This is my third (or fourth?) set of XT trail pedals so I'm obviously a fan based on the design, functionality and price ... which when taken together can't be beat. Whenever anyone asks me which SPD pedal I recommend for MTB this is the one. So after recently purchasing a set of the new M8020s I was interested to see how they compared with the previous model.
The weight is a couple grams heavier than the 785s and why you won't see it mentioned a lot in the specs, but don't let that discourage you. If it does, then spend $15-$20 more for the XTRs. That said, there were a couple noticeable differences for me during my initial ride on some local single-track that included a few small jumps, berms, large log roll-overs and tight turns.
First, during a spin up and down the driveway after mounting they felt a little loose when I clicked in so immediately thought about tightening, It seemed almost too easy to get in and out, if you know what I mean. However I had no problems whatsoever on the dirt and never came close to an unintended exit. In my own personal experience the 785s occasionally released at some inopportune moments and could be difficult to re-engage under stress. Can't tell you why but I don't anticipate that happening with the 8020s.
Second, Shimano specifically mentions the 8020s are a little wider and provide more surface area and shoe contact ... approximately 10 percent or so. That did not seem like much to me yet it was something I definitely noticed right away. Shoe contact feels more solid, especially when you drop your heels or during a bunny hop.
Bottom line: The XT trail pedals are another quality component from Shimano, better than ever, and worthy of a 5-star rating IMHO. Would definitely recommend to anyone considering a purchase. (On top of that, at the time of this writing they are already selling at a steep discount off SRP on average due to the strong dollar.) Happy trails!