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.
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.
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.