By: Ryan LaBar
Shimano M530 Pedal
I was about half way to the airport and already running a little bit late when I realized that I had forgotten my pedals. I even left them next to my helmet and clip-less shoes, both of which I remembered, the night before so I would not forget them, but I somehow managed. I was headed to Brevard, North Carolina, to spend the better part of a month testing bikes and components for the Bible of Bike Tests. At least it was just my M985, XTR Trail pedals that I forgot, and not all of my family's Christmas gifts this trip (oops). Nevertheless, I arrived in Brevard without pedals, and we were already scheduled to ride the following day.
Thankfully we had to be meet up with one of our local trail guides at The Hub bike shop before the ride, and I was able to pick up some similar-looking, less-expensive replacements for my XTRs: the Shimano M530. And when I say less expensive, I mean a lot less expensive. The $65 M530 pedals are roughly $200 cheaper, and only 60-or-so grams heavier (Shimano claims they weigh 455 grams), than the XTR model.
I hammered these pedals through the rain, mud and rocks during the Bible of Bike Tests, and didn't stop riding them when I got back either. These have been one of my primary pairs pedals for a little over half a year now and they’ve held up well.
Clipping in and out of the M530s was perhaps a little clunkier with a slightly rougher action compared to my XTRs, but once in they felt equally secure. A little oil on the springs and moving parts smoothened the action right up on these pedals.
I smashed these pedals on countless rocks, and while they have a few good gouges and scratches on them, they are no worse for the wear performance wise. I've also noticed that they tend to get a touch of surface rust on them after get wet and neglected. I’ve put many more miles on the M503s than I have on my XTRs, and they have less wiggle in the bearings at the axle, but still spin about as smooth as the XTRs.
These pedals are by no means as refined or as sexy as the XTR offering, but they are a contender performance wise, and are an excellent choice for a rider on a budget looking to get a new set of pedals.