SPD 'Trail' Pedals – why?

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  • SPD 'Trail' Pedals – why?
  • transapp

    I’m in the market for a new set of SPD’s for the new road bike and could move the set of standards from the mountain bike and replace with a set of trail (the ones with cages around them). The only question is what do the offer over the standards?

    Premier Icon jam bo

    A cage around them…


    better support for the foot.

    Better support for the foot, with a cage around them.


    Easier to get into.


    But the cage doesn’t contact the shoe when in the cleats does it?

    How is it easier to get into?


    The cage contacts the tread of the shoe, so you get more of a platform and less hot spots when you use flexy trail shoes.


    “Better support for the foot, with a cage around them.”
    It depends

    With ‘race’/roadie style SPD shoes I’ve not really noticed a lot of difference. If anything with those shoes it makes it harder to ‘find’ the clip to clip in. Though I’ve not used them loads with cage/trail SPDs, they tend to be used with cageless SPDs

    When I’ve used DX’s with ‘race’ shoes in the past though I did find them easy to clip into, Whether this was because DX’s/M545s the clip part rotates within the cage and ‘trail’ ones (M530 etc) don’t rotate withing themselves I don’t know

    I bought ‘trail’ ones (M530) as my Spesh Tahoes (sort of like a low summer hike shoe (basically a mesh top shoe with chunky tread)) I found the soles too flexy for use with cageless pedals, a ‘hotspot’ around the cleat when descending can get painful. I wanted something with a bit more shoe support without going to M545/DX weight/price levels (M424s were out on the mud ability/older clips)
    M530’s only have minimal more support (the front and rear bumpers cant do much as they’re lower than the area around the cleat clips) but that little more does seem to make ebnough difference that I don’t get the cleat hotspots
    I’m still considering chopping the bumpers off as I’ve never had a problem smashing M520s and M540S into rocks and stuff int he past

    Regards your question. Why wouldn’t you get road SPD’s for a road bike?


    I cannot comment on the trail pedals but it is for this reason that I have been running the old caged DX SPD’s for years – the cage makes them easier to get ONto – then you can INto it them the first couple of crank revs. Useful in mud and snow.


    I’d also add that the increased platform brings more control to your feet. You can use them as you would a set of flats.. ish.


    Because smashing un-caged pedals of rocks on the trail is expensive.

    I’ve got them and use them with shimano shoes. I dont sign up to the “more support” part but enjoy using the extra platform when I unintentional unclip on steap descents etc…


    I’ve got trail pedals on all four of my bikes.


    hmm, something to think on then. I haven’t even spotted road spd’s so will have to look now. I’ve never damaged a spd cracking it into rocks, and all my spd shoes are carbon soled ultra stiff jobs (aprat from my winter boots which actually feel stiffer under pedal than most!) so I think I’m swinging towards standard or road.

    Edit – now understand the road spd pedals. Actually the bike came with a set, but I want to wear my existing shoes (I’m not a massive roadie, I use it for training for the mtb)


    Trail pedals are much, much nicer.

    When you get scared, you can ride without clipping in.

    Then realise you would be better off with flats…

    Premier Icon tomd

    One of my bikes has the trail spds, the other the standard 520 spds and I sometimes stick flats on.

    The trail spd just has more contact area when clipped in, so less pressure on the foot and feels more solid. The difference would be less noticeable if you use very stiff “racey” shoes. Both sets of spds are useless unless actually clipped in, the cage isn’t magic.

    Premier Icon teamhurtmore

    Still new to trails but not onvinced so far

    Plus – better to get in
    No change. – riding
    Worse – clipping out when caught out on steep climb. Can’t get release angle correct and keep spilling. Nightmare in small bomb hoes IME

    Dont understand non- clip in comments. No sense to me in riding spd’s unclipped? Probably going back to normal spds soon.


    “Dont understand non- clip in comments. No sense to me in riding spd’s unclipped? Probably going back to normal spds soon.”

    If you’re trying to get going again on a techie/steep bit, you can ‘mis-clip’. With a cage around the clip, you have more support for getting down the next bit not clipped in. I only use caged clip pedals for on the bigger bike, for bigger stuff, but really value that extra bit of surface area if I cock up a re-launch on a sketchy section.


    why dont you just keep your spd ‘standards’ on your mtb and buy some proper road pedals for your road bike. Pair of 2nd hand 105’s can be had for 15 quid or so and pair of shoes for 30 in the january sales, so same price as your trail spd’s you would buy.

    That not make more sense??

    Premier Icon tomhoward

    I use trail pedals on my road bike…


    The contact area is about the same (the cage doesn’t contact the tread) and if you have a low BB height you’ll hit them more often. In short, they’re not worth it for me.


    don’t buy them, they are rubbish. Hopefully then there will be loads of unsold stock at the end of the year that I can snaffle for a reduced price.


    The Cage also protects the pedal body.


    roadie spd

    A slightly more roadie style ‘trail’ spd pedal.

    Road SPD-SL is want you want though, it’s a road bike afterall.

    Premier Icon mikewsmith

    the cage on my mallets is good for when your clipping back in but don’t make it.


    I would be if I didn’t want to buy additional pairs of shoes to complement them. I’m quite happy in my existing ones so will be putting standard SPD’s on the road bike. I think I get the reasoning behind the trail version, and for me, I think It’s a solution to a problem I don’t have. CRC order for some nice XT spd’s this afternoon!


    I’d have thought these A520s would be more in keeping with the road bike image not to mention the weight saving, although the A600s Anthony suggested have a more rust-resistant axle and weight less.


    strange when people dont get the road pedals on a road bike and mtb pedals on a mtb bike scenario. Cheap 105’s and dhb shoes would be the same price as your xt spd’s. Its as if you hate change. Clipping in and out is exactly the same, your foot support and power through the pedals will be noticeable though


    I only started on the road this summer and spent 3 months on XTR trail pedals and my MTB SPD shoes. However, my LBS gave me some proper Ultegra SPD s and I paired them with some super stiff carbon road shoes, difference is significant. Not regretted doing it ‘properly’.


    For me, I know that I’ll be wearing my MW82’s through the winter due to warmth / waterproofness, so need SPD pedals.
    In the summer, there will be a lot less riding, and certainly nothing that I’ll be worrying about power loss wise. It’s nothing to do with being worried about change. If that was the case, I’d still be on my rigid orange clockwork!
    I think this comes down to the fact that I might struggle to justify the additional shoes to the boss though, and at £44 for xt spd’s v’s £150 for a pair of shoes, plus overshoes ‘cos they will be mesh bags, I’ll stick to the spd’s.
    Thanks for responses though.

    hmmm, i’ve just stuck some SPD M520 pedals on my ‘road bike’ which is used for commuting (hence i wanted to be able to walk in the shoes).

    I’m not getting on with them at all. I hate the feeling of my feet wobbling around on this tiny little pedal and felt a lot more in control of the bike on flats. Whats the best way of sorting this?…
    – get some SPD pedals with a cage type thing around them
    – SPD-SL pedals/shoes and ditch the SPDs.
    – just get used to them (they’ve already been setup by bike-fitting place)

    I might add i’ve used flats for 20 years so this is all new to me. Going to stick with flats on the MTB whatever happens i think.

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