Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Shimano Dura Ace SPD-SL Pedals

For the last few rides I've been lucky enough to try Shimano's new top-of-the-line, PD-7900 carbon composite road pedal.

Most riders first clipless pedal tends to be a mountain bike type, often because they already have a mountain bike, or because walking is an option with a mountain biking shoe. Road pedals usually work with a shoe where the cleat protrudes from the bottom, making walking difficult, if not, on occasions, hazardous.

However, because a road shoe has to make no concession to walking, it can be made a lot stiffer and the cleat, which attaches the shoe to the pedal, can be a lot larger, spreading the weight of the rider and the force pressing down across a larger platform. This keeps the foot free of pressure points, a frequent source of problems, such as pins and needles and hot foot.

So, how good is a pedal which costs more than a quality hybrid bicycle?

Well, of course, needless to say, it is pretty good. The pedal is very light, and the quality of the bearings is extraordinary. The pedal is balanced to hang vertically to enable easy engagement with the shoe, and it does this straight from the box. My old Ultegras took a bit of wearing in before they could do that.

Clicking in is extremely simple and very positive and never required a second thought, other than to contemplate, "That was easy ..."

For me the major selling point of the pedal is its broad platform which supports the shoe extremely well. Before I tried the pedal I wondered if it would be noticeable - I wear very stiff shoes anyway - and was surprised to find it is. If you require a solid support for your foot, and many cycling foot comfort conditions do, this pedal must surely be the ultimate.

And it looks pretty cool too ...
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