal be " clipless" when i actually clip into it, which is a valid point.
Anyway, i am sure many of you know this and many don't, either way lets start calling them clip in.
Secondly, anyone know where i can get some Tioga Snakeskin toe straps ?
  • + 15
 We still call them "clipless pedals" at the shop and we will continue to do so. Kids can just learn a little bit of history and keep calling them by their rightful name or they can shove off.
  • - 24
flag enduroNZ (Jun 5, 2019 at 1:30) (Below Threshold)
 Yes... ^
  • - 63
flag thesharkman (Jun 5, 2019 at 1:35) (Below Threshold)
 They're called "clipless". I don't think you're important enough to change that.
  • + 18
 Those straps must be somewhere in the box right next to the Tioga Psychos...
  • + 40
 I agree with you 100%, even if it was the term back in the days where we had all sorts of funky names for thinks that just were a bit different.
And yes it doesn't make sense to call them clipless anymore, as it was wrong in the first place and still is the wrong discription. Historic fans can than go and ride toe straps again.

But let us not devide by something so dull and profane like the term being used for a f*cking pedal - just go out and shred like you stole it.
  • + 11
 It's always confused me and I'm in my 40's. Flats are clipless and toe straps are obsolete. The above are clip-in by definition. I don't ride clips though so don't really care - as x-rider rightly says just shred what you've got.
  • + 45
 I ride "clickies"
  • - 2
 @tremeer023: Toe straps are for bearded fixie riding hipsters. Any remotely sane person would never ever ride them. The sooner they are burnt to death (along with those who use them) the better.
  • - 16
flag zede (Jun 5, 2019 at 4:33) (Below Threshold)
 @seraph: Yeah kids should know their history, so that they knowingly keep calling things the wrong way.

Following your nice logic, should kids also keep calling homosexual people "f*ggots" ?
  • + 40
 @seraph: having to explain the history every time because the plain term makes no sense and is utterly contradictory is ridiculous.

+1 for moving on and simply calling them clips.
  • + 50
 Just clips and flats. Simple
  • + 22
 I’ve taken to calling them clippydoos. Seems to take everyone back all the same.
  • + 44
 @fartymarty: We only burn hipsters if they float. If they sink, and drown, they weren't really hipsters.
  • + 34
 @seraph: with an attitude like that kids will shove off and order stuff from the Internet.
  • + 6
 I usually say "clips" vs "flats" or "platforms". I haven't heard clip-in pedals referred to as "clipless" in a long time, at least among the group of people I ride with.

+1 on HT. I've tried every different pedal system and they all have their strengths and weaknesses, and HT seems to get the best mix: lighter and better mud performance than Shimano, better retention and durability than Time/Crankbros, plus they are reasonably priced and come in a bunch of anodized colors.
  • + 21
 @seraph: Get off my lawn!!
  • + 29
 Next time I don’t use paper clips to hold papers together at the office, and use a stapler instead, I will call them clipless papers.
  • + 9
 Back then they should have called toe clips cages instead. It never made sense to call them clips, because you didn't clip your toes in there. You put them in a plastic cage. They also had straps, so toe straps would've also made sense. Clipless pedals never made sense, but we adopted it because clips were already poorly designated to those toe cages from hell.
  • + 11
 @seraph: We were of the same mind for a while, but we found when someone came in looking for some variation on the word "clip" and then were corrected and given a history lesson we came off as standoffish and less than welcoming of new people to the sport. We feel we didn't need to be more of an old boys club than necessary. MInd you this isn't limited to those looking to shred, it was common for many riders, including casual hybrid grandma, newbie road commuter, old guy who thinks its a great idea to get in shape by riding his rigid gary fisher... It is just better to roll with it and explain the virtues of the different systems. We train our guys to refer to the specific technology SPD, Crank Brothers, ect. in those conversations. That way we are always setting an example using correct terminology, but not creating a barrier to communication.
  • + 13
 @drpheta: I ride strapless Smile
  • + 2
 @dthomp325: but the worst seals and bearing life of any slip pedal I have tried! I so wanted to love these pedals as I love the strong retention, light weight and crisp cleat release (only when you want it to release) but I cannot handle the 4-5 day re-grease interval once the main weather seal fails (which appears to be about three -five weeks). Great customer service from the distributor but too much time pulling the axle to clean and re-grease when other pedals can be ignored until the annual service. Currently running XT M8020 and trying out the CB Mallet E LS.
  • + 2
 @GOrtho: I got to admit, pedals are the only area I deviate from hipster-orthodoxy (for city use): my black single speed town bike has some old HT-flats on it...
  • + 2
 @rrolly: we all love the feeling of riding strapless.
  • + 5
 When shall the pedal justice warriors arrive? I'm hungry
  • + 4
 @WAKIdesigns: Fallacy! Everyone should ride sram guide pedals because I said so. They have better modulation than Shimano. I’m not a journalist and I suck at riding but I demand you to agree with me.
  • + 0
 @andrewbikeguide: the bearings/bushings/whatever is spinning have lasted longer than those in my mallet e's did.
  • + 1
 It's just a name. Learn the history and get used to it. No one has any clue as to how powerful one horse is and no one hitches their car to a horse these days and we're still calling it horsepower. Industry terms come from somewhere and if we change them with every trend or slight new development, that's when we all end up confused in the long run.
  • + 2
 Clips. I'm a fan of the xt trail pedals so am excited for the new iteration. Classic, reliable. Good clearance. The problem I have with bigger platforms now is that as bikes get lower and longer and that BB drops- the risk of pedal strikes goes up and a pedal with less body can help in tight sections or when you just need to kamikaze pedal through something on a race lap.

