It seems like we’re always talking about keeping q-factor as narrow as possible when it comes to road bikes. But what about those who would benefit from a wider q-factor? That may go against popular thinking in terms of aerodynamics and pedaling efficiency, but as Shimano points out – recent research in bike fitting has shown that not everyone benefits from ‘the narrower, the better’ philosophy.
So they made wider pedal axles
Which is exactly why they have a new axle option for their latest top two road pedals. Where the standard SPD-SL has a 52mm pedal center as measured from the shoulder of the axle, the new option adds 4mm for a total of 56mm. Otherwise, the pedals are identical in bearings, release, and performance. Keep in mind that the cleats themselves have 4mm of lateral adjustment built in, so the actual width ranges from 50-54mm and 54-58mm.
Do I need wider pedal axles?
Shimano says that riders with “naturally wide hips, large quad muscles, or those who simply don’t feel comfortable with their feet close together” will all see some benefits to the wider axle. It also may bring your road pedal position closer to that of your mountain bike – if you’re switching back and forth and want your pedal position to be identical, this could be an important factor. Of course, there’s also the option of running the -3mm shorter spindle option on the XTR XC/Gravel pedal to achieve the same result, but in the opposite direction. Depending on crankset q-factors, you may need a combination of both.
The +4mm spindle option will be available on the Dura-Ace PD-R9100 and the Ultegra PD-R8000 pedals. Each are available now for $279.99 and $199.99 respectively.