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How to Change Bike Pedals

By: Danielle Vilaplana, Product Content Writer  |  Updated: Feb. 26th, 2024

Changing your bike pedals is a fundamental skill to have, whether you’re putting clipless pedals on a shiny new road bike or upgrading to some grippy aluminum flats on a mountain bike. Unless you're alernating between clipless and flats, you shouldn't have to change your pedals very often, but it's still a handy skill to know.

Removing and installing bike pedals is quick and easy once you know the process, and it's the same for gravel, road, and mountain bikes. The hardest part is remembering which way to turn the pedal wrench.

We’ll walk you through how to change bike pedals step-by-step below so you can be on your way to wrenching like a well-seasoned bike mechanic.

If you're still deciding which pedals to get, we recommend viewing our How to Choose Mountain Bike Pedals and The Best Mountain Flat Bike Pedals guides.


To change bike pedals, you will need a pedal wrench or allen key. Depending on your spindle shape and style of bike pedals, you will need either:
Pedal wrenches will work on spindles with flat faces. A standard 15mm open-ended wrench can work as well, but the often shorter handles have less leverage and the wrench head may be too wide for some spindles.

An Allen key can be used on pedals that have hexagonal sockets at the end of the spindle. Some spindels do not have flat faces and will require the use of an allen key. 8mm Allen keys will usually do the trick, but some brands have 6mm sockets so it’s good to have a multitool or Allen key set on hand.

How to Remove Bike Pedals

Once you’ve gathered the proper wrench for your bike’s pedal setup, you’re probably wondering how to take pedals off your bike first. Follow these easy steps:
  1. Secure your bike on a bike stand or a flat surface.
  2. Starting with the right (driveside) pedal, position the pedal wrench or Allen keys so you have some leverage.
  3. Rotate counterclockwise (righty tighty, lefty loosey).

It helps to hold the opposite crank for support and extra leverage. It might take a lot of force to loosen the thread if the spindles weren’t greased or if they’ve been on the bike for a long time.

Once you loosen the spindle, you should be able to finish rotating by hand and remove the pedal.

Follow the same procedure for the left pedal (non-driveside), but rotate the pedal wrench or Allen key clockwise instead.

How to Replace Bike Pedals

  1. Start with the "right" pedal or driveside pedal by looking near the spindle for the letters R or L - in this case, you’ll want the R. This pedal has standard direction threads — righty tighty, lefty loosey.
  2. If the pedals are used, wipe the threads on the new pedals before installing them to remove any dirt or grit.
  3. Apply a thin layer of anti-seize to the threads of the spindle.
  4. Align the pedal with the right (drivetrain side) socket.
  5. Do a few clockwise (righty tighty) turns by hand to ensure the threads are aligned. If you feel resistance, remove the pedal and start over so you don’t cross-thread your spindle or crank.
  6. Continue tightening by hand and finish with the pedal wrench or Allen key so there is no play.
  7. Repeat with the left pedal (L) on the non-driveside.
7. Follow the same steps for the left pedal (aka non-driveside pedal) but rotate counterclockwise to install.
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Bike Upside Down Method

We know not everyone has a dedicated bike stand whether at home or out on the road, so if you're in a pinch and need to stabilize your bike by flipping it upside down — resting on the handlebars and seat — to change the pedals this section is here to help!

All the steps are the same as listed above, but each direction of force will be the opposite of that listed above. Pro Tip: Preserve your handlebars and saddle by laying down a towel, blanket or other protective surface first.

Removing Bike Pedals with Upside Down Method

  • Remove the right (driveside) pedal following the steps above, but rotateclockwise.
  • Remove the left pedal (non-driveside) following the steps above, but rotate counterclockwise.

Installing Bike Pedals with Upside Down Method

  • Install the right pedal (driveside) following the steps above, but thread in counterclockwise.
  • Install the left pedal (non-driveside) following the steps above, but thread in clockwise.

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