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The top 18 best clipless pedals for long distance cycling

With this article I’m going to cover a wide range of the best clipless pedals for long distance cycling. As it turned out, that wasn’t as easy as it might sound.

Between the various brands there are roughly 3 categories of clipless pedals. You have road bike pedals, which nowadays have large cleats and are meant to be used with stiff shoes. These shoes are not easy to walk with because the cleats protrude. So it’s basically meant for long stretches of riding on flat tarmac with the occasional pit stop to grab some coffee.

The other two categories of pedals are meant to be used with shoes where the cleats are recessed. These shoes are much easier to walk with, are not as stiff, and are definitely more flexible when riding on hardpack, gravel, and trails. Basically anything other than tarmac, and of course tarmac as well.

There are XC-oriented pedals with hardly any platform (also meant for gravel riding, bikepacking and cyclocross), and trail pedals which have a larger platform to provide more stability in rockier environments.

Of course, long distance cycling can be done under any cycling circumstance, and with any bike, whether it’s on a road bike, gravel bike, or full blown touring rig. To prevent this list from becoming too long I’ve chosen to not include true race pedals, which is everything that’s really lightweight and/or features titanium axles.

What remains you can find in this overview of what I feel to be the very best the market has to offer for clipless pedals for long distance cycling.

Shimano XTR PD-M9100

Shimano XTR PD-M9100
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There is no best of list without Shimano XTR, and the Shimano XTR PD-M9100 is the best, most minimalistic clipless pedal in their lineup.

Where every other manufacturer offers versions with titanium axles to reduce weight, Shimano does not, which means these pedals are light enough at 310 grams, but not the lightest. Third-party titanium axles are available that enable you to get these pedals below 300 grams, but it’ll cost you multiple dollars per gram to do so.

At 15.1 mm the XTR pedals have one of the lowest stack height of all clipless pedals, which means a very low risk of pedal strikes.

The rear part of the mechanism is spring-loaded, which means you engage the pedals toe first. This takes a bit getting used to, especially when you’ve never used clipless pedals before. When attached they offer a snug feel with minimal float of 4 degrees, and reasonable release tension at 13 degrees. This is good for those people who want a super consistent pedal feeling and maximum energy transfer.

The pedal comes in two different axle lengths, 52 and 55 mm, and are the only pedals that offer a dual cup and cone bearing setup. Such a bearing setup enables the pedal to enable a higher load.

The SPD system is outstanding with definite clicks to let you know you’ve either engaged or disengaged the pedal. There are multi-release cleats available, of which I’m not a fan, that allow you to disengage both ways and upwards.

Mud shedding is excellent with a minimal round machined body where debris has little change to pack. The platform is rather small, which means that I’d opt for the larger M9120 or other more trail-oriented pedals when moving away from XC or gravel riding.

The XTR pedals have been the benchmark against which all other pedals are measured, and these pedals ensure they keep that status.

Expert Experience

102 | Sean Fishpool – 44712

Two very minor gripes came up in my testing. The shoe cleat quickly started to wear through the very end of the polished contact patch on the inboard side. And I noticed that the bearings on one of the pedals had a very slight roughness to them, which I’d probably have sent back to the shop for a perfectly smooth pair, had I bought them.

If your wallet allows it, the XTRs are a significant upgrade over the XTs. With a wider contact patch, better mud clearance, lower weight, and a lower stack height, it brings the race performance you’d expect from Shimano’s XTR pedals.

Pros and Cons

Shimano Deore XT PD-M8100

Shimano Deore XT PD-M8100
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XTR and Deore XT are always very closely related to each other in terms of functionality, but of all Shimano’s products I feel their pedals are the closest.

The Shimano Deore XT PD-M8100 differs only slightly from its XTR counterpart. And the difference is a few grams, 32 to be exact, and 6 mm of stack height. It does mean the XTR is better, but ever so slightly.

I don’t need to repeat everything I’ve already mentioned with the XTR PD-M9100 because in terms of ride quality these are exactly the same. And nobody’s going to convince me that they can possibly discern the weight and stack height difference while riding.

