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  1. #1
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    Need opinions on Shimano XTR pedal cracking issues

    I have a pair of two year old XTR M970 pedals that have some weird cracks in them. I took my bike (Trek Top Fuel 110) in to a bike shop that is new for me (rented a Specialized Epic Expert demo from them before I pulled the trigger on one) to have them put the pedals onto their rental bike. I tried briefly to get the pedals off, couldn't budge them with my allen tool but was in a hurry for a meeting and elected to have the shop take them off.

    When I brought my bike in, one of the mechanics started working on it to get the pedals off. As I was talking to the manager (co-owner?), I see the mechanic jump on his socket wrench to attempt to loosen the pedal. (FYI, these pedals have no way to put a pedal wrench on the spindle, so you're forced to use an allen head tool on back to loosen them.) When the mechanic stomped on the tool, it popped out of the allen socket and hit the floor. Eventually, the mechanic got the pedals off (didn't pay attention to how he did it since I was pre-occupied with the conversation).

    The mechanic came to me and said "Hey, look at these cracks in these pedals." I was incredulous and annoyed. According to my cycle computer, these pedals have about 1,300 miles on them; these pedals don't have what I call a great deal of mileage on them. (I had a pair of original SPDs with over 15,000 miles on them, and they lasted for fifteen years.) More importantly, these cracks didn't exist when I saw them that morning.

    The manager/co-owner then comes up to me and asks me if I "cut these slots" in the pedals near the allen head. "Uh, no. Why would I? I have no idea what you're talking about. These pedals have less than 1,300 miles on them." He seemed to be accusing me of having done something to the pedals, thereby creating the cracks. Um, I don't have a CNC machine to cut perfect slots in metal, okay? He then asks where I bought them, implying that they're knock-offs. Five minutes later, a mechanic says to the manager that Shimano has been putting these slots (almost like it's designed for a large screw driver or a coin) in the pedals for over two years. Amazing that the manager is not familiar with a fairly common, high end product that's been around for two years.

    Based on the photos, have any of you seen XTR pedals with these types of cracks in them? I thought one of the qualities of titanium was its strength. The shop said that in an effort to make the pedals lighter, Shimano made the spindle walls thin. What do I know? I sure don't lay my hands on a dozen different pedals every year. The good thing is that Shimano is going to warranty the spindles, but I have to pay the shop $40 in labor to have them rebuilt. The shop said that Shimano did not push back on the warranty, possibly indicating that they had seen this issue, but the shop also said that they had never seen these cracks before.

    I'm a little bit irked at having to pay anything at all especially when I saw the mechanic's tool fly out of the allen head. Sorry, I think this is poor technique and more in line with an amateur approach. To be fair, the pedals were hard to get off, but common sense says that it would have been better to use a breaker bar to add leverage to the socket wrench rather then to jump on the tool and have it pop off, potentially damaging the pedals.

    The bike I'm thinking of buying is an Epic Marathon, a bike that retails for $7,200. I'm concerned that the shop has the mechanical abilities to handle a high maintenance bike like the Epic. Moreover, as a customer who's planning on dropping seven large on a bike, I'm surprised that they would so quickly point the finger at me and not want to take care of the problem, especially when the mechanic exhibited what is, in my opinion, really poor mechanical kindness. If this is how they're going to treat me before they have my hard-earned cash, how will things be once the bike sale is done?

    I'd love to hear thoughts on this issue. FYI, I did a search on the net as well as on MTBR and could not find anything that discussed XTR pedal cracks. Thank you for directing me to any links, and thank for your opinions!
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Need opinions on Shimano XTR pedal cracking issues-img_3660-small-.jpg  

    Need opinions on Shimano XTR pedal cracking issues-img_3666-small-.jpg  

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  2. #2
    the catalan connection
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    Change spindles (not ti BTW),change LBS
    "Blessed is the man who, having nothing to say, abstains from giving us wordly evidence of the fact." George Elliot

  3. #3
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    Pay them the $40. It's how they make a living. The guy is a bike mechanic, not a surgeon. Maybe he put the cracks in them getting them off as they were so tight. At least you're getting free parts.

  4. #4
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    Las time I got a replacement spindle I got the whole bearing unit, not just the spindle. To replace the whole unit is pretty straightforward, it requires no bearing adjustment. Just unscrew old axle assebly from the pedal body and screw the new in. Simple enough.Done in 10 minutes, both. Now, to replace just the spindle implies further deassembly which is sure way more work. Ask the shop what´s the actual swap they´re making. If its just the whole axle assembly, I would say they are charging too much, or just do it yourself.
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  5. #5
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    Thank you for the replies, diagram and clarification, What&son.


