How To Remove And Replace Bike Pedals? (Step To Take)

Bike riding is fun yet a rewarding physical activity. If you frequently ride your bike, you should know that the pedals are exposed to wear and tear over time. Due to this, the pedals can become hard, start making a noise, and in worst cases, they may get stuck entirely. 

It takes away the fun part of riding a bike and can also cause excessive damage to your bike. This is why you need to know the how-tos of your bike’s maintenance, such as how to remove and replace bike pedals. Here’s a detailed insight into this.

What Tools Are You Going to Need?

How To Remove and Replace Bike Pedals? Replacing bicycle pedals may seem like a simple task. Unfortunately, it isn’t as easy as it may appear. Similar to other maintenance tasks, there are specific tools that you’ll need for changing bike pedals. 

Without the right equipment and instructions, you simply won’t be able to remove or fit your bike’s pedals and may even hurt yourself physically. Before we can get to the instructions part, here’s a list of the tools you are going to need:

  • Spanner or Crescent wrench – 15 mm (Preferably one with a thinner body)
  • Hex or Allen key – 6 mm or 8 mm (Preferably one with an extended handle for ease of use)
  • Bike grease or an anti-seize compound – For lubricating your pedals after you’ve replaced them.

Keep in mind that the sizes of the wrenches may vary based on the model of your bike. There are different types of bike pedals, and they may have different sized screws. 

Right Can Be Wrong Sometimes!

Right can be wrong sometimes – Yes, you read that correctly. Usually, turning the wrench clockwise tightens the screws, but that isn’t the case here due to the physical design of the pedals, at least for one of the pedals. 

The screws on the right pedal screw in by turning the wrench clockwise and loosens by turning it anticlockwise. However, in the case of the left pedal, it is the other way around. 

Turning the wrench clockwise on the left pedal’s screws loosens it due to the reverse threads. So, you have to turn the spindle anticlockwise to tighten it and clockwise to loosen it. This might not make sense, but there’s a good reason why a pedal is designed like this. 

To understand this, you need to learn how a pedal operates. A pedal propels the wheel by the downward force produced by your leg. It makes the axle rotate in the opposite direction inside the crank arm, which moves the bicycle forward. 

If the left pedal’s threads weren’t reversed, it would cause the screws to loosen in the crank as a result of the downward force on the pedals, which is required to move the bicycle. So, technically the spindles stay tightened and hold the pedals in place due to the reverse threads.

How To Keep Track Of The Right And The Left Pedals?

Since the pedals have different thread construction, fitting the left or right pedal to the wrong side can cause physical damage to your threads and the crank arm spindle. You need to identify the right from the left pedal to ensure you do not damage your bicycle. 

To avoid this from happening, manufacturers usually have the pedals labelled as “Right” and “Left.” These markings are either at the base of the pedal, at the bottom of the spindle, or next to the screw that holds the pedals in place. 

If in case the labels are missing or not printed, you can tell them apart by looking at how the threads are angled on either pedal. 

The threads on the right pedal are angled upwards and pointing to the right. In contrast, the threads on the left pedal are angled upwards and pointing to the left. 

Now that you know how to tell the pedals apart let’s move towards removing and replacing them.

How To Remove Pedals?

How To Remove Pedals

Here’s a step-by-step guide to dismantling and removing the pedals from your bike. Make sure to follow the steps precisely to avoid any injuries and get the job done while saving time. 

Step 1 – Move The Chain

Before every maintenance job, there are certain precautions you need to take. When removing the pedals from your bike, the first thing that you need to do is to move the chain onto the bigger ring. 

Moving the chain to the bigger ring will allow you more space to disassemble the pedals. Similarly, it will lower the chances of you getting a knuckle injury from the chain or the spindles.

Step 2 – Place The Bike Facing Upwards

Place the bike facing upwards on the ground rather than putting it in a bicycle stand. A bicycle stand will keep the bike suspended in mid-air, which may not be as stable compared to placing it directly on the ground. 

This will allow you more stability and room to use the spanner or crescent wrench and the hex tool with an extended arm. 

Step 3 – Set The Pedals To Face The Front Of The Bike

Place the pedals to face the front of the bike in such a way that it forms a 90-degree angle with the bike. Alternatively, the cranks should be parallel to the ground. 

Step 4 – Remove The Right Pedal First

To remove the pedals from your bike, you first need to determine what tool you will need. Based on the type of pedal equipped in your bike, you may need an Allen key or a Spanner Wrench. 

  • In the case of an Allen or a hex key, you need to put it in the back of the pedal. The longer section of the Allen or hex key should be parallel to the ground.
  • In contrast, if you’re using a spanner or a crescent wrench, you need to place it on the pedal in such a way that it is parallel to the ground. 

Once you’ve placed the tool onto the pedal, push it down and forward to loosen it. Keep in mind that you need to hold the opposite crank tightly for this to work. 

