Love’s labours last: pedals and stuff

by M

It’s unclear to me what set of rules my internal bike maintenance schedule abides by. Sometimes something in me snaps, and action must be taken. This time it was the thought of the poor, benighted Speedplays on The Last Bike I Will Ever Buy* experiencing another day of dry, ill-lubricated drudgery.

[*It's titanium. When you buy Ti, you are legally obliged to remind people that it mates for life. Them's the rules.]

So, I got greasy.

Forget your fancy pants grease guns and cartridges of unob-lubium. What you need is a piece of crap plastic syringe off ebay and the grease of your choice. Normally I endorse the use of the el-cheapest of the el-cheapo because it used to come in a tin that even the truly slow of cadence would struggle to misinterpret (it doesn’t anymore, sadly, whatever Amazon may claim):

granville grease

…but on this occasion I had half a syringe of the posh bike stuff to use up, and also it’s much easier to refill the syringe from a tube than from a pot so there’s that.


Servicing these is straightforward and in no way warrants photography, but I know y’all love a bit of screwdriver on screw action:

speedplay service (2 of 2)You people make me sick.

That’s the screw that seals off the grease port. Once it’s removed and in no way lost on the floor, it’s time to play Doctor.

speedplay service (1 of 2)

I’m making this look easy by doing it all nonchalantly and one-handed, but that was just so I could hold the camera. It actually takes a bit of pressure to force grease through the pedal and you’ll probably need both paws – especially if the black plastic bit keeps trying to pop off and squirt grease everywhere like with my pedals.

You’ll know it’s working when grease starts bubbling out around the pedal spindle (next to the “R”, above) and you can stop when it’s coming out clean-ish. I say ish, because I refuse to pump half a litre of grease through on grounds of being a huge cheapskate.

Once completed, the pedals should be smooth and have pretty much zero ‘spin’ when you flick them. Now you can stop feeling guilty about neglecting your bearings and go back to feeling guilty about never bothering to lube your cleats.

I have a love/hate/meh relationship with my Speedplays, incidentally; I like some of their features, principally the non-centering float, but the cleats are fussy and expensive, and the company is, shall we say, difficult to love.**

[**Do your own research.]

Back to bike maintenance.

Since I was on a roll with the Speedplays, I decided to give my SPDs some love, starting with the two pairs of XTRs from the TCX and the XLS and finishing with the horribly neglected pair of cheapies on the Geophysicist’s commuting bike. I’m not writing a guide to servicing these as there are plenty of good ones out there, but I do recommend finding your nearest scientist and borrowing her favourite Christmas-themed tray on which to work:

spd service (1 of 4)

Here’s some more new grease/old grease porn for your delectation:

spd service (3 of 4)

Note the use of Park Tool’s peerless TP-1 (just £19.99 a roll) for general absorption and cleaning purposes.

If, like me,  you are overly enthusiastic and extremely generous with the gooey stuff, you’ll probably end up driving the rubber seal part way out of the lock bolt/spindle assembly. I splashed out on the Park PC-1 for this very eventuality:

spd service (4 of 4)Pro.

So yeah, pedals need love too. You heard it here first.