Speedplay Rebuild with Mark Purdy

Wed, 04/06/2011 - 11:43am by Andy Shen

Clunk went the bike on every right side downstroke. A quick spin of my right side Speedplay revealed what I feared: I let it go too long between grease injections, and now the pedal was bone dry and spinning freely, its bearings shot.

Even though I try to do all my mechanic work myself, I’ve never dared attempt a pedal rebuild. Mark Purdy convinced me that it wasn’t all that difficult, so he walked me through one pedal and I did the other.

But first, a quick shop tour. As you can see, Mark’s quite busy these days.

Mark’s new toy, a Centrimaster truing stand. He says it’s transformed the way he builds wheels.

Gauges measure deflection. Each of those units is one millimeter. This thing is a real work of art.

Mark was rebuilding a Campy shifter when I arrived.

Here’s the basic rebuild kit, 4 bearings. There are also kits that include bowties and pedal bodies.

The bowties are attached with Torx 15 bolts. We weren’t replacing the bowties, so we didn’t really have to take these off.

Bowtie removed.

The dust cap comes off and it’s nasty in there, lots of rusty grease.

This allen bolt was really frozen. Mark had to clamp the pedal in a bench vise.

Worried that he might round off the allen head, Mark used a Torx 20 wrench to finally free the 4mm allen bolt. It’s a nice little trick – the Torx wrench grabs the corners, giving you a little more leverage with less risk of rounding off the head.

There’s a circlip inside. Mark’s circlip tool doesn’t fit inside the pedal, so he uses two pointy sticks.

And it’s out! More nasty nasty grease. The bearings are not press fit, so they come out with a little coaxing from the spindle, no need to bash them out.

Mark loves his new hospital grade ultrasonic cleaner.

World’s coolest parts cleaner, or world’s nastiest frialator.

There’s that beat-up bolt head. This step would’ve been my Waterloo if I attempted the rebuild on my own.

Needle bearings run on the inboard side. They have much more contact area and last much longer. We’re not replacing these today. If they’re shot you can buy a new pedal body with bearings installed.

Mark demonstrates where the new bearings go. The matte stripe on the spindle is where the needle bearings roll.

Different amounts of wear on the two sides of the spindle indicate where my downstroke is. Sadly my left spindle (no picture) was evenly worn, so I guess despite my best efforts I still have a big imbalance between my two legs.

Greasing the needle bearings.

O-ring goes on the spindle, spindle goes in the pedal, then the outboard bearings pop right in, no need for a bearing press.

Bolt replaced.

Circlip popped in.

Dust cap on, grease injected.

It’s a nasty job. You’re done when clean grease comes out at the spindle. The second pedal had a looser fitting dust cap which allowed the grease to escape before moving through the needle bearings. Mark had to clamp it down onto the pedal body with a pipe wrench while I injected the grease.

Bowtie back on, cover the injection hole, and we’re done.

The perils of not checking your shots right away. Mark was stricken with smugface in the only shot I took.

Once Mark was done I did the left pedal. It wasn’t noisy on the bike but we could feel that the bearings were rough. The bolt at the end of the spindle wasn’t frozen, so the whole process was pain free and straightforward.

Knowing what I know now, I think it’s a doable DIY job. I’d leave the pedal on the bike, as it does the same job the bench vise did for the more awkward steps. It’s nice to have every tool in existence at your beck and call should things go pear shaped, but for most instances it’s a simple job. But you should do the smart thing and check your pedals now, and hit them with some fresh grease.

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By: Grasshopper
Sun, 06/09/2013 - 10:19pm

Injecting heavy grease removed all of the slop & wiggle in the bearings/spindle, surprisingly. The click is gone. I'll hold off on replacing the spindle/more parts unless the clicking comes back. Will keep the pedals packed firm w/grease & check monthly. Mahalo. -GH

By: Grasshopper
Sat, 06/08/2013 - 3:20pm

Mahalo, Andy & Sensei. I'll try replacing the spindle first, as my gut tells me the race got worn down (1 yr without greasing:( ). Maybe it's time to consider Ti spindles :). Thanks again. -Grasshopper

Click after rebuild.
By: Sensei
Sat, 06/08/2013 - 2:42pm

What you are describing sounds to me like either wear on the axle at the bearing race or wear in the body where the bearing presses in. You will either need a new Axle or a new Body Kit. Whichever is the culprit. Cross your fingers & hope it's not both.

The rebuild fixed mine. I'll
By: Andy Shen
Sat, 06/08/2013 - 11:24am

The rebuild fixed mine. I'll ask Mark to chime in.

pedal click gone?
By: Grasshopper
Sat, 06/08/2013 - 5:44am

Andy -- did your right pedal clicking go away after the initial rebuild? My zero left pedal has developed a distinct click for the same reason as yours :(. I've replaced all bearings (including the needle bearing) and the o-ring, but still get a lot of play (in & out) after the bearing replacement, and with the spindle screw fully torqued down. I wonder if my spindle is worn or if it's the pedal body that's worn, or something else?

Nope, look at the picture.
By: Andy Shen
Sat, 02/23/2013 - 2:47pm

Nope, look at the picture. It's an allen, they switched at some point to Torx.

it's not a 4mm allen bolt.
By: Rubber Hood
Sat, 02/23/2013 - 3:40am

You state the allen bolt was really stuck and he using a 4mm allen wrench. The instructions online state it's a Torx screw (T-20) size. Not an allen. I initially made the same mistake, as there was a lot of grease disguising the head, and the allen really didn't seem to grip. Easy to tell it's not an allen when it's clean. Always check the website/instructions. They can and do help.

