How to Replace Mountain Bike Pedals – Remove & Install

Did your excitement for your new mountain bike just got spoiled by the realization that the pedals are not right? You must have been extremely frustrated and disappointed having to wait longer to get the pedals replaced; you haven’t even considered doing that yourself, have you? Maybe you did, but the challenge might be feeling like some daunting figure hovering over.

It is understandable, the task is certainly challenging, but also, you can totally do it with the necessary knowledge, don’t decide otherwise just yet. How do you figure that out now? To replace the mountain bike pedals, let this article lead you through the process. Keep reading to find out some helpful tricks and instructions on how to replace the mountain bike pedals.

How to Replace Mountain Bike Pedals

Replacing mountain bike pedals involves two different procedures, removing the prior installed pedals and then installing the new ones. Let’s delve into the details and steps of each of these procedures separately.

1. Removal of the Pedals

Using a Monkey Wrench or Pedal Wrench

  1. Start with mounting the bike in a repair stand and shifting the chain to the largest chainring to avoid the chances of getting cuts from the chainring.
  2. Rotate and position the bike at an angle where you can easily reach the right pedal.
  3. Fix the wrench on the part of the pedal where it is joined with the crank arm.
  4. While fixing the wrench, make sure you get the right mechanical advantage as the pedals are really tightly fixed. For that, the wrench and the crank arm should form an angle of 90 degrees or lesser, so position the wrench accordingly.
  5. For the right pedal (drive side), turn the wrench anticlockwise to unscrew it from the crank arm. You can also turn the crank to pedal forward. Keep pushing the wrench in that direction to loosen the pedal and remove it from the crank.
  6. Rotate the bike to reach the left pedal easily.
  7. Fix the wrench on the left pedal according to the same instructions mentioned above while removing the right pedal.
  8. Since the left pedal is reverse-threaded, push the wrench in the clockwise direction to remove it from the crank arm. Keep turning the wrench clockwise to loosen the pedal and remove it completely from the crank arm.

Using Hex Wrench

Some mountain bike models come with pedals that don’t utilize pedal or monkey wrench; rather they have an 8mm hex fitting at the back of the pedal thread. So you will need a hex wrench of the same measurement to remove and install those pedals.

  1. Rotate the bike at an angle where you can easily access the hex fitting at the inside of the crank, and have a good mechanical advantage as well.
  2. Fix the hex wrench in the hole at the inside of the crank arm and make its way into the hole in the pedal.
  3. Turn the hex wrench in an anticlockwise direction to loosen and remove the right pedal from the crank arm.
  4. For the left pedal, turn the hex in a clockwise direction and unscrew it.

While using the hex fitting on the pedal, the direction can be confusing. Since the hex is at the inside of the crank arm, the clockwise and anticlockwise direction can appear different while you turn the wrench. Be mindful of this; remember that the wrench is at the back of the pedal. Stand at the same side of the pedal, right side while removing the right pedal, left side while removing the left pedal. View from those angles and rotate the wrench accordingly.

2. Installation of the Pedals

Before installing the pedals, find the ‘R’ and ‘L’ stamped on the pedals’ spindle, which indicates on which side (Right or Left) of the bike that pedal is to be fixed. If there isn’t any such marking, there must be a groove cut on one of the pedals at the flange, indicating that that one is for the left side of the bike. So, be mindful of that and make sure that you have the side right because the pedals can be interchanged.

  1. Wipe and clean the pedal spindle and the hex hole at the inside of the crank arm. Then apply grease to the pedal spindle.
  2. Align the pedal spindle right with the hole in the crank arm at their side; the pedal should be parallel to the ground and at an angle of 90 degrees with the crank arm.
  3. Insert the pedal into the hole in the crank arm, twist to tighten it in. Threading the pedal should be easy; if you find it difficult, check if you have got the side right.
  4. Tighten the pedal into the crank arm with your hands as much as you can; then, it’s time to use the wrench.
  5. Place a pedal wrench or crescent wrench on the spindle flat, between the pedal and the crank arm. A hex wrench fixes into the hole at the back of the crank arm, making way into the hole in the pedal axle.
  6. To tighten the right pedal, turn the wrench clockwise to the right. To tighten the left pedal, turn the wrench anticlockwise to the left. Turning the crank arm of the respective pedal backward is a faster way of doing that while the wrench is fixed. Keep turning until the pedals are tightened enough.

While securing the pedals, tighten them as much as you can, but there’s no need to hurt yourself trying to conjure up all your strength. Since the pedals are reverse-threaded, they will tighten themselves as you ride. Although, before hitting the trails, don’t ever forget to check the pedals to make sure that they are completely secure. On the safe side, have the pedals checked by a mechanic and enjoy the ride once you’ve got the green signal.

Related MTB Guides: How to fix hydraulic brakes on MTB | Understanding Bike Gears

Final Words

Now that you are equipped with all the necessary knowledge about how to replace mountain bike pedals, the task shouldn’t be sounding so challenging. In this article, the task is broken down into two separate procedures with step-by-step instructions for each of these procedures. This division renders the entire task easy to understand, so hopefully, easy to do for you as well. So, take out the wrench and the pedals, and don’t let the challenge get in between you and your new mountain bike; get on with it!

Photo of author
Sonia Seale loves to take her bike to the mountains near her place, the bike track has provided her the opportunity to go mountain biking since she was a child. That's where she developed a great deal of interest in cycling, no matter if it's electric or mountain bike, she's all over the place and loves to fix her own bikes along with exploring the new features coming along in the industry. That's why she's here, sharing her experience and learnings with you guys.