How To Change The Pedals of Your Bike

You may need to replace the pedals on your bike for various reasons. The pedals are essential: they transmit your driving force. We explain everything about the transmission of the bike in our file. The pedals eventually wear out, especially entry-level plastic models that are often weak. The pedal bearings can jam or become loose and are not always adjustable or replaceable. Finally, you may simply wish to replace your pedals with a model more suited to your practice, for example, automatic pedals. 

In any case, changing the pedals of your bike is a very simple operation. It is enough to know a few tips that we will present to you.

How to distinguish the right pedal from the left pedal?

The first thing to know: the right pedal and the left pedal are never the same.  Sometimes you don’t see any difference between the two pedals. The pedal cage is often symmetrical on either side of the axle so that it seems to be able to be mounted either right or left.

Yet this is the first mistake to avoid. Indeed, there is at least one thing that differentiates the two pedals: they do not screw in the same direction. The right pedal is screwed to the right , that is to say clockwise which is the usual direction of tightening for a screw. On the other hand, the left pedal is screwed to the left , that is to say counterclockwise. It is therefore impossible to screw the left pedal onto the right crank, and vice versa. Unless you force and damage the thread of the pedal or the thread of the crank arm beyond repair. Why this difference? The thread of the pedal therefore always turns towards the front of the bicycle, and the left pedal does not risk loosening when pedaling.

There are several ways to distinguish a right pedal from a left pedal .

  • An indication on the pedal usually allows you to differentiate them. It may be a letter printed at the end of the axle: L or G for the left pedal; R or D for the right pedal. Otherwise, the left pedal has ridges on the rounded part where the axle is tightened.
  • If you do not see any indication, it will be necessary to observe the thread of the axis under a good light, and if possible with good eyes! The threads of the right pedal go up to the right, like those of a normal screw. The threads of the left pedal go up in reverse to the left.

How to remove a bicycle pedal from a crank?

Before mounting your new pair of pedals, you must first remove the bike pedals already in place. If you read the previous paragraphs correctly, you have already guessed what is most important to know: the direction of unscrewing.  The right pedal unscrews counterclockwise, like a conventional screw. The left pedal unscrews in a clockwise direction, which is normally the direction of tightening a screw.

Which tool to use to remove a bicycle pedal? This will depend on the pedal models, but we can distinguish two types of sockets.

  • Outer side of the crank  : there are generally two flats on the axle which allow a 15 mm open-end wrench to slide . For a better lever arm, we will preferably use a pedal wrench , specifically designed for this use. Some models have two different angles of attack, so you can always find the best grip regardless of the position of the pedal in relation to the crank.
  • Inside side of the crank  : to remove a racing bicycle pedal, it is often a hexagonal indentation at the end of the axle. We will therefore unscrew behind the pedal with an 8 mm Allen key .

What if the pedal gets stuck in the crank? This can happen when it has not been disassembled for a very long time. You can then apply penetrating oil or heat the crank with a hair dryer.

How to fit a new bicycle pedal?

If you’ve had trouble disassembling your old pedals, start by carefully inspecting the crank threads. If it is visibly damaged, follow our advice for retapping a bicycle crank .

After having thoroughly cleaned and degreased the crank thread, you are ready to fit your new pair of pedals. Apply a good coat of grease to prevent the pedal from seizing in the crank. This will facilitate subsequent disassembly. Do not hesitate to grease generously, the excess will come out and you will only have to clean it.

If you have correctly identified the right pedal and the left one, all you have to do is screw in the right direction (go up a few lines higher if you have any doubts!). Always start by screwing in by hand with the axis of the pedal perpendicular to the crank. The first threads must engage without forcing , otherwise there is a problem: either you have engaged the pedal askew, or the crank is damaged. Then complete the screwing using the appropriate tool. It must be screwed firmly , without forcing too much.

How to change road bike pedals when you ride with clipless pedals?  The procedure is the same, but you will usually need to use the 8mm hex key. In addition, a protective washer .

If you still have a bike pedal that unscrews or a bike pedal that moves, follow our advice to simply tighten the pedals of your bike .

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