How to Remove Pedals from Bike

How to Remove Pedals from Bike

To remove pedals from a bike seems uncomplicated.  Hmmm…well, true enough for veteran cyclists, but for newbies, It’s not!  To remove and install a bike pedal involves a lot of steps, and you ought to know them by heart.  

If you are new to this, maybe this article can serve as your guide in pedal removal.  But before we go into that, you first need to get hold of the tools that you’d be needing. 

Tools You’ll Need to Remove Bike Pedals

Pedal Wrench/Pedal Spanner or Hexagonal Allen Wrench

Either the pedal wrench/pedal spanner or the hexagonal allen wrench can be used to loosen a pedal from a crank arm.  Before using any of these, you need to determine the type of pedals you have, though there are pedals that can use either tool.  

Bike Grease/Anti-seize

The bike grease or the anti-seize is a lubricant that you will use when reinstalling your bike pedals.  The purpose of this is to reduce the friction between the pedal threads and the crank arm.  This is also to prevent your bike from producing squeaky sounds.  

Another benefit of the bike grease or anti-seize is that it puts a stop to the formation of rust.  However, it is also not good to apply more than what is needed because it will trigger the accumulation of sand, dirt and dust.  

Torque Wrench

So, when you’re done gathering the tools needed, let’s now start going through the steps in removing your bike pedal and in reinstalling them.  Whether you’re removing mountain bike pedals or road bike pedals, these steps are applicable to both.

Ways to Remove Bike Pedals

STEP 1: Secure Your Bicycle 

Before you start removing your bike pedals, you need to ensure that your bike will be in a secured position to prevent it from falling while you’re working on it.  There are several ways to secure it: let it rest on a bike stand, support it using a work stand, let it lean against a wall, or you can simply ask someone to hold it in position.  

If your bike is equipped with a number of chainrings, bring it to the biggest by using the shifter.  This process will make it easier as well as safer for you to remove the bike pedals.  

STEP 2: Choose the Tool to Unfasten Your Pedals

Before choosing a tool to unscrew your bicycle pedals, you have to see to it that it’s a perfect fit.  A pedal wrench is specifically created to unscrew pedals, but a 15mm spanner may still efficiently perform the job.  

A wrench has lengthier levers, which allows you to unscrew your pedal easily and prevents you from causing damage to the pedal arm or crank arm.  It likewise has tapered width that fits perfectly on the gap between the crank arms and pedals.

STEP 3:   Rotate the Crank Arms

Rotating the crank arms is necessary so you can easily access the bicycle pedals.  

STEP 4: Unscrew the Bike Pedals

Rotate the spindle and begin unscrewing the bike pedals.  This entails a very tricky procedure, which you need to keep in mind.

When loosening the left pedal, do the opposite.  Do you get what I mean?  Let me explain further.  

The left pedal has a left-hand pedal thread.  To unscrew it, you need to turn it in a clockwise direction, and to screw it, turn the wrench counterclockwise. 

STEP 5: Release the Bicycle Pedals

Rotate the pedal spindle until you are able to release the bike pedals.  

Ways to Install Bike Pedals

STEP 1: Identify the Right Pedal and the Left Pedal

Bike pedals are sold as a set, which means they are dissimilar.  Before you install the bike pedals, identify which is the right pedal and which is the left pedal.  To easily identify the pedals, look for the “L” and “R” marks embedded on the pedal spindles.

However, not all pedals have markings.  If this is the case, try to identify it by looking at the pedal thread on the spindle.  If the threads rotate to the right, then position it on the right.  On the other hand, if the threads rotate to the left, then place it on the left. 

STEP 2: Grease the Pedal Spindles

Applying just the right amount of bike grease or anti-seize onto the spindles will allow you to screw the pedals much easier.  

STEP 3: Position the Pedals

Now, you are ready to place your bicycle pedals.  Remember to position each new pedal into the crank at a 90-degree angle. 

STEP 4: Tighten Up the Pedals

Once the bike pedals are already positioned, tighten them up using a pedal wrench or an Allen wrench/hex wrench.  For the left pedal, move the wrench counterclockwise, while for the right pedal, turn the wrench clockwise.  

STEP 5: Tighten the Bike Pedals Even More

If you notice resistance, it means that you need to tighten the bike pedals a little bit more. Make use of a torque wrench.  Make it a habit to always check your pedals before going on a ride.  

That’s it, you have just successfully installed your bike pedals. 

Guidelines in Maintaining Your Bike Pedals

The bike pedals are one of the most used and abused parts of a bike.  They are used with a lot of force, they get smashed, and they go through muds and dirt.  This is the reason why they also deserve to undergo regular maintenance just like your bike chain, tires and crank. For bikes, chains make you regularly lube the chain and keep the chain tight.

Here are several guidelines on how to maintain well-conditioned pedals:

1. Clean your bike pedals thoroughly.  As much as possible, quickly rinse your pedals every after ride.  However, there are things that you need to remember when cleaning your pedals:

  • Avoid using high-pressured water when cleaning your pedals because they might push dirts and particles into the pedal bearing. 
  • The use of flowing water is not likewise a good idea for it can rinse out the bike grease in the crank arm and pedal threading.  With the depletion of bike grease, they’ll be exposed to rust, which will lead to your pedal’s quick deterioration. 
  • A damp cloth and water is enough to take off dirt and particles from your bike pedals. 

2. If you are using a clipless pedal, observe its performance through your cleat.  If you notice that your cleats are already slipping easily, it’s a sign that your pedals need cleaning.  

3. When changing bike pedals, do not forget to apply grease.  Again, use only the right amount.   

4. Always check the spring and bearing of your pedals.  Examine whether they are still well-greased or they already need to be greased.  

Bottom Line

I hope that this comprehensive guide in removing as well as installing bike pedals is a big help.  Not all of us are technically skilled, especially when it comes to bike maintenance.  

I know, some of you are willing to learn, but to some, removing and installing bike pedals is such a complicated task.  If you think you are not capable of doing this, then getting help from a bike mechanic is going to be your best option.  

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By Paul P.

Paul Panha is an avid cyclist and sports performance enthusiast. Regularly on the road testing (and buying) new bikes. Paul is a co-owner of GetBike.fit and is the head resident author here.