How to Install and Remove Bike Pedals: A Step-by-Step Guide

How to Install and Remove Bike Pedals: A Step-by-Step Guide

Installing and removing bike pedals is a straightforward task that can be performed at home with the right tools and a bit of know-how. Whether you're a cycling enthusiast looking to upgrade your pedals to improve your riding experience or a beginner aiming to carry out routine maintenance, knowing how to handle your pedals is essential. With a functional understanding of the pedal mechanics and the steps involved, you will be able to switch out your pedals safely and efficiently.

Before you start with the installation or removal process, ensure you have the correct equipment on hand, typically a pedal spanner or a hex key, depending on your bike's pedal design. It's crucial to identify the left and right pedals as they have opposite threading; the right (drive side) pedal is threaded normally (clockwise tightens), while the left (non-drive side) pedal is reverse threaded (clockwise loosens). This distinction is vital to avoid damaging the threads when applying force to loosen or tighten the pedals.

When installing new pedals, make sure they are compatible with your bike's crank arms and that you thread each pedal into the correct crank arm to prevent cross-threading. Applying a small amount of grease to the threads can help to prevent them from seizing, making future removal easier. When it’s time to remove the pedals, the process will require some force, but with the correct technique, you can accomplish it smoothly and without causing harm to your bicycle.

Table of Contents

Preparing for Installation and Removal
Step-by-Step Installation and Removal

Preparing for Installation and Removal

Before you begin the process of installing or removing bike pedals, it's crucial to correctly identify your pedal type and ensure you have the necessary tools at hand to carry out the task efficiently.

Identifying Your Pedal Type

Your pedals may either have a slot for a 15mm pedal wrench or an 8mm Allen key. Look at the pedal spindle—the rod that attaches the pedal to the crank arm—to discern which tool is applicable. Road and mountain bikes often use different pedal types, and determining the correct one will save time and prevent damage.

Gathering Necessary Tools

You will need the following tools for the installation and removal of bike pedals:

  • Pedal wrench: A 15mm pedal wrench is specially designed for bike pedals with wrench flats.

Pedal Type

Required Tool

Wrench flats

15mm pedal wrench/spanner

No wrench flats

8mm Allen key

  • Allen keys/Hex keys: Some pedals require an 8mm Allen key or a hex key if there are no wrench flats.
  • Adjustable crescent wrench: If a pedal wrench is not available, this can be a suitable alternative.
  • Grease: Applying grease to the pedal threads ensures smooth installation or removal and prevents seizing.
  • Torque wrench: A torque wrench is useful to tighten the pedals properly according to the manufacturer's specifications, although not strictly necessary.


    Step-by-Step Installation and Removal

    When replacing or fitting new pedals, it's important to address the left and right pedals with care to ensure proper installation and avoid cross-threading. Attention to pedal threads and correct use of tools can prevent damage to the spindle or crank arm.

    Removing Old Pedals

    1. Position the Bike: Secure your bike on a bike stand to stabilise it during the pedal removal process.
    2. Identify the Pedals:
      • The right pedal has a standard thread and unscrews anti-clockwise.
      • The left pedal, located on the drivetrain side, has a reverse thread and unscrews clockwise.
    3. Remove the Pedals:
      • Use a pedal wrench or Allen key to loosen the pedal by turning in the correct direction.
      • Start with the right pedal, moving the wrench anti-clockwise.
      • Switch to the left pedal, turning the wrench clockwise to loosen.

    Installing New Pedals

    1. Prepare the Threads: Apply a small amount of waterproof grease or anti-seize to the threads of the new pedals to ensure smooth installation and future removal.
    2. Attach the Pedals: Check that you have the correct pedal for each side – the right pedal for the right crank arm and the left pedal for the left crank arm.
    3. Hand-tighten First:
      • Begin by threading each pedal by hand to prevent cross-threading.
      • For the right pedal, turn clockwise.
      • For the left pedal, turn anti-clockwise.
    4. Final Tightening:
      • Once hand-tight, use a pedal wrench or Allen key to tighten the pedals until firm.
      • Avoid over-tightening, which can damage the threads or make future removal difficult.

    Final Checks and Alignment

    1. Check Tightness: Ensure that both pedals are tightly secured but not over-tightened.
    2. Alignment: Verify that the pedals are properly aligned with the crank arms and the chainring, allowing for a smooth rotation without any wobbling or misalignment.
    3. Wear Gloves: It is advisable to wear gloves during both removal and installation to protect your hands and improve your grip on the tools.
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