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Shimano 105 pedal review

Shimano 105 carbon pedals
15 Jun 2016

The Shimano 105 carbon pedals are so good, it would take a pro to notice they’re not the very best.

Cyclist Rating: 
Carbon construction, price, versatility, all-round durability
Minimum spring tension may still be too stiff for some, slightly reduced bearing performance

Introduced in 2004, Shimano’s SPD-SL pedals have become the ubiquitous road pedal system for cyclists across the planet. The question is: do you really need to shell out for the premium option to get premium performance. 

In short, no. They might not say Dura Ace on the side, but the 105 version of the SPD-SL uses the exact same technology and cleat, and at less than half the price.

The wide carbon pedal body offers great rigidity, with the spring mechanism well protected for longevity. There are three colour-coded cleat options depending on how much float you want: red (zero float), blue (two degrees) and yellow (six degrees). The coloured surfaces are softer and grippier to make walking easier, and while this does mean they wear out eventually, it’s a price worth paying given the traction they offer.

As for the spring retention mechanism itself, it proved to be faultless throughout our testing. Spring tension is easily adjustable, though for us the factory setting of minimum tension was more than adequate. We did find that friction levels varied depending on the condition of the cleat, with dirt and abrasion acting to make releasing harder, but with fine-tuning as simple as a twist of an allen key, this isn’t a problem.

The main difference between the three carbon SPD SL pedals in the range (105, Ultegra and Dura Ace) is in the amount of carbon used, and consequently the overall weight. According to Shimano our test pair weighed 285g while the Ultegras are listed at 260g and Dura Ace at 248g.

This might be an issue if you’re chasing ultimate performance but for most people the 40g penalty will be an acceptable compromise for the incredible value on offer.


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