I started riding with toe straps when I was but a wee one- still have a set on my 1991 Gary Fisher Hoo Koo E Koo hanging on the wall of the garage. I then remember going to clips in my early teens and getting clipped in no problem, stopping at the stop light, and slowly beginning to teeter on that massive bike as I desperately tried to pull my feet loose to no avail and eating s@#t in front of a row of vehicles. I thought the hipsters in Portland comment was funny- toe straps on a true fixie are a must- you blow off a pedal and you are in some real trouble- that said- outside of a low maintenance fun challenge- can't see myself ever revisiting fixies.
  • + 1
 @likehell: clickers?
  • + 1
 I have some Tioga toe straps off my 93 GT Corrado in garage
  • + 1
 I started riding in straps and I needed all four fingers to brake with had some spds for about 6 months after that at like 11 year old or something before the first v12’s came out. Actually thinking off trying clips now my knees aren't what they once were. What would be the best to learn in or should I just do a stint on straps so I can deal with any spd?
  • + 0
 @thenotoriousmic: start with Shimano due to the ease of engagement and release relative to other brands. The older style toggled SPD are good for learning. They are like the DMRs and referenced in the article as a comparison to DMR. Part # PD-M646, or PD-MT50 are the more modern version.
  • + 2
 @seraph: Given your logic, I presume you drive to the trailhead in a horseless carriage? With your attitude, my guess is the main thing the "kids" will learn is to not be a customer at your shop.
  • + 0
 @seraph: tell 'em grandpa!
  • + 1
 I literally just had to explain to a new shop employee the other day why clipless are called clipless.

I like to pour it on though:

"Back in the formative days of MTB, when the men were men and the sheep lived in fear there were only toe clips... blah... blah... blah"
  • + 3
 Strapless is nice, but doesn't anyone still like to ride the occasional strap-on?
  • + 4
 I don’t care if people call them clip-less or clip in, as long as people call flat pedals flats. It’s only when people call flat pedals clip-less, that I want to throttle them, er I mean educate them.
  • + 3
 @whambat: I’ve literally never heard anyone call flat pedals clipless pedals.
  • + 2
 @cuban-b: it’s usually just newbies, so I should cut them more slack.
  • + 1
 @seraph: that's how a true master of customer service speaks right there! /s
  • - 3
 It doesn’t matter what it is about, you just don’t say that youngsters are wrong and should learn history, at the same time think it is you who is cool, then proceed to tell stories of how you did what back in the day. Do you even hear yourselves? That is the definition of uncool. You may as well buy a Tshirt “old guys rule”, use Peaty as your role model. Get a BMW touring motorbike and tell your kid it is actually better than YZF R1. How long does it take you to pee? Good luck in your new clitless life!
  • + 2
 @Rimrider26: as we do in France. Cales and plates
  • + 2
 @Ktron: What he said...
  • + 0
 @seraph: I can't upvote this comment enough!
  • + 0
 @seraph: Why hold on? it will change in time. i have ridden with toe clips and clip pedals. I remember thinking it was odd then, 88', to call them clipless. But now i ride Tmacs!
  • + 2
 @GOrtho: build a bridge out of her!
  • + 2
 @kbonesddeuce: And she turned me into a Newt!
A Newt?
I got better.
  • - 1
 @seraph: and this is why bike shops are dying.
  • - 1
 @dobermon: yeah, yeah, and no. It’s a lot about sole stiffness and particular type of shoe. What about All the kids riding BMX in Vans? Then 5.10 Spitfires and Freeriders compared to Impacts or Freeriders pro?
  • + 1
 @andrewbikeguide:
Couldnt agree more. Loved the functionality for 4 rides repaired. Another 5-6 rides back to re grease, is this a CB off shoot?
  • + 1
 @dthomp325: seriously, Time pedals are not strong enough? You can say they are heavy, or you don't really like the way they work, but the Time pedals are all bombprooff
  • + 2
 @Rimrider26: This! Exactly.
  • + 3
 @seraph: that's kinda how I feel. It's a history thing. There is no "clip"; there is a binding mechanism, so we could call them "binding pedals" or "retention pedals", but calling them "clip in" is just using a term that sprang up from people not understanding what "clipless" was, and all the could think was "clip." I have also heard "click in" pedals, again, from people misunderstanding the term "clipless". Basically if we never had "toe clip" pedals, no one would have ever called SPD pedals "clipless" OR "clip in".

That's my in-depth analysis for what @seraph said in one sentence.
  • + 0
 @Inertiaman: Companies still call them "clipless pedals", which makes it an industry standard term. It only makes sense to call them what the industry calls them.
  • + 41
 Blatantly missing from the CrankBros "Cons" is the soft as shite brass cleat.
You'll go through 4-5 of them for every steel Shimano or HT cleat!
Don't know about overseas but in NZ the Crank Bros cleats are crazy expensive as well... The wholesale is more than the retail on Shimano's cleats!
The other downside to them is the pedal to ground (ever more common with today's low BB height trail/enduo bikes) will often result in your foot popping out on the other side of the pedal.
  • + 10
 Can't upvote this enough. My Mallets are sitting in a box now where they will remain until I'm forced to use them for some reason. I'm not buying any more cleats! I have spd cleats that have lasted for many years.
  • + 2
 I rode mallets for a while and the amount of times I crashed because the pedal ejected me randomly made me jump to time, which had the same problem, and eventually stopped working at all because the springs broke. On HT now and have been very happy with the consistent performance and lack of surprises.
  • + 37
 " their top-drawer Speciale 12 has a slightly longer platform (...) but the existence of the Speciale 8 leaves little reason to buy the '12"
Special 8 Cons: Platform could be 10mm longer
Big Grin Now you should have taken the Special 12 in your group, with Cons: too expensive.
  • + 2
 Haha, true. I'm really loving my Speciale 8s, though. Platform is just the right size.
  • + 2
 True, that would have made more sense. I went with the 12’s once I saw the side by side specs and the option to use more pins and if you hunt around you can find the 12’s for about 200.00 which makes them a little easier to justify (considering Time pedals are also nearly indestructible).
  • + 1
 @Powderface: I will also go for the 8 though my MX4 are still working perfectly in fact...
  • + 1
 @Jesse221: I found the 12's for $160 at Merlin cycles. Must've been a mistake Smile They are amazing; the spring tension adjustment is key-crank the tension up a bit and I'm in there solid. Zero blowouts in 5 months of hard riding.

