Shimano. We need to talk. Reviewing your stuff is hard. Really hard. Because it’s good.
Words and images - James Raison
I find basically every Shimano component review below Dura Ace goes like this: “a bit better than the last generation, a bit better than the tier below, not quite as good as the tier above but a lot cheaper.” There you go folks. That there is reviewing Shimano in a nutshell.
But hell, you’ve clicked now so here’s a proper review!
THE CONSIDERED AND RATIONAL STEP FORWARD*
So, R8000 pedals are 248g, 12g lighter than 6800 and 20g heavier that R9100. They’ve also reduced stack height by 0.7mm compared to 6800. On offer is a carbon body, stainless steel plate on top, stainless steel axle, and 2 bearings on each side to keep you spinning. Tightness is adjusted with an allen key in the same place it always has and the pedals ship with the ubiquitous yellow cleats.
It’s good. Not the best, but really good.
Shimano R8000s wide platform gives a secure and confidence-inspiring ride feel. Drop the cleat in, hear that familiar Shimano “clack” and you’re off. You’re free to pedal all day long and never even think about your pedals. When you’re done, get off the bike, put it away, and continue to not think about your pedals. It’s just that simple.
So, why are they “not the best” to ride on you may ask? Well for me, they’re not. I consider the Time Xpresso 10s I recently reviewed to have a nicer ride feel with their knee-coddling float and massive cleats. A set of Speedplays I owned a few years back were nicer to ride on too. But I’m not using either of those anymore for a simple reason: they’re a pain in the ass to live with. For me, that’s a dealbreaker.
LIVING WITH IT
There’s lighter and better looking (yes, that counts dammit!) pedals out there with nicer ride feel but Shimano is the best to live with by a wide margin.
While other manufacturers are differentiating themselves with boondoggles, Shimano is making pedals that your average rider actually wants to live with. They give you cleats that are easy to walk on, last for aaaaaages, and are cheap to replace. They’re making pedals that need servicing about as often as Neptune orbits the sun andt wear out slower than tectonic plates move. I’ve moved to other pedal systems twice and I keep coming back to Shimano for exactly those reasons.
I don’t think about my Shimano pedals with love. I love that I don’t have to think about them.
Should you buy a set of Shimano R8000 pedals? Sure. But really I recommend you buy whichever Shimano pedal is in the budget you’re willing to pay. They’re all good. They’re also great to live with. They let you get on with riding. Isn’t that what really matters?
Disclosure statement: I spent 150 of my very own dollarydoos on these pedals so I don't have to disclose anything!
While you're here, you should check out my full Shimano R8000 groupset review.