The Tiagra R550s are a step up from Shimano’s cheapest entry-level pedals, but they still feature the design and performance that’s present in the brand’s top-end models.
Their composite body echoes the shape and style of the range-topping Dura-Ace pedals and features a wide stainless steel plate across the centre of the pedal body to improve durability.
This metal plate is also removable which, along with user-serviceable sealed cartridge bearings, should ensure longevity.
Shimano’s SPD-SL cleats use a three-bolt system, which is easy to set up, and the supplied yellow cleats offer 6 degrees of float, which I found to be plentiful. If it’s too much, you can opt for different cleats with less.
Clipping into the pedals is straightforward with the pedal hanging at the right angle, and once located it’s a positive and solid experience.
Compared to Shimano’s cheaper pedals, the R550s have a wider platform, which combined with the stainless steel metal insert gives fantastic power transfer.
Your feet feel securely locked into the pedals when riding and the range of float is enough to help you find a comfortable and natural pedalling rhythm. The cleat moves freely around in the pedal, allowing you to make small adjustments.
The release tension can be adjusted (to make the clipping out process as easy or hard as you like) with an Allen key and there’s a wide range of adjustment on offer, making them ideal for everyone from beginners to experienced cyclists. Removing your shoes from the pedals is simply a twist of the ankle.
The shoes are reasonably easy to walk in and the part of the cleat that engages with the pedal is recessed out of harm’s way. Replacements are easy to come by though, and generally pretty affordable.
Shimano Tiagra R550 pedals bottom line
The R550 pedals offer all the Shimano performance at a fraction of the price of their higher-end offerings, and they are a great starter model for a first-timer.
The composite body might not be as durable or light as the carbon models that you will find used higher up the range, however, long-term bearing durability is good and, if the weight doesn’t concern you, these are a good pick for the price.
How we tested
You know you’re a serious cyclist when you buy your first set of clipless pedals, right? But with so many to choose from, it can be hard to know which brand is right for you and what you need to look out for.
So we picked ten of the best out there to help narrow down your search and you’ll find plenty more in our buyer’s guide to the best road bike pedals.
- TC Keo Style pedals
- HT Components Carbon PK01 pedals
- Look Keo Classic 3 Plus pedals
- Look Keo 2 Max Carbon pedals
- Shimano 105 R7000 pedals
- Shimano Ultegra R8000 pedals
- Speedplay Zero Chromoly pedals
- Time Xpresso 2
- Time XPro 10 pedals