Reflectors on clipless
If you can’t fit reflectors, then you’ll be riding illegally in the dark. That’s it, end of story. The police however, usually have more important things to do than check such insignificant details – until there’s an accident!
If you would rather NOT give a get-out-of-jail-free card to any driver who fails to look in your direction, it is possible to fit functional reflectors to some models of clipless pedal. The original SPD system is your best option. Choose double-sided MTB type pedals, by Shimano, VP, etc, and you will be able to clip a plastic tread and reflector unit (SM-PD22) into one of the bindings. This reduces it to a one-sided SPD pedal, but with a tread surface on the other side good enough for occasional rides in normal shoes. In theory you can unclip it in daylight for two-sided SPD availability, but repeated attach/detachment soon chews up the plastic.
For frequent use in the dark and/or normal shoes, choose a multi-purpose pedal. The premium T780 has reflectors built-in, the entry-level M324 accepts standard bolt-on reflectors, and a specially shaped set (SM-PD61) should be available for M530. It is on the continent, but not here.
It’s the same story with SM-PD40: a functionally sound reflector set for Shimano pedals with pop-up SPD bindings. The new Shimano Click’R pedals (PD-T700 and T400) have pop-up bindings with a lighter spring tension, smaller twist-out angle and reflectors already built into the platform. Click’R pedals are touted for SPD beginners, but would seem a good permanent option for all but the heavier rider-in-a-hurry.
You might think a tread/reflector accessory (like SM-PD22) would be available for Time MTB pedals, but it isn’t. And all users of road clipless pedals – including SPD-R – can forget about riding legally in the dark. In the rare event of reflectors being available, they either fail to conform with the regulations or simply fail – when you step on the ‘wrong’ side!
This was first published in the October / November 2014 edition of Cycle magazine.