Studding Shimano PD-A530 Pedals

September 10, 2013

Shortly after getting my mountain bike, I replaced the un-smooth, un-grippy pedals with a pair of Answer Rove platform pedals. These are awesome pedals, with very smooth bearings and 20 screw-in studs per pedal that keep your shoe from slipping off the pedal.

It was a great upgrade, but I decided I wanted the option of clipless pedals for long cummute rides and weekend trail climbs. Clipless pedals are kind of a misnomer -- you clip into them with special shoes with a metal flange screwed into the bottom of the shoe, and are then locked to the bike so you can give power to the bike on both the down and up stroke.

The Shimano PD-A530 is a hybrid pedal -- clip-in on one side, and platform on the other. The platform side is not that great. My first test ride had my foot sliding all over the place compared with the Answer Roves. So I decided to fix that by transplanting the studs from the Roves to the Shimanos.

This was a pretty easy job. It requires the following tools:

  • Bench grinder or angle grinder
  • Drill with 1/8" bit
  • 4mm-0.70 tap (I bought one from OSH)
  • 6mm socket and ratchet

Start by grinding off the raised portions of the platform side with a bench grinder or angle grinder. I didn't grind it flush because I wanted some additional thickness for the studs to screw into.

After grinding, put the pedal in a vise and drill holes for the studs using the 1/8" drill bit. I found that giving the drill bit a squirt of WD-40 helped it cut faster and cleaner. The platform is made of cast aluminum which is pretty easy to work with.

After drilling, time to tap those holes. I got the tap and holder from my local OSH. The tap is 4mm-0.70, which is the same thread spec as the studs I was using. The tap also benefits from a spray of WD-40 prior to tapping each hole.

From here, screw in the studs!

I originally drilled 12 holes per pedal, but this put pairs of the studs too close to one another. I removed four of the studs, leaving eight studs per pedal. This spacing seems just right.

Overall this is a huge improvement for these pedals. They're not as good as the Roves, but they come fairly close.