Great if you ride regularly on rocky terrain
Barring some small cosmetic differences, the Shimano XT M8020 Trail pedal has changed very little since it was first introduced.
Rather than having a proper platform, the XT Trail has protrusions at each end that do more to protect the mechanism than actually support the foot. In comparison to the cageless XT pedal the Trail has greater real estate either side of the mechanism to provide better lateral support.
Even though the body and ‘cage’ is smaller than all of the other pedals they still feel supportive under foot thanks in part to the stiff axle and wide stance. The forged aluminium body is as tough as old boots and despite the sorts of pedal strikes that have you looking for shattered pedals they have survived relatively unscathed. In fact we would recommend the XT Trail if you happen to ride rock-strewn trails every day.
Being Shimano, the clip mechanism utilises the fixed front, sprung rear jaw approach to cleat retention. Release tension is adjustable and easily accessible using a 3mm hex key. It is also indexed enabling you to accomplish even and reliable release no matter which side you use. Shimano’s steel cleat wears exceptionally well and provides a comfortable amount of float without feeling too vague. Engagement is accompanied with a crisp, precise snap.
It’s not a pedal for riders wanting the added reasurrance of a large grippy cage when unclipped but for sheer reliability and unfussy performance it’s still a contender.