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  1. #1
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    Pedal question - stiff Shimano A520's

    I put a set of Shimano A520 pedals on my bike. My thinking was that the rear of the pedal is weighted, and therefore it would always hang in the proper position to get clipped in.

    But...in practice the pedals don't spin that freely at all. They seem rather stiff, like the spindles are filled with a viscous grease vs. thin oil. By comparison my MTB pedals spin like they're on ball bearings.

    Is this normal, or did I get a dud set of pedals? The LBS said they would break in and spin more freely but after a couple hundred miles it's no better. It's pretty annoying when I start up from a red light in a turn lane and have to futz around to get clipped in.

  2. #2
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    I've not used that particular model but have used three other models of Shimano pedals and they all spin freely right out of the box.

    Sounds like your shop is full of it. I could be wrong but I can't imagine Shimano, or anyone, makes a pedal that requires a 200+ mile break in period. It's a bike pedal not a baseball glove.....never heard of a break in period for them.

  3. #3
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    Of course they're filled with grease, and they do have ball bearings. Bearing adjustment and seal drag varies from one model and one set to another. You can drip a little oil in there to thin it out a bit, but I wouldn't overdo it.

    I've used various clipless designs over the last 25 years, and I've never had any that absolutely reliably hang in the ideal position every time. You practice, and learn to feel where they are and to flip it if necessary. The futzing becomes automatic after a while, and you don't think of it as futzing any more.
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  4. #4
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    I have those pedals. When they were new they were a little stiff. After a few weeks they should spin like a top.
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  5. #5
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    Re: Pedal question - stiff Shimano A520's

    Takes a while for the grease to get settled in, should be fine after a bit.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by brianmcg View Post
    I have those pedals. When they were new they were a little stiff. After a few weeks they should spin like a top.
    Hmm. Mine are not remotely top-like. If I try to spin them the don't even get a 1/4 rotation before they stop. Back to the LBS this weekend to compare against the demo version.

    I also noticed some corrosion on the steel part near the threads. Kind of disappointed in the quality - my 15+ year old MTB pedals don't have a spec of rust.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by B_arrington View Post
    The LBS said they would break in and spin more freely but after a couple hundred miles it's no better.
    I use A-520s on all my bikes. Break-in is a real pain. IME, it's not a couple of hundred miles, but several hundred. Somewhere between 600 and 800 seems to do it. All five sets I've owned have been the same.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by JCavilia View Post
    Of course they're filled with grease, and they do have ball bearings. Bearing adjustment and seal drag varies from one model and one set to another. You can drip a little oil in there to thin it out a bit, but I wouldn't overdo it.

    I've used various clipless designs over the last 25 years, and I've never had any that absolutely reliably hang in the ideal position every time. You practice, and learn to feel where they are and to flip it if necessary. The futzing becomes automatic after a while, and you don't think of it as futzing any more.
    "Seal drag" is a good term. What I have seems rather excessive though. As another poster described, my other bike's pedals spin like a top. My A520s spin like a slug.

    I've also used clipless pedals for 20+ years and agree that they don't always hang perfectly but should be better than what I have now. I find the A520's (mine anyway) to be very difficult to "feel" and clip into. Being one-sided you have to get the side right, and the two sides are t=not that much different i feel. Because they don't spin well they are rarely in the right position to easily clip in and I have to futz by feel or visually check the position. By contrast, I NEVER have to futz with or look at my other pedals.

    At the end of the day they are not working for me and I have to find a resolution - either a replacement A520 or a different model.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by brucew View Post
    I use A-520s on all my bikes. Break-in is a real pain. IME, it's not a couple of hundred miles, but several hundred. Somewhere between 600 and 800 seems to do it. All five sets I've owned have been the same.
    That's shocking it would take so many miles to break in. It must be tens of thousands of revolutions.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by B_arrington View Post
    That's shocking it would take so many miles to break in. It must be tens of thousands of revolutions.
    Yeah, but it's also about the same amount of miles as it takes to break in a Brooks saddle. So it's not unprecedented in cycling.

    While it would be nice to take fewer miles to break them in, consider how many thousands of miles they'll last.

    And at the end of the day, they're only a $35 pedal (if you shop wisely) so expecting them to perform like a Look or SPD-SL is asking a bit.

  11. #11
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    You can seat on either side. I find it simple and routine to apply a little pressure with my shoe and the pedal rotates until I clip in. Are you used to them yet, riding with clipped in clipless pedals ?
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  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by skitorski View Post
    You can seat on either side. I find it simple and routine to apply a little pressure with my shoe and the pedal rotates until I clip in. Are you used to them yet, riding with clipped in clipless pedals ?
    Sorry to disagree, but the A520 model only seats on one side of the pedal. The other side is rounded.

    Yes, I'm quite used to riding clip less. I got my first set in 1995.

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