SEVEN DAY CYCLIST
CYCLING, BUT NOT USUALLY RACING
LATEST UPDATE: MAY 30th
WELLGO MO94B SPD PEDALS
The Wellgo MO94B 9/16” SPD Shimano Cleat Compatible Sealed Bearing Pedals are a lightweight dual sided SPD pattern designed for cross country mountain biking, cyclo-cross and gravel riding. They also make excellent transition to road going fixed gear builds, if you can tolerate the MTB aesthetic. Build quality is impressive, especially at this price point and spares are readily available.
Pros: Lightweight, smooth bearings, decent mud shedding capabilities.
Cons: Spares availability not on par with Shimano.
A penny shy of £40 some suggest these are a thrifty riders’ Shimano M540, and bits not difficult to see the comparison. Available in black or silver, their die cast aluminium bodies share a very similar open design, promising efficient mud clearance.
Ours were the silver versions, which are painted. Silver/polished components keep their looks better than black/colours. However, their black counterparts are given an ED finish, which is an electrostatic process, often chosen for its even coverage, even around more intricate surfaces. Gold ED (rather than anodising) is also chosen for the springs.
These turn on sturdy Cro-moly axles and sealed cartridge bearings. Cro-moly might lack the same Kudos as titanium and similar metals, but they keep the price competitive and heavier riders needn’t worry. These are also ED coated so should also keep their looks, longer term.
Many manufacturers have forgone the 15mm flats in favour of 8mm Allen key fitment. A minor point perhaps, especially since we should be stripping and re-greasing threaded components periodically. However, a 15mm flat makes wrestling neglected pedals free that bit easier. Replacement kits are also available, should need arise.
These are the common or garden SPD pattern, so no problems with finding compatible replacements. Not that those supplied were anything other than reliable and interchangeable with other Shimano and other designs. However, entering/exiting the M094B using Shimano and other patterns proved a smidge sharper.
Release tension is easily adjusted at the pedal, using a 3mm Allen Key. A quick shot of PTFE based lube is all I’ve needed to keep ours happy in six weeks, mixed terrain and predominantly wet weather.
Road Performance 3.75/5
I’m a double-sided devotee, whether Time ATAC, or Shimano pattern. Arguably a Look Keo/similar road pattern has an efficiency edge but I love the ability to walk, rather than hobble, not gouge best lino flooring and step in pretty much instantly-especially riding fixed through town. Power transfer has been reassuringly good and I’ve been able to cruise along at 20mph for several hours at a time. No problems. No hot spots, sore knees etc. Riding fixed requires momentum, especially on the climbs.
Powering away from the lights or grinding along 1in4s with my full-weight dancing on the bodies hasn’t revealed any power-robbing flex, or annoying creaks. Q factor is another consideration when talking efficiency. As we’ve said before, Q factor isn’t an exact science.
I’ve not noticed any tangible difference between these and my everyday Issi3. No ground clearance hassles when cornering hard either, although it’s worth noting my fixed gear winter trainer has a lofty bottom bracket and relatively short (165mm) Genetic Tibia Track cranks.
The bodies did seem a little more slippery than some, in the wet. Not alarmingly so, especially wearing XC mtb, or my default Quoc Pham touring shoes but it was noticeable, compared with these powder coated XLC and most apparent with these road biased touring shoes.
Off-road performance has also been reassuringly good. The open design does an excellent job of shedding mud, silt and other, generic crud. Obviously, this purging isn’t instantaneous, but the lion’s share falls away efficiently. Even during those boggy, technical sections where quick release and dab downs are necessary to remain upright.
No problems re-engaging, either. That said, I was surprised to discover Shimano and other patterns were a fractionally better fit. Regularly immersing the bodies in foul smelling water hasn’t revealed any issues with weather sealing.
Again, we’d not expect this, but I’ve had sealed designs seize on me during some extremely cold, wet winter rides. Some riders commented they only got 1,000 miles from their ball-bearing counterparts. Again, balls are cheap as the proverbial chip to replace and stout greases give them a sporting chance of returning a decent mileage.
My Univega’s bottom bracket height and 175mm crank are typical of traditional cross-country mountain bikes. Again, cornering hard along sweeping forest tracks and unmade roads hasn’t revealed any clearance issues. This wet, gritty mix and direct hits from small stones have made negligible impression upon the finish.
There’s quite a bit of competition at this price point. The HT Leopard 878 Clipless Pedals are also £39.99 and for the most part, similarly well-made. However, their unique, brand specific cleat is a potential disadvantage, especially if you need a new set mid-tour.
At full RRP, I’d be inclined to choose the Wellgo M094B over Shimano M540, t least for general riding. Again; I’ve also seen the M540 heavily discounted online.
On a big tour, particularly in Europe, or beyond then the M540 arguably has an edge spares-wise. Similarly, although the specification is lower, I’d also be inclined to opt for Shimano M520 on a commuter and put up with more frequent strips and bearing replacement.
Overall, there’s a lot to like about the Wellgo M094B. They offer a lot of bang for very modest buck and make excellent alternatives to Shimano M540 for domestic touring, trail and general winter/training duties. For me, they’re a bit posh for commuting and Shimano M540 would be my first choice when it comes to foreign touring since spares are easier to acquire.
Verdict: 3.75/5 Capable, wallet-friendly alternatives to Shimano M540 for trail and general riding.
PUBLISHED MARCH 2020
BUILDER OF STEEL CYCLE FRAMES
Ryton On Dunsmore
Coventry CV8 3FH