Shimano Pedals – The Inventors of SPD

Shimano pedals released SPDs (Shimano Pedaling Dynamics) in 1990 and the system has been one of the most widely used since. Shimano pedals were one of the first clipless pedal systems invented, revolutionizing the market for pedals and bringing clipless pedals to the masses. Three factors stand out.

Shimano Pedals -spd are easy to use

shimano pedalsPreviously, to ensure the best contact between foot and pedal, and the best pedaling ability, pedals came with clips and straps. Straps were tightened after the foot was in place. To disengage, one would loosen the strap to open the clips around the foot. But with Shimano pedals, there is a cleat attached to the bottom of the shoe. The cleat snaps into the SPD pedal and is held in place with spring tension similar to ski bindings. The foot is disengaged from the pedal with a flick of the heel. To connect to the SPD pedal is also simple – step down on the pedal. This new system proved easier to use and safer than pedals with straps and clips.

Development of shoe options

Because the Shimano pedals SPD cleats were small enough, shoes were developed with a recessed area so the cleat did not protrude from the bottom. This made walking easier. Also, this type of shoe works better for mountain biking since there can be areas on the trail where one must dismount and run the bike. This type of shoe gained popularity with riders who want to stop during the ride. It is much easier and safer to traverse coffee shops with a recessed cleat. SPD pedals are now widely used in fitness centers on spin bikes, and the shoes make traversing the gym safer.

Shimano Pedals – Easy to adjust

shimanoShimano pedals SPD tension can be adjusted to make engagement between cleat and pedal tight or less tight based on rider preference. This is especially helpful for a rider new to clipless pedals since a lighter tension will ease engaging and disengaging, as when coming to a stop. Also convenient is the fact that Shimano SPD pedals are double sided – it doesn’t matter which side is facing up when the rider steps down on the pedal. SPD pedals are frequently recommended for many as their first clipless pedal system. There are at least 6 different models of mountain SPDs, designed for better mud shedding, and including one with a platform that does not require a cleated shoe.

In addition to SPD pedals appropriate for mountain bikes, there are touring models with a pedal body platform that is wider, enhancing the power transfer. These road touring pedals can be used with the same cleats and shoes as mountain SPDs. Though not double sided, the road touring pedals are weighted so that they hang at the correct angle for easy engagement of foot and cleat. There are also SPD-SL pedals in 4 different levels, suitable for road racing with a focus on maximum power transfer.


Shimano bicycle parts are sold throughout the world with components for the bike’s drivetrain, brakes, wheels, and pedals for all types of bikes – mountain, road and hybrid. In addition to SPD pedals, Shimano has led and dominated bike parts technology with the development of STI (Shimano Total Integration) an integrated brake lever and shifter system, and the freehub (developed in 1970). The most recent notable advance on bike parts technology include Shimano’s Di2 systems that utilize electronic impulses for shifting, instead of cables. Shimano also produces fishing tackle and rowing systems.