Pedals absorb and convert the energy generated by your legs into mechanical force that allows you to propel forward down the trail. Because it absorbs this energy from your body, the pedals are frequently subjected to a lot of wear and tear.
When servicing pedals, it can be difficult to break loose because of over-tightening, corrosion, or turning them in the wrong direction. Keep in mind that the right-side pedals remove with a counterclockwise rotation and the left-side pedals remove with a clockwise rotation. Another problem you may face when removing the pedals is that a lot of force may be required to remove the pedals. It will be unnecessarily difficult if the opposite crank arm’s leverage and other principles of mechanical advantage are not taken into account.
In this article, we talk about when to service bike pedals and how to remove and replace pedals using the greatest mechanical advantage, as well as discuss the differences between the left and the right pedals.
When To Service Bike Pedals?
Pedals are usually removed from the cranks to service the axle bearings, pack the bike for shipment, or change pedals. However, if you hear any sort of creaking, rattling, or grinding noises while pedaling, it’s likely time for a replacement.
There are four pedal conditions that indicate it’s time to service the pedals.
The first is simply the passage of time. Mountain bike pedals should be service every 6 months, and road bike pedals should be serviced yearly as preventative maintenance.
The second condition is when you hear or feel a maddening click with every complete revolution of the pedal or crank.
This could result from a loose bottom bracket cup, crank arm, or toe-clip bolt. If those parts are all tight and the click continues, then it’s probably something within the pedal bearings.
The last two conditions are easily detected with a simple inspection that you should perform regularly, either before or after every few rides.
Hold each pedal body with your fingertips while you rotate it around the crank arm. Slight roughness to the touch suggests that there may be dirt in the pedal bearings or they may be slightly out of adjustment.
The Tools You’ll Need To Service Bike Pedals
Before we discuss the steps to remove the pedals, let’s talk about the tools you’ll need for the job:
15mm Pedal Wrench or Pedal Spanner
Most pedals have narrow wrench flats on the pedal axles adjacent to the crank, which require a proper pedal wrench to remove. The common wrench size is 15mm.
Although pedal wrenches appear to be similar to cone wrenches, cone wrenches should not be used for the narrow wrench flats on a pedal. The reason is that pedals require much greater tightening torque than a cone wrench can deliver. Using the wrong wrench may damage both the pedal and wrench.
Long-Handled Hex Wrench (6mm or 8mm, depending on your bike)
A hex fitting at the end of the spindle behind the cranks may also be found on pedals. Use a long-handled hex wrench for removal and installation.
Repair Stand (optional)
To get optimum leverage, rotate the bicycle in a repair stand while working on pedals.
Differences Between The Right And Left Pedals
Pedals are commonly marked with an “R” on the right side pedal and an “L” on the left side pedal. The left pedal may also have “hash marks” on its spindle to signify distinction from the right. It is also possible to view the thread angle to determine which is the left threaded and right threaded pedal.
The right side (drive side) pedal uses a right-hand thread. The threads sloping up to the right indicate that it is a right-hand thread. It removes counter-clockwise and installs clockwise.
The left side (non-drive side) pedal uses a left-hand thread. The threads sloping up to the left indicate that it is a left-hand thread. It will remove clockwise and install counter-clockwise.
This thread difference prevents the pedals from rotating loose. As the pedal turns during riding, the bearings on the pedal body reverse the direction of load on the spindle.
How To Remove Bike Pedals?
The following steps, if followed faithfully, provide the greatest mechanical advantage, so that it is as easy as possible to break loose a pedal.
- Put the bike on a repair stand and shift the chain to the largest chainring
- Stand on the side of the bike where the pedal is to be removed, facing the rear of the bike
- Position the crank arm with pedal being removed pointing to the rear axle
- Reaching through or over the frame with the hand closest to the bike, grasp the end of the crank arm on the side that the pedal is not being removed.
- Put the pedal wrench on the pedal flats so that it is horizontal and pointing straight forward.
- Push down on the crank arm on the side where the pedal is not being removed and simultaneously pull up on the end of the pedal wrench until the pedal breaks free.
- Stand facing the pedal being removed. Grasp the pedal with one hand and grasp the wrench with the other hand and use both hands to turn the crank in the same direction that the crank rotates when pedaling the bike.
- Inspect for any pedal washer on crank or pedal spindle
- Repeat steps 1-8 on the other side of the bike to remove the second pedal.
Why Do Bike Pedals Get Stuck?
Pedals can sometimes be difficult to remove. They’re usually torqued pretty well because the pedaling motion gradually tightens the screws.
If your pedals haven’t been removed for a while, or if not much grease was applied the last time they were installed, this may make it harder for you to remove them.
When the problem is over-tightness or corrosion, applying penetrating oil, using a good wrench, and applying good leverage techniques are the only solutions. It will be overly difficult if the opposite crank arm’s leverage and other principles of mechanical advantage are not utilized.
How To Install New Bike Pedals?
Many pedals are marked with an L or an R to help you figure out which pedal should go on which side. You want to make sure you have the correct pedal because the left pedal tightens in a counterclockwise direction while the right pedal tightens in a clockwise direction. If you try to screw in the wrong pedal, you’ll damage the threads.
To install new pedals, follow these steps:
- Use a rag to wipe clean the threads on the pedal axle and inside the crankarm
- Apply grease to the threads of each pedal and install a pedal washer, if appropriate
- Stand facing the pedal being installed and facing the rear of the bike.
- Position the crank arm with the pedal being secured pointing to the rear axle.
- Reach through or over the frame with the hand closest to the bike, grasp the end of the crank arm on the side the pedal is not being secured.
- Put a wrench on the pedal flats in a way that it is horizontal and pointing straight forward.
- Pull up on the crank arm not having the pedal secured while pushing down simultaneously on the end of the pedal wrench.
- Use a rag to wipe excess grease away at the point where the pedal enters the crank arm.
- Repeat steps 1 through 8 to secure the other pedal.
The pedals are a crucial component of the bicycle. They provide an easy way to operate the bike, but they can be difficult to remove.
If you’re having a hard time with pedal removal, then it may be due to one of the factors we mentioned. Remember that the right pedal removes with a counterclockwise rotation and the left pedal removes with a clockwise rotation.
If you have trouble loosening the pedals, try using the leverage of the opposite crank arm and other principles of mechanical advantage. This will allow for a less strenuous removal process while still providing enough force to loosen stubborn pedals.
With these tips in mind, go forth confidently knowing that all is possible with some patience and ingenuity!