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BIKE TECH: 2011 Shimano XTR M-980 Pedal

While the 2010 and 2011 XTR Pedals may look similar (2010 on top and 2011 on bottom), there is some significant innovation packed into these! Photo Credit to Singletrack Competitor

I recall my first set of mountain bike pedals was a first generation Look pedal. It used a 2 funky 2 bolt plastic cleat (which would fit into any Look pedal at the time). The pedal itself was a glorified road pedal with a small flat platform on the opposite side. Goodness, pedals have came a long way!

Shimano has been a leader in bike components for a long time now and they make very good stuff. They're known for only producing products that have been thoroughly tested, function flawlessly, and will go the distance. Pedals are no exception for them, in fact, I believe pedals may be one of their consistently most excellent products! Shimano pedals have proven to be well designed, functional, user friendly, relatively light, and above all incredibly reliable.

The new M-980 XTR Pedal looks very similar at first glance to last year's M-970 model (note in the above image, the bottom pedal is the 2010 version while the top one is the new 2011 version), but take a closer look and there are several innovations that result in a better riding pedal:
  • The pedal body is wider, extending in closer to the crank arm, making less pedal axle visible. Shimano says this will help with bearing durability, and rider stability. I'm guessing it also stiffens up the pedal a bit.
  • Note the different shapes in the shiny metal cleat grasping mechanism. The tweaking of shapes and angles of these parts actually increases the cleat contact area by 270% according to Shimano. This will result in a near elimination of any "slop" that may have been felt with prior model pedals, creating a more solid feeling of connection to the bike through the pedal stroke.
  • The vertically ovalized pedal body allows mud to more freely pass through he pedal, increasing mud shedding ability.
  • Weight is reduce by 18 grams per pair, to 308 grams per pair.


  1. Hi,
    I would like to know if is there any difference in length of the axle of the new pedal. Are the feet nearer to the cranks?

  2. Great question!

    Yes, the spindle length on each pedal has been shortened by 2.5mm, resulting in a 5mm lower Q-Factor (horizontal width between the center of one pedal to the other).

    This lower Q-Factor will be to the benefit of some cyclists and to the detriment of others (likely good for riders with small feet and bad for riders with big feet & wide frames).

    Additionally, as each pedal has a shorter axel, this will further stiffen the pedal as well as surely being part of the reason for the slight lightening of these pedals.