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Shimano XTR M9120 Mountain Bike Pedal Review: Best Clipless Mountain Bike Pedal Review

Great All Around SPD Pedal with a Premium Price Tag

  • 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: 398g

Clean Type: SPD Mountain

Use: All-Mountain, Enduro, XC

Price: $199.99

What We Like: All of the great features of the XT M8020 in a lighter package

What We Don’t: Heavier than Crank Brothers alternative and not enough difference to justify the price increase over the Shimano XT M8020

The Shimano XTR M9120 is Shimano’s top of the line SPD offering. It comes with Shimano’s mini platform, making it a bit easier to clip into and better for all around riding than the XTR M9100. It is also a few grams lighter than our top pick for best all-around SPD pedal, the Shimano XT M8020. However, we do not feel that the few grams of weight difference warrant the higher price tag of the XTR M9120.

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 finish of the XTR M9120’s mini platform looks almost identical to that of the XT M8020. The machined finish allows for slightly better grip while not clipped in than the M530’s painted platform. Like their other mini platform offerings, The XTR M9020 might not offer the power transfer and unclipped traction of the Shimano Saint M820, but we think it is a perfect compromise between the enduro/DH oriented Saint and the XC oriented XTR M9100.

Ease of Entry

The Shimano XTR M9120 pedal is easy and satisfying to clip into, and emits the standard, SPD sound and feel. The mini platform also strikes a great balance of making it easy to get the pedal turned over and into a clipping position, but not interfering your shoe when trying to clip in.

Ease of Exit

While not having a large cage and pins getting in your way of clipping in is good, not having a large cage and pins getting in your way of clipping out is even better. Shimano’s usual adjustable nature means that you can make the clip as tight or as loose as you want, and you will get the SPD feedback either way.

Mud Shedding Ability

The Shimano XTR M9120 does a great job of shedding mud. However, it is not on part with Crank Brothers offerings. Furthermore, like the Shimano XT M8020, the machined surface of the XTR M9120 pedal that does such a great job of sticking to your foot falls behind the more slippery, painted finish of the Shimano M820 when it comes to its mud shedding ability.

The Bottom Line

The Shimano XTR M9120 is a great pedal and certainly worthy of being Shimano’s top of the line SPD offering. However, premium products and weight savings in cycling tend to hit a point of diminishing returns, and we feel that is the case here. We like the XTR M9120, but at $179.99, we do not like it enough to justify its cost increase over our top all-around SPD pick, the Shimano XT M8020.

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