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  1. #1
    Upright bars SirMike1983's Avatar
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    Greasing Pedal Bearings

    Does anyone here have a good method for getting the little bearings inside of pedals to turn more smoothly. I got a new set of pedals and they don't turn terribly freely when I try to give them a spin. Is there a good method for getting grease or lubricant into bearings so that they can turn on their axels more freely? I do not believe I can disassemble these pedals, and I had in mind perhaps a little WD40 through the straw, but I'd like to hear what others have done.
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  2. #2
    Senior Member 04jtb's Avatar
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    I want to know this also as I have the same problem with my new pedals.

    I don't think WD-40 will do it as it is a solvent with a tiny bit of oil in it.
    I was thinking something like teflon chain lube, or 3 in 1 oil.
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    Depending on the design of the pedals the bearings might be protected with a seal that's a bit tight to begin with. You might want to give them a few miles before doing anything

  4. #4
    Senior Member DannoXYZ's Avatar
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    Yeah, what model pedal? Most of them have an outside cap that's removable. Then you can loosen the axle-nut to take it apart. Clean, grease, adjust bearing-preload and you're set.

    Typically lubrication falls into two groups:

    oil - for high-speed, low-load parts
    grease - for low-speed, high-load parts

    With "speed" being the bearing-speed, of which pedal-bearings falls into the 2nd catergory.

  5. #5
    One speed: FAST ! fordfasterr's Avatar
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    I have waited for the chance to post this for a while.

    I had some low-end pedals from nashbar, aluminum with a cro-mo axle.

    They were quite rough spinning so I used a bench vice and channel lock pliers to open them up. I found that the bearings were easy to remove from the axle. So I removed them, completely degreased every single part, and then I dipped the parts into 20w50 syn motor oil (just had some extra lying around...). Then I reassembled the whole thing and repeated the process on the other pedal.

    I was surprised to find that they spin freely, and tend to leak a little bit of the oil once in a while. A towel cleans any leakage up real easy and they have held up for over 1000 miles and still spin like butter =)

    I know this sounds stupid but I was going to throw them in the garbage before I got the bright idea above... So far, I have done the same procedure to all of my aging pedals and they are all working better than new for me.

    Good luck.
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    If the pedals can be disassembled as Danno says, they can be rebuilt in much the same way hubs are. There are usually an inner and an outer race of bearings.
    However, the bearings are quite small, and the bits that hold them in are a real pain to work with. Sometimes you need special wrenches to hold the adjustable part in place while you tighten the locknut.

    Many of the newer low-end pedals are not made to be taken apart at all.

  7. #7
    Senior Member BCRider's Avatar
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    Cheaper pedals are often set up too tight. Also grease is an excellent "brake" as far as spinning fast goes. If your new pedals feel smooth but won't spin I'd say leave them. You'll never spin faster than 90 rpm for long anyway. And the grease will damp the spin if you try to spin them much over that rate anyway. COnsider that a "flick" of the fingers with the threaded end on a dry pedal will likely spin the axle at around 150 or more easily it's a non issue if the grease holds them back at that speed.

    Now if you turn the axle and it feels like the pedals are cogging then by all means loosen the cap and get something in there to loosen the retention nut by an 1/8 to 1/4 turn. That'll be enough to make them smooth. But it's not just the exposed nut. You need to remove that one and the washer with the finger that goes in the groove and loosen the nut BELOW by that 1/8 to 1/4 turn. Then put the keyed washer and locking nut back on and torque it down. If it's smooth then smile. If it's either sloppy or still tight then redo it the way you need to go.

    If they are higher end pedals with sealed cartridge bearings then just mount them and ride. Between the grease in the bearings and the seals you won't get them any better and they DO loosen up and spin better after a few miles once they push the excess grease out of the way and work the seals into less of a death grip.
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  8. #8
    Upright bars SirMike1983's Avatar
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    These pedals don't have a removable cap. I've been trying to get some kind of oil or grease down into the bearings via the little opening near the base of the pedal axle. That hasn't yielded anything good so far though. They are brand new pedals too, but came out of the box rough and not very free spinning. They don't feel smooth either-- they have a "grinding" sort of feel under load.

    Is there a "break in" period for new pedals, or should they be totally smooth out of the box? I haven't ridden on brand new pedals in years.
    Last edited by SirMike1983; 08-29-08 at 11:01 PM.
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  9. #9
    Senior Member Cadfael's Avatar
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    Why not give them a few miles.... they may free up as they wear in?

