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Shimano Saint M820 Mountain Bike Pedal Review: Best Clipless Mountain Bike Pedal Review

Best Clipless SPD Mountain Bike Pedal  for Downhill, Enduro and Aggressive Trail Riding

  • Platform feel 90% 90%
  • Ease/feel of entry 90% 90%
  • Ease/feel of exit 70% 70%
  • Mud shedding ability 60% 60%
  • Weight 30% 30%

Weight per Pair: 545g

Clean Type: SPD Mountain

Use: All-Mountain, Enduro, Downhill

Price: $159.99

What We Like: The most adjustable pedals that we reviewed, great pedal platform, satisfying SPD feel

What We Don’t: Heaviest pedals in our review, not the best for extremely muddy conditions

The Shimano Saint M820 is Shimano’s enduro and downhill focused pedal. While heavier than most, they provide a pedaling platform unmatched by other SPD pedals, allowing for a level of contact and control that is difficult to beat.

Compare to Similar Products

See Our Best Clipless Mountain Bike Pedal Review

Crank Brothers Candy 7

  • Platform feel 60% 60%
  • Ease/feel of entry 80% 80%
  • Ease/feel of exit 80% 80%
  • Mud shedding ability 100% 100%
  • Weight 90% 90%

Pros

Great performance for a reasonable price, excellent mud shedding, best weight to cost ratio available

Cons

Small platform compared to the similarly priced Crank Brothers Mallet E

Weight: 320g

Cleat Type: Crank Brothers Brass

Use: All-Mountain, Enduro XC

Shimano XT M8020

  • Platform feel 70% 70%
  • Ease/feel of entry 80% 80%
  • Ease/feel of exit 80% 80%
  • Mud shedding ability 70% 70%
  • Weight 80% 80%

Pros

A high-end pedal for a mid-tier price

Cons

Significantly heavier than the Crank Brothers alternative

Weight: 404g

Cleat Type: SPD Mountain

Use: All-Mountain, Enduro XC

Crank Brothers Mallet E

  • Platform feel 100% 100%
  • Ease/feel of entry 90% 90%
  • Ease/feel of exit 70% 70%
  • Mud shedding ability 80% 80%
  • Weight 70% 70%

Pros

Lightweight for the size of the platform

Great pedaling platform

The most adjustable Crank Brothers pedal

Easy to clip into

Cons

Vague sense of clipping in and out

Heavier than Candy 7

Pins can make clipping out more difficult

Weight: 420g

Cleat Type: Crank Brothers Brass

Use: All-Mountain, Enduro, Downhill

Shimano Saint M820

  • Platform feel 90% 90%
  • Ease/feel of entry 90% 90%
  • Ease/feel of exit 70% 70%
  • Mud shedding ability 60% 60%
  • Weight 30% 30%

Pros

The most adjustable pedals that we reviewed

Great pedal platform

Satisfying SPD feel

Cons

Heaviest pedals in our review

Not the best for extremely muddy conditions

Weight: 545g

Cleat Type: SPD Mountain

Use: All-Mountain, Enduro, Downhill

Crank Brothers Candy 1

  • Platform feel 60% 60%
  • Ease/feel of entry 80% 80%
  • Ease/feel of exit 80% 80%
  • Mud shedding ability 100% 100%
  • Weight 90% 90%

Pros

Extremely lightweight and well-rounded pedal for the price

Cons

Lack of traction pads found on higher end Candy pedals

Not the most solid platform

Weight: 294g

Cleat Type: Crank Brothers Brass

Use: All-Mountain, Enduro, XC

Shimano M530

  • Platform feel 70% 70%
  • Ease/feel of entry 80% 80%
  • Ease/feel of exit 80% 80%
  • Mud shedding ability 80% 80%
  • Weight 70% 70%

Pros

Virtually the same pedaling and clipping experience offered by the much more expensive Shimano XTR M9120 and XT M8020 at an entry-level price

Cons

Heaviest mini platform pedal in review, painted cage is slippery when wet

Weight: 453g

Cleat Type: SPD Mountain

Use: All-Mountain, Enduro, XC

Crank Brothers Eggbeater 3

  • Platform feel 30% 30%
  • Ease/feel of entry 50% 50%
  • Ease/feel of exit 90% 90%
  • Mud shedding ability 100% 100%
  • Weight 100% 100%

Pros

A high-end pedal for a mid-tier price

Cons

Significantly heavier than the Crank Brothers alternative

Weight: 404g

Cleat Type: SPD Mountain

Use: All-Mountain, Enduro XC

Shimano XTR M9100

  • Platform feel 50% 50%
  • Ease/feel of entry 60% 60%
  • Ease/feel of exit 80% 80%
  • Mud shedding ability 90% 90%
  • Weight 90% 90%

