Monday maintenance: Pedal to the metal: Part 2 - Bike Magic

Bike Magic - Mountain Bike News, Videos and Reviews. Keep up with the latest Biking Gear, Events and Trail Guides at BikeMagic.



Monday maintenance: Pedal to the metal: Part 2

Pedals are one of the most forgotten components on your bike, yet they have to support all your pedalling and jumping forces with just one little axle. To make matter worse, every ride they get more filth stamped into them and rarely, if ever, get treated to anything more than a quick rinse when you get home.

It’s no surprise that they often end up wobbling all over the place, and taking your foot with them, but don’t fret it’s a relatively easy problem to solve. We’re stripping down a pair of old Shimano M747 pedals (which haven’t been opened since 1997) but most other pedals are very similar or the same once you get inside. The major exception, Time, will get disemboweled next week.

Everybody should have at least one big vice

The first stage is to strip your pedals right down to their component parts. You’ll need a big vice and that special grey plastic tool that comes in the pedal box. If you’ve thrown it away then your bike shop should have one.

Clamp the body in a vice and slide the collar tool onto the plastic axle collar. Loosen it gently with a big spanner and then keep winding till the whole axle and bearings come out in one piece.

While holding the larger, lower nut still, loosen and remove the upper, smaller, locking nut. Now carefully loosen the lower nut, getting ready to catch any of the tiny bearings that escape. You’ll now be able to slide of the aluminium collar to reveal the lower row of bearings just above the plastic collar. Again, be ready to catch them if they fall. If you have an aversion to really small and important bearings and fiddly collars, look away now, otherwise it’s time to look at just how badly things have worn.

Beautifully maintained internals not pictured

Again, if in doubt ask your local shop – all of this work was done at Psychlosport in Harrogate. To be honest we didn’t even know Shimano make a special device which uses two sockets that sit one inside the other until Pete proudly showed us his tool. If you’re not endowed with such handy equipment you’ll have to remove the two locknuts on the end of the axle spindle with a pair of thin, appropriately sized spanners.


Get all the various bits and clean them thoroughly with degreaser and then check balls and all the bearing races for wear. Ideally they will still be totally smooth and silky, but they may well be pitted and lumpy like ours. If they are knackered you can either replace the entire axle unit, replace the bearings, or (as we did) clean it up as best you can, smother them in grease and hope for the best.

It’s not out of focus we just got grease on the lens

If you lose the plot with what goes where then use the other pedal as a guide, just make sure you don’t get the bits mixed up. Adjust the lower nut so that the pedal spins as smoothly as possible, without any wobble. Now while holding the lower nut in place tighten down the smaller locking nut on top. Don’t be surprised if this takes more than one attempt but persevere, as you won’t be back in here for a while if you do get it right.

Make sure you clean out the inside of the pedal body thoroughly and then repack it with loads of grease. As you screw the axle assembly back into place this grease will be forced through the internals and out of the far end of the plastic collar in one big purging splurge.

Don’t forget the cavity search and thorough cleansing

Then simply screw the plastic collar into place, wipe off all the excess grease (dab a bit of the spare on the pedal / crank threads) and you’re ready to screw it all back in.

The outside bits

There’s not a great deal you can do with the external clipping mechanism besides keeping it clean and lubricated. In theory you can replace the central plate if it gets worn, but cleats generally wear a whole lot faster and we’ve never actually heard of anyone who’s kept pedals going long enough for the plate to wear out. No doubt we’ll get someone saying they’ve had five plates go in the space of their 20- year SPD Odyssey, but then there’s always one isn’t there?

Next Week:

We’ll do the same strip and rebuild with Time pedals – if we can find someone to show us how…


Newsletter Terms & Conditions

Please enter your email so we can keep you updated with news, features and the latest offers. If you are not interested you can unsubscribe at any time. We will never sell your data and you'll only get messages from us and our partners whose products and services we think you'll enjoy.

Read our full Privacy Policy as well as Terms & Conditions.