Shimano M520 Clipless Pedals

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Shimano M520 SPD Pedal (black)
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Awesome cheap pedals

Rating: Featured Member Review
The Good:
-Cheap
-Reliable
-Adjustable tension
-Well sealed
-Comes with cleats
The Bad:
-For the price, not much to be found!
Overall Review:

The PD-M520 are the most basic and cheapest Shimano clipless pedals available. It’s basically an axle and the mechanism screwed on it, no platform or funky colors. This makes for a cheap, reliable mid-weight pedal (380g) with not much to use or break.

The pedals don’t spin too freely on the axle (maybe they end up doing it when the bearings are older), which it is a good thing because it’s much easier to clip in when the pedals don’t rotate too easily. It comes with the Shimano #51 cleats (4 degrees of float) which are supposed to be more secure than the #56 multi-release cleats. I have never tried the easiest-to-release #56 cleats but I like the security that the stock cleats give and they have stayed tight on my shoes. The tension is easily adjustable with an Allen key and since it is indexed, the settings are easy to copy to the other side by counting “clicks”.

Compared to

A few years ago, I bought the Shimano PD-M530 (same Deore-level) pedals which were basically the M520 reviewed here but with a small platform around it. Maybe the small platform helped with stability when not clipped-in, but to be honest, I didn’t feel much difference. If you want to feel the added security of a platform, the Saint M-820, ZEE M-647 or Deore M-424 would be better choices from Shimano as they have bigger cages. In my experience, mud or snow didn’t stick any less or more into the PD-M520 than on the M530.

At 380g, it is 70g more than the platform-less XTR PD-M9100 pedal of a comparative size, which, in my opinion, isn’t a bad place to save a lot of money for the weight difference. If we compare two extremes, with a steel axle, the M520 is probably as strong as the XTR and comes with the same cleats. If you don’t need the XTR bling, weight savings and (maybe) better sealing/bearings, the Deore-level pedal reviewed here will probably deliver 95% of the XTR’s performance for 25% of the price.

Conclusion

I only have 1600-1700km on mine but they still look and work like new. Most of that distance was done on road and gravel rides though, as I didn’t like SPDs on my MTB and put those on my commuter/road/gravel bike. In this quality bracket, for an added 10$ and 75 grams, I’d go for the M530 on an MTB for the small platform around it which would protect a bit more from rock hits. If low price or light weight are the priorities, the Shimano PD-M520 can be found for almost the same price as knock-off brands, but comes with the quality and reliability record of the Shimano brand.

Naked DX Pedal! 5 Stars

Rating:
The Good:

1. They're cheap cheap cheap at $30. 2. They're light. 3. They're adjustable. 4. Many many good things.

The Bad:

1. They come with the cheap #51 single release cleat. 2. Nothing.

Overall Review:

Ok, if you want something with a platform this is not it. However, if you can put your feet on the pedals properly they are the way to go. This is the flagship for Shimano's pedals. Check out the DX or M545 - they are running this same retention system. It's adjustable, zero maintenance, chromo axle, easy to clean if you have to and easy to install and remove with all the clearance. All these great things will come at a price, though! You have to get the proper cleatseparately.  This pedal comes with a #51 single release cleat from Shimano and to really enjoy this pedal for what it is, you need to spend an additional $17-$23 for the multi-release Shimano cleat.

Now you have light, amazing retention and a release that can be tuned by the rider.  I think the DX does come from Shimano with the #56 cleat and is why it gets the rave reviews. This is the DX naked of its resin cage. Don't be shy on these. For under $30 I have paid more and gotten less before.  Get them now if you're in the market and don't forget to get the right cleat. #56 multi release. It is not included unfortunately.

Every review board on the web rates this pedal as the ONE.  If you need the platform go DX - same pedal with resin cage.  Don't go with alloy cage - they rattle!

Good for beginners, but heavy and bearings aren't the best.

Rating:
The Good:

The adjustable tension is great for beginning riders. The pedals perform well in all conditions, only clogging in the worst peanut-buttery mud. They've survived rock strikes and dropped bikes and still engage and release reliably every time.

The Bad:

After three seasons, the bearings have worn enough that there's significant play between the pedal body and the axle. The bearings can't be accessed without a proprietary tool. They're also on the heavy side.

Overall Review:

Solid, reliable pedals for beginners. They're somewhat heavy and the bearings won't last as long as more expensive models, but they should serve well for riders looking for a first pair of pedals.

Specifications

Product Shimano M520 Clipless Pedals
Riding Type Cross Country
Pedal Platform Size Standard
Pedal Platform Details Compact body design with open binding for easy entry
Body Material Forged alloy
Bearing Type Sealed bearing cartridge axle
Spindle Spec Chromoly steel with 8mm Allen wrench mounts
Cleat Type 2-bolt SPD (Shimano part number SM-SH51)
Float 4° with adjustable entry and release tension settings
Colors Black or silver
Weight 0 lb 13.4 oz (380 g)
Miscellaneous Mud and debris shedding design
Dual-sided pedal system
Model Number: PD-M520
Series: Deore
2-year warranty
Price $45
More Info

​Shimano Website

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