Step-by-Step: How to Remove & Install Bike Pedals

Every cyclist should be able to take out and replace their bike pedals, especially if they’re putting together a new bike or want to try riding with clipless pedals

Here are the steps you need to follow to remove and install bike pedals:

  • First, align your pedals.
  • Remove the current bike pedals.
  • Properly inspect your new bike pedals.
  • Lubricate your pedal spindle before installing it.
  • Now install your new bike pedals.
  • Ensure the bike pedals are properly installed.
  • Test-ride your new bike pedals.

Keep reading to learn about the tools you need, how to identify your left and right pedals, how to take off the old pedals, and, of course, how to put on new pedals, as they are all covered in this step-by-step guide.

Let’s get started.

Is It Easy to Remove Bike Pedals?

Normally, pedal installation and removal might be a tad more difficult than it appears. Since crank arms are typically made of aluminum and pedal axles are typically made of steel, there is a chance that the hard pedal threads will strip the soft aluminum ones. 

Pedal threading is also peculiar and perplexing. Regular threading is present on the right pedal (drivetrain side) (clockwise turns to tighten it; counter-clockwise turns loosen it). 

However, the left is the exact opposite! Additionally, pedals are frequently very tightly fastened to the crank arms, making removal challenging.

How Long Does It Take to Remove Bike Pedals?

The time required to replace bike pedals mainly depends on your previous experience with changing pedals. If you are doing this for the first time, it might take a good while for you to complete the job, maybe around an hour or two.

This is because you would frequently need to check the steps that you should follow and ensure that you’re doing it in the proper order.

But, if you’ve replaced your pedals frequently before, you won’t be taking much time to do so, hardly 15-20 minutes.

You also would have to be mindful of the tools and parts you have unassembled, making sure that they are in a single place and grouping the parts that go together separately.

This can take time and practice to get used to.

» Read my blog post about: How Much Is a Bike Tune-Up?

What Tools Do I Require For Removing Bicycle Pedals?

Removing pedals can be simplified by employing the right tools. The majority of pedals can be put on and taken off with a 15mm spanner or an 8mm Allen key. 

Look at the spindle between the pedal body and crank arm to see what you need for your pedals. You can remove the pedal by slipping a 15mm spanner onto those grooves if the spindle has flat sides.

The spindle is located between the crank arm and pedal, and an adjustable wrench’s jaws are most likely too large to fit there. 

Whatever the case, you’ll need a specialized 15mm wrench to get a tight fit with the spindle and exert enough force—adjustable wrenches have a tendency to come off when under a lot of pressure.

If the spindle is rounded, look for a hexagonal socket at the end of the spindle, and then use an 8mm Allen (hex) key to turn it. Both tools can be used to remove some pedals.

Difference Between a Bike’s Left Pedal and Right Pedal

The right pedal is standard-threaded and is mounted to the side of the drivetrain. This indicates that the pedal is turned clockwise to tighten it to the crank and counterclockwise to loosen it. The strange pedal is the left one. These pedals are reverse-threaded, installed by turning counter-clockwise, and removed by turning clockwise.

Although it might seem straightforward, the distinctions between the left and right pedals can easily confuse users. Installing the pedals on the correct side of the bike is crucial because the left and right have different thread directions.

A good way to remember this rule is that left pedals turn in reverse, just like left-handed people are far and few!

Pedals are frequently marked with an R or L somewhere on the spindle to aid you.

If it isn’t etched onto the spindle’s end, it might be stamped onto the pedal body or the spindle’s grooves.

Steps to Removing Bicycle Pedals And Installing the New Ones

Here’s how you can remove bicycle pedals and install the new ones right away:

Step 1: Align Your Pedals

Some people find it more convenient and effective to prop their bikes up on a bike stand when taking the pedals off. It also makes the crank’s rotation on its axle more efficient.

It would be best to place the pedal’s crank arm so that you have leverage and easy access.

Step 2: Remove the Current Pedals

Locate the flat or flats on the pedal’s spindle, and then use a pedal wrench to loosen it up. 

Some pedals also have a clip that needs to be taken off. Alternatively, you can put an Allen or hex wrench into the port on the inside of the crank arm.

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If you want to remove the left pedal, turn the Allen wrench clockwise to the right; if you want to remove the right pedal, turn it counterclockwise to the left.

To loosen the spindle, you might need to use the crank arm as leverage.

Rotate the spindle until the pedal detaches from the crank arm. The other pedal on the other side should then be used in the same way. This process is used to remove bike pedals methodically.

Step 3: Properly Inspect Your New Bike Pedals

Look for the engraved letters “R” and “L” on the right and left pedals when you remove the brand-new pedal set from its packaging. The right and left pedals are indicated by these markings, respectively.

If you are unable to see these clues, you can look at the spindle’s threading.

A right pedal will always have a right-up threading orientation, while a left pedal will always have leftward threading.

Step 4: Lubricate Your Pedal Spindle Before Installing

The majority of pedal producers lubricate their goods before packaging. However, it is advised to use bike grease on the threading of the pedals before mounting them.

The new pedals will operate at their best mechanical efficiency if the pedal threads are adequately lubricated.

