Stephen: I have a pair of Speedplay Zero pedals, and I heard from a friend that I should put grease in them. How do I grease them? How often do I need to grease them? Oh, and what type of grease should I use?
Hey Stephen. You’ve remind me of an experience I had at a bike shop. I had questions like you have questions–although I was just looking for a specific tube of grease for a specific type of grease gun. I walked in with one purpose, “I need a tube of grease that will fit a Finish Line grease gun.”
The guy at the shop made one of those that’s-not-ringing-a-bell faces with wrinkles digging in between his eyebrows. “So you need a grease gun?” he said.
“No. I need grease for a gun,” I said, attempting to describe the gun I had via hand motions. “I just need a grease tube with a 9/16″ size nozzle. Preferably something waterproof, synthetic, and heavy duty. I’m greasing some Speedplay pedals.”
“Those need to be greased?”
I left the bike shop.
Thankfully, you’re here asking me all the questions the guy at the bike shop couldn’t answer. And I’ll show you exactly how to grease your Speedplays, what type of grease to use, and how often you’ll need to service them.
How Often Should I Grease My Speedplay Pedals?
With the bike shop dude’s surprised face in mind, I’m stoked to pass along these few tips. There are some definite markers you can go by here: time, distance, and/or feel. Since these lollipops have needle bearings in order to allow for a smaller profile, it’s pretty important to lube them up more often.
The almighty voices at Speedplay recommend doing so every 2,000 miles. But, if you’re not sure when you’ve hit 2,000 miles because you’re that awesome, hit them with new grease every 3 months. It’s likely easier to mark a date on your calendar (or tell Siri to remind you in 90 days) than it is to check your bike computer’s odometer.
Of course, if you ride in super dusty or rainy/wet conditions, you’ll probably want to grease them more often (pretty much after every gnarly trek). One telltale sign that they need servicing is to spin them. Do they whiz through several revolutions before stopping? They need grease. Do they feel like you need an excessive amount of force to get through a couple of turns? They definitely need grease.
How do you know when they’re ok? If you flick the pedal, and it spins one full turn and stops, you’re looking good.
Keeping your pedals properly greased is pretty important not only to their lifespan, but also for your safety. If one or both give out, lock up, or break off, you could be spending some quality time with the asphalt. Lube those Speedplays.
What Kind of Grease Should I Use?
Here’s the thing. Speedplay has its own stuff. You can get the official and officially recommended Speedplay Grease Gun with matching grease cartridge at your LBS (you’ll have a tough time buying it online).
I’m not recommending you use anything but exactly what the manufacturer recommends. But let’s say you already happened to have a needle-tipped grease gun and maybe some proper grease. I’m not here to tell you it won’t work.
What did I personally use? Well, I have a Finish Line Grease Gun like the one pictured at left. It worked just fine, and takes any standard 9/16″ screw-cap tube of grease.
As for grease, you’ll want to avoid a few types. Definitely don’t use thin viscosity grease, sprays, or dry-lubes. The best stuff to use is waterproof, synthetic, and heavy duty. The type that works in the official Speedplay gun is actually a type of marine grease. This is good. I’ve also used Pedro’s Synthetic Grease Plus, which seems to work just fine.
What you probably don’t want to use is something like Polylube 1000. Ok, except the story I started telling you in the beginning ends with me using exactly that: Polylube 1000. Because the LBS didn’t have any clue what to give me, and I was in a hurry, and I had the stuff already sitting in my toolkit. It actually worked just fine. But you should always use the proper materials recommended by the manufacturer.
How Do I Grease Speedplay Pedals?
On to the how-to. And this couldn’t really get more simple–although it can be somewhat messy. You’ll need a few things before you get started:
- A rag to wipe up excess grease
- A grease gun
- Grease that fits the grease gun
- A number 1 philips head screwdriver
First, take your screwdriver and remove the screw on the outer plate of the pedal. Don’t pull off the cap or anything–just the super small screw (and don’t lose it in a carpet that happens to be the exact same color. I had to use a magnet).
Next, get your grease gun all set, and insert the nozzle into the hole where the screw once was (I feel like someone’s snickering right now). Inject the grease and slowly spin the pedal until you see the grease oozing out the spindle-side of the pedal. That should be not only repacking the bearings, but also forcing the dirty grease out. Keep going until the grease on the other end looks clean.
While you’re doing this, make sure you’re keeping enough pressure on the pedal at the nozzle. You don’t want the dust cap popping off.
Finally, wipe off the excess grease, and replace the screw. Boom. Done.
Thanks for the question, Steph-o. Hope your pedals are your best friends again. Got more questions? Send them along and get them answered in detail here–yah, here we’ll give you more than a one-sentence answer. Maybe too many sentences. I don’t know. Anyway, send me your questions, and become immediately more popular . . . like Steph-o.
I use either Park bearing grease or (lately) Phil Wood waterproof grease. To grease them, I use an oral syringe held tight against the grease port. If you ever happen to lose the dust cover, they are replaceable but a real pain to get in there perfectly. My two cents.
How do you clean and lube the speedplay clips?