Product Reviews October 22, 2010

Shimano PDM-540 pedals & Shimano MW80 MTB boots

Shimano PDM-540 clip-in pedals & Shimano MW80 MTB boots

Having bought these two Shimano products together specifically, it made sense to combine their reviews. Prior to this I had been using a spare pair of SPD SL 105 pedals on my MTB. These worked well, although only when the weather was good. What would happen is that the mud/snow would clog the cleats up on the shoe, rendering the clipping in process impossible. This is not the usual type of challenge experienced on a road bike - but stop-starting on muddy ground meant the cleats needed cleaning even during a ride. That was not ideal. When I mentioned this was happening on the bikebritain Twitter page I had a number of response saying I needed to buy a pair of 'egg-beaters'. Not being familiar with this term I 'wiggled' it - and discovered this type of clip in pedal designed specifically to stop the mud interfering with the cleat/shoe system. Problem solved! 

I ended up buying a pair of PDM-540 pedals, priced £35 from wiggle. Pitched towards the bottom end of the price bracket but there didn't seem too much point paying more for fundamentally lighter pedals. (The MTB they were being fitted is fairly heavy so shaving a few grams off the pedals would be pointless). The pedals themselves allowed you to clip in on both sides, have CrMo spindles and despite the reasonable cost are lightweight. The bearing cartridges are sealed to aid low maintenance, plus a Shimano SP-51 pair of cleats is included - so they are 'plug and play'. My only other comment would be you benefit from have a round head 8mm allen key available, otherwise they can be alittle awkward to fit. Also, be careful to fit the right hand pedal on the right hand crank......

But as we all know, one purchase leads to another. These pedals were now not compatible with my road shoes - so I then started searching for appropriate pair of MTB shoes. I liked the idea of a boot instead of a shoe and quickly found the MW80. It's combination of the Gore-Tex, breathable upper and PU coated waterproof booty (complete with ankle cuff or 'splash-guard') would stop the rain/mud creeping into my socks and chilling my feet. The boots looked durable and offered the level of damp protection I was after. I purchased them from wiggle for £105 (thus doing wonders for my platinium discount status!).

I had read around these products on the internet and was quickly convinced I was making a good decision. Regarding the pedals, one person said that there was simpy no point buying pedals that were any more expensive than these. They offered all the advantages of others 2 or 3 times more expensive and so on the basis of that made them 'Best Buy' material. There were glowing reviews for the boots as well. I found just 2 minor complaints - that you needed to go at least 1 and maybe 2 sizes larger than normal to compensate for the Shimano shoe fit, plus the waterproofing detriorates over time, so eventually your feet would probably become wet when conditions were adverse. despite this advice, they still looked like a good value buy. 

I gave the new system a proper test when I recently rode around the Isle of Wight (on my road bike, and see a previous bikebritain article). Trying to walk about the island in my road shoes didn't look like a good move so I switched to the aforementioned  pedal/shoe combination. They both performed well. The shoes were easier to clip in than my SPD SLs and despite the warm-ish weather my feet did not overheat in the boots. The fit was snug and I was pleased to get my feet out of them by the end of the day - but that's no worse than normal. It was convenient being able to walk about without fear of slipping over or possibly damaging my road shoes. They have also been tested in the wet and so far so good - my feet have remained dry. My son also likes them - though I think it's his fascination with the sound that velcro makes which is his real point of interest! So should you be looking for a good value MTB pedal/shoe combination, the Shimano PDM540 and MW80 pairing gets a bikebritain thumbs up! Yours for about £140.


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