Compact, light and good value for money clipless pedals
Mar 8 2018
Slower engagement than most
Minimal pedal platform support
You want a light and compact clipless pedal at a good price
The compact 878 clipless pedal from pedal specialists HT is a good option for gravel enthusiasts and cross-country mountain bikers, with low weight, easy functionality and decent durability its best hallmarks.
The 878 pedal uses the same engagement mechanism as the wider platform T1 pedals I previously tested. Unlike other systems, the mechanism is sprung at both ends and while the action is similar to a Shimano SPD pedal, with a nice positive click when the cleat locks into place, it’s not without its quirks.
I like the positive engagement, but it’s not quite as easy as other pedals to get the cleat locked into the pedal because you have to locate the cleat under the front bar. It’s not so much a case of stamping your feet in the general direction of the pedal and letting chance take care of the rest. It takes a little practice, as it does with most different clipless pedal systems, but you soon get the knack.
It took me a while to get used to the different feel in the disengagement compared to Shimano and CrankBros pedals. Clipping out of those brand pedals involves a smooth easy transition from being clipped in along to freedom. The HT, in comparison, feels like you’re pushing against a small spring when you twist your foot to release, with the resistance building as the angle increases. It’s like the pedal is asking if you’re really sure you want to unclip before reluctantly letting you do it.
It has its merits. Accidental unclippings seemed to be less common. And it’s good for riding in very technical singletrack when you’re moving your feet around a little more to shift the balance of weight. It’s during those panicky “shit I need to get a foot down or I’m going down” sketchy moments that are common when the trails are foot deep in mud that I often found the resistance in the release a little less accommodating of my desire to whip a foot out. Like driving a new car though, it’s something to adapt to. I found backing off the adjustment screw helped a bit.
The pedal, due to its small size, works best for stiff soled carbon race shoes. It doesn’t offer adequate support to work happily with more flexible shoes. It’s likely if you’re buying this pedal you’re going to be pairing with a suitably stiff shoe anyway, but it’s worth pointing out.
Mud shedding is good and they aren’t hampered all that badly when being ridden in extremely muddy conditions, they’re no better or worse than other similar sized clipless pedals.
The tension in the mechanism can be easily adjusted and there’s ample range depending on how loose or tight you like to be clipped in. HT offers two cleats offering 4 or 8 degrees of float. The former doesn’t, in my opinion, offer nearly enough float and the latter ones, which aren’t included with the pedals, is a better option.
The pedals are made from aluminium with a single cartridge bearing and DU bushing to keep out the crud, and durability has been just fine the time I’ve had them. The CNC-machined Chromoly axle is nicely finished but you’ll need an Allen tool, not a spanner, to fit these pedals to your bike. They also come in a choice of silver or black, which is nice.
At 360g for the pair and costing £39.99 (though cheaper if you shop around), they’re a decent value for money proposition. If you want lighter the company’s M1T uses posher materials for a claimed 252g weight, but at £180 you’re certainly paying a fair wedge for that weight saving.
If you’re new to clipless pedals and want a well-priced introduction to the world of clipped in riding, these are a good choice. My only hesitation would be if you’re a dyed in the wool Shimano SPD user you might find the action a little odd, though you may well warm to its uniqueness.
The Leopard M 878 is a light, double sided, alloy bodied clip in pedal.
Perfect for cross country, trail and enduro use, the 878 is a good pedal at a great price.
A nice lightweight and compact pedal that is ideal for cross-country riders and gravel and adventure bike enthusiasts
David has been a tech editor on road.cc since July 2012. Previously he was editor of Bikemagic.com and before that staff writer at RCUK. He's a seasoned cyclist of all disciplines, from road to mountain biking, touring to cyclo-cross, he only wishes he had time to ride them all. He currently resides in the Cotswolds.