Need to remove the pedals off your bike (or put new ones on), but not sure how to do it?
No fear: this is one of the easiest bike “how to’s” out there. A few minutes, some simple tools, and a little elbow grease is all you need. We’ll walk you step-by-step through the process so that you’ll have your pedals off in no time.
- A pedal wrench* (preferred) or 8mm hex wrench*
- Bike grease* (if you’re installing new pedals or putting your pedals back on)
- 5 minutes or less
Step 1: Shift Your Bike to The Largest Chainring
Have a work stand? Mount your bike in the workstand to make life a little easier. Don’t have a work stand? That’s ok. Simply lean your bike against a wall, or better yet, have a friend hold it steady for you.
If you have several chain rings up front, shift to the largest one. If you have only one chain ring, you can skip this step.
All we’re trying to do here is avoid the chance that your hand or arm could slip and get cut on the big chainring. If your chain is covering the chainring, there’s an added element of protection.
Step 2: Use The Pedal Wrench or Hex Wrench to Loosen the Pedals
The easiest and most common way to remove bike pedals is with a pedal wrench. I’m going to first explain how to use it, and then I’ll explain removal using a hex wrench.
With the pedal wrench, place the wrench on the part of the pedal that screws into the crank arm. You want it so that the wrench and the crankarm are at 90 degrees or less. This will give you proper leverage.
Grip the opposite crank. If you are removing the right pedal, hold the left crank arm steady. Turn the wrench BACKWARD away from the handlebars and toward your saddle. This holds true for both the right and left pedals. The righty-tighty, lefty-loosey thing doesn’t work on pedals.
If you don’t have a pedal wrench, you can use an 8mm hex wrench (also called an Allen wrench). Put the shorter side of the wrench into the back of the pedal. FIRMLY grip the opposite crankarm. Again, you’ll want to turn the wrench toward the back of the bike, not toward the handlebars.
Whichever tool you’re using, give the pedal three or four turns into it is nice and loose.
Step 3: Unscrew the Pedals with your Fingers Until They Come Off
Once you’ve loosened the pedals, you can simply use your fingers to continue unscrewing them all of the way.
(Optional) Step 4: Grease the Pedal Threads and Install Them
Assuming you are putting the pedals on a different bike, or putting new pedals on the same bike, you’ll essentially reverse the instructions I just gave you.
BUT FIRST, make sure to lightly apply some bike grease onto the threads (the part that screws in). This will make it easier to take off the pedals the next time you need too.
Then, simply begin to screw the pedals into the crankarm. This time, you will want to turn the pedals FORWARD toward the handelbars to tighten.
Tighten as much as you can with your fingers and then tighten them using either a pedal wrench or an 8mm hex wrench.
Tada, You Did It!
Not too hard, right?
Visit our other how-to guides to learn even more bike maintenance skills.
3 thoughts on “How To Remove Bike Pedals”
There are many comments here suggesting MTB (SPD) pedals. I likewise use mountain bike pedals on my road bikes. I’m willing to suffer the slight weight penalty for the walkability benefit. I started with Speedplay Frogs, but switched several years ago to the newer Speedplay Syzr MTB pedals. They are two sided, offer a much better, more road pedal-like platform with firm contact, adjustable float and what feels to be better, more positive power transfer than other MTB pedals that depend upon the shoe’s rubber cleats for stabilization.
The left and right MTB pedal’s removal directions are different. It means that the drive-side pedal must be turned clockwise, while the non-drive side must be turned in the opposite—in a clockwise direction. In simple terms, turn your right pedal to the right, while the left is also rotated to the left.
In case the MTB pedals won’t come off, you can use the necessary spray lubricants when taking them off.