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Pedal Friction

Old 10-22-19, 06:35 PM
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vikay
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Pedal Friction

I'm using LOOK KEO 2 MAX pedals. I like them, but I've always had problems clipping in and am pretty clumsy with it.

I tried out and old set of Shimano PD-550 and realized how amazingly easy it was to clip in. I start trying to see why that is. It turns out that the left pedal doesn't swing around as much when I start up using the right pedal. When a pedal swings around, it takes time to find the right side. When it doesn't swing around, my motion ALWAYS yields the top side available to engage.

Is there a method to increase friction on the pedals? I did remove the spindle out of the PD-550 to see. I didn't even touch it, and put the spindle back in. It starts to spin freely like my LOOK pedals!

I'm willing to buy a new set of pedals that come with more friction on the pedal, but does this even exist? I'm afraid that if I order a new set of Shimano pedals (looking at the R8000), that it will not have that "grease" feel. Instead, it would have the "oil" feel.

Can packing grease into my Look KEO 2 Max increase friction to my liking? Perhaps when I opened up the PD-550, it ruined an old grease job?
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Old 10-22-19, 07:36 PM
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Most people don't want friction in their bike bearings...

Packing grease will only slow down the spin until enough revolutions have gone by and the grease gets pushed out of the way. There have been pedals that add friction (via a spring acting on a pressure plate pressed against the axle, the plate is drawn back when the cleat is engaged) but these (I forget the brand) left the market many years ago. Then there's double sided pedals like many "SPD" versions and the Speedplay road options.


I've been directly or indirectly involved with, perhaps, hundreds of customers and club mates adapting clipless pedals. There have been only a few handfulls who found them to be too difficult or frustrating to keep with. You might be one who ends up preferring "normal" pedals. Andy
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Old 10-22-19, 07:41 PM
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In most cases, because of the weight of the retention spring, the types of pedals you have will drop to near vertical when not clipped in. If they donít, there is probably something wrong with the bearings. Its possible that when you disassembled and reassembled the Shimano pedal, you corrected some misalignment or removed some dirt or grit that was preventing the pedal from turning freely on the spindle. With practice you get used to kicking the tip of the pedal with your toeamd clip in all in one motion as the pedal comes to horizontal.

As for adding grease,I believe both pedals have cartridge bearings pressed onto a spindle like the one pictured. There isnít really any way to replace of service them but you can try popping the seal off and forcing some grease in there. The effect will likely be marginal and you risk damaging the bearing.
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Old 10-22-19, 08:27 PM
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One word: magnets.
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Old 10-22-19, 08:38 PM
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With freely spinning Keos, the pedal hangs rear down. You slide your foot forward over the top of the pedal, pushing the front down so the front of your cleat slides into the front of the pedal. Push down and you are in. (I haven't used Keos but they aren't fundamentally different from the LOOK Delta pedals I've used for years.) You might want to try this with the shoe in your hand and the bike leaning against a wall so you can see what you are trying to do. (You won't be able to engage the cleat because that big push down, so easy to do with your leg, will scoot the bike you aren't sitting on forward!).

This is a learned skill. Frustrating now but once you learn it, you will never look back

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Old 10-22-19, 10:45 PM
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I actually just got my hands on a second set of Shimano pedals (PD-540) and they spin with a little bit of resistance same as the PD-550. Though they both were both obtained from the same source.

After watching www.youtube.com/watch?v=LnVBoFjD-Fk , I think I will try to pack some viscous grease into a cheaper set of Look KEO Classic 3's to see if it gives my desired outcome. The worst that can happen is I end up cleaing up all that grease and putting in some less viscous substance in right?

It's not that I do not like clipless. It's that I would prefer to be able to engage easier without doubting myself so much.
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Old 10-22-19, 11:12 PM
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It might be a difference in the cleats rather than pedals.

I have Look Delta and Shimano SPD-SL pedals and cleats. The only significant difference is grippy rubber pads on the Shimano cleats. Better for walking, PITA to clip in/out, compared with the Look Delta. I find the Shimano cleats so annoying I'm going to try cutting those rubber pads off a set of cleats. Clipping in is bad enough, but it takes a deliberate twisting yank that verges on twisting my knee to unclip.

The Look cleats have no rubber pads, so they're not great to walk in. But there's also nothing to hinder clipping in/out. Clipping in and out is smooth and crisp.

Some folks prefer it the other way 'round and find the rubber pads on the Shimano cleats make it easier to hook the pedal the first time and clip in.

I also have some Look Keo pedals but haven't tried 'em yet.
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Old 10-23-19, 04:37 AM
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Originally Posted by canklecat View Post
It might be a difference in the cleats rather than pedals.