Expert Experience

102 | Sean Fishpool – 44712

The sealed internals are extremely unlikely to let you down. Even without maintenance they often keep spinning smoothly for years, and like most Shimano pedals, the PD-8100 is very maintenance-friendly.

Nobody ever regretted buying XT SPD pedals, and the PD-M8100 will give you years of clean, smooth pedaling. If a few grams of weight, slicker looks, and a little stack height aren’t important, the cheaper PD-M520 will do you almost as well, but we’ll leave your head to battle with your heart over that one.

Pros and Cons

Shimano PD M520

Shimano PD M520
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Besides the top-of-the-line XTR and XT versions, the Shimano PD M520 is the last-in-line of the XC and gravel-oriented clipless pedals.

That doesn’t mean these clipless pedals lack in quality. On the contrary, considering its quality, it’s really difficult to justify some of the prices associated with more premium offerings.

There’s a bit more weight to deal with, 380 grams to be exact, which is the least important sacrifice if you ask me.

The biggest thing with these pedals is that the cleat mechanism is similar to both XTR and XT for a fraction of the price. Obviously, there is a bit less polish to these pedals in the material department to keep the price low, but looking from afar, it’s very hard to distinguish these pedals from those costing three to four times as much.

Instead of the dual bearing setup of both XTR and XT, these pedals run a single sealed cartridge bearing, which is easily serviceable if you need to. You will need a fairly cheap proprietary Shimano tool to do so.

I’ve already said anything I want to say about the tried-and-true SPD mechanism.

Expert Experience

102 | Sean Fishpool – 44712

It’s hard to imagine ever regretting buying PD-M520s. If you lost a race by a tenth of a second you might wish you’d spent the extra £70 to save the 36g on Shimano’s XT pedals that might have got you over the line first, but otherwise, day to day, they’re just a reliable companion that keep spinning easily, and clipping in and out with a clear and definite action.

They stand up to years of all-weather abuse, rock strikes, and crashes, and though they’ll be at their best if you re-grease the bearings now and then, plenty of riders don’t. The cleats last well, too, and the fixed rear plate of the pedal is replaceable, though I imagine few riders ever do that.

Pros and Cons

Shimano Dura-ace PD-R9100

Shimano Dura-ace PD-R9100
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The difference between Dura-Ace and Ultegra has always been extremely minimal, with usually a little weight gain.

The same can be said for the Shimano Dura-ace PD-R9100 and its Ultegra counterpart. There’s a 20 grams weight difference in an otherwise pretty similar setup.

Of course the technology is exactly the same, with the same release mechanism, overall body design, and body composition made from a carbon composite.

Shimano’s expert level bearing quality reaches its pinnacle with two cup-and-cone bearings and a needle bearing, which makes the Dura-Ace clipless pedals having the overall best quality bearing setup of any pedal out there.

Aftermarket titanium spindles are available should you want to shave off those last couple of grams and obtain a sub-200 grams version of these otherwise expensive, but excellent pedals.

Expert Experience

45 | Mat Brett – 42907

Dura-Ace pedals aren’t quite as light as top-level models from key rivals. That might bother weight weenies a little, but I’ve found the Dura-Ace 9100 pedals to be solid and reliable and there’s every indication that, like their predecessors, they’ll prove to be durable too. Add in a warranty of three years (you get this on Dura-Ace and XTR products) rather than the standard two, and they’re a very good choice.

Pros and Cons

Shimano Ultegra R8000

Shimano Ultegra R8000
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If you want flawless performance in a road bike pedal, the Shimano Ultegra R8000 might very well be the best pedals there are.

These pedals haven’t changed for years and offer one of the best bearing setups on a chromoly spindle for clipless pedals, ensuring long-lasting life and very little maintenance.

Shimano isn’t really known for making super-lightweight products, and these pedals sit at 248 grams. Shimano’s only design splurge is the carbon composite body, making the pedal very stiff while keeping an excessive weight at bay. 3 stainless steel plates further increase the platform’s durability.

Shimano offers less float than many other brands at 6 degrees, which is the maximum of 3 different cleat options. The other options offer 2 and 0 float. But the dual spring setup has always been very user-friendly. Since the weight sits at the back of the pedal a forward motion of the foot always places the platform in the correct position.

