How to Remove Bike Pedals: A Complete Guide for Beginners

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So, you’ve decided it’s time to remove your bike pedals. Maybe you want to replace them with a new set, or perhaps you just need to give them a good cleaning. Whatever the reason, knowing how to remove bike pedals is an essential skill for any cyclist. In this guide, we’ll walk you through the step-by-step process of removing bike pedals, so you can tackle this task with confidence.

What You Need to Remove Bike Pedals

Removing bike pedals may seem like a daunting task, but with the right tools and materials, you can easily tackle this job. Here’s what you’ll need to get started:

1. Pedal wrench or adjustable wrench: A pedal wrench is specifically designed for removing bike pedals and provides a better grip. However, if you don’t have one, an adjustable wrench can also do the trick.

2. Hex key or Allen wrench (optional): Depending on the type of pedals you have, you may need a hex key or Allen wrench. Some pedals have a hexagonal fitting on the spindle that requires a corresponding tool for removal. Check your pedals to see if you need this tool.

3. Grease or anti-seize compound: Applying a small amount of grease or anti-seize compound to the pedal threads before installation can help prevent them from seizing or becoming difficult to remove in the future.

4. Rag or paper towel: Keeping a rag or paper towel handy is always a good idea to wipe away any excess grease or dirt from the pedal threads.

5. Gloves (optional): If you want to protect your hands from grease or potential scratches, wearing gloves can be beneficial.

Remember, using the right tools and materials is crucial to avoid damaging the pedals or crank arms. Now, let’s move on to identifying the type of bike pedals you have.

How to Identify the Type of Bike Pedals

Bike pedals come in two main types: flat pedals and clipless pedals. Understanding the differences between these two types will help you determine the appropriate removal method.

1. Flat pedals: Flat pedals have a simple design with a flat surface that allows the rider to place their feet on them without any attachment. These pedals are commonly used for casual riding, mountain biking, or commuting.

2. Clipless pedals: Despite their name, clipless pedals actually involve clipping in. These pedals have a mechanism that locks the rider’s shoes to the pedals using cleats. Clipless pedals are popular among road cyclists and offer improved power transfer and efficiency.

To determine the type of wrench or hex key needed for pedal removal, examine the pedals closely. Flat pedals usually have a 15mm fitting, which can be removed with a pedal wrench or adjustable wrench. On the other hand, clipless pedals may require a hex key or Allen wrench to loosen the fastening bolt.

How to Determine the Pedal Removal Direction

Now that you have the right tools and know what type of pedals you have, it’s essential to understand the pedal removal direction. Bike pedals are threaded differently on each side of the bike, which means they have to be removed in opposite directions.

1. Right pedal: The right pedal is the one on the same side as the chain. To remove the right pedal, turn it clockwise to tighten and counterclockwise to loosen. Remember the phrase “righty tighty, lefty loosey” to help you remember the direction.

2. Left pedal: The left pedal is on the opposite side of the chain. To remove the left pedal, turn it counterclockwise to tighten and clockwise to loosen. This is the opposite direction from the right pedal.

To further help you remember the correct pedal removal direction, think of the pedals as facing the front of the bike. Turn them towards the back of the bike to loosen them. You can also use the mnemonic “back off” to remind yourself to turn the pedals towards the back of the bike to loosen them.

How to Remove Bike Pedals Step by Step

Step 1: Position the Bike and the Wrench. Before you start removing the pedals, it’s important to position your bike and the wrench correctly to ensure optimal leverage and safety. Here’s how to do it:

1. Place the bike on a stable surface: Find a bike stand, a wall, or simply lay your bike on the floor. Make sure it is stable and won’t tip over while you’re working.

2. Shift the chain to the largest chainring: This step is crucial to protect your hands from the sharp teeth of the chainring. By shifting the chain to the largest chainring, you’ll create a safe distance between your hands and the potentially dangerous components.

3. Align the pedal and the crank arm horizontally: Take a look at the pedal and the crank arm. They should be aligned horizontally, parallel to the ground. This position will make it easier to apply force and remove the pedal.

4. Attach the wrench to the pedal spindle: The pedal spindle is the metal rod that connects the pedal to the crank arm. Place the wrench on the pedal spindle and make sure it is snug and secure.

5. Position the wrench at a 90-degree angle to the crank arm: Point the wrench towards the front of the bike and make sure it forms a 90-degree angle with the crank arm. This position will give you the leverage you need to remove the pedal.

Optional: If your clipless pedals have a hex socket on the inside of the spindle, instead of a wrench flat on the outside, follow these steps:

1. Insert the hex key or Allen wrench into the hex socket on the inside of the pedal spindle.

2. Rotate the hex key or Allen wrench counterclockwise to loosen the pedal.

3. Once the pedal is loose, continue rotating the hex key or Allen wrench until it is fully removed from the crank arm.

4. Repeat the process for the other pedal.

Step 2: Loosen the Pedal. Now that you have positioned the bike and the wrench correctly, it’s time to loosen the pedal. Follow these steps:

1. Hold the wrench and the crank arm: With one hand, hold the wrench firmly, and with the other hand, hold the crank arm. This will give you stability and control while applying force.

2. Push the wrench towards the back of the bike: Apply force to the wrench by pushing it towards the back of the bike. This motion follows the pedal removal direction. If the pedal is stuck or rusty, you can use your body weight or a rubber mallet to increase the force. Just be careful not to slip or injure yourself in the process.

Step 3: Unscrew the Pedal. Once you have loosened the pedal enough, it’s time to unscrew it completely. Here’s what you need to do:

1. Remove the wrench from the pedal spindle: Take the wrench off the pedal spindle and set it aside.

2. Rotate the pedal spindle by hand: Using your hand, rotate the pedal spindle in the same direction as before, until it comes off the crank arm. The pedal should unscrew easily now that it has been loosened.

3. Be careful not to drop the pedal or lose any washers or spacers: As you remove the pedal, pay attention to any washers or spacers that may be attached to it. Make sure they don’t fall off or get lost in the process.

Step 4: Repeat for the Other Pedal. Congratulations! You have successfully removed one pedal. Now, it’s time to repeat the same steps for the other pedal. Remember to reverse the pedal removal direction. Here’s what you need to do:

1. Move to the other side of the bike: Walk around to the other side of the bike and position yourself in front of the other pedal and crank arm.

2. Attach the wrench to the other pedal spindle: Just like before, attach the wrench to the other pedal spindle and position it at a 90-degree angle to the crank arm, pointing towards the front of the bike.

3. Push the wrench towards the back of the bike: Apply force to the wrench by pushing it towards the back of the bike, following the opposite pedal removal direction.

4. Loosen, unscrew, and remove the other pedal: Once the pedal is loose enough, remove the wrench and unscrew the pedal by hand, following the same steps as before.

Conclusion

Knowing how to remove bike pedals is an essential skill for any cyclist. Whether you need to replace them, clean them, or transport your bike, being able to remove your pedals is a fundamental part of bike maintenance. By following the steps outlined in this guide, you’ll be able to tackle this task with ease. So go ahead, give it a try, and keep on pedaling!

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AUTHOR

Randy Joycelyn

Randy is the founder and editor of Cycling Soigneur. He has been passionate about cycling since he was a kid. He has been riding bikes for over 10 years. Cycling has just become a part of life.

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