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Fitting a Pair of Pedals

Pedals are one of those bike parts that most people fit and forget. A little TLC will prevent creaks and corrosion.

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Your Guide on Pedal Maintenance

Pedals are one of those bike parts that most people fit and forget, only to find they’re stuck solid when they need to swap them for new ones or remove them for storage. But a little TLC goes a long way, and a quick clean — with a dab of dedicated bike grease on the threads — will keep creaks at bay and prevent corrosion. And you probably have the tools already..

TOOLS FOR THE JOB

Depending on your pedal type, you’ll either need a15mm pedal spanner, or a6mm or 8mm hex key. Long tools give much-needed leverage when pedals are tight. You’ll also need some grease to add before fitting. Most pedal ‘flats’ (the part of the axle near the thread)have ‘L’ or ‘R’ marks, to show which goes on which side.

REMOVE DRIVESIDE (RIGHT) PEDAL

There’s several methods to do this, but we’re keeping it ultra basic. With the crank arm pointing forward and slightly below horizontal, hold the pedal with your right hand and push the spanner down anti-clockwise – turning toward the rear of the bike to loosen. Some people favour shifting the chain onto the biggest chain ring to protect your knuckles if your hand slips.

REMOVE NON-DRIVESIDE (LEFT) PEDAL

The technique is exactly the same for the left pedal, but remember the thread runs in the opposite direction! To loosen, you’ll always be turning the tool toward the rear of the bike. Again position the crank arm pointing towards the front of the bike, this time more horizontal with the ground. Grip the pedal with your left hand and push the spanner down clockwise. Tighter threads need more welly!

CLEAN & GREASE THE THREADS

Once the pedals have been removed, use a rag to clean both the pedal thread and the crank arm thread. Once clean, take a small dab of bike grease and run it around all the threads. It’s such a simple and quick thing to do, but it will reduce annoying creaks, minimise corrosion and ensure your pedals don’t get stuck after weeks of wet riding.

FIT THE PEDALS BACK ON

It’s easiest to fit pedals by hand initially, to ensure the threads are properly engaged. Again the most important thing to remember is which way each pedal tightens. The pedal will always tighten toward the front of the bike. The right pedal tightens right (clockwise), while the left pedal tightens left (anti-clockwise). Use the spanner or hex key for the final few turns — but don’t overdo it!

FITTING/REMOVING USING ALLEN KEYS

For pedals with hex sockets the process is the same —though its usually easiest tackled from the rear (ie if you’re on the other side of the bike to the pedal you’re removing). Remember the pedal thread hasn’t changed, you’re just viewing it from a different position! Here push down to release the drive-side pedal in the correct direction.

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A man in casual clothing and a cap leaning against a fixie bike and smiling