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Quality flat pedals? - non-SPD

Posted: 4 Jan 2015, 6:30pm
by matata
I tried shimano 324 pedals but found them completely unserviceable. I'm looking for a simple road, non spd, flat pedal, even single sided would do, as i use a cage. Ideally i'd like to put on a reflector. £40 ish?? I must be good quality and serviceable. Any suggestions good or bad? Ta Nik

Re: Quality pedals?

Posted: 4 Jan 2015, 6:43pm
by JamesE
I like MKS Sylvan Touring pedals, which you can pick up for £20 or so, seem very robust and are serviceable if you can find the right spanner for the dustcaps – SJS do one but it’s out of stock. The Touring model can take a cage and reflector; the Track and Road variants one but not both.

Re: Quality pedals?

Posted: 4 Jan 2015, 6:46pm
by Brucey
PD-M324 can be serviced but it requires that you remove the cage and that you use the 'special tool' to hold the cone whilst you tighten the locknut. This is both a PITA to do and expensive; the special tool costs a small fortune.

For pedals as you describe, MKS GR9 (if you want a platform) or MKS Sylvan Touring (if you want a rat trap that is wide enough to take street shoes) might do the job. Provided you can get hold of the correct dustcap spanner (no-one seems to have them in the UK at present) or can make do with something else, these pedals are not difficult to service.


Re: Quality pedals?

Posted: 4 Jan 2015, 7:42pm
by al_yrpal
I have these on my Mercian and my Salsa Vaya. ... 75480.html Great pedals at a great price.

Very grippy on my Shimano shoes without toe clips. The bearings are still excellent after 5000 miles odd on one pair, no sign of roughness as mentioned. For £9.99 when they are knackered get another pair. I sold my Shimano one sided SPD pedals after fitting these. Reflectors standard too..


Re: Quality pedals?

Posted: 4 Jan 2015, 8:05pm
by foxyrider
[quote="JamesE"]I like MKS Sylvan Touring pedals, quote]


System EX do some nice 'retro' pedals too which are worth looking out. ... d3399.html :D

Re: Quality pedals?

Posted: 4 Jan 2015, 8:26pm
by mercalia
I use these low profile ones

System Ex EM9D 9/16 Pedals

They come with reflectors & are low profile. The cage can be taken off and the spindle removed for lubrication, by unscrew the end cap and undo a nut. There are many cheaper copies but I think the end cap cannot be removed in those. I find it best to remove the cage and lub the threads with copper grease so can be removed in future easily ( or at all ) and then dismantle the pedal and pump full of grease. I dont now if the minature end bearing can be removed, the one at the crank side is a "sliding" type that dont use bearings but 2 surfaces. I ve just had the right one fail after a great many years, the left one still going strong. I could possibly have saved the right one , but I couldnt get the screws that hold the cage on undone, rusted in tight no doubt

Re: Quality pedals?

Posted: 4 Jan 2015, 8:35pm
by RJC
Brucey wrote:... Provided you can get hold of the correct dustcap spanner (no-one seems to have them in the UK at present) ...

Zyro are listing the MKS tool at the moment, so they should be available if you have a LBS with a Zyro account.

Re: Quality pedals?

Posted: 4 Jan 2015, 8:46pm
by Brucey
Sorry to be a naysayer, but IMHO any pedal like those system EX ones (which are sold under a variety of other names IIRC) with a plain bearing type bushing in it is something of an abomination; they may appear to spin smoothly when you turn them by hand, but when they are under load, the friction in the bushing is between x10 and x100 that of a half-decent ball bearing.

If you don't believe me, you can look up the spec of ball bearing friction coefficient values and those published by IGUS (who make some of the best plain-bearing type bushings, including those that are suitable for rebuilding these pedals).

Ball bearings were first mass-produced for use in bicycles, and this happened in the middle of the 19th century. They quickly became very popular because of their low friction characteristic.

Using plain bearing pedals is like turning the clock back 150 years, I reckon.


Re: Quality pedals?

Posted: 4 Jan 2015, 8:56pm
by mercalia
the "bushings" in the System Ex EM9D 9/16 Pedals are conical sections, dont know if that makes any difference. In real terms what is the loss from not having real ball bearing? 100 x very very little may still not be much, worth bothering about? we seem to live happily with quite a few bad ideas eg rim brakes, derailleurs

Re: Quality pedals?

Posted: 4 Jan 2015, 10:18pm
by Brucey
well a typical ball bearing system has a coefficient of friction that is around 0.0015. At x10 to x100 of that (depending on the bushing type and the lubrication used), your total power loss into the pedal bearings could be between 1.5% and 15%.