Pros

Lightest SPD pedal in test

Fairly large contact area for an SPD pedal

Cons

Pricey and heavy compared to Crank Brothers alternative

Weight: 310g

Cleat Type: SPD Mountain

Use: XC

Crank Brothers Eggbeater 1

  • Platform feel 30% 30%
  • Ease/feel of entry 50% 50%
  • Ease/feel of exit 90% 90%
  • Mud shedding ability 100% 100%
  • Weight 100% 100%

Pros

Unbeatable weight for budget XC pedals

Cons

Difficult to clip into

Weight: 280g

Cleat Type: Crank Brothers Brass

Use: XC

Shimano M520

  • Platform feel 50% 50%
  • Ease/feel of entry 60% 60%
  • Ease/feel of exit 80% 80%
  • Mud shedding ability 90% 90%
  • Weight 70% 70%

Pros

The same pedaling experience of the XTR M9120 for a third of the price

Cons

Heavier than the Egg Beater 1

Weight: 310g

Cleat Type: SPD Mountain

Use: XC

Shimano XTR M9120

  • Platform feel 70% 70%
  • Ease/feel of entry 80% 80%
  • Ease/feel of exit 80% 80%
  • Mud shedding ability 70% 70%
  • Weight 80% 80%

Pros

All of the great features of the XT M8020 in a lighter package

Cons

Heavier than Crank Brothers alternative and not enough difference to justify the price increase over the Shimano XT M8020

Weight: 398g

Cleat Type: SPD Mountain

Use: All-Mountain, Enduro, XC

Platform

SPD pedals tend to rely on the clipping mechanism as the primary, and often only, point of contact. This is particularly true for the lightweight, XC focused variants, such as the Shimano XTR M9100s. The Shimano Saint M820, on the other hand, is a big, burly downhill focused pedal. While clipless pedals typically require wearing stiffer-soled shoes for power transfer, the massive platform around the classic SPD internals allows you to wear more flexible, skate style shoes, and transmit power through the cage just like you would on flat pedals. Finally, four adjustable pins per side allow you to adjust the contact area to better interface with your shoes.

Of course, this massive platform and ultra solid build come at the expense of an extremely hefty weight. The Saint M820s weigh in at 545g. This is definitely not going to be the pedal for those trying to set King of the Mountain records on climbs. They are built for those wanting to blister descents, so it makes perfect sense that they would sacrifice weight savings in the name of stability and durability.

Ease of Entry

SPD pedals are known for providing a distinct “click” in and out. The Shimano Saint M820s are no exception in this regard. Unlike the Crank Brothers egg beater style platform, SPD pedals only offer two sides to clip into. Those of us used to riding on cageless SPDs like the XTR M9100 know all too well the struggle of trying to find one of the two sides to clip into in a desperate moment. The Saint M820s makes this a non-issue, as the large platform will easily rotate into position if your foot is anywhere near it.

Ease of Exit

As with clipping in, clipping out of the Shimano Saint M820s offers that classic SPD click that lets you know you are out. Furthermore, their adjustable nature allows you to fine-tune exactly how much force you need to exert before unclipping.

The one negative in regard to clipping in or out of the Shimano Saint M820s is that the rear two pins can be something of an impediment to getting the external heel rotation needed to unclip. While not generally an issue, it could well be the difference in a slow speed fall and cleaning a line under a moment of stress.

Some riders remedy this issue by removing the two rear pins.

Mud Shedding Ability

While it is not terrible, the mud shedding ability of the Shimano Saint M820s is nothing to write home about either. The SPD platform is as well known for collecting mud as the egg beater platform is for shedding it. The large cage that provides such solid traction for the Saint M820s also provides more places for mud to cake.

While we would probably recommend a different set of pedals for those who frequently ride in conditions where thick mud regularly tries to cake onto your pedals, it is generally easy enough to shake mud free from the Saint M820s with a firm kick or two.

The Bottom Line

If you live for rowdy descents and see climbing as a necessary evil on the way to earning your turns, then the Shimano Saint M820s are an excellent choice. If you are that person and you rarely ride in sopping wet conditions, then the Shimano Saint M820s might be the best clipless pedals for you.

Like the Crank Brothers Mallet E, the Shimano Saint M820 is also a choice for anyone who wants a substantial platform to catch them in an emergency. However, the Saint M820 comes with a bit more of a weight penalty and mud collecting penalty than the Mallet E.

Finally, the MSRP on the Saint M820 is $159.99, with sales dipping to around $120. This puts them in a fairly similar price range to the Mallet E pedals as well.

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