Thursday, March 29, 2012

Journey of the Boardwalk: Part 23 - Shimano PD-A530 Pedals

It has been a few months since I started using SPD pedals, and I am pleased to say that I have gotten used to it! With sufficient training, clipping in and out becomes natural and intuitive, there is no longer a need to concentrate very hard to remember to clip out when you are stopping.

Recently, at the NTU Bike Rally 2012, I saw Matt's new pedals, the PD-A530. It is based on a similar concept like the pedals I am using, the Shimano PD-M324 pedals. These pedals have MTB SPD on one side, and a platform on the other side. As I have already discussed, this type of pedals are suitable for my style of riding. Matt has tested the pedals for at least 168km during the bike rally, and the review is positive!

I went to get myself a pair too, because they look good and are lighter in weight! These would be a nice upgrade from the current Shimano PD-M324 pedals that I am using. Getting these from CRC is really a lot cheaper than buying from the shops.

Nice packaging! Comes with a set of SH-51 cleats.

Close up of the SPD side.

The platform side. Looks big!

The pair of pedals, looking sleek and good!

The reason I got silver pedals instead of black is because when you are clipping in and out, it is unavoidable that the cleats will scratch the pedals. If the pedals are black, scratches will expose the metal underneath and make the pedals look unsightly. On the other hand, silver pedals will tend to hide the scratches and maintain the look better.

Before replacing the PD-M324 pedals, let us do a comparison!

The squarish PD-M324 pedals in the middle.

The new A530 pedals on top of the M324 pedals. The A530 platform is slightly longer, and has a similar width.

Reverse comparison, M324 pedals on top of the A530 pedals.

End to end size comparison. The A530 pedals has a bigger platform area.

The A530 pedals are about 380 grams per pair, compared to 540 grams for the M324 pedals. Quite a bit lighter and much better looking. The M324 pedals were designed as a city commuting pedals, while the A530 pedals are more for sporty enthusiasts who also commute within the city.

No pedals on the Ultegra cranks!

Platform side

SPD side

Due to the big difference in the curvature of the pedal, it is easy to tell without looking which side of the pedal you are on.

As with all new clipless pedals, it is advisable to set the spring tension to the minimum before you try clipping in! I found it really difficult to clip in initially, as the spring tension is quite high even at the minimum setting. Clipping out is not as easy too. Compared to the M324 pedals, the spring tension is much higher, giving a more solid connection but also makes it harder to clip in and out.

I would not recommend these pedals to beginners, as the spring tension is quite high. For beginners, the M324 pedals would be a much better option. Of course, some people will have no problems with the high spring tension, but it is usually safer and less scary to use a pair of SPD pedals that is easy to clip in and out.

The platform side is awesome, as the area is huge, and you can place your foot anywhere on the pedal and it feels very stable. This is a significant improvement over the platform on the M324 pedals. I think only those large MTB pedals will have a larger and more comfortable platform area.

The design and colour of the pedals fits really well with the Ultegra crankset and the chain!

Full bike shot! Newly installed gold bling and also Shimano PD-A530 pedals.

I'm starting to really like SPD pedals, especially for longer or faster rides, where it is really helpful to keep the shoe on the pedal and helps generate more power when pedaling. The versatility of these type of pedals also means that I can pedal in any shoe, and is also suitable for casual rides where I wear normal running shoes or even slippers. Recommended for those who like to have both SPD and platform pedals, and want a pedal with sleek looks.


  1. Hi,
    I am very interested in buying those black brake holders. Could you please tell me where I could get them? I have been searching for those. My brake pads keep rubbing my tires and won't reach my rims.

    thank you

  2. this post was just what i was looking for! thanks a bunch :)

  3. Definitely a helpful article.

  4. U have any recommendation for spd quickrelease pedal?

    1. SPD QR pedals? The only one I know of is the MKS MM Cube pedals.

  5. Great review! I'm currently deciding between these and the M324 pedals. When you wrote this review, were you still using MTB shoes?

    1. The M324 pedals have a lighter spring action, and it is easier to learn clipless pedals on those. Or you can try the new T400 pedals if you are trying SPD for the first time.

      I had already changed to Road Touring SPD shoes, which are lighter and look better.

    2. I'm OK with SPD, I currently have a pair of shimano M520 pedals and XC50N shoes for my MTB so for my hybrid I'm looking for dual platform pedals.

    3. To me, the A530 pedals look better and are lighter too. I would recommended the A530 pedals over the M324.

    4. Excellent, that's what I've decided. They're both serviceable too so that's a bonus.

  6. This is exactly what I've been looking for: a side by side of spd/big platform pedals. Getting a feel for their size in width and length is hard just in a picture. Platform size is important when you're feet are a 13.

  7. Great blog! I have the A530 on a hybrid bike and actually find the platform side quite slippery (using tennis shoes). What shoes do u use when not riding clipped in?

    1. When I use the platform side of the pedals, I will be wearing slippers or running shoes. I don't find it slippery unless it is wet.


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