In reality it isn't likely to be quite as bad as that since the bushing is usually paired with a small cartridge ball bearing with which it shares the load. The extent to which this happens varies with pedal design.

The bad news is that the small ball bearing is often not really adequate for the loads it encounters. At high speeds the bearing may (on paper) have a reasonable load carrying capacity, but such speeds are never encountered on a bicycle being ridden normally. At low speeds (which is all bicycle pedal speeds) the load capacity declines to the static load capacity of the bearing which is a lot less. You can look it up for the bearing in question but it is likely to be around the same value as the bodyweight of a decent-sized chap who is bouncing around a bit. But this rating is for a perfectly installed bearing, seeing perfectly radial loads. As soon as the bushing at the other end wears slightly, the ball bearing sees non radial loads, and loads when the parts of the bearing are misaligned. Both are far more damaging.

So in addition the excess friction in this bearing arrangement, the outboard bearing does tend to collapse when it has seen a bit of use. Often they seem to work OK for a few years but they would not be my first choice, not by a long chalk.


Re: Quality pedals?

Posted: 4 Jan 2015, 11:34pm
by matata
thanks all of you......just what i was looking for. nik

Re: Quality pedals?

Posted: 5 Jan 2015, 12:28am
by Brucey
mercalia wrote:the "bushings" in the System Ex EM9D 9/16 Pedals are conical sections...

conical? I've not seen that. Usually the bearing kits look like this;


the bearing varies in size slightly and the bushing is normally plain sided, sometimes sintered metal , sometimes impregnated plastic, sometimes with a 'top hat' section. The pedal spindle can have a tapered section but this isn't normally where the bushing rides on it; eg like the Time Atac bearings here;

but it can be where a seal bears.

Some wellgo pedals use the same kind of bearing arrangement and one of the smallest bearing used in such pedals (smaller than some but the same as the one used by Time and others) is a 686ZZ bearing; this typically has a dynamic load rating of 1100N and a static load rating of just 440N. The dynamic rating is irrelevant (unless you are able to pedal at about 1000rpm) so anytime you use more than ~44kg on that kind of pedal bearing, you are exceeding its design rating.

I'd say this is likely to happen often if you ride out of the saddle much; the load can be mostly borne by either bearing, once the pedal is angled. Note also that the load required to cause bearing damage is even less than this if the bushing gets a little worn and the bearing is loaded when at all skewed.

A model example of how to design a good pedal bearing (that is comparatively compact) is the typical shimano SPD bearing used in double-sided SPD pedals. The bearings are set central beneath a small cleat, so share the load well at all times. The full complement bearings each have a high load bearing capacity; I'd estimate a static load rating of 150 to 200kg for each pedal. If such bearings are well maintained, they last very well.

The bearings in the recommended MKS pedals are (when correctly adjusted) even stronger than that. However the ball bearing size in them is such that even if the bearings are set quite slack, so that the load is not shared properly (ie between many balls), a single ball is strong enough to sustain an average pedalling load without causing excessively rapid wear.


Re: Quality pedals?

Posted: 5 Jan 2015, 2:10pm
by Bikefayre
For myself like the BMX style plastic pedals from These fit a normal crank not the BMX size. Have three DKBicycle pedals and one Cult which I know are missing reflectors. Hate cycling shoes and those daft pedals so like these as they are designed to hold your foot in place using normal shoes for stunt work. Now know they are good as a man who has massive feet said the standard cheapo plastic kept causing his feet to fall off the side, with my pedals he has no problems. Let it be known hate plastic pedals with a vengeance the sort on cheapo bikes as was always a steel pedal man, alloy are too slippy and narrow whereas these have really impressed me. In fact one local man has two sets fitted for each of his new bikes so cannot be that bad. Would say try a pair without the metal spikes and think you might get a nice surprise and know they are not to everyone's liking yet can honestly say these are the best plastic pedals indeed best pedals so far cycled on. And are old enough to remember the LOOK pedals which were considered the best so do know what a good pedal is.

Re: Quality pedals?

Posted: 5 Jan 2015, 2:39pm
by freeflow

Re: Quality pedals?

Posted: 13 Jan 2015, 1:52pm
by mercalia
System Ex EM9D dismantle for any one who is interested. click to enlarge

System Ex EM9D axle.JPG

System Ex EM9D crank side.JPG

System Ex EM9D outside bearing.JPG
outside bearing

I had to replace the right one recently after 10 years or so ( left one still going strong) dont know what that says about build quality and longevity.

SO in the end which flat pedals with bearings were to be recommended that could be serviced easily and dont cost the earth?

MKS GR9 (if you want a platform) or MKS Sylvan Touring ?

both have replaceable bearings? I have never used a platform pedal before - how do you use them? with straps ? can they be used without such as I prefer low profile pedals