Greasing Look Keo Classic and Max Pedals - Road Bike Rider Cycling Site

2022-09-23 22:56:58 By : Mr. Allen chen

Road Bike Rider Cycling Site

Expert road cycling advice, since 2001

At a somewhat budget price point, Look offers several clipless road pedals, their Classic and Max models, which range from $65 to $115, and their Max Carbon, that’s slightly more pricey at $145 (those are suggested retail prices). 

The low cost and excellent clipless performance make these inexpensive models popular. I’ve been using the Classics and Maxs (not Carbon) since they first came out and don’t see any need to spend any more.

One of the things I like about them is how easy they are to regrease. All pedals that get ridden enough eventually need a little more grease because the old wears out.

How often pedals need this service depends on how you ride, but I recommend adding grease to regularly ridden pedals at least annually. If you ride in the wet a lot, you may need to do it twice a year.

To determine if your pedals could use some more grease you feel for two things: 1) How they turn/spin; and 2) for any lateral play.

When there’s enough grease in the pedals you can turn them by hand while they’re on the bike and feel a slight hydraulic resistance from the grease inside. It takes experience to learn this feeling. If you can’t tell, another test is to hit the pedal with your fingers to make it spin quickly and listen to it. A dry pedal will sound dry from the lack of lubrication.

With the pedals on the bike you can check for any play in the pedal bearings, too. To do this, push and pull on the body of the pedal. Don’t grip them by the moveable clipless jaws or you might feel play from them. 

You can also remove the pedals to check them and you’ll need to do that to regrease them. Remember that left pedals are reverse thread. Turn the left pedal clockwise to loosen and remove it. Right pedals are a regular thread. Turn rights counterclockwise to loosen and remove. If you’ve never removed the pedals before, you should watch my video for tips that make the job easier:

Once they’re off the bike, while holding the pedals in your hand you can turn the spindles (pedal axles) slowly to feel for dryness and lack of grease inside the pedal. You can also push and pull on the pedal spindle to feel for any play. (It’s easier to check for this when the pedals are installed on the bike.)

If the pedal feels dry and/or there’s play in the bearings, it’s time to grease the pedals. To do it you must remove the spindle. Don’t worry, the spindle will come out as one piece so there are no small parts to lose.

If you look closely at the spindles, you’ll see the outside of the plastic threaded caps that hold the spindles in the pedals. On the right pedal the cap is splined. On the left, the cap almost looks nut-shaped but if you look carefully you’ll see it, too, has a unique shape.

I’ve never owned Look’s tool for removing these caps to regrease the pedals. I assume they make one but I couldn’t find one online to link you to. What I did find was a Chinese company selling their own tools on Including shipping, the tool sells for $16.39. I don’t know anything about the company, but here’s a photo of the tool and the link:

Since I don’t own Look’s tool or the one I just now found on eBay, I use something else to remove the caps and spindles. As a disclaimer though, if you choose to copy me, you must work carefully or else you could damage the plastic caps that hold the spindles in.

What I use for the left pedal cap, which is almost nut-shaped, is an adjustable wrench. For the right pedal cap, the splined side, I use pliers. But first I slip a couple of pieces cut from an old inner tube over the jaws to protect the plastic. I also take great care to ensure I have a good purchase on the plastic before applying any force to remove the cap and the spindle with it.

Besides being careful not to damage the plastic caps, the most important thing to know is that the caps are threaded differently.

The right pedal cap is turned clockwise to loosen it and remove the spindle.

The left pedal cap is turned counterclockwise to loosen it and remove the spindle.

You must get this right or you’ll likely damage the caps. Once the caps loosen you can usually turn them by hand until you can pull the spindles out of the pedals. Keep the left with the left and right with the right so you don’t mix them up.

With the spindles out of the pedals, you’ll see the inboard sealed bearings that stay installed on the spindles and shouldn’t require service. The other ends of the spindles are what the needle bearings that stay inside the pedals turn on.

With a clean rag, wipe any grease and grime off the spindle and the sealed bearing. Then coat the end of the spindle that goes into the needle bearings with grease and put a light coating on the spindle and sealed bearing. I use Park Tool’s Polylube grease You can see the amount of lube I use on the one freshly greased pedal in the photo. Try not to get any grease on the threaded cap.

Usually Keo pedals are sealed well and grit and dirt doesn’t make its way inside the pedal. So you shouldn’t need to clean the inside of the pedal.

To reassemble the pedal, be sure to put the left spindle in the left pedal and the right in the right. Otherwise, the caps won’t thread in. Also be gentle inserting the spindle since its end has to fit into the small needle bearing inside the pedal. Don’t force it.

Before screwing in the caps, Look recommends using a drop of Loctite 480 on the cap threads to ensure the pedals don’t loosen when riding. Also, be sure there’s no grease on the threads and especially don’t force the cap in or you could cross-thread and damage it. You should be able to turn the caps in several turns by hand to prevent cross threading. 

