Best Overall Contender
Shimano XTR M9020 Trail
Superb ease of entry
Sheds mud well
Nicely machined and finished
Not recommended for enduro riding
The Shimano XTR M9020
doesn't immediately seem all that different from its chunkier and less expensive cousins, the XT M8020 and M530. Sure, it's a bit lighter and the finish is pretty but is it worth the extra dollars? It wasn't many miles after clipping in that we were convinced that we'd found a formidable challenge to the status quo. The high polished chromoly steel axle, annodized forged body, and coated engagement mechanism are more than just talking points, they deliver noticeable improvements in performance
. These pedals offer the additional stability and ease of entry that we've come to associate with mini-platfroms in a highly polished and well thought out package. Unlike the Crank Brothers pedals, they feature adjustable tension, allowing the rider to dictate their release tension. The float is silky smooth and we found them exceptionally easy to get in and out of. The trimmed down body allows for better mud shedding and also a lower profile height. Pedals are two of your five contact points with the bike and these really make the most of that interface. We find them ideal for XC riders wanting a bit more surface area yet substantial enough for all mountain riders. Discerning consumers won't be let down.
Read full review: Shimano XTR M9020
Best Bang for the Buck
Shimano M530 SPD
The Shimano M530
swooped up our Editors' Choice award in the last clipless mountain bike pedal test. It features the same basic design as the Shimano XTR M9020 at about a third of the price. You lose some of the fancy features of the XTR while picking up an additional 81 grams. If you're not terribly concerned about the weight of your bike or riding in a lot of mud, the Shimano M530 is a great choice. The standard cleat, adjustable tension and stable platform create a valuable package that deserves our Best Bang for the Buck award. We find these pedals ideal for a wide variety of bikes, hardtail to all-mountain and a great choice for your first pair of clipless pedals.
Read full review: Shimano M530
Top Pick for Enduro and Downhill Riding
Lots of adjustability
Available in 5 colors
If you care more about performance and stability than weight, choose your bike more for its descending capabilities than its climbing prowess, we think you'll like the Xpedo GFX
. The GFX is a wide bodied clipless platform pedal with four traction pins on each side that is built for the rigors of downhill racing. The platform is easy to catch, helping you engage quickly and provides traction for your shoe while unclipped. We prefer the Xpedo GFX to its close competitor in this test, the Crankbrothers Mallet E because it's wider, more adjustable, has a lower profile height, and costs a bit less. It weighs about 49 grams more but sits on three sealed bearings instead of one sealed bearing and a bushing. For these reasons, we awarded it the Top Pick for Enduro and Downhill Riding.
Read full review: Xpedo GFX
Top Pick for Weight Savings
Crank Brothers Egg Beater 3
Sheds mud well
Difficult to engage
For the XC racers, minimalists or those wanting to put their bike on a diet, the Crank Brothers Eggbeater 3
is our choice for you. At 280 grams, it's the lightest weight pedal in our review. Its also the smallest of all the pedals tested which can make clipping in a bit challenging. Once accustomed to the unique feel of the Eggbeater style, it's not hard to engage, but the pedal's tiny platform means they work best with stiff cross country shoes. As this pedal has a slight tendency to roll underfoot, we wouldn't likely recommend it of beginners. Scoring highest in our mud shedding test, we do recommend the Eggbeater for XC or cyclocross racers and those who don't shy away from riding in the mud.
Read full review: Crank Brothers Egg Beater 3