My knees like the TIme style of float, and the are the only pedals I don't blow out of in the throes of panic moves. Likely due to the ability to move my feet around a bit. Don't get me started on Crank Bros, even though they feel about the same (maybe a little more vague). They left me stranded at least twice, the most memorable being at the exact top of Mr. toads in Tahoe, after riding for two hours to get there. Still bitter about that one.
  • + 1
 Just picked up a set of the 8's and they are perfect. I have been riding Time ATAC for over 20 years, but just was having issues with the platform offerings of the MX line. Rock strikes were killing those pedals and the platform was not that helpful.

I had found a pair of XT pedals on clearance for $40 about 6 months ago and gave them a try. Hated them due to the mud clearance issues. When its gritty mud its hard to get in and even harder to get out.

I had been debating trying the 12's but couldnt justify the entry fee of $350. When the 8's made their appearance I jumped on a set and they have been perfect. My knees and hips just get along better with the free lateral and rotational float of Time ATACs and they just plain work no matter how muddy it is. Time will tell if they hold up to rock strikes, but all indications look like they are rock solid.
  • + 1
 The Speciale 12 are entirely made in France whereas the Speciale 8 are partly made in China. That's a good reason for buying the Speciale 12 if one isn't cash strapped.
  • + 35
 We call it "pédales automatiques" wich is false as the pedal isn't doing the job by itself. I still have to pedal. Fake news.
  • + 4
 Thought the same after reading the first comment. Pédales mécaniques could be fine but it sounds bad!
  • + 2
 Just put them on a e bike and problem solved
  • + 0
 Pédales automatiques c'est pour les cyclotouristes ça
  • + 2
 "I'd have called them chazwazzas."
  • + 1
 @iamamodel: Nice Simpsons reference! At the time, my Aussie friend was *not* amused by that episode. Maybe it was the "Australia: 30 years of electricity" commemorative stamp. :-)
  • + 1
 @MtbSince84: the creators said they got a lot of stick for that episode, and they had to wear it because they'd done no research and made everything up. I thought it was pretty funny.
  • + 1
 @iamamodel: it would't have been funny if it was totally accurate. I find the nutty englishman with bad teeth who gets his pills from the national health funny. But that is totally accurate so they must have done some research.
  • + 26
 Hold on where are the legendary Shimano DX first Gen pedals? My go to clips. Never serviced, never needed to and have taken more abuse than is possible without being in the catholic church.

ep1.pinkbike.org/p4pb4331133/p4pb4331133.jpg
  • + 5
 I had these but upgraded to the plastic versions which are awesome (and comparitively cheap) pedals.
  • + 2
 I still have two sets of these floating around. I always end up going back to them. Heavy, sure. But bombproof and always consistent.
  • + 2
 Got a pair of these in 2005 to switch my DH bike from flats to clipless. Didn't have any money so I got a $50 used pair that looked like it'd survived a series of bomb blasts. They may have looked like they were going to fall to dust at any moment, but they worked like they were new out of the box for years before I finally sold them along with a used bike I was unloading. I still regret that sale.
  • + 2
 still got mine, they go on the bike on the rare occasions I want to clip in
  • + 1
 @Ranger92: I had a pair and i hated them! I had the worst time clipped in, then getting out was darn near impossible.
  • - 1
 @Blockhouse - lasting is one thing. Function is the other. I had them for a short while under the brand VP. They were hard to clip in and too easy to clip out. It was the worst combo ever.
  • + 2
 My wife has a barely used pair in the original box. Note that the cleat that came with them had more float than the standard cleat. That cleat wasn't available separately.
  • + 0
 @WAKIdesigns: the ease of getting you foot out quickly and back in is what I love about them. Never had a problem engaging and have backed the tension right off so I can get my foot off and down quick, quick. Thing I really like is you can pull up on them when climbing and they'll never pop out but a quick flick and it's sorted. I only really use them for 'pedally' longer rides as I'm usually flats for the win.
  • + 1
 @panzer103: and @WAKIdesigns found the too easy to come out. That's the beauty, everyone is different and ride what works for you rather than worry abut what you're riding.
  • + 1
 @Blockhouse: I found them hard to clip in and too easy to clip out. I had to set the spring very hard to not unclip unintentionally, which made clipping in a labor. But I just may have had the faulty model
  • + 21
 "Mallet E pedals are proving to be the most durable and crash worthy Crankbrothers have ever made."

How about "Fastest runner with one leg", "Sharpest spoon in the drawer", or "Most fragrant decomposing carcass ever!"
  • - 1
 That's a really funny statement, because they're still not as durable or crash worthy as any other brand. They're just better than their own other models.
  • + 17
 Doesn't anyone think the brass cleats are shite as the easy of disengagement changes as the cleats wear out? And that happens within weeks/months depending on how much you ride. I don't hate anything more that inconsistent performance.
If you don't know what I'm talking about, nevermind..
This is the reason I changed from Mallet E's to Nukeproof but came back because Cranbros are otherwise the best performing pedal I've had, and hated Nukeproof's accidental releases with pedal strikes.
  • + 3
 Yeah, brass cleats seem dumb. Mallet-es are such a good pedal but it sucks that the cleat wears so damn easily.
  • + 6
 @irck: I think their logic is that you would rather replace a relatively cheap brass cleat than rebuild a far more expensive mechanism spring.
  • + 2
 @andrewbikeguide: but this totally misses the fact, that a lot of (DH) riders need to push their bikes uphill. I hated how fast i went through cleats with cb pedals. now on hts a cleat lasts forever.
  • + 7
 @andrewbikeguide: actually the original reason for the brass cleat was the smoothness of the engagement & disengagement to introduce existing riders to the new style of engagement of Crank Brothers & to aid new riders to clipless pedals. The reversible cleat made it even easier on newbies because they could run the cleat in the easier retention side to get out as they learned.

