​How To Change Bike Pedals - The easy Method

How To Change Bike Pedals

There are many reasons for wanting to remove your bike pedals according to the classic article written by Jim Langley.The most prevalent reasons are:

  • ​To switch pedals between bikes – I’ve done this numerous times when I was first upgrading to more expensive pedals. Instead of buying 2 sets, I would just keep transferring my current pair back and forth between the 2 bikes.
  • ​You are upgrading your pedals – Going from a pair of standard black platform ones to more purpose built clipless pedals.

Tools Required

You will first need to look at your current pedal setup to know what tool you will need for removal and install. A lot of the older pedals can be removed with a common adjustable wrench (since they have 2 flat areas on the pedal spindle for wrench attachment). If you have the money, you can also purchase a pedal wrench as well which makes the job that much easier. This type of tool is much nicer because they are larger which allows you to really torque the pedal off the bike.

Some pedals don’t have flat areas on the spindles but they do have allen wrench inserts on the spindle ends. Most people have a set of allen wrenches but unfortunately given their small size, it is very difficult to produce much torque. In this case you will have to be creative if your pedal is tight.

Direction of Removal – Important

This is where a lot of people get stuck. Pedals have been designed so that their threads actually tighten as you spin your bike cranks (or at least do not come loose). Just remember the following:

  • ​Right Pedal – loosens counterclockwise
  • ​Left Pedal – loosens clockwise

As you can see, the directions are opposite each other so be aware of this when you are removing the pedals (especially the left one since it is opposite to what we would typically do).

​Pedal Install

​Once you have the pedals removed, make sure that you put the correct pedal back onto your crank arms (i.e. the left hand pedal threading versus the right hand pedal threading). Most newer style pedals will have an R or an L on the pedal spindle itself to let you know which side the pedal should go on.

​If there is no indication of which side the pedal should go on, then pick one and try and start the threading process by hand. If it starts, great, you know you have the correct pedal. If not then you know that the pedal is meant for the opposite side.

​All in all, pedals are quite easy to remove and install as long as you remember the proper threading directions and you have the right tools for the job.

​The process does sound easy but I know I almost had to learn the hard way on my first set of pedal installs. Yes, I forgot about the opposite threading on the left side and almost stripped my left crank arm threads. Not cool!

​Anyone else run into this problem before? Any easy memory tricks that you use to remember which way to turn the threads? I’d love to hear about it.

Pedal Install
Robert Flaherty

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