pedal bearing designs and morons writing about them

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pliptrot
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pedal bearing designs and morons writing about them

Postby pliptrot » 12 Jan 2020, 8:00pm

Having had some disappointment with Shimano SPD pedals recently I've been looking at options. I wish to avoid anything with bushings used as bearings. Looking at reviews I can find no information - or worse inaccurate information- on the bearing assemblies in any and all pedals. Looks like magazine (and other) reviewers have almost no mechanical sympathy or curiosity. It seems all makes from France and Taiwan use bushings (mostly outboard), and this does not impress. Anyone care to recommend pedals which are (1) SPD style, and (2) designed by someone who may understand a little about rotating machines? I have lost the will to look further.

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Mick F
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Re: pedal bearing designs and morons writing about them

Postby Mick F » 12 Jan 2020, 8:04pm

I think Campag don't make pedals any more, but they are excellent if you can find them.
Pro Fit road pedals, with real bearings in there.
https://www.campagnolo.com/UK/en/Produc ... lus_pedals

Also Speedplay pedals have real bearings. I have some Speedplay Frogs. Absolutely brilliant.
http://www.speedplay.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=home.frog
Mick F. Cornwall

Norman H
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Re: pedal bearing designs and morons writing about them

Postby Norman H » 12 Jan 2020, 8:22pm


Samuel D
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Re: pedal bearing designs and morons writing about them

Postby Samuel D » 12 Jan 2020, 8:37pm

The morons as you call them with some justification are obsessed with how many grams a new pedal saves compared to its predecessor or a competing model. If that sum is in the high single figures it impresses the reviewer. Bushings, especially plastic ones, are lighter than ball bearings. Probably marginally cheaper too. I think that’s the full explanation of this trend.

By SPD style do you mean compatible with Shimano SPD cleats or just clipless of some sort?

alexnharvey
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Re: pedal bearing designs and morons writing about them

Postby alexnharvey » 12 Jan 2020, 9:12pm

Which shimano pedals disappointed you and why?

igauk
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Re: pedal bearing designs and morons writing about them

Postby igauk » 12 Jan 2020, 10:51pm

pliptrot wrote:Having had some disappointment with Shimano SPD pedals recently I've been looking at options. I wish to avoid anything with bushings used as bearings. Looking at reviews I can find no information - or worse inaccurate information- on the bearing assemblies in any and all pedals. Looks like magazine (and other) reviewers have almost no mechanical sympathy or curiosity. It seems all makes from France and Taiwan use bushings (mostly outboard), and this does not impress. Anyone care to recommend pedals which are (1) SPD style, and (2) designed by someone who may understand a little about rotating machines? I have lost the will to look further.


I use Shimano PD A600, proper bearings, and a review by someone who isn't a complete idiot: https://cyclingtips.com/2018/07/shimano-a600-pedal-review/
Moulton TSR 30

Brucey
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Re: pedal bearing designs and morons writing about them

Postby Brucey » 13 Jan 2020, 12:41am

there are some non-shimano SPD style pedals out there with half-decent bearings in them but they are the exception. Often bike shops don't even know what is inside the pedals they sell, because most folk don't bother servicing pedal bearings any more. The usual "inboard bushing, outboard weedy cartridge bearing" arrangement is euphemistically described as 'sealed bearings' by the manufacturers.... even though there may be no seals at all!

Bushings are favoured for several reasons;

1) they are cheap (very cheap)
2) they are low profile
3) they 'feel smooth' -by which I mean that it is easy to make such pedals feel nice and smooth in the hand; often folk will choose these over ball bearing pedals because 'they feel smoother'.

I was just pondering this very issue the other day (i.e. how do you know what is inside...?) and thinking about starting a thread which dishes the dirt on what is inside (mosty non-shimano) pedals. The immensity of the task is overwhelming, but if enough people chip in we should be able to do something useful.

Even shimano pedals have started to plumb the depths; IIRC I was looking at a recent Dura-Ace EV techdoc and there was a crummy bushing in the pedal!