I have Look Delta and Shimano SPD-SL pedals and cleats. The only significant difference is grippy rubber pads on the Shimano cleats. Better for walking, PITA to clip in/out, compared with the Look Delta. I find the Shimano cleats so annoying I'm going to try cutting those rubber pads off a set of cleats. Clipping in is bad enough, but it takes a deliberate twisting yank that verges on twisting my knee to unclip.

The Look cleats have no rubber pads, so they're not great to walk in. But there's also nothing to hinder clipping in/out. Clipping in and out is smooth and crisp.

Some folks prefer it the other way 'round and find the rubber pads on the Shimano cleats make it easier to hook the pedal the first time and clip in.

I also have some Look Keo pedals but haven't tried 'em yet.
Look keo have the pads as well but they donít make clipping out harder. Seems like the shimano spring tension is too tight for your liking or the pivot points need a little lube.
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Old 10-23-19, 05:27 AM
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Originally Posted by vikay View Post
. The worst that can happen is I end up cleaing up all that grease and putting in some less viscous substance in right?
.
Love the GCN guys but with pedal bearings the service they demonstrate is going to have marginal impact at best, making pedal feel a bit smoother, as most of the grease they jam into the pedal body is probably going to squeeze back out. Really a light grease on the spindle is all that is needed and once bearings are worn to being dried out, replacing the spindle is going to be the best option. Pedals of the type you’re using should drop down due to the weight of the clamp mechanism; if they don’t, thats not good. Your jamming more grease in there probably won’t affect that but, yeah, if you dont go mucking around with the cartridge bearings themselves, you probably wont do any harm. Your best course is to learn better technique for clipping in. See this

You might also look at Look Keo blade Pedals. They use a carbon blade rather than metal spring for tension; pedal weight is more evenly distributed and so they tend to remain closer to horizontal when you clip out. That said, if I am not careful, mine sometimes flip all the way over , which can be annoying when clipping back in.

Last edited by DOS; 10-23-19 at 05:00 PM.
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Old 10-23-19, 05:36 AM
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I've been riding LOOK pedals since they first became available to the cycling public. Here's a couple of tips for riding/getting started from a stop:

Obviously, you'll start with one foot clipped in. Early on I taught myself to start with my right foot in so there would be no chance for a chainring mishap should I start flailing for the pedal.

Position the clipped in pedal in the 2 o'clock position or there about. Error on the side of 3 o'clock vs 1 o'clock as the greater crank travel of the first stroke will likely send the pedal to be clipped into spinning. If that happens, quickly stop the pedal from rotating with your foot (I use the top of my foot) and engage it.

In the beginning it may help to look down at the pedal to be clipped in but after you develop a technique and muscle memory you won't have to. Note: make sure the path of travel is free of holes or debris.

Have the foot in the position it is on the pedal (ie toe straight, in or out), catch the front part of the cleat and step down. You're in. Unclip from the 12 o'clock position.


When LOOK pedals first came out they were boom to those of us who raced crits. Getting that foot in and being in the first few riders at the front was a game changer. Of all the stuff I mentioned, the gentle first stroke is the most important.


As mentioned, there are KEO cleats with grip on them as well as a version without.
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Old 10-24-19, 06:58 PM
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Originally Posted by DOS View Post
Look keo have the pads as well but they donít make clipping out harder. Seems like the shimano spring tension is too tight for your liking or the pivot points need a little lube.
It's friction between the hard rubber or soft plastic yellow pads on the cleats and the pedal body -- or the replaceable plastic cover over the pedal body. The only problem is twisting my foot to unclip -- there's a lot of friction resistance. It has reduced a bit with normal wear over the past few months, but is still much harder to unclip than the old style Look Delta cleats without those rubber walking pads.

I've lubed and adjusted the PD-R540 pedals. They're working properly. And the cleat retention spring is set to minimum.

Waxing the rubber pads on the cleats and plastic cover over the pedal body helped. I'll probably just continue doing that occasionally when the friction feels excessive.

Probably wouldn't get the attention of folks without knee problems. Mine are still in pretty good shape at age 62, no serious pain, but I occasionally feel some twinges when twisting the heel outward to unclip. There's less discomfort twisting my heel inward to unclip but that's a dangerous practice -- I tried it for awhile but stopped after lightly tapping my heel against the spokes while rolling slowly. Could have been disastrous with a harder heel strike while rolling faster.
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Old 10-28-19, 03:45 PM
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So I went ahead and removed the left spindle and packed some grease in. The first time around I packed too much and it was difficult to spin. I wiped most of it off and reinstalled it. The pedal doesn't jitter anymore, and clips in easier for me as a result. But unfortunately, it also doesn't fall into the normal position when disengaged. For some reason, I still find it easier to clip in. I'm hoping that the grease will work in over time. Otherwise, I may have ruined this pedal. I'll probably do the right pedal if I'm satisfied with the results of the left.

Last edited by vikay; 10-28-19 at 03:55 PM.
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