My AtomLab Aircorp pedals had a bearing failure about two weeks during a group ride. I got to the top of the mountain just fine, went down the first section of singletrack, and crunch! There went a pedal bearing. Inconvenient that it happened, but it didn’t ruin the ride. I was still able to finish the ride even with the busted pedal. The pedal stayed on the spindle and continued to function. I took it a little easy on the pedal, but still did some drops and had fun all the way down.
I love those AtomLab pedals. Most other sealed bearing pedals would have left me stranded. The old AtomLabs won’t fall off the spindle just because the bearing disintegrates.
One of these days I’m going to try the new AtomLab pedals that use two sets of bushings instead of bearings. No bearings in the pedal. No bearings to break or fail during a ride. How awesome is that? I’m just not sure how well they’ll work for muni use. Only way to find out is to try them.
You may get a warning (a loose feeling in the pedal) before they go, or you might not. When it happens you’ll hear a crunch and the pedal body will soon slide off the spindle.
The strategy to avoid that is to replace the bearings regularly, before they fail. I replace the bearings in my AtomLab pedals once or twice per year. Unfortunately, the last time I serviced the pedals (a week or two before the ride) I didn’t have any spare bearings so I reused the old bearings. I have a new supply of spares now so all is good again.
Buy a supply of bearings and replace the old bearings before big rides where it would be bad if a pedal failed. Most pedals use 686zz bearings (6mm x 13mm x 5mm). I just bought a tube of 10 bearings from eBay. I’m good for about two years now if I replace the bearings every 6 months.