Most people who've been on Crank Brothers for a few years will go to the harder metal for the solid engagement & less wear. But if brass is all they got, I'll take em. They click in smooth & easy.

Crank Brothers Mallets addressed the #1 issue of East Coast racing...drying clay mud. Only pedal I know of that you can click straight down into regardless. Have even forgotten to clean the clay out, have it harden overnight and just pop right in as the clay pops out the bottom. The only folks I know who don't want to run them anymore are the guys who sheered pedals off on the 1st gen stuff that bearings would dry up in and saw on the axle & snap.

I forgave them because being stuck in a pedal because of mud not letting you release in any other brand...was TERRIFYING. And dumping your foot into the mechanism no matter what was gobbed up in it and the pedal happily engaging every time....they're #1 & #1A needs of a clipless pedal.
  • + 2
 Couple years ago I asked Crank Bros about the brass cleats because I was wearing them out constantly. They said a better solution was "coming soon". I now run Shimano pedals.
  • + 1
 @maxyedor: you're in Cali. You wouldn't understand.
  • + 1
 You'll also end up with a whole bunch of mismatched cleats if you always get on and off your bike on the same side.
  • + 0
 Also notice how the steel on crank bros pedals is nice and rough so it eats in to the brass cleats. From memory they never used to be like that. Personally I think clips are a hangover from when bikes weren’t so good and you almost needed them to hang on. I got off that shit a while ago and enjoy riding way more on flats
  • + 15
 Why would you buy anything except M530s*

*Unless you really really care about the weight of your pedals.
  • + 8
 You can get m530 pedals and cleats for less than you will spend in one summer on Crank Bros cleats alone.
  • + 6
 I honestly am not sure what you get from the m530 over a 520. I know it has the cage thing but does it touch your shoe at all really? I bought some XT trail pedals at one point and the cage around it just sits there and doesn't make contact with the shoe. Why even have it aside from 'style'?
  • + 1
 @jordanaustino: I feel the same
  • + 2
 @jordanaustino: it's not about the cage. Take a closer look around the clip-in mechanism and you will notice there is a bigger flat area on the 530. When clipped in, that flat area will effectively give a bigger contact patch between the sole and the pedal, giving better feedback for the rider. The cage will only help for one of those moment when you dab your foot and can't clip in yet.

That said, I find that m530 flat area is not big enough if paired with newer AM9 because the sole is too flexible. I switch to Funn Mamba, which has similar design as the Saint clip-in pedal, and it help a lot.
  • + 1
 @jordanaustino: Depends on the shoe you have. Something like a 2FO or an AM9 will contact the cage a lot more than a more XC style shoe.
  • + 1
 @mnorris122: this is probably what it is. New shoes coming soon maybe I'll get to experience this increased platform, haha.
  • + 12
 not gonna lie pretty happy with my deores for $50 and they've lasted three seasons. Pedals get smashed to bits all the time, not sure why id pay more
  • + 6
 Yeah the Deore is a good poach. When you need new cleats just buy new pedals and they come with cleats for the same price.
  • + 2
 Haha these usually go on sale on jensonusa for under $30 over the winter, the same price as new cleats alone!

Best clipless pedal of all time.
  • + 1
 They aren't modern trail pedals but I've been running a pair of M520s for probably a decade now. First on my my now on a cross/commuter. Things won't quit
  • + 11
 Pick a pedal and be a dick about it...
  • + 16
 Don't use your dick as a pedal, that will really hurt.
  • + 4
 @bigtim: There isn't a lot of grip on one pin anyway.
  • + 1
 that's trademarked. Get your own challenge statement. Wink
  • + 1
 came here to upvote the wear flats comment, dissapointed I've had to scroll so far down and not found it yet...
  • + 8
 had my Mallet E's for 3 years now and loving them! Had to regrease them twice and everything is working like clockwork! Great pedal!
  • + 5
 I wonder why only testers and sponsored athletes love the crankbrothers mallets, so hyped, best pedals. If I asked some amateur the answer is alaways: yea feeling is good but cleats not lasts long and pedals just a little longer. I will have to try it one day and make my own judgment. Anyone riding Mallets E or DH longer than 2 years without an issue?
  • + 7
 Been riding mallet Es for over 5 years. Never any problems. Love these pedals!
  • + 1
 @nocker: thx man, impressive.
  • + 4
 Been riding Mallet DH and Mallet E LS for years now with no real issues other than changing cleats once or twice a year. I prefer the bigger platform of the DH pedal as it feels much better on my Giro Chambers. I also have some XT and XTR trail pedals but always end up going back to the DH for that platform feel.
  • + 2
 I’ve been riding them for 10 years. They’re awesome, the only thing I don’t like is that the cleats wear out too fast.
  • + 3
 My mallet dh have been great on my dh and trail bikes. No issues. Havent had to rebuild or anything yet.
  • + 2
 @Murchman: do the mallets feel like you’re standing on ice like shimano? I’ve always hated the metal on metal feeling with shimano. I’m hoping mallets feel like flats with little movement.
  • + 2
 @mikelee: theyre about as close to a flat pedal feeling as you can get. Youre feet are locked in, but you can adjust position pretty easy if you unweight a little. The float is great. And when you have to unclip in an o shit moment, and cant get back in right away theyre pretty grippy too. Im using the dh pedals for both dh and trail, never used the e version
  • + 2
 @lognar: this sounds like what I’m looking for. What pedals are you using?
  • + 2
 @Murchman: @m-t-g: Cleats wear out?? Shimano says Impossibru!
  • + 4
 @mikelee: My experience agrees with @lognar, they feel like flat pedals, but your foot is clipped in, yet still able to quickly escape when needed. Best of both worlds, imo. I have used both the Mallet DH and E, they are similar in feel, but the E has increased rock clearance.
  • + 2
 I got my first set of Mallet 2's in 2011, still have them now. I did need to replace the bearings after 4 years, and snapped an axle flat landing a jump in Whistler, but otherwise they're still going strong. I also have a set of Mallet DH I really like.