    Stranger things have happened. They may have been set stiff to allow for bedding in.

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    Hello all, first post here.

    Can anybody give me a definitive answer to this question?

    I replaced the plastic pedals on my MTB a while back with new metal pedals, and they didn't seem to spin freely - I didn't feel any "drag" or anything like that, and they turned smoothly, but the pedal would only spin two or three times before coming to a halt. I wasn't sure whether this was normal or not so I stripped and re-greased them with some plain white lithium grease from Weldtite, but this did not change anything. If I loosen the cone I can get the pedal to spin for much longer, but of course the pedal then feels loose on the axle, and there is a risk that the bearings could fall out. Am I doing something wrong, or are the pedals just meant to be like that?

    NOTE: In each bearing race there are 13 ball bearings; when the bearings are installed they do not form a complete circle, there is a small gap, but this gap is not big enough to accomodate an extra bearing. Is that normal?

    Any help you guys could offer on this would be greatly appreciated!

  11. #11
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    When it comes to bearings, yes, there should be a gap in between the loose balls (not caged bearings). If you put so many balls in there that there is no gap, then they would ride on each other when the cone is tightened down and not spin freely at all. The pedal would almost feel stuck. Same for loose axle bearings, there is a gap that is supposed to be there. Too many bearings and you will have big problems.

    Bearings are designed to break in/bed. They might feel tight at first but over use, will tend to loosen up. There should be no play when the cone is tightened down but it should not be so tight as not to somewhat freely spin.

  12. #12
    coprolite fietsbob's Avatar
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    I find many pedals, and hubs too, for that matter, ship tight, so I loosen them up,
    if adjustable.
    and given the economics of mass production, usually come with minimal grease,
    so I add more.

    if there is a plastic piece in the end,and wont come apart, easily
    a pin hole, made, lets you squirt in more grease from a needle grease ***.

    if they throw your bike in a canal then WD, for the water displacement
    it was made for , will be useful ..
    Last edited by fietsbob; 02-09-12 at 03:27 PM.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by mphemmens View Post
    Hello all, first post here.

    Can anybody give me a definitive answer to this question?

    I replaced the plastic pedals on my MTB a while back with new metal pedals, and they didn't seem to spin freely - I didn't feel any "drag" or anything like that, and they turned smoothly, but the pedal would only spin two or three times before coming to a halt. I wasn't sure whether this was normal or not so I stripped and re-greased them with some plain white lithium grease from Weldtite, but this did not change anything. If I loosen the cone I can get the pedal to spin for much longer, but of course the pedal then feels loose on the axle, and there is a risk that the bearings could fall out. Am I doing something wrong, or are the pedals just meant to be like that?

    NOTE: In each bearing race there are 13 ball bearings; when the bearings are installed they do not form a complete circle, there is a small gap, but this gap is not big enough to accomodate an extra bearing. Is that normal?

    Any help you guys could offer on this would be greatly appreciated!
    Your pedals are 100% normal, and that's the way they should work. Measuring bearing drag by how many trins a pedal or any other item makes before coasting to a stop is an excercise in (how can I say this politely?) stupidity?, mechanical ignorance? futility?.

    The drag measured by the spin test depends not only on the bearing drag, but on the viscous drag of the lubricant. the same unloaded bearing will spin much better with a light oil vs. a grease, so that's one reason the test is useless.

    The more important reason the test is useless is it measures rotational inertia as well as, if not more than bearing drag. If you take any hub and spin it it'll turn a few times before coasting. Change nothing, but build it into a wheel and it'll spin at least twice as long because of the add rotational inertia of the rim. Want it to spin even longer? Attach lead weights to the rim and it'll amaze you how much better the bearing becomes. (not).

    Pedals will never spin as free as wheels, because of the low inertia, add the grease and seal drag and some will be good if they make 1 revolution before they stop.

    The only meaning test of pedal bearings is how they work when loaded. You'll feel a bad bearing through your foot, and a really bad bearing will cause the pedal to unscrew.

    Stop obsessing about stuff that doesn't matter, and go out and ride the bike.
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  14. #14
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    Amen Brother.

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    This is the first time I've stripped/re-greased pedals and so it was important for me to be able to identify a satisfactory outcome after carrying out the work; your responses have assured me that I have done so.

    Thanks for the advice!

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