With the last Dura-Ace R9100 refresh and this summer’s new XTR M9100, Shimano has updated their top-of-the-line pedals for better overall performance. But most of the same pedal updates now trickle down to more affordable pedals including 105 road, a new clipless BMX, and two single sided Explorer pedals for everything from gravel riding to touring.
Shimano single-sided Explorer SPD gravel & tour pedals
Shimano improved stability with wider & lighter platforms in their top road & trail pedals, but they also worked to optimize the interface specifically with their S-Phyre road & trail shoes. Now those same improvements come to their Explorer line as well.
Seen as a do-it-all setup for road, gravel & adventure touring, the Explorer shoe line offers much of the benefit of mountain bike setups – walkability & tolerance to getting dirty – with a look that blends in on the road. We’ve been really happy with the affordable Explorer RT4 & RT5 shoes for everything from commuting to touring over rough roads, and now they finally get two sets of one-sided SPD pedals that match their blend of on- and off-road performance.
The larger bodied Explorer EH500 pedal gets a wide platform on one side with 8 adjustable / replaceable traction pins for good wet traction. On the other side a single SPD retention mechanism sits up high enough that it shouldn’t interfere with any shoe tread. Called a light action pedal, they still get release tension adjustment and weigh 383g per pair.
Shimano says these pedals mesh best with their sneaker style CT or mountain bike style MT shoes, but they will likely work well with any walkable soled clipless shoe.
The smaller Explorer ES600 pedal is more of a mountain style SPD trimmed down into a proper road pedal body – even getting the designation of a mixed-surface Ultegra-series pedal. Again you get single-sided entry and good clearance of dirt, but the other side is slimmed down for a low-profile and cornering clearance.
That makes these the lightest SPD pedals that Shimano produces, at just 279g for the pair. Again an adjustable, light-action retention mechanism makes these ideal for road touring paired with Shimano’s walkable RT shoes.
Shimano BMX DX-R SPD pedals
The new MX70 BMX pedals look strikingly similar to the most recent XT M8020 Trail pedals. That’s probably no coincidence as they likely share the same pedal body and overall construction.
What is different though is that these BMX race-ready pedals get stiffer springs for a higher retention strength, and have a narrower release angle than regular SPD mountain bike pedals. So if you have issues with unclipping when you don’t want to these could be a solid trail alternative as well. The new BMX pedals offer dual-sided retention, a broad base for control when not clipped in, and weigh in at 414g for the pair.
Shimano 105 SPD-SL affordable lightweight carbon road pedals
Last but not least is the new 105 SPD-SL pedal, an extension of the new R7000 105 groupset update earlier this year. With pretty much the same overall design and similar injection-molded, carbon reinforced resin construction as the Dura-Ace pedals, these are likely to offer almost exactly the same level of performance as their more expensive siblings.
At just 265g per pair they shed 25g off the old 105 pedals, and are now just 37g heavier than Dura-Ace. They feature a similar stainless steel reinforced wide cleat contact area and spin on sealed cartridge bearings and a steel axle.