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The Shimano XT PD-T8000 trekking pedals are an ideal option if clipping in isn't always your preference – tourers, commuters, gravellers, bikepackers and newbies to clipless will all find much to like. They are well-constructed pedals with very little going against them. They're quite spendy, but they earn it.
A double-sided pedal offers the best of both worlds; the ability to clip in and maximise efficiency for long stints, without making the bike impossible to use in normal, casual shoes. I would personally tour with nothing else, and the versatility is useful for all kinds of other riding too.
These XT pedals are built around a two-sided, forged alloy body. One side is flat, with interchangeable pins. The other has a standard SPD mechanism, and each has front and rear reflectors.
Sealed cup and cone bearings sit within a cartridge along with the chromoly axle, and the whole lot slides into the pedal body – regreasing or maintaining the bearings is consequently very easy.
The pedals mount with an 8mm Allen key and rest vertically, SPD mechanism rearwards. You soon get the hang of scooping them forward if wearing ordinary shoes, or flipping them backwards to clip in.
At 425g they don't feel overly weighty – not that this is likely to be a priority for the target market – but it's still a bonus for any traveller. For comparison, Shimano's PD-M540s are only around 70g lighter and don't offer a flat side.
They're pretty slick looking, with a tidy matt finish that avoids the chunkiness and aggressive edges of some of Shimano's cheaper dual-sided 'urban' pedals, such as the PD-M324 or the PD-EH500.
While I've only been using them for just over four weeks, they've faced plenty in terms of terrain and elements without issue. Personally I've never experienced the bearing deterioration with Shimano pedals that I have with some other manufacturers, and these are spinning as they did on the first day.
If things do deteriorate, a few basic tools will tighten up any play, and re-greasing and reassembly is easy.
The flat side is generous, though certainly not as big as some, such as the Look Geo City Grip Vision pedals. The XTs have a comfortable, slightly concave profile with eight pins, and you get two lengths – a 5mm set and a 7mm (they're also available as spares). I've found the shorter to be sufficient for all the riding I've mentioned.
The pin heads do hold grit and dust, but cleaning them out with an old toothbrush means there's good engagement of a key, and less risk of rounding out. No pins is an option, but there's naturally very little grip and you risk clogging up the threads.
The mechanism is everything you'd expect from Shimano, with a positive, secure clipping-in action. You can adjust the tension with a 2.5mm Allen key.
There's very little to dislike about these pedals; they offer no-frills, consistent performance. Given the tried-and-tested mechanism and the simplicity of the flat side, there's very little to go wrong.
It may surprise you that these aren't the top of the market; Ritchey's WCS Trail Pedals will set you back a further £30. Unsurprisingly though, there are many cheaper options, such as Look's Geo City Trekking Pedals at £59, though they don't have the pins for grip.
I've been won over by the performance of these pedals. While there are cheaper options, the solid yet easy-to-maintain build, sensible design and excellent versatility should result in some serious mileage – they're an investment that promises to pay off.
Versatile, well made and easy-to-maintain pedals for both flat and clipped shoes
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Shimano XT PD-T8000 trekking pedals
Size tested: n/a
Tell us what the product is for and who it's aimed at. What do the manufacturers say about it? How does that compare to your own feelings about it?
Shimano importer Freewheel says: "XT trekking SPDs are designed for recreational riders who commute and tour. This XT trekking pedal combines SPD mechanism on one side and a stable platform pedal body and pins on the other, you can ride with cleats or normal shoes."
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Two-sided flexibility and performance
Customizable entry and release tension settings
Concave cleat clearance on platform side
Sealed cup and cone bearings
Cleat included SM-SH56
Cleat retention adjuster
Model Year 2017
Optional cleat SM-SH51
Type Trekking (SPD/Flat)
The flat side is as comfortable as a pinned, flat pedal can be. I have not managed to damage my shins yet either, as I occasionally do with chunkier versions.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
They perform very well in varying scenarios and conditions. They will serve any tourer exceptionally well, as well as those combining hiking and riding, or those who use the same bike for weekend adventures, errands, social trips or commuting.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Not as chunky-looking as some, but still offer great grip on the flat side.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market, including ones recently tested on road.cc?
Only Ritchey's are more expensive. You can get cheaper Shimano models, and many smaller brands produce similar pedals for less. B'Twin has some cheaper options too.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes
Would you consider buying the product? Yes
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes
Use this box to explain your overall score
This is a top quality, versatile pedal that will serve many riders very well for a long time. It's very good.
About the tester
I usually ride: Road My best bike is: Carbon road.
I've been riding for: Over 20 years I ride: Most days I would class myself as: Expert
I regularly do the following types of riding: commuting, touring, club rides, general fitness riding, Getting to grips with off roading too!
Emma’s first encounters with a road bike were in between swimming and running. Soon after competing for GB in the World Age Group Triathlon Championships in Edmonton in 2001 she saw the light and decided to focus on cycling.
After a couple of half decent UK road seasons racing for Leisure Lakes, she went out to Belgium to sample the racing there and spent two years with Lotto-Belisol Ladies team, racing alongside the likes of Sara Carrigan, Grace Verbeke, Rochelle Gilmore and Lizzie Deignan. Emma moved from Lotto-Belisol to Dutch team Redsun, then a new Belgian team of primarily developing riders, where there was less pressure, an opportunity to share her experience and help build a whole new team; a nice way to spend her final years of professional racing.
Since retiring Emma has returned to teaching. When not coercing kids to do maths, she is invariably out on two wheels. In addition to the daily commute, Emma still enjoys getting out on her road bike and having her legs ripped off on the local club rides and chain gangs. She has also developed an addiction to touring, with destinations including Iceland, Georgia and Albania, to mention just a few. There have also been rare sightings of Emma off-road on a mountain bike…