A single allen key is needed to increase the release tension of the pedal, which you can crank up to pro-level bear trap tightness. And the platform has just the perfect size offering stability and great power transfer in this high quality pedal.

Only if you want more float should you buy another pedal (probably a Time), because the quality and longevity of these Ultegra pedals has yet to be beaten.

Expert Experience

14 | David Arthur – 44328

A bonus with Shimano pedals is that the weight of the release mechanism means the pedals are always pivoted nose up, which makes locating the cleat into the pedal much easier. This softens the learning curve when it comes to getting used to clipless pedals for the first time.

The Ultegras are cheaper than Dura-Ace and lighter than 105, but if the price is too steep, the 105 R7000 pedals also tested offer much the same level of performance.

Pros and Cons

Shimano Deore XT PD-M8120

Shimano Deore XT PD-M8120
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The Shimano Deore XT PD-M8120 sets a benchmark in terms of value-for-money. Not as expensive as the XTR, but basically offering all the tried-and-true functionality you’ll ever be going to need from a clipless pedal for trail riding.

Shimano pedals are known for their bearing quality and longevity, with low service intervals and excellent riding quality offering many miles without worry. A dual cup-and-cone style setup is specific to the Shimano brand, and as far as longevity is concerned I don’t know any difference.

The XT pedals are slightly heavier than the XTR at 438 vs 398 grams, and also have a slightly larger stack height of 16.2 mm vs 15.4 mm. Those two figures alone aren’t enough in my opinion to make up for the difference in price. Especially considering the fact that the platform and SPD mechanism itself is almost similar.

This means that both pedals offer the extremely user-friendly SPD cleat mechanism. When attached they offer a snug feel with minimal float of 4 degrees, and reasonable release tension at 13 degrees. This is good for those people who want a super consistent pedal feeling and maximum energy transfer.

The mechanism is a dual system with a single spring, which means you engage toe-first and then clip in. Although it takes a bit of practice once you get used to it, both engaging and releasing your foot from the pedals is what makes Shimano pedals so popular, since it’s the best you could ask for.

Shimano pedals are boring. They are a single color, don’t look flashy, and don’t really stand out. But as far as functionality, there are very few pedals that come close or rival the build-quality, longevity, and user-friendliness of the Shimano Deore XT PD-M8120, except maybe the XTR version. And in the end, build quality is the most important factor of any product, including one that gets as much abuse as a clipless pedal for trail riding.

Expert Experience

87 | Simon Kohler – 45001

The Shimano DEORE XT PD-M8120 pedals have established themselves as the standard among clipless pedals for a reason. The spring preload offers a large adjustment range, and the mechanism feels defined, though the float feels somewhat on/off. However, their self-cleaning is poor and the small cages don’t provide much grip or support. Their durability, on the other hand, is among the best and, together with the availability of spare parts, that makes the XTs a superb low-maintenance option.

Pros and Cons

Shimano PD-ME700

Shimano PD-ME700
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The Shimano PD-ME700 is a clipless mountain bike pedal with a pin-less small platform for trail, and enduro riding.

The platform is made from extruded aluminum and functions as both protection for the clipping mechanism and as support for easier engagement and dynamic downhill sections.

Shimano pedals in general are no lightweights and this one is no exception, sitting at 540 grams per pair.

Shimano pedals are really trustworthy pieces of equipment and their focus has never been on making nimble pedals. Although it has just one single sealed cartridge bearing, the lifespan of these pedals are years when properly serviced now and again. Which can be done easily with a Shimano pedal axle tool.

The adjustability of the pedal is decent, but you want to look for the Time MX versions if you want them to be as tight as possible. Otherwise the SPD system is confidence inspiring and offers a consistent and noticeable click when engaging the pedal.

The platform does provide that extra bit of support, but they don’t have any pins for added grip. This means that there isn’t a really distinctive difference with a non-platform SPD pedal.

Yet overall the platform is superbly capable, does what it sets out to do with flying colors, is easy to adjust and easy to service and doesn’t cost an arm and a leg.

Expert Experience

40 | Katherine Moore – 44782

I felt some improvement on using the platform for security on the pedals over rougher singletrack on a mountain bike compared to platform-less SPD pedals, but I would prefer a more marked difference, especially given the weight increase of adding the cage.

