In the grand scheme of things when it comes to bikes, removing pedals seems like the most simple task. However, there are a few simple mistakes that a lot of cyclists make when they go to change their pedals for the first time.
They take off their pedals and introduce new pedals, only to find out that the new pair is sticking and almost impossible to ride with. Before you start cursing at the manufacturer and dismissing them as useless, take a quick look at our guide on how to take off your pedals.
Pedals are an essential part of any bicycle and it’s almost impossible to ride without them.
Moreover, it could actually be very dangerous to ride when your pedals are not properly fixated onto your bike.
How To Take Pedals Off A Bike
Let’s get right into the process of taking off your pedals, but first, you’ll need to gather some supplies.
Don’t be fooled by the supply list and how short it is - you might not need much, but it’s very important that you choose the correct tools.
Supplies you’ll need
- Hex key to fit your hex fitting or a Pedal wrench if your bike doesn’t have a hex fitting
- Your bikes instruction manual (if you still have it)
- Bike grease
Your instruction manual will be able to tell you whether or not your bike has a hex fitting. If it does, you’ll need to know the correct size of the hex key. The most common sizes are 6mm or 8mm. You can locate the hex fitting at the end of the crank arm that is holding the pedal.
If your bike doesn’t come with a hex fitting, you’ll need a pedal wrench. These are most commonly 15mm, so you might already have one floating around in your toolbox. Again, the instruction manual would be very helpful to tell you which tool you should be looking for.
Removing Pedals with a Hex Key
Step One: Set your bike to the highest possible gear and rotate the pedals so that the chain moves to the largest ring. This ensures that the chain is out of your way and won’t be compromised while you’re working.
Step Two: Lift the back wheel up onto a bike rack so that it is hovering off the floor. This will keep the bike stable as you're working on it and prevent any injuries from occurring. Put some bike grease onto the spindle threads to keep them easy moving and lubricated.
Step Three: Locate the hex fitting and make sure that your hex key fits into it. The fitting is shaped like a hexagonal, so your key might not fit perfectly within the fitting straight away. Turn slowly until the key slots into the fitting.
Step Four: Rotate the key to loosen the pedal. Keep ahold of the pedal so that it comes loose from the crank arm. When removing the left pedal you’ll need to turn the hex key clockwise and the right pedal needs to be turned anti-clockwise.
Removing Pedals with a Pedal Wrench
Step One and Two: Repeat these steps from the above process.
Step Three: Take your pedal wrench and secure it between the pedal and the crank arm. Move the wrench in a circular motion to loosen the bolt that keeps the pedal connected to the crank arm. It shouldn’t take too long to loosen the pedal.
Step Four: Now move the pedal as if you were riding the bike forward. Keep the wrench in place with your other hand. Continue moving the pedal until it comes off of the crank arm. The wrench will need to be pushed clockwise to remove the left pedal and anti-clockwise for the right pedal.
What’s Important To Avoid When Removing Pedals
You might have already clocked it within our processes, but the left pedal cannot be removed by traditional methods.
The age-old saying ‘Righty Tighty, Lefty Loosey’ does not apply here! The left pedal needs to be undone by moving the hex key or wrench the opposite way that you’re used to. This is because the left pedals come with a left-hand thread.
Manufacturers do this to avoid the pedal from coming loose as you’re riding the bike. As the left pedal turns anti-clockwise as you’re pedaling, if the thread was right-handed the pedal would eventually come off mid-ride.
Forgetting this fact could cause you to try and remove the left pedal by turning it anti-clockwise. This will not only be confusing, but you might also damage the pedal or the crank arm.
How To Put Pedals On A Bike
To tighten your pedals back up, replace them onto the crank arm where they were before you removed them. Make sure that you’re placing the left pedal on the correct side of the bike and the right on the other. The pedals should have a small L or R imprinted onto it.
Tighten the pedals with either the hex key or a pedal wrench. Remember it’s clockwise to tighten the right pedal and anti-clockwise to tighten the left pedal. In the bikes instruction manual, the manufacturer should have included the correct torque that the pedals should be tightened to.
Tighten the pedals to this specific torque, or you could continue ⅛ of a rotation past this to ensure that the pedal is properly secured.
We hope that you’ve learned something interesting and feel more confident in removing your pedals from your bike.
You don’t need many supplies to do so, but you will need to know whether you need a hex key or a pedal wrench. You can find out which tool you need by looking at the bikes instruction manual or seeing if there is a hexagonal imprint on the crank arm.
There aren’t many steps to the process and it shouldn’t take you too long at all, but remember that the left pedal turns the opposite direction that you think it should. Failing to do so could cause damage to your bike and the pedals.