shimano deore xt mountain bike pedals review

Shimano Deore XT Mountain Bike Pedals Review (PD-M8120)

In this Shimano Deore XT Mountain Bike Pedals review we are going to cover everything great about these trail pedals. We are also going to go over some areas where Shimano has room for improvement. If you are new to clipping in with cycling shoes then I’d recommend reading 4 Reasons To Never Ride Without Cycling Shoes.

Shimano Deore XT Mountain Bike Pedals Review
Shimano Deore XT MTB Pedals (Check Price on Amazon)

One of my favorite things about clipless pedals (which is an odd name because you actually clip-in with clipless pedals, while flats have no clips of any kind) is the perfect pedaling posture. Once clipped-in, your feet are aligned properly to get the most efficiency during your riding experience. Most cycling shoes allow for some minor adjustments to the cleat position allowing you to fine tune your pedaling experience.

Shimano Deore XT MTB Pedal Unboxing

My local bike shops have limited inventory, so I had to order my Deore XT pedals online. When they arrived in the mail I was impressed with the high quality packaging. These pedals are not cheap. Most pedals come in a box just big enough to fit them both by stacking them on top of each other. That stacking during the packaging process is not good. The spindles can rub on the other pedal causing damage to the threading.

Shimano Deore XT Mountain Bike Pedals Review unboxing 1
Shimano Deore XT Mountain Bike Pedals Review unboxing 2
Shimano Deore XT Mountain Bike Pedals Review unboxing 3

The Shimano Pedals are packaged in a way that guarantees there is no rubbing on the threading. You can tell when the threading on the pedals has been rubbing because you will have difficulty attaching them to your crank arms. The pedals come clearly marked for the left and the right. The left vs right markings are extremely important. Left pedal spindles are reverse threaded. Turn them counter-clockwise to install, and clockwise to remove.

One quick way to ruin pedals is by trying to thread it into your crank arm incorrectly. Not only will it ruin the spindles, but it ruins the threading on your crank arms. Once that happens they will need to be replaced. Replacing crank arms and pedals due to improper installation is an expensive mistake.

Shimano Deore XT MTB Pedals Review: Pros

The biggest advantage to the Deore XT MTB pedals is they are a serviceable pedal. That means if you have issues the pedal can be repaired rather than replaced. After a few months of riding you will notice a small amount of wiggle in the pedal. This is normal and with a high-end pedal like the Shimano Deore XT you can fix it. If you aren’t familiar with greasing bearings and tightening pedals then take them into your local bike shop. For a few bucks they can re-grease and tighten things back up on no time.

If you do have issues with the pedals, Shimano offers a two-year warranty. (Dura-Ace and XTR components have a three-year warranty.) Most local bike shops will take care of your warranty claim even if you didn’t purchase directly from that shop.

Shimano is the top-rated brand in terms of product engineering. They make bicycle components that work, and work incredibly well. In fact, if you look at the career section on their website many roles within the company require a mechanical engineering degree. You can feel the difference when using their components compared to the competition.

It is because of Shimano’s engineering expertise that everything works as intended. Shimano Deore XT pedals can be adjusted to different tension levels. If you are a new rider you want to make sure to keep the pedals loose so you can easily clip-out. Advanced riders will prefer a tighter feel.

Deore XT Mountain Bike Pedals Review: Cons

Firstly, biggest con in this Shimano Deore XT Mountain Bike Pedals review is the lack of color and style options. For color you are limited to black only. While black pedals usually match every bike, part of the fun when buying accessories is creating a unique look. Users buying these Shimano pedals are likely to care more about performance than style, but it would still be nice to have some additional color options.

Secondly, they are a clipless only pedal. Combination pedals are flats on one side, and clip-in on the opposite side. You are able to ride with flats if you forget cycling shoes with a combination pedal. For the Deore XT pedals you will need your cycling shoes or it will be an uncomfortable ride.

combination pedals
Crankbrothers Mallets (Check Price on Amazon)

Clip-in as the only option won’t bother those who plan their mountain biking trips in advance. However, if you are the type of rider that throws your bike on the rack for an impromptu session you will want to find a combination pedal. Something like the Crankbrothers Mallet Pedals (Check Price on Amazon) pictured above.

Final Opinion on Shimano Deore XT MTB Pedals

These are buy far the best clipless pedals on the market for mountain bikers. They are strong, comfortable, and the cleats that come with them have the perfect amount of float for trail riding. If your local bike shop inventory is limited like mine, purchase the Shimano Deore XT Pedals online. (Check Current Price on Amazon) For those professional mountain bikers looking for the race version of the pedal you will need the Deore XTR. The R in XTR stands for racing.

If you are downhill mountain biking I would recommend riding with a stiff soled combination shoe like the Bontrager Avert shoes, or a good pair of FiveTen MTB shoes, and stick with flat pedals. Downhill cyclists need the ability to bail from their bike.

The rest of us mountain bikers looking to take longer trail rides with both climbing and downhill will want to stick to clipless (meaning clip-in) pedals to get the most efficiency. The Deore XT pedals will enhance your riding experience by allowing you to ride farther. The cleat release is extremely easy for those downhill sections that force you to bail on your bike.