Shimano’s ME700 pedals are best for riders who are looking for a little more support than standard SPD pedals, or perhaps are new to clipless systems. However, they could be further improved with even greater platform-to-shoe contact.

Pros and Cons

Hope Union Clip Pedal - RC

Hope Union Clip Pedal - RC
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Hope Union Clip Pedal - RC
Hope Union Clip Pedal - RC
Hope Union Clip Pedal - RC
Hope Union Clip Pedal - RC

Hope’s approach to bicycle parts manufacturing is straightforward and refreshing. The UK brand designs what it feels is the best approach to a certain part, and brings it to life with stellar craftsmanship.

You can clearly see that approach reflected in the Hope Union Clip Pedal – RC pedal. It’s a very expensive pedal indeed, but if it’s the quality you want you absolutely get what you pay for.

For starters, it offers a standard titanium spindle with the best bearing setup of all mountain bike brands. Not only are there 3 cartridge bearings and a IGUS bushing enabling a tremendous amount of load, but the pedal is assembled in such a way that its tight rotation isn’t diminished after prolonged use and shows zero play.

The wonderfully machined aluminum body with stainless steel clips and cleats are built to last and are dual spring-loaded, ensuring easy entry from multiple angles, with a tad more float than the Shimano XTR pedals. And there are multiple anodized options to choose from.

2 sets of stainless steel cleats offer minimal configuration between 4 and 5 degrees of float, and a release angle of either 12 or 13 degrees. I wonder if you can actually feel the difference, which would mean you get a free set of cleats to be used as spares or for different shoes.

There are a number of lighter options available, yet at 323 grams this is still a light enough pedal. And taking into consideration it’s the heaviest clipless mountain bike pedal with titanium axles, it says something about the build quality as well.

I’m sure you could fault these pedals from a certain perspective, especially if you’re used to other brands offering significantly more float. But if you do, you move into the area of rider preference instead of trying to attain a certain amount of subjectivity necessary when reviewing products.

The Eggbeater 11 may steal the crown in the weight department, and the Shimano XTR pedals set the standard, but from a manufacturing perspective these are the best pedals you can find.

Expert Experience

96 | Lucas Winzenburg – 45183

My year of riding the Hope Union RC pedals on several bikes through varied conditions and across a broad range of terrain has me singing their praises. The Union RCs are exceptionally well-built, reliable, and almost transparent in their ease of use. They’ve endured a year of riding through rain and heavy mud and have shrugged off the elements, continuing to run smoothly without needing service.

From a design and feature perspective, I wouldn’t hesitate to choose the Hopes over Shimano XTRs. That said, Hope’s decision to use a proprietary cleat makes them trickier to integrate across my SPD-heavy ecosystem. What’s more, the lack of readily available replacement cleats makes me unsure if I’d choose them for an extended bikepacking trip without a couple of spare sets of cleats, but that’s a relatively small price to pay for the class-leading performance they deliver on every ride.

Pros and Cons

Hope Union Clip Pedal - TC

Hope Union Clip Pedal - TC black
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Hope Union Clip Pedal - TC red
Hope Union Clip Pedal - TC blue
Hope Union Clip Pedal - TC purple
Hope Union Clip Pedal - TC orange

Ever since I bought my first pair of Hope pedals I’ve been a fan of the UK brand. And as far as trail riding is concerned the Hope Union Clip Pedal – TC is up there with the very best in terms of build quality, durability, and all round performance.

For starters, Hope does one of the most important things right when it comes to pedals, which is the quality of the bearings. Where other brands might offer a single cartridge bearing, or maybe two, Hope puts three cartridge bearings alongside a single IGUS bushing onto a hollow chromoly steel axle.

The internals are sealed tighter than what you might be used to in a pedal. And this tightness stays even after many miles, which means the bearings stay very well protected against the outside elements no matter what conditions you’re riding in. Even after many miles and the occasional pedal strike, I’ve had absolutely zero play, which is not something I can say for a number of other premium pedal manufacturers.