    Quote Originally Posted by pistonbroke View Post
    Pay them the $40. It's how they make a living. The guy is a bike mechanic, not a surgeon. Maybe he put the cracks in them getting them off as they were so tight. At least you're getting free parts.
    Thanks for your post. I'm pretty sure the cracks occurred when the mechanic stomped on them, but the issue I have is the "technique" used and the resulting slippage of the allen tool out of the allen bolt. Maybe a breaker bar would have not caused the cracks, maybe it would have, but, sorry, having a tool pop out of the bolt head is just plain sloppy. When the mechanic first noticed the cracks, he asked me where they came from (as if I would know). The next day when I returned the rental bike, he did say that the pedals were on tight, I think implying that the cracks occurred from him trying to loosen the bolts.

    Anyway, it doesn't sound as if cracking XTR pedals is common.

    Any other replies welcomed!
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  6. #6
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    The mechanic caused the cracks. When you have to put that much force on the end of the handle of the tool, you have to support the pivot point. What he was doing put excessive force on the pedal shaft, just as if he had inserted a large pry bar into the hole and pried downward.

    Unfortunately, paying 40 to get them rebuilt is better than buying new pedals, and unless you can prove how he was attempting to take them loose, you will never win that argument.
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  7. #7
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    $40 isn't bad, all things considered, but you may want to innocently ask the shop manager if the pedal threads were properly greased before being installed.

    Good luck,
    Pete
    I can barely get my mouth around it.

  8. #8
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    I had one of my xtr m980 pedals fail. The spindle broke between the the two nuts at the small end. This is a common problem and I think there may have been a bad batch due to over tightening on assembly at the factory. Only my opinion though. They were replaced free of charge after 15 months.
    XTR gear has a 24 month warranty.

    I would pay the $40 and if I wasn't happy with the service I wouldn't go back.
    If you're not happy with that, just ask them to get the parts in and you'll do it yourself.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pedalphile View Post
    $40 isn't bad, all things considered, but you may want to innocently ask the shop manager if the pedal threads were properly greased before being installed.

    Good luck,
    Pete
    Agree,
    I would be after whoever installed them if a 1 ft pedal wrench can't relatively easily remove a set of pedals, then they are highly likely to have been seriously overtightened; to my mind the high stresses put on the pedals from over tightening would be the prime suspect for the cracks.
    Most pedals need to be tightened to about 25 ft/lb - using a 1 foot pedal wrench it is roughly 10kg the same force as lifting a large bag of rice. most people can lift at least 5X that much so if you crank as hard as you can it is seriously over tight
    I would also have a close look at your crank arms for cracks around the pedal threads

  10. #10
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    Pedals are the most over-torqued item on a bike. I've had people bring in bikes that have (recently installed) pedals that are nearly impossible to remove. They need to be greased, and installed tightly, but not TIGHTLY. At some point, your pedals were installed TIGHTLY. I do agree that the mechanic showed improper form.

  11. #11
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    Again, all, I really appreciate the comments. I try really hard to be objective and to not make snap decisions in the vacuum of my own, little mind. Is $40 the end of the world? No, of course, not. But the door swings both ways on that price. I work really hard to make money and hate "spending" it on things that are the result of a less than pro approach.

    Quote Originally Posted by SlowMTBer View Post
    The mechanic caused the cracks. When you have to put that much force on the end of the handle of the tool, you have to support the pivot point. What he was doing put excessive force on the pedal shaft, just as if he had inserted a large pry bar into the hole and pried downward.

    Unfortunately, paying 40 to get them rebuilt is better than buying new pedals, and unless you can prove how he was attempting to take them loose, you will never win that argument.
    Agreed. I was thinking that force needed to be applied to the tool to keep it in the allen head. Regarding "proof", I was there, and I saw it happen with my own eyes.

    Quote Originally Posted by Pedalphile View Post
    $40 isn't bad, all things considered, but you may want to innocently ask the shop manager if the pedal threads were properly greased before being installed.

    Good luck,
    Pete
    Okay, noted. Thank you.

    Quote Originally Posted by pistonbroke View Post
    I had one of my xtr m980 pedals fail. The spindle broke between the the two nuts at the small end. This is a common problem and I think there may have been a bad batch due to over tightening on assembly at the factory. Only my opinion though. They were replaced free of charge after 15 months.
    XTR gear has a 24 month warranty.

    I would pay the $40 and if I wasn't happy with the service I wouldn't go back.
    If you're not happy with that, just ask them to get the parts in and you'll do it yourself.
    Thank you. Have you read about these failures somewhere else or is it just part of your local experience? Any links would be appreciated! Just trying to understand why these cracks occurred.

