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Dura Ace 7400 Platform Pedal

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Dura Ace 7400 Platform Pedal

Old 07-21-22, 07:32 AM
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smd4
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Dura Ace 7400 Platform Pedal

I am trying to find out more about the PD-7400 platform pedal.

This pedal was introduced in 1984 with the introduction of the 7400 groupset. I was always fascinated by this pedal, mostly because it had a blind end. I had always been used to adjusting the cup and cone bearings of quill and rattrap pedals by removing the dust caps at the ends to work on the nuts. But the Dura Ace pedals had no dust caps at the ends! Just sculpted aluminum, that allowed a petty steep angle to be taken when leaning into a corner. I believe it had its lineage from the Dura Ace "AX" sets. Any enlightenment about the evolution of this pedal would be great.

They were beautiful to look at, highly polished, and far different than anything available at the time (this was about to change, however...)



Except for their looks, they were pretty conventional, and used clips and toe straps, just like everyone else. The clips were a proprietary design, and came in two lengths, that I'm aware of: "L", or large, and "LL," or extra large. Some say this is a drawback, because standard clips cannot be used in event of the need for replacement. They also used a proprietary cleat that had wings that would engage under a plate at the front of the pedal, with a regular slot at the back.

The pedals used ball bearings, but also needle bearings. They are incredibly smooth. One of my pedals loosened up during lockdown, so I was "forced" to figure out how to adjust them. They require a special wrench, which I picked up cheap from eBay. I opened up the nearly 40 year old pedal, and was surprised that the green translucent grease glistened like new. A few turns of the wrenches, and the pedal was tight and spinning perfectly.

One thing I never knew about until fairly recently was that the pedals came with two types of cleat, or back plates. Both versions are aluminum alloy. The standard version seems to be an anodized black version with white Dura Ace lettering, as shown above. The second version--and I'm hoping to find out more about these--was chromed. I have just purchased a chromed set from eBay. Here is what they look like:



Does anyone know how rare the chrome back plates are? Would the chrome be tougher than the anodizing?

Of course, at about the same time that these pedals were released, a newcomer named "Look" hit the shelves, so these pedals represent the pinnacle of clipped pedal design. I understand these are still popular on track bikes due to their cornering proficiency and the reliability of toe straps. Campagnolo did make an attempt at platform pedals, but these may be even more rare than the Dura Ace ones (owing to the advent of the Look clipless pedals).

On my own pedals, I have replaced the 12 screws with titanium versions, and I use the "LL" size clips, which I had to purchase separately. Does anyone still use these pedals? Has anyone pulled them apart for a thorough re-build? I admit I am intimidated to pull them completely apart, because of the needle bearings. How about the rarity of the chromed back plate?

Thanks for any input.

Last edited by smd4; 07-21-22 at 01:51 PM.
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Old 07-21-22, 08:00 AM
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I have a set that I put ~$15 of Sugru on, filling in the platform. I'll try to find where they are and take a pic...

They're one of my favorite thrift finds. First I found the left pedal NOS at one of my local thrift stores. 3 months later I found the right. 2 weeks later, at a completely different thrift chain, I found the wrench.
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Old 07-21-22, 08:06 AM
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Why did you fill the platform?
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Old 07-21-22, 08:14 AM
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Shimano made a tool (TL-PD30) to adjust the bearings. The blind outboard axle end allowed greater cornering clearance than a typical pedal. Mechanically, they use a combination of ball and roller bearings. Cosmetically, they are similar to the AX pedal, but that's where the similarity ends. AX was never widely adopted, and the PD-7400 returned to standard mounting to the crank arm.
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PD-7400-schema.jpg (87.8 KB, 102 views)
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Old 07-21-22, 08:19 AM
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I've got the tool--they're easy to come by. But man, how does one go abut re-installing those two sets of ball bearings at the far, blind end? Hence the reason for my intimidation! These pedals are a masterclass in engineering.
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Old 07-21-22, 05:12 PM
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kinda bad pics. I used these for a while on a fixed gear and then on a drop-barred utility Bstone MB5. My footware ususally were Chucks or Vans, which are a little too soft to have a big depression in the middle of the pedal.. This helped quite a bit (although not as much as a Superfeet insole).



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Old 07-21-22, 06:53 PM
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HmmmÖ the Campagnolo platform pedals available in the mid-1980s had silver back/cleat plates. I wonder if the Shimano silver/chrome back plates were in response?
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Old 07-25-22, 04:41 PM
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Originally Posted by smd4 View Post
One thing I never knew about until fairly recently was that the pedals came with two types of cleat, or back plates. Both versions are aluminum alloy. The standard version seems to be an anodized black version with white Dura Ace lettering, as shown above. The second version--and I'm hoping to find out more about these--was chromed. I have just purchased a chromed set from eBay. Here is what they look like:



Does anyone know how rare the chrome back plates are? Would the chrome be tougher than the anodizing?
I was in error here: I just received a set of the chrome plated cleat plates, and unlike the black anodized plates, they are most definitely steel. So they are a bit heavier than the black plates (24 grams per plate vs. 8 for alloy), but definitely more blingy.

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Old 07-25-22, 10:52 PM
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I have an NIB pair in my parts box. I used the 600 Ultegra version back in the Naughties... Bought both from a bike shop that the shop I worked at bought out.

Maybe my favorite fast-road pedal of all time... If, and only if, you use the (well-nigh unfindable) PD-64 cleats. With them on your shoes, you get almost-clipless level retention with loose straps, and then slotted-cleats-and-double-straps, track-bike level retention when you pull the straps tight.

Without the PD-64 cheats, they're just an extremely good toe-clip racing pedal.

--Shannon

PS: the little "wings" on the front of the cleats, which are what makes the system so awesome, are prone to wearing thin and then breaking off. Usually, you'll only break outside wing of the cleat on the foot you usually put down, and they still work great after that, but they're pretty much unobtanium nowadays, so keep that in mind. Somebody with a 3D printer could solve that problem...

Last edited by ShannonM; 07-25-22 at 10:57 PM.
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Old 07-26-22, 07:21 AM
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Originally Posted by ShannonM View Post
I have an NIB pair in my parts box. I used the 600 Ultegra version back in the Naughties... Bought both from a bike shop that the shop I worked at bought out.

Maybe my favorite fast-road pedal of all time... If, and only if, you use the (well-nigh unfindable) PD-64 cleats. With them on your shoes, you get almost-clipless level retention with loose straps, and then slotted-cleats-and-double-straps, track-bike level retention when you pull the straps tight.

Without the PD-64 cheats, they're just an extremely good toe-clip racing pedal.

--Shannon

PS: the little "wings" on the front of the cleats, which are what makes the system so awesome, are prone to wearing thin and then breaking off. Usually, you'll only break outside wing of the cleat on the foot you usually put down, and they still work great after that, but they're pretty much unobtanium nowadays, so keep that in mind. Somebody with a 3D printer could solve that problem...
Iíve got one of the cleats. Yep, one. Lost the other in a recent move.
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