The quality of the bearings is pretty similar to the best Shimano has to offer as is the ride quality of the clipless system. Inside a CNC-machined platform sits a dual spring-loaded stainless steel cleat system, offering just a little more float at either 4 or 5 degrees than what Shimano offers.

Two separate sets of cleats offer either 12 or 13 degrees of release angle, which sits so close together that you just as well might use one set as a spare. Both the cleats and the bolts are proprietary and made from stainless steel as well.

Besides the mechanism itself, which is fully adjustable, there are 4 optional pins per side for those of you who want more grip. With lots of anodized colors available besides your standard black, you can find a suitable match for your rig.

Expert Experience

52 | Mike Kazimer – 44763

Hope decided to do things their way rather than simply knocking out an SPD-clone, and I’d say those efforts paid off. The Union TC pedals function extremely well, with an entry that requires minimal effort, and a smooth, predictable release. Yes, the proprietary cleat will be a point of contention for some, but the pedals do come with a second set that can be used as spares – the difference in feel between the two options is fairly minimal. They’re also available in six different colors, and have adjustable pins that aren’t just for show.

Pros and Cons

Look X-Track

Look X-Track
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The Look X-Track is their entry-level model using an aluminum body instead of a carbon one.

At 400 grams per pair, these are some of the heaviest XC and gravel pedals out there, yet the functionality compared to the more expensive X-Track pedals comes at a fraction of the cost.

They are also some of the best-looking pedals for its price, indistinguishable from the more expensive versions.

The entire X-Track lineup uses 2 sealed cartridge bearings, with only the most expensive one having a titanium axle. This one has a chromoly one, which needs a proprietary tool to get to if you ever plan on servicing it.

The Look X-Track uses the SPD system with 6 degrees of float and two different sets of cleats to offer different ways of disengagement. The pedal design hasn’t changed for years, which is a solid indicator of its popularity and quality.

Expert Experience

114 | Jason Mitchell – 44383

One of the most beautiful things about the X-Track Pedals is the ease of entry and exit. You can adjust the release tension, if you wish, but I kept them in the factory setting (2 clicks in) throughout my testing. With that, I could step in and out with ease. I never experienced a premature release either. That float is really nice to have as well.

It’s great having a little extra surface area both for instances where you don’t step right in and for power transmission. I really like Crank Bros Eggbeater pedals and still have several pair, but it’s hard to overlook the tiny surface area where the shoes and pedals connect — it’s minuscule. With the LOOK X-Track, you get added touch points for added power and control.

Pros and Cons

Look X-Track Race Carbon

Look X-Track Race Carbon
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The Look X-Track Race Carbon is the non-titanium version offering the same functionality as their more premium counterpart.

I’ve stated for the Look X-Track Race Carbon Ti that it’s the pedal that offers the most reasonable upgrade price for its axle. Yet it’s still very much debatable whether or not the 60 grams reduction in weight is worth the premium.

Expert Experience

119 | Graham Cottingham – 44783

Look’s X-Track offers an excellent gravel and cross-country alternative to the Shimano stalwart, the pedal connection is just as crisp as our benchmark XT’s with a positive click when engaging and disengaging so you know when you’re connected. I even rode miss-match pedals and in use still found them almost indistinguishable from the XT’s.

Look have potentially undercut the X-Track Race Carbon pedals themselves too, as the composite bodied X-Track Race pedals are only 15g heavier but cost $50 / £42 less, which is a considerable monetary saving for a little weight penalty.

Pros and Cons

Time XC 2

Time XC 2
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The Time XC 2 is the cheapest way to obtain the benefits offered from this lineup.

A composite body is used with a single sealed cartridge bearing on a chromoly axle, with the same 5 degrees of float and release angle between 10 and 20 degrees.

At 302 grams they are still pretty light, and definitely not much heavier than the more premium versions.

The ATAC mechanism is known for its above-average mud-shedding capabilities, so if you like cheap pedals for muddy XC or gravel riding, these are one of your best options

Expert Experience

58 | Rachel Sokal – 44956

It seems counterintuitive to say but the XC 2s are both really easy to clip in and out of, yet feel really secure when you’re clipped in. What’s more, pretty much all of this happens without you thinking about it. For instance, in all the times I’ve crashed / nearly crashed my bike off road I can only remember a couple of occasions when my foot didn’t come out the pedal when it needed to and this is running the cleats at the ‘hardest’ 17o unclipping position. All the other times my foot would come straight out to save my blushes.

