How to Remove Bike Pedals

From time to time, you may have the need to swap out your bike pedals. This may be due to damage, personal preferences, or the type of riding that you plan to do for that day. You might even need to remove them if you’re packing your bike into a case or bag.

It’s an important component of routine bicycle maintenance, especially if you travel long distances with your bike, so this skill is a “must have” in your arsenal. You’re going to need these tools:

  • A 15-millimeter pedal wrench.
  • An Allen wrench or key in the proper size – usually 8mm.
  • Penetrating fluid.

Before you get started, you’ll want to spray a little of the penetrating fluid on your pedal bolts. If you can’t remember the last time you took the pedals off, you may need to wait 5-15 minutes for the penetrating fluid to work.

Then you’re ready to start making turns on the bolt. If you’re getting some movement, but it is difficult, try exposing a few of the threads and then spraying more penetrating fluid to create easier movement. Continue repeating until the pedals are free.

Remember: if the thread is dry or corroded and you force things, you could damage the pedal.

Here are some more tips for you to consider when you need to know how to removal bike pedals.

Tip #1: Put your chain onto the largest ring. If your bicycle has a chain, then placing it on the largest ring will help to protect yourself from an injury during this process.

Tip #2: Remember that the left spindle is different. When removing the bolt (spindle) for the pedal, it is important to remember that the right pedal is different from the left pedal. The left pedal spindle is reverse-threaded, which means you’ll need to turn your wrench or key in a clockwise direction. On the right pedal, you’ll need to turn the wrench or key in the regular counter-clockwise movement.

Most bicycle pedals have a “R” and “L” placed on them so that you know what movement will be required. Every so often, you’ll find an assembled bike where the pedals have been reversed. Although this is frustrating, all you need to do is reverse the instructions offered in this tip.

Tip #3: Left-hand threads slope upwards to the left. If you’re not sure about which direction to turn your wrench or key because there are not any markings and nothing seems to be working, then look at the actual threads on the spindle or bolt. The left-hand threads slope upwards to the left, while the right-hand threads go to the right. This will allow you to identify which pedal you have, even if it is on the wrong side of the bike for some reason.

Tip #4: Mount your bike on a repair stand. If you are using a kickstand for your bike only, then you can damage the bike pretty severely is something goes wrong when trying to remove a pedal. Always use a repair stand or something similar. This will also help to protect you if you need to move the chain and protects you against cuts.

Tip #5: Rotate the bike pedals to a comfortable position before beginning. Every person has a natural comfort spot when it comes to removing bike pedals. With the back tire up in the air, rotate the pedals until you reach that comfortable spot. Try different positions to see what works best for you.

You’ll want to make sure that your crank arm and wrench for an angle of 90 degrees or less so that you have the most possible leverage. This will help a lot if you have bike pedals that are particularly stubborn for you. It may also be helpful to grab the opposite crank for a second lever for extra stability, but do not force the removal process.

Tip #6: Take care of your hardware. Once you’ve removed the bolt or spindle, set it aside in a safe location where it will not become lost. You may need to clean the threads or add grease to them so they will work properly when you attach the pedals later on. It is often a good idea to keep a separate bag or jar available for storing your hardware, especially if your bike is being packed up for some reason.

In many ways, knowing how to remove bike pedals is a pretty simple skill to develop. Find the bolt or spindle and then unscrew it. If that process is being stubborn, then these tips can help you out of a sticky situation.

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