You’ve decided to upgrade to some shiny, new, potentially bike-matched pedals, and you would like to tackle the intricate installation yourself.  Now you’re likely asking yourself something you may not admit to your cycling friends, “How do I loosen or tighten bike pedals?”  We can assure you that this will be easier than building Swedish furniture or attempting to install a new bottom bracket.  Prepare yourself for a few minutes of grease-filled fun and those new pedals will be ready to tackle the Alps (or the local 3-minute climb)!

Tools and Supplies

  • Pedal Wrench (15mm)
  • 6mm Allan wrench (some pedal models)
  • 8mm Allan wrench (some pedal models)
  • Grease for threads
Pedal threads are different on the left and right sides.  The right drive side pedal has a right-hand thread (removes counterclockwise, installs clockwise). The left, non-drive side pedal, has a left-hand thread (removes clockwise, installs counterclockwise). Many pedals are stamped “L” and “R” for left and right.
Popular mythology dictates that the Wright Brothers (arguably the inventors of the airplane. Unless you are un-American and believe that clearly, Richard Pearce was the first in flight) originated left-handed pedal threads to keep pedals from unscrewing while riding. It is a good practice to screw pedals in tightly after final fit adjustments. Pedal threads, like most component threads on a bicycle, should be lubricated lightly with grease.

DRIVE SIDE:

Tighten: Turn towards (over the top) the front wheel. Loosen: Turn towards (over the top) the back wheel.

NON-DRIVE SIDE:

Tighten: Turn towards (over the top) the front wheel. Loosen: Turn towards (over the top) the back wheel.

Tips and hints during installation or removal

  • Shift the chain to largest chainring to protect your knuckles against greasy abrasions, if the wrench were to accidentally slip.  This accident may or may not have happened to employees at BikeFit.
  • Try different wrench positions to gain a quality mechanical advantage between the wrench and crank arm. Pedals are often fastened very securely and can require some extra effort to remove. If possible, hold the opposite crank arm as another point of leverage.
  • Pour yourself an adult beverage of choice after completing the installation and removal.  Pre-pedal installation imbibing can result in potential injury, increased frustration, or futile questioning of the stalwart “lefty loosey, righty tighty.”

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