The Simple Procedure to Use When Replacing Bike Pedals

Unless you do a lot of riding, you may never have to worry about wearing out your current set of pedals and having to replace them. I wouldn’t necessarily rely on that fact though since bike pedals do wear out. In their article how to replacing bicycle pedals, a quick and easy how to repair bicycles summary of what you need to do.

Want to know why I take such a keen interest in this topic; go to my Where It All Began page and find out.

Not Like the Rest

I have written a number of articles on removing bike pedals but they have all involved removing pedals with an Allen wrench as seen in Removing Bike Pedals Easily. A large majority of the clip in style road pedals (and some mountain bike styles as well) use an Allen wrench to get the pedals loosened and tightened.

Let’s discuss the procedures for removing the pedals on your typical platform type of pedals that require a wrench instead of an Allen key. The majority of the bikes that you buy from the big “Box Stores” as well as most of the entry level bikes will have the standard black hard rubber/plastic pedals installed on them.

A Wrench is a Wrench?

If you are not a full time bike mechanic, then you may not have all the tools that you need to perform some of these minor fixes and bike repairs yourself. In a lot of the cases, these specialty tools do make the job a bit easier but you can also substitute some for more common tools that you may have kicking around in your toolbox. The pedal wrench is just one of those tools.

To remove your pedals you could use a 15mm pedal wrench as shown below, or you can use any other type of wrench that you already own. As long as you can fit it onto the pedal for cranking purposes, then you should be good to go.

The pedal wrench is a nice tool to have because it comes with a long handle which really helps give you some good torque on pedals that have been overly tightened. Believe me, some of those pedals become very tight over time!

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How To Change Bike Pedal

One word of caution before you begin removing your bike pedals. I have said this once already but it is so important that I need to say it again. The direction of loosening for each pedal is different depending on which one you are working with (i.e. left versus right).

Right Pedal – the right hand side pedal will loosen as you might expect. To remove the pedal simply put your pedal wrench (or other wrench if you are using something different) on the slots of the pedal axle. Your wrench should fit quite tightly since you do not want to round out the axle of your pedal by having the wrench move as it turns.

With the wrench in place, turn the pedal axle counter-clockwise to loosen the pedal. It is always best to have your wrench on the pedal so that you can push down on the wrench to loosen (see the proper wrench position here). This gives you the maximum amount of torque on your pedal and wrench. Once loose, your pedal should just screw right off.

Left Pedal – This is the pedal that you will need to go against your instinct of loosening things the normal way. In order to avoid the potential scenario of a bike rider pedaling and having one of the pedals loosening as they spin their legs, the left pedal is always loosened clockwise and tightened counter-clockwise.

In order for this to be possible, the left pedal is always manufactured with a reverse thread whereas the right hand pedal will always come with a regular thread. So you might be asking yourself, “OK, how do I know which is the left pedal and which is the right”? Great question and easy answer; the pedals will always have some type of marking on them to identify which side it goes to.

There are a few ways that manufacturers do this; they may label the axle with an L or R or there may be a line indented around one of the pedals (typically the left) to indicate that this is the cross threaded one. It is always best to read the instructions that came with your pedals to see how your set has been marked.

Once again, set up your wrench so that you can apply the force downwards to loosen your pedal while you turn it clockwise.

Believe me when I say that remembering which way to loosen you pedal is by far the toughest part of the entire bike pedal removal process.

Grease Them After Removal

With both pedals removed, it is a good practice to apply a bit of grease to the axle of the next set of pedals that you are installing. The grease will help you tighten the pedal better, but more importantly will stop the pedal from seizing onto your bike crank arms which makes it oh so tough to get them off afterwards.

Pedal Removal School Is Out

So to re-iterate, removing bike pedals is simple as long as you remember that one all important rule; the left pedal is always reverse threaded. If you can remember this, than you should have no issues.

Have any of you ever removed your bike pedals? If so, tell me how it went and let’s share your story with the rest of our community. Until then, Ride Hard!

Robert Flaherty