Identifying worn-out pedals

Pedals are often subject to a lot of abuse. Not only do they absorb energy from your body, but they’re low to the ground and away from the center of the bike, which means they’re often exposed to harsher conditions than the rest of the bike.

If you’re hearing creaking or grating sounds or noticing any general looseness when you rotate the pedals, they may need to be replaced. Be sure to isolate the sounds or looseness to the pedals and not the bottom bracket before you start spending money replacing parts.

Removing pedals

Pedals can sometimes be difficult to remove. They’re usually torqued pretty well because the pedaling motion gradually tightens the screws. If your pedals haven’t been removed for a while, or if not much grease was applied the last time they were installed, this may make it harder for you to remove them.

К-eep in mind that the threads for the left pedal (the left side as you’re sitting on the bicycle — usually the non-chainring side) is reversed. Both pedals loosen by moving the wrench toward the back of the bike, and both pedals tighten by moving toward the front of the bike. In other words, forward pedal motion tightens, and reverse pedal motion loosens.

Pedals are designed this way so that when you pedal, the thread doesn’t come loose.

Identifying worn-out pedals

The best way to remove a pedal is to use a pedal wrench, which allows you to get a firm fit on the wrench flats, as shown in Figure 13-1.

Follow these steps to remove your pedals:

1. Spray some penetrating oil into the pedal where the threads are screwed into the cranks.

Allow the oil to work itself into the threads for a few minutes.

2. Rotate the crank arms into a three o’clock and nine o’clock position.

3. Using a pedal wrench, hold the crank arm steady, and unscrew the right pedal from the crank in a counterclockwise direction.

4. Repeat Step 3, except unscrew the left pedal in a clockwise direction.

If you have trouble loosening the pedals, here are some tips to try:

✓ Slide a piece of pipe over the end of the wrench (as shown in Figure 13-2), effectively extending the length of the wrench, which will give you more leverage and increase the amount of force you can apply.

Identifying worn-out pedals

Figure 13-1:

Using a pedal wrench to remove a pedal.

Identifying worn-out pedals

✓ Remove the crank arm and then secure it with a vise. In this manner, you won’t have to worry about the crank arms moving while you try to loosen the pedal. Place a soft cloth around the crank arm so you don’t damage or scratch it.


Identifying worn-out pedals

Be careful when trying to free a tight pedal. It’s very easy for the wrench, the crankarm, or your hand to slip while you’re applying force, which could cause you to smack your hand or arm against your bike. Wear a pair of work gloves to save your knuckles from being scuffed up on the chainrings.