Review: Shimano Saint PD-MX80 Flat Pedals

by
July 26, 2017

shimano saint flat peadl

To complete our flat pedal grouptest, Ross writes about Shimano Saints. This is about as long term as long-term reviews get!

Brand: Shimano
Product: Saint PD-MX80 Flat Pedals
From: Madison, madison.co.uk
Price: £59.99
Tested: by Ross Demain for 42 (forty-two) months

Originally launched for the 2013 model year, the third generation of the Saint groupset now includes its own signature flat pedal, the PD-MX80. With an RRP of £59.99 the MX80’s are well priced in the current market with a lot of the competition costing nearly twice the price.

492g weight means they’re not the lightest pedals, but since Saint stuff is aimed at gravity riding, it’s not the primary design criteria.

With a claimed weight of 500g (492g on our trusty workshop scales) they are certainly not the lightest flat pedals on the market. In fact they are one of the heaviest pedals on test, but Shimano have put a lot effort into making sure the pedals are robust and super reliable, with them running on a chrome-moly spindle and low maintenance loose ball bearing axle.

I’ve actually had this set since December 2013, and have run them through all seasons without issue and they are still spinning smoothly and with only the faintest hint of play.

These aren’t the grippiest flat pedals in our grouptest, but they’re the longest tested and have stayed reliable for years.

Shimano have tried to improve the overall size of the pedals from earlier models, increasing the width by 3mm and decreasing the overall thickness by 8.5mm.  Size wise; the platform on the Saints comes in at 90mm x 95mm, so not the biggest of pedals by today’s standards

The loose ball bearing innards are unconventional compared to most flat pedals, but have kept these turning for years.

The MX80 pedal body features a unique shape cutaway corners and a concave platform, that Shimano claim is for better control and efficiency. The shape is quite concave with a 4mm difference between the centre of the platform and the leading edge (19mm to 15mm), giving quite a dished shape. Unfortunately though the axle body is then raised to same height as the edge of the pedal counteracting the overall concave shape of the platform.

The axle bumps do slightly reduce concavity, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing – it just depends on what kind of grip you prefer.

The Saints come with space for 9 replaceable pins each side which screw in from the reverse for ease of removal. Shimano has decided to give riders the option of pin length on the pedals and supply pin washers with them. Unfortunately the pedals come with the washers pre-installed meaning the pins are in their lowest position and not ideal for traction. It’s a simple enough task to remove the washers with a Torx key, just a bit of a time consuming faff. After speaking with a few other people who have ridden the Saint pedals, the general consensus was that they all removed the pins, with most removing before the first use to get the longer pin position – something that Shimano could consider for future pedals.

The pins ship positioned short thanks to washers on the underside – you’ll need to remove those if you want more grip.

On the trail the Saints offer adequate grip as opposed to the locked in, stuck to the bike feel that you get some other flat pedals. I was originally using Shimano’s own AM41 shoes but also experimented with Five Tens. The added stickiness of the Five Ten sole did improve the overall grip but still didn’t feel as planted as some other options. As mentioned above, one of the main reasons for this is the axle running through the middle of the pedal platform. This lead to more of a sat on feel, as opposed to feeling locked into the pedal.

The combination of short pins and axle bumps give these more of an “on” than “in feel, which is worth bearing in mind if you value concavity above all.

Another slight issue I had with the pedals was the shape. Due to the cutaway corners on the pedals I found that after prolonged periods on the bike, or on particularly rough descents I got a pain in the bottom of my foot around the area of the cutaway. This could be purely down to my personal foot position but I’d recommend trying set if possible before buying.

The rounded shape and slightly smaller platform helps keep them away from rocks, but if like Ross you have large feet, you might find them uncomfortable after long periods of riding.

Although not the biggest or grippiest flat pedals I’ve tried the Shimano Saint MX80 are a well-priced option for someone that is looking for a bombproof set of pedals. Someone that will take longevity over out and out shit to a blanket grip.

In over three years, Ross has absolutely given these a pounding and they’ve lasted.

Note: too late four our grouptest, Shimano announced a range of new, completely redesigned Saint flat pedals, which have bigger platforms, greater concavity, and longer pins. We’ll be looking to review a pair of these as soon as possible.

Review Info

Brand: Shimano
Product: Saint PD-MX80 Flat Pedals
From: Madison, madison.co.uk
Price: £59.99
Tested: by Ross Demain for 42 (forty-two) months

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