Pedal Kit Maintenance or Repair
For those of you who prefer a video over reading there is an online video by “fuzzyfriendlydoggy” which illustrates how to accomplish this task.
The Sur Ron Pedal Kit is basically like the simple bottom bracket on a child’s bike. There are two reasons for disassembling your pedal kit:
- Pedal kits should be serviced regularly depending on how much you ride your bike and in what conditions. There is a small hole on the top of the tube which holds the bearings and the spindle. I believe this hole was meant to face DOWNWARD to allow any moisture to escape, but because it faces upward on the Sur Ron’s application it would only allow moisture and debris to enter, NOT escape.
- Some of you may find that your pedal cranks have an undo amount of play in them. This will cause wobble of the pedal kit sprocket as well as a loose feeling as you ‘pretend pedal.’ This is almost always caused by the removable bearing race having loosened because the threaded collar ring has loosened from being tightened securely against the shell tube.
BTW the pedal kit with the OEM cranks and metal Luna pedals weighs 5.6 lbs.
NOTE: Two weeks ago I was contacted by a fellow Sur Ron owner who lives here in the Bay Area. He had taken his two Sur Rons down to Luna to have pedal kits installed onto both of them. One week after he returned one of the pedal kit sprockets separated from the shell tube and caused the bike to become inoperable. The chain was binding so much that the bike would not move. He went to three motorcycle shops and two bicycle shops to have it repaired. All five of those shops said that they could not work on something they were not familiar with. Bike shops said, “That’s a motorcycle, we don’t work on motorcycles.” Motorcycle shops said, “That’s a bicycle, we don’t work on bicycles.” So for ten months he could not use one of his bikes! Holy shit man! I ended up fixing it for him….for a fee of course. And the reality? EVEN IF either of those types of shops would work on his bike they would NOT have been able to repair it. The fix required a new pedal kit assembly. I had a back up (Boy Scout shit never dies!) which I ended up selling to him. They would never have had one!
Then just today (7-8-19) he sent me the following photos of his other bike which now has the very same problem:
The reason I posted this is to illustrated that if you purchased your bike with the pedal kit already installed, it would be a great idea to inspect the locking collar ring to ensure it is tight. Otherwise you may find yourself in the very same predicament as this poor fella. Enough said, let’s move on….
The Sur Ron pedal kit itself is very simple to maintain. It basically consists of the following parts:
- The ratcheting sprocket assembly
- The housing shell which holds the pedal spindle
- Two thrust ball bearing cages
- One spindle
- Two removable ball bearing races. One that is REVERSE threaded. That is the one opposite the race with the threaded locking collar ring
- One threaded locking collar ring
You should note that the spindle side where the ratcheting sprocket is attached has ground flat spots which securely hold the locking bolts onto the spindle. Make note of its position when you reassemble your pedal kit sprocket onto your bike.
The Pedal Kit is just an early version of a tapered square bicycle bottom bracket.
To remove the pedal kit assembly from your bike you will need to remove the chain from the rear sprocket and also remove the rear wheel. Although it’s possible to remove the pedal assembly without doing these things, it makes the job much easier.
Remove your pedal cranks from the pedal kit spindle. I use a very inexpensive crank arm puller to remove the cranks from the pedal kit. You can find it in my section “Gear I Use.” Or you can do it the gorilla way and use a claw hammer to pry the crank from the spindle. Up to you.
Four hex head bolts fasten the pedal kit to the swing arm. Some pedal kits have captured nuts on the underside of the pedal kit bracket. Some utilize loose nuts. In addition there are spacers on the side of the pedal kit that provide distance between the underside of swing arm. Some are not captured on the pedal kit, some are. These allow clearance for the ratcheting sprocket to spin.
Since mine is an older version it has both captured nuts and spacers.
If yours are not captured I would suggest replacing your bolts with ones long enough to use nylock nuts rather than the loose ones supplied with your kit. Nylocks are available at most hardware stores or online. If not, use blue Loctite to secure the nuts well to the bolts. Just a suggestion…..
Loosen the threaded collar ring with a set of Channel Lock pliers. You can also use a screwdriver and hammer.
Once the threaded collar ring is removed you can unscrew the bearing race with a set of needle nose pliers. Or you can use a screwdriver and hammer to loosen the bearing race until it’s easy to unthread by hand.
