Shimano's M520 pedal has to be the most popular clipless option out there for mountain bikers, and their double-sided entry means that they're also a favourite with commuters, too.
The pedal uses the exact same mechanism to control entry and release as its more expensive Shimano XT and XTR brethren, with only materials down-specced to meet the price.
Talking of price, the M520 costs little (prices online can be found as low as £20 / $25) so should complete failure occur, and it’s practically unheard of, you could bin them and buy more without too many tears being lost. At 374g a pair the weight is reasonable, too.
But it’s the consistent performance this pedal offers that really earns it its five-star rating. On the trail, a new, well-lubed M520 is very hard to tell apart from the XT and XTR. The tuneable release tension is the same, and while it can be a bit stickier when new, we’ve run them for years without ever feeling that we were hampering either our performance or the ride.
Those who appreciate the support of a cage around their pedals should take a look across to Shimano's M530s, which are also a superb choice.
Service is certainly required annually, on par with most other pedals at this price, and is something that takes the average rider about half an hour to do per pair thanks to the simple cup and cone bearings inside. Here's a guide for those with SPDs in need of a service.