Yesterday I had my 2 year old Shimano XTR trail (M985) drive side pedal suddenly come off its axle. My GoPro was on and I have some footage of the moment it happened:
Now, I am a big fan of Shimano components, especially their top of the line XTR if only for its 3-year warranty. I would have simply considered this to be a fluke incident considering the reputation of Shimano SPD pedals being super durable. However, I decided to post this because it seems to be a widespread and known issue of this particular model XTRs that Shimano is not officially acknowledging (but they are honoring the XTR 3 year warranty according to several reports on various mountain biking forums. I have submitted a warranty claim and still waiting for a reply from the retailer I bought them from). A quick Google search reveals that this is definitely NOT an isolated incident:
…if you google something like “XTR pedal failure” many more forum threads will turn up. You’ll get a sense of how prevalent the problem is.
Some of the forum posts about this issue are dated more than a year ago, and at the time of this writing Shimano has not issued a recall. Considering how the problem appears to be endemic to PD-M985 and PD-M980 models, there are clearly serious manufacturing defects with these pedals. This is a dangerous thing to happen on a ride, especially while bombing down technical, rocky trails. I reached out to Shimano via their Shimano MTB facebook page, but yet to receive any response.
Update: Shimano DID replace the faulty pedals with a brand new pair in June 2013, but there was never an official acknowledgement of the problem from the company. Maybe XTR is still worth buying if only for the extended warranty!