Review: Shimano XT Trail Pedal

First released in 1990, Shimano's SPD (Shimano Pedaling Dynamics) have become the go-to pedal of choice for most riders. Whether first starting out or experienced rider.
Before there was SPD the clipless system of choice was the CycleBinding pedal and shoe combination that had a large protruding cleat which made walking in them near impossible.


CyclingBinding 1.jpg

CyclingBinding.jpg


With the launch of their SPD pedals and cleats Shimano revolutionized clipless pedals. Thanks to their small size, SPD cleats could be fitted in a recess in the sole, making it possible to walk and paving the way for clipless mountain bike shoes and pedals as we know them today.

Shimano XT PD M737.jpg
Photo credit: http://www.bikerecyc...lipless-pedals/

Since 1990 the basic idea has stayed the same, but advances in materials has made the quest for lighter but stronger designs possible. Their Trail range of pedals add a platform or "cage" around the standard pedal to increase the pedaling platform. The extra platform helps, when it's wet or muddy out, to ensure your shoe does not slip off the pedeal when trying to clip in. This is especially true for trail riders who unclip every so often to get a foot out or for riders who need to get a foot down through sketchy sections.

Shimano XT Trail Pedal 1.jpg

The XT Trail pedal fits in below the top tier XTR Trail, but both share the same SPD mechanism and dual-sided entry. The XT's bodies are slightly thicker and they spin on solid axles as opposed to the hollow units on the pricier XTR Trails. Ease of entry and release can be adjusted via a 3mm hex wrench. Note that having it too soft or easy can lead to accidental unclipping on the trail through rocky or rooty sections. The cage features chamfered edges to lower the chances of pedal strikes and deflect the blown when it does happen.

On the Trail


What sets the Trail pedal apart from the standard range is the extra platform - other than that they are exactly the same as the standard XT pedal. If you're using shoes with a stiff carbon sole chances are you won't really feel the extra platform under foot when standing or pedaling along. It is more evident if you ride in shoes with a more flexible sole like Shimano's AM range, Giro Chamber or Five Ten Impact. Although not exactly comfortable to stand on for long periods while wearing very flexible shoes they won't tire you or cause pins and needles.


Shimano XT Trail Pedal 2.jpg

Shimano XT Trail Pedal 3.jpg


As a longtime flat pedalm, user I found these more forgiving when trying to clip back in and the extra size did give me peace of mind going through rough stuff.

Shimano XT Trail Pedal 1-2.jpg

Verdict


There is good reason why XT pedals set the benchmark for durability, ease of use and features and they are competitively priced. The trail version adds extra versatility by offering a bigger platform with all the features you have come to expect from Shimano pedals. This particular pair have been doing duty on and off on a variety of bikes over the last 12 months and they are still creak and play free, and the cleats still engage first time. Both the pedals and cleats are showing little sign of wear, although there some rock-strike battle scars.


22 Comments

BenReaper, May 15 2015 06:30

I have the bottom of the heap SPD's,the M505,the cheapest and heaviest of the bunch,but they are bullet proof.They tend to get a bit clogged up in muddy conditions,but other than that they have performed flawlesly over the 14months I have been using them.

Bibi, May 15 2015 08:38

Yep , the Shimano range SPDs do the job and do it well - they last.

We all have and oooold set that still works and in the garage/wprkshop somewhere;)

Odinson, May 15 2015 08:43

Nice review, Iwan. 

 

Have the PD-M520's and they are bomb-proof. Just won't die, no matter the abuse I put them through. 

the nerd, May 15 2015 08:50

I bent a set of the pdm-530's I require a new shaft for them. Anyone know if this is possible?

Iwan Kemp, May 15 2015 08:53

Nice review, Iwan. 

 

Have the PD-M520's and they are bomb-proof. Just won't die, no matter the abuse I put them through. 

 

:thumbup:

DubbelBuys, May 15 2015 09:34

I love my XT trail pedals.

 

Have 3 sets of these & I can't fault them at all.

 

I use the Shimano Sh-56 multi release cleat & it works amazingly well

Hairy, May 15 2015 10:18

I have the basic versions and they are just flipping lekker with the platform. Also been using the basic 520's for many years and thousands of km's and these are still spinning away very happily......Shimano SPD's are just flipping rock solid and extremely reliable!

