All Crankbrothers pedals require periodic maintenance in the form of the Pedal Refresh Kit, which replaces the bushings and bearings and gets them spinning like new. The cleats — made of brass — wear out as well and require replacement roughly once a season, along with the required-for-carbon-soles Shoe Shields.
Unfortunately, there is one kind of wear which puts the pedal near the end of its life: pedal wing wear. Above you can see the pedal wings on the Eggbeater 3 pedals from my Specialized Camber, which worn to a point.
The wings are normally box shaped, providing a nice even load on the cleat and sole of the shoe. After wearing to a point the cleat and Shoe Shield wear are accelerating, to the degree that my cleats have worn out mid-year instead of late autumn.
With all this wear put together, pedaling my Camber felt a bit vague and I’d get squeaking and clicking sounds from the pedals when putting down a lot of steady power. Flipping the pedals 90° to change up the engagement would help, as some of the wings are worn less than others, but it’s now time for the pedals to go.
(Instead of replacing with new Crankbrothers pedals I’m giving Shimano PD-M8100 (Deore XT M8100) SPD pedals a go. I’m hoping the larger contact area between the cleat, pedal, and shoe lugs will help with some foot pain problems I’ve had during longer rides. I also expect cleat replacement will be less frequent, costing less long-term. I have concerns about how well SPDs will clear snow and/or permit very fast exit when suddenly stopping on technical sections, so I won’t be selling off my remaining Eggbeaters any time soon.)
It seems the design of the bleed nipple on Shimano hydraulic disc brakes may result in contamination of the brake pads if extra care isn’t taken to clean residual oil from inside the nipple after bleeding the brakes. Newer Shimano hydraulic calipers, such as the Shimano BR-M7100 (SLX), have this nipple facing downward when installed on most bikes which seems to exacerbate the issue.
After following the Shimano brake bleed procedure and disconnecting the hose, the nipple will still contain about 0.06 mL of brake fluid, roughly a full drop, closed only by a snap-fit rubber cap. (See exploded view, inside of nipple is ~20mm x ~2mm ⌀.) On many brakes, including the BR-M7100 when mounted to a fork or seatstay, the nipple points downward and the residual oil inside slowly weeps out, wetting the outside of the cap and the caliper. Particularly after mixing with dust and forming an oily paste this can fling to the rotor or pads, contaminating the pads, leading to poor performance and noise.
On other Shimano brakes, such as the the BR-M8000, the bleed nipple is on the other end of the caliper. These point up and don’t seem to weep residual oil as readily. However, because bikes are stored and transported in a variety of positions, much less bounced all over the place while riding, any oil in the nipple can cause escape.
To avoid self-contamination it’s necessary to remove all residual oil from inside of the bleed nipple after a bleed. This can be done by twisting the corner of a paper towel into a point, shoving it into the nipple, and blotting the oil up. A couple iterations of this and thorough cleaning of the caliper and inside of the nipple with isopropyl alcohol seems sufficient. After doing this the nipple caps on our bikes have remained dry.
I came to this realization after a handful of dusty rides on the Timberjack when I noticed this cap had a bunch of dark oil-soaked dust on it. A quick check showed the inside of the cap was quite oily. There was also a thin film of oil wicking on to the bleed nipple and caliper body. As the bike is nearly new the brakes had recently been bled and the outside of the calipers thoroughly cleaned, it all fit together. (I suspect this may have led to the contamination problems I had earlier with the pads, although those pads themselves seemed bad from the get-go.)
On Kristen’s fatbike — a 2018 Specialized Fatboy Carbon Comp which received M7100 SLX brakes to replace the failed SRAM Level TLs but has only been kept upright since the brake install — the front brake whose nipple points down had oil in the cap. The rear brake, mounted to the chainstay and pointing the nipple up, was dry, but still had visible oil in the nipple.
This could also explain a mysterious fouled-front-brake problem on my Warbird, whose BR-R7070 (105) calipers have a downward facing bleed port on the front and upward facing on the rear. This was fixed with a sanding of the rotor and pad replacement, but I could not find a source of oil and the system seemed sealed. I now believe residual oil migration past the rubber cap, after I bled the brakes following a fork replacement, fouled the pads.
Here is a list of the lubricants I use for bicycles and a few notes about each one.
General Grease Park Tool PolyLube 1000 (PPL-1, Tube) Use for general greasing. Threads of fasteners, coating bearings before installation, etc. This is a go-to grease that gets used on everything unless there’s a specific need for something special.
Chain Lube ProGold ProLink Chain Lube Use for all chain lubing purposes. As this lube is a heavier oil in a lighter carrier, I use the following process: Wipe chain with dry paper towel to remove dirt and old lube. Wipe chain with alcohol-soaked paper towel if it’s particularly dirty. Apply one drop to each roller on the inside of the chain. Turn crank backwards for 10-15 seconds to ensure lube is well distributed. Use a new dry paper towel to wipe off the outer plates of the chain (lube does nothing here). Let sit for a while, perhaps overnight, before riding so the the volatile compounds in the lube can evaporate leaving only the useful stuff. It’ll pick up less dirt this way, too.
Waterproof Grease PEAK Synthetic Marine Grease (branded as Advance Auto Parts Marine Grease) Used whenever a heavy, highly water resistant grease is needed. I use this on the lower bearing on headsets, bottom bracket spindles, car hitch racks. Use with caution as this grease attracts dirt, thickens, and migrates pretty easily and thus isn’t good for basic lubricating. (Any standard marine grease will work in place of this, the Advanced Auto Parts version was the cheapest when I bought some.)
Anti-Seize Permatex Copper Anti-Seize Lubricant Anti-seize is a grease with metal powder in it, used to inhibit galvanic corrosion when dissimilar metals are in contact. Instead of the original parts corroding the small metal flakes in the grease will corrode, prolonging the life of the parts and preventing seizing. I mostly use this on titanium frames as it’ll quickly corrode aluminum parts (such as headset cups, bottom brackets, seatposts, and mounting screws) but also use it on steel and aluminum frames when installing press-fit headsets and threaded bottom brackets, as a preventative measure.
Suspension Grease Buzzy’s Slick Honey / Slickoleum / SRAM Butter All three of these products are the same thing. It’s ideal for lubricating anything that slides or is suspension-related. Also works great on dropper posts. It’s also an ideal lube for Hope freehubs.
DT Swiss Ratchets DT Swiss Special Grease (Red, HXTXXX00NSG20S) DT Swiss hubs, with star ratchets, specifically call for a tacky, yet somewhat thin, red grease which DT Swiss calls Special Grease. So little is used on each cleaning that a small container, one of which comes with every replacement ratchet set, will last for years.
Friction Paste Finish Line Fiber Grip / Park Tool SuperGrip (SAC-2) Sometimes things slip when you don’t want them to (eg: seatposts, bars) or you want to add extra grip without torquing tighter. Friction paste, a light grease with sandpaper-like grit in it, is perfect. It’s common to use this on the handlebar clamp part of a stem to ensure the bar doesn’t move, on seatposts in carbon frames, etc. Never use this on anything which is supposed to move, and be aware that it’ll abrade the clamped surfaces of whatever you apply it to.
Spoke Nipple Lube / PTFE Paste ULTRA Tef-Gel When building wheels I lube the spoke threads with ULTRA Tef-Gel, which is a PTFE (Teflon) paste. Designed for use on saltwater-exposed fasteners, this is an incredibly tenacious anti-corrosive that keeps spokes and nipples from binding together doubles as lubricant during assembly. Use ensures they’ll still be turnable after years of year-round exposure. This also works well for installing press-fit bottom brackets which call for PTFE paste.