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Old 12-03-12, 03:28 PM   #1
B. Carfree
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Left-side gods are messing with me

A couple weeks ago, my left pedal (Look Keo) undid itself while I was out on a ride. The platform just unscrewed from the spindle. I did my best to get it back on (Look sells a tool to do this, but who has one of those?) and limped my way home. Of course it happened where my choices for routes home all involve a need for speed in order to stay safe and where a mechanical can be deadly. Thankfully, the pedal stayed together on the way home.

So, having passed the first little annoying test, the gods decided to see if I really want to keep riding in the rain, er, liquid sunshine. Yesterday when I took my bike down I found the rear tire was about 80% of the way done. Since it also had a flat, it became 100% done on the spot. After a quick replacement, off I go and wouldn't you know it, as I got to where my pedal had previously failed my left crank arm came loose. I stopped and tightened it up, but we all know what a loose square-taper crank arm means: it's rounding out and needs to be replaced. A mile later, I stopped to tighten it again. A mile later, at the base of a hill where a mechanical issue could be lethal, it needed to be tightened on again. This time, I stuck a bit of blackberry vine into it to help it hold. I turned around and took a less dangerous route home, one where I would not fall under a car if my crank arm came off.

Oh well, I wasn't entirely happy with my move to 175 mm cranks a few years back anyway. Now I have an excuse to change this bike over to the same crank length as my tandem (172.5).

Although I love the local hills, they are hard on cranks. This is the third crank that has worn out in the past 100,000 miles. I rode for decades, over 300,000 miles, in the flat Sacramento Valley with the same 170 mm crankset. They just don't wear out when you are spinning along on the flats.
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Old 12-03-12, 06:12 PM   #2
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Re: the Keo pedal, a few years back (I dunno, maybe 4-5 years ago or so?) Look had a recall on their cro-mo Keo pedals. If you didn't act on it you could still give it a try. I took mine over to REI because they were the closest (but definitely not the best). Whoever you take it to, make sure they put it back right and the pedals spins freely and doesn't bind...

On your crank arms maybe you're just leveraging them to death..
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Old 12-03-12, 09:23 PM   #3
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A tool? You mean an allen wrench? Isn't that what you need to install Keo's? I have Keo carbons.
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Old 12-03-12, 11:16 PM   #4
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Sounds to me like there is some spot in Eugene with a bad karma black hole, Avoidance is the better part of valor there, Wasn't Willamette Street south by any chance was it?
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Old 12-03-12, 11:50 PM   #5
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A tool? You mean an allen wrench? Isn't that what you need to install Keo's? I have Keo carbons.
No, the spindle didn't come off the crank, the platform came off the spindle. Go look at your Keo's and you will see where a funky-shaped tool can be used to remove/attach the platform to the spindle. The only place that I have found that sells that particular piece of plastic is ProBikeKit; I'm waiting until I have some other items to buy to purchase it (plus an extra one for my favorite LBS) since the shipping would be nearly as much as the tool otherwise.

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Sounds to me like there is some spot in Eugene with a bad karma black hole, Avoidance is the better part of valor there, Wasn't Willamette Street south by any chance was it?
There's two of them. This one is on Lorane Hwy near McBeth; no good way home if one's left foot may suddenly give way. I ride by there a lot since my favorite short loop is Fox Hollow to Lorane Hwy to McBeth and back to Fox Hollow. If I have a little more time I throw in Doane Rd and Briggs Hill, carefully choosing to connect them with a tailwind on Territorial; that means Briggs Hill before Doane Rd during the rainy part of the year.

The other black hole is on Crow Rd at Oak Hill. For some reason, that is the only place I ever have a flat tire (other than home). It doesn't matter if I'm finishing a ride of thirty miles or three hundred, when I go by there I always anticipate a nasty hissing sound. Even my wife has had flats there, and she gets flat about one flat every decade.
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Old 12-04-12, 06:47 AM   #6
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The best part of the whole series of misfortunes is that you didn't fall into the path of a car or crash. As you are a 100% bike person I am not surprised that you had the tools to get you home safely, that specialised pedal tool is not something you would usually think of carrying.

Good on you for getting an extra for the LBS when you do order one for your self. The crank arm and spindle problems sound like you are really mashing hard a lot of the time, must be pretty hilly where you live. What brand is the crank and the bottom bracket? Maybe one of the hardened special alloy bottom bracket spindles would help you out, if push came to shove I'd look at a BB off of a tandem or an MTB. Best of luck in sirting there problems out, Ride Safe and Ride Lots.

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Old 12-04-12, 08:48 AM   #7
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My wife had a crank that would loosen too. The final fix was Loc-tite and tightening the bolt to the precise torque of RFT. It is a royal pain to be on a ride and the crank bolt loosens. It's almost impossible to get it tight enough without a wrench that you can apply lots of torque to.
I'd give serious consideration to replacing the BB along with the crank. You have a good excuse to upgrade.
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Old 12-04-12, 10:37 AM   #8
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Whew! For a minute I thought this was a political thread.
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Old 12-04-12, 11:37 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by B. Carfree View Post
No, the spindle didn't come off the crank, the platform came off the spindle.
Sorry - I didn't read/think closely. The left/left problem is probably just coincidence, but any chance that there is something going on with the left side of your drivetrain? Those two failure sound totally unrelated, but you never know. Hmmm

Glad failures didn't lead to a crash!
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Old 12-04-12, 01:48 PM   #10
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I will avoid the Lorraine highway near McBeth just in case, but Crow road at Oak hill I go by several times a week during dry season. I will have to trust that you and your wife continue to absorb all the flats keeping my way safe.
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