Shimano R550 vs 105 Pedals – Which SPD-SL pedals rock?

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Shimano R550 vs 105 Pedals

If after months of using your bike you start to lose your footing much more often, it may be time for you to consider a set of new pedals. Let’s take a look at these two Shimano SPD-SL models and see which one rocks.

Finding the perfect fit for your specific bike may be tough but not impossible. I have been in this exact situation about four times in my short cycling history and I’ve always managed to pick out a good set of pedals.

As an ardent cyclist, I appreciate pedal sets with low weight and good power transfer. When sprinting in the outback, I need a pedal with a wider platform that creates a good connection between pedal and my shoe’s cleats.

All these properties are present in these two Shimano models. So, to pick one over the other, you need some more information. Here is what I know so far.

What are the key differences between Shimano R550 and 105 Pedals

 
R550
105 R5800
Speeds
10
11
Brakes
Cantilever
Caliper
Material
Aluminum
Carbon Fiber
Cleat Type
SPD-SL
SPD-SL
Float Angle
Zero, Two and Six degrees
Zero, Two and Six degrees
 

Shimano R550 vs 105 Pedals – How they Compare 

Design

Following Shimano’s tradition to pick from features of previous models to create new models with some similar properties, the R550 are SPD-SL pedals that have some of its features matching with old Dura-Ace models.

While the R550 is made of aluminum material, the 105 are made of significantly lighter carbon material. They also offer a wide platform with a replaceable metal cleat plate.

To fit either pedal into the bike, set their tension adjustments, and find their ideal float angle, you will need to use an Allen key. The spring tension on the pedals is also easy to adjust using the 2.5mm Allen key which allows you to turn the screw left or right to loosen or tighten the tension based on your preference.

They offer three degrees of float represented by their yellow-colored cleats with a three-bolt system. Spring tension is widely adjustable and some light chain lube should be applied on the chainring to assist with easier clipping out.

Shimano 105 has carbon bodies that provide comfortable and effective pedaling with easy clipping in and out. A metal plate covers the center which helps reduce damage and minimizes the collection of grime and dirt.

While the R550 weighs 309g, the 105 pedals are lighter at 287g. However, regardless of their lightweight, they provide great quality and durable pedals that are virtually indestructible. 

Function 

R550 has cantilever breaks that are very solid because they have been made in aluminum material. They have covered up the springs to keep them functioning optimally and Shimano refrained from using plastic.

Break pads are similar to those cassette types found on road bikes and this makes pad changing easy to do. The only issue is that after riding the bike for a while, the break pads loosen up creating some squealing noise. However, with some maintenance, this can be resolved.

The R5800 pedals use caliper brakes with Cranksets featuring the four-arm design with two compact options; 34/50 and 36/52 or a standard option 39/53. This design is best because they all use a bolt circle diameter so if you need to replace it, you simply get a new ring instead of a new set of pedals.

They are available in length between 165 and 175mm which is suitable for all types of riders. Hollowtech technology is applied to keep the weight of the pedals down and to improve their sturdiness.

R5800 offers 11 speeds on three different cassette types; 11-32, 11-28, and 12-25 which promise smoother revolutions with greater efficiency. Shifting gears is done quickly and sharply by the use of the computer designed tooth profiles that do not miss a single shift.

R550 pedals offer 10 speeds on cantilever brakes while R5800 pedals feature 11 speeds with caliper brakes and quick gear shifting. 

Shimano R550 vs 105 Pedals – A Comparison Overview 

Shimano R550 – Overview

Sale
SHIMANO PD-R550 SPD-SL Road Pedals; Gray
  • Wide; lightweight resin body provides large shoe contact area to maximize power transfer and support
  • Larger entry target for easy cleat engagement

These pedals offer great value for money because they are strong and easy to use. Attaching the pedals to your bike requires the use of a 6mm Allen key or the more preferable tool called the pedal spanner to help you reach the levels of torque.

The spring tension on the pedals is also easy to adjust using the 2.5mm Allen key which allows you to turn the screw left or right to loosen or tighten the tension based on your preference.

These pedals are available in the three Shimano color marked system used to identify the pedals float angle. Red-colored cleats indicate no float at all, blue colored ones indicate two degrees of available float while the yellow cleats feature 6-degrees of float.

R550 is extremely secure in fitting which allows you to spin without the worry of losing your footing. Clicking into your pedals is easy because they have a backward roll and provide a reassuring clunk when you are securely clipped in.

They feature plastic hubs that are replaceable but highly efficient. The axles on these pedals have sealed bearings which covers them from grime and dirt that could be caught in them.

Pros 

  • Strong
  • Adjustable float
  • Great bearings
  • Wide cleat

Cons 

  • Heavy

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105 R5800 Pedals – Overview 

Shimano Road Bike Pedals PD-5800 Pedal Axle Assembly Right - Y46W98010
  • Shimano Small Parts Pedals Road Bike Pedals
  • Small Replacement Part for: Shimano PD-5800 Pedal Axle Assembly Right

This is a mechanical type of pedal that features three cassette options; 11-32, 11-28, and 12-25. They have an easy shift action with a shorter throw at the lever. The shifting is quick and produces a satisfactory click that confirms ever gear change.

Calipers on the R5800 have Dual Pivot design that helps equalize the braking forces transferred to each arm and this facilitates better control and greater power output. To manage the modulation of the calipers is possible by pushing or pulling on a lever.

These brakes are great for tire sizes up to 28mm. Cranksets feature the four-arm design with two compact options; 34/50 and 36/52 or a standard option 39/53. This design is best because they all use a bolt circle diameter so if you need to replace it, you simply get a new ring instead of a new set of pedals.

They are available in length between 165 and 175mm which is suitable for all types of riders. Hollowtech technology is applied to keep the weight of the pedals down and to improve their sturdiness.

R5800 offers 11 speeds on three different cassette types; 11-32, 11-28, and 12-25 which promise smoother revolutions with greater efficiency. Shifting gears is done quickly and sharply by the use of the computer designed tooth profiles that do not miss a single shift.

These pedals do not have spanner flats and so use an Allen key for screwing them in. They use the same SPD-SL clears with a degree of tension adjustment on entry and release.

Pros

  • Durable
  • Affordable

Cons 

  • Heavy

View Price on Amazon

So, which is better, the Shimano R550 or 105 Pedals?

Shimano 105 R5800 is the better choice between these two because the R550 is quite basic in their design and functionality. The R5800 offers greater speeds, easier shift adjustments, and their carbon fiber material makes them durable and indestructible.

Unlike the R550, even after long use, the 105 R5800 pedals do not lose their grip and therefore will not present the rattling that is evident in the former model.

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