Shimano’s more affordable Zee ME700 gravity-focused pedals look and feel very close to that of Shimano’s higher-end XT M8120, but with a price tag that’s £50 less.
They offer solid performance and great value for money, even if there is scope for improvement.
Shimano Zee ME700 details
The fixed in place SPD clip mechanism is surrounded by a 93×72mm alloy platform. This gives a large contact surface area if riding temporarily unclipped – even if there are no pins for extra grip.
The platforms taper down from a 19mm thick flat section around the axles to just 9mm at the front and back edges. Shoe contact is therefore limited, but the cage does have a secondary function, helping your feet to locate the mechanism when clipping in and offering some degree of impact protection to the mechanism itself.
The narrowing side profile increases ground clearance too, so you’re much less likely to hang up on an obstacle using these pedals than others with more squared-off corners.
Like all Shimano’s SPD pedals, the release tension of the rear sprung jaws is adjusted with a 3mm Allen key. Unlike the majority of pedals from other brands that run on sealed cartridge bearings, Shimano still uses a cup and cone arrangement of loose balls.
This may deter some home mechanics, but in theory, with regular maintenance, this design has less friction, and experience has taught me that with the occasional bit of grease, lifespan can be impressive.
Shimano Zee ME700 performance
As eluded to above, the tapered shape of the ME700’s platforms means that foot support isn’t on the level that first appearances might suggest. In reality, it’s only the central part of your shoe that comes into contact with the body, so although the sides of the pedal provide some lateral support, the free-floating feel is not dissimilar from that of a cross-country SPD.
The platform does have its uses though, making the pedal easier to locate and engage, and less sketchy when you don’t quite manage to reengage the cleat first time.
This doesn’t happen too often though, because the retention jaws stand proud above the surface of the pedal for easy and reliable clipping. The solid snap lets you know when the cleat is engaged too.
Shimano Zee ME700 bottom line
The shape of the ME700 makes it a good all-round trail riding pedal. Those preferring the feel of softer DH style shoes may not find the ME700s supportive enough and may choose to look elsewhere for more pronounced platforms and pins for fine-tuning.
Otherwise, the ME700 is a good affordable option that bridges the gap between XC SPDs and those designed for downhill.