It’s no secret that Shimano’s SPD pedals are a favourite of TREAD’s test riders. A mixture of M540s and M520s lurk in our toolboxes. Besides being a consistent and widely used platform for test bikes, we’ve found the SPD system by far to be one of the most reliable and robust platforms out there.
SPD has proved its worth with rigorous riding, through all seasons, over five years, on more than a hundred test bikes and thousands and thousands of kilometres all over the country.
The trail version is pretty much the same pedal but within an alloy cage or platform. The idea being that this provides more stability for clipping in.
Falling on the bottom range of three models, the XTR and XT Trail (PD985/785) the M530 essentially has the same SPD adjustable retention system sealed cartridge, albeit a cast alloy cage as opposed to machined. Other differences are axle materials, a plastic sleeve for the bearings and slightly different profiles.
Riding with the M530s, we didn’t feel an apparent difference to normal SPDs, although with some of the more chunky tread patterns on shoes there was a noticeable feeling of contact with the alloy cage. Where the trail pedals did prove their worth was clipping back in over rough terrain; it was quicker/easier to guide the cleat back in thanks to the outer cage. Also it did provide extra security on the pedal if at any stage you were unclipped over a particular section. Saving us from creating a new contact point on the top tube or stem.
The expanded platform did catch rocks and recessed singletrack edges from time to time and could end up looking a bit grubby. The pay-off though is the extra protection this affords your foot. We did expect more mud debris clogging due to the larger platform, yet even though we didn’t experience any really muddy conditions, we did ride extensively with them in a damp Karkloof region with no problems.
Riders who are new to clipless pedals as well as Enduro racers will enjoy the appeal of the Trail option pedals the M530s offer. Easier access and broader platform for your shoe helps with confidence. Overall we enjoyed the M530s, they’re neither bling nor lightweight, but offer incredible value for money and are literally bomb proof.
Contact: www.coolheat.co.za; 011 608 2003
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*Originally published in TREAD Issue 29, 2014 – All rights reserved