How to Change Bike Pedals Quickly and Easily: 3 Pro Tips

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Your bicycle pedals are a critical component of your bicycle. The pedals are where you apply force, and it's important for safety and efficient operation that your pedals are in good working order and correctly installed. Many bicycles arrive without the pedals installed, so you will need to install them prior to operation. You may also wish to remove your pedals to pack for travel or storage. Installing or removing pedals is a simple process which does not require a professional mechanic. In this article we will provide an overview on how to change bike pedals.

How to Change Bike Pedals

Bikehand Repacked Bicycle Bike Pedal Wrench

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Anyone can learn how to change bike pedals. The job requires minimal specialized tools. If you have a bicycle stand the operation is easier, but you can also change your pedals without a stand. Bicycle pedals are unique in that the left pedal is reverse threaded and loosens when turned clockwise. This can cause some confusion for mechanically inclined people conditioned to loosening a screw by turning it counterclockwise. The reason one bicycle pedal is reverse threaded is to prevent it from becoming loose by the action of forward pedaling.

What you will need in order to change bike pedals:

  • Pedal wrench
  • Allen wrench
  • Thread lubrication
  • Stand (optional)

Pedal Wrench

Bikehand Pedal Wrench

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A pedal wrench is the most useful tools for learning how to change bike pedals. Depending on the pedal, you can sometimes use a regular wrench or a crescent wrench. However, some pedals do not have a large space between the pedal and the crank. A pedal wrench has a very narrow head and a long handle to give you leverage. The opening is fifteen millimeters, which is the most common pedal size. Pedal wrenches are inexpensive and are a good purchase for anyone who works regularly on bicycles.

Allen Wrench

Some pedals loosen by an Allen bolt you can access through the crank. Some pedals have no wrench flat beside the crank and can only be tightened and loosened via the Allen bolt. Other pedals have both a wrench flat and an Allen bolt to provide multiple leverage access points.

Wiha 66992 MagicRing Ball End Hex L-Key Set

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Thread Lubrication

It is important to apply thread lubrication or grease to your pedal threads before you install the pedals onto your bicycle. The lubrication prevents the pedal from rusting into place and makes it easier to remove them in the future.

Stand

Ibera Easy Utility Bicycle Stand

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Bicycle stands are useful for basic maintenance. A stand allows you to spin the bicycle wheel so you can loosen the pedal by securing the wrench flat and spinning the crank. If you do not have a stand, it is possible to change a pedal by leaning your bicycle up against a wall. It is useful to have an assistant to hold the bicycle to ensure it doesn't fall and injure you.

Pedal Installation and Removal

The procedure for how to change a bike pedal is easy to master. The only potential area of difficulty is if the threads have become rusted and a pedal is frozen in place. Installing and removing pedals on a new bicycle is a good way to learn the concept of how to change a bike pedal. Once you have practiced on a new bicycle, you should have greater success working on old or rusty bicycles in need of maintenance.

The three tips you need to know are in regards to:

Installation

Removal

Safety Concerns

When to Change Your Pedals

MKS FD-7 Folding Pedals

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There are many times when cyclists find they have to change their pedals. Pedals are subject to heavy usage and are vulnerable to picking up grit from the road. Pedals for mountain bicycles are more prone to picking up dirt than road bike pedals. If the bearings wear out in your pedal, the pedal could seize up and become dangerous. Always ensure that the pedal on your bicycle spins freely without grinding or jerky motion.

Removing pedals reduces the width of a bicycle and makes them easier to store. Removing the pedals is also helpful when shipping the bicycle, or when taking it on a trip. The most common reasons for changing a pedal are:

  • Pedal upgrades
  • Worn out pedals
  • Travel or storage
  • First installation on a new bicycle

Conclusion

Learning how to change bike pedals is a critical component of bicycle maintenance. The procedure is low risk and easy but it can become difficult if the threads of a pedal have rusted or fused into place. Always keep safety in mind when changing your bike pedals. Make sure that the chain is on the large chain ring in the front to give you some protection from the teeth on the gears. If your hand should slip off the wrench, you can suffer severe injuries if your hand impacts with the gear teeth.

By being mindful of your leverage positions and remembering that the left pedal is reverse threaded, you can change your pedals easily and safely. Remember to apply thread lube and tighten your pedals with a torque of approximately 34 Newton Meters before riding. Properly maintained and installed bicycle pedals ensure you will have a safe and enjoyable ride.

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