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Shimano XT M8020 Mountain Bike Pedal Review: Best Clipless Mountain Bike Pedal Review

Best All-Around SPD Pedal

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

Weight per Pair: 404g

Clean Type: SPD Mountain

Use: All-Mountain, Enduro, XC

Price: $199.99

What We Like: A high-end pedal for a mid-tier price

What We Don’t: Significantly heavier than the Crank Brothers alternative

It is easy for products like the Shimano XT M8020 to get lost in the shuffle. It sits between Shimano’s premium XTR M9120 and budget M530 SPD pedals. But the Shimano XT M8020 is far more than a placeholder between the budget and premium options. In fact, we felt that the difference between the XT M8020 and more expensive XTR M9120 was microscopic. While the more expensive XTR M9120 seemed to have exceeded the point of diminishing returns of trading dollars for grams, the XT M8020 hits the sweet spot.

In fact, we liked it so much that we chose the Shimano XT M8020 as our top pick for best all-around SPD mountain bike pedal.

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

The Shimano M8020 SPD pedal is built around Shimano’s mini platform system. The XT M8020 doesn’t offer the power transfer and unclipped traction of full cage clipless pedals like the Shimano Saint M820 or Crank Brothers Mallet E, but we think it is a perfect compromise between the enduro/DH oriented full cage pedals, and XC oriented cageless pedals.

The finish on the XT M8020 is machined, providing a bit of traction in slippery conditions, providing your foot with a place to land should you come unclipped, and giving you just enough footing to get in the frantic unclipped pedal stroke or two.

Ease of Entry

The Shimano XT M8020 pedal is easy and satisfying to clip into. SPD pedal loyalists love the satisfying “click” in and out of Shimano pedals and the XT M8020 makes it easy to understand why. The mini platform also strikes the great balance of making it easy to get the pedal turned over and into a clipping position, without interfering your shoe while trying to clip in.

Ease of Exit

Not having a large cage and pins getting in your way of clipping in is good, but not having a large cage and pins getting in your way of clipping out is even better. Add on the fact that they feature Shimano’s usual advantage of adjustable tension, and the M8020s offer a great clip in and out, whether you like that clip to come with a little bit of pressure or a lot.

Mud Shedding Ability

Crank Brothers fans will be quick to tell you that Crank Brothers pedals can’t be beaten when it comes to their performance in muddy conditions, and they are right. Furthermore, like the Shimano XTR M9120, the machined surface of the XT M8020 pedal does not shed mud as well as the painted finish of the Shimano M530.

Still, the mini platform collects very little mud, and the clipping mechanism itself is incredibly consistent regardless of the conditions. There are pedals that perform better in the mud, but the Shimano XT M8020 is no slouch in muddy conditions, itself.

The Bottom Line

The Shimano XT M8020 is an excellent all-around pedal. In fact, we think that it is the best   SPD pedal on the market. There are lighter pedals, cheaper pedals, pedals that perform better in mud, etc. But the Shimano XT M8020 is a pedal that does everything well, so well in fact that it is very difficult to justify $60 extra for Shimano’s premium XTR 9120 pedals. At only $119.99, you would be hard pressed to find a better pair of clipless mountain bike pedals.

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