How to Remove and Install Bike Pedals?

For newbies, it is not easy to install or remove a pedal, considering that there might be some mistakes that could be made, which will lead to discouraging results. 

Worry no more because this article will help you learn how to install and remove your pedals.  

How to Remove Bike Pedal

Pedals are tricky things but not impossible to remove. Most bike pedals have either a flat edge or a hexagonal head that makes them easy to flip off with the application of the right tool — typically a bike pedal wrench.

Other pedals may require additional steps before you can remove them, such as loosening or removing the crank arm and chainring(s). Follow any directions specific for your particular pedal and try out this step guide on an old pedal that you don’t want anymore before moving onto your new ones!

1. Prepare the tools you will need.

You may need a 6mm Allen key, a 15mm open-ended wrench (some call it pedal spanner), or perhaps an 8mm Allen key, depending on the pedals you are using. Regardless of the tool needed, long-handled types would be better since they offer convenience and extra security.

It’s also necessary to prepare a hammer and a block of wood for the pedal. Don’t also forget to add an old pair of pliers for the axle. Pedal wrenches come in a variety of sizes, but the most standard size is 15mm. So you may want to get two of them: one extra just in case and a spare that’s already on hand.

2. Get started

Get all tools lined up and ready to go. Then start by hammering down the pedal’s axle with your block of wood: apply enough pressure to dent or penetrate the wood around it lightly, but don’t break it. It will allow you to take off the pedal by lifting on the axle.

3. Find the axle that holds the pedal in place.

The axle is usually a long bolt that usually has some pedal threads at one end and fits into a threaded hole at the other end, or it could be a rod with two nuts on either side of it. Find the hole that the axle fits into.

Usually, a hexagonal shape will be in the pedal hole. Remove that with your wrench or Allen key if so equipped and set it aside.

4. You may now remove the axle from the pedal if you like.

Sometimes, it’s best to leave it in place and remove the pedal entirely. If you do choose to remove the axle, don’t pull it out too far in case you need it later on!

5. Now, you’ll need to remove the nut or bolt that holds the pedal in place.

Maybe it uses a hexagonal bolt with a slot on one side of it. Do it through the wedge-shaped or flat end of the pedal wrench.

Please turn it on a flat surface (like your kitchen counter) and start to turn it counter-clockwise. It may take some force to get it started. Keep turning the pedal wrench until the bolt or nut comes loose and falls out of its hole.

6. Make sure that you position the wrench on a mechanical advantage (i.e., use an “open-ended” wrench and let the pedal wrench serve as additional leverage). ‘

If you use your own bicycle pedals, attach a ¼” – 18 bolt to the end of it, which will make reusing it easier when you need one.

7. Pull the pedal off (this may be a bit tricky).

Usually, there’s a hold-down strap for this, but if there is none, just give it a firm tug so that both sides snap off at once. If it sticks, try wiggling it in all directions or applying a bit more force. Once you’re free, take the pedal off and set it aside.

Before you take on this step, make sure you know what kind of pedal joint your bike has. If your bike uses a BSA (British Standard Arm) joint, the pedals are held in place by a ball-bearing assembly.

The axle is inserted into the side plate using an Allen key and moves within a circular groove around the wheel. The only tool to actually remove the side-plate is a standard 15mm pedal wrench. However, it’s possible to adjust this adjustment with more force for tighter or looser pedal fit than stock.

Now that you have removed the pedal successfully, here’s how to install it back.

How to Install Bike Pedal

Pedal installation seems a simple task, but actually, it’s a frustrating task. Pedal installation requires a bit of accuracy and special tools.  

You need an Allen wrench to unscrew the pedals and a pedal wrench to screw the pedals in. Second, you also need a touch of grease to make the process easier and smoother. Thirdly, you need to look at the directions on how to remove the pedal effectively.

Before doing any of this, remove all dirt, dust, or sand from your drivetrain, as these things can cause damage to your bike.

Getting Started

Start by determining which pedal is which. Identify the left and right pedals by checking the markings on the pedals themselves. 

More often than not, left-threaded pedals will be on the right crank arm and vice versa. However, threaded pedals are not exclusive to certain drivetrain setups. Many current bikes have both a left and right pedal design. 