Pros and Cons

Time XC 8

Time XC 8
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The Time XC 8 is the more budget-friendly version of the titanium XC 12, offering the same carbon body, but with a hollow chromoly axle instead.

With a price less than half that of the XC 12, it’s hard to not opt for these pedals, considering the fact the chromoly axle only adds 40 grams to the overall weight of 286 grams.

It offers exactly the same pedal characteristics and is still a very lightweight pedal for XC, gravel, and trail riding, with its floaty feel, and excellent mud-shedding ability.

Expert Experience

112 | Simon Kohler – 44852

TIME rely on a specially developed clipless mechanism, which is constructed almost like an inverted SPD system. As such, the rear end of the mechanism is rigid, and the front bit is spring-loaded. This makes clicking in easier, as you can push your feet down or forwards to do so. Using their own system gives them more freedom in developing their own solution, but it makes the procurement of spare parts more difficult. The spring preload tension is adjustable, but you only get three clicks of adjustment, which make little difference in practice. The pedals provide a lot of freedom of movement with 5° of float and they feel similar to the Hope pedals. However, the feeling of clicking in is a little less defined with the TIME models, and, as just mentioned, it’s hardly adjustable.

Pros and Cons

Time XPresso 7

Time XPresso 7
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One of the few pedals dipping below 200 grams and the only carbon version of the XPresso lineup, the Time XPresso 7 is probably the best pedal for people looking for a somewhat affordable high-quality clipless road bike pedal.

With a fantastic looking design the XPresso 7 offers the ICLIC system ensuring easy entry. A low stack height, solid platform for power transfer and 16 degrees release angle make this a high quality pedal. The carbon spring-leaf design which is pre-opened makes the ICLIC system one of the most user-friendly, even for a pedal which is single-sided and pretty large.

They’re also known for their high level of float. Whether that’s something you like is of course a very personal thing, but in general the large amount of float appeals to many riders who prefer a bit more flexibility in the saddle and a lessened risk of knee injuries.

The bearing setup is the same as the XPRO series, with a single cartridge bearing and bushing, in this case, sitting on a hollow steel axle.

Expert Experience

117 | Scott Mares – 43634

Its been a long time (no pun intended) since I have used a road pedal other than Speedplay or a look style pedal. Those are the only 2 clipless systems that I have ever used in fact. I was really surprised at how easy the Time system was. Getting in and out was a breeze and the pedals are very competitive in their weight class (99g each). For the money they are going to be really hard to beat at $110.00 US. To me, for their performance, weight and price they are a bargain when you compare them to other pedals systems that are on the market.

Pros and Cons

Time XPRO 10

Time XPRO 10
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Time makes some of the very best clipless road bike pedals worth your money, and the Time XPRO 10 is a more than excellent choice for any ambitious cyclist.

Apart from having some of the best looks as far as pedals are concerned, the large platform using the proprietary ICLIC system ensures an easy way of getting the pedal in the correct place for entering.

Because of the large platform the pedals offer a near perfect power transition from rider to the bike. And dual cleats are available. Besides the standard cleat offering 10° of float, there’s also the fixed 0° option. The large amount of float is less stressful on the knees and offers a lot of freedom, which doesn’t detract from the overall stability on the platform.

Time pedals are pretty lightweight in general and 226 grams is indeed very light for a clipless road bike pedal. And that lightweight package holds a carbon body onto a chromoly axle with a cartridge bearing and bushing letting it spin freely.

The elongated body of the pedal offers an excellent platform to transfer the rider’s power. And dual cleats are available. Besides the standard cleat offering 10° of float, there’s also the fixed 0° option. The large amount of float is less stressful on the knees and offers a lot of freedom, which doesn’t detract from the overall stability on the platform.

