Reliable, cheap, easy to use
These are the cheapest Shimano SPD dual-sided pedals you can get and thus they are a little heavier than the one up, the M540. The 520 is the same as the 540 except the latter has replaceable bearings.
I bought a pair of these for my fixie commuter road bike and have been quite impressed. They've stood up to 2 years and 15k miles of all-weather riding, very little lubrication or cleaning, numerous pedal strikes and a 48-16 gear ratio with commensurate hard torquing of the pedals. The sole problem is a slight bit of play in the left pedal bearing which is not fixable since the bearings are sealed and non-replaceable. I got another pair for my seldom-used race bike and they perform perfectly.
I will buy the M540 in the future simply to avail myself of the replacement bearings but this deficiency is irrelevant except in case of extreme mileage or abuse (I'm guilty).
Since I ride road bikes only, I tried out road pedal systems (SPD-SL and Look) and found them costly and unreliable, and the shoes nearly impossible to walk in. The cleats for SPD are indestructible as far as I can tell, which is more than I can say for its road counterpart SPD-SL. Unless you're obsessed with stripping every last gram off your road bike, save some cash and use these SPD pedals and a mountain shoe you can actually walk in.
A Solid Performer!
You really can't beat the Schimano M520 SPD's. They are economical, durable, convenient, and most of all reliable. Sure there are better clipless options, but for the price you really can't beat the M520's. I have about four different pairs that I use for all my different bikes. I have them on my road and Mountain Bikes. I like the convenience of having all my bikes on one reliable system. If your not a competitive road cyclist. I suggest using dual sided pedals like the M520's with MTB shoes. It's just so much more convenient. Your feet will thank you for it. Plus, you don't have to flip the pedals every time you stop at a red light. I can't really say what is the best clipless system to go with, but I use the Schimano SPD's and I have been completely happy with them. You might want to ditch the cleats that come this these pedals, and switch them out for the multi-directional ones instead. You will know which one they are because they have a M on the model number. This is especially the case if you are a novice. You will save yourself a lot of falls and embarrassment. Just crank up the tension on the springs of the pedals to make up for the extra play. Anyways, feel free to pick up a pair of M520's if you are in the market for a clipless system.
Pedal To The Metal!!!
I have been using toe clips forever on my mountain bike and recently bought a road bike, so I decided to get these clip-less pedals for the road. I went to a couple of bike shops and these Shimano M520s came highly recommended, after reading several good reviews on them, I decided to buy them and try them out.
These are my first clip-less pedals and I use them on my road bike, so I cannot attest to their abilities on a mountain bike. However, they are incredible pedals. I was a bit worried about falling down clipped on to my bike, but these pedals are even easier to get in and out of than my old strapless toe clips. I took the advice left by the reviews and loosened the tension on the spring to the easiest tension. This works perfect, I can clip in and out without any problems. I will probably increase tension the more I become adjusted to the pedals, but the pedals grab on tight and release easily upon command. There is definitely added pedaling power when compared to my toe clips. I cannot believe I have hesitated to upgrade to these for so long. Highly Recommended!!
My first Clipless Pedals
Riding a mountain bike for exercise and fun in a city with lots of hills, this seemed like a good idea to take advantage of the upcrank motion of pedaling. No disappointment here & I am pleased with making this change. These pedals are slightly heavier than the stock platform pedals but realistically, we are talking a few ounces and I'm not going to obsess about ounces. After all, the best way to shed a few ounces is around the mid-section of the rider.
I set the adjustment of the pedals to the loosest setting in order to give my newbies efforts plenty of chance to get out of the pedals in an urgent situation. This has worked fine and my feet have never slipped out unintentionally. No real need to change the setting any tighter at this point.
This is a great starter set and really helps get you pedaling at a higher level. I've never been a speedster so this helps me keep up with those skinny tire riders a bit better. Recommended.
Have been very dependable
I've been using these for years now on my almost-daily 7 mile off-road ride and have no complaints. I have a pair on both my bikes. The only problem I've ever had is when I slam one down very hard on a rock ledge I'm trying to get over and I knock the screw and spring out of place. It has happened 3 times in something like 4 years. It only takes a few minutes to fix once you figure out that you have to disassemble it pretty far to make it easy to get the screw back in place. Other than that, they've taken all the abuse I've given them.
The added control you get with clipless peddles is amazing, you'll wonder how you ever got by without them. Just make sure you get comfortable with clipping out before you do anything too technical.
great pedals, great price
I replaced an old pair of Look road pedals with these M520's for a few reasons. Mainly I needed to get new shoes and wanted to get shoes with SPD style cleats. I'm using mountain shoes (Shimano MO86) with these and love the combination. SPD cleats combined with a good mountain shoe provide excellent efficiency and let you walk a little when you need to. Entry/exit is easy, even easier than my old road pedals. I didn't have particularly great road pedals - they were 18 years old - but the M520's aren't any heavier than they were.
There's no doubt that anyone who rides more than 10-15 miles at a time should have clipless pedals. Anyone who fits in that category should consider these, especially if you don't want to break the bank on much more expensive models.
Awesome value for any kind of ride...
I've installed these on my mountain, road and touring bikes. With very low profile, walkable Shimano Mtn shoes (the MO70's) I can train, hit the trails or get decent efficiency when touring. OK, I get the additional double-take from other roadies, but honestly I don't miss my low-end Looks, and that's with doing 80-100 miles a week on the road. Add the snap-in platforms Shimano supplies (most shops have a basket of these in the shop area and will let them go cheap) and you can have a bike you can flat-foot it when you need to. Release is easily replicated bike to bike, and adjustment seems to hold for a long time. I'll take three solid inexpensive pedals and one pair of decent shoes any day over three different pedals/cleats and three pairs of shoes.
Great Pedals, Easy to Use
I haven't really tested the durability yet but as for ease of installation, adjustability and entry/exit these pedals are great. I was a little nervous about trying the SPD pedals after only riding platforms my entire life, but my fears were quickly subsided after spending just about 10 minutes on the bike. My foot slide easily out of the pedal when set at the lowest setting and its almost as if I'm just turning my foot a little while I'm getting off my bike. It takes very little resistance. So far I am very pleased. Pedaling efficiency has increased a lot as well. I made it up a hill that I was having a lot of trouble on with ease.
Solid pedals, match my a530's
I put the m520's on a new road bike after having a530's (single sided) on my grocery-getter hybrid.
m520's easier to click in, and click out EXACTLY the same way as the Shimano a530's which is what I was looking for. I didn't want to have to train my feet differently for each bike.
While not strictly road pedals (listed as MTB), the consistency with the a530's was paramount. I could have gotten slightly lighter road bike pedals, but that's OK by me. I use MTB-style shoes anyway. Don't like the road shoes at all.
Very happy with the pedals on each bike, and very happy with how they work "together."
Better than I expected
I do a lot of XC mountain biking with a good amount of technical climbs and descents with babyheads and roots thrown in for good measure. These are the first clipless pedals I've owned and was concerned about entry/exit over the scary stuff. These pedals were the perfect choice - I rode as if I've been riding clipless from the beginning. I tuned them to the loosest setting and quickly felt at home on them. I still am adjusting to quickly re-entering the pedals on the trails, but that's mainly the shoes/foot position. Most times they click in faster than I expected. I've gotten faster and more efficient at climbing.