How to Change Your Pedals

Owning a road bike comes with its share of maintenance. Pedals, thankfully, do not wear out or break easily, and replacing them is quite a rare event. They will eventually require replacement, especially if you want an upgrade. When that happens, don’t be caught off-guard. They are quite easy to replace. You should remember some very important tips to not damage the replacement pedals during the process. This is a simple guide that will take you through the process of changing pedals on your road bike.


Tools Required

Changing pedals of bikes requires only one tool. If you are using pedals from reputed brands such as Shimano, Look, Speedplay, or others, it is usually an 8mm Allen key. For most pedal types, an 8mm Allen key is required, except for some types that require a 6mm Allen key. Another exception are the flat pedals, which require either a pedal spanner.


Special Instruction

The two bike pedals are actually not exactly the same. The right and left pedals are threaded in the opposite direction. The right pedal has right-hand threads, which means that it screws in when rotated clockwise and screws out when rotated anti-clockwise. On the other hand, the left pedal has left-hand threads, with the anti-clockwise rotation screwing it in, and clockwise rotation screwing it out. This design element should be kept in mind when changing the pedals.


Step by Step Instructions

  1. You do not need a repair stand for changing pedals on a bike. On the contrary, keep it in its normal posture, and make sure that both the wheels stand on the ground firmly.

  3. Turn the crank until the crank arm on which you are changing the pedal is positioned such that you are able to hold the crank arm on the other side with your right hand for mechanical advantage. Note that you will be loosening the pedal with your left arm, while your right arm is firmly holding the crank arm on the other side of the crank.

  5. Use the Allen key or pedal spanner to loosen the pedal. You might often find the pedal in extremely tight position, and won’t budge. In that case, with the Allen key or spanner in its place, gently tap on the tool’s free end either using your palm or a mallet with a rubber end. In case of the left pedal, rotate it in the clockwise direction and in case of right pedal, rotate it in the anti-clockwise direction to loosen them up.

  7. Grease the threads of the new pedals thoroughly.

  9. Insert the pedal thread into the crank arm hole and rotate it. This time, the rotation should be in the opposite direction – for left pedal it should be anti-clockwise and for right pedal, clockwise.

  11. Care should be taken to not turn the pedal too tight. In fact, tighten the pedals first with bare hands, without exerting much force. Once it stops rotating, gently tap in the tightening direction to ensure that the pedals are secure. You are done.

The reason the pedals don’t need be tightened too much is because they become difficult to remove later, if the need arises. The opposite threading is designed that way to ensure that both the pedals tighten as they rotate on the crank arm during riding so there is no way they will fall off during your ride.

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