Shimano PD ED 500 Pedals
515g pr £49.99
The Shimano PD ED 500 are a dual-sided model with a generous aluminium alloy platform, primarily intended for road biased touring and commuting. They’re rather good for bridle path, farm tracks and other rougher stuff, and the light action release is a real boon, not just for newbies.
Pros: Well-made, platform support welcome on longer rides, light release cleat mechanism, good spares availability.
Cons: Heavier than more traditional road/trail SPD models.
Given the price point and we’re talking big S, it’s reassuringly good throughout. The bodies are made from 6061/7005 series aluminium alloy. Arguably silver anodised, or indeed polished finishes age more gracefully, especially since pedals get a spanking, but the dark grey finish is surprisingly durable. Aside from the inevitable engagement/release marks, hasn’t shown any sign of chipping, of flaking. Oh, and ours have fallen onto a hard concrete driveway, while I was photographing them, along with the usual foot contact and direct hits from stones and other stray projectiles.
Internally we have Cro-moly axles turning on sealed cartridge bearings. Hardly exotic, but then this combination strikes an excellent balance between price, weight and durability.
Unlike titanium and other exotica, there’s no specified rider weight limit. Spares are relatively easy to come by, and provided you swerve the jet washer, disassemble and pack with a stiff grease annually, they should live long, happy and very dependable lives. These attach to the crank arms by the more traditional 15mm open-ended pedal spanner, rather than the 8mm Allen key.
This might deter some, but in practice I’ve always kept one of those giveaway spanners in the luggage, in the unlikely event one should work loose, or removal prove necessary. Cleat mechanisms on both sides are for me a definite plus and adjust via a 3mm Allen key common to most multi-tools these days.
The finish is similarly hardy, and a quick shot of maintenance spray should keep winter’s salty taint at bay. So, a little word about the multi release cleat. These aren’t unique to the PD ED500 and are denoted by the letter M.
As the name suggests, these are designed to release the foot at various points. Whereas models such as Shimano’s SM SH-51 will only release when the heel is twisted outward, the multi release models will also release with a fierce upward tug, which is arguably a more natural movement for those new to clipless pedals. However, these properties may also find fans among riders with less strength in their joints.
The SM SH56 multi-release cleat comes as standard but then Shimano’s SM SH-51 is compatible, provided you accept it will only release when twisting the heel outward. I’ve had no issues with Wellgo, VP and other SPD patterns, with the heel twist proviso. However, Shimano does not recommend use of their SM-SH52 (single release), or SM SH55 (multi release) models.
Dual-sided designs take the guess work out of quick getaways too-particularly welcome on fixed gear builds. The only slight downside is they commit you to cycling footwear- hybrid designs with a flat platform one side, cleat mechanism the other have an edge if you want to run errands or do the odd short commute in street shoes.
Yes, they’re a road pedal, so you’d expect them to perform well on tarmac but the ED500 are very good all-rounders. Having run Time ATAC aluminium on Ursula for a couple of months’ the ED 500 were a culture shock for the first sixty miles. I attribute this to the generous platforms which felt odd, resulting in a slightly lower cadence, and ultimately average speed. A few rides in, I was well, back on track.
Obviously, the wider platforms offer more support, the benefits are readily appreciated on long, steady rides. No nasty hot spots, regardless of distance, or genre of cycling shoe. Talking of which, those with a stiffer sole will optimise power transfer, giving that razor sharp connection between rider and machine.
My long serving Quoc Pham Tourer being the most rigid of my tour/gravel footwear were the most efficient. However, these Shimano MT7 GTX and long serving FLR Rexton arguably delivered optimal support, without much trade-off in terms of efficiency.
Despite progressively more provocative cornering, I couldn’t come close to grounding a pedal. Not completely unexpected, given both Ursula and my fixed gear winter/trainer have lofty bottom brackets and 175/172mm cranks respectively. Arguably, this wouldn’t be an issue for most traditional touring lorries either.
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However, fixed gear conversions, with lower bottom brackets and 175mm cranks could be. Given Ursula’s ratios, no call for honking on the climbs-fixed is a different story. My full 70 odd kilos on the pedals, no hint of flex, or creaking. Buttery smooth, serene (albeit sometimes pedestrian) progress on 1in7 ascents.
These are the best I've encountered for split second dab-downs-perfect for stop-start rush-hour traffic. This was particularly surprising, given the oodles of joint friendly float (which wasn’t traditionally synonymous with razor sharp engagement/release). Great news across the board but, especially for riders with less strength. Now, though marketed as a road pedal, they’re capable enough off road- in the sense of dry to moist tracks, unmade roads, not badly churned bridle path.
The cleat mechanisms will expel mud as well as their mountain bike specific cousins. The light release coming into its own here, too and the open cages also encourage mud, dung and other nasties to drop off. Obviously, sole type plays a part, but the cages are smooth, so should the soles become impacted, there’s greater potential for slippage.
As I said earlier, the spec strikes a good balance between weight, durability and price.
A quick shot of Jokker 440, GT85, or similar maintenance spray will keep the cleat mechanisms sweet and protect the nickel-plated finish from the dreaded salt monster, during the darker months. Parts are relatively easy to find, which makes them a better bet than homages for touring abroad.
£49.99 is good, given the specification and performance. Look X Track En Rage. These come in a bit cheaper at £40 and arguably a cross country mtb model. Forged aluminium alloy bodies and employ Shimano’s SPD cleat mechanism.
In common with the ED500, they also feature strong Cro-moly axles. The bronze finish may not be to everyone’s tastes, mind. Issi Trail 1 are another platform model, employing a Shimano pattern cleat, but marketed at trail audiences, come in at £$70 and are available in black or silver.
Cro-moly axles are finished in black chrome-very durable and attractive, in my experience. At $70 rrp, the price is appealing too. Their Trail 2 siblings are available in no less than 10 colours and three different spindle lengths- $105 (£83), though which is a good bit dearer than the ED500. BBB BPD71 Trail mount Clipless MTB pedal are £71.00 and have a little more MTB in their DNA.
While not directly comparable, hybrid models including these Genetic Switch (Now £54.99) are a best of both worlds design that is arguably more tour specific, while offering the option of commuting, or running errands in street shoes.
For general road biased touring and light off-road excursions, there’s a lot to love about the PD ED500. Depending on your commute (I.e., whether your bike is spending extended periods locked in the street, or secure workplace storage) I might go for one of the budget homages.