So my Trek’s original pedals have been dying a slow death for a while- probably since last Fall when I thought my bottom bracket was having issues. Originally I figured full replacement was in order, but Sunday I figured out how to disassemble the pedals so that I could clean and repack the bearings with grease. Replacing the bearings entirely would be optimal, but at this point I don’t have access to any brand new ones of the appropriate size.
Since I had limited time and I was just figuring out the inner workings of these particular pedals I was only able to overhaul my left pedal Sunday. The fresh grease made a big difference and was a big improvement, but the pedal didn’t feel quite as good as new. There was still at least one stiff spot if I turned the pedal slowly.
I planned to service the right pedal when I got home from work Monday and its tortured chirping on the way to and from work made it clear the sooner the better. The left pedal seemed pretty smooth and quiet, but it was hard to isolate it from the other sound emanating from drive train. Between the right pedal and my chain my bike was not sounding like a well oiled machine.
Once I got home Monday I immediately took my bike downstairs to my messy workshop area for a quick pedal removal, but the right pedal resisted. I was in a hurry because I knew Mary and the kids would be returning home soon from celebrating my grandma’s 91st birthday (I had to work on Labor Day unfortunately) and I’d have to quit working on my bike until later. The pedal was on tightly and my little wrench had poor leverage. It slipped off a couple times and then I managed to do this:
I’m not sure exactly what happened, but I think my left hand must have slipped off the crank and across the chain ring while I was putting a lot of torque on the pedal. I put my pedal repairs on hold and ran upstairs to staunch the bleeding. Luckily it wasn’t super deep, just long and in an inconvenient place for someone who rides a bike every day. Unluckily Mary arrived home with the kids and needed help unloading everybody before I had it properly bandaged.
I didn’t get back to the pedal repair task again until much later Monday evening and I made sure to wear some leather gloves. Once I got the right pedal off and disassembled (without further damaging my hands) I discovered one of the bearings had completely disintegrated into three pieces. No wonder that pedal was making so much noise! Of course this meant I actually needed new bearings to get the pedal back in service so it was time for plan B.
A few days earlier I had removed the pedals off my Trek 330 project bike and though beat up, they seemed to spin quite well. I swapped the toe clips off my original pedals and then transplanted my newly created franken-pedals. Their bearings will need to be greased and repacked in the near future, but they spun smoothly and solved my pedal problem from a mechanical perspective for the moment.
Tuesday morning I discovered immediately that I preferred my old pedals. The franken-pedals platforms are slightly higher than my originals which feels weird, but isn’t too big of a problem. The real annoyance is that these pedals don’t behave the same way when I try to slip my left foot into the clip by feel. Every time I tried to do this on the ride into work my foot slipped out out and the pedals flopped over. Even when I took the time to watch what I was doing- getting my foot into the toe clip once I got moving was extremely difficult.
I’ll give the pedals a few more days, but it looks like I’ll be ordering some new bearings and/or pedals if things don’t change dramatically.