Shimano XT trail SPDs have been our go-to pedal for trail riding for years, but until recently, we’d never ridden a Shimano platform pedal with the same designation that matched the rest of our bike’s kit. Though I’ve owned and have run a set of the DX pedals since their release, (which, like all Shimano pedals we’ve ever owned, have set the benchmark for longevity and are still running strong) there is now a platform pedal with the XT designation dedicated to trail riders that don’t want to clip in.
When the opportunity to acquire a set for our bikes arose, we jumped at it. Available in two sizes, the is platform pedal is designated as model number PD-M8140. As my partner Inga and I both have different size feet, she went with the small/medium while I chose the medium/large. We’ve since put over a full season of riding — ahem, abuse — in on them, and as you’d expect from a Shimano pedal they’re holding up great.
Before we get into it, here are some basic specs and features as provided by Shimano:
- Body Material: Aluminum
- Spindle Material: CrMo
- Intended Use: All mountain, enduro, trail
- Pins: 10 adjustable pins per side
- Platform: S/M: 100mm x 105mm; M/L: 110mm x 115mm
- Recommended Shoe Size: S/M: EU 36-43; M/L: EU 43-48
- Superior grip for aggressive trail riding
- 2 pin length options (long & short) for customizable feel
- Optimized platform size (2 options available)
- Fore-aft concave
- Weight: S/M: 472g; M/L: 514g
Pedal setup and optimization required
To fully get the most of these pedals, a small bit of time investment is required to optimize the experience.
The Shimano XT platforms include two sets of pins in both the short and long variety, but we’re not crazy about how they’re set up out of the box. New pedals come with the short pins installed. This leads to lousy first impressions. and can it result in a not-so-great first experience with the pedals out of the box. Unless you’re setting up a high-end beach cruiser that you’re going to ride in flip-flops, the short pin setup kind of, well, sucks.
Not realizing this, for my first ride, I installed the pedals on my bike then headed to our neighborhood bike park to session some jumps. It was sketchy to say the least, as I didn’t have any of the traction I had anticipated having. After almost slipping the pedals a few times, I was simply over it and headed home. Needless to say, that session wasn’t very fun, and I returned home to pull the pedals from my bike to swap the short pins out for the long pins.
With 10 pins a side, the long pins provided a ton of grip. It was actually more grip than I prefer, and I found I was having difficulty moving my feet around on the pedals. For someone riding steep terrain looking for maximum traction, or pairing the pedals with less grippy shoes, (say, the old discontinued Teva shoes, or skateshoes) it was fine, or even a great set up. With sticky rubber-soled Five Tens though, it was too much.
While this may sound like a negative, the ability to fine-tune the grip of the pedals is actually a positive and is the highlight of the product. That said, you’ll need to invest a small amount of time to dial them in for your preferences.
No more trying to figure out the ideal shoe /pedal combination
When most people in our mountain bike skills classes ask for our opinions on the best/ most optimal platform pedals and shoes, my answer is, “it depends”. We generally recommend shopping for a shoe first, and going with what fits you the best, then choosing a platform pedal that meshes well with your riding shoes. It’s often less about the pedal and more about the feel and compatibility with the shoes you’re running.
The XT platform pedal, on the other hand, is going to vibe well regardless of the shoes you end up running since you can essentially “detune” it. My recommendation with these pedals out of the box is to pull the short pins immediately and replace them with all the long pins. Then take it for a ride around the block. If you love the grip, go out and hit the trails. If they’re a bit too grippy with your shoe of choice, you can swap out a few pins for the short ones until they feel just right.
On the trail
We’re big fans of the XT Platforms. They’re durable, have as much grip as you need, and they feel good under your feet. Some pedals get so minimal that it doesn’t feel like you have much support underfoot; the XT PD-M8140 is a solid platform.
Pedals are a “like it or leave it” scenario – there are lots of good options to chose from, based on what you’re looking for in a pedal. At $75, the XTs are well priced, decently light and long-lasting. With two platform sizes to choose from, they’ll work for every rider and they look great. Though mine are starting to show signs of use and abuse, (IE, scratches) I have no doubt they’ll hold up for the long run, and with minimal maintenance, a bonus for those of us that prefer to run platforms in the wet season.
Shimano currently offers a number of pedals optimized for riders and their preferences. If you’re harsh on pedals and smash them on rocks often, you might look at their more economical option, the PD-GR500. It weighs a bit more but comes in at a lower price point, and the pins are threaded in from the bottom, making pin replacements easier. It’s also available in a silver color, which should look far better once they’re scratched up and a bit worn in.
With a current street price of $75, the Shimano XT platform pedals stand out as a killer value for a high-quality pedal with a reputation for durability. For more info, visit Bike.Shimano.com or stop in at your local shop. Shopping online? Support our online shopping partner Jenson USA and a portion of your purchase will go back to the site.
Disclaimer: Shimano is a Bermstyle supporter via our coaching partner Bikeskills.com and supplied the pedals for our use at no charge.