Monday, June 9, 2014

What Not to Do with Creaky Pedals

Coffee is my preferred drink for morning dabbles in bike mechanics.
Before setting out on a multi-day ride, I needed to give my pedals some love. They've been creaky for sometime and slightly loose - not drastically loose, mind you - but nonetheless I wanted to give the pedals my undivided attention. As I began to clean and remove the bolt from the crank arm (remembering to turn the left pedal clockwise to loosen) it occurred to me that pedals may well be the most abused and overlooked part on my bicycles. They were quite dirty. Filthy is a better word. I cleaned the grime before removing the dust cap.

Inside is a recessed nut, hidden strategically beneath a protective metal arm, which in one sense has saved this pedal from major harm for more than 20 years. Yet this same arm makes it extremely difficult and, as I would later learn, impossible to get at the nut and properly dismantle and free up the ball bearings for a thorough cleaning. I tried my best, wedging a tiny wrench around the nut while gripping the other end for leverage.

What an ugly blemish! 
Unfortunately I never got very far. Ugh. The wrench gouged the metal. Neighbors must have heard my loud cry of dismay, "What?" I was beside myself, figuring I'd ruined a functioning pedal. But after a while I recovered and realized the damage wasn't that bad. But there was no way I'd be able to take apart these pedals.

Oil port hole after removing cap.
I shoved as much grease as I could along the exposed nut and replace the dust cap. The irreparable hole was only noticeable to me and not that grand a faux pas in the scheme of things. Then I poked more grease into the oil port half way along the pedal. I'd been oiling the pedal in this manner for years, but it needed proper grease. My make shift greasing would have to do. When the pedals eventually fail or loosen until they wobble, I'll replace them altogether. The funny thing is, these are very good pedals. Newer pedals lack oil ports unless they are of the clipless variety, according to a local mechanic. 

Morning coffee was tasting pretty good too. With this confidence, and quickly improving the other pedal, I also took apart the Ross's cheapo pedals and shoved grease along the crank arm end, then poked in a rather flimsy rubber gasket. I couldn't even remove the dust cap. I suspect these are disposable pedals, the kind you toss and replace. Yet, this simple fix took care of annoying creaking, at least for the time being.


  1. There are four bolts (philips head) holding the outer cage to the pedal body. Remove the cage and the cone nut is easy to access with a socket wrench. It helps to hold the threaded end of the axle in a vice. It is worth the effort on these well made pedals; they will spin forever with new grease.

    1. I am interested in your solution, but cannot fathom how this would work. Do you know of a resource I could reference?
      Four bolts? I could only see this one nut with funny bolt poking through. It did appear that a tool of some sort would fit in there. I tried a flat head screw driver and an awl, but nothing fit. My wrench partially fit, but was not adequate to the task. Also, a conventional socket wrench does not fit within the .5" confined space.

    2. I can't find any service reference on line. The four bolts may be allen head, two of which are located under the toe clip (remove this first). One way or another the alloy foot-bed cage is removable, has to be because of manufacturing process. May be easier to just borrow a Zerk grease injector tip and stuff full of grease at the spring loaded ball fitting. Also, put some silicone on the broken alloy piece to keep out the crap. I admire your mechanical savvy:)


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