105 vs Ultegra Pedals – Which Clipless Pedals are Better?

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Shimano 105 vs Ultegra Pedals

Other than your bike’s seat and handle bars, the other most important feature are the pedals. Their weight, shape and secure footing they provide makes a big difference to a rider’s performance. Which between Shimano 105 and Ultegra clipless pedals are the best?

If you love to cycle nearly as much as I do then you will love this review. As an ardent cyclist who loves the feeling of adventure and a little friendly competition, I have loved to go cross country cycling every chance I get.

Now, I know every serious cyclist will appreciate the finer details of their clipless pedals that could make their riding experience that much more personalized. If you are all about speed, power and low weight bike pedals, this is the review for you.

What are the key differences between 105 and Ultegra Pedals

 
105 R7000
Ultegra R8000
Type
SPD-SL
SPD-SL
No. of Cleats
3
3
Rotational Float degrees
6, 2 and zero degrees
6, 2 and zero degrees
Weight
265 grams
248 grams
Material
aluminum, nickel plated steel
Carbon fiber, anodized aluminum,
Price

 

Shimano 105 vs Ultegra Pedals – How they compare

Trickle Down Effect

Ultegra provides close benefits to Dura-Ace previous versions and 105 does the same.

Shimano’s top-quality cycling pedals are the Dura Ace type and the company has been observed to be creating the Ultegra and 105 R7000 prototypes from the technology basis of the Dura Ace. Currently the three models are separated by weight, manufacturing process and materials used.

It is true that some of the current designs in 105 and Ultegra are technological upgrades from the original Dura Ace, and a lot of riders still appreciate that they can experience the light weight and finely finished qualities of original Dura Ace pedals.

All Shimano pedals have a relation to Dura-Ace design and machination because they have always relied on trickling down technologies from one model to the other.

Cleat Number and Type

Both the 150 and Ultegra pedals have factored in Shimano quality design and build. The differences in pedals is found on their release angle, their weight or their floating rotation angle.

The release angle of these two Shimano pedals is degree which a foot must turn in order to release the SPD shoe from the cleats. If more room is available on the pedal, it gives the rider some relief in foot movement.

If there is no float on the pedal, you can expect to have a rigid foot position you have to keep which needs to be done right for better comfort and maximum safety to the user. As explained, the yellow colored cleats will provide you the most freedom in foot movement wit clipped shoe.

Racers, like myself, mostly pick the blue colored cleats because they offer a perfect balance between some wiggle room, fixed sure footing and improved power transfer. This both reduces chance of knee or joint injury and also maximizes my riding confidence.

Unless you are extremely comfortable with all your other bike adjustments like your seat and handlebars, the red-colored cleats in both 105 and Ultegra models is too restrictive and rigid for the average cyclist.

Quality and Durability

Both pedals being of the SPD-SL model of Shimano pedals, these two have been built with extra hardy carbon and stainless-steel metal to keep their shape and form over longer periods. Bike drops, accidents and extreme terrain grazes are normal and expected.

To keep your pedals in the best of shape, you have the option to service them regularly by removing, greasing and replacing bearings if and when they need it.

Cleats on the pedals also wear out with regular use so once the fitting starts to get loose, make a point of getting them replaced. For 105 R7000 and Ultegra R8000, it’s easier to get replacements because the cleat system is made of plastic material.

Unfortunately, because these pedals have three cleats on them, walking on these SPD-SL enabled shoes will not be favorable across rugged or slippery terrain. Dirt, mud and grime is easily caught in the cleats which clogs them up and diminishes their receptivity.

The use of plastic on these pedals makes them lighter and as each model has a weight category, the 105 weigh 265 grams while Ultegra pedals are around 248 grams.

Both the Shimano 105 and Ultegra pedals feature a double bearing and a matching length in distance between one crank arm end and the other. 

Shimano 105 vs Ultegra Pedals – A Comparison Overview

Shimano 105 R7000 – Overview

SHIMANO 105 R7000 FH-R7000 10/11-speed Free Hub 130 mm Q/R 32 Hole...
  • Internal O-rings and grease sleeve
  • High quality cup & cone bearing

Uses Dura-Ace technology and cleat as a base to build into these super affordable 105 SPD-SL pedals. They are mostly made of carbon which is great for sturdiness and for protective the spring mechanism which operates them.

Following in Shimano’s color coordinating system, the pedals in these models also come in three different color tips. Yellow tips for 6-degree rotational float, blue tips for 2 degrees and red tips for zero rotational floating degrees.

Aside from acting as category markers, the tipped areas of the pedals are made to be multi-grip to increase your stability off the bike if required to run. However as with all SPD-SL pedals, dirt gets caught under the parts much easier which calls for a loosening of the spring tension with the use of an allen key.

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Ultegra R8000 – Overview

ShimanoUltegra R8000 Groupset 11-28T 52x36T 172.5mm
  • Ultegra R8000 Crankset: 172.5 52/36
  • Ultegra Bottom Bracket: English BB68

These pedals are made of carbon and stainless-steel. In following with their trickle-down structure for upgrades that Shimano like to use, these pedals are like Dura-Ace models but cheaper and lighter.

In this model, they chose to reduce the stack height and increase the width which improves the power transferability and the foot stability in high speeds. The cleats on these pedals is three as is standard across all Shimano SPD-SL road pedals.

To get a distinction of their float angle, Shimano uses the same color coordination system across all its other models. Yellow-tipped pedals have a floating angle of 6-degrees, blue pedals float at 2-degrees and red-tipped pedals have no rotational float whatsoever.

To set your pedals tension, there is a tension spring fitted into these pedals that is activated by use of a 2.5mm allen key. You can expect these pedals to rest pointing downwards and to be only one sided which means you have to get used to them.

Pros

  • Heavier in weight compared to 105 pedals
  • Made into durable pieces
  • Similar to Dura-Ace with better price

Cons

  • Expensive

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Verdict: So, which between Shimano 105 R7000 and Ultegra R8000isBetter?

Having identified that these are models of the same great sporting company, it is hard to pick one over the other.

However, if you are a pro racer and you are making a crucial decision about your next best clipless pedals to use in the upcoming cyclocross championship, I would strongly suggest you go with the Ultegra R8000 pedals.

More specifically, pick out the one’s with blue cleats as they will give you more wiggle room and some manageable control over your power transfer.

Finally, if this is your first pedal change and you are curious about SPD-SL pedals, the Shimano 105 R7000 will give you a great experience and they will last a long time.

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