It’s been over two years since Shimano released their M9000 series mountain bike pedals. If you were an early adopter, your warranty was up over a year ago and you are now on your own for any future issues that should arise.
In this specific case, the issue is that the preload set nuts on the bearings have loosened up, and a lot of play has developed between the pedal and the spindle. In action, you almost needed an extra few degrees of movement from your ankle to safely disengage your foot from the pedals.
If your pedals seem to be suffering from the same issue, here are three simple steps to adjust and re-grease one of your primary contact points to your bike:
Step 1: Loosen the spindle from the body of the pedal. The correct turning direction is clearly labeled on the body of the pedal. If you can’t figure this out, find a capable mechanic.
Step 2: Just like the preload bearings on any Shimano hubs, there is a similar preload on the spindle of the pedal. It takes a thin 8mm box wrench to adjust the preload, and a 6mm box wrench to make sure it does not back out.
NOTE* It does not take much to tighten the preload bearings. An 1/8 turn is the difference between perfect preload and making your pedals feel like crap. It may take a few attempts at steps 2 and 3 to perfect the preload, it should feel “out-of-the-box smooth” when adjusted properly. If it doesn’t, the bearings may be worn, and it is likely more worthwhile to just buy new pedals.
Step 3: Clean the body of the pedal and the spindle, then put a few drops of Blue Loctite on the gold spindle bolt to prevent any issues of it backing out. Lastly, make sure you add some fresh grease for the bearings. That can be done by putting grease inside the spindle void of the pedal body. Also be sure to grease the spindle threads before you install pedals in any crankset. It’s just better this way.
There you have it! They may be dinged, marred, scratched, and worn, but a little elbow grease and about an hour of your time can go a long way in preserving your investment and make your pedals feel like new again.
Note* This service can be done with any Shimano M9000, and M8000 series pedals.