Tool of the Week #6 – Pedal Wrenches


This week, we’re talking about pedal wrenches, which are used on the bicycle’s pedals to remove and to install them.

About bicycle pedals: Pedal threads are different on each side, to prevent the pedals from loosening while riding. The right-side pedal has a right-hand thread which removes counterclockwise and installs clockwise. The left-side pedal has a left-hand thread (reverse threaded), and therefore tightens and loosens in the opposite direction. As discussed in a previous post, left-hand threads slope up to the left, while right-hand threads slope up to the right.


How to use pedal wrenches:

To remove pedals:  Removing pedals is a common occurrence on volunteer nights in the Bike Kitchen when stripping bikes to recycle the parts. Pedal wrenches have a 15mm opening but are typically longer than a normal wrench so more leverage force can be applied.

1. Shift the chain to largest chainring, to help prevent cuts from the chainring teeth.

2. Move the crank arm, the arm the connect the pedals to the bicycle, so it is pointing straight ahead.Place the wrench in line with the crank arm, or a little above. This positioning helps to eliminate the rotation of the cranks when you are trying to unscrew the pedal. Try the wrench and the cranks in different positions until you find the sweet spot.

3. The first movement of unscrewing the pedal is the most dramatic. After that it gets easier and you can hold the pedal wrench in the same position while turning the crank so the pedal is pedaling forward. Keep turning the pedal until the pedal is completely removed from the crank arm.

Tip: If the pedals are well stuck, spray some WD40 in to help loosen them.


To install pedals: Pedal wrenches can be used to tighten pedals as well.

Make sure that you are putting the left pedal on the left crank and the right pedal on the right! Start the pedal into the crank by threading with your hands first to ensure that it engages easily. As with removal, you can use the wrench to hold the pedal still while pedaling the cranks backwards and installing the pedal fully.


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