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Shimano has added to their SPD-SL road pedal line-up with the RS500 SPD-SL Pedals, which have been designed for price and features for entry-level cyclists, but can be ridden by any road cyclist. The driving force was to offer a resin body pedal at the lowest price point, and easier entry and release actions. The base technologies and features all carry over from higher-end SPD-SL pedals so you can save money but get proven, reliable design.
The composite resin body is actually stiffer than you'd expect and more durable than similar styles from the competition. Shimano applies dual stainless plates to carry the cleat and prevent direct cleat to body rubbing above the axle. This protects the body, while the replaceable plates handle direct wear. Overall the platform is larger, for more foot support and better power transfer. The front cleat opening is actually larger than the race-grade SPD-SL pedals for easier access, and Shimano has equipped the RS500 with a greater range of adjustment towards less spring resistance for quicker, easier releases. These features will truly help beginners, as well as cyclists with smaller feet, who can struggle to create proper leverage in emergencies. The RS500 may also appeal as a commuter road pedal, and for indoor exercise bikes.
Shimano uses their stout Chromoly steel axle with a black oxide corrosion resistant finish to carry the body assembly via sealed bearings. While the RS500 axle and sealed bearing assembly is serviceable, one can expect to get many, many miles of use and most users will never require any service. Shimano lists road angle clearance at 30° which is within two degrees of Ultegra and 105 level models. Finally, the SH11 (Yellow foot) cleats and hardware are included. This is the Shimano cleat that offers the most angular float, at 6°- again a genuine need for most beginners or those who have knee/leg alignment issues and require float. The SH10 (Red- fixed) and SH12 (Blue- front centering 2°) cleat options are compatible and sold separately.
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