Expert Experience

114 | Jason Mitchell – 43378

More on the engagement side, ICLIC is a legitimate game-changer with its mousetrap-like lock-in. When it’s open, it’s in an active, ready-to-engage state. All it takes is a light step and it actively locks you right in, which is the opposite of most pedals. Lighter riders will rejoice in the easy step-in. Additionally, it’s easy to find the sweet spot and clip in, but sometimes the pedal finds itself upside-down. When that happens, things get tricky, but most of the time I can clip in blind.

Pros and Cons

Time MX 2

Time MX 2
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The Time MX 2 offers a similar approach as the Shimano PD-M647, which means it’s their XC pedal with a composite pedal for a bit more support.

Unlike the Shimano pedals these ones are less than 394 grams per pair, which is over 160 grams lighter, and pretty light in general for a platform pedal.

Time offers their ATAC system for easy entry and a lot of float for those of us who’ve been around the block and want to save their knees.

The dual spring-loaded mechanism holds the foot nicely, but Time pedals are more often mentioned as having a less consistent disengagement than either Shimano or Crankbrothers pedals.

I do have to mention that these pedals offer a better engagement when actually used with enduro shoes. A carbon shoe just doesn’t make sense with such a pedal. The minimal platform provides that extra bit of support when cornering hard.

Time uses the same sealed cartridge bearing on their entire MTB lineup, so whether you’re buying this pedal or their most expensive titanium carbon versions, you get the same smooth action.

When looking at the release angles set at either 13 or 17 degrees, it’s nice that you get the top one as well, but I’d stick to 13 degrees. Clicking into your pedals is straightforward and easy.

Pros and Cons

Time DH 4

Time DH 4
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The Time DH 4 has got DH in its name. They don’t say it but I can only suspect it stands for downhill, which is an interesting choice at least.

They are similar to the Time MX 6, with the only difference that the DH 4 has an aluminum body instead of a glass-filled composite. Since The MX 2 made it on my list of the best clipless trail pedals, I have no reason to state that these are just as good for general trail riding.

So these are more than excellent pedals, with quick, easy engagement and disengagement, lots of float for a playful feel with the ATAC mechanism and a generous release angle between 13 and 17 degrees. The aluminum version is probably a bit more durable than the composite one as well.

The aluminum body does add a bit of weight, with the pedal sitting at 476 grams versus 380. But we shouldn’t be too squeamish about adding 100 grams for a bike meant for enduro or even downhill riding.

These pedals don’t have a really big platform and its pinless, which means that grip while disengaged is less than for instance the huge 7-pinned Chromag Pilot BA; a pedal which excels in this area.

Is this a true downhill pedal? Maybe. Is this an overall excellent pedal for a reasonable enough price? For sure.

Expert Experience

115 | Wil Barrett – 43207

The DH4 may not be the thinnest, grippiest or most colourful pedal on test, but there’s no doubting they’re well priced and absolutely bombproof. The unique ATAC mechanism isn’t for everyone, and personally I’d like to see a bigger body and some pins implemented to improve stability. If you’re after smooth engagement and consistent performance in a pedal that’s likely to outlast multiple bike upgrades though, the DH4s are brilliant.

Pros and Cons

Ritchey WCS XC

Ritchey WCS XC pedal
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The Ritchey WCS XC is the best non-Shimano SPD alternative you can find. The clipping-in mechanism is virtually identical and works just as great.

The cleat tension can be adjusted with your standard 8mm hex tool and features a gauge so you don’t have to count the number of clicks to remember where exactly you are. Effective cleat tension options are both lower and lighter than Shimano premium SPD pedals, but offer enough room to suit all riders.

Very light indeed at a sub-300 298 grams, the pedal body is a forged alloy, which is considerably stronger than the cast alloy of the more budget-friendly Comp version. Little silver flat parts on the otherwise black body offer minimal support, so these pedals are definitely race-oriented for XC, cyclocross, and aggressive gravel riders.

Fully serviceable the dual bearings, one sealed and one needle bearing, alongside a single bushing on a chromoly axle ensures longevity. And as far as I know, there’s no weight limit set for these pedals.

Touted as being pedals that once helped Nino Schurter win races, you can’t argue with the fact that they are championship proven.

Expert Experience

120 | Matt Page – 44251

The pedals feature 10 click adjustment for cleat spring tension although in use I found closer to 6 useable. For the lowest tension settings the cage became loose and rattled and disengagement was also far too easy. As the tension grows the settings become more useable and give a reasonable range of adjustment that should be wide enough for the majority of riders.

