When Shimano introduced the first dual sided clipless pedal - the PD-M737 back in 1992, it revolutionized the way we rode mountain bikes and thought about clipless pedals. The dual sided pedals were easy to get into and exit and provided far more safety and performance than the standard clip and strap designs available at the time.
Here comes the PD-M980, the latest evolution of the venerable M737 and Shimano's top offering in a mountain pedal. They took the previous winning design, the M970 and made a host of improvements. The pedal body has had material shaved off to lighten the pedal by 20 grams and more importantly, improve entry/exit due to improved mud and debris clearance. Another step forward are the machined platforms on the inside and outside of the pedal platform. These increase the pedal width and vastly improve stability. Shimano claims a whopping 270% more shoe and pedal contact over the M970.
The pedal spins on smooth cartridge bearings which rarely need service. Tension is adjustable for release on both sides and one pair of SH-51 single release cleats and mounting hardware are included. One other thing to note is the fact that these pedals take the same cleats as all other SPD mounatin pedals, so if you own other versions of SPDs, adding these to your quiver will not require a cleat change. Clearly another winner from Shimano.