Shimano PD A520 advice needed


I am not a member, I am a free man !!!!!!
I am thinking about giving SPD pedals another go and I need some advice please.

About 2 years ago I tried them and had a nasty incident where I couldnt get out of the damn things and ended up spending the evening in A&E been stitched up so I am not looking to repeat that perfomance. So ever since then I have been sticking to using toeclips and straps which I dont have any problems with at all.

Recently I have been investigating all the SPD options and I was looking at the Shimano SH56 Multi Release cleats and I thought that they may let me release them easier than the normal ones, that then got me to looking at pedals and after much looking I arrived at the Shimano A520 which has a large platform and a 6 Degree Float which I like the sound of as I find some pedals are a bit small for my feet and I currently use wide touring pedals.

The shoes I use at the moment are the Specialized Taho MTB shoes which I have had for nearly 2 years and I find then very comfy, but I have seen a few people taking about getting Hot Spots when using them (due to the cleat not been recessed enough and sticking out higher then the tread) and the odd mention of using the Specialized BG Sport MTB shoes with this pedal.

Can anyone familiar with this setup or with any other info please help me make up my mind.




Cycling in Scotland
Auld Reekie
I just Shimano A530 (the asymmetric version) with Specialized BG Sonoma shoes and not had a problem (other than a few clipless moments).


Active Member
Hi , i have the sh56 multi release for my daily commute as you have more options for rapid removal of feet from pedals. To be honest they work really well and have cleats on both type of shoes with no problems.

For commuting cannot complain, for longer rides I am tempted to use a proper sl type cleat. Made the change after a malfunction on a toe clip and fell off so felt may as well go for it. Road tonight with non-spd shoes and felt wrong !

Bets bet is to practise loads first


I had the Specialized Taho MTB shoes and yes, after a dozen or so miles, got an uncomfortable hotspot. Changed them for the Specialized BG Sport MTB shoes, problem solved. Very comfortable shoes, don't even think about them on a 50-60 mile ride. Mesh upper limits year round use (but is great at keeping feet cool) - use Specialized Defrosters when it gets chilly.

Pedalwise, I use Shimano M540 (double sided) which have recently replaced some A520's which creaked. I also have some single sided touring pedals A530's which have a platform for normal shoes on one side. I have the tension slacked almost right off and it needs little effort to clip out.
I've got the A520 pedals and Taho shoes but not the quick release cleats. I get hotspots on my right foot but from what I've read it's not just a function of the shoe but also to do with having a high instep.

I reviewed mine here. sorry the pictures have gone now, I'll have to sort that out. I also linked to a discussion thread within the review.
phil_hg, sorry to hear about your previous bad experience with cleats, perhaps you had the retention screw done up to tight. I've never had a problem in an emergeny some how the foot has always come out but I have had clipless moments :blush:, these have been stationary or near stationary. I use the A520's but mainly with the bg mtb sports. Their stiffer sole I believe removes the hotspot problem, I certainly never had any, but tbh the reason I have mtb sport shoes is they don't look out of place on the road bike. SPD-SL may be slightly better for pedalling but its not noticeable IMO but the MTB-SPDs are fare easier for walking in. I have tahos too and found when they were new I got no hotspot at all after a while I'd get one ocaisionally around the 80 mile mark and subsequently these were superseded for long rides by the bg sports but that was more me being a victim of fashion rather than uncomfortable :blush:


I got hotspots with the Tahoes - the soles were just not stiff enough for frequent long rides and after a few months use, they flexed around the cleat plate. The cleat not being fully recessed with a shallow tread was not the main factor, although it didn't help - I didn't recognise what was causing so much pain until I noticed my right foot was not flat on the pedal and its outer edge was partly drooping over one side of the pedal. The effect got worse the longer the distance.

Problem solved instantly with BG pros, BG sports fine as well.



Yep. The BG Pros are white, have a ratchet strap and look pretty cool but they are a lot more expensive.

I haven't given the BG sports a lot of use - they were an emergency purchase on holiday when I took my bike to Cornwall and forgot my shoes! They were fine, though I wish I could blame coming to a halt on a hill out of Mousehole on the shoes and not me.

They're both easily the most comfortable pairs of shoes I have.



I am not a member, I am a free man !!!!!!
Ok so I went to the local Specialized shop and tried few pairs of shoes on and ended up with the MTB Comp ->

I see what you mean about the sole being stiffer than the taho.

Now I need to make my mind up about the pedals I am torn between the following shimano pedals can anyone offer any advice to help me make my mind up.

PD A520


PD A530


PD M520


PD M540

Nice choice of shoe B)
If you are doing any distance I'd get a pedal with a cage like the A520 or A530, the mtb pedals in IME can result in that dreaded hotspot. I initially put mtb pedals on my bike and used them with tahos, that's when I started to get hotspots for the first time. These were quickly changed for A520's, then BG mtb sports; I've had no problem since. I opted for the A520's over the A530's because I thought they looked better (I think they're a sleeker unit) but thats my taste, you may be different ;) there's a slight weight saving IIRC but not much and weigh that up against the option of wearing normal shoes if you need it.
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