This article I’m going to demonstrate how to change the petals on a bike. Pedals come in many different shapes and sizes but the method for removing them is virtually the same for all pedals.
The most important thing to keep in mind is that left and right pedals are not the same out of first glance these two petals might look identical but if you take a closer look, you’ll see that one is labeled L and the other is labeled R.
Tools to Need
Tools you’ll need for this job, you have needed a specialist wrench like a spanner, as people call it in the UK, specifically for taking pedals off.
Then you’ve needed an Allen key fitting, generally, it’s an 8-millimeter Allen key, sometimes it’s a 6mm.
If you haven’t gotten the proper tools for some basic pedals, you can just use a plain 15-millimeter wrench or spanner.
Doing this job though is a pedal wrench like a spanner which is specifically designed for doing this job as you can see this one is sized for 50 millimeters but this wrench is significantly longer than a conventional 50-millimeter wrench.
Which makes it easier for applying high amounts of torque for pedals which are really badly stuck this wrench also has three sets of jaws.
This gives you several different options of different angles that you can position the wrench on to the pedal which allows you to find the best position to optimize it so that you’re able to use your body weight and gravity to apply the force.
Removing the Pedals
Remove From Non-Drive Side
Starting with the non-drive side, it’s easiest to have the crank facing downwards and your Allen key pointing towards the rear of the bike.
We’ve got it on a stand here, and that way you just need to push down the Allen key, prevent the crank from moving forward, and it should come loose.
Once you’ve got it loose, it should be relatively easy. You can put the long end and put the Allen key in and just quickly turn it like that. Hold the other side of the pedal and it comes off.
Remove from Drive Side
Coming over to the drive side, again, put the crank so that it’s facing down towards the ground, put your Allen key in. That’s facing backward and push down with a little bit of force then you should be able to release it. The long end of the Allen key and again, turn it until it comes out.
Removing Pedals Using A Spinner or Wrench
Now, for the purposes of this article, I put some very basic pedals onto our top-end row bike to show you how to remove pedals by using the specialist spanner or wrench.
In this situation, it’s slightly easier if you put the non-drive side crank facing forward and get your wrench so that it’s about that angle there.
And with this type of pedal, once it’s initially loose, you should be able to do the rest of it just by hand.
Same for the drive side. Place the crank so that it’s facing forwards, the spanner is facing the rear of the bike, and push down until the pedal releases.
I’ve got basic pedals like this which look very similar. Normally, the way you can tell which side each one goes on is because it’s marked on the very inside of the pedal axel, left on one, right on the other, marked with “L” and “R”.
On the drive side, screw it in by hand by turning it clockwise to tighten.
Then get the cranks at an angle so that you can engage your spanner so that it’s facing forward towards the front of the bike and then push down until it’s adequately tight. It’s very important to get your hand into a place that if you slip, it’s not going to go anywhere near the sharp chainrings.
Over to the non-drive side, again, tighten initially by hand and put the cranks so it’s facing of the rear bike and the spanner so it’s facing the front and push down until it’s tight.
Replace the Pedals
Before you replace your pedals, make sure that the threads are clean, both on the pedals and inside the cranks. And then put some high-quality grease on the threads, and you’re ready to get going.
Just put it so that it’s roughly in the right position on the crank. Put your Allen key on the other side, and you want to turn it clockwise on this side of the crank where your Allen key is turning anti-clockwise on the drive side.
Do it until it engages, and it should be very easy to get it almost tight just by spinning the Allen key.
Once you’ve got it as tight as you can that way, put the Allen key on the long side, this time the Allen key is facing to the front part of the bike, and, again, you put your weight on it to make sure it’s tight.
Back to the non-drive side again, put some grease on the thread, place it up against the crank, so that it’s roughly in the right position, put your Allen key on the other side, and on the side of the pedals, you’ll be turning it anti-clockwise on the drive side. The Allen key itself will be turning clockwise.
Once it’s most of the way in, put the Allen key the other way around, facing forwards, put some weight on it, and that will be tight.
Some Tricky Technique for pedals off
In Some cases, this will work easily but a lot of the time these pedals get pretty tightly stuck on there and you need to be a little bit more strategic about how you’re applying your force.
So, when your pedals particularly tight then you are going to try repositioning your crank and there’s a maybe a little bit beyond the front of your pedal stroke.
You need to place your wrench with one hand to press on the pedal and on the other hand you need to press down on and you need to use your body weight to help apply the force for taking the pedal off.
If you tried it and it doesn’t work and your pedal is still really badly stuck on there as a last resort you can try doing the same thing except applying the forces with your feet instead.
So, you can place one foot on the pedal and then balance on the bike and apply force with your other foot onto the wrench like that so after the pedal.
Now, the reason that people sometimes get a little bit confused with this job because both sides of the pedals are not threaded in the same way.
They’re actually designed so that when you pedal, they’re in fact trying to lose themselves away, because if it was the other way around.
You would never manage to get your pedals off. So, the drive side crank, which is where the chainrings are that unscrews in a conventional manner, so anti-clockwise.
Whereas the non-drive side crank, you actually turn it clockwise to undo it. A good way to remember it is if you attach the wrench or the Allen key to the pedals as you turn the cranks in the normal direction, it’ll be trying to lose them as you hold it in place.
Steve J. Robin is the Senior Mountain Bike Review Editor at Outdoorxsports. Steve has lived in Heron Way, Milwaukie for 15 years. Steve earned his Bachelor’s degree at the University of Wisconsin Milwaukee, which has extensive biking training facilities, he had taken up biking seriously as a teenager and later became obsessed with mountain biking. He is an obsessive mountain bike racer and rubbed shoulders with the bike and that he rides with, riding is so much more than a hobby for him with a mild addiction to Endomondo. On September 21, 2015, he released a five-and-a-half-minute mountain biking’s video on YouTube that was to change his biking life. The video got a few thousands of views overnight as of today– the world went crazy for Steve. Since the video went viral, things changed fast; Steve found himself featured in MTB-MAG, joined a production as a stunt man.