Have you ever removed the bicycle pedals from your bicycle for any reason whatsoever? Maybe it was because the pedals were worn smooth, with minimal thread left on them to allow for a solid grip with your sneaker. Perhaps it was simply because you discovered a fascinating off-road trail that was surrounded by mud and rough patches so now your bicycle pedals are somewhere under the muck. Could be simply that you are storing your bicycle away for the season and don’t want the rubber of the pedals to be exposed to any harmful elements.
There could be a number of reasons for wanting or needing to remove your bicycle pedals but how exactly do you do it? It is a task that will take time and patience, especially if there is cleaning or repairing the pedals involved. So it would be best to have a set plan in place and a set of instructions for how to remove bicycle pedals, wouldn’t it?
Why Remove Your Bicycle Pedals?
You may be thinking, why would I ever want to remove my bicycle pedals? They are a necessary part of the bicycle because without them, it is impossible to ride or maneuver it. There are actually a few reasons that one may be pushed to remove the pedals of their bicycle and it could include but not limited to the following:
- The pedals are stuck or clogged with muck, dirt, and debris which leads to an uneven surface for the foot. If the foot of the rider cannot rest properly on the pedal of the bicycle, the chance of injury is higher and there is more risk involved in using the bicycle.
- The rubber on the pedals could be worn smooth, leaving no thread or grip for the rider’s foot. If their foot happens to slip off the pedal, control over the bicycle is lost and they can injure themselves or veer into other riders.
What You Will Need
To remove your bicycle pedals on your own at home, the following should be available or easily accessible to make it a smooth DIY project without any stress or fuss:
- A large open space to work comfortably and move around without any obstacles
- Old rags or shop towels for messy situations and drying
- Long-handled Allen key wrench
- Pedal wrench (available at any bicycle repair shop or hardware store)
- Lubricating bicycle pedal spray
- Cleaning solution
Any of the above supplies, tools, or equipment should be available at your local hardware store or a bicycle repair shop in the event that you do not have them in your garage or bike tool kit.
Step-by-Step Removing Bicycle Pedals
Now that all the supplies and equipment have been gathered together, it is time to remove the bicycle pedals from your bike and perform your own maintenance or repair!
To fully remove the bicycle pedals, you need to:
Position the bicycle in an upright position in an open area with something bracing the frame on the opposite side of where you are working
Determine if your bicycle has wrench flats or the Allen key mechanism. This will choose if you use a pedal wrench or the long-handled Allen key.
If your bicycle has wrench flats, start with the right side of the bicycle and place pedal wrench on the flats and begin twisting in a counterclockwise motion to loosen the screws holding the pedal in place.
Once the pedal is removed from the bicycle, turn the bicycle to the opposite side to access the left side and the left pedal.
If your bicycle has wrench flats, place the pedal wrench in the flats and begin twisting in a clockwise rotation to remove the left pedal (the counterclockwise motion will not work as the threads are reversed from the removal of the right pedal).
Ensure the direction of the wrench (Allen key) are the correct way, as the opposite can cause you to tighten the pedal and strip the threading on the inside of the screws holding the pedal in place.
Now that both pedals are removed, you can easily clean them or discard them if they need to be replaced.
If you are cleaning your pedals, soak them in warm water with a cleaning solution added to remove built-up grease or dirt that can cause issues in the long-term. Use a scrub brush if needed for stubborn areas or simply wash the pedals with an old rag.
Allow for the pedals to fully dry before re-installing them on the bicycle.
Once you are ready to re-install your bicycle pedals or you are installing brand-new models, you will need your Allen key or pedal wrench as described above.
To re-install the bicycle pedals, choose the corresponding tool (pedal wrench or Allen key) and start with the right side of the bicycle.
Ensure you have the right-side pedal (most are marked with R for right and L for left) and line up the pedal with the crank arm threads.
Start threading the pedal by hand back onto the threads, using a clockwise motion. Once the pedal is tight enough to not fall off once you remove your hands, then it’s time to start the left side.
Take the left side pedal and line it up with the threads of the crank arm to prevent cross threading. Using your hands only, start with a counterclockwise motion to tighten the left pedal onto the bicycle.
Once both pedals are tight on the bicycle in the proper position, use the corresponding tool (Allen key or pedal wrench) to finish tightening the pedals to the correct level to ensure they will not fall off the first time you take them on the trails.
Clean up your workstation and you are done!
We have just discovered and discussed not only why it is important to remove your bicycle pedals during certain times or incidents but also how to do it yourself without having to bring your bicycle to an expensive service shop! With a bit of time and effort, you can easily remove your bicycle pedals at home for a cleanup job or total replacement. Once those bicycle pedals are cleaned and ready to ride, so are you! Hit those trails and enjoy being one with nature.And if you need more of a visual tutorial, here’s a great Youtube video on how to change and replace bike pedals.