I have tried the HT X2 as well which were really great pedals (kinda of like a much firmer version of the mallets), but they only lasted a few months as one fell off my bike on the roadtrip back from Queenstown...
  • + 2
 @mikelee: you don’t feel the cleats like Shimano as the others have said it’s like a flat pedal. The shoe is also key. I have used five ten, specialized 2fo, Teva, and now Giro Chambers with great success. A stiffer cross country shoe might not flex to allow you to feel the platform.
  • + 1
 @m-t-g: that’s what I wanted to hear. I hate the feel of shimano cleats sliding around. I’d rather buy a few extra cleats a year than ride shimano. Cheers for the reply.
  • + 2
 @mikelee: The other benefit that people don't seem to point out is you can get into the pedals by just stepping on them instead of like SPD where you have to put toes first then heel down, I hope that makes sense? So when you are going flat out and foot out it makes it very easy to get back on the pedal.
  • + 2
 @mikelee: im using the DH pedals. Got them for my downhill bike, transfer them between my trail bike and dh bike depending on what im doing. One day i hope to get the enduro version. I will say, i have had ht t1’s and didnt like the release/clip in mechanism, felt clunky and inconsistent. My shimanos were smooth but i didnt like the standing on ice feeling.
  • + 1
 @lognar: I stopped using my enduro version on my trail bike due to enjoying the wider platform of the DH version, it just seems to allow for more movement on the pedal before releasing. I do have a size 13 shoe though so that might play into it.
  • + 1
 @Murchman: your enduro pedals, were they the long spindle version? Ive heard the short spindle can put your foot uncomfortably close to the crank arm
  • + 1
 @lognar: they were short to start with but I upgraded to the long spindal after a couple of months.
  • + 1
 @Murchman: @lognar: Just out of curiosity, what actually wears out on the Crankbrothers cleats? Your SPD "standing on ice" analogy is what made me flat curious and eventually convert over to flats for a few seasons. I really like them but I also like what I'm hearing.

Edit: Nvm, I see they're made out of brass... That explains it.
  • + 2
 @Murchman: That is serious benefit. I like the feeling on the spd but sometimes clipping back after flat out is very hard and you are losing momentum and flow. Especially when pedals is full of dirt or mud. God dammit guys I will have to buy a Mallets!
  • + 3
 @Zeeober: its not effortless. Obviously you still have to get the cleat centered over the mechanism...
  • + 1
 @lognar: Right you still have to get close but I have a number of times clipped in just stepping down on the pedal or sliding my foot backward too.
  • + 2
 @lognar: Yea, sure but its easier that in the spd system , especially on the run.
I prefer riding flats but even with 10mm screws and five ten shoes or bontrager shoes I move my foots and not always place it perfect. I find myself riding much smoother in the spd but less jumping confidence. I was riding spd m540 but it was to little, currently from time to time I put some m530 but the platform give just a little bit of support actually because of the width.
  • + 1
 @lognar: what shoes are you using with the mallets? I’m thinking of going shimano am901
  • + 1
 @mikelee: 5.10 hellcat pro. Love em. Lil heavy, but sure are comfy. I’ve never had shimano shoes
  • + 1
 @lognar: was looking at the hellcats as well. Are the soles stiff? I know the am901 has a more flexible sole to really sit it the pedal.
  • + 1
 @mikelee: stiff enough. Not xc race stiff. Good support.
  • + 0
 Could it be that for sponsored riders, who earn money to go fast, the cost of replacing cleats is a trivial factor?
  • + 5
 the DMR V twins suck, i would not recommend them to anybody . warrantied my first set as they did not release consistently. the second set were the same so i cut my loses and replaced them with the shimano saint SPDs which are awesome , totally consistant , easy in and out, well built but heavy . its a shame as the dmrs look great and i love the pop up mechanism ( had it on my old shimanos ) but above all spd systems have to consistently work
  • + 6
 Same exact story here. Junk replaced by Saints. Never will I stray from Shimano pedals again.
  • + 1
 @theraggyone: @jpcars10s: I was going back and forth between DMR V-Twin and the SPD M820s. I was disappointed to read so many bad reviews about the V-Twins as it sounded like they provided the support I was looking for. Do you think the Saints could be built up with some sort of spacer on the toe like the V-Twins (custom spacer)? Or do they provide enough midsole support as is?
  • + 2
 @iduckett:

I'm sure you could make your own raised platform out of some aluminum and bolt it into the pin holes. I cannot stress enough how important it is to not ruin any of your precious riding time by buying VTwins.

VTwins - one summer of bullshit, terrible customer service, pedals with mis matched internals, tons of play right out of the box. One of them eventually seized after being demoted to the commuter bike,

Saints - one full year of being my only pedals, used on mtb, fat bike, gravel bike, thousands of miles of riding and I've adjusted the release tension once. That's it.

On that note, I have original Kona Wah Wahs that have been on over a dozen bikes since 2012, have never been serviced in any way, and still spin butter smooth with no play in the spindle.
  • + 1
 @jpcars10s: Good because I bought the M820s Big Grin - glad to hear they're serving you well. And thanks for the V-Twin warning... I might fabricate my own spacer, doesn't look terribly difficult, even just a straight piece of aluminium for a test. The thickness might be critical though, we'll see.

The Wahs Wahs are a great pedal and I'm not saying that because I'm an unapologetic Kona buff. They hold up well. I currently use the similar OneUp composite flats and they have given me nothing but smiles for 2 seasons. Well that and a few holes in my leg. NBD there.