Nick, May 15 2015 10:31

The axle on one of my new XT Trails popped off last weekend. Hoping it's just a case of not being tightened properly at the factory. Otherwise splendid pedals.

arendoog, May 15 2015 11:07

I have 5 pairs on 5 bikes .Road , mtb ,SS .No problems ever .I keep a cleat screw in my shoe as a spare .Take a stud out and replace with a screw

arendoog, May 15 2015 11:11

I bent a set of the pdm-530's I require a new shaft for them. Anyone know if this is possible?

I don't know how anybody can bend a spd pedal  .I weigh a 100 kg and have xt ,s on a SS .If I can't bend them I don't think anybody can .Maybe the lower range are made out of softer steel ???

GerrieTruter, May 15 2015 11:39

I started out on 520's but wanted something with a bigger contact area between the shoe and the pedal. Tried a different brand for a while till I got myself the XT trails. Won't be changing pedals soon again. Great pedals.

Flippa, May 15 2015 11:44

I don't know how anybody can bend a spd pedal  .I weigh a 100 kg and have xt ,s on a SS .If I can't bend them I don't think anybody can .Maybe the lower range are made out of softer steel ???

 

I asked the same question, but the one pedal is definitely bent, I've ridden the bike.

the nerd, May 15 2015 11:45

I don't know how anybody can bend a spd pedal  .I weigh a 100 kg and have xt ,s on a SS .If I can't bend them I don't think anybody can .Maybe the lower range are made out of softer steel ???

 

Been riding SS for about 8 years or so... bent somewhere in that time and have just continued to ride them. Just bought XT's and would like to replace the shaft on the busted set so I can use them on my other bike...

 

I can bend them... Bent 505's before as well.. EB sl's, 520's... etc... etc..

GerrieTruter, May 15 2015 11:46

I bent a set of the pdm-530's I require a new shaft for them. Anyone know if this is possible?

I'm pretty sure you can get replacement axles for the pedals, or buy a secondhand pair of 520's here and put that axle in. Not sure but I think there is a special tool required to remove the axle from the body.

 

I did watch a video of a 520 rebuild a while ago that can show you the how to do everything.

Ratty, May 15 2015 02:49

I love my XT trail pedals.  Gives me more confidence. 

T-Bob, May 15 2015 03:23

I'm still running these classics. I was looking to upgrade but these work great for trail and just refuse to die. Great if you put a foot down and benefit is you can cruise to the shops in flip flops without a worry! 

 

p4pb4331133.jpg

 

 

DJR, May 15 2015 04:17

Got the XT Trails about a year ago after riding the standard XT for many years. I don't think the XT Trails are that much better overall, I'll be just as happy with my old standard XTs. I don't find the wider platform a huge advantage as I manage to clip in easily with any of them anyway. Come to think of it, the very basic 520s and 540s worked practically the same way and also lasted forever. 

IH8MUD, May 15 2015 04:24

XT is good. 

But  I also had standard XT, went  to XT trail en the second bike. (XT trail pedals for Trail bike was the reasoning.) 

Did not perceive any advantage of the  XT Trail over the standard XT. 

Got standard XT again for the 3rd bike. 

DJR, May 15 2015 04:28

XT is good. 

But  I also had standard XT, went  to XT trail en the second bike. (XT trail pedals for Trail bike was the reasoning.) 

Did not perceive any advantage of the  XT Trail over the standard XT. 

Got standard XT again for the 3rd bike. 

Exactly what I'll do next.

BenReaper, May 15 2015 09:22

I'm considering getting XT Trail pedals for my Single Speed,I'm using flats to comute at the moment,but would like to start riding on trails with the SS and would prefer being clipped in.

LazyEnduroRider, May 16 2015 12:05

DJR and IH8MUD, you won't see much of an advantage riding large-carge pedals with "conventional" stiff-soled cycling shoes. The soles just aren't meant to grip on anything flat, too many contours and holes. It's when you're using flat-soled even patterned shoes like fivetens, 2FOs or Shimano AMs that the benefits of support when not clipped in become evident.

DJR, May 16 2015 07:13

DJR and IH8MUD, you won't see much of an advantage riding large-carge pedals with "conventional" stiff-soled cycling shoes. The soles just aren't meant to grip on anything flat, too many contours and holes. It's when you're using flat-soled even patterned shoes like fivetens, 2FOs or Shimano AMs that the benefits of support when not clipped in become evident.

Makes sense yes.