How to Remove Bike Pedals?

Many bikers hardly give any serious thought about their pedal. However, there comes a time when you’ll have to remove it to maybe install new flat pedals, upgrade it, or dismantle it for shipping purposes.

You don’t have to visit the local bike shop for the simple task of removing your bicycle pedals. I have proven tips for people who want to learn how to do it, even without the right set of equipment.

In removing bike pedals, it’s vital to note that the right and left pedals are significantly different (the pedal spindle threads, mostly).

The right-hand pedal (pedal spindle) comes with a right-handed thread. Installation for this is done clockwise (righty tighty) while removal is done in the counter-clockwise direction (lefty loosey).

The left side pedal (pedal spindle) comes with a left-hand thread. Removal for this involves clockwise movement, while installation involves an anticlockwise movement.

Also, take note of the orientation of the pedal threads. Typically, it will slope up towards the direction where it tightens.

The pedal axle or wrench flat could be marked with letters “L” and “R” to indicate the orientation.

To help you further, I have structured this article into several categories. Each handles the removal of the pedal in varying situations.

Here are the tools you’ll like need:

  • 15 mm open-ended pedal wrench
  • 8 mm hex wrench
  • Allen key or wrench
  • Adjustable torque wrench
  • A bike stand
  • Protective washers for your cranks
  • Bike grease for pedal installation

I recommend a long wrench to give you the needed leverage for the task.

How to Remove Bicycle Pedals

I assume you can differentiate the right pedal from the left one. This is vital as the left side (non-drive side or left crank) threads anti-clockwise and vice versa.

The following steps will guide you:

Step 1: Position your bicycle to make it secure and steady. If you have a kickstand, mount it on one.

Start from the largest chain lube if you have several ones. With this, the chances of injury are greatly reduced.

Step 2: Choose the best tools from your bike tool kit to unscrew your pedals. It could be a hex key, Allen key, or pedal wrench.

We advise a hex wrench as it works explicitly to help unscrew pedals. Their long levers provide enough clearance to screw easily without causing damage to the crank arms.

Ensure the Allen key or whichever tool you want to use has a firm grip on the socket.

Step 3: Rotate the crank arm to give easy access to the pedals. Now rotate the spindle to release the pedals.

Be mindful of the unscrewing direction. Left pedals screw in the left direction as they come with left-hand threads.

To unscrew this, turn in the clockwise direction. Note the orientation of the thread as it can guide you.

There’s a mechanical process known as precession, the process of pedaling puts a downward force on each pedal. This force turns to motion as the direction of spin is opposite to the crank arms, and this explains why a left pedal has left threads to prevent loosening and spinning off while cycling.

Step 4: Now, rotate the spindle till the pedal comes off. Do this for the other pedal and loosen it.

How to Remove a Pedal Without Pedal Wrench

In times of emergency when you have to accomplish pedal removal without wrenches, these steps can help you.

Step 1: Position your bike by facing the drive side, or the right side where you have the chain and chainset. Turn the crank arm to the 3-o’clock position.

Step 2: Put the wrench on the crank surface between the pedal and crank arm. Make sure it does not disturb other sensitive parts of the bike.

Step 3: Rotate the spanner in a counter-clockwise direction. Hold the brakes with your hand to get good leverage and push your feet down to the spanner. Be careful of injury at this stage.

Step 4: Now that you have loosened the pedal, rotate the spanner anticlockwise. This way, it will detach the side pedal from the bicycle.

Step 5: On removing the pedal, face the left side of your bicycle. In this position, you can also change the bicycle pedals.

Step 6: Position the crank arm by rotating in the 9 o’clock position. Align the pedal in a way that is parallel to the ground.

Step 7: Use a pedal wrench to align it with the crank arm, and push it with your foot. This way, it should rotate the pedal clockwise and loosen it.

How to Remove Pedals from a Trek Bike

When dealing with a trek bike, before you can remove and install pedals, 1 rule you have to remember is this: The left pedal comes with backward threads, and there are standard threads on the right pedal side.

This will prevent mistakes in the process.

Step 1: Stand over your bicycle and decide which is the right pedal or the left one.

Step 2: Push the pedal up to the top of the stroke. Put a 15 mm pedal wrench (Allen key or hex key, whichever you have) between the crank and the pedal.

Step 3: With your palm, hit the wrench enough to loosen the pedal. If you’re on the right side, move it anticlockwise and vice versa.

Step 4: If the pedals will not loosen up, hold the opposite crank arm and hit the wrench. This will loosen the right or left pedal.

Repeat the process for the other side till the pedals loosen up.

Step 5: You can unscrew the pedals with your fingers and remove it.

The Bottom Line

I’ve provided a comprehensive guide on how to remove the pedals from your bicycle. Above are different scenarios and how to remove your pedals in such instances.

With the right piece of equipment, you don’t need to visit your local shops for pedal removal. The steps here are pretty explanatory, so I’m confident it will be easy for you.