I also have a set of M520s I used before the flats and while they could use some greasing I did nothing to them for 4 seasons. So hopefully the M820s do the same.
  • + 4
 I've been on SPDs for about 20 years and the only performance issues come from worn cleats or bad cleat installation. There are times flats are better (mud, winter, jump bikes) but overall XTs are some of the most forgettable bike gear I've ever bought.
  • + 1
 40 years ago the Shimano pedals had little screws which like to come undone and cause you to crash. I upgraded to Time pedals for about 20 years and now have a bin full of them with broken flimsy little bars on one side. The other side still works! I agree that the Shimano SPD is the better choice.
  • + 1
 Sorry. 30 years ago, but it feels like 40. Back then the Time pedals didn't have that tiny and worthless inboard bearing, either. I like Shimanos "hard balls".
  • + 4
 A huge negative for the Crankbrothers was failed to be mentioned... the fact that if you walk on them even on the rare occasion, that you'll have to change the cleats every 6 months.

I had HT pedals previously and absolutely loved them. you KNOW when you are locked in. I also have Crankbrothers pedals (on my DH bike) and it's the exact opposite. No adjustment, engagement/disengagement feels like a wet noodle. Cleats wear out like the seasons in a year change.
  • + 7
 Please stop using bullshit percentages when making a subjective comparison. This article is 7% less credible as a result.
  • + 3
 The only real problem with Crank Brothers pedals is bending the springs when the pedal takes a big it. In 7 years of ridding I wear out like 3 pair of CB pedals,most of them dead by bend springs. Once the pedal springs are bend,it is very hard to clip in. I try to repair it a few times but never was rotating free again. My last DH set has the springs replaced 1 time from other old pedals...I don´t think any CB pedal can survive 20 years of ridding.
  • + 3
 Con on all the pedals, expensive. Hmmmm these are pretty much all online pricing wise with high end flats. What exactly were we looking for price wise? $130-$200 doesn’t seem outlandish to me for something that I can’t ride my bike without. My mallet e’s have been with me for 3 seasons now, that’s a pretty low $/per ride investment.
  • + 1
 Inline not online*
  • + 2
 Yeah I see flat pedals machined to death costing double what some of these arguably higher tech clipless pedals go for.

Like a bikini, less material, more money, I’m not complaining tho.
  • + 4
 I would also argue that XTs for roughly $70 have all the advantages of XTRs with better reliability (historically) but slightly higher weight.
  • + 1
 @Mugen: I think the xtr’s are thinner though which effectively lengthens your crank, which is nice if you have reduce your crank length for rock strikes.
  • + 2
 The lowest end shimano weigh under 400 grams, last forever, come with cleats, and are often on sale on Jenson for under $30.

Every single pedal in this article is overpriced.
  • + 1
 @hamncheez: that's an opinion, not a fact, I see those low end pedals die all the time.
  • + 3
 Thanks PB for the great overview. For 15 years I rode non-SPD pedals (Ritchey then CB) and was happy with the performance. I have been riding XT trail SPD for years now and they certainly take a beating. Honestly, the main reason I ride SPD is that all my buddies do too and it makes it easier to hop on a friend’s new bike and take it for a ride. That alone will probably keep me from going back to CB.
  • + 2
 Great overview, but kinda crappy as far as reviews go. The comments are much more helpful.
  • + 3
 Man, I was not a fan of my DMR VTwins at all. The bearings didn't even last a summer. Replaced with Saints and never looking back. If they ever do need replaced, the new XTR/XT is a no brainer.
  • + 2
 I love the way Mallets feel but Crank Bros requires too much twist to unclip, my legs just cant do it, I wish they would make a cleat with an easier release like SPD. I just want a clipless pedal that gives me a no-float grippy feeling when standing like a flat pedal and has just enough hold that it keeps my feet from bouncing off when pedalling through rocks, if a pedal has a large platform with pins then I dont see a reason to be completely locked in since you dont have to worry about unintended rotation.
  • + 2
 I have a set of the original 737s at home. Still spin smooth got them on an old bike that was donated to me like a decade ago.

I use some XT race pedals in my CX/Commuter, I probably have close to 12000mi on them, I've cleaned and regreased them once. I used the XT trail pedals on my MTB, and are flawless.
  • + 2
 They need the XT's on that list as the gold standard. Relatively cheap/light and supremely reliable. I am going on 4 years on my XT trail pedals.
  • + 0
 @mtbman1980: Yep. The real winner of Camp 2 but not included in the test because it'd be an unfair advantage.
  • + 2
 Riding last years XTRs trail pedals on the full suspension bike and XTs on the winter (fat) bike.
Ever since owning my first pair of 737s, I have been sold on Shimano's clip in pedals. If I break a pair I will be lining up for the new XTR trail pedals.
If anyone is looking for some vintage 737s and SM SH 50 cleats in amazing shape, I am selling some here on the buy and sell.
  • + 2
 @billbek: wow seeing those original spuds takes me back. My first ride with those I neglected to set spring tension and we rode at a place with a bunch of big whooops and 1990’s versions of step-ups. Running out of speed on the uphill, rolling backward, can’t get out, crash. All the moving parts and the sheer density of material on those pedals meant mud or ice shedding was non existent. High tech bits for the time, I loved mine and rebuilt them with those ti axles too.
  • + 2
 @twozerosix: Lol. I loved those pedals but a bit of a weight penalty with them compared to modern pedals!
I remember my first crash with them like it was yesterday. Out in Koksila provincial park riding solo through a creek bed on a hillside, hit a big rock mid stream and over the highside and down into the rocky stream bed. Feet never came out. Cripes I was lucky to be able to ride out with only a sore back...
Wasn't so much a pedal release problem but rather my inexperience in getting my feet out in a hurry....
  • + 2
 "Many riders prefer [Time Speciale 8 mechanism's] slower, more predictable nature over the precise, instant release characteristic of Shimano's SPD mechanism."

