Monday, May 2, 2011

Review - SPD Pedals - Shimano M520, Forte Carve, Ascent Terra

Shimano M520
ITEM: Shimano M520 SPD Pedal
PURCHASED: from Performance Bicycle in 2008
PRICE: About $35

ITEM: Forte Carve SPD Pedals
PURCHASED: from Performance Bicycle in 2010
Forte Carve
PRICE: $35

ITEM: Ascent Terra SPD Pedals
PURCHASED: from Performance Bycicle in 2010
PRICE: About $20 (clearance)

Ascent Terra
Both the M520 and the Terra make it impossible to use an adjustable wrench to loosen or tighten the axle bolt, because the pedal body does not leave enough room for the width of an adjustable wrench. You much use a crescent wrench or specialized pedal wrench. TSA recently confiscated my 15mm crescent wrench so this has been an aggravation recently, and seems like a silly design element.

Tension Adjuster on M520
Furthermore, the tension adjusters for the M520 are prone to coming loose because they rest in a small recess in the underside of the pedal clamp, instead of using a standard bolt through the pedal clamp as in the Carve and Terra. Once of these buggers did come loose on my M520s and it was a real pain getting it back together.

Tension Adjuster on Carve
I've also had issues with the pins than run through the pedal clamp and springs. These pins seem to work themselves loose on the M520s and if you don't fix them periodically, the pedal will basically come apart probably 1/2 way into a long ride. You can see they are working loose in the picture of my M520s.

Rust/Pitting on Terra
I purchased the Terras as an extra set for my rarely ridden road bike, so I can't really complain but I should point out the rust/pitting occurring on the pedal clamp surface. Probably related to cheaper materials.

Regarding the bearings, I have not had any problems with any of the pedals although all 3 seem to have a tiny bit of play.

Finally I'd like to point out that none of these designs is particularly good at clearing mud or snow, it is almost always an issue during snowy rides. I would like to try the Crank Brothers design but since it uses a different cleat type I'd have to use a different pair of shoes with those pedals, so I haven't made that change. I've also heard some concerns from fellow riders on durability with those pedals.

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