If you’re having trouble turning the tool or if it is too hard, you can look for an old pipe to extend the length of the wrench.

This will allow you to put more force into it and loosen it easily. Afterwards, continue to unscrew it completely. Although this should only take a minute, if the pedals weren’t greased before, it may take longer than that.

Step 5 – Remove The Left Pedal

When you have removed the right pedal, you can continue to disassemble the left pedal. To remove the left pedal, start by putting the pedals in a 9 o’clock position and repeat step 3. 

Next, push the tool (Spanner wrench or Allen key) down and forward to loosen it, as done in step 4. Unscrew it entirely while holding the opposite crank and remove it. Once you’ve removed the pedals, see if there is any damage done to the crank of the bicycle. 

It is possible that due to the lack of proper maintenance, the crank may have been damaged. If you see no signs of physical damage, you can continue to replace the pedals of your bicycle. 

How to Replace Pedals?

Replacing bike pedals is part of the periodic maintenance of your bike. It is as important as servicing the brake shoe and the chain of your bike. If you’re replacing pedals yourself, you need to follow these steps accordingly to ensure you do not end up with mechanical problems on your bike. 

Here’s a detailed insight into replacing the pedals of your bike.

How to Replace Pedals?

Step 1 – Identify The Right And The Left Pedals First

Before you go ahead and fit in your replacement pedals, first, you need to identify the left and the right ones. Look for the markings on your replacement pedals and set them apart. If you cannot find the printed indicators, you need to examine the threads by hand. 

While the pedals are interchangeable, they may not thread easily. If you place the left pedal on the right side, it will not thread into the crank easily. In the same way, putting the right pedal in the left slot will also not turn easily. 

If you forcefully try to fit them, you will end up damaging the crank of your bicycle, and no bike owner wants that. 

Once you have identified the left and the right replacement pedal, you can continue to fit them into your bicycle. 

Step 2 – Fit The Right Pedal

Get your replacement pedal and prepare it to be fitted to your bike. Observe the threads on the crank and the replacement pedal of your bike. If you notice any grit or dirt, you need to clean them with a brush and a cloth. 

Make sure to clean them thoroughly so that there is no girt or dirt left on the threads. Fitting them dirty will wear out the threads faster, and you will have to replace them sooner than expected. So, before you go ahead and fit the pedals in, make sure they’re spot-clean!

After cleaning them, get a sturdy lubricant such as grease or an anti-seize compound and apply a small amount to the threads of both the pedals and the crank part. Lubricating will lower the friction between the threads and make sure they are exposed to lesser wear and tear.

In addition to this, grease will also allow you to remove your pedals easily the next time your bicycle needs a pedal replacement. Keep in mind that other lubricants won’t cut it, and you can only use grease or anti-seize compound for this purpose.

After lubricating, start by placing the pedal and the crank in place and threading it slowly. Since it is the right pedal, you need to turn it clockwise to tighten it. Initially, you can thread it by hand. 

Once it starts tightening up and the gap between the crank and the pedal becomes smaller, you can use your Allen key or the Spanner wrench to tighten it further. 

Bonus Tip: A good rule of thumb is to have the pedal wrist tight and not tighter than that. This is because tightening it forcefully will damage the crank of your bike.

Step 3 – Fit The Left Pedal

Similar to the right pedal, you need to examine the left replacement pedal as well and see if there is any girt or dirt in it. If there’s any, you need to clean it thoroughly and apply a thin layer of lubricant. 

Next, you need to fit the left pedal in the crank and start by turning it anticlockwise by pushing it against the crack. Since the left pedal is reverse threaded, it will tighten up even though you’re turning it the wrong way. 

Make sure all of the screws are in place and not too forcefully tightened, or you will be risking physical damage to the mechanical components of your bike.

Step 4 – Examine The Bike And Look For Leftover Grease

Grease or the anti-seize compound may have oozed out during the tightening process. Due to this, you need to examine both the pedals and the crank part. If you notice any excess lubricant, you need to clean it using a cloth. 

That is all you need to do to have new pedals installed on your bike for a comfy ride!

How To Remove And Replace Bike Pedals

Summary: How To Remove And Replace Bike Pedals?

Replacing bike pedals is a crucial part of the periodic maintenance of your bike. Since the pedals of a bicycle have multiple mechanical components, they are exposed to more physical wear and tear compared to other parts. 

This will make your riding journey significantly unpleasant, so you need to replace the bike pedals periodically. Fortunately, you can easily replace them at your home with the right equipment and set of instructions. 

The only thing you need to take care of is applying grease to the pedals and making sure you do not interchange them when replacing the pedals.

James Dawson

After learning how to ride a bicycle much later than all the other kids, James Dawson hasn't looked back. The author now actively rides a bicycle as a part of the community cycling group and competes regularly in local competitions. Aside from that, he loves technology and always keeps up to date with the latest cycling tech.

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