Shimano’s latest Ultegra PD-R8000 pedals are lighter, with a lower stack height than the prior model. It’s an incremental change to one of the most proven pedals on the market that should provide fuss-free spinning for a long time.
Shimano Ultegra PD-R8000 SPD-SL Pedal Features:
- Revised design for 2018
- Carbon composite body
- Chromoly steel axle
- Adjustable release tension
- 6-degree float SPD-SL cleats included (2-degree and fixed available separately)
- Wide platform with three metal pads
- 0.7mm stack height reduction
- Weight: 120 grams each (10 grams lighter than previous)
- MSRP: $199.99
The Pedal Standard
Shimano’s SPD-SL pedals are always the easy choice for cyclists on all budgets, ranging from the workhorse 105 to the tour-worthy Dura-Ace. On test has been the Goldilocks Ultegra PD-R8000 pedals — revised and updated for the 2018 model year.
As the most common road pedal platform, SPD’s are ubiquitous. With a wide platform and simple, powerful engagement, the Ultegra PD-R8000 pedals inspire confidence. Before that, let me cover something that’s just as important as the pedal itself — the cleat.
Shimano’s cleats are available in three flavors, but inside the box you’ll find the yellow (6-degree) ones. These are the most knee-friendly of Shimano’s cleats and offer smooth, fixed float. Coming off the likes of Time XPro 10’s and Speedplay Zero’s, they have a decidedly lateral-only float. Release tension is adjustable on a scale of vice grips to reasonable.
I kept the tension at its lightest setting and found the release to require a touch more effort than my usual pedals, but still reasonable. Honestly, unless you are the most demanding racer, the highest setting is overkill. Getting out nearly requires superhuman strength.
As far as cleats go, Shimano’s are by far the easiest to live with. Installation is a breeze and adjustments are secure and smooth — thanks to the metal-trimmed eyelets. Affordable cleats that can be installed and aligned by a kindergartner certainly makes the PD-R8000’s even easier to live with.
Like all pedals and cleats, these required a few break-in rides to both get used to and roughen them up a little. Even still, it’s hard for my knees to give up the additional float they’ve been used to with other pedals. Ease-of-entry is stellar with the PD-R8000’s as they sit upright for quick engagement. I found them very easy to live with in that regard. They clip in right on queue and disengage (with the lowest tension) reliably as well.
- Bonkers-easy cleat installation and adjustment
- Low stack height is on par with the best pedals
- Wide platform for support and power transfer
- My knees wished for a touch more float
- Float adjustments require $30 replacement cleats
- Highest retention settings are like vice-grips
The Bottom Line: Shimano PD-R8000 Pedals
As the most common road pedal platform, Shimano’s Ultegra PD-R8000’s are now lighter and more capable than ever. The cleats are the easiest to install of all pedal platforms on the market and deliver excellent power transfer. I wished for a little more float, but if your knees are used to 6-degrees, these have proven themselves reliable and durable.
Buy Now: Available at CompetitiveCyclist.com