Plain bearings for bicycle pedals – the advantages of polymer

Alexander Muzicenko | 24. April 2020

Bicycle pedals from Crankbrothers
Crankbrothers bicycle pedals with iglidur plain bearings (source: igus GmbH)

The bicycle is still very popular as a means of transportation. But whether the bike in question is a lifestyle product or a racing machine, the quality challenges for each component are great. Many technical components have profound effects on quality. There are shock absorbers and gear and brake components, of course, but bicycle pedals are also very important. Their contribution to quality and haptics is determined by their components. I want to focus on the influence of plain bearing selection on bicycle pedals here.

After a long ride, poorly chosen pedals can cause pain and cramping in the feet. For instance, stiff bearings require much more force and energy, which can lead to premature exhaustion and a slower ride. Another concern is maintenance and the associated lubrication of bearing points. Not many cyclists want to regularly replace or lubricate their plain bearings. At the same time, nobody likes stiff, creaky plain bearings.
And weight reduction is very important in cycling. Every gram counts towards improved performance. igus polymer plain bearings are lighter than comparable metal bearings by up to a factor of seven, helping cyclists to better results.  

For the reasons outlined above, the bicycle industry is looking for alternative bearing materials. In Cologne, our test laboratory, the largest in the industry, is working towards developing the longest possible service life with the least wear and friction. We collect data from 15,000 wear tests per year and integrate our insights into a unique system. The iglidur expert system enables our clients to compare the service life of various plain bearings in just a few clicks and select the best bearings for their application.

What materials work best in bicycle pedal plain bearings?

Polymer bearings made of iglidur J are especially well suited to use in bicycle pedals and are therefore used by well-known pedal manufacturers.

The following figure shows the application area for polymer bearings:

Bearings in bicycle pedals
Bearings in bicycle pedals (source: igus GmbH)

The advantages of plain bearings in bicycle pedals are obvious:

  1. Weight reduced by a factor of seven from that of metal bearings
  2. Longer service life thanks to resistance to dirt and corrosion
  3. Lower coefficient of friction
  4. Less frequent maintenance thanks to integrated solid lubricants
  5. Reduced costs thanks to the option of using the service life calculation to select the material with the best price-performance ratio

We would be happy to send you a free sample box for you to try the products:

iglidur sample box with catalogue
iglidur sample box with catalogue and price list (source: igus GmbH)

Find out more about plain bearings in bicycle technology

On our bicycle technology web page, we have collected a great deal of helpful information and testimonials for you. I would be happy to help you personally and go over your application with you to identify potential savings and technical improvement.
I look forward to hearing from you:

Alexander Muzicenko
Phone: +49(0)2203-9649-7474
Mobile: +49(0)172-3579952
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