In the previous installment, I went over the two basic kinds of clipless pedal systems. At the end, I mentioned a subset of the two-bolt variety that combined both SPD retention mechanism and normal flat pedal into a single unit.
Well, I ended up getting Shimano’s Deore XT PD-T780 “trekking” SPD + platform pedals, which are one of the choices that fulfill that design brief, and allow pedaling on any kind of footwear. These have a fairly large platform area and orange reflectors on the pedal body. The SPD mechanism stands proud of its side.
At 392 g, these are a fair bit lighter than the Saint MX80 pedals.
One slight downside is that the T780s don’t have 15 mm wrench flats. They mount to crank arms only via an 8 mm hex key instead.
As with most SPD pedals, the T780s come with a set of cleats – Shimano’s silver SH56 multi-release units. Compared to the black, single-release SH51 variety, the multi-release cleats can unclip in ways other than the standard outward heel twist. If you slide your foot sideways off the pedal, the cleat will disengage. Coupled with the tension adjustment bolt on the pedals’ retention mechanism, adjusted via 3 mm hex key to the loosest setting, this should make it a little easier for beginners like me.
Riding Hyro shod with sneakers while pedaling with the T780s, I find the platform is a decent size and width. It’s not far from what the Saint MX80s felt like. Despite some large, blocky, raised “teeth” on the pedal body, the platform side is still rather slippery when wet, since there are no traction pins.
Since this pair of pedals is both SPD and flat, half the time, I inevitably found myself pedaling on the SPD side with plain sneakers. While functionally fine, the retention mechanism does feel like a large hard lump underfoot, and isn’t particularly comfortable for longer spells.
To use these pedals to the fullest, I will eventually need proper footwear. Tellingly, the T780s have a very slight bias in rotating SPD-side up. I’ll discuss that in the next installment. Stay tuned.