This can be changed into an absolute and more useful statement: "The slower, predictable nature of the Time Speciale 8 mechanism is better than the instant release of Shimano's SPD mechanism".
  • + 2
 Go on eBay and look for a set of NOS VP-133 DH. They could be grabbed for as little as $30, have the tilting platform as the DMRs have -which I loved back then when Shimano introduced it with the 636s and then cut it in order to reduce production costs. They have an IGUS bushing and a ball bearing, and on top of that there's a chromoly axle and Shimano cleat compatibility.
  • + 2
 What is the point in having a half ass flat pedal/clip in pedal combo. Just get one or the other. I'm not ridding my clip in pedals not clipped in and I'm not ridding flats with my clip in shoes.
  • + 0
 I don't get it either. I have no idea why someone would want to ride a flat/clip in combo. One or the other.

On that note, I am ecstatic with my 6 pair of 10+ year old Time ATACs.
  • + 1
 Have been running Mallet Es in conjunction with Mavic Crossmax XL and Deemax shoes for two straight years now and am very happy with their grip, sturdyness and relyability. I only did maintenance on them last week, which was actually only a clean and grease job. Highly recommend these
  • + 1
 Does anyone else struggle to feel like the platform is engaging with the sole of your shoe when clipped in? When I first tried set of platform clipless with my XC shoes, I could actually feel the support! So I got stoked and bought a set of VTwins and tried to get them to cooperate with both a pair of Five Ten Hellcat Pros and a pair of Ion Rascals. With both shoes, I just don't feel much of the pedal beneath my shoe when riding (even with shims installed). I tried the same thing with both shoes on a set of Nukeproof Horizons as well, and got the same result. Am I crazy? I'm thinking I might have to make my own Al shims because the stainless ones that come with the VTwins are so heavy.
  • + 1
 I'm on my second pair of XTR 9120's within 6 months. The seals on these pedals are garbage! The first ride out of the box within the first mile the rubber seal that is supposed to keep the crap out of the bearings popped out on both pedals. Shimano warrantied the axle assemblies and the same thing happened again. I know I'm not alone in this problem, a mechanic at my LBS had the same exact thing happen. After not having any sucess, my shop contacted Shimano and got the pedals warrantied. So a new pedal set out the box the seal on the left pedal popped out in the first mile. I have pushed it back in numerous times and finally seems to be holding for now. The mechanic at the shop got a new pair from Shimano at the same time I did and He had exactly the same results, seals popped out. Luckily I only paid $99 for mine.
  • + 1
 I have had 2 older model sets of XTR pedals. Axels broke on both of them and one of them after only a couple of hours of light trail use. I would never waste money on them again, XTs on the other hand are another story ;-)
  • + 1
 @topfuel564 I have also had issues with the new seals. I'm currently on my 4th set of the new XTR pedals due to seal related warranties.
  • + 1
 I've ice skated down rocky slabs on hike-a-bike sections with spds. Never with low profile Crank's brass cleats. No review ever mentions this point, which I find a major drawback to spd type cleats. Not too mention blowouts are rare on Cranks, but too frequent on Shimano pedals.
  • + 1
 I have tried out several models over the years. Shimano, Crank Brothers, Look, Ht's. When new they are all good. The cleats from Crank Brohter aren't that hard so they were worn out very quickly. The qualitiy from the HT T1 is absolutly poor, specially in this price range. After 4 months they had big play in the bearings and are worn out. And I did not liked the added play cliped in compared to Shimano. Never had any issues with Shimano Trail pedals and also the clips from Shimano last longer compared to the other ones.
  • + 1
 Pins exist to add grip when the shoe is not clipped in. Not to prevent the shoe for moving on the pedal. Well, not for me anyway, I don't see a need for that and it would indeed make the entry and exit more difficult. I have seen several reviews with this misconception, in which pedals are criticized for having pins that do not contact the sole when clipped in. Well, precisely! They will contact the shoe when not clipped in, which is exactly what is needed.
  • + 5
 Using the Nukeproof Spd compatable pedals and they’re great!
  • + 1
 Why... why does no one ever talk about how it feels to hike-a-bike on one cleat vs the other. I've ice-skated down rocky slabs on spd cleats in the past. With the low profile brass cleats of Cranks that's not an issue. To add, I've had too many accidental releases with Shimanos in the past.
  • + 1
 The biggest drawback of the Mallet's are that damn internal bushing! That's the highest load point of the pedal and they use a plastic bushing that wears out entirely too fast. That said, it's easy to replace, yet why is it there to begin with?!? Make that change, and it'll be gold.
  • + 4
 I have ridden DH on Shimano DX M647's for years, even have 2 spare sets! Legendary pedals.
  • + 3
 My favorite pedal. Use it on my trail bike and dh bike Smile
  • + 1
 Best ever
  • + 4
 Someone should probably fix up the link saying @crankbrothers is the contact for @shimano XTR pedals... @RichardCunningham
  • + 1
 I tried those evil toe clips. Once. Removed them from every bike even before the reflectors. Forgot they existed. So I was really confused by the whole clipless moniker. Please let it die.
  • + 1
 Started with Shimano, and they've never given me a reason to think about changing. I suspect many would be the same. Curious what sort of market share these other options have.
  • + 1
 Been very happy with Time's over the years, and have been loving the 8's!! I read the original review and do agree that the tension needs to be backed off quite a bit. Best bike purchase in a long time!
  • + 4
 Nukeproof Spd for me, is like my XT but with pins and 8° float
  • + 1
 My main problem is that I have multiple bikes all running Shimano pedals and a few pairs of shoes with corresponding cleats, so unless a pedal is compatible with a Shimano cleat I'm very unlikely to try them out.
  • + 3
 My pedals are better than yours according to my anecdotal evidence. There, I've completed the comments game
  • + 0
 Can anybody provide any evidence or explanation to how or why thinner pedals are more stable? I have only ever heard this and never experienced it myself, switching between many pedals. I'm hesitant to believe it as, after thinking for longer than I should have, I can't find any scientific explanation for why this would be; this leads me to believe that it is just marketing hype. Change my mind.
  • + 2
 @bikeracer28 - Think of hypothetically it in extremes... for example if you have a 2 pairs of blocks of wood to stand on, one set which is 1cm tall, the other pair is 100cm tall (width and depth are exactly the same). Obviously if you stood on the tall pair it would be significantly more unstable. If you had a 50cm high pair though they would be a bit more stable, and if you had a 20 cm pair they would be a bit more stable still. Now, if you are going down to a 1.5cm pair, they would by the logic above be slightly more unstable than the 1cm pair, but the difference would be far less and not as perceptibleand the same rules of physics apply. Then you also need to consider the added rotation effect around the axle. So, in the pedal world if you find a really fat pair (I've had some in the past - like 2 cm or something stupid) you genuinely can feel your foot rolling the pedal with forward/backwards movement (the added angle of rotation you get relative to the axle). Therefore, thinner is definitely more stable and generally better.
  • + 1
 The original clips should have been called something else like strapons, or something and spd should be click ins. And the Shimano pedal details needs a shimano link not a crank brothers link!
  • + 0
 I want Time mechanism in Crank Bros or DMR platform. There is no perfect solution... BTW Mallet E used to come with short and long axle option from Mallet DH and the short one is a death trap. Much harder to unclip on climbs as the shoe goes against the crank arm
  • + 2
 @RichardCunningham THANK YOU for that introduction. I've been saying this for years. Sending "clipless" to the gallows made the article for me.
  • + 5
 Saint
  • + 1
 PS and I get the history I've been around since Shimano did metal trap cage style with SPD inside and a funky pair of SPD strappy sandals to pedal with.
  • - 1
 I must doing something wrong because neither Shimano or Time pedals can hold my feet. I've had more close calls and because of accidental cleat release than hard charging. Most of these releases happen on step-downs or trying to get a bit more insurance boost. I just plain wear pedals and cleats out without much effort, not sure if I need or want to run Shimano's XT's at max tension but so far I don't. I really like the extra control of being clipped in the harder I ride but I need to figure out a better setup with lots of rotation with pedal tension that doesn't deteriorate over a short time.
  • + 1
 I've owned and ridden Shimano SPD's since the original 737's (which are also still going strong) and have never had this problem unless the cleats are worn. Presume you are using single release and not the silver multi release cleats?
  • + 2
 Cleats are worn.
  • + 3
 There are two types of cleats Shimano offers. Type 1 Allows releasing upwards when you pull upwards. Type 2 allows releasing only sideways. If you have problems with releasing cleats go for single release. Also you might have your cleats misaligned so that you are on one or other side of the float the pedals allow.
  • + 1
 same, get ht pedals with float cleats - with tension to the max it is allmost impossible to unclip accidently (i am afraid of dislocating my knee in a crash though)
  • + 1
 @bigtim: those silver cleats are the devil.
  • + 1
 @bigtim:
I have the ones that came with my XT's their black. I have a fresh set as well that I could install. My last set of Shimano's were the Deore or something I put the fresh set of cleats on because they kept releasing and cranked the tension but it turned out the tension hex head was striped because it couldn't overcome the spring force before the hex would slip. My Time/Mavics just sucked and the spring just plain wore out got weak it was way worse than flats.
  • + 1
 Love my Crankbrothers mallet DH pedals but is there any way to get the cleats to last longer than 5 minutes on Squamish Granite?!?
  • + 4
 Saint SPD for me!;D
  • + 2
 Also worth a look: Xpedo Baldwin. 330 grams, SPD compatible, 3 cartridge bearings per side,130€.
  • + 3
 Nukeproof Horizon trail pedals
  • + 1
 Just throwing it out there, what about cleat pedals. Removes all confusion isn't a previously used term and you don't get cleats on flat pedals ever
  • + 1
 try riding "rat traps"

