It took Shimano a long time to bring a clipless mountain bike pedal to market bearing the name Saint. The PD-M820 or Shimano Saint SPD clipless pedals were a welcome upgrade to my eMTB and DH bikes after running lots of XT and XTR Trail pedals. I prefer to ride in a more skate-style mountain bike shoe opposed to the more XC-focused footwear and found instant comfort and confidence with the Saint pedals.
Shimano is not known for releasing products with every revolution of the market, but when they do release something, it is usually reliable and well tested. They have obviously done some market research and listened to feedback with the Saint SPD pedal. It is much smaller than previous generations of Saint products with four height adjustable pins on each side. They have also incorporated the slim, 8mm chrome-moly spindle from the XT trail pedal to narrow the entire profile.
The body is classic Shimano, all function. Wide shoe contact areas have heavy machining to provide solid feel while the body is beefy enough to take the repeated hits downhill riders and ebikers are sure to dish out. Shimano retains the tried-and-true SPD mechanism with adjustable tension, and keeps that little bit of bling with a gold anodized bearing preload screw.
The Saint SPD pedal has always been the downhill-focused heavy hitter of Shimano’s line, ready for use on World Cup tracks and by park rats alike. At 546g, a full 140g more than the XT Trail pedals, the Shimano Saint pedals are far from featherweight, but they will take a lickin’ and keep on tickin. If you’re ready to make the investment, you won’t have to replace these pedals for any other reason than because you’re tired of looking at all the scratches and battle scars. The Saint SPD pedal held up to months of shuttle laps, our Bike Park Review Tour and countless eMTB rides as we scramble around lava rocks and boulders. The body now shows several scars from hard rock strikes, but is functioning as good as new.
Spinning resistance is noticeable when brand new, but after a few rides, they bed in nicely and lose much of the initial drag. The Shimano SPD mechanism performs as expected, flawlessly. If we are choosing to clip in, we want to stay in, and the adjustable tension does just that. But you are never so locked in, you can’t get out for a quick dab or loose corner.
The Shimano Saint pedal body is significantly larger than the XT and XTR Trail pedals and we instantly appreciated the extra platform. Combined with the adjustable pins, the Shimano Saint PD-M820 pedal is about as close to a platform we would like to run while clipped in. Just big enough to get a foot on when you don’t have time to clip in, but small enough they don’t cause unnecessary strikes. Absolute control over the bike is a major takeaway from our time riding these pedals.
After passing these Shimano Saint SPD pedals around to the crew, we all have been looking for a reason to keep them on our bike. The pedal performs in all conditions and sheds off rock strikes with ease. We all love the larger platform and how much power and control it gives the rider while manipulating and placing the bike where you want it on the trail. We are happy to pay the weight penalty for the trade off. If you are looking for the last clipless mountain bike pedal you’ll need to buy and want to have the most powerful and stable platform to instill your will on the bike beneath you, these pedals are a must. Two thumbs up.
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