Sitting at the lower end of Shimano’s trail pedal lineup doesn’t mean Shimano has a sub-par product, as the M530 deserves to be a modern classic.
While the cage offers less support than some competitors, there’s still just enough for flappy-soled trail shoes, with a touch more side support than the HT 878, for example. Those who prefer their pedals without a cage can take a look across to Shimano's budget yet brilliant M520 pedals.
The mechanism simply works, with a decent, comfortable level of float and usable range of tension adjustment. It’s a system that virtually every shoe is based around, so it’s no surprise we’ve never found a shoe it doesn’t work well with.
The shaping of the mechanism means it doesn’t get too hung up on rocks, although with only one side sprung, entry options are a touch more limited than with the some competitors.
Reliability on the cheaper pedals is arguably better than the XT level (which after a while can come loose), and with a simple cup and cone bearing system, they’re dead easy to service.
They’re not super light, but aren’t too weighty, and with the widest available set of cleats, you’re unlikely to get caught out if you have a mishap.
There’s a reason ‘SPD’ and ‘clipless’ are basically interchangeable, and that’s because it’s arguably the best system out there.
This article was originally published in What Mountain Bike magazine.