with

Detto, all leather, hard plastic sole shoes, talk about sketchy
  • + 1
 if I want a pair of Shimano XTR M9120, I have to go to www.crankbrothers.com ? Did anyone else notice this?
  • + 1
 i like to now how much NM of force is needed to relise at the minimom and maxximun pre lode Thaks
  • + 1
 Five Ten (climbing grade 5.10) was originally named camp 8 after the climbers camp in Yosemite
  • + 4
 Climbers camp in Yosemite has always been Camp 4. Not sure what Charles Cole first named five ten. But, I have been climbing in them for 20 years.
  • + 3
 My dog is Called Oakley, because Oakley sunglasses were named after a dog.
  • + 2
 I had no idea Five Ten was originally named Camp One.
  • + 1
 There seems to be a lot of children on the internet today, that are unaware of history.....Just pause for a moment
  • + 2
 And the winner is Nukeproof Horizon CS,oh no wait
  • + 1
 XT... bullet proof...cheap..say no more!
  • + 1
 Shimano pdm647, the rest IS out
  • + 1
 Never ceases to amaze me the ridiculous shit we choose to argue about lol
  • + 1
 It's not ridiculous at all.
  • + 1
 Shimano M530 are the shit : 30e, will outlive your car
  • + 1
 Shimano M530, 25 euros, just works and cheap to replace.
  • + 2
 How did I get here?
  • + 1
 Clipless=Scorpion=broken wrist
  • + 2
 FLAT PEDALS!
  • - 1
 In 2 years the times will still be running smoothly, the others.... not so much.
  • + 1
 Lol what? My shimanos are ancient and bullet proof, my friend is running his dx pedals that are from like 2004 or something with zero issues..
  • + 1
 Drink water, ride flats
  • + 1
 Time ZControl or flats.
  • + 0
 Can we also stop using "high and low for gears. How about easy and hard?
  • + 1
 #notanukeproof
  • - 1
 what are the best clip pedals for flat pedal riders
  • + 5
 What ever ones are easiest to take off and throw in the bin
  • + 1
 Crankbrothers are closest to flats interms of foot still sits on the pedal
  • - 3
 ..
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