Removal & Installation of Bicycle Pedals

by Raymond Parker on December 5, 2011

in Technical

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The Common Pedalshlüssel

The most common pedals have 9/16″ x 20 tpi threads.

Occasionally, you might run into pedal with ½” x 20 tpi, usually on old one-piece cranks.

Even older French cranks used a 14 mm x 1.25 mm thread. Unless you’re restoring an old “randonneuse,” you’re not likely to run into such a beast.

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9/16 Thread

Given the correct tool—15mm (rarely 9/16″) pedal wrench—pedal removal is one of the easiest jobs faced by Bicycle Repair Man … with one caveat: The left pedal is threaded “backwards.”

That is it goes against the rule that says, “if you want it tight, turn it right”—a dictum I just made up now.

The threads on the left pedal are “left-hand.” To loosen, the pedal spindle must be turned clockwise.

Why? To counter the tendency for the left pedal to unscrew itself, thereby transferring its former status to you.

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To Remove Left Pedal, Turn Spindle Clockwise

You may run into a left pedal that someone (not you) has made the mistake of trying to remove by wrenching with force in the wrong direction. These can take some elbow grease to remove.

Extra-long wrenches, such as the Park PW-4, are available to coax off seized pedals. Every bike shop worth its salt has one of these. For general home wrenching, something like the PW-3 or PW-5 should get the job done.

The drive side—where chainrings, chain, etc. live—follow the usual convention.

To remove the right pedal, turn the spindle counter-clockwise; to install, thread the pedal onto the crank arm in a clockwise (rightwards) direction.

For safety’s sake, when working on the drive-side, shift the chain onto the big ring to cover the razor-sharp teeth.

Before replacing pedals, lightly grease threads. Torque recommendations:

 Campagnolo 40 Nm  354 in lbs
 Speedplay  28.2 Nm  250 in lbs
 Shimano  35 Nm  304 in lbs


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