Completely clean the inside and outside of the pedal kit tube. I use kerosene to do so as it cuts grease and dirt well. I also soak the bearings and bearing race in it as well. Once those are completely dry I use Park Tool Grease on the bearings and bearing races. Be sure not to forget to grease the race that you don’t remove which is on the opposite side of the open pedal tube!
An optional step I follow is to sand off any rust that has accumulated on the pedal kit tube. After doing so and completely cleaning off any residue I paint the pedal kit to prevent future rusting.
Don’t forget that the bearings should face OUTWARD toward the bearing races. Be sure this happens on both sides, the one that you don’t remove and the one you do. Otherwise you will feel major bind in the spindle!
Assembly is the opposite of disassembly (DUH!) Check how much play you have in the spindle by putting the whole assembly in a vice or something similar. Then try to rock the spindle back and forth to determine if you have too much play. If so tighten down the bearing race, BY HAND until there is little to no play, but the spindle spins freely. I place blue Loctite on the threads before installing the threaded collar ring. There’s no need to hold the removable ball bearing race when tightening down the collar ring. It won’t move. Secure the locking collar ring down against the shell tube tightly!
Reattach the pedal kit sprocket onto the spindle and just hand tighten the locking bolts. Be very careful to leave space between the threads on the sprocket and the threaded bearing race! I had to repair another owner’s pedal kit because he had threaded the sprocket onto the bearing race. It was ruined.
Once the pedal kit is remounted onto your bike, align the pedal kit sprocket with your chain. Then tighten down the locking bolts being sure to align them with the flat notches on the pedal kit spindle. Reinstall your pedal cranks and you’re all done!
- One thing to keep in mind as well is since the pedal kit is attached to the swing arm YOU become unsprung weight. Yep depending on how much weight you are placing on the pedals determines how much unsprung weight you are adding. I am always standing as I bomb down hills, so I’m adding 180 lbs. to the unsprung weight. As I’m riding I am placing varying amounts of unsprung weight depending on what I’m doing.
- Perhaps one of its saving graces is that the pedal kit is located very close to the center pivot point of the swing arm rather than further out. I believe this may be one of the factors contributing to why I don’t notice it except in specific situations.
- Now if I was racing I’d be damn upset and would only ride with pegs. But I’m NOT racing and truth be told the only time I definitely notice that I’m attached to the swingarm is when I land off of medium to high jumps. Even over rutted or chattered terrain I don’t notice. Just something to keep in mind that I never hear mentioned….
NOTE: One of the things I noticed on my pedal kit is the sprocket ‘seemed to be out of round.’ I noticed that my chain would tighten and then loosen as I spun the wheel. It is not ‘too’ bad, but I don’t like any variance in tension. So today I was examining my disassembled kit and noticed that if I don’t tighten the two M8 bolts that hold the sprocket onto the spindle evenly I get an uneven rotation on the sprocket. Allowing the sprocket to go as far as it can onto the spindle to completely seat against it allows the sprocket to spin in a completely normal and uniform way.
Because the sprocket is properly placed in line with the chain as it is aligned to the rear and countershaft sprocket, it is not completely seated against the spindle. So a small amount of space exists between the spindle and the inner surface of the sprocket’s housing. Tightening the two bolts unevenly then causes the sprocket to be uncentered which then causes the uneven tension on the chain.
I’m very happy to have discovered this. Just be really careful as you tighten your pedal kit sprocket bolts evenly and you will not have varying chain tension as your wheel spins. If you do notice varying tension on your chain, just adjust the sprocket bolts until it’s even. Or perhaps you’ve never noticed…..
Update: AT SOME POINT if you are well versed in bearing maintenance both the bearings AND races in the pedal kit will need to be replaced. If you’re not the kind to check on those sort of things, keep moving along….
But for those who do keep up with maintenance I found a kit to replace both the bearings and races: Sunlite Bottom Bracket Cup Set for 3-Piece Cranksets, 68/73mm for a whopping $6.77 USD! Much cheaper than having to purchase a whole new pedal kit eh?
Update: July 17 2019
In my seemingly never ending quest to improve the pedal kit I sourced silicon rings to use as seals on each end of the pedal kit. Besides the silly hole (which I’ve plugged) in the housing shell I found that the openings between the spindle and the bearing races lets in debris and moisture. So after measuring the size, the ID is 16mm and the OD is 19mm. I found some great O rings on Amazon and installed them into my pedal kit.
Time will tell me if this process keeps more crud out of the shell housing than before. Stay tuned….