Get bearings from this guy
By: slamcity
Fri, 01/11/2013 - 8:13pm

The guy who was the victim of Speedplay harassment still sells bearings, etc. on ebay, but individually. Look for seller frikinspit_2. You can read his whole saga on the weight weenies website forum. Read topic "Speedplay Threatens Customers".

4mm allen bolt.
By: Remi Rubber Hood
Fri, 11/23/2012 - 1:44am

Great article. I have done repairs on quite a few pedals. (x series & zero series)but keep running into the same problem. I have to reuse the 4mm allen bolt. Where can I find these bolts for sale? I can get the bearings locally, but the bolt is a real headache for me. Thanks in advance.

Heat up the end bolt
By: MikeM95831
Tue, 05/10/2011 - 7:56pm

The official SpeedPlay instructions note that if you heat up that end bolt to 300 degrees, you will break the bond on that bolt, and you don't have to resort to brute strength to remove it. Just go to an electronics supply store and buy a good soldering iron, and press it to the bolt head. Get it good and hot, although I feel certain you want to keep the tip away from the resin body. I bet it wouldn't take more than 30 seconds to get it hot enough.

Still want to use that vice, though. Probably more than ever, actually...

They use LocTite red on that bolt. Meanies. They should use the blue stuff instead. But you should probably apply new LocTite to that bolt when you put it back in.

hey great article. im stuck
By: Noah Rubber Hood
Sat, 04/30/2011 - 6:03pm

hey great article. im stuck with these because those shimanos and looks hurt my knees, but my lbs doesn't know what to do when they don't roll smoothly. I didn't even know how to greae them or that you'd have to remove the metal thingies for that. I mean, of course i could switch to spd's (but that's for commuters, right?) or time (also a bit unfashionable). So I'll probably pass this on to him...

Ultrasonic Cleaning
By: FrankO
Thu, 04/14/2011 - 6:29pm

Enjoyed the information. Amazing how clean those parts are! Omegasonics is giving away a free ultrasonic cleaner on July 4th to one fan. Here's the article: http://news.yahoo.com/s/prweb/20110405/bs_prweb/prweb8269588_1 Hope that can help

Speedplay Legal Goons
By: fillet_brazed
Tue, 04/12/2011 - 7:10pm

Is the shop authorized to rebuild Speedplay pedals? They have issued Cease and Desist letters suggesting among other things that rebuilding pedals induces copyright infringement to others providing this service.

Were the bearings Speedplay sourced? Speedplay has threatened litigation over second sourcing their utterly conventional bearings with utterly conventional specs from a half-decent bearing retailer for next to nothing.

Andy, you may get a DMCA takedown notice as Speedplay has previously threatened litigation for rebuild instructions. They would claim this article induces copyright infringement.

Google "speedplay rebuild instructions"

Speedplay is a perfect example of what's wrong with intellectual property regulation in the U.S.

Cheap Bearings
By: Noa Internal Routing
Mon, 04/11/2011 - 11:54pm

eBay is the best online source for small quantities of bearings IMO. As noted, bearings come in internationally standardized sizes.

Some local bearing distributors will sell you a few. Look up the Motion Ind. or Bearings Inc. location in your locale and give them a call.

By: Brent Crude
Thu, 04/07/2011 - 2:51pm
I've been on Zeros for so
By: Andy Shen
Thu, 04/07/2011 - 2:46pm

I've been on X's for so long I don't even notice the float any more, can't see a reason to limit the float.

By: Marchionne Rim
Thu, 04/07/2011 - 2:36pm

Andy, if those are your pedals you should upgrade to the Speedplay Zero. The adjustable float rocks...

cool truing stand
By: Titouan Supple
Thu, 04/07/2011 - 12:41pm

I wanted one, till I went to the web site and saw the price. The V shaped probe is a clever and simple device, I'm surprised no one thought of that before.

If you are looking for cheaper bearings, pop out your old bearing and and there will be numbers on the seals or the body of the bearing. Any major bearing house will be able to get you the ones to match. Just keep in mind that most of the big bearing places only want to sell in large amounts, so the price may not be that much better.

By: the Sensei
Wed, 04/06/2011 - 8:49pm

I charge $40 labor to overhaul both pedals. But that doesn't include the bearings, of course.

By: the Sensei
Wed, 04/06/2011 - 7:31pm

Here in the shop I use Progold EPX grease. But actually, Marine grease is probably a better choice. It will last longer. I don't know who sells the bearings on there own, aside form Speedplay. I would assume somebody does, but I don't have a source. Yes, the kits are expensive from Speedplay, but if you grease them regularly, you will rebuild them less often. An option that you don't really have with most other pedal systems.

Purdy to Mengoni
By: Thomas Bearing
Wed, 04/06/2011 - 7:25pm

Purdy to Mengoni

Look Keos
By: Elmo
Wed, 04/06/2011 - 6:22pm

Look Keos rock

Excellent Piece
By: Bike Fan
Wed, 04/06/2011 - 5:59pm

Very well done.

Makes you want to take every part of the bike apart and re build EVERYTHING once a month!!!

By: Ah Choo
Wed, 04/06/2011 - 3:41pm


seems like a lot of work...
By: David Blume
Wed, 04/06/2011 - 3:05pm


How much does Mark charge to rebuild?

Speedplay charges a lot for the replacement bearings, but they are standard sizes and you can order them online for a fraction of what Speedplay charges. There was quite a to do in some online forums awhile back with Speedplay taking legal action to shut down this guy who was selling replacement bearing kits with rebuild instructions that contained these standard bearings for about 1/4 the price of a Speedplay rebuild kit - I love my Speedplays, but this was really over the top in my view.

What grease does Mark recommend? I used to use lithium grease, but found that it didn't last that long (200mi or so) and even less in the wet. I switched to marine grease last fall and so far so good.

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