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?
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About The Author
Kristen Bonkoski is the founder and owner of Femme Cyclist.
An avid cyclist for a few decades now, she took to cycling during her late teen years — a time when she needed something to help boost her self-esteem and confidence.
Mission accomplished, the sport has become an important part of her life. Kristen’s favorite disciplines are mountain biking and bike commuting, although you can also find her cranking out a century on her road bike and touring with her husband and son. If it has to do with two wheels, she enjoys doing it.
Kristen is a certified USA Cycling coach, and she runs Rascal Rides, a website about biking with kids.