SHIMANO M520 vs. M530 vs. M540: Comparison of 2023

Deciding on which set of pedals to purchase can turn out to be a super lengthy and confusing process as there are too many great options.

If you’re in this article, then you’ve selected to go with the Shimano’s SPD range.

While this range offers multiple great sets of pedals, the best ones for cross country riding are certainly the M520, M530, and M540.

Given that all three of these sets have very similar features and attributes, it can get even more overwhelming.

Therefore, we’ve conducted careful research on Shimano M520, M530 and M540 to help you choose the perfect set of pedals.

Continue reading if you want to learn more!

SHIMANO M520 vs. M530 vs. M540

Shimano M520

Shimano M520 Review

In case you were wondering which of the Shimano brake pedals will give you the best deal, then look no further. The M520 by Shimano is versatile, sturdy, durable yet super inexpensive.

Gone are the days where you had to struggle to install and get into your pedals.

Not only is the M520 super easy to set up, but they’ve also made it clean and simple to step in and out of. Additionally, the grip that you’ll get from the pedals is phenomenal.

We found that you can adjust the tension of the pedals by means of a 3mm Allen wrench.

This is a really handy feature to have as it’ll allow you to customize the tension to fit your comfort.

For a small pedal like this, one would expect it to be lighter than it is. That being said, weighing under 380 grams a pair, these are lighter than the average pedals offered in the market.

We found the missing platform or cage on the pedal to be quite helpful. It makes it quite simple to operate.

Furthermore, the pedals are quite spacious, which provides more stability and control.

You will find the mud-shedding capability of this gear to be very satisfactory. The unguarded design and the material used combinedly helps to deliver this useful feature.

Although the lack of a cage or platform decreases the level of protection for the pedals, the high-quality material makes up for it. These babies will certainly last for years, even with regular use.

Finally, the budget-friendly pricing really seals the deal – at least for us. You’re unlikely to find such a great pair of pedals at such a great price point.


  • Very affordable
  • Quick setup process
  • Easy to get on and off
  • Great grip
  • Lightweight
  • Good mud shedding
  • Highly durable


  • Might not handle excessive weight properly

Shimano M530

Shimano M530 Review

If you’re looking for the perfect budget-friendly mini-platform pedals, then we’d like to present you with the Shimano M530.

These low profile pedals are lightweight and uber versatile, hence perfect for any road conditions.

And these pedals were crafted for cross country riding as well as technical descending. Thus ensuring its ability to deal with any road of road and conditions.

Once tested, it was found that it was really easy to locate the cleat interface on every occasion.

You’ll hear the reassuring clicking sound of the cleat every time you step on – so you’ll never have to worry about it while riding.

Both the entry and discharge tension can be adjusted to cater to an individual’s needs.

But, we must advise you to clear any foreign object, especially mud off of the pedal before altering the settings to prevent risking rounding the dial.

The pedals come with an outer cage that delivers enhanced foot stability. It also makes it easier to locate the pedals when you’re in a hurry.

But we must advise you to not wear them unclipped too often as it can be slippery. That being said, the outer cage really does offer admirable security for the cleat mechanism.

What you will love is how durable the device is going to be. Despite frequent and heavy usage, it’ll last you a lot longer than the average pair of pedals.

We must commend Shimano for offering such a brilliant set of mini-platform pedals at such a great price point.


  • Admirable design and build
  • Lightweight
  • Very durable
  • Versatile
  • Created for cross country riding
  • Attractive pricing
  • Commendable mud shedding


  • Pedals can be a little slippery when riding unclipped

Related Comparison: SHIMANO R8020 or R7020?

Shimano M540

Shimano M540 Review

Finally, here we have the most popular pedals of Shimano’s SPD range, the M540. Stability, performance, and durability are just some of the features you can expect from this robust device. The open design of the pedal gives it a great ability to clear mud off.

While making entry exist extremely easy – no matter the condition. It’s a dual-sided nature that makes the entire process of riding a bike very convenient.

If you’re a regular rider, then one of the first attributes you’ll notice is the enhancement in rigidity. It’ll be able to handle various weights without bulging.

And while this isn’t as wide as other models, you’re unlikely to experience any discomfort, hotspots, or imbalance.

You can adjust the release tension of the pedals, but you may not require to use it. The four degrees of the float is likely to be compatible with most people’s joints.

Moreover, the factory set gear builds have been perfected to reduce any grounding issues and deliver smoother cornering – even if you corner hard.

We found that pedaling through the floor or forest tracks was significantly easier with this set of pedals equipped.

If you simply maintain the cleat mechanism by applying chain lube or maintenance spray, you’ll notice an improvement in your riding experience immediately.

In fact, if you treat it once, it’s likely to deliver at least a month of smooth riding experience.

Through flood or sticky mud, this pair of pedals will not give up on you easily.

Created with high-grade aluminum, which further goes through a fluorine coating, this one was built to last.

Furthermore, the fact that you get access to all of these features at such an attractive price point really explains why they’ve been so popular ever since 2004. All in all, this set of pedals right here can be considered a great steal.


  • Great value
  • Easy to maintain
  • Provides good balance and control
  • Comfortable paddling
  • Highly durable
  • Easy to install


  • No significant cons found

SHIMANO M530 or M520 or M540?

SHIMANO M530 or M520 or M540

If you are still confused between these two brilliant options, then do go through the comparison to see which one will best suit your needs.


One of the most important features to look out for is definitely stability. Shimano did create each of these pedals to deliver enhanced stability as opposed to most of their competition.

However, upon researching, we found that the M530 will provide you with better stability even when it is unclipped.


All of these pedals have been offered at reasonable pricing. However, if you were looking for the cheapest one in terms of price, that will be the M520.


Both the M520 and M540 feature an open binding mechanism, whereas the M530 comes with an integrated pedal cage. The M520, however, is slightly larger in size than the M540.

Now, while the cage gives the M530 better stability, it’s more prone to accumulating dirt and mud – something you won’t have to worry about in the other two models.


Each of these pedals can be considered to be lightweight. The M530 is the heaviest of the lot, weighing 455gm, next is the M520, which weighs 380gm, and finally, the lightest one is the M540, which weighs 25gm less than M520.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Here we have the most commonly asked queries regarding the best Shimano pedals:

Which of these has the best capability to shed off the mud?

Amazingly all three of these pedals have a great mud-shedding capability.u003cbru003eu003cbru003eThat being said, the wide and open nature of the M520 gives it the extra edge.

Which is better, M520 or M540?

Essentially both of these are the same, where the latter is the upgraded version, and thus, it is slightly better.

Do these pedals come with an adjustable float?

All of these pedals feature adjustable float.

Which one of these will require the least amount of maintenance?

Out of all three, the M540 will require the least bit of maintenance.

How often will I have to oil the parts?

By oiling the parts at least once a month, you should be able to enhance its lifespan.


We hope that after going through the carefully constructed review and comparison among Shimano M520, M530 and M540, you were able to find the ideal gear for you.

If not, then we’ll suggest you to carefully read the comparison section to further enlighten yourself – good luck with your endeavors!

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