I suggest a specialized bike lube if you are unsure of which lubricant would be best for the threads on your pedals.

In addition to having excellent anti-corrosion properties, this product also safeguards the pedal threads. 

It also has exceptional shear strength to withstand the forces of continuous pedaling.

Step 5: Install Your New Bike Pedals

The correct pedal must then be inserted into the corresponding crank arm’s hole to complete the replacement of a bike pedal. The spindle must always be inserted at a 90-degree angle.

Remember that a spindle marked “R” connects to the right crank arm, and a pedal marked “L” to the left.

Put your Allen key or hex wrench into the crank arm port. If your bicycle lacks a port, you can tighten the pedal spindle flats with a pedal wrench.

If you are tightening the left pedal, move your wrench to the left (anticlockwise). If you are tightening the right pedal, turn the pedal wrench to the right (clockwise). Make sure the fit is snug.

To prevent over-tightening of the spindle, use caution when using the wrench. You risk stripping or harming the thread if it is too tight. 

If it’s loose, you run the risk of losing your pedal in mid-ride. You might want to verify the proper torque of the pedal.

If you are unable to locate manufacturer-recommended torque settings, turn the spindle an additional 1/8 of a turn with your wrench to ensure proper fastening.

Step 6: Ensure Proper Installation

Evaluation of one’s work is a crucial step in successful bike pedal removal and replacement.

To make sure they are firmly seated in the crank arms, try wriggling them. As you turn it on, pay attention to any creaking or squeaking sounds. You might want to repeat Step 2 if you hear any.

Use an Allen wrench, hex wrench, or pedal wrench to loosen them, and lubricate the pedal threads with additional bike grease.

You can always bring it to a professional if you are dissatisfied with the results. While turning the pedals with a wrench, a mechanic can check again and assess other mechanical issues.

Step 7: Test Ride Your New Pedals

Take a ride to evaluate the general pedal operation. Use your normal speed, and then try going faster. Recognize and listen to the slightest sounds and wobble around your feet.

If you feel anything is off, immediately step down from your bike. Make adjustments accordingly.

Do not try to ride your bicycle with loose pedals. It can lead to accidents.

» Read my blog post about: How to Turn a Bicycle Into a Stationary Bike?

Why Is It Important to Know How to Install and Remove Bike Pedals?

Although changing pedals may not be necessary very often for some people, it is a skill that should be mastered if you frequently travel with your bike or switch pedals between bikes.

Instead of always relying on a bike mechanic, it would be ideal to learn how to replace the pedals yourself and saving the money you would pay to a mechanic.

For example, if you frequently cross-country with your bicycle and often travel long distances, spanning different terrains, you would need to swap out your pedals at some point.

One, you won’t have to specifically look for a bike shop in every city or locality you visit, saving yourself precious time if you know how to remove and install a bike pedal yourself. Two, you would be saving the money you would pay for the pedal replacement service.

Plus, there is the fact that you may or may not find a bike shop that specializes in changing your bike pedals when and where you require it.

When Should I Replace My Bike Pedals?

If your pedals are so worn-out that you can hear squeaking noises with every turn of the crank, or perhaps they appear to be already dated, then it is a sign for you to start thinking about pedal replacement to avoid accidents.

Furthermore, noisy pedals can be caused by a variety of factors, such as worn bearings and loose axles. While it may be tempting to replace these components individually, it is more practical to do away with the bike pedals entirely.

Though it is always good to take note of your budget as new bike pedals are costly.

Tip: Replace pedals only if your budget permits.

Measures to Take While Installing and Using Bike Pedals

Here are some tips that will help you use and install bike pedals like a breeze:

  • Make sure you wear proper gloves when doing a pedal replacement for your bike. Apart from preventing grease and dirt from getting to your hands, it will also prevent your fingers and palms from getting scratched.
  • Put a washer between the crank arm and the pedal if your crank arms are carbon-based. With this, the crank arm and pedal spindle won’t become increasingly tight.
  • Pedals need to be serviced, just like every other component of your bike, to make sure they are smooth and operating at their best. 
  • Have them checked at least once every six to twelve months. This will serve as a good reminder to remove them and re-grease them.
  • Always use the right tools to disassemble, replace and assemble your bike pedals. Not doing so can cause harm to your hands. It can also make the process of pedal replacement even more difficult.
  • If you are unsure about something, do not force yourself to attempt it. Seek a professional, either by looking one up online or by visiting your nearest bike repair shop.
  • Attempt to maintain your hand on the top of the wrench as well. This provides additional safety in the event of an accident by keeping the wrench away from your chainrings and between your hand and them.

Safety advice: If your bike has multiple chainrings, shift onto the largest one before attempting to loosen the pedals. Doing this can prevent your hand from slamming into the chainring teeth if you slip while working on the pedals. 

Conclusion

Every rider must be able to take the pedals off and put them back on. Removing obtrusive noises and preserving optimal pedal function makes biking safer and more comfortable.

Do not be daunted by the fact that pedal replacement can be messy and full of hassles. Once you gain enough practice, you will find yourself removing and changing bike pedals as easy as wearing gloves.

No doubt installing the right pedals at the right time will increase your comfort, pleasure, and riding experience in the long run.

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