Friday, February 4, 2011

Tires and Pedals

It's time to start getting the bike ready for spring.  Last weekend, I attended the St. Louis Bike Expo over in Collinsville, IL.  There were a lot of shops out selling new equipment, plus clubs and other selling used and "vintage" equipment.

I was looking for tires and pedals.  I needed new tires because one of the relatively expensive Bontrager Hardcase tires on my bike has developed a bad "bump".  The tire is starting to come apart from the inside out.  This is very disappointing, as the tires do not look to be terribly worn otherwise.  And even though the tire was a bit heavy, I had zero flats over 3500 miles.

Anyway, I did not find any tires I liked at the expo.  I did order some tires this week from Jenson USA.  I am fond of 700 x 28 tires, and Jenson has some Serfa Seca's on sale for $9.99.  But they are pink.  More specifically, they have a pink stripe and lettering.  I ordered them anyway.  They should contrast nicely with the sky blue frame on the Gary Fisher.

Back to the pedals.  I have been looking for pedals since I broke two different sets last year.  I had been using SPD-type mountain bike pedals.  My shoes had drillings for either SPD or Look-type pedals.  I remembered that I had a set of Look pedals from 1985 that had served me well until 2000.  I also had an old set of shoes with the cleats.  I replaced the cleats on my shoes and cleaned and re-packed the bearings on the pedals. 

I had forgotten how great of a pedal design these things were.  Look was the first to make a clipless pedal.  They orignally made ski bindings and adopted a design for cycling pedals.  I believe these were first used in the Tour de France by the La Vie Claire team in 1984, led by Bernard Hinault and Greg Lemond.

Easy in, easy out, and secure grip.  I remember purchasing these after my feet came out of a toe clip during the final 200 yards of a race.  These were great pedals, even though they were a little heavy (518g).

So, as I was wandering around the expo, I found a guy with a bin of these, including two pair of the original white with the removable axle cap on the outboard bearing.  Here's a page from the 1985 Performance Bike catalog.

I bought two additional sets of these pedals at $5/pair.  Provided I can keep finding the replacement cleats, these "vintage" pedals should take me well into my my twilight years of cycling, even after my son tries to put me into the home and I keep escaping on my recumbent trike.

The Look pedal is one item that no one has been able to improve over the past twenty-five years.


  1. I think you're plenty manly enough to pull off pink tires. If not, hopefully Lauren has your back.

    Speaking of clipless pedals, I was given a pair. I have no idea what shoes would go with them or how to install them. But I'm at least a little closer to manning up (speaking of which, my new bike has rugged, all black tires :D) and braving them.

  2. Give me a call and we can meet up and take a look at the pedals. I'm guessing they are some sort of SPD pedals. Did you get the cleats that go with the pedals?

  3. Thanks, I'll do that. No cleats, just pedals.