    Quote Originally Posted by SimpleJon View Post
    Agree,
    I would be after whoever installed them if a 1 ft pedal wrench can't relatively easily remove a set of pedals, then they are highly likely to have been seriously overtightened; to my mind the high stresses put on the pedals from over tightening would be the prime suspect for the cracks.
    Most pedals need to be tightened to about 25 ft/lb - using a 1 foot pedal wrench it is roughly 10kg the same force as lifting a large bag of rice. most people can lift at least 5X that much so if you crank as hard as you can it is seriously over tight
    I would also have a close look at your crank arms for cracks around the pedal threads
    Cranks appear to be fine. I do think the gradual force of a long breaker bar, along with a quick squirt of PB Blaster or Kroil, would have been better rather than the shock of jumping on the tool and having it pop out. With mechanical things, it makes sense to use some common sense kindness, IMO.

    Quote Originally Posted by MNRon View Post
    Pedals are the most over-torqued item on a bike. I've had people bring in bikes that have (recently installed) pedals that are nearly impossible to remove. They need to be greased, and installed tightly, but not TIGHTLY. At some point, your pedals were installed TIGHTLY. I do agree that the mechanic showed improper form.
    Cool, thanks. Nice to hear from a pro.
    Last edited by Mark in Baltimore; 01-12-2013 at 12:03 PM.
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  12. #12
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    The slots, if I were forced to guess, are a visual indication of Left/Right regarding the pedals. Almost all are setup like this, with the axle marked in some way (I'll wait while you run and check your pedal collection).

    As far as the cracks, looks like installation or removal was the culprit (and Shimano is being very generous, if that's the case. Improper installation/removal is not covered under warranties). I do not remove pedals (and don't like to install them) with the bike in a stand, as it is too hard to properly support the bike hanging by the seatpost. SimpleJon is 100% right about how easy it is to gorilla the pedals/cranks with a 1 foot bar.

    One last thing...stomping is never an acceptable way of trying to remove something. Use a rubber mallet if you need more force. It's more professional, for one, and allows you to properly cradle the parts involved in the operation.

  13. #13
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    I found 1 other guy locally who had the same failure. I also just got the impression it was a known issue.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by wschruba View Post
    The slots, if I were forced to guess, are a visual indication of Left/Right regarding the pedals. Almost all are setup like this, with the axle marked in some way (I'll wait while you run and check your pedal collection).

    As far as the cracks, looks like installation or removal was the culprit (and Shimano is being very generous, if that's the case. Improper installation/removal is not covered under warranties). I do not remove pedals (and don't like to install them) with the bike in a stand, as it is too hard to properly support the bike hanging by the seatpost. SimpleJon is 100% right about how easy it is to gorilla the pedals/cranks with a 1 foot bar.

    One last thing...stomping is never an acceptable way of trying to remove something. Use a rubber mallet if you need more force. It's more professional, for one, and allows you to properly cradle the parts involved in the operation.
    Thanks. Yes, I was told by a different mechanic that the slots were used to identify left and right. The mechanic at the shop in question did have the bike in a stand, so I'm guessing that the lateral shifting from stand flex, frame flex and good, old leverage did not help keep the tool where it should have been.

    Quote Originally Posted by pistonbroke View Post
    I found 1 other guy locally who had the same failure. I also just got the impression it was a known issue.
    Cool, I appreciate the post. This thread will serve as a data point for other people if they have cracking issues.
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  15. #15
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    Edit Wrong thread!
    Last edited by hmorsi; 03-13-2013 at 04:55 AM. Reason: wrong thread!

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mark in Baltimore View Post
    I see the mechanic jump on his socket wrench to attempt to loosen the pedal.

    Do you mean jump on it literally, like stomping on it with his foot?

    I'm going to disagree with those who say not to tighten them too much. The correct torque is best of course but I would much rather them be a little too tight then the other way around. I have seen a lot of trashed crankarms with no pedal threads left due to a loose pedal, and I have also seen mechanics trying to chase down a mystery creak on a bike for an hour or more before discovering it was coming from a slightly loose pedal.

    I blame this particular issue (stuck pedal, not cracks) on lack of anti seize on the ti threads.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by J.B. Weld View Post
    Do you mean jump on it literally, like stomping on it with his foot?
    Yes, he stomped on it with his foot.

    Quote Originally Posted by Mark in Baltimore View Post
    When I brought my bike in, one of the mechanics started working on it to get the pedals off. As I was talking to the manager (co-owner?), I see the mechanic jump on his socket wrench to attempt to loosen the pedal. (FYI, these pedals have no way to put a pedal wrench on the spindle, so you're forced to use an allen head tool on back to loosen them.) When the mechanic stomped on the tool, it popped out of the allen socket and hit the floor. Eventually, the mechanic got the pedals off (didn't pay attention to how he did it since I was pre-occupied with the conversation).

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