To finish the job, fully tighten and torque the caps to about 4Nm. Most of the time this simple regreasing procedure will get the pedals spinning smoothly again and also remove any small amount of play that you might have felt before.

Jim Langley is RBR’s Technical Editor. He has been a pro mechanic and cycling writer for more than 40 years. He’s the author of Your Home Bicycle Workshop in the RBR eBookstore. Check out his “cycling aficionado” website at, his Q&A blog and updates at Twitter. Jim’s cycling streak ended in February 2022 with a total of 10,269 consecutive daily rides (28 years, 1 month and 11 days of never missing a ride). Click to read Jim’s full bio.

The original generation of Look Keo pedals like the black and red ones in the second picture were designed to use a standard 18mm 12 point box wrench for axle removal rather than needing a dedicated tool. Many readers may already have one in their garage.

Interesting, Ray, I tried the 18 and 19mm wrenches I had in my garage and they didn’t fit. Look did make a proprietary tool for their older pedals that looks just like Shimano’s tool for SPDs so I’m still thinking they make a tool for them. If I find it, I’ll share it.

Yes, 12-point box wrench or deep socket .. duh. No need to damage them with pliers. Some Campagnolo pedals have a similar splined locknut, but are far superior mechanically and in durability., and will not come unclipped by ‘surprise’ at the most inconvenient times, like sprinting in a race or standing hill climb.

See my reply to Ray.

Hi Jim, Would the process you describe work for my new , Look Keo Blade Carbon Ceramic Pedals? Thanks,Dave

Hi David, I have no experience with servicing those pedals. I looked for a manual on Look’s website but could only find the basic manual, not anything showing the procedure for disassembling your pedals. However, since they have ceramic bearings it’s likely that the service interval is longer because ceramic bearings are supposed to last much longer than steel and with hardly any lubrication.

Also, the photos of their pedals don’t show enough detail to determine what tools are required to take the spindles out, but they do not appear to use the same caps that the models I covered in the story do. I did notice that on the bottom of Look’s webpage here it looks like there’s a Support Chat feature. Maybe you could connect with someone from their tech support team via chat to get answers to your questions.

Sorry, David, I decided to try that Support Chat feature and it’s not a chat, it’s just one where it suggests links to possible answers and it’s pretty useless. I also could not find a phone number for the company. But I did find this form and maybe if you fill it out with questions someone will get back to you:

Not only riding conditions but pedal design determine how often they need to be lubricated. I’ve been riding Campy ProFit pedals for many years and each time I have thought “maybe it’s time to clean/grease” and I pull one apart, the original white Campy grease is still pristine. These pedals have a great seal design and seem to be impervious to the occasional rain ride I involuntarily do.

Thanks, Kerry, that’s good advice. Great to hear how well your Campy pedals hold up, too.

I have a pair of the Keo 2 Max Blade pedals like these:

Servicing them involves removing a small access plate on the outside.

Are these the pedals in question?

If so it seems clear they also have a small piece on the outside that has three notches and is probably how you get at the bearings.

Thanks Jim for looking into it. I love the pedals, about 4000 miles on them. Dave

Jim, Mine are the Keo2Max Carbon which have a carbon nut that is easily stripped the first time you take the pedals apart, so they only have 1 rebuild in them. The ones you have (non-carbon) are the better choice. My spindles are completely frozen, and the nut just turns, time for the trash can. Look pedals are designed for lightweight and not for longevity hence a crap sealing system unlike Shimano, or Assioma (which are a much better choice for indoor training).

Thanks, Rick. I saw your review and was surprised. I’ve only had good luck with Look pedals since 1984 when I first started riding them. I’ve also extensively used Keywin, Shimano, Campagnolo, Time, Speedplay, Bebop, Aerolite (these were out before Look). I liked every type I tried but kept coming back to Looks. I have used Look pedals on trainers a ton – yet I’ve never experienced what you have on yours. I do use a huge fan on the trainer.

Same good experience with Looks here, Jim.

Being somewhat OCD, after seeing BFC’s article I checked my old biking logs. My first set of Keo’s had over 20,000 (documented all weather) miles on ’em when I gave em away to a buddy. Still fully functional & spun freely despite never having been serviced, (although the platform was understandably showing some wear). My new Keos (2Max, non-blade) are babies (<3,000 mi) but I've bookmarked this article just in case I might need to re-grease 'em at some point down the road.

I also use Shimano pedals for events that include much walking (tours) or jogging (triathlon transitions). Both are fine pedal systems. I just happen to prefer the Keo pedaling platform for dedicated road riding.

Thanks Jim, I sent the question to Look.

Jim, I found the tool on Amazon after Look gave me the part number (18865), but said they don’t offer tutorials because they want the work done by a shop. Here is Amazons page : LOOK Accessory Key disassembly Keo Pin Blade Carbon Unisex Adult, Black, Standard . Thanks for you help! Dave

Thanks a lot for sharing this information, David!!

I have an old pair of Keo’s, love ’em but they are very difficult to uncleat. I have tried to use the adjustment screw but it seems to be maxed out. Any suggestions? thanks

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