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Shimano's top-level Dura-Ace R9100 pedals offer loads of security and stability and they're a few grams lighter than the previous version, although still not quite as light as some of their biggest rivals.
The pedals feature an injection-moulded carbon composite body with three small stainless steel plates across the centre to provide protection from wear. These plates are moulded in and aren't replaceable (the screwed-on plate of the previous generation Dura-Ace R9000 pedal wasn't replaceable either).
The pedal platform is 66mm wide – a little wider than previously – and provides plenty of stability. That broad platform is one of the best things about these pedals, and is especially welcome when you're riding out of the saddle.
I've been using the pedals for a couple of months and there's barely any sign of wear on them so far – although, to be fair, you wouldn't expect much at this stage. There are a few little scratches, but nothing that's going to affect the performance. I've used the previous generation Dura-Ace pedals loads over the past two or three years (not all the time; I swap between systems fairly often) and I've not found wear to the pedal body to be an issue. I don't see why these wouldn't be similarly durable.
The partly hollow axle is made from nickel chromoly steel and the pedal body spins on widely spaced bearings – two ball bearings and a needle bearing (which lower level Shimano pedals do not have). As a rule, Shimano bearings tend to be very good, and that's certainly the case here. They're smooth and, in my experience, don't creak or squeak. If any issues do develop, you can open up the pedals and give them some TLC, or even fit a new axle assembly.
I've been using the standard length axle and that has been fine for me, although you can get a version with an axle that's 4mm longer if you want a little extra shoe-to-crank clearance.
The Dura-Ace pedals still offer wide-ranging tension adjustment via a hex bolt, which is something you don't get with Look's Kéo Blade pedals, for example (where each carbon blade provides a given amount of tension). I can't say it's impossible to release accidentally with the tension adjusted to max, but I never have.
A pair of Shimano's blue-tipped SPD-SL cleats are included in the box, offering a middling (+/- 2°) amount of float (the amount your feet can move while remaining clipped in). If you don't feel they're right for you, yellow (+/-6°) and red (zero) are available too (£19.99). The cleats are held in place by hollow bolts – a tiny weight saving, but I guess it all counts – and they stand up to wear pretty well.
Dura-Ace pedals aren't quite as light as top-level models from key rivals. Look's Kéo Blade Carbon Ti pedals (£249.99), for example, have a claimed weight of 180g (pair) while the much cheaper standard Kéo Blades (£99.99) are 220g. Shimano gives an official weight of 228g for its Dura-Ace pedals, although we measured ours at 239g. That compares to 248g for both previous generation Dura-Ace and new Ultegra 6800 pedals (which we've not yet tested).
That might bother weight weenies a little, but I've found the Dura-Ace 9100 pedals to be solid and reliable and there's every indication that, like their predecessors, they'll prove to be durable too. Add in a warranty of three years (you get this on Dura-Ace and XTR products) rather than the standard two, and they're a very good choice.
Stable and reasonably light with internals that will go on for an age, although you have to pay top-end pricing
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Shimano Dura-Ace R9100 SPD-SL pedals
Size tested: N/A
Tell us what the product is for, and who it's aimed at. What do the manufacturers say about it? How does that compare to your own feelings about it?
Shimano lists these features:
Excellent pedalling efficiency
Optimised balance of weight and rigidity
Injection moulded carbon composite body
Hollow cleat bolt
Efficient power transfer
Efficient power transfer/Durability
Reduces flex and pedal body wear
Stainless steel body plate
2-ball bearing, 1-wide roller bushing
Reliable durability performance
Stable and uniform load distribution
Wide bearing placement
Customise the entry and release tension settings
Adjustable entry and release tension settings
Shimano 3-year limited warranty
The internals of Shimano's new Ultegra R8000 pedals aren't quite the same as Dura-Ace but, on the other hand, the externals are very similar, the pedals are only 20g heavier and they're £75 cheaper. You rarely get the best value when you go for the top-end model!
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
These pedals put in a top performance.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
They provide a super-stable platform and the internals are excellent.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
Dura-Ace pricing is in line with that of top-end offerings from other brands, but you definitely get better value if you drop down the range.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes
Would you consider buying the product? Yes
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes
Use this box to explain your score
This might be a lot of money to spend on a pair of pedals but the quality is high and these should go on for ages with just a small amount of maintenance.
About the tester
I usually ride: My best bike is:
I've been riding for: Over 20 years I ride: Most days I would class myself as: Expert
I regularly do the following types of riding: commuting, club rides, sportives, general fitness riding
Mat has been in cycling media since 1996, on titles including BikeRadar, Total Bike, Total Mountain Bike, What Mountain Bike and Mountain Biking UK, and he has been editor of 220 Triathlon and Cycling Plus. Mat has been road.cc technical editor for over a decade, testing bikes, fettling the latest kit, and trying out the most up-to-the-minute clothing. We send him off around the world to get all the news from launches and shows too. He has won his category in Ironman UK 70.3 and finished on the podium in both marathons he has run. Mat is a Cambridge graduate who did a post-grad in magazine journalism, and he is a winner of the Cycling Media Award for Specialist Online Writer. Now over 50, he's riding road and gravel bikes most days for fun and fitness rather than training for competitions.