By Coach Fred Matheny
- $70 less than Dura-Ace but nearly as light
- Cleats interchangeable with Dura-Ace
- Accepts a regular pedal wrench
- Minimal defense against cleat wear
- Float limited to 6 degrees
- No “Lance” cachet
Weight: 360 g (including cleats at 60 g per pair)
Source: bike shops, catalogs
How obtained: cold cash
RBR advertiser: no
Tested: 25 hours
I’ve reviewed the Shimano Dura-Ace PD-7750. I had put 20 hours on them when I wrote my evaluation and rated them highly. Now, after about 50 more hours of using them on my Serotta Ottrott, they’re still in my good graces. But I wish they had — as my grandmother used to say — a tinch-bit more float.
PD-7750 uses cleats that don’t work with other pedals. And my other road bike has Look pedals. That meant one pair of shoes for the Serotta and another for the Gunnar. I already had the shoes and didn’t want to plunk down $210 to buy an additional pair of Lance pedals for my second bike.
Trust Shimano to trickle down its high-end technology to the masses. it’s happened with components. The Ultegra group is as good as Dura-Ace for all practical purposes, but it costs about a third less. Now there’s a $140 Ultegra version of the PD-7750, dubbed the PD-R600. it’s virtually indistinguishable in function from its pricier sibling.
Both pedals use the same cleats. Release tension adjusts the same way and in the same location. I couldn’t detect any difference in the smoothness or consistency of release. Also, both pedals slant up for entry, making it easy to put the tip of the cleat into the slot and push down with a reassuring click.
The cleats have yellow plastic inserts to protect them from walking wear and provide a bit of traction. But without actual cleat covers (like the Kool Kovers that PAL Products makes for Look), wear will eventually compromise retention and release — sooner rather than later if you hoof around much at gravelly rest stops.
The pedals’ differences are minor but there’s one you’ll notice when you mount them.
The Dura-Ace pedal lacks wrench flats. To install or remove one, you insert an 8-mm allen key into the end of the axle. Some riders love this feature while others aren’t keen on twirling pedals from the “wrong” side of the crankarm.
The Ultegra pedal has conventional wrench flats. It also has a recess in the end of the axle for a 6-mm allen key, though this fitting isn’t as deep or secure as the one in the Dura-Ace version. Most home mechanics will probably prefer to use a pedal wrench.
Ultegra is heavier but only by 30 grams (1 oz.) per pair. That’s simply not noticeable in everyday riding (or while hefting them in your hand).
Dura-Ace has a matte gray finish while Ultegra is a bit shinier. Lance’s pedal is labeled Dura-Ace while the Ultegra says Shimano. Inside, you get bearings purported to be smoother and longer lasting if you empty your pockets for Dura-Ace. I can’t feel a difference when I rotate them by hand or foot.
In short, the Ultegra pedal is a screaming bargain at $70 less than Dura-Ace. When I switch from the Serotta to the Gunnar, I wear the same shoes and simply can’t tell the difference in the pedal systems.
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Coach Fred Matheny is an RBR co-founder who has four decades of road cycling and coaching experience. He has written 14 eBooks and eArticles on cycling training, available in RBR’s eBookstore at Coach Fred Matheny, including the classic Complete Book of Road Bike Training, which includes 4 eBooks comprising 250 pages of timeless, detailed advice and training plans. The Complete Book is one of the many perks of an RBR Premium Membership. Click to read Fred's full bio.