Re Shimano SPD pedal bearings:
There are minor variations but all shimano SPD pedals with the 'pastrycutter' bearing retaining sleeve (or a 17mm hexagon) use a similar adjustable ball bearing unit which is basically durable and is easy to service. The only common faults (which I am aware of) are related to the cones and locknuts not being 100% secure in every case. This means that if you get a 'perfect storm' of events

a) the parts not being fully tightened in the factory perhaps and
b) threadlock being used on some parts but not all and
c) the user being a bit of a masher (which causes the cones to be more likely to start precessing) and
d) the pedals not being serviced

then several things can happen including

e) - that the LH pedal bearing self-tightens until it annihilates itself
f) - that the RH pedal bearing (*) loosens until the pedal falls apart
g) - that the RH pedal bearing self tightens (**) until it annihilates itself
h)- that the RH pedal bearing (*) (***) cone repeatedly backs out against a threadlocked locknut and the resultant fatigue stresses cause the end of the pedal spindle to snap off complete with locknut still attached.

(*) applies to RH spindles with RH threading for the cone and locknut
(**) applies to RH spindles with LH threading for the cone and locknut (NB some pedal models can have either)
(***) applies to RH spindles with RH threading for the cone and locknut, in which threadlock has only been applied to the locknut, not both the locknut and the cone.

Quite a number of XTR SPD pedals have suffered with h) in recent years and this is a really evil fault; often there is little or no obvious play in the bearings until suddenly, one day, the pedal falls apart, permanently. It has always been the RH spindle that has broken, I think. I've examined one or two failed parts and there has been threadlock under the locknut but not the cone. They changed the design to LH threading for the cone and locknut; if things start working loose the bearing self-tightens instead and you might notice that more easily, esp with the less expensive pedals.

Some folk just buy PD-M520 and use them with no fettling, but this doesn't work for me; I find I only get the best out of these pedals if I adjust/service them and make sure that the cone and locknut are properly tight against one another. FWIW to date, RH spindles having LH locknut threads on them can be identified by there being a splodge of paint on the end of the RH spindle; this is not seen in RH pedals with RH locknut threading. Some pedal models always have LH threading on the RH spindle locknuts (eg PD-M530 I think) but others can have either; I think that the most recent PD-M520 pedals may have changed to LH threading on the RH locknut.

cheers
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~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Brucey~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

pliptrot
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Re: pedal bearing designs and morons writing about them

Postby pliptrot » 13 Jan 2020, 9:30am

alexnharvey wrote:Which shimano pedals disappointed you and why?
Brucey has covered both my problems above. I may be petulant about this, but if I am going to spend close to 100 quid on some pedals I expect them to be properly assembled. I am used to servicing Shimano pedals but recently I had a new set which developed a tight left pedal (it did not fall to the same position when unclipping) and I planned to fettle it at the weekend. 5 more days of 30km a day commuting and it was ruined. I have read Brucey's treatise on Shimano SPD pedals and am thankful for that. I rather hope we can learn more about other manufacturers in due course. On thing is for sure, the industry shills whose only interest is weight and number of rear sprockets clearly hold sway, as that is all we are informed of in "detailed" reviews.

tatanab
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Re: pedal bearing designs and morons writing about them

Postby tatanab » 13 Jan 2020, 10:09am

pliptrot wrote:Anyone care to recommend pedals which are (1) SPD style.
Okay, these are not SPD compatible but are SPD "style". If you are prepared to use pedals that have not been made for almost 20 years, the first generation of Time ATAC (but NOT ATAC Alium) have proper bearings, no sleeve. The more modern design, XS, XC etc have sleeves. I use the old design exclusively and have done for many years. This eBay ad shows the first of them where the crank end bearing is secured by a C clip; they changed after a year of two to have a threaded cap at that end instead. I have both of those generations, and have enough used and new to "see me out". They can still be found on eBAy new or lightly used, although prices have risen in the last 5 years as they have been discovered. . https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Time-ATAC-MT ... SwwFleGi8j
atac.jpg

I found the problem with sleeved ATACs, although I only tried one pair about 12 years ago, is that the sleeve wears and then the pedal body can rock a little. In my case it clicked which I could not stand.

NickJP
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Re: pedal bearing designs and morons writing about them

Postby NickJP » 13 Jan 2020, 10:59am

I've been using Speedplay Syzr pedals since they were released, and have not had any problem with the bearings. They have an annular ball bearing at the outboard end of the axle and a needle roller at the inboard end. The main reason I like them is that I detest float in pedals, and because these have the float in the cleat, I can completely lock out all the float with the grub screws that determine the amount of float available. The cleats are extremely hard wearing, as well - I have yet to wear a pair out in several years of use.

The pedals are pretty damned expensive, though - more expensive than XTR pedals, for example.

reohn2
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Re: pedal bearing designs and morons writing about them

Postby reohn2 » 13 Jan 2020, 11:08am

FWIW,SPD M520'S are fantastic,great ball bearings which last seemingly forever(I've yet to wearout the bearings on any one of the six pair I own and use and some are almost 20 years old.) needing only occasional adjustment,cheap @ £20 to £30, cleats can be worn with touring,mtb or road shoes,secure and solid platform and plenty of float.
Simply brilliant.
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mattsccm
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Re: pedal bearing designs and morons writing about them

Postby mattsccm » 13 Jan 2020, 4:12pm

I wear out the bit that holds the cleat before the bearing die if we are talking basic Shimano SPD's. A bit of grease occasionally helps.
Of course it could be that people expect too much from pedals. I regard them as consumables like tyres and don't expect to much. I get through Look type pedals with resin bodies in a year. In an ideal world that is wrong of course but things nowadays are consumable whether we like it or not. I regard the design of mobile phones as far worse than pedals in that respect.

fatboy
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Re: pedal bearing designs and morons writing about them

Postby fatboy » 13 Jan 2020, 7:49pm

reohn2 wrote:FWIW,SPD M520'S are fantastic,great ball bearings which last seemingly forever(I've yet to wearout the bearings on any one of the six pair I own and use and some are almost 20 years old.) needing only occasional adjustment,cheap @ £20 to £30, cleats can be worn with touring,mtb or road shoes,secure and solid platform and plenty of float.
Simply brilliant.


What he said! Get the cheap plastic tool and grease regularly by dismantling, filling the pedal void and the squidge it back together; it's messy but makes them run nice and smooth. I usually wear out the tops before the bearings!
"Marriage is a wonderful invention; but then again so is the bicycle puncture repair kit." - Billy Connolly

reohn2
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Re: pedal bearing designs and morons writing about them

Postby reohn2 » 13 Jan 2020, 11:43pm

fatboy wrote: Get the cheap plastic tool and grease regularly by dismantling, filling the pedal void and the squidge it back together; it's messy but makes them run nice and smooth.I usually wear out the tops before the bearings!

Agreed on both counts :)
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Sweep
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Re: pedal bearing designs and morons writing about them

Postby Sweep » 14 Jan 2020, 9:56am

fatboy wrote:
reohn2 wrote:FWIW,SPD M520'S are fantastic,great ball bearings which last seemingly forever(I've yet to wearout the bearings on any one of the six pair I own and use and some are almost 20 years old.) needing only occasional adjustment,cheap @ £20 to £30, cleats can be worn with touring,mtb or road shoes,secure and solid platform and plenty of float.
Simply brilliant.


What he said! Get the cheap plastic tool and grease regularly by dismantling, filling the pedal void and the squidge it back together; it's messy but makes them run nice and smooth. I usually wear out the tops before the bearings!

Have you ever bothered taking the ball bearings out/adjusting or just left in place and greased? I ask as it looks a tad fiddly and I am wary of spoiling something.
I stress that I am not a total mechanical incompetent - I have dismantled and adjusted headsets and wheel bearings.
Sweep