What’s good about the XT is that the pedal can really handle abuse, making it great if you ride regularly on rocky terrain.
Shimano’s XT trail pedal has been around for a while now and, like the HT T1 tested here, appears to be little more than a regular SPD with a slightly extended platform.
In fact the XT and HT pedals are identical in size, the difference is the XT is 2mm thicker and lacks traction pins, but since these pins don’t really do much on the T1, we didn’t miss them here.
What’s good about the XT is that the pedal body is forged aluminium, so can really handle abuse, making it great if you ride regularly on rocky terrain. The amount of support is similar to most of the other mid-sized pedals tested, but with a steel axle it feels super-solid under foot.
The cleat mechanism is the standard Shimano design, with the jaws being fixed at the back and spring loaded at the front. Release tension is adjustable via a 3mm Allen key and this adjuster is also indexed, allowing you to balance the spring tension across both pedals.
Clipping in and out of the XT pedal is accompanied by a solid and audible click, so you always know where you are.
Shimano uses a simple steel cleat across all of its pedals, but this now comes with a serrated shim that sits on the sole to stop the cleat twisting. There’s not a lot of float in the cleat, compared to other designs, and it has shallower release angle, so you have to be more precise with set-up. Once dialled, however, clipping in and out is a lot more consistent.
Shimano often gets criticised for its bearings and, while those in the XT pedal are a cartridge assembly (a sort of mix of rollers and small ball bearings), they are reliable and can be replaced easily. In fact, this reliability is reflected throughout the pedal. The Shimano XT isn’t the lightest, or the best in mud, but it’s tough, hardwearing and offers dependable performance at an affordable price.