Left threaded pedals will typically have a little tab or notch on the bottom of the pedal that will protrude to the left crank arm. Right-threaded pedals will often have a little tab or notch that protrudes to the right side of the crank arm.

The bicycle should be in a repair stand with the back wheel removed. The chain should also be removed from the bicycle to prevent it from getting caught when installing or removing the pedals. 

Follow below steps to install the pedals:

1. Heavily grease both mountain bike pedals. The bike grease will help to reduce slipping. 

2. Thread the pedal spindle into the pedal (if threaded). 

3. Thread the chain over the pedal spindle. 

4. Align the chain with a mark on the left side of the bicycle (the right crank arm). There is usually a small tab that should align directly with this mark. Make sure you tighten both gears enough that they do not fall off when pedaling.

Make sure not to over tighten, as this can cause damage to your crank and chainrings.

Important Note: When installing the pedals, make sure to skip over threading the pedal spindle if the chain is to be mounted on the other side. (On most bikes, it will be on the right side.)

You mustn’t cross-thread your pedals. This means that you do not install them with a left pedal spindle into a right-threaded crank arm and vice versa. This can damage your bike. 

5. Attach the chainring to the crank arm. 

6. If using bicycle pedals, push the pedal into place to flush against the crank arm and line up with a mark on top of the crank arm. Please do not use a wrench to install or remove these pedals as this can damage them. 

7. Install bicycle pedals onto mountain bike cranksets. Remember to keep both pedals on the left side of the bike. 

8. Attach mountain bike pedals to your bicycle. 

9. Thread a chain over the pedal spindle and crank arm, then mount the wheel to your bicycle’s frame. Your mountain bike pedals are now ready to ride!

P.S: If you install mountain bike pedals on your bicycle, make sure that you do so in a way that does not exceed the limit of how many teeth each cog has in its chainring stack.


How to remove bike pedals without a pedal wrench?

A wrench or a pedal wrench can be improvised from a pedal, an adjustable spanner, and a hammer. This setup is best suited for tight spaces and, combined with the hammering action, can make removing stubborn pedals easier.

Do all pedals fit all cranks?

According to Park Tool, yes – but with one caveat. It matters what type of crank arm you have. A 1/2″ x 20 thread size is the most common on modern bikes, but some companies are moving away from this standard to an 8mm x 1 metric thread size, which will require a different set of pedal threads. 

What size wrench do I need to change bike pedals?

The Allen screws are typically 5mm (size is different depending on the bike manufacturer) 12 point hexagonal. Certain types of bikes use different size hex bolts, so make sure to check what size you need before buying.

What can I use instead of a crank puller?

There is no viable alternative to the crank puller. However, you can try gently tapping out the crank bolt with a hammer or rubber mallet. It is not recommended as this could lead to damage to your cranks and other components.

How do you remove a stuck crankshaft?

A stuck crankshaft could be challenging to remove. Over time, dirt and corrosion can build up around the crank threads. First, make sure you use enough force when you turn the screw, so it doesn’t slip. 

In stubborn instances, press down with a mallet while continuing to turn the crank bolt counter-clockwise.

How do you remove stuck pedals with an Allen wrench?

For stuck bike pedals, apply some grease to the Allen screw. Next, take your Park Tool kit and insert it into the pedal threads. It should only go in about 1/4 inch before stopping, where it will be tight but not too tight, and you can then carefully turn the screw until it is loose.

Note: Sometimes, Park tools do not have an Allen key inside of them.

Word of Caution

Proper installation and removal of pedal systems are necessary to keep your bicycle safe. There may be parts of the bike that are damaged if you mishandle them during installation and removal. 

More often than not, the first several pedal removals and installations will come with a learning curve until you get used to the idea of how everything works. Don’t be afraid to experiment until you get the hang of it!

Seek help from a reputable bike shop if you encounter any problems during the installation and removal of your pedal systems.

Photo of author
Written By Robert Gibbons
From riding to school since the age of 13, attending BMX races and events with his dad to himself conquering 50+ trails across the globe. For Rob, his Giant Stance 29 2 2020 is the friend that makes everything better. He is also a proud member of the International Mountain Bicycling Association (IMBA).

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