The tightest settings give a firm connection but still disengage when you want, feeling reasonably fluid and should suit riders who prefer a more secure connection. The cleats feature 4 degrees of float, which gives a little movement and there is a definite point where you can feel where the cleat starts to disengage and this makes cleat setup quite easy to dial in.

Pros and Cons

Specifications clipless pedals for long distance cycling

Name
Price
Weight
Length
Width
Height
Body
Spindle
Bearings and bushings
Pins
float
release
Shimano XTR PD-M9100
179 USD
310
15.1 mm
aluminium
Cr-Mo
2 cup and cone bearings, 1 bushing
none
13°
Shimano Deore XT PD-M8100
130 USD
342
43 mm
16.5 mm
aluminium
Cr-Mo
2 cup and cone bearings, 1 bushing
none
13°
Shimano PD M520
55 USD
380
17 mm
aluminium
Cr-Mo
1 sealed cartridge bearing, 1 bushing
none
13°
Shimano Dura-ace PD-R9100
228 USD
228
15.6 mm
carbon composite
Cr-Mo
2 cup and cone bearings, 1 bushing
none
0° – 6°
Shimano Ultegra R8000
160 USD
248
15.8 mm
carbon composite
Cr-Mo
2 cup and cone bearings, 1 bushing
none
0° – 6°
Shimano Deore XT PD-M8120
130 USD
438
16.2 mm
aluminium
Cr-Mo
2 cup and cone bearings, 1 bushing
none
Shimano PD-ME700
65 USD
540
16.7 mm
aluminium
Cr-Mo
1 sealed cartridge bearing, 1 bushing
none
13°
Hope Union Clip Pedal – RC
190 USD
323
aluminium
titanium
3 cartridge bearings, 1 IGUS bushing
none
4°or 5°
12° or 13°
Hope Union Clip Pedal – TC
190 USD
450
92 mm
70 mm
aluminium
Cr-Mo
3 cartridge bearings, 1 IGUS bushing
8
4°or 5°
12° or 13°
Look X-Track
54 USD
400
57 mm
16.8 mm
aluminium
Cr-Mo
2 sealed cartridge bearings
none
13°
Look X-Track Race Carbon
145 USD
350
60 mm
16.8 mm
carbon
Cr-Mo
2 sealed cartridge bearings
none
13°
Time XC 2
42 USD
302
19 mm
fiberglass / composite
Cr-Mo
2 cartridge bearings, 1 bushing
none
10° / 13° / 17°
Time XC 8
137 USD
286
19 mm
carbon
Cr-Mo
2 cartridge bearings, 1 bushing
none
10° / 13° / 17°
Time XPresso 7
132 USD
198
13.5 mm
carbon
Cr-Mo
1 cartridge bearing, 1 bushing
none
0° – 10°
15°
Time XPRO 10
185 USD
226
13.5 mm
carbon
Cr-Mo
1 cartridge bearing, 1 bushing
none
0° – 10°
16°
Time MX 2
63 USD
394
19 mm
fiberglass / composite
Cr-Mo
2 cartridge bearings, 1 bushing
none
10° / 13° / 17°
Time DH 4
106 USD
476
19 mm
aluminium
Cr-Mo
2 cartridge bearings, 1 bushing
none
10° / 13° / 17°
Ritchey WCS XC
149.95 USD
298
15.5 mm
forged aluminium
Cr-Mo
1 sealed cartridge bearing, 1 bushing, 1 needle bearing
none
bio vanseijen

Johan van Seijen

Founder Restoration.bike

Johan van Seijen is the founder of restoration.bike. His cycling career has seen him at the starting line of classics such as the Amstel Gold Race and Liege Bastogne Liege. Realizing his racing capacity would fall short of what was needed he obtained a MS from the University of Amsterdam in engineering. His love for cycling changed into riding in an amateur capacity with his local cycling club TFC Weesp as a roadie and supporting MTB Noordwest as a mountain biker. He repairs, restores, and builds bicycles and shares his knowledge on YouTube, Facebook and this website. 

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