I have a bike that has been left outside and unmaintained for a while, so now I'm trying to fix it back up.

One thing I notice is that the pedals don't spin freely if I flick them with my foot. I don't notice it much when I'm riding, but I assume it reduces the efficiency of the bike somewhat.

Is it worth lubing them or this this probably fine?

If so, what's the best way to lube them to make them more efficient?


Some pedals don't spin particularly freely from new. This is OK as the friction does not increase with load and is a tiny power loss. Often happens on MTB pedals to get a tight seal to keep rubbish out - after a short time rubbish in the bearing costs more than the seal in terms of power loss.

If the pedals used to spin freely, you possibly throwing away a few watts away as the lack of spin will be friction in the bearings and will get worse under load. Also consider that that friction is probably wearing the moving components faster than they would if well lubed.

Lubing them could be as simple as a drop of oil (wet chain lube) in between the bits that move, or a complete strip and grease. Personally I avoid the 'complete strip and grease' as I find by the time pedals need that I prefer to save the time and install new ones.

I would go with a drop or ten of oil (left overnight then wiped off) as it will probably help a little and is worth a crack.

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  • If the pedals have a screw-on cap opposite the crank-arm it may be an idea to remove it and drop in some oil. Otherwise as to dismantling and giving it a complete overhaul ist may be a good thing for acquiring knowledge on the inner workings of pedals and if they are of a very expensive type. Otherwise I'm with @mattnz and get new